Opinion: Does being wise equal deciding to sanitize?

by Brady Rivkin

Be wise and sanitize. This is the phrase that has been uttered an enormous amount of times during this school year and in the past, but the notion that two actions commanded truly fit together is questionable. Sanitizer, though it has been lauded for the fact that it “kills 99.99% of germs” with claims like that of Purell, has a dark side hidden in plain sight in the warnings section. That states that the product is “For external use only”, but skin has pores, and the toxins that exist in sanitizers can leach into the body even if not swallowed.

Since sanitizer is meant to kill organisms, it is made with substances that, if accumulated in the body over time, are lethal. These toxins can come from anyone who sanitized before handling food to equipment that is constantly sanitized. The rationale for it is simple: it kills the many germs that would otherwise affect the human body in negative ways. But what the majority of Americans don’t seem to know is that the human body has a microbiome of beneficial bacteria that is trained to fight the intrusive organisms that sanitizer is designed to kill. When people sanitize, these germs are killed and the microbiome is knocked off balance, making it difficult for the body to recover should an unwanted microbe invade.

With the way sanitizer is meant to destroy, it serves as a topical antibiotic. This may seem trivial, but the fact that sanitizer has similar properties and the same purpose suggests that it wreaks the same havoc of making certain microorganisms resistant to it. It may kill 99.99 percent of germs now, but its supposed powers of impeding illness are being put to the test by its own characteristics.

As aforementioned, sanitizer is commended for its ability to kill germs, but that leaves nearly nothing for the body to test its mettle against. People who sanitize, then, are more likely to become ill because their bodies are unprepared for any onslaught. In order to counteract this trend, people can support their immune system by eating whole, unprocessed food so that the body can focus on protection instead of digestion. When the digestive system is bogged down by the deluge of processed food in the Standard American Diet, it distracts the body from fighting illness. Because of this, people have turned to sanitizer to drown their problems in, but they can always wash their hands, which takes about ten second longer than sanitizing, and eat real food. Americans seem to care about their health, but if they truly want better lives, they simply need to put down the sanitizer and pick up the soap.

Note: I, the author, barely ever sanitize, and I have never been affected by what sanitizer is meant to protect against.


First Gear: What is this?

by Sam Sweet

Definitions for terms or acronyms or abbreviations about or for cars that are frequently mentioned.

ABS- Most modern cars have ABS, Anti-lock Braking Systems, which is where brake force is adjusted to prevent the wheels from locking up.

Boost pressure- The increase above atmospheric pressure used in turbocharging and supercharging.

Catalytic converter- A device using metals similar to and including palladium that chemically reacts with certain emissions from the exhaust and makes them into less harmful to the environment.

Crankshaft- A metal rod with cranks that attach to the pistons and turn their reciprocal motion into rotary motion.

Differential- The special gearbox that splits the incoming torque between the driven wheels.

DOHC- Double OverHead Camshafts. Simply a term that describes an engine with two cams per cylinder rather than one.

Driveshaft- The shaft that transmits power to the differential from the transmission.

ECU- Engine Computer Unit. Literally the computer system that controls the engine.

Exhaust manifold- The system of tubes that collects exhaust gas from the cylinders and moves it toward the catalytic converters and muffler.

Intake manifold- The system of tubes that puts the mixture of fuel and air into the cylinder.

LSD- Limited Slip Differential. A type of differential that limits the maximum difference in speed and torque between each wheel, ensuring both wheels always get some power.

Mid-Engined- a setup where the engine is behind the passengers but ahead of the rear axle. Helps center of gravity and handling improve.

Oversteer- When the back wheels are ahead of the front.

Redline- The maximum revolutions per minute an engine can handle.

Supercharger- A device that allows for more air intake than the engine can do alone. Creates engine drag, as it is powered by the crankshaft.

Transaxle- A differential and transmission combined

Turbocharger- An air compressor that uses an exhaust-driven turbine

Understeer- Where the front wheels don’t turn sharply enough, not enough angular momentum to turn.

First Gear: 2018 Chicago Auto Show

Hey everyone, it’s First Gear writer Sam bringing you news from the 2018 Chicago auto show! Sorry for not taking more photos; I was too busy having a blast. Recommendation: Go straight for the Jeep course, skip the Toyota one. I got there 40 minutes before it opened, and the Jeep line was already outside the ropes, albeit moving fast. The supercar section is relatively average this year. In a sea Bentleys and Rolls Royces, A Lamborghini Urus was an exciting sight.

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Lotus had a special edition Lotus Evora 400 rpm edition, although maybe next time add the “rpm” after another word.

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Dodge brought the demon, and the widebody hellcat which you could sit in. The demon cleverly was positioned with the wheels off the ground, and there was a drag racing simulator with two demons.


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The Fiat 124 Spyder abarth, a louder, more powerful, faster Miata with a black hood.

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Mercedes had their AMG GT-R, a bonkers track car only AMG could make. 577hp and the engine can make 603hp in other cars. Black series soon? Probably once they figure out how to add more carbon fiber.

Audi had many cars including:Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 4.04.06 PM.png

The new A5 sportback^^

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The new Rs5^^ with a 2.9L twin turbo V6

Also, the sq5, rs3, TTRS, Q7, and the A6 were displayed.

A Pumpkin’s Version of Halloween

A Pumpkin’s Version of Halloween

by Sophia Taguirov

A pumpkin that changed the Torres’ November…..

Now imagine me, I became a teeny little green, blob, you can say in the month of spring, as those people say. I was the first sprouting in the patch, as far as my eyes could see. I was watered every day and if I didn’t I would become stiff in the inside. It was quite peaceful actually in those days, I slept most of the day and woke up for my daily “shower”, I would talk to the others and share dreams on what is happening further beyond our kind. The cold nights went by therefore came the hot days and the warm nights, I grew fatter orangish, and bigger. Each of the others grew longer, thinner, and way taller. Not knowing that I belonged in the wrong patch, in the wrong place, with the wrong kind I started to feel weak, small and just lonely. Little did I know that I was planted smack dab in the middle of a corn field. I would spent weeks trying to get a glimpse of what was happening out there, was I really just the only one in the whole lot that was different? Or beyond the tall ones were there others like me? I would ask the the taller ones, but they would just say that they couldn’t see any farther than the next row in front of them. It was hopeless.

I woke up to the sounds of a huge, thing-a-ma-doodle. I couldn’t tell what it was but it sounded like somebody that is slowly dying, BR-R-R-R-R! It was slowly cutting down the others! I could see, I could see further! Well, only a few more inches, but, but. No! There were still those tall ones, the tan leafy like plants. They were in my way. I slowly understood. This was not the place for a pumpkin to be.

The days became much cooler. I would think every day, why was I planted here? Who planted me? While I was lost in my daydreams, my eyes could make up some familiar shape! Children… Wait! Children! How come they’re here? I haven’t seen a person in so long! They might help me! I started to yell, “I’m here! I’m here!” But, either they wouldn’t listen or they just couldn’t understand me, they walked away with smiles on their faces. The same thing happened other times in the day, walking off, laughing like it was the best day of their life. I could understand that they didn’t have the best view, but if they just moved the leafy ones aside they would see me, I would see them! And it happened! They were two kids, much different than the others, they were jumping around, bumping into their surroundings, and tearing apart the leafy ones. “ How come there’s a pumpkin in the middle of a corn maze” said the one with the the green shirt on. A corn maze? That’s what they were, they were corns. And I was a pumpkin. It explains why I was much different from them. “ Hey, let’s play soccer with it ‘till mom comes,” said the other one. Soccer apparently is a game that involves kicking a round object, in this case me. The game fortunately lasted only a few minutes until their mum came and told them to leave me alone, “whoever put this pumpkin has a reason to do so” said the mum “let’s find the way out of here and join pops with the carnival” and with that they left. I had so many questions! First of all there is no reason why somebody planted me here! Second, there’s a carnival out there! Wait, what’s a carnival? I bet it’s really fun! And a corn maze….that’s what that thing-a-ma-doodle was doing!

Many families would go by everyday and either pass the place in which I was, or look at me with confusion. I was starting to get old, breaking apart, and smelling pretty bad! My fellow corn friends were getting much darker, and there leaves were getting crisp and falling down. They too had many unfriendly visitors, that would push their way through the plants. During days when there weren’t as many people we would all talk about this so called carnival. I’ve heard families talk about them ,there were rides, pig races, apple bobbing, apple picking, a magic show, and a pumpkin patch. The place where I belonged. There people would look at me and want to take me home. But I was stuck here, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

A couple weeks passed, and again I woke up to the sound of the machine; BR-R-R-R. This time I tried to dodge the sharp scales in the tires because it cut down every single corn plant in the field. This time I could really see! I was the only thing left in the entire land in which there used to be corn. This time I could see beyond the corn, I could see a pumpkin patch, and people taking down massive structures, probably part of the carnival. Maybe if I could just…Ughh. No! I’m stranded here and this is where I’ll be. I was rotting, smelling terrible, and feeling as lonely as ever.

Weeks passed by and it was really cold. Rain would pour down almost every day, and the ground became mushy and wet. There wasn’t a sight of a person, only crows that would come by sometimes. I felt like one of those old grandpas with sticks that were slowly moving through the corn maze, but right now they were probably cosy in their house while I’m about to die in the rain! Until, a boy and a girl came skipping across the land. I could almost make out their figures as they were looking at the rotting pumpkins. Who would want one? Any way, the boy I think spotted me. He showed his sister and they came running towards me. “This is the one!” The girl cried. I didn’t know who these kids were, but I had a feeling that they were the perfect people to be with (definitely not like those boys who pretended that I was a soccer ball!) As they took me home, they covered me in a warm blanket, and I began to feel strength inside of me.

“In the end the others will regret the chances they didn’t take by taking me.”

Everybody knew that. Neptune and Landa had something hidden in that tree house on top of the crispy oak tree Neptune and Landa., Both with round brown eyes that somehow looked red, and pale white skin. Little did they know that their November would be turned into disastrous chaos.

“Landa! Wait up!” Neptune gasped. “It’s 7.45!” “Wwwwaaaaatttttt?” Landa jumped up in her hello kitty pajamas. “We’ll miss the bus!” After a quick minute of clothes, toothbrushes, and screams, Neptune and Landa thundered down the stairs and slid into the kitchen to grab a bagel and dashed out the door, where the bus skidded to a stop just as they stepped outside.

“Just in time.”

The bus lady nodded as she opened the door. She grinned, revealing yellow teeth and fillings. The twins hopped on and were greeted by a series of welcomes and hi’s