The genes for ending malaria, typhus, and a whole host of invasive species, seem like an easy fix to the ever-persistent pandemics that ravage third world countries. Unfortunately, while supplanting these characteristics into fetal specimens is relatively easy, getting them to propagate throughout an entire population is nearly impossible–that is, until now. At the University of California San Diego, biologist Ethan Bier runs a lab that uses fruit flies to study the processes that lead to different human diseases. One of his recent graduate students called him over to observe the results of one of his recent experiments. What he had shocked Bier. “It was one of the most astounding days in my personal scientific career,” said Bier. “When he[…]

The Space Launch System, NASA’s latest project, has recently passed critical testing, showing a resurgence of American presence in space. The new spacecraft is remarkable in that it is the largest, most powerful spacecraft ever created, said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Division in a press release on 22 October 2015. “We’ve nailed down the design of the SLS, we’ve successfully completed the first round of testing of the rocket’s engines and boosters,” said Hill, “and all the major components for the first flight are now in production.” The SLS is designed to carry massive payloads into orbit, with a minimum of 70 metric tons and a maximum of 130 tons, as opposed to the[…]

Modern-day solar cells have made immense strides in their ability to capture the intrinsic energy of the sun since their emergence in 1839. However, mankind’s efforts to harness this power have always been outshone by the efficiency of one natural process people still don’t fully understand: photosynthesis. By utilizing genetically engineered viruses along with the quantum effects governing the subatomic realm, two scientists, Seth Lloyd and Angela Belcher, along with a collaborative team of researchers from MIT, Eni, and Italian universities, are on the verge of harnessing the same levels of energy efficiency that photosynthetic plants already enjoy. One of the reasons photosynthesis is so efficient is because subatomic particles have the unique ability of acting as both particles and[…]

Information heard on the internet isn’t always true, but misinformation about scientific discoveries and inventions are becoming increasingly common to find in legitimate news because of how quickly they spread online. Sometimes, misinformation is purposeful, like a recent prank by website “Funny or Die” that promised hoverboards in the near future. However, in science teacher Scott McComb’s experience, even reputable sources sometimes just get information wrong.   “Even people who you really trust may get the data wrong,” said McComb. “I listen a podcast called ‘This American Life,’ and they employ fact checkers, and even they missed a few key details on really important stories and had to go back and retract information.” While notable podcasts from NPR usually get[…]

As with many public institutions, Raisbeck Aviation High School is heavily pressured to filter certain websites, such as those which are deemed harmful towards minors. However, the filtering program has disserviced some students in the past. Eric Jones, a senior at RAHS, shares a view common throughout the school. “I understand why the blacklist is there, such as for porn sites and illegal material,” said Jones, “but there was one time where I was researching for CWP on different religious groups and almost every website that wasn’t Wikipedia was blocked under the ‘Religion’ reason.” In addition to not being able to access certain websites for a research project in Contemporary World Problems, Jones was especially flustered about YouTube being blocked[…]

After RAHS Science Olympiad team’s challenging but successful previous season, many members are competing in new events this season. Because of these events, coaches Scott McComb and Lisa Weeks as well as the students are getting prepared to tackle these events. One Science Olympiad group that will be challenged this year with new events is Group D, led by David Johnston. It is a study group that looks at earth and ecological subjects and has two new events: Hydrogeology and Invasive Species. “Hydrogeology is a new and exciting event this year,” said Johnston. “We will be testing groundwater conditions with a computer, studying about groundwater concepts and reducing pollution in groundwater.” In Invasive Species, the other Group D event, the[…]

While students were out and about during the summer, RAHS’s Blended Learning Technologist Anthony McLaughlin was hard at work fixing the laptops so they would function better during the 2015-2016 school year. After a cleaning of the hardware, inside and out, as well as updating necessary programs and cleaning out the software, laptops have been returned to students. “Most of the things I did over the summer included general cleaning and dust removal,” said McLaughlin, “as well as reimaging laptops with latest software build, and updating the BIOS with latest firmware.” While McLaughlin was updating programs and software, he also dug up a lot of problems from students messing with their computers. “The most common problem with the laptops is[…]

Technology has definitely had an impact on the way students learn at RAHS. From television sets in every classroom to the use of OneNote, teachers have many different ways of getting points across to their students. Teachers were given the choice between having an iPad Air or an iPad mini. Principal Bruce Kelly states that the iPads are portable digital tools useful for a variety of classroom purposes from record keeping to driving the content on the LED TV. “This technology offers teachers mobility–they do not need to return to their workstations to complete routine tasks,” said Kelly. “Like many digital tools, the iPad can help teachers manage students’ learning needs more efficiently.” It was his hope that the iPads[…]

  A team of biohackers from California successfully induced a temporary sense of night vision by injecting a simple chemical cocktail directly onto the eye. Incredibly, it allowed other scientists to see over 160 feet in the dark for a brief period of time. The group, called Science for the Masses, wanted to see if a kind of chemical chlorophyll analog—Chlorin e6 (or Ce6)—would create the expected effect. This chemical mixture is found in some deep-sea fish and is often used to treat cancer and night blindness. The compound works by influencing the way the retina’s light-sensing rods work in the dark. For the experiment, biochemistry researcher Gabriel Licina volunteered to be the guinea pig. Group member Jeffrey Tibbetts dribbled[…]

For many students at RAHS, the learning doesn’t stop at the end of the long school year. “Science camps” for all ages allow students to learn about things they are truly interested about and keep their mind sharp over the summer. If they aren’t interested in being a student in the camp, they can volunteer as a counselor. Freshman Henry Meyerson will be volunteering at the Pacific Science Center as a Junior Counselor, guiding students through building robots designed to do various tasks. “I’ll be helping with setup, cleanup, teaching the kids,” said Meyerson. “I think it will be a good learning experience.” Teaching kids can build leadership skills that will be valuable in other parts of life, but another[…]

Technology is frequently a double-edged sword, but so is technology policy. While the backend bureaucracy might not be as black and white as a program crashing when you need it most, the blessings and curses it offers can be found all over RAHS. Every piece of technology students and staff use at school is purchased through approved vendors, out of specific allotted budgets, can only be used in finite ways and of course, are property of the district. The primary intent of the technology policy is to maintain quality of equipment and provide the maximum benefit to students and staff. “The role of the Department of Technology Services is to provide comprehensive infrastructure and operations support and innovation,” said the[…]