By Erica Lee
The release of the sequel to “Watch_Dogs,” an action-adventure video game series that revolve around a hacker’s path to justice, vigilantism, and revenge, provokes some questions about how secure our wireless devices are. Can someone actually hack into hundreds of devices, stealing identities and controlling street lights, at the press of a single button, just as players can in “Watch_Dogs?” Unfortunately, they can.
Hackers have repeatedly shown their capabilities to crack into various major social media platforms, international government websites, local traffic camera and control systems, and even nuclear plants. Although the latter few instances are not nearly as common, malicious websites and malware are ubiquitous. In fact, in March of 2016, Google reported that over 50 million users have received warnings when visiting malicious websites or downloading malware, and a 2011 Ponemon Research survey revealed that 90% of companies have been hacked over the past year. Considering the large number of reported hacking incidents and the sheer number of people who have their devices connected to wireless networks, privacy and security is nearly nonexistent. By exploiting unprotected wireless devices like smart refrigerators, a hacker can infiltrate the rest of the devices connected to the same system in fractions of a second. This hopefully makes you rethink whether you actually want to buy all of those recently released “smart” appliances.
Hacking can cause a lot of malice and destruction, not only in terms of Internet safety but also physical dangers. For example, during the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent a Trojan horse, a misleading virus that seems initially harmless, to a Russian gas pipeline control software, which resulted in the explosion of Siberian pipelines with power equivalent to one-fifth of an atomic bomb. Hackers can also take control of wireless medical implants, holding people’s lives at their fingertips. Although there have not been any recorded deaths from hacking medical devices, perhaps a malicious hacker was simply undetected, successfully wiping all traces of their crimes clean. What seems like a malfunction of a device actually could have been calculated murder.
Of course, white hat, or ethical, hacking will actively combat ill-willed hacking, but people should start reflecting upon the detrimental nature of their increasing dependency on technology. The extreme demand for the newest gadgets have caused manufacturers to struggle to keep up, leading to a lack of testing and production of incomplete products, as exemplified by the recent explosive Samsung phones. Ultimately, hackers can potentially have the entire world at their mercy, committing crimes undetected
By Aiden Brady
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Hypnotic, smooth, serene, rich—those are merely a couple of lasting descriptions that stormed my thoughts as the closing track of “Yes Lawd!” came to an end. Not a second more was needed to convince me that NxWorries, a collaboration between vocalist Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge, had once again proved their excellence with grace and finesse.
The title of the project is a play on .Paak’s jubilant ad lib, which is shouted to preface or conclude a song that he is featured on. It stems from the phrase “Yes Lord!”, but his festive drawl puts a unique spin on the simple, two-word expression. Despite the cheerful connotation, the 19 track hybrid of soul, R&B, and hip-hop tells the story of Anderson’s highs and lows in terms of success and love.
The first track, which follows a brief spoken-word introduction, is the triumphant “Livvin”, a tune driven by celebratory lyrics and hard-hitting instrumentation from Knxwledge.
“A long way to get out here, but there’s a drought here / And I’m winning,” sings .Paak in his signature raspy, sugary voice.
Whereas this tune touches on his opulence, the album quickly delves into the tribulations that he had or has to overcome. It’s reminiscent of a success story, but the tale is creatively being spun backwards.
The essence of his struggle can be heard on the autobiographical song, “Get Bigger.” With a melodic flow, he voices, “In the fall, gotta get it with my brother in law / Shopping work, bagging groceries, pushing them carts / I was grateful to be working, but say, my back is hurting / I don’t think it’s the purpose, no, this can’t be the call.” It’s a candid and personal view into his world, and one that is equally inspiring. Anderson’s verses also touch on his divorce with his first wife, and regardless of the point only spanning over a few lines, it still left me with a sense of sympathy towards him.
All of these emotional cuts just make “Livvin” that much sweeter. Having the album kick off with merriment seems to be his way of letting listeners know that he is happier than he has ever been in his current state. It doesn’t take more than one play of this project to realize that, with all of the unadulterated talent he has at his disposal, the joy and success is well-deserved.
There are endless highlights to cover, but I’d need the entire newspaper to do so. My suggestion would be to sit back, relax, and let NxWorries take your worries away with their incredible work.
By Ji Mean Lee
The LCHS 9-12 Advanced Orchestra successfully ended the 2015-16 school year with the Pops Concert and an end-of-the-year party. Now, as the 2016-17 school year is starting, the Advanced Orchestra is happy to welcome the new conductor, Mrs. Munday.
Before joining LCHS, Mrs. Munday gained experience teaching other string students. She previously taught the beginning strings and the string orchestra at La Cañada Elementary school, Paradise Canyon Elementary school, and Palm Crest Elementary school for two years. Because the previous conductor was only temporarily employed, Mrs. Munday interviewed for the position and was luckily selected as the permanent orchestra conductor. Having so much passion for the place, Mrs. Munday will now conduct the LCHS advanced string orchestra, which is made up of about 75 talented and dedicated violinists, violists, cellists, and bass players who meet every day during zero period.
Mrs. Munday is also a professional violin player. She has two bachelor's degrees from Chapman University, which are in Music Education and Violin Performance, and a master’s degree from USC in Violin Performance. She was also in the USC string quartet, playing as the principal second violinist. Now, Mrs. Munday is the member of the first violins in the Los Angeles chamber orchestra, which has taken tours to Germany and recorded at the International Bach academy. She also performs in records and albums for movies, such as “Finding Dory”, and tv shows, such as “Star Trek.” Mrs. Munday has a great passion for music and is “very excited to be in LCHS as the students are fabulous, and I am looking forward to conducting the orchestra.”
By Shari Perlstein
How do you make a winning team even better? Why, you increase the difficulty, of course. That is exactly what Mr. Stone and the other directors of the La Cañada High School Marching Spartans did this year.
“We’re focusing on the positives so we can raise ourselves to the level we know we can add more complicated layers to our show,” commented senior Lilliana Avaniss.
And more complicated it is. The show, titled Prayers and Mantras, is longer and musically harder than last year’s. It is seven and a half minutes long, while past shows were only about six and a half minutes long. A minute does not sound like that much longer, but to a performer, it makes a huge difference. For a minute longer, they must sprint around the football field and dance while controlling their breathing enough to play effectively with good intonation and volume.
Along with the show being longer, the music’s difficulty has increased. In the past, the show had a difficulty level of 3. Now, they are at a level 4. What this means is that their show features complex rhythms and dynamic ranges, all of which they must perform effectively while on the field. This is challenging because, when on the field, the members are very spread out, making it harder for them to listen to each other. Also, since sound travels at different times based on where they are placed on the field, they must time the notes properly so that it sounds like the band is playing all together. As they move farther from the 50 yard line, they must anticipate the notes more and play them even sooner.
“Everything is harder. My whole body hurts,” exclaimed Drum Major Justin Huynh
The demanding nature of the show paired with their success from last year, (second place in their division, fifth out of the top three divisions), has allowed them to participate in a new competition, Bands of America (BOA). BOA is a national competition in which bands compete against each other based on the size of their school, not their band. In the Western Band Association (WBA), bands would compete against each other based on the band’s size. So, in BOA, the Marching Spartans could be competing against bands half their size or almost double their size. They will still be competing in the WBA competitions, but they have added BOA to the line up.
Prayers and Mantras is a show centered around the culture of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. It combines the traditional sounds of the Himalayas with powerful and majestic visuals to create a captivating show that will leave you in awe. If you would like to see the Marching Spartans perform Prayers and Mantras, you can catch them at every home football game, or you could come to one of their competitions. The closest one is at Long Beach Community College at BOA on October 29th or WBA Super Show on November 12th.
Photo Courtesy of Justin Eick
By Julia Paccone
Advanced Theatre staged William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on February 21-23 at the La Canada Playhouse. There was also a student matinee on February 24, in which multiple third period classes came to view the play.
Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by Shakespeare around 1595. In the play, Hermia (Alaina Kalb) is in love with Lysander (Andrew Koerber). Her father wants her to marry Demetrius (Elias Figueroa), who Helena (Abby Rosen) is in love with. Hermia and Lysander attempt to run away and get married, but get lost along the way. The Fairy King, Oberon (Jack Jones), and Puck (Mary Alex Daniels) create confusion about who loves who by sprinkling a special love potion into the eyes of Titania (Katie Cunningham), Lysander, and Demetrius. Titania falls in love with Bottom (Cole Weinstein), an actor with donkey ears. Lysander and Demetrius both fall in love with Helena. At the end of the play, Puck sprinkles and ointment into each person’s eyes, returning them to their normal state. Helena ends up marrying Demetrius and Hermia marries Lysander.
Director Justin Eick attempted to make the play, set, and costumes as traditional and historically accurate as possible, while still adding a modern flair. The costumes and set were historically accurate, putting the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater to good use. La Canada High School is the only high school in the nation to have a replica of the Globe Theater.
Mr. Eick explained, “We are the only high school in America to have a Shakespeare festival stage in the spirit of an Elizabethan Playhouse. I honestly think that it is important for students studying Shakespeare to have an opportunity to perform the ways that Shakespeare would have performed them during his time.”
Elizabethan-style sets had no scenery, and imagery was created only by props, costumes and the actions of the actors. The costumes the ADV actors wore were replicas of what the actors would wear during Shakespeare’s time. Although the play was set in Athens, the characters would wear the everyday clothing of Elizabethan people.
The actors worked timelessly at after school rehearsals. The play was thrown together in three weeks. The cast went straight from working on Shakesperience to working on the play.
Mikey Selsor, who played Snout the Tinker, one of the Mechanicals, said, “It was so much fun. With all the rehearsals it was kind of annoying but it was so worth it in the end.”
To make sure he delivered his lines well, Mikey Selsor ended up writing them onto his fake wooden arm that he wore throughout the play.
Katie Cunningham said, “Midsummer was super fun. I played the queen of fairies, and it was just a glitter fest with me and all the fairies.”
Throughout rehearsals, the four actors playing the lovers received many bruises while practicing the blocking for the lovers quarrel. Certain parts of the blocking had to be altered because the actors could no longer fall they way they were supposed because of the large bruises on their knees. Multiple actors also had to buy knee pads to wear throughout the show.
Cole Weinstein’s favorite part of the play was “everything associated with the [comedic wedding performance] at the end of the production.”
As Sahil Nandwani, who played Peter Quince, explained, “My favorite part of any show is probably being backstage right before showtime. It’s really fun and truly a bonding experience.”
By Shari Perlstein
We all remember when Zayn Malik left One Direction. Hardcore fans were a mess for months. Teachers still half-heartedly joke about it in an attempt to gain some cachet with their students. The departure was met with much controversy as his true reason for leaving the band was revealed: he was going solo, rather than focusing on being a normal 23 year-old (as his initial statement claimed). A couple months after the break, Zayn signed on with RCA Records and began working on his new music.
Almost a year after leaving One Direction, Zayn has released the much-anticipated single, “Pillow Talk.” The single is okay. It’s okay because it’s catchy, but it has no substance. There’s nothing different or groundbreaking. It sounds like any other R&B song. It is an obvious next career move from a supposedly “mysterious” boy band member.
The song is a huge disappointment. There were tons of people who were eagerly waiting to hear something new from Zayn, especially since he had said so little regarding music production publically. I have seen him live twice, so the second I listened to the track and watched the music video, I could tell the voice was not right. The accent is right, but the actual singing is either strained or highly autotuned. The lyrics of the song have no meaning to them--they’re just vague, sexual intimations.. It’s like listening to a song by a hormonal sixteen-year-old boy, except the song was not written by a sixteen-year-old boy. It was written by a mature twenty-three-year-old.
The music video is even more of a disappointment. It is beyond complicated. Half of the video is Zayn all over his supposed girlfriend, Gigi Hadid. The other half is filled with random psychedelic imagery such as a girl crying blood. This strange imagery is coupled with terrible lipsynching, making it almost unbearable to watch.
“Pillow Talk” has been successful in spite of its flaws for two reasons. Half the views it has received come from people who are curious. Zayn is the first member of One Direction to go solo, so naturally people are interested in what he is creating. The other half of the views come from his remaining “One Direction” fans. Zayn has a guaranteed fanbase. Like all other boyband members who have gone solo, he doesn’t have to work for his views. It’s too bad most of his new solo career will be built on false appreciation, because if I were Zayn, I would want fans who like my music, not my reputation.
By Shari Perlstein
Michael Moore has done it again. In the past, he has created compelling films such as “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which playfully explored the economic downturn of 2008 and corporate greed’s effect on American lives. He also produced “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which humorously explored the government’s motives for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, he has created an ingenious, thought-provoking documentary chronicling where America should invade next and what resources we should harvest from these conquests. I know what you’re thinking; “Ew! A documentary! How boring,” but this exposé is anything but boring. When my parents took me to see this film over the five-day weekend, I was so not excited to see some documentary about all the wars America has participated in. I was mistaken. This film is the most beautiful piece of satire I have ever experienced.
We all know America as the democracy-spreading, peace-bringing interventionalist. We invade places, claiming to bring democracy, when in reality we infiltrated Afghanistan for their oil and Panama for a canal. When seeing the title, “Where Should We Invade Next,” I assumed that it would be some boring analysis about the next place America should intervene to spread democracy and take their resources. Instead, Moore went to all the countries America would never think of invading: progressive European countries and African nations. With each country, he “stole” their ideas for improving whatever aspect of society--be it government, education, work, food quality, or prisons. From France, he took their impeccable school lunches (a three course meal with serving staff). In Iceland, he highlighted the women’s participation in politics and economics. He even made a little stop in Berlin to reminisce the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The ideas Moore talks about are not radical. When he was in Finland discussing their education system, I was shamelessly flailing my arms at the screen, almost screaming, “This! This is what America needs to do!” I mean, the people of Tunisia overthrew their dictator because they were done with the corruption plaguing their country. He talked to the residents of these countries and discussed the different revolutions that took place over the last couple of decades. He got first-hand information from journalists, politicians, and even students. He then told them about the conditions in America, humor lacing his voice, but their responses of absolute disbelief and sadness truly highlight what Moore is trying to say. This is not to say that America has never played with the “radical” ideas each country possesses. In fact, the entire point of the movie was to say that America has always had these values, but we’ve strayed far, far away from our American ideals.
Moore’s message is clear. Maybe we should not be taking oil and weapons, but instead take their innovative techniques and progressive ideals. Not only did this movie discuss the values that so many of us hold dearly, but also it brings up the values that we may have never even considered. I highly recommend anyone go see this movie, but it’s only playing at a limited number of theaters, so get a ticket while you can.
By Cole Weinstein
“Hail, Caesar!” is the newest film from the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan, and it is filled with an all star cast that includes Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Alden Ehrenreich, and George Clooney.
It shows a day in the life of the people at Capitol Pictures, the biggest studio in 1950s Hollywood. While there are many story lines of this--at times meandering--film the main story centers on Eddie Mannix (Brolin) a “fixer” for the studio and his search to find missing star Baird Whitlock (Clooney). Mannix is a fictional version of the real Eddie Mannix, who worked for MGM.
This is a Coen Brothers film through and through, from the unique characters like Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Swinton), competing gossip journalists, or Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich), a western star making his way into the drama pictures. It is also extremely well-directed and lit as shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins. It's close to technical perfection as Coen Brothers films usually are.
As far as substance goes however, there is definitely something missing. The story is extremely offbeat, and not in a good way. Many scenes seem to happen for no reason and while they can be entertaining, they don’t really drive the plot along. To go with the rest of the movie, the conclusion is odd and while I personally enjoyed it, I can see many people disliking it. Sure it offers a cute and semi-farcical comedy about 1950’s Hollywood, with interesting insights into Hollywood and our world today, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the heft that most great films do.
Overall, “Hail, Caesar!” is a fun low-stress movie that isn’t for everyone. I had a lot of fun with it, but you certainly may not feel that way. If you aren’t already a fan of the Coen Brothers films then you should probably wait until it comes out on DVD as this isn’t a great place to start watching their unique brand of filmmaking. That being said, this is certainly not a bad film and it's definitely worth a look if you’re feeling adventurous.
By Cole Weinstein
“Anomalisa” is the end of a seven-year hiatus for one of cinema’s greatest minds, Charlie Kaufman. As the writer of the films “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Kaufman always presents a unique and meta look into modern society along with an interesting story to boot.
However, “Anomalisa” is not only written by Kaufman but also is his second directorial effort, 2007’s “Synecdoche, New York” being the other. It’s also a stop motion film, a filming style in which all of the set and characters are miniature figures and the movie is shot frame by frame, similar to “Coraline” or “ParaNorman”.
“Anomalisa” is the story of Michael Stone (David Thewlis), who has authored a guide to customer service titled "How May I Help You Help Them?" When he stops in Cincinnati to give a speech about his book he encounters something he wasn’t expecting: Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
Despite “Anomalisa” being Kaufman’s first stop-motion film, it is flawlessly crafted, thanks to the expertise of co-director and stop-motion expert Duke Johnson. Kaufman and Johnson utilize stop motion to add details and elements to “Anomalisa” that wouldn’t be possible with a live-action film. Stop motion is a difficult process and to see a film put so much detail into its presentation is really a cause for celebration.
As far as story goes, “Anomalisa” is Kaufman’s simplest film and a good introductory movie for anyone who wants to watch his work. The simplicity of the film’s surface allows viewers to dig deeper into the complex undertones of the story with ease. No repeated viewings are needed to begin to understand the complex themes of the film and the statements about humanity that Kaufman makes.
However, keep in mind that this is definitely not a film for everybody. “Anomalisa” is nothing like most stop motion films. Unlike ParaNorman, it is a mature film with very mature themes that not everyone will appreciate. That being said, there is no denying the film successfully did everything it set out to do.
“Anomalisa” is a complex, wonderful film that is accessible to even casual viewers. One of the best films of the year and adored by critics and fans alike, “Anomalisa” is a must see for all film fans.
By Cole Weinstein
Adapted from the acclaimed Michael Lewis book of the same name, “The Big Short” tells four intertwined stories about the outsiders who predicted the collapse of the housing market and made millions. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) is the genius who no one believed. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) is the hotshot banker after the money. Mark Baum (Steve Carell) is the angry skeptic who is out to get the system. Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) are the young investors whom no one gave a chance. With Lewis’s gripping narrative as a base and a captivating screenplay by “Anchorman's” Adam McKay, “The Big Short” is filled with laughs, celebrity cameos, a great soundtrack, fast-paced editing, lots of narration, and just enough heartbreak to leave you thinking far beyond the final credits.
As a film, “The Big Short” is extremely smart; it's outrageous moments keep the audience interested as it tells an important story. The overall presentation of the film is unique and fast paced which makes the movie an extremely entertaining experience. The complicated ideas of the stock market are made simple, palpable, and even comedic. But when it needs to, the film flips on a dime and delivers an extremely emotional moments, which separates it from your average film.
All the performances are great, but Steve Carrell in particular gives one of the best performances of 2015. In some of the most important moments the film rides on his ability to take control of a scene. Along with last year’s “Foxcatcher” it is safe to say that Carrell is becoming one of the most impressive actors in the business.
However, “The Big Short” is not a film for everyone. Despite its simplification of the ideas it portrays, it can still be very confusing and its fast pace makes everything that much harder to comprehend. Not to mention the film’s sometimes off-the-wall presentation can be jarring.
“The Big Short” is one of the most unique films of the year, but would you expect anything less from the mind behind “Anchorman?” It’s fast, fun, and sometimes gut-wrenching. It delivers on many levels and is sure to get some well-deserved Oscar buzz.
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