Category Archives: News

Online Learning

Since March 2020, Chabot College students and instructors have been taking online classes for eleven months, full of challenges for everyone. Chabot College has taken corresponding measures to deal with the online environment and better help students achieve their academic success during the pandemic.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University, as of June 2, 2021, there have been 33.3 million confirmed cases and 595.8k deaths in the United States. 

The data is still coming in. California has the most cases in the United States. Affected by this, people’s work and study transformed into online mode, as people needed to observe safe social distance to deal with the rapid spread of the COVID-19.

According to statistics from the Entangled Solutions website, as early as May 2020, there were 4,234 universities and colleges affected by the coronavirus in the United States. The total number of affected students exceeds 25 million.

“Since biology is intended to be a hands-on endeavor, moving labs to an online setting has been challenging,” Said Megan Jensen, on Feb 25, 2021, a biology instructor at Chabot, “Each class is approaching things differently, but I have found that using a blend of virtual labs and sending home materials in the form of lab kits has worked to some extent.”

According to Professor Jensen, students must visit digital products and virtual labs provided by some textbook publishers (such as McGraw-Hill) to complete part of the classroom experiment content. “In general, I think the virtual labs by themselves are not sufficient but can be one tool in a broader assessment plan to help contextualize the learning.”

Professor Jensen also talked about her online teaching style, “I have chosen to teach my lectures synchronously, so students have the opportunity to connect and talk about content in breakout rooms, and ask clarifying questions in real-time. I also think having a biweekly class provides some structure to the week and helps keep students on track.” 

As for how the students are being impacted, Yanqing Ye, a Chabot student, said on Feb 24, 2021, “I went to school last week and borrowed a computer and hot spot. There is too much homework and too many things to study by myself. Studying at home is slow and difficult. I don’t think I have enough time every day.”

To help solve the difficulties encountered by students in accessing technology, Chabot College provides computers available to rent out and hotspots during distance online learning. Students can email Cheree Manicki ([email protected]) to get specific information about the loan program.

Besides, almost all school services have been transitioning to online forms. Students can browse the school’s official website (http://www.chabotcollege.edu/) to obtain services like consulting, tutoring sessions, and access to the library, etc.

According to Thomas Lothian, an instructor from the mass communication department at Chabot states that Chabot College will conduct 25% in-person learning for each course from the term of 2021 in summer. Based on the latest updated information on CLPCCD (http://districtazure.clpccd.org/urgentalerts/index.php). At that time, part of the students will return to the campus for in-person learning. Masks and social distances are still required on campus.

Rise on Asian-American Hate Crimes

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a surge of Asian-American hate crimes have risen throughout the United States, with incidents centering in the Bay Area and New York. 

On Jan 28, 2021 in San Francisco, 84 year-old Thai immigrant Vichar Ratanapakdee was aggressively shoved to the ground by an unknown assailant in front of his own home. He later succumbed and died from a brain hemorrhage in the hospital. Authorities have since arrested 19 year-old Antione Watson and was charged on suspicion of murder and elder abuse. 

The senseless attack on Mr.Vichar became the beacon call for action against Asian-American hate crime all over the Bay Area. Local residents fear for the safety of their eldery family members and demand for an increase of police presence in the downtown area. Many believe the crimes are rooted in the racial backlash of the pandemic towards Asian-Americans. 

Moreover within that same week, in San Jose, CAa 64 year-old Vietnamese woman was attacked and robbed by two men. She was assaulted  while withdrawing money at an atm for Lunar New Year and was left beaten on the ground. 

In New York, a 61 year-old Filipino man was brutally slashed across the face with a box cutter on a subway and barely escaped with his life. 

 
In Oakland, CA, a 91 year-old man was pushed and thrown to the ground by an identified man and went into a coma. 

These crimes have only increased and up to twenty attacks have been reported since January. Attacks consist of racial slurs, physical attacks, being spat on and so forth.

Furthermore, the shortage of news coverage and headlines about these attacks created a lack of awareness among communities locally and across the country. An interview with Barangay Chabot, a Filipino-American club at Chabot college, revealed that even among young college students, the news of these attacks were unforeseen and sudden.

“I just felt disappointed and heartbroken that it wasn’t getting the same coverage as a lot of other stories do and it sucks that it’s being downplayed. a lot of people even know about the hate crimes going on, unless you’re on social media [like] instagram.” expressed club member Rebecca Swain. 

The club members also voiced their opinions about how police are handling these investigations and their trust in higher authority is being shaken. Gerald Mayupao says,

“I think those in power, they don’t want people to see this as an issue and gather together and try to start movements again… I just feel like when it comes down to trying to investigate hate crimes and try to get publicized, there’s definitely people out there who try not to leak out this information so it doesn’t stir up a commotion.

 A lot of activists are fighting against what has happened, and I feel like these people [higher authority] didn’t want that to happen.” 

More than half of these crimes have not been investigated as hate-crimes due to insufficient evidence that may conclude it as a  “hate crime”. According to Cythia Choi, Co-Executive Director of the Chinese for Affirmative Action, the National Data on Anti-Asian Hate Incidents have summed up that;

  • Most crimes are considered “incidents” and not hate crimes
  • There are crimes reported from all 50 states, includin the District of Columbia
  • 56% of the incidents took place in either California or New York
  • Women are likely to encounter hate 2.3x more than men
  • 6% of the victims are seniors (ages 60+) 

Choi expresses, “It’s very disturbing to see that 70 percent of our respondents are women. And it isn’t surprising to women…
“to women of color, that we encounter much more street harassment… we encounter more sexualized, misogynistic, racist kinds of experiences…these are stories we are getting and younger women are experiencing this at a higher rate.” 

There are also the issues of fear among Asian communities or the lack of information to report incidents, making it difficult to get a real estimate of hate crimes happening in the nation.

 “We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg, we know there are a lot of people who don’t know about a reporting center, [or] don’t want to go to a site and describe the trauma that they’ve encountered…we really see this as the canary in the coal mine.”says Choi. 

The roots of xenophobia have greatly damaged many communities and right now, it is making waves within Asian communities, that perhaps it may be the catalyst for denying help from organizations such as AAPI. For club member Isabelle David, being part of the Filipino-American community, she has one message for her elders, “You don’t have to be resilient, we often glorify this idea of resilience…just getting through it in the face of struggle prevents a lot of us from getting the help that we need. [It] allows us to accept things that happen to us that we should not be accepting. I just want people to know that vulnerability is okay… 

We deserve help.” 

In that sense, the label “Model Minority ” comes to light and how much harm it does than good. The label stereotypes Asian communities as the “perfect” minority; silent, intelligent, and obedient as long as they are allowed to excel under the terms of the American dream. Hard-working in the face of diversity and never needing any assistance from other groups around them. It is the biggest misconception to describe Asian communities. It largely affects how Asians behave towards each other and how they expect treatment from other communities. 

Ms.Choi emphasizes the importance of it’s negativity by stating, 

“We don’t see [Model Minority] as positive, it erases part of our community and to know it was an intentional attempt to deny that there is structural racism…if Asians can pull themselves up by the bootstraps, then there must be something wrong with other racial or ethic groups, that somehow they’re not intellectually or culturally capable…that there is something wrong with their culture and values…as Asian-Americans, we have to wholeheartedly reject that [idea].” 

The effects from the rise of hate against Asians has created a rift in the safety net and trust that communities have built with each other, especially for their local authorities. The shift has been prominent and ongoing, ever since the Civil Rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement and now, through the Stop Asian-American and Pacific Islander Hate movement (Stop AAPI). 

During March 2020 to March 2021, Stop AAPI reported 6,603 hate incidents spanning across the United States targeting Asians and Pacific Islanders. There have been increasing counts of violence and hate speech geared towards Asian communities, from the eldery down to young children experiencing hate in their schools. 

  • Children(17 and younger) targeted at 11%, while elders (61 and older) 6.6%.
  • Physical assaults increased form 10.2% in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021
  • Online hate incidents increased from 5.6% in 2020 to 10.2% in 2021

These “incidents” are only increasing in number each day and in order for an accurate account of these crimes, citizens are encouraged to report any crime they witness or experience to these reporitng sites;

New York State Hate Crimes Task Force: 1-888-392-3644 or text “Hate” to 81336

NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force: 1-888-440-HATE or email: [email protected]

Stop AAPI Hate: Report hate crimes; incident forms are available in Chinese, Korean and other languages

Stand Against Hate: Report hate crimes via Asian Americans Advancing Justice (this page is available in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese)

There have been too many casualties stemming from these hate-crimes that if there is a time to stand up against them, towards all and any races, that time is now.

Seeing the Rights of the Transgender Community

June is Pride Month. As the Democrats retake office, many hope to see advances and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Though there have been setbacks, State and House officials have been more publicly open surrounding the community’s rights this year. 

“To all the transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people who are so brave, I want you to know that your president has your back,” President Biden stated in an address to a joint session of Congress on Apr. 29. 

Transgender Visibility Day was on Mar. 31, and the Biden administration has made progress to ensure that there is a push for protecting and respecting the community’s rights. 

On May 10, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) released the following statement:

“The Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in covered health programs or activities.”

“It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” as stated by HHS Secretary Xavier Barreca. 

Cases can now be investigated again in which individuals have been discriminated against due to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar of LA Times described it as an act by the Biden administration to “strengthen and protect the rights of gay and transgender people across society, in such areas as military service, housing, and employment opportunities.” 

Alonzo Zaldivar’s article posted on Monday, “Biden Administration Restores Healthcare Protections for Transgender People,” refers back to when the Trump administration had tried to block protection against transgender people in health care, military aid programs, and homeless housing. 

The Trump administration tried to issue specific rules that “narrowly defined “sex” as biological gender,” Trump submitted a policy (which has now been withdrawn) that would have allowed taxpayer-funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people. 

As Alonzo-Zaldiva put it, “(Biden) officials (will) unwind the actions taken in the Trump years.”

On Mar. 23, 2016, North Carolina signed House Bill 2, stating transgender people are banned from using public restrooms with the gender they identify with. The bill came to a compromise the following year, but it’s just the beginning. 

A video went viral back in Mar. 3 of a Missouri citizen, Brandon Boulware, speaking on behalf of his transgender daughter and the rights she deserves as a human being. Boulware was present at a hearing surrounding whether or not to ban transgender students from participating in girl’s sports. 

“I had a child who did not smile, “Boulware stated in front of Missouri Lawmakers, expressing the pain his daughter went through when having to be someone she wasn’t.

Boulware’s daughter was compromising her identity to be treated like any other kid, “I was teaching her to deny who she is.” Boulware stated that wearing boy’s clothes was the only way she was allowed to interact with other kids. 

“Let them have their childhoods. Let them be who they are.” 

Boulware admits that while trying to protect his daughter and family, he was also trying to protect himself from dealing with others’ judgment. Boulware showed up to court on his daughter’s birthday to ask that she and many other girls be allowed to continue to play on their school’s sports teams. 

That day Missouri House representatives, in a 100-51 vote, proceeded with adding this provision to a bill prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girl’s high school sports teams. This doesn’t make it official until 2022, when Missouri voters decide this issue.

Representatives, House officials, and many other members of Congress are speaking out on the relationships of their loved ones and the injustice they faced due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Pushbacks cannot stop people from expressing who they truly are.

In Dec. 2020, award-winning actor Elliot Page came out on his Instagram page as a transgender male. Page was overwhelmingly happy to express himself and grateful for those who have supported him along the way.

“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.” Page commented.

Oprah Winfrey sat down with Page to discuss his journey in an interview presented by Apple TV last month. Page described his time in isolation during the pandemic as an opportunity to separate himself from the world’s views and allow himself to come to his acceptance of his true identity. 

Page emphasized the importance to many, including himself, the ability to undergo top surgery as being lifesaving. He calls out the current state of transgender health care and the Missouri case taking away transgender girls’ right to play school sports. He calls lawmakers liars for their portrayal of health care for the trans community. 

“Children will die,” Page stated simply as a result of denying a generation their right to be who they know they are.

California Washed in Purple

From the beginning of March of 2020, businesses have experienced lockdown and quarantine due to the widespread of the COVID19 pandemic, resulting in mass restrictions and closures. 

Business owners all over the nation have had to reluctantly close their businesses for the sake of health safety. Moreover, those that remained open have had to follow strict guidelines on how they operate during the pandemic. 

There are 4 tier-level color coded systems used to track the lockdown that ranges from purple, red, orange and yellow. Purple, representing widespread cases, was a fixed veil over the State of California. In this tier, schools, businesses, and activities that promoted large gatherings were restricted to maintain social distancing. Moreover, social-distancing required people to stay 6 feet apart from each other. Most importantly, masks are mandatory to go inside a business or building that acquires many people. 

During the lockdown employers and employees, especially within the food industry, felt the impact heavily. While they were allowed to open for business, they were not able to accept customers inside their restaurants. 

Christine Aguado, a former employee at Gerry’s Grill, a very popular and often frequented Filipino restaurant in Union City, explained, “The restaurant I worked for had to close at the beginning of the pandemic [and] two months after we started to operate on a take-out only basis. This meant that only 20% of our staff got back on the payroll; just the kitchen staff and the host who were in charge of answering the phone…it was hard to keep up with the increasing demand.”

The biggest problem we had to deal with was the lack of staff willing to go back because they were scared of getting exposed to Covid.” 

Counties all over the state shut down effectively and swiftly following the announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 12,2020. However, many businesses and residents alike posed immense displeasure at the inconvenience and loss they were experiencing. 

Throughout the summer months of 2020, multiple protests against mask wearing popped up all over the United States, with people declaring  their individual rights and liberties against wearing a mask. An article from Forbes Jul 2020 highlighted one protestor, Tara Hill, an avid anti-mask Florida activist, quoting, “This is a virus that is very well contained. Everyone is responsible for their own healthcare decisions…We want our choices respected as well.” 

Despite ongoing backlash from anti-mask wearers, the majority of the US residents abided by the guidelines and followed restrictions. Workers, such as Lupe Hernandez, who continued to work through the pandemic shared her experience as a restaurant host and cafe employee, “When the pandemic first initially hit, the coffee shop that I work at had to close for a few months. When a few coworkers did test positive for the virus, we closed again for almost two months. It was hard not knowing when would be a safe time to return to work.” 

Small businesses were hit the hardest by the pandemic and their survival counted on daily foot traffic, but because of the lockdown they barely made ends meet. Most owners made the drastic decision to file bankruptcy and close permanently. These types of measures are what business owners and employees hope to prevent and while they are obedient to the guidelines, they hold bitterness towards lack of government aid and programs to help them stay afloat.

The wait for vaccines seemed to rile up the most anxiety upon workers who desire to get back to work.

“I think the government has tried, but it’s never enough, especially when it comes to small business.” Hernandez expressed,  “There wasn’t much that could have been done except wait for the tests and vaccines to emerge. The gov’t needs to continue to provide access to the tests and vaccines, and also healthcare to low-income families in order to make sure people can stay healthy and go to work.”

With an increase in vaccine distribution and healthcare organizations and citizens rushing to get their vaccinations, hope for a safer environment is on the rise. As of May 2020, California released news of counties switching to Red and Orange zones meaning, business and outdoor activities may now be observed in limited capacities, mandatory mask wearing and being fully vaccinated. 

Hernandez exclaims, “Now that there’s a vaccine I definitely feel safer in my work environment. My current job is at the coffee shop and all my coworkers including myself have gotten the vaccine. We definitely feel like we can move forward working together with a little less stress.

In light of recent events, slowly but surely, California and the rest of the nation is coming back to their “normal” daily lives with the ease of restrictions and guidelines. Businesses who have had to close down and employees who were laidoff are now have a chance in renewing their hopes in restoring what they lost due to the pandemic. All we may do now as a society is to keep up our patience and teamwork in opening up our counties once again. 

Hopefully, we will see California in the “yellow tier” soon.” 

2021 Chabot College Graduation!

Chabot College Graduates will be honored on May 29 in a virtual ceremony. A drive-through reception will also be offered. 

This is Chabot College’s 59th commencement ceremony. The ceremony is for students of the fall 2020 semester, 2021 spring, and students completing requirements for the 2021 summer semester. The virtual ceremony will start at 10 a.m., while a drive-through ceremony will start at 3 p.m.

The drive-through deadline for students to sign up is May 20. Chabot’s website states, “Graduates will drive around the campus for congratulatory greetings, a professional graduation photo will be taken, and grads will receive a special graduation gift.” There are three time slots to sign up for. 

Students can have family/friends in the car or another vehicle behind them as long as everyone remains in the vehicle. They also note that the photo op is ONLY for the students graduating. Guests are to stay in the vehicle. 

For graduates arriving on public transportation, there will be vehicles provided. “Come to the check-in table by the bookstore in parking lot B.” instructed on the website. 

An additional gift will be given to those who signed up for the Alumni Association. For questions, email [email protected] 

The coronavirus brought an immense amount of stress to the college’s faculty and students. This is Chabot’s second virtual graduation, but many students are thankful they’re still able to be honored for all the work they powered through the pandemic. 

Lucia Belloso is graduating this weekend, like many other graduates she’s ready for this day to finally come. “Even though it is online I still want to be able to celebrate this part of the journey in my education along with my family.”

Belloso also stated that she will be the first in her family to graduate and accept a degree. 

Belloso also mentioned that when first attending Chabot, she didn’t really know what to expect out of a community college. Although at first frightening, “ I think that a lot of teachers at Chabot were really understanding and compassionate which improved my experience” However, things changed when COVID-19 came into the states. 

The campus closed last year and the transition to online classes wasn’t an easy one. For Belloso being a music major, the setup of classes was a little tricky. “ I learn the most by being in-person in class where distractions are minimized,” The online classes took some time for many “hands-on” types of classes, and Belloso expressed that after a year, things became a bit easier. 

Belloso was grateful to the Chabot teachers that were more lenient with the work and deadlines, she felt there was lots of encouragement from them to keep going. At one point (2020 Spring semester) she even believed schools were going to cut the semester short due to the intensity of the pandemic.

For upcoming graduates, Bello advises students to try to stay on track as much as possible. “Senioritis is real” As much as you may be anticipating that last day, she emphasizes for them to remember this chapter of their life. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) at the Women’s March

The Green New Deal Explained

The Green New Deal aims to reduce greenhouse gases and slow the acceleration of climate change while also addressing economic inequality and racial injustice. It was first introduced by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in 2018. The bill recognizes the need to create a more sustainable society to combat climate change and improve the quality of life for everyone. 

Human activity is the leading cause of climate change over the past century, as reported by the Fourth National Climate Assessment. The bill asserts that climate change “constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States,” as it impacts the economic, environmental, and social stability of many communities, not just in the United States but worldwide. 

Climate change has led to extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, and an increase in wildfires. It disproportionately affects indigenous people, communities of color, low-income communities, women, youth, and elderly people. 

The Green New Deal acknowledges that the United States is experiencing several other related crises besides climate change. Such as a trend of wage stagnation, deindustrialization, and anti-labor policies, as well as the greatest income inequality since the Great Depression. White families, on average, have 20 times more wealth than Black families, epitomizing a large racial wealth divide. 

The United States is also experiencing a decline in life expectancy and inaccessibility to basic needs, such as clean air and water, healthy food, health care, housing, transportation, and education to many marginalized communities. 

The Green New Deal calls for securing clean air and water, food security, and a sustainable environment for all people of the United States for generations to come and promoting justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historical oppression of disenfranchised communities. 

The bill will aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, to meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources,” as well as creating millions of new high-wage jobs, ensuring economic growth and security for all people of the United States, and investing in infrastructure to meet the needs and demands of the 21st century. 

The ultimate goal of the deal is to stop using fossil fuels entirely and transition away from nuclear energy. The bill aims to be completed through a 10-year national mobilization to reduce carbon emissions in the United States. 

“We’re going to transition to a 100 percent carbon free-economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified, and guarantees more health care and housing than we ever have before,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a news conference. “Do we intend on sending a message to the Biden administration that we need to go bigger and bolder? The answer is absolutely yes.”

However, many Republicans have denounced the resolution, calling it “a socialist super-package.” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky), a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, claims that the deal “will only saddle hardworking taxpayers with debt and displace millions of Americans from their jobs.” 

The bill is a nonbinding resolution meaning that if it were to pass, it cannot be made into law or create any new programs. The Green New Deal is more of a proposal of what the United States should do to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and a more sustainable future. 

Currently, carbon emissions rates are rising at a high rate. The United States emissions rate rose by 3.4 percent in 2018 and rose globally by 2.7 percent. By continuing on our current path with no real measures done to combat climate change, we risk irrevocably damaging the earth in ways we cannot come back from.

NFT’s and their Impact

The landscape of collectibles is being changed drastically by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), a virtual item that is represented solely online. Celebrities have jumped on this new trend causing NFT’s to go viral and the marketplace of these products to reach record highs.

An NFT can be offered as many different virtual items bound only by the creativity of the creator. Some forms of NFT’s currently in the mainstream marketplace include short video clips sold by music artists and celebrities, sports cards, and cartoon/comic book character cards.

Singer The Weeknd sold NFT’s that included exclusive songs and unique artwork at prices ranging between $100 and $490,000. While social media celebrity Jake Paul sold an NFT of a video clip of his knockout of former basketball player Nate Robinson for 10 million dollars.

The thing that makes the video clips unique is they are a part of something called a blockchain. A blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions, these video clips aretracked through every sale to verify the validity of the NFT, ensuring that it is not a fake.

The blockchain is crucial to the high price of NFTs. With so few NFTs being sold, buyers want to know the high price is for a legit product.

Uniqueness is a major factor in buying an NFT. Fans of an artist or collectors of cards want to have something that nobody else owns. Buying these NFTs while still relatively new offers buyers the lowest price for these online collectibles before the price skyrockets if or when mainstream media fully embrace NFTs.

Another reason NFTs have become popular is in the card collecting community. A start-up still in its Beta phase of release called NBATopshot has partnered with the NBA to release unique in-game moments as online trading cards.

These NBA cards are called Moments, and collectors can purchase packs ranging from $9-$1,000 that offer different levels of card types. Every Moment has a different price value depending on many factors such as the player’s popularity, the serial number of your specific Moment, and how rare the Moment is.

For example, if you were to purchase a $9 common level pack on NBATopshot and pulled a common level LeBron James Moment the current minimum resale value for the Moment is $39.

The NBA is not alone in this NFT venture as Topshot has already partnered with the UFC and the NFL Players Association to potentially release Moments of different professional sports in the future.

NFL quarterback Tom Brady has started his own NFT company stating his company named Autograph will, “bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with the best in class digital artists to ideate, create, and launch NFT’s and groundbreaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors.”

Major gambling businesses are also attempting NFT sales in a unique way. PreaknessStakesNFT is a website that allows you to buy a unique virtual horse NFT and enter that horse in daily races. Races are held every hour, and you can wager any amount of money on each race.

A major question arising with the popularity of NFT’s is the environmental impacts these tokens are having. 

NFT’s are sold under the blockchain of the popular cryptocurrency Ethereum. A single transaction for Ethereum consumes enough energy to power 1 U.S household for 2.5 days, according to Digiconimist.

Cryptocurrencies remain a large threat to the environment as they consume large amounts of energy and emit massive amounts of carbon. According to a study by Cambridge University, Bitcoin, the most famous and highest priced crypto on the market, uses more electricity annually than some countries such as Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.

Ethereum’s energy consumption is around the equivalent of the energy usage in Peru. This is a problem that Etherum is looking to address immediately. 

Currently cryptocurrencies use a system called mining, this term means gaining cryptocurrencies by solving cryptographic equations through the use of computer software. This mining process is used to verify transactions on the blockchain of cryptocurrencies and miners are rewarded with new crypto coins that they can sell for large profits.

This mining process is the main reason cryptocurrencies consume so much energy. Large mining farms have become the norm as miners fill large spaces with computers to mine these cryptos 24/7 in hopes of earning a profit.

Ethereum’s plan to phase out this process and predicts their energy consumption will drop by more than 99%, according to the Ethereum foundation.

Chabot Swim Team Returns

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Chabot student-athletes have not competed in collegiate sports for the past year. However, the Chabot College swim team plans to proceed with a 2021 season.

The swim team goes into the season led by veteran Head Coach Greg Kubicki. Kubicki has coached the team at Chabot since January of the year 2000.

Preparation for this season is unlike any Coach Kubicki has experienced before. Not only is the performance of the team going to be tested, but health and safety may play an even bigger role in this season.

“I think the athletes, for the most part, want to do it, have a competitive season this year. I think most of the coaches want to do it … in terms of sports, we’re outdoors, we’re in chlorine … … from my perspective, it’s pretty safe.” Coach Kubicki stated.

The discussion on how safety and protection against COVID will be handled this season has been spearheaded by the President of the school, the Dean of Instruction, and the Athletic Director. They have been meeting to ensure that Chabot sports follow state mandates and successfully hold an entire season of competition this year.

Part of these state mandates has affected the preparation for the season already. “They’ve allowed us since September to swim two times a week … and that’s better than nothing.” Coach Kubicki continued, “In terms of are we going to have a competitive season or not, well if we do, it’s not going to look like any other season. I’ve come to grips with that.”

With vaccines becoming available to every California resident, holding any sport or class in person seems to pose far less risk than a year ago.

Coach Kubicki, when asked if he feels sports for student-athletes is a necessity right now, “Being able to get out of the house and see other faces, look at all of the psychosocial benefits of what we’re involved with, especially with the last year we had.” Coach continued, “the seclusion, I think has caused a lot of problems for people in terms of mental health and exercise. I think being able to get out there whether it’s two days a week or four days a week it’s fantastic.”

Supporting our student-athletes may prove difficult this season. As vaccines continue to be distributed, the school awaits a return to campus at some point in the future. Currently, no fans will be allowed to attend sporting events held at Chabot.

Without fans in the stands, the team will heavily rely on its coach to get them through the season. “One of my most important jobs is just keeping a level head and keeping a positive attitude. I think that’s something the students are going to pick up on,” stated Coach Kubicki. “If I were 18 or 20 years old, I’d be looking for some leadership, and I think that’s one of the most important jobs we can provide right now.”

One way to support the swim program would be to sign up for a swim class at Chabot or even join the swim team. Every student at Chabot is welcomed to be a part of the team. Despite most students and instructors not being on campus, the pool at Chabot is one place where there is some normalcy and social interaction.

Coach Kubicki, encouraging students to consider joining the swim team, states, “I think being a part of a team is an awesome experience. I think this year in a pandemic it’s been super valuable for these young men and women to be able to set foot on this campus and hang out with each other and train.”

Recall Election

In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Law enforcement officials are investigating escalating threats of death and violence against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, his family and the the wineries, shops and other businesses he founded. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

In recent polls across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has dropped in approval rating. Since winning 62% of the vote in 2018 by 24 points, Newsom has had a consistent approval rating, but according to UC Berkeley’s latest poll released Feb 2, 2021, his approval has dropped below 50%. 

This notice comes as signatures mount up at the end of the sixth petition to recall Newsom, where supporters have until Mar 17, 2021, to collect the 1,495,709 signatures needed to trigger a recall election. 

Newsom has suffered a string of bad press in the last year. Like most states, any problems before were accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. No exception for the Governor of California as the homelessness rate increased, wildfires ravaged the state, sanctuary city policy was disputed, water rationing was fought by farmers, affordable housing fell behind and inflation of real estate continues on the up. 

The mishandling of the pandemic lockdowns has led to the massive increase of disapprovals and signatures for the petition. As lockdowns would set in, Newsom could not stop the morbidity rate from rising. “It’s like all that education has caused him to look past the simple solutions, while they take their time all us small folk are suffering,” Bay Area community leader Phillip Martinez.

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom bumps elbows with a teacher as he tours the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021 in Alameda, California. Gov. Newsom is traveling throughout California to highlight the state’s efforts to reopen schools and businesses as he faces the threat of recall. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Considering, families are hurting financially and emotionally from the rippling effects of the virus. Already branded as elitist and privileged, it did not help Newsom’s image when seen at the French Laundry restaurant for a birthday party.

Newsom’s children are still able to be privately home schooled, all while many are awaiting public schools’ reopening. The Governor displays corruption and the separation of privilege in the state. 

Randy Economy, a longtime California political strategist who is advising the recall effort, spoke to CNN.”That changed everything in such a powerful manner,” Economy said. People looked at the pictures and asked, ” ‘Why can’t I do that?’ ” he said.

“It will go down in his political obituary,” Economy argued, “because that’s the day he lost all sense of reality — that’s the day every person in California saw through their own eyes exactly who this man was.”

Newsom said in his apology that he’d made a “bad mistake.” Upon realizing the group was larger than anticipated, he said he should have “stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove out to my [his] house.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy Sunnyvale campus on March 28, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

In the wake of the polls reaching headlines, several Republicans, entrepreneurs, and business owners have taken the chance to be on the offensive in California blue politics announcing their candidacy. Calling out a recall or not, they plan on running against the Democratic governor. 

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a moderate Republican, officially launched his campaign in front of an elementary school that he says “Should be filled with students,” drawing attention to Newsom’s pandemic response. Faulconer plans on running from his response to San Diego’s homeless community and the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 and spread to hundreds. However, Newsom has criticized him for being ineffective, neglectful, and dependent on law enforcement to clean up the streets. 

Faulconer rebuts, “I did not allow tents on the sidewalk in San Diego because I believe if you allow someone to live in a tent on a sidewalk, you’re condemning them to die on that sidewalk.”

Faulconer declared, “sending unemployment checks to convicted murderers isn’t progressive, letting people live on the streets isn’t compassion, partying with lobbyists during a lockdown isn’t leadership, the Governor’s actions have made this pandemic so much worse.”

Republican businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, says he’ll run for governor a second time if a recall election is held, “I’m a businessman, not a politician, let’s lower housing costs and get people back to work … It’s time for a fresh start,” Cox says in his ad. 

In the past, Cox began as a Democrat before switching to the Republican party, losing twice in Illinois, once for Congress, and once for a Senate seat before trying his bid in California. His focus is on improving the economy, trying to spark the similarities between Faulconer and Newsom as incompetent politicians. 

The number of petition signatures has reached about 1.3 million and still needs to be verified. Recall officials are placing a goal at 2 million knowing some signatures will be invalid. The recall election would be held this summer if passed through California’s multistep process of recall.

The Republican Party can then pursue a recall at any time. What is necessary for success is 12% of voter turnout from the previous election. This explains the 1,495,709 signatures needed. The state gives 160 days to gather all the signatures. Due to the pandemic and the trouble with conducting in-person signature collecting. The courts extended the deadline to collect and turn in signatures until Mar. 17, 2021.

The recall pursuers then have 30 days to have the signatures verified. If the signatures checkout, there is then a waiting period for people to withdraw signatures. If they hold up the recall is on. The Lt. Governor will schedule a date within 60-80 days. For Newsom, this would be during the summer or early fall. 

In the election, the voters will be asked two questions on the ballot. First, voters will be asked if they want to vote yes for a recall or no, against a recall. If more than 50% of voters vote no, then the current governor remains.

In the second part, the voter is asked to pick a replacement for the Governor, where they can pick whoever they choose. Once votes are certified by the Secretary of State, the candidate with the most votes becomes the Governor. Demonstrating how a Hollywood action star and Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor. 

Those who remember Gov.  Gray Davis’s recall in 2003 will remember that truly anyone can jump into the fray. “Schwarzenegger. We had Gary Coleman. We had Arianna Huffington … a porn star. It was all over the place,” Spivak Joshua Spivak, author of “The Recall Elections Blog,” told ABC News.

Major businesses have yet to pull endorsement of Newsom, telling there’s no need to fear too much over the recall petition or polls dropping. “I would say still at this point, big business is not participating in the recall,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chair of Rescue California, one of the committees driving the recall. “Honestly, I think big business is willing to continue to play the game of trying to get along with the governor, or they’re leaving the state,”

Veteran California Democratic strategist Bill Carrick pointed out that “Democrats now outnumber Republicans 2-1 and Public Policy Institute of California surveys have consistently shown that the state’s independent voters lean Democratic. With that built-in advantage, Newsom’s current numbers don’t show him to be in dangerous political territory yet.”

“There’s been a whole bunch of issues that have been very tough to solve,” Carrick said. “Things are going to get better because the vaccine is going to get more universally available to people. And so that’s going to change a lot of people’s attitudes.”

Gov. Davis said, “There will come a point … where the light bulb goes on in everyone’s mind, and they realize this is going to end, and we can finally get back to not exactly normal but pretty close to normal,” Davis told Newsweek.”He still has decent favorability ratings, and with good news happening in [2021] I would bet on him more than anyone else.” This was said after Davis saw Newsom weather the storm of bad times at a 58 approval rating in November. 

Contreras, a correctional officer and Republican from Modesto says “I don’t see Newsom compromising or in alignment with my values. I also don’t see him being recalled. They (Democrats) are changing the principles our nation was founded on. Newsom is a part of that movement away from what we have. Newsom isn’t the enemy but if we can get someone else in office. Then I’ll sign the petition.” 

California has been a proving ground for credibility and experience because of demographics and sheer size. Names will continue to come out of the woodwork for some of the recognition given to candidates in California. Not as conservative as Texas or Florida but it was not long ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor replacing Gray Davis in 2003 during the first recall election in California history. If the recall effort is successful, Newsom would be the second California governor recalled.

Bay Bridge connecting Treasure Island to San Francisco

Vaccines Developing; Variants Rising

United Kingdom – a new variant of COVID-19 known as B.1.1.7, an even more deadly version of the pandemic-causing Coronavirus has made its mark in certain areas, with a 64% greater chance of mortality. 

According to the British Medical Journal, or BMJ, this variant of the virus can spread more quickly than the original version.

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, the actual deadliness of the virus is coupled with bacterial infections from being in the hospital for an extended period and the instance of blood clots in COVID-19 patients. 

Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick in the UK, said “This study confirms previous work showing that infection with the B.1.1.7 virus variant is associated with an increased risk of death. The precise mechanisms responsible for increased mortality associated with the variant remain uncertain but could be related to higher levels of virus replication as well as increased transmissibility.”

According to a press release by CNN, “The variant is spreading in the United States, for instance, and health officials warn it “might become dominant” in the country.”

This variant, according to Adalja, can pose an ‘increased risk of death.’

However, in the United States, the variant of COVID-19 has not yet made as significant of an effect as in the UK. 

In fact, Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently released a statement emphasizing the ‘return to normality in the USA. Acknowledging the risk factors and the plausibility, Gupta said, “Even after talking to the brightest epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease experts all over the world, I wasn’t 100% sure on where the line in the sand for acceptable level of risk was drawn.” 

Dr. Gupta quoted Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on how underlying risk factors could raise the mortality rate in the United States and why those over 65 were given the valiant vaccines first. 

Accordingly, Walensky stated, “None of the unvaccinated people or any unvaccinated members of their households, for example, are an adult over age 65 or have an underlying condition such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes that could increase their risk of Covid-19 related hospitalization or death.”

“There is so much that’s critical riding on the next two months,” Walensky said Monday. “How quickly we will vaccinate versus whether we will have another surge really relies on what happens in March and April.”

Stephen Collinson, a CNN representative stated, “There are also growing concerns about the impact of spring break in Florida, where the more contagious variant of Covid-19 first found in the UK is multiplying at a rapid rate and could seed new outbreaks countrywide when partying youngsters return home.”

Collinson emphasized that 60 million Americans know that moment of euphoria that comes with getting a first dose. More than 30 million are fully protected — a figure that has just overtaken the total number of US Covid-19 cases.

Gupta also cited an explanation by Tara Kirk Sell, a ‘senior scholar’ at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, “I think the guidelines are in a good middle ground,” she said. “We’re starting to go back to normal now, but it’s not going to be flipping a switch… We will make that journey towards normalcy, or at least a new normal, as more people get vaccinated.”

It is pivotal to understand that no matter how powerful the vaccines are, and no matter how secure those sheltering in place are, Gupta called the new variant of COVID-19 “dark clouds on the horizon.”

Despite the heavy warnings of UK professionals, CNN stated that travel would be allowed with a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours upon arrival and must quarantine for 14 days. 

Starting in October and ranging until the end of the year after Thanksgiving and Christmas there was a lockdown, however, a third-wave variant of COVID-19 has emerged in February 2021 and is “gathering pace,” according to CNN.

According to Diamond, the vaccine goal is to have a proper stock of vaccines by the end of May 2021, however he acknowledges that this timeline may not be met.

More than 93,600,000 doses have been administered in the US as of Wednesday morning, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the seven-day average for shots administered is now 2.17 million shots per day, which was originally 890,000 shots per day on January 20, when Biden took office.