Tech Talk: iPad 2

Now faster, thinner, and lighter, offering FaceTime and Smart Covers, Apple’s innovative iPad 2 is on sale.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

   Now faster, thinner, and lighter, offering FaceTime and Smart Covers, Apple’s innovative iPad 2 is on sale.

   With a dual-core A5 chip, the iPad 2 can do twice the work at once, making multitasking even smoother. Owners can also use it for 10 hours before having to charge it, according to Apple.com.

   Thirty-three percent thinner and 15 percent lighter, it also makes traveling easier.

   Not only is it quicker, thinner, and lighter, but it also offers great quality in terms of images and video.

   Compared to the first iPad, the iPad 2 has nine times the graphic performance and consists of two cameras, one on the front and one on the back.

   The camera on the front is used for video chatting, which is known as the feature “FaceTime,” and the back camera is used to take videos. The back camera also serves as a convenient way to show something to a video-chat friend while still seeing his/her face.

   In addition to the 9.7 inches of high-resolution display with a 178-degree viewing angle, the iPad 2’s LED backlighting serves as a main component, making every image crisp, vivid, and bright.

   Although sold separately, the iPad Smart Cover serves as an accessory and protector.

   Sold in leather or polyurethane in 10 colors for $39, the Smart Cover folds in several different ways and contains built-in magnets that cling to the iPad for a perfect fit.

   The iPad with only Wi-Fi costs $499, $599, and $699 for 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB, respectively. Ipads with Wi-Fi and 3G (the service network) cost $629, $729, and $829.

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Senior class receives approximately 315 college acceptances

After the senior class submitted approximately 815 applications to 228 schools, they received 351 acceptances, while at least 37 applications were waitlisted.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After the senior class submitted approximately 815 applications to 228 schools, they received 351 acceptances, while at least 37 applications were waitlisted.

  While the college process may have been stressful, the acceptance rates were quite good, according to Maguire, the guidance director.

  “About 60 percent of the students did Early Action [when students apply early and hear their decision early, but their acceptance is not binding] and Early Decision [when students apply and hear early, but the acceptance is binding], and many students were accepted through these early admission choices,” she said.   

  Some students were accepted to top-tier schools such as Columbia University, Amherst College, Pomona College, Northwestern University, and Bowdoin College.

  Even though Maguire said the acceptance rates were quite good, students were still surprised by some schools’ decisions.

  “I was surprised by the number of rejections. So many people seemed qualified to be accepted to schools they were rejected by, but I feel like a lot of it is luck,” senior Joseph Mussachia said.

  “Overall, there are definitely some really well-rounded and smart people that I would say I was surprised to see rejected from schools,” Peterson said.

  Seniors Caroline Kiley and Darcey Babikian said receiving rejection letters wasn’t too difficult.

  “Well, from the couple of schools that I got rejected from, I didn’t feel that bad because they were my reaches. I was expecting to be rejected anyways, so in the long run, I wasn’t too disappointed,” Kiley said.

  “It was difficult receiving a rejection letter because that meant that you weren’t good enough to belong somewhere that you were interested in. Luckily, I knew which schools to expect rejection letters from, so I wasn’t heartbroken—just disappointed,” Babikian said.

  According to Maguire, the college process was far more organized and easier than last year for teachers, students, and parents because of the Naviance Family Connection program.

  “It was an extraordinarily smooth transition to go all electronic,” she said.

  Although Maguire said using Naviance made the process easier, students said it was still taxing.

  “The first couple months of school are pretty stressful with all the forms you have to fill out, essays you have to write, recommendations you need to get, and applications you have to fill out,” senior Olivia Peterson said.

  “The college process was really stressful when I was doing applications just because I wanted to get everything done, but once I had my applications finished and submitted, it wasn’t that bad,” senior Phoebe Thorne said. Well from the couple of schools that I did get rejected from I didn’t feel that bad because they were my reaches and I was expecting to be rejected anyways, so in the long run I wasn’t too disappointed.

   Maguire offered some advice for juniors who will be going through the same process next year.

  “Be organized, take small steps, start over the summer, and be careful of your dream schools because it really is difficult to recover from rejection letters,” she said.

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Unique bottles provide affordable costs, durability

With people constantly disposing of plastic water bottles, polycarbonate, aluminum, and stainless steel reusable water bottles are inevitably better alternatives.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  With people constantly disposing of plastic water bottles, polycarbonate, aluminum, and stainless steel reusable water bottles are inevitably better alternatives.  

  Although many water bottles provide excellent components, three of the cheapest, feature-inclusive are CamelBak’s “Better Bottle,” Polar Bottle’s “Insulated Water Bottle,” and SIGG’s “Lifestyle Water Bottle.”

  Sold in three sizes and 14 colors with prices ranging from $12 to $15, CamelBak’s plastic Tritan “Better Bottle” provides several choices that all consist of the same features, according to Camelbak.com.

  The “Better Bottle’s” distinct feature is its Flip, Bite-N-Sip valve, which doesn’t require any tilting due to the thick straw attached to it. It also has a handle that makes it easy to clip a carabiner on it.

  Simple to carry, easy to fit in cup holders, dishwasher-safe, spill-proof, and free of Bisphenol A (BPA), a dangerous chemical that is produced from the production of polycarbonate plastics, the bottle provides everything most water-guzzlers look for.

  Supplying ideal elements for active people, Polar Bottle’s BPA-free plastic “Insulated Water Bottle” combines a thermal barrier of air that traps cold in and a foil layer that reflects solar rays.

  It fits in standard bicycle water bottle cages, has a removable carrying strap, and is dishwasher- and freezer-safe, according to Polarbottle.com.

  The wide mouth allows ice cubes effortlessly into the bottle and makes cleaning easy.

  Sold in silver, green, blue, and red for $11(20 Oz.) and $12 (24 Oz.), the “Insulated Water Bottle” is affordable but still durable.

  Blending functionality and design, SIGG’s BPA-free “Lifestyle Water Bottle” is made of aluminum and available in a wide array of colors and designs for $22 to $25, according to Mysigg.com.

  The bottle is coated with semi-transparent non-toxic paint that ensures a fresh, clean taste with every sip. It also contains a plastic liner that resists leakage and is dishwasher-safe.

  Although it may be heavier than most bottles due to the aluminum, it still acts as a mobile water-transporter that keeps water chilled.

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‘Jersey Shore’: Cast heads back to origin, welcomes new member

After filming the first half of season 2 in Miami and now returning to the Jersey Shore for the second half, the “Jersey Shore” cast proves to be the best one yet, saying goodbye to the confrontational Angelina while embracing Snooki’s friend, Deena.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After filming the first half of season 2 in Miami and now returning to the Jersey Shore for the second half, the “Jersey Shore” cast proves to be the best one yet, saying goodbye to the confrontational Angelina while embracing Snooki’s friend, Deena.

  Since Deena is practically a clone of Snooki, the episodes are twice as entertaining because the two are loud and outspoken.

  Deena also entertains viewers with her secret crush on the grossly muscular Mike “The Situation” and silly things she does with Snooki, such as playing one-on-one wiffle ball on the roof of the house.

  While Deena is popular among the Jersey Shore house, Sammi and Ronnie, the couple that formed during season 1, aren’t the house favorites.              

  The drama between Ronnie and Sammi hasn’t ceased and is increasingly agitated with each new episode.

  Sammi picks arguments with Ronnie concerning his previous unfaithful actions in Miami, while talking in a New Jersey accent coated with a pompous attitude.

  While the show would be better without Sammi, this half of the season is still more entertaining than the first because they are back in the town where it all began: Seaside Heights.

  The girls are surrounded at nightclubs by their ideal “juicehead gorillas,” as Snooki would call tan, muscular guidos; and the boys are able to go to their favorite barber shop, gym, and dry cleaners.

  Although only four episodes have aired so far, Snooki has already gotten into trouble.

  In the third episode, she is arrested for public intoxication after causing a scene on the beach.

  Subsequent to yelling “Where’s the beach?” while running alongside it on the boardwalk, Snooki even being able to arrive at the beach was surprising; however, she is out of jail and now uses the “head on her shoulders” to keep her alcohol consumption under control.

  While the show is vulgar and should only be watched as a “guilty pleasure,” drama-lovers and those looking for a good laugh should tune in to watch MTV’s “Jersey Shore” on Thursdays at 10 p.m.

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Maintain moisturized skin amid cold weather

With the harsh, dry, winter air gusting about, maintaining moisturized skin can be difficult but still manageable if one takes advantage of a few tips.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  With the harsh, dry, winter air gusting about, maintaining moisturized skin can be difficult but still manageable if one takes advantage of a few tips.

  Preventing dry skin begins in the shower.

  Washing the skin too much with hot water washes off its natural oils, making it dry; therefore, limiting the time spent in the shower to about seven minutes and using lukewarm instead of hot water is a preventative step.

  Shaving using lotion or hair conditioner instead of shaving foam also increases the likelihood of having moisturized skin because many shaving foam chemicals suck moisture out. 

  When drying after the shower, pat yourself dry instead of rubbing because rubbing can irritate skin and remove more moisture.

  Also, be sure to apply a rich skin moisturizer immediately after taking a shower because moisturizing while the skin is still damp helps seal in water and the body’s natural oils.

  Aside from taking steps for the showering process, protecting the skin outside of the house is also crucial.

  Suite101.com recommends wearing SPF 15 sunscreen, even in the winter because the sun can damage the skin just as the summer rays can.

  Vaseline should also be applied to feet in the morning before putting on socks and leaving in order to keep them from becoming dry throughout the day.

  Along with drinking at least eight cups of water daily, eating fish can also improve dry skin because fish contains omega 3 fatty acids, which help keep skin healthy by retaining moisture.

  While these are all helpful tips, one of the best ways is to apply moisturizing lotions to the dry skin patches a few times daily.

  One should look for products that contain ingredients such as oatmeal, ceramides, hyaluronic acids, and essential fatty acids such as shea butter, olive oil, almond oil, and avocado oil.

  Avoid products that contain ethyl alcohol, and other alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, or cetearyl.

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Students deserve three vacations free of homework, assignments

With 180 school nights—not including weekends—piled with homework, and extra homework given in most classes that drop the next day, school vacations should be the period of time in which teachers shouldn’t administer homework.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  With 180 school nights—not including weekends—piled with homework, and extra homework given in most classes that drop the next day, school vacations should be the period of time in which teachers shouldn’t administer homework.

  Dictionary.com defines “vacation” as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation or travel,” and that is exactly what a school vacation should consist of.

  If a class is behind schedule, assigning homework over vacation is understandable, but giving homework merely to keep students’ minds functioning and focused on those particular subjects is irritating.

  Just as teachers probably are stressed, students are also stressed about balancing academics, sports, extracurricular activities, and college applications.

  Doing homework on the weekends is enough of a hassle. If students can’t have two days off weekly without studying, writing papers, or completing worksheets, they deserve at least a one-week period of relaxation and fun every so often.

  Excluding Thanksgiving recess, that would be only three weeks of absolutely no homework, which is entirely reasonable.

  Not only would the lack of vacation homework be beneficial for students, it would also benefit the teachers who would otherwise have to grade even more papers upon their return.

  Often, kids complain about having to do homework over vacation because school takes up significantly more time than it should as it is.

  Students spend about six hours in class during the day just to come home and do even more work, and then free time is limited thanks to homework assigned for the weekend.

  Are nine consecutive days of relaxation too much to ask?

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Website offers answers to intriguing questions

Causes of brain freeze, feet falling asleep, different taste perceptions

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

What is physically happening when we get a “brain freeze?”

  According to wisegeek.com, researchers suggest that the excruciating headache people experience while eating or drinking something cold on a warm day results from the freezing of a cluster of nerves above the palate and a sudden influx of warm blood to the brain.

  The actual nerve the food or drink affects is the sphenopalatine nerve, which is extremely sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature. When the cold substance hits the roof of the mouth, this nerve sends a warning to the other nerves in the cluster so that the brain can prepare itself to expect a “major freeze.”

  One’s brain doesn’t actually freeze; however, the blood vessels surrounding the brain shrink as a reaction to the cold stimuli.

  This then results in a pounding headache due to pain receptors, but placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth to warm the palate can reduce the duration of this sensation, which usually lasts about 30 seconds.

Why do our feet fall asleep, and what is physically happening that gives us that tingling sensation?

  Paresthesia is the sensation that occurs when one’s foot “falls asleep,” according to reference.com.

  The sensation is caused by putting pressure on sensory nerves, which reduces blood supply to the local area and cuts off communication between the brain and nerves of the limb, causing numbness in the skin.

  After feeling numbness, the uncomfortable tingling and prickling sensation will occur; however, once pressure on the limb is released, nerve communication to the brain restores, and the sensation will subside.

Why do some foods taste gross to us while they may taste delicious to others?

  According to ilovebacteria.com, the more taste buds one has, the more intensely he/she perceives the tastes, especially bitter ones.

  People who are sensitive to strong flavors are called “supertasters” and can have up to twice as many taste buds as the others.

  While 25 percent of people are supertasters, 25 percent are non-tasters and 50 percent are medium tasters.

  Although many believe that taste is only dependent on their taste buds, it also depends on smell and how the brain reads signals from the tongue.

  The ability to smell and taste relies on about 1000 genes, and scientists recently discovered that about 50 of these genes are only active in some people, causing some to like a specific food while it may make others want to vomit.

  Everyone has different genes that switch on and off; therefore, he/she has different receptors for different flavors.

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Girls’ soccer defeats Rockport in ‘exciting game’

Seizing a 3-2 victory against Rockport to conclude the season, the girls’ soccer team improved upon last year’s record of 0-15-2 with a 3-12-2 record.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR 

Seizing a 3-2 victory against Rockport to conclude the season, the girls’ soccer team improved upon last year’s record of 0-15-2 with a 3-12-2 record.

  Coach Aymen Ali and senior captain Abbi Biggar, who was selected as a C.A.L. All-Star along with freshman Casey Cook, agreed that the last game against Rockport was the most exciting.

  “We have a rivalry with Rockport, so making a comeback after being down 0-2 definitely made for an exciting game. It was the final game for the seniors, and I was really happy with the girls,” Ali said.

  “Friday night’s game was hands down the most exciting game of the season. We had the drive and momentum to win, and even though we were losing at one point in the first half, we pulled it together and won as a team,” Biggar said.

  Along with succeeding in the last game, Ali said the girls were triumphant in achieving their goal of improving.

  “They definitely improved. I would have loved to win more games, but I’m happy with the season and their achievements,” he said. 

  Despite a loss of five seniors (including three starters), Ali said the team will be coming back strong.

  “Hopefully we’ll be returning even stronger next year. We have freshmen on the team like Casey Cook and Sophia Guerriero, and they’ll definitely have a big comeback,” he said.

  According to junior Jelisa O’Hara, the team will miss the seniors’ presence.

  “I absolutely loved the seniors; they made the team so much better. Abbi was our stopper; Rebecca [Lynch] was always so intense and ready to play; Rachel [Jones] had the perfect throw; Olivia [Peterson] always made us laugh with her sarcasm, and Lauren [LaPointe] was our amazing goalie,” she said.

  Ali shared his final thoughts of the season.

  “I’m very happy to have coached the girls this season. I’m going to miss the seniors, and I’m very glad I got to know them all,” he said.

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Apple updates MacBook Air, iPod nano with new features

Featuring an All-Flash Storage, the MacBook Air allows for users to access data quickly and for the laptop to stay in standby mode for up to 30 days, according to www.apple.com.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

Macbook Air

  Featuring an All-Flash Storage, the MacBook Air allows for users to access data quickly and for the laptop to stay in standby mode for up to 30 days, according to www.apple.com.

  It also contains a spacious, glass Multi-Touch Trackpad with a buttonless design so that one can pinch, swipe, adjust images, enlarge text, or proceed through a photo album with the touch of a finger.

  Along with providing original features, Apple also improved the MacBook Air’s battery so that the 11-inch model would last for up to five hours, and the 13-inch model would last for seven hours.

  Its small FaceTime Camera also permits users to video chat with others in low-light conditions as its stereo speakers project the sounds from the left and right sides.

  The MacBook Air is available in 11 inches and 13 inches and has a price range of $999-$1,599 with 65 GB-256 GB.

iPod Nano

  Shaped like a square with a clip connected to the 1.5-inch color display, the new iPod nano is more than half the size of the older version.

  It also features all FM radio stations along with Live Pause, which enables listeners to pause the radio song and to continue where they left off.

  Users can also listen to music nonstop for 24 hours with both the 8 GB and 16 GB versions due to the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

  The models cost $149 and $179, respectively, and come in silver, gray, blue, green, orange, pink, and red.

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Girls’ soccer clinches first win in two years

With their first win in two years and with new head coach Aymen Ali, the girls’ soccer team is looking to improve their 1-6-1 record, Ali said.

By Hannah Daley

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  With their first win in two years and with new head coach Aymen Ali, the girls’ soccer team is looking to improve their 1-6-1 record, Ali said.

  Ali, who played soccer for Salem State College and has coached high school teams for eight years, said he is enjoying coaching the girls.

  “I’ve seen the most improvement from them out of all the teams I’ve coached. They want to learn and work hard, and I’m just glad I got the opportunity to coach them,” he said.

  Senior Abbi Biggar, who is a captain along with seniors Rachel Jones and Rebecca Lynch, said Ali is a huge asset to the team this season and part of the reason they are beating last year’s record of 0-16-2.

  “His experience as a player playing defense, midfield, and striker helps him give advice to each player out on the field. He knows a lot about the game and is dedicated to helping each individual and the team become better at soccer,” she said.

  Ali said several of the freshman players are stepping up during games.

  “Casey Cook is a huge talent; Sophia Guerriero is very fast, and Rachel Daley scored three goals in the game we won against North Shore Tech 4-0,” he said.

  Cook and Jones said the team has good communication skills along with team chemistry.

  “Our communication skills on the field are really good, especially when we are passing,” Cook said.

  According to Jones, the girls have a positive attitude that holds them together, especially when they are down during a game.

  Junior Jelisa O’Hara said the team has a lot of strengths but just has to learn to play together better.

  Although O’Hara said the team still needs work on their chemistry, Ali said the team played well together on the field during the win against North Shore Tech.

  “It was a very exciting game, and the girls tried their hardest. Seeing the fans and parents cheering for us and getting a ‘W’ is very exciting,” he said.

  “The main goal for the season will be to get the team to progress each practice and to teach them the proper way how to play soccer,” Ali said.  “A couple of wins would help too.”

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