AFH PHOTO//LANVY TRAN
The year is 20XX. Our Internet addiction has skyrocketed in the years since its conception. However, the web we once held dear has been perverted into something else—something darker. The combined knowledge of the human race was once a click away, but now things have changed.

You are divided by what ISP (Internet service provider) you have—Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner—but its really they who have you. Your ISP is your home, your friend, your own personal tyrant. You see what they want you to see, consume the media they want you to consume, know what they want you to know.
You are nothing but a serial number and a dollar sign. Your freedoms are held at the price of paid “fast lane” services. Fast lanes slowed access to certain websites in favor of others. Digital companies were forced to play ball with the warring ISPs or fade from digital existence.
There were casualties. Those unable or unwilling to pay for a fast lane were outperformed by corporations large enough to pay up. Competition is dead—either you pay or you lose.
 Who could have caused such a travesty, such a monumental crippling of free expression? Well, it was the politicians who got in bed with the corporations they were supposed to defend the common man from. They allowed our freedom to be murdered at the hands of massive ISPs. This might sound like a cheesy, low-budget sci-fi movie, but it is an all-too-real future. There is a war going on, children: the war for net neutrality.
Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data equally. In other words, they cannot discriminate or charge differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment or mode of communication. It is what prevents ISPs from deciding what websites you can access and the speed you can access them at. It is what allows us to communicate and share ideas freely on what should be an open network. It is the ultimate example of free speech.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but net neutrality has been on the Congress floor for some time. In 2015, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) classified broadband Internet access as a “Title II” communication. Under strict Title II regulations, ISPs were effectively blocked from interfering with web traffic. Now the FCC, led by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, would like to reclassify broadband Internet as a weakly-regulated Title I “information service.”
If we lose this war, the Internet as we know it will cease to exist. The voices of millions will be silenced by corporations who could not care less about our rights, just our cash. For younger generations, the Internet has been a resource, teacher and friend. Do you want be the generation that allowed the Internet to die? If not, call your local representative—in our case, that’s Joe Kennedy III—and urge them to stand up for Internet freedom.
Representative Joseph Kennedy III, House Committee on Energy and Commerce: 202-225-5931


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AFH ART//TATIANA DALICE
Coming out of the closet is arguably one of the most difficult and important things in a queer person’s life. Whether it be navigating family beliefs or doubting your friends, the stress of coming out has been proven to be challenging. So I'm here to give you five pieces of advice in the process of coming out.

Number 1: Confirm you are not straight with yourself. By doing so, you give yourself and your sexuality validation. By admitting you're not straight, you can begin the process of finding out what you do like. Personally, I came out as bisexual before coming out as homosexual. By doing so, I was able to gauge the reactions of my friends and family.

Number 2: Don't rush to label yourself. This aspect of coming out can be terrifying if you're still navigating your sexuality, especially if your culture detests non-heterosexuality. By coming out as non-heterosexual or queer, you can be free without the worries of having to fit into a certain category.

Number 3: True friends don't care. If someone loves and cares for you, they will not turn their back on you. If they do, they are not a true friend. People who honestly and truly care about you won't bat an eye at you coming out, but will welcome you to a life of freedom. I lost a few friends after coming out, but I’ve gained so many more by sticking true to myself.

Number 4: Take your time. I highly suggest waiting before coming out to large groups of people. Instead, try coming out to one person at a time. It helps you gain and maintain the flow of understanding how to interpret and deal with a variety of opinions.

Finally: Recognize you are making a great choice. It may not seem like it—especially if you were like me, who use to cry himself to bed praying to be straight or spewing internalized homophobia—but I can promise that you will be happy someday. Happier than you would have been allowing yourself to hide your true self from society. You will be the butterfly breaking out of its cocoon and entering the world as a beautiful and majestic figure. Do not doubt yourself. Do not doubt your sexuality and do not doubt your life.

XOXO Gossip Gi—I mean, Kenneth.


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Health + Beauty
Do You Want to Build a Baby?: Gene editing offers more problems than answers
AFH ART//CUONG HUYNH
Imagine the perfect baby, your perfect baby, with all the desired traits you want. Green eyes, any complexion, wavy hair, high IQ, you name it. Scientists and doctors call the process human embryonic gene editing. Using the tool Crispr-Cas9, these molecular scissors insert, remove or add on to the DNA sequence. Although gene editing can be helpful in correcting diseases, it can also be ruinous. What will happen to our future generations?
For over a decade, human embryonic gene editing has been in and out of the spotlight. Scientists have been experimenting for years, but China was the first country to successfully do so when, in 2015, researchers used “non-viable” embryos to modify the gene of a potentially fatal blood disorder. Today, there is much debate about the ethics of gene editing, and it is currently forbidden in the United States with strict regulations.
Where gene therapies aren’t banned, the price is still huge. Slate reported that just one treatment is estimated to cost from $500,000 to $1.4 million. This can become a huge problem. If a richer person could spend money to design their baby with any traits they want, and a middle class person can’t afford it, this can lead to greater inequality. 
Aside from the cons of gene editing, there is one brilliant pro. It can help remove harmful or hereditary diseases. The New York Times reported that scientists recently made a breakthrough in gene editing when they successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to remove a mutation that can lead to a fatal heart condition. This procedure is very important because it can help many people. 
Despite the promise of gene editing to prevent diseases, gene editing can not stop all of them; diseases are natural. Our body’s immune system is the defense against harmful disease and infection. It is constantly challenged by bacteria and viruses, building itself up to fight off more threatening diseases. This system keeps us strong and our bodies functioning well. Trying to eliminate all diseases in the future through gene editing can cause more damaging, unknown problems that humans may never be able to fix.
Another problem is that future generation have completely no say in this. If a parent edits their child’s appearance for their personal preference, the child has not given their consent. There are already beauty standards that our society follows and fetishizes: Blonde hair and blue eyes, lighter or darker complexions, curly or straight hair, and even mixed ethnicities. This procedure is giving anyone the option to now fulfill their fetish. 
People born in this world are here to be accepted and loved no matter what. Birth is natural and beautiful because everyone has their own features and characteristics that make them unique. But if gene editing continues, how many people will be walking around looking like clones? How do you think one would feel if they found out they were worked on like a toy? The biggest question might be, “Why?” 


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This room means the world to me. Though I despise the ugly pea-colored walls and the yellow curtains that not only clash with the surroundings but are also far too sheer for comfort, I’m happy due to the contents held inside the four walls:
A figure collection that ranges from a selective Funko pop group all the way to random Invader Zim and Teen Titans blind bag finds. A large stack of colorful pop albums that will soon outgrow the dedicated shelf of my bookcase. The wardrobe filled halfway with completely pink and pastel clothing, along with the rest of my all-white and cream furniture collection. Even the seemingly planned pastel pink theme that streams from my floral bed covers to my extensive stuffed animal collection that lays atop it. Everything has become the perfect safe haven.
Still I worry… “Is everything I have too childish?”

Needless to say, I’ve been called the term a number of times over the years. Sometimes it’s been said as an endearing compliment while others, with a negative connotation. The latter confuses me. While I get that some people find acting this way immature and think that I should just “grow up,” I don’t understand what’s wrong with it. These cases of either nostalgia or a child-like mindset can actually be great attributes for relieving stress. This seems to prove more true the older I get, especially as I’m preparing for my senior year of high school and getting ready to enter college afterwards.
With the pressure of having to constantly worry about college decisions, essays, applications, and scholarships, who wouldn’t want to take a break from being my age? I’ve been put in this hopeless slump when thinking about my future. I can’t be happy that I’ll take a break from school because it’ll just come back in a couple months; Leaving for college would be exciting if I didn’t have to leave behind most of the things from my room that I love, or know I will be more pressured to do more than I already am. And after university, the first thing I’ll have to do is look for a job to spend the rest of my life doing. I don’t remember there being anything nearly as serious to worry about when I was a kid, and I feel I never appreciated that freedom enough until now.
Honestly it makes me sad how when we’re younger we yearn for the seemingly fetching lifestyle adults have, but the older we get the more we tend to pine for returning to simpler times of youth. Both ends of the spectrum seem so attractive but still so far away and unattainable to their respective possessors. When thinking of all this, who wouldn’t feel like reliving the carefree aspects of childhood and grabbing onto one of the last remaining pieces of freedom that always stays with you?


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School
Self-care and senior year: Tips for dealing with post-summer stress
AFH ART//ARIANE FLEMING
Our tans are fading with the color of the leaves and the beach waves of our hair is getting folded into greasy, messy buns. Can you smell that? Yup, that’s the back to school season in the air.
From seeing all those annoying classmates you were desperately trying to avoid on social media all summer to finding out you’re stuck with the strict homeroom teacher everyone hates, school can breed a ton of stress. The question is: How do you relieve this stress? The answer is… well, actually there is no single solution to this problem. There are multiple methods you can try to stay sane. 

Tip 1: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
My freshman year of high school, I made the mistake of joining five different clubs. These clubs consumed more time than I was prepared to give, and the stress of having to balance them with school was too much for my 14-year-old brain. Needless to say, I made I fell off those bandwagons so fast that by the end of the year, I was only frequenting half of them and was wallowing in guilt over not being able to stay loyal to them all. Be smart kids. Don’t be like me.

Tip 2: Organize! Organize! Organize!
We all have those days. You walk into class and your teacher says, “Clear your desk for today’s exam.” The only thing that goes through your mind is “What exam?!?!” In reality, your teacher has been reminding you of this for, like, two weeks. This feeling sucks and it happens far too often, but it’s not impossible to avoid. Try utilizing a planner. This can be done on your phone, computer or using a classic notebook. Having a planner and making a point to document important events as soon as they come up will be a lifesaver! There is a reason why every beauty vlogger’s “Back to School Giveaway” includes one.

Tip 3: Make sure to get more sleep!
Now I know, it’s easier said than done! >:( But it is possible. One way to achieve this is to power nap in the afternoon. I participate in sports, a part-time job and multiple clubs, and am aware that on top of feeling tired every day after school, the stress of believing you don’t have enough time for homework can get in your head, too. The good thing is these naps should last for just 10-30 minutes. They won’t cause a dent in your homework time, but will help refresh your mind and keep you energized. This energy boost can help you get work done quicker so you have a chance for personal time. Plus, this is way healthier and less extreme than turning to sugar or caffeine. 

Tip 4: Prioritize Self Care
Sometimes, we get so flustered thinking about how much we need to get done that we end up spending an unreasonable amount of our life in a depressing, deep, dark hole. Instead, we could use that time to do something that helps us relax. You can always find time for self care, especially since these actions can be really simple. It can be as easy as just remembering to shower, eat all your meals properly or clean your work space. You can also go for a walk, watch that Netflix show you’ve been dying to see or go for a workout.

The belief that school is only as stressful as you make it out to be is a claim that I used to be very reluctant to acknowledge. Even though there will be genuinely rough times during school that will drive you crazy, there are still many ways to de-stress and help make your life easier to handle. Good luck!


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