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The Detriments of the Culture of Comparison

Melissa Silva

I don’t feel inclined to share my grades. Or my GPA. Or my test scores. In an environment where comparison seems to fuel students, my preference may come across as odd and maybe even unreasonable.

    I made the decision to stop sharing grades once I realized the unhealthy atmosphere this behavior perpetuates. Because the culture of comparison is so widely accepted and so deeply rooted in many students’ lives, it may be difficult to consider the harm it brings to students. Although some will disagree with my perspective, it is important to realize that there are many among the student body who not only feel negatively towards this culture of comparison but are negatively affected by it.

    There are two main possible reactions by the student being asked the simple “What’d you get?”. Usually, because of the prevalence of the culture of comparison, the one being asked feels obligated to answer. For some, being placed in this position and sharing information about grades or test scores are insignificant. For others, being placed in this position brings feelings of discomfort, shame, or hesitance in the possibility of displaying oneself as cocky. Because of this, it is easy for students to lose self-esteem or to present themselves in an undesirable light.

I’ve noticed that comparison often provides motivation to work harder or serves to boost one’s self esteem. I’ve personally had experiences where, even after making it clear that I didn’t want to share my grades, the other person continued to insist, justifying their request on the grounds that knowing my grades was “necessary” for their own academic success. While many will justify comparison for these and other reasons, this culture of comparison too often and too easily becomes an invasion of others’ privacy, and the pressure to compete with peers ultimately proves detrimental to students.

    How do we work to end this culture of comparison? The easiest way is to simply not ask others about their grades, scores or GPA. I know that for many people, this seems impossible, as comparison has seemingly become utterly indispensable to academic success (It’s not. Approval can and does come from within). Of course, the other aspect of this culture—being asked about your grades and scores—makes ending the culture a bit more difficult. Personally, when presented with the question of “What’d you get?”, I just say, “I don’t share grades.” I have found that, with that answer, people (usually) realize that not only do I not want to share that specific grade, but I do not want to share any grades. This way, they remember not to ask me the same question in the future. As far as how well this works—very few people ask me about grades nowadays.

    Since I decided to stop asking about and sharing grades, I have been significantly prouder of my accomplishments. My grades have not changed, but my attitude toward them has. I have established my own set of standards, rather than use others’ accomplishments to gauge my own success. Of course, separating myself from this culture has not eliminated all my stress, as I do set high standards for myself, but it is definitely a relief to be exempt from the constant bombardment of questions regarding my grades and scores.

    Counselors, teachers, and tutors alike constantly tell us that our grades and scores do not define us. Perhaps it is time to take that to heart and stop defining ourselves and our peers based on grades by working to end the culture of comparison. This way, we can create a more encouraging school environment in which students feel proud to be part of a less judgemental community.


When Do Police Officers Step Over the Line

Anshul Rajwanshi

Over the last year, there have been repeated incidents of protests breaking out across the country; every time protesters take to the streets, they are met with armed police. As these situations increase in number, debate has raged in regards to when and where the use of force is permissible. Shocking images such as the iconic photo of an unarmed man being faced with a fully armed squadron of police officers have led some to question how powerful the police need to be.



    It is a good idea to set some context for the current capabilities of the police. Generally speaking, police departments have different sections to deal with different situations. A department may have patrol cops who are usually armed with a sidearm, a shotgun (on some occasions), a taser and a baton. For more serious incidents, police will rely on a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team which can carry anything from sniper rifles and submachine guns to battering rams and grenade launchers. In the middle of these two extremes exists the riot police. The riot police consist of normal police officers who are equipped with a wide range of  gear to confront a group of protestors. This group is not meant to use lethal force and is equipped with riot shields, batons, armor, tear gas, pepper spray and, occasionally, rubber bullets. While all of these weapons can cause pain, they have a limited ability to kill. Their focus is more on controlling a crowd during a riot.


    Police officers are governed by a simple principle. They can only take action when they feel that their lives or the lives of others are in danger. Until that line is crossed, an officer should not use lethal force. Recent incidents have put this doctrine under strain as peaceful protests have often turned violent. The true question in this debate is: when is it justified for the police to use force against protesters?


    There is no doubt that the police have become increasingly militarized. The history of these upgrades comes from the War on Drugs declared in 1971 and then later on after the September 11 attacks. Equating drug dealers with organized crime bosses, police stations across the country were given additional funding to enforce  the law. Most of the time, the equipment is left unused, but during a riot, it all comes out. . Police are meant to intimidate criminals with their solid black clothing, weapons and vehicles. But intimidation is not the most effective approach  when dealing with protesters. Police need to be seen not as an oppressive force,  but more as a helpful one. The optics of militarized police is bad because it contribute to a growing perception that the government has overstepped its boundaries. Police must find a way to work with protest organizers in setting guidelines for protests so that police do not feel the need to use force.


    The blame for police confrontations does not fall only on the officers. Some recent protests seem to believe that they will be better heard and understood if they take more drastic action. This was seen in Ferguson, where protesters destroyed vehicles, buildings and attacked police officers. These incidents are all crimes, actions that police must prevent. It is crucial that protesters realize that carrying out crimes will not allow them to succeed.. This is a brutal truth. Protesters lose the chance of leading a successful revolt if they turn to violence. The only way to air grievance is through proper procedure and peaceful protest. Violence only breeds enemies and splits sympathizers.

    In conclusion, police need to be less willing to use lethal force. They should maintain order and prevent damage in the first place. However, it is also the responsibility of protesters to respect the law and protest within its confines. If they do not, their safety cannot be guaranteed. Above all, members of Congress need to answer to the nation and its grievances which cause these protests, instead of to their gerrymandered districts.

Thumb nail by: Whitney Curtis

Community College Students Deserve Our Respect

Santosh Muralidaran

     Living in the affluence of Silicon Valley, high school students are often motivated to achieve more and exceed beyond the necessary requirements for graduation, which further increase their chances of getting into colleges and universities after graduating from high school. Existing undergraduate and graduate schools in the United States include public state universities, private four-year universities and community colleges. When accepted to either of these, stereotypes, both positive and negative, exist regarding these institutions and the students who attend them. They revolve around various assumptions. For example, students attending four-year universities other than Ivy Leagues are seen to have been well-rounded students in high school but failed to live up to to the expectations of various higher-level institutions. Society perceives Ivy League students as the most academically advantaged, earning high-ranking leadership positions in various clubs and succeeding in their variety of AP/IB classes. Moving on, another typical stereotype assumes that community college students, especially those in the Bay Area, did not meet society’s educational standards and were incompetent.

     A community college is a two-year junior college aimed to serve as a transition from high school to four-year universities by providing affordable education. Due to community colleges offering academic flexibility and transfer programs at low costs and giving students time to explore various fields before deciding on a major, students choose this path after high school for both financial and educational reasons.

     Community colleges provide an experience unique to individuals, with academic flexibility, the hybrid of a variety of classes and the feasibility of earning financial aid or transfer credit to four-year universities. Not only do community colleges help students save money, but these institutions also allow students to gain exposure to many different experiences and opportunities, regardless of their major preference. Commonly, students choose community colleges because they provide education at a significantly lower price than four-year universities, and thus families tend to save a remarkable amount of money. The College Board reports that in 2010 to 2011 the average tuition and fees for one student in a two-year community college was approximately $2,700, compared to about $7,600 for public four-year universities and rising prices for private institutions. Thus, regardless of one’s intelligence level, if financial hardships serve as a barrier for one who wishes to attend a four-year university, then community college becomes more of an apparent choice after graduation.

     Additionally, students often choose community colleges because they seek more exposure to various experiences before settling in on a major at a four-year university. Though higher institutions may have more class options, extra learning opportunities and a broader college experience, it is wrong to assume that community college students are academically inept or unsuccessful.

     As a society, we have come to belittle community college students by regarding them as unintelligent. Such an assumption overlooks the fact that people attend community college for a myriad of reasons, ranging from the desire to explore different opportunities before settling into a major to financial or personal constraints which do not reflect on a student’s intelligence level. If a student must stay in proximity to home due to an ill family member, for example, then community colleges can provide quality education and allow such a student to help their internal affairs. If the exposure to various fields becomes necessary for an individual to arrive at a final decision, then being exposed to the wide variety of courses that community colleges offer will allow them to garner valuable experiences and opportunities.

     While it may be true that a percentage of community college students did not achieve full success in high school, it does not help to label all community college students under that label when some choose to go for more exposure to different subjects or to ease financial crises while stilling receiving education, regardless of their intelligence level.

     Additionally, the common belief that community college students are uneducated also stems from the misconception that community colleges do not offer quality education to its students. Despite being less prestigious than universities such as Stanford or Harvard, community colleges provide quality education, influencing and teaching students to their best ability. Community colleges have smaller class sizes that provide better individualized attention and further improve its students’ learning experience. Classes can be just as challenging and curriculums are on par with most universities. Contrary to many four-year universities, whom often do not have as much flexibility to execute such measures, many community colleges have recruited professionals from various industries including business and science to give students a real-world perspective of such occupations.

     At CHS, we have access to high-quality education fueled by the desire for all students to be exposed to different opportunities, fields, interests and subjects, which often motivates students to achieve more. Though we live in an area with high-quality education where the majority of students will resume their studies in four-year universities, those who choose to go to community college deserve respect. If we continue to joke about going to De Anza College by using the idea of attending it in an insulting way or minimize the importance of going to community colleges, we will continue to dissuade community college students from believing they chose a correct path and prevent people from making decisions that could be beneficial. Notably, De Anza is one of the best community colleges in the nation, but when we continue to treat it as a last option or an ineffective choice of schools, we undermine the importance of what community colleges have to offer to all students and thus label all community college students as unintelligent. De Anza still provides quality education, learning experiences and prepares students for the outside world, as do all other community colleges. De Anza’s in state tuition from 2013-2014 was approximately $1,500 for one California resident with no application fee. Students can study in over 22 fields at De Anza including marketing, social sciences, management, business and much more.

     Community colleges are, after all, still colleges. With their distinctive experiences, the proximity to one’s home, the affordable experiences and, most importantly, the classes that students can learn from and prepare them for future careers, students attending community colleges only seek to experience such features and deserve our respect.

     As we continue our educational steps towards the future in this prosperous community, it is time to stop believing that community colleges are solely designed for academically struggling students. In this country, where the belief that everyone has the potential to be successful prevails, is it unacceptable to suggest community college students are anything but sensible, intelligent beings.


Review - The Drowsy Chaperone

Amy Zeng and Lily Rosen Marvin

      CAT’s first show of the year, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” opened Friday, Nov. 4 to an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the audience. Highly comedic, the plot featured a play within a play that presented a series of outlandishly funny and over the top situations that the characters had to navigate through.The show is narrated by the Man in the Chair who puts on a record of his favorite Broadway show, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As he listens, the events in the show unfold around him. The plot revolves around two lead characters who are getting married to each other, but the ulterior motives of the other characters, as well as funny circumstances, get in their way. The play was well-acted and well-produced, with only some minor mishaps on opening night. The many hours of hard work and dedication by all the cast and crew of CAT culminated in an outstanding show.

      Done in the over-the-top style of a 1920’s musical, the hilariously ridiculous plot and intentionally exaggerated acting kept the audience laughing. Perhaps the show’s best quality was its self-awareness. Whenever a character made a poor decision or the lyrics in a song seemed a little random, the Man in the Chair would point this out to the audience. His periodic “fourth wall” breaks grounded the musical and had the audience laughing throughout the performance.

      While all of the choreography was well done, our personal favorite dance number was “Cold Feet,” the show’s only tap number. The performance was even more impressive with the knowledge that neither of the leads knew how to tap dance before the show. The choreography served as an effective continuation of the light-hearted tone of the musical, especially in numbers such as “Bride’s Lament” and “Accident Waiting to Happen.”

      Additionally, the costumes and set design were both incredible. Everything was made, bought or donated (shoutout to Tuxedo Fashions). Many of the actresses wore wigs, an appropriate nod to the “roaring twenties” time period of the musical. Some of the most impressive parts of the show were the quick costume changes by Hilary Oglesby, who played lead Janet Van Der Groff. The set was extremely versatile, allowing the play to efficiently transition between indoor and outdoor scenes.

      There were some slight setbacks on opening night, with a few missed stunts in the dance numbers or some scenes. However, they were decidedly minor and could easily have been missed as another comedic aspect of the play, so the overall appeal of The Drowsy Chaperone was certainly not lost.

      Overall, “The Drowsy Chaperone” showcases an exceptionally strong performance by CAT and will likely go down as one of its best comedic performances. For those who love Broadway shows, the singing, acting and dancing will have you captivated. On the other hand, those who are not fans of musicals the sarcastic comments made by Man in Chair will keep you laughing throughout the performance. The last two performances will be on Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12. We promise that it’s a show you won’t want to miss.

The Dangerous Reality of Fast Paced Production

Utkarsh Tandon

In early Oct. 2016, the first case of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 catching on fire surfaced the internet. Since then, dozens of new worldwide reports of explosions were made. This extreme danger to users caused Samsung to immediately terminate production and conduct global recalls of all phones, thus costing them up to $3 billion.

This severe oversight highlights the dangers of fast paced production. Instead of spending time to test their product thoroughly, Samsung chose to release the phone much earlier in hopes of beating Apple’s considerably “dull” iPhone 7. Samsung became too ambitious for their own good — they wanted to prove their superiority over Apple by having a longer battery life, better camera quality and screen resolution. These features do sound enticing but are completely useless when your phone may explode at any given moment. Which is why, once again, Apple came out on top by creating a stable and high-quality phone that may have been lacking in new features, but is definitely not a danger to its user. Because Apple took their time and didn’t attempt to revolutionize the phone industry when launching the iPhone 7, they made sure nobody got hurt — which is far more important than making a bit more money.

Similarly, Toyota suffered from an incident in 2008 regarding a faulty brake and acceleration system. Instead of spending important time and undergoing safety checks, Toyota released their new Corolla far earlier than they should have. This led to the unfortunate recall of 8 million vehicles due to over 50 deaths potentially linked to unintended acceleration and faulty brakes. Although these new methods can create powerful products in minimal time, the lack of rigorous testing poses a serious threat to the safety of users.

Not only are Samsung and Toyota examples of failed fast paced production, companies like Boeing, Intel, and Lexus have been caught in the similar issue. Clearly, this problem is widespread across the entire industry; it has become a norm to work fast and not value the potential consequences of skipping thorough safety checks. It’s important that stronger regulation methods are placed upon these large corporations, otherwise this problem will simply continue to grow.

Companies are always looking for ways to optimize profits to the last penny, and in recent times that means cutting time spent on these vital examinations. Many companies are probably secretly getting away with it, but it's only a matter of time before more people get seriously injured due to greedy manufacturing choices.


Feed. Your. Self. - LYFE Kitchen Review

CHS Prospector

On April 7, LYFE Kitchen invited seven staff members from The Prospector to sit down and dine with President and CEO Chance Carlisle. Standing for “Love Your Food Everyday,” LYFE Kitchen introduced its first restaurant in 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Due to its mass success, the company decided to open 15 other locations across the country, specifically in Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Tennessee.

LYFE Kitchen aims to encourage mindful eating in the community through meals that incorporate wholesome ingredients, thoughtful preparation, and invigorating flavors. Dedicated to providing a wide range of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, LYFE Kitchen also works to treat all their customers equally regardless of any dietary restrictions.  All items on the menu are under 600 calories and contain less than 1,000 mg. of sodium, with most significantly under both counts. Food is crafted using quality ingredients from local sources whenever possible.  

LYFE Kitchen substitutes sodas with a wide variety of LYFE waters that consist of in-house blended juices made from fresh fruits and other ingredients.  Every juice, from orange to ginger, is prepared daily, guaranteeing a satisfying drink to quench your thirst.  

Now enough background information.  Let's get to the review!


The Entrance to a Culinary Adventure



Ginger Pomegranate Lemonade (149 calories)
MICHELLE: I normally do not order a drink besides water while at a restaurant, but when in Rome... I thought that it had a sweet flavor that is characteristic of lemonade and was similar to raspberry lemonade.  The drink itself was 149 calories, but the glass was honestly as large as a large Jamba Juice cup.  

Classic Lemonade (125 calories)
CAROLINE: The lemonade tasted very fresh, and it wasn’t too sweet. It came with mint which gave it a very nice twist. The drink didn’t have a lot of calories considering it came in an ENORMOUS glass. 


NOTE: Images included for each course are just samples of the entrees!


First Course: Edamame Hummus

- Fresh Vegetables, Toasted Flatbread (448 calories) -

SUDARSHAN: Since edamame beans were used instead of garbanzo beans, the hummus had an interesting flavor.  The plates were very aesthetically pleasing.
MICHELLE: The hummus was delicious because it had an appealing texture and a cheesy undertone.  The flatbread was chewy and went well with the hummus.
CAROLINE: The plating was very artistic. I personally prefer garbanzo beans instead of edamame beans to make the hummus, but the hummus was still very flavorful and fresh tasting. I thought the hummus could have been more creamy and smooth, though.
ISABEL: The use of edamame beans to make the hummus was a creative and healthy spin on traditional hummus. I especially enjoyed the unexpected kick that the paprika provided. 


Second Course: Quinoa Crunch Wrap & Corn Chowder  

- Hummus, Fresh Vegetables, Avocado, Hot Sauce (591 calories) -

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

MELISSA: The wrap itself was very thin and the inside was jam-packed with a huge variety of healthy foods (avocado, quinoa, cucumber from what I could discern).  It was a little messy to eat because stuff kept falling out (but nothing a fork couldn’t fix).  It tasted really good and fresh (personally, I wouldn’t have eaten a lot of those inside ingredients on their own, so stuffing those in a wrap was awesome).
MICHELLE: The wrap was really flavorful and was filled with ingredients that had nutritional value (which made me feel less guilty for eating it).  I normally would shy away from the vegetables inside the wrap, but I was pleased to discover that I genuinely liked what I was putting in my mouth. The chowder had cashew cream, and this went really well with the corn.  
CAROLINE: I’m normally not a fan of quinoa, but this wrap was fresh and flavorful. The avocado added a lot of flavor, and even though the entire wrap was filled with vegetables, it was still very satisfying and filling. Chowder was sweet and very thick.
ISABEL: The quinoa wrap was very chewy, and stuffed to the brim with a variety of healthy ingredients. The hummus provided much-welcomed flavor to the wrap, which would have been rather bland otherwise.


Third Course: Flatbreads - Margherita (511 calories), BBQ Chicken (474 calories), Roasted Mushroom (567 calories)

From Left to Right: Roasted Mushroom, Margherita, BBQ Chicken Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

From Left to Right: Roasted Mushroom, Margherita, BBQ Chicken

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

MELISSA: All of the flatbreads had very thin crusts.  The flatbreads were arranged on the platter nicely.  

Margherita Flatbread
MELISSA: This was my personal favorite.  It was simple, very cheesy, and the basil added a nice taste.
MICHELLE: The Margherita flatbread had a light tomato taste, and I knew just from tasting the sauce that it wasn’t some canned substance.  

BBQ Chicken Flatbread
MELISSA: The BBQ chicken flatbread was a little spicy for me (note: I’m VERY sensitive to spicy though).
MICHELLE: The barbecue flavor was fairly strong, so it was not one of my personal favorites (note: I don’t generally like nontraditional pizza).
CAROLINE: Despite being gluten-free, the crust was crunchy and tasted like a light pizza crust. The BBQ sauce had a strong, smoky flavor, and the corn added some sweetness to the chicken. 

Roasted Mushroom Flatbread
MICHELLE: I was surprised at how much flavor was in this type of flatbread. The sauce, along with corn and chicken on top, had a mildly sour taste.  
CAROLINE: The sauce was slightly sour which made this pizza my least favorite, but the crust still had a nice, crunchy texture. The goat cheese was extremely prominent, and the mushrooms tasted fresh and flavorful.



Fourth Course: Unfried Chicken (566 calories)

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

MICHELLE: This was my absolute favorite dish. The chicken had a very pleasing, crunchy texture.  The sauce was to die for (sweet and creamy along with the chicken), and it made eating brussel sprouts not as bad as you would expect (trust me, I am not a fan of brussel sprouts).  The squash went well with the sauce too.
CAROLINE: This dish was definitely my favorite. The unfried chicken was crispy on the outside and extremely tender on the inside. I liked how the chicken was not too oily or buttery. The bitterness of the roasted brussel sprouts was balanced by the sweetness of the dried cranberries and the cashew cream sauce. The butternut squash was soft and added color to the dish.
ISABEL: While the chicken was meant to be the star of the show, I personally found the brussel sprouts and butternut squash to be even more enjoyable, for the dijon dressing was a great accompaniment to the vegetables. 


Fifth Course: Chocolate Budino 

- Pomegranate, Chia Seeds, Toasted Almond (206 calories) -

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

Courtesy of Stephanie Shi

Chocolate Chip Cookie
SUDARSHAN: The vegan cookie did not lack substance or flavor despite its label. This really reinforced Lyfe kitchen’s idea that good food can be delicious and healthy.  It was warm and kind of gooey (in a good way) but had a certain crunchiness to balance it out. 
MICHELLE: It tasted like a freshly baked cookie (not like the cafeteria cookies in any shape or form).  It complemented the chocolate budino perfectly!
CAROLINE: The chocolate-chip cookie that accompanied the budino, despite being vegan, had a crisp outside and a warm, chewy middle. The chocolate chips were gooey and, according to LYFE Kitchen, made from high-quality chocolate that was lactose-intolerant. 

Chocolate Budino (Pudding)
SUDARSHAN: Personally I’m not a big fan of chocolate and fruit (pomegranate in this case) in the same vicinity, but they actually pulled it off.  It was a bit sweet for me, but was also really light and creamy. 
MELISSA: The pomegranate flavor was very subtle.
MICHELLE: It had a STRONG chocolate taste (which I appreciate very much) and had a nice sour touch with the pomegranate seeds.  
CAROLINE: As a chocolate addict, I loved how this dish had a strong dark chocolate flavor. The bitterness of it was balanced by the sweet pomegranate, which came as a little surprise. The toasted almonds added a nice crunch. Overall, the dessert was light and not overly sweet. 


Exclusive Interview with Chef Kim

How do you think you will affect other restaurants?
"They’re going to have to think twice about what they’re serving and how they’re going to be perceived by the customer. Customers are more educated about food than ever...and it puts a lot of pressure on us, but that pressure keeps us on our toes. We’ve always got to be thinking and be innovating because if we don’t, our customers are going to get bored with us.

I know that not everybody is going to like our food, and that’s okay. But if at least I can change somebody’s perspective and open up their mind about something, I see that as a win. If I can get somebody through the door and get them to taste the food once, I bet you I can get them hooked. I bet you I can get them to come back and try something else, and that’s all that I want. That’s really all that I want to build, and that’s how we’re going to grow." 

Click here to read Chef Kim's full interview with Flip Side Assistant, Caroline Gee.


Behind the Kitchen

A look behind the counter of Lyfe Kitchen with Chef Kim.  


The staff of The Prospector would like to thank Lyfe Kitchen for hosting the event and wish it the best of luck as an innovative business and culinary entrepreneur.  

Once On This Island - Spring Musical Review

Melissa Silva

CAT’s performance of Once On This Island, which followed a story of forbidden love between a peasant girl and a higher class boy, proved to be an entertaining and well-portrayed play, thanks to the strong actors and beautiful costumes. 

Most of the actors who portrayed main characters shone in their roles. The singing was powerful overall, and the acting was entertaining.

The costumes and makeup were creative and fit the story effectively. Many, if not all, of the actors had customized temporary tattoos, which reflected the characters they portrayed. There was a slightly contemporary look in the costuming, evidenced by the Mickey Mouse and Pizza My Heart t-shirts, tweaked to fit the “peasant” roles they played. The makeup, especially for David Lee and Hilary Oglesby, was beautifully detailed to reflect their characters. 

The only major complaint I would have as an audience member would be the technological issues during the performance, such as the mic trouble and static from the speakers. 

Overall, Once On This Island was yet another strong CAT performance. 


Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Jason Muñoz.

Sleep Cycle App Review

Ethan Qi

In our day and age, sleep is a commodity that is hard to come by. Many of us are far too familiar with short nights and long days, which inexplicably lead to rough, tiresome mornings. The process of waking up is nothing short of unpleasant for most, and it often forces us to compensate by hitting the snooze button a few times at the very least. 

I’ve been using the Sleep Cycle iPhone app since the new year started, and it’s made getting up easier, to say the least.  Sleep Cycle serves as an alarm clock and a sleep tracker. Each night as you put your phone beside your pillow, the app collects data on your movements throughout the night, and will plot them (reasonably accurately) on a graph that you’ll be able to see when you wake up. 

Sleep Cycle works by using the accelerometer (the part that tells if your phone is turned sideways or not) or microphone of your phone to detect motion as you sleep. Before going to sleep, you can set a “wake-up time” between 10-90 minutes in which the Sleep Cycle app will use the data it collects to wake you up at an optimal time. It’s intended to avoid the sense of being “jerked awake” by your alarm clock. 

For example, if you set your alarm to 6:30 and Sleep Cycle detects a significant movement at 6:23, it will start waking you up then. It doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but after using it for a few weeks, I can say that it’s made a pretty big impact on how I wake up. 

Simply put, it’s a lot more pleasant to wake up gradually around 20 minutes before my usual time rather than being jarringly awakened by the traditional shriek of alarm clocks. 

One downside to this, however, is the need to set a “wake-up time” for the app to wake you up at the best time. Sometimes you’ll find yourself waking up 30 minutes earlier than you’re scheduled to. But don’t question it – just trust the app. That being said, it might not work as well if say, you had your cat walk over you while you slept (I don’t own any). The cat would mess up the accelerometer’s calibration and it would make the app less suitable to people who sleep with pets. 

My experience has been a good one. I’ve found myself benefiting from more than just the advertised benefits of the Sleep Cycle app. Over the past few months, I’ve found myself to be more aware of how little and how poorly I actually sleep, and it’s motivated me to try to change that. On some days where I might think I’ve slept a quality seven hours, Sleep Cycle might tell me I’ve gotten six hours of relatively poor sleep, and it’s acted as a sort of reality check and a way to keep myself accountable. 

When using an app like this, it’s always important to know what it’s built for. If you get only two hours of sleep, you’ll still feel like you’ve slept two hours; Sleep Cycle won’t magically add hours to your sleep, or make you sleep better. It’s just designed to help you wake up that much easier.


Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Push Interactions.

The Checklisted Childhood

Michelle Pyke

On February 23, a private event was scheduled in the midst of a seemingly ordinary school day at Cupertino High School.  Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of the recently published novel How to Raise an Adult and the former Dean of Freshman at Stanford University, visited CHS with a plain notepad in hand and a strong voice to carry her message.  The assembly began with the oh-so-repetitive chant that we learned as freshmen (“TINO, how do you feel?”  Well to be perfectly honestly…I’m a bit tired from all my AP courses and am a little annoyed that lunch hasn’t arrived yet, but I guess “WE FEEL GOOD!  OH WE FEEL SO GOOD!”).  

Ms. Lythcott-Haims strode towards the center of the gym and thanked us all for being there before touching upon her chosen topic: “The Checklisted Childhood”.  Instead of talking at us, she emphasized the need to mutually respect one another – not merely to welcome her as an outsider, but to unite as one body that understood the “freshmen” mindset per say and more importantly, to empathize with one another.  

After several minutes, a comfortable atmosphere emerged, and Ms. Lythcott-Haims took advantage of this.  She boldly uttered the word “passion” and immediately followed it with, you guessed it, “college” – a combination that is physically imprinted on the minds of high school students.  

Then, the metaphorical bonsai tree arrived:

“It’s a miniature version of a tree that somebody cultivates…You clip it and prune it… Making it grow this way and that way in a little cylindrical pot…And you can say to people ‘Here’s my bonsai tree.  Look what I’ve done.’  We’re treating you guys like bonsai trees – clipping and pruning you so that you are attractive enough for a college some day…But you are not bonsai trees.  You are wildflowers.”  

Some of us rolled our eyes at that last line, wondering why this same speech had been made to us on previous occasions.  However, whether we like to admit it or not, Ms. Lythcott-Haims addressed our common fears – of being left behind in the dust of “inferior” institutions or disappointing the individuals that never failed to find hope in our academic pursuits.  The pressure of shears snipping off branches is excruciating, but who would be brave enough to say that it hurts while others can bear it?  Apparently, Ms. Lythcott-Haims.  

Now, my purpose is not merely to commend Ms. Lythcott-Haims because there were a few points in her speech where I disagreed with what she said, but in general, she came across as someone that was personally familiar with the lives of students in a highly competitive environment.  

“When your parents are greeting you at the end of the day and all they are asking about is your homework and your grades…I’ll tell you what.  It takes a pretty strong human not to feel that your value as a human comes from your grades and scores and awards.  I’m here to tell you that you matter because you exist.”

Academics have always been a foundation for my identity, and I am sure that others feel the same way.  Sometimes, the stubborn arch of numbers bend against our will and we are left with a product that does not reflect who we are, but instead, the face of someone else - something that may haunt the furthest reaches of our memories.  But let me assure you of one thing.  With one gentle touch, all nightmares can be awoken from, and I hope that at least for a few of our readers, Ms. Lythcott-Haims was that person for them.  

Watch Julie Lythcott-Haims’ TED Talk at Gunn High School:

Julie Lythcott-Haims will be presenting for parents today from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PST) at Cupertino High School (10100 Finch Avenue Cupertino, CA 95014).  
Click here for more information. 


Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Flickr.

Legends of Tomorrow - Review

Lily Marvin

Ever wanted Rory Williams in a knock-off TARDIS traveling through space and time with the voice matrix from the Iron Man movies? DC seems to think you do. Just change “Time Lord” to “Time Master” and alter the colors of the Doctor Who intro and you’ve got a whole new (and much worse) show. I would like to start by promising that Arthur Darvill, who plays Rip Hunter, is a good actor. I know, it was hard to tell in this show but that’s the scripts fault, not his. I can’t be as charitable for the others. I had such high hopes for Legends of Tomorrow. I mean it’s basically DC’s version of The Avengers. Unfortunately, I was let down.

The show opens to Earth in 2166. Vandal Savage, the villain from the Flash/Arrow crossover episode, has taken over the world. In a last ditch attempt to save humanity, Time Master Rip Hunter will travel back one hundred and fifty years to assemble a team of heroes. After a rushed “Avengers assemble” montage and a few forced cameos, the team agrees to come together to save the world. There aren’t many good things to say about the script or the actors. The lines were so predictable that I found myself saying them along with the cast and the over-exaggerated melodrama left me cringing. 

When the team arrives in the 1970’s, they split up – the heroes go to talk to an expert on Vandal Savage; the villain goes to a bar. This was the first time Legends of Tomorrow was bearable. While the heroes were off gathering information views got their first taste of a team fight scene. At the bar, Sara (Caity Lotz), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) get into a fight with a motorcycle gang. If you are able to look past Sara’s horrible outfit and the lack of fancy freeze rays, the scene is actually pretty cool. I have to give props to Caity Lotz’s stunt double because doing high kicks in those ridiculous heels couldn’t have been easy. The villains leave the bar triumphant only to find that the rest of their team is under attack. 

Admittedly, what the show lacks in content it makes up for in special effects. Everything from the laser pistol to the flying fire ball looked amazing. The team manages to make it back to their ship where Rip finally tells them the truth. They aren’t really heroes in his time they are still nobodies. Taking this rather hard, the team considers abandoning their mission and returning to 2016. Fortunately, in a speech that uses every “let’s change our future” cliche, Sara talks the others into staying. All that’s left is for Jefferson to give an “all in this together” inspirational speech straight of the East High Wildcats locker room and they’re on their way. The show ends with the team shooting off into the time steam. 

While I can’t say that I liked the show, there were elements that showed promise. The special effects were much better than I would expect from a TV show. Although the heroes are rather goody-two-shoes, the chemistry between the villains was entertaining. The acting was nothing to get excited about, but you can’t expect much more from a CW show. Overall, I would give the show a 6/10. It’s a forgettable way to fill an hour, but nothing I would recommend starting. 


All Images Courtesy of The CW.

The 100

Maithilee Kanthi

Anyone who knows me knows that I love The 100. I drop everything when a new episode comes out and rave about the show to friends and strangers alike. I’ve got my best friend hooked on the show, as well as my coworker and this one guy I met at the library once. 

When it first debuted on The CW, a few critics scoffed at the YA-worthy setting (to be fair, the series is adapted from a YA-novel of the same name), with gorgeous teenagers and no adult supervision. Yet, more critics were impressed by the crisp pacing of the premiere and the potential for a darker storyline to follow. Despite a slow start to the series (heavy exposition and excessive exclamation points reigned in the pilot), the show very quickly found its groove and raised the stakes every episode. The 100 is a complex series with tight storylines and killer characters (pun intended)- a true gem of the sci-fi genre. 

(Note: This review only contains minor spoilers for the first season)

Background Information

Courtesy of The CW.

Courtesy of The CW.

97 years after a nuclear war destroyed Earth, about 4,000 people survive in the remnants of the International Space Station, now dubbed The Ark. The Ark’s only surviving criminals, all under the age of 18, become the perfect “expendable” test subjects to see if the ground is now habitable, as The Ark’s oxygen supply can’t sustain its current population Yet when the hundred teenagers (hence the title) reach the ground, the kids lose contact with The Ark. Now the hundred are forced to survive on their own, exploring the dynamics of self-government and morality without consequences calling to mind the sophomore World Literature read The Lord of the Flies. Plus, when they reach the ground, they find that they’re not the only survivors. So there’s that. Simultaneously, the adults on The Ark grapple with the decision between choosing their humanity or choosing to save all of humanity as their resources continue to dwindle, provoking harsh questions about the ethics of playing God. 

Cliche?  Think Again.

Courtesy of The CW.

Courtesy of The CW.

It is so easy to dismiss this show as another post-apocalyptic convenient setting in which everything always works out for the main cast and unnamed extras are the only ones to suffer the brunt of harsh decisions. I thought the exact same thing, which is why I nearly gave up on the show four episodes in (which is ironically the episode just before the show managed to hook me in again, months later). The 100 is separated from other imaginative post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows  through thoughtful writing that provokes questions about the extremes of humanity.

Courtesy of The CW.

Courtesy of The CW.

When the teenagers on the ground suspect one of their own for committing a crime, they forgo judge and jury and go straight to executioner, stringing the culprit from a tree in a matter of minutes. While the audience knows the suspect is innocent the situation urges the teenagers (and audience) to question the role of justice in their new society. From the get-go showrunner Jason Rothenberg has proved he is not afraid to explore the darker aspects of humanity in this new world that relies on primitive nature and desperate survival. 

The Characters

Courtesy of The CW.

Courtesy of The CW.

While The CW has often been criticized for their shallow plots and lack of diversity, The 100 boasts meaningful character development with a cast that reflects the audience, allowing for a strong audience involvement with the fate of the group's. Clarke (Elizabeth Taylor) Griffin and Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley) are the two leaders of the hundred on the ground. While the first few episodes had the two acting against the other, they quickly evolved into a brilliant pairing, forcing the other to modify his or her stance on leadership, ultimately thinking of the good of their people. Clarke began to let go of her righteous attitude, learning that sometimes the “right” thing was not what was best for her people while Bellamy learned to think farther than his own sister’s survival, the reason he came to the ground. His sister, Octavia Blake, evolved from the hot-girl-rebel stereotype into the open-minded and brave warrior of the hundred, serving as commentary on the relationships between grounders (survivors of the nuclear war from the ground) and Ark people. 

Courtesy of The CW.

Courtesy of The CW.

Then there is also bad boy/secret pacifist Finn (Thomas McDonnell) who challenges Bellamy’s ruthlessness, Murphy (Richard Harmon) who undergoes perhaps the most dramatic character development of the bunch, Jasper (Devon Bostick) whose PTSD always reminds viewers of the realities of the ground, Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Kusick) who understands the harsh sacrifices that must be made for survival and Abby Griffin (Paige Turco) who argues against the unforgivable consequences of those sacrifices. Even when the romantic relationship between Clarke and Finn began to veer into shallow teenage drama and dubious chemistry, the show managed to only keep it as an afterthought, instead choosing to focus on the myriad of more immediate problems the group had to deal with.

Additionally, The 100 refuses to make a big deal about the abundance of female leaders in their cast, from plucky engineer Raven Reyes (lindsey Morgan) to Grounder antagonist Anya (Dichen Lachman) to Ark councilwoman Abby. When asked about the girl power in his show, Rothenberg stated, “We don’t write women characters, you know, we write strong characters or weak characters.”

Bottom Line

The 100 is the most severely underrated television show on air right now and should be watched by anyone in search for a brilliant show.  

Tune in to The CW on January 21st to watch the Season 3 premiere of The 100 and then come back to The Prospector on January 22nd for our weekly review!


Thumbnail Image Courtesy of FanSided.

Tea Zone Review

Erin Song and Ethan Qi

When it first opened, people were excited. When they actually tried it, they were horribly disappointed. 

Bad choice or not, I decided the Cupertino Tea Zone deserved a physical evaluation before making any judgement. 

I was wrong. 

Upon first entrance, the store was awkwardly empty - sort of like a Donald Trump convention in Silicon Valley. Not considering anything else, the atmosphere seemed pretty nice. There were cards and games laid out for people to use, but there wasn’t anyone there to make use of them save for the few customers that occasionally wandered into the store. The employees were nice though! Maybe due to the lack of human interaction they received while working there. 

Upon the cashier’s recommendation I decided to order a Secret Garden and Mango Tango and I came to realize that they offered a drink named “PMS.” I avoided it. They both came with mangoes but that’s a topic I’ll get to soon; I decided to get one with boba and one without. On a generous day, PMS free, I’d rate their boba a 2.7/10. 

All alone, I sat myself down, with the notes application on my phone open, ready to record my first impressions of the drinks. As I took my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised; unfortunately, my satisfaction was short lived. As I cruelly met the bitter aftertaste of my drink, I cringed, as my hopes and aspirations were lost. I took a few extra sips to confirm my impressions, and I was met with more of the aftertaste. I thought about it more, and I pondered the source of the weird aftertaste - was it from the tea? Or was it from the mango? 

I regretfully continued to drink, and with each sip, a bit of my soul died. As I ate my first bit of mango, I was repulsed. As an avid mango lover, this was blasphemy. The piece of mango tasted like the gross green part of actual mangoes that nobody eats. It also had a strange carrot-like texture, which led me to doubt the “fresh” aspect of the fruit. 

I made my way back to school, and while walking, I saw two freshmen drinking Tpumps. I, drinking Tea Zone, was extremely jealous and attempted to hide my drinks in shame. Student Roei Cohen, upon seeing the drink, asked, “Is that corn?!?” I had to explain to him that it wasn’t. 

To summarize, my 15 minutes of trials and tribulations were unpleasant to say the least. At first, as a thrifty individual, I was enticed by their “buy one get the second half off” deal, but I came to regret my frugality. In the end, my stomach was dying and I just wanted to go home. 


Thumnail Image Courtesy of Ethan Qi.