AFH Photo // Ashley Chung
Death shapes our lives. The knowledge that our time is running out lights a fire beneath us, forcing us to achieve our goals, form relationships, and create something to leave behind. Death is like a guardian angel, driving our decisions and making sure we live a full life before it’s our time to pass. But it is also our greatest enemy. For all of history, we have been seeking ways to avoid death. For example, Qin Shin Huan Di, the first emperor of China, drank mercury because he believed it would grant him immortality. Ironically, this very elixir killed him.
Today, the quest for immortality continues. Scientists are developing several options for technological fusion, such as uploading memories into an unaging casing, keeping the human brain in a robotic body, and, most popularly, integrating nanobots into the human body and brain, allowing problems at the microscopic level to be fixed as soon as they begin.  Leading minds in Silicon Valley, including Google cofounder Sergey Brin and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, have invested money, expressed interest in or stated outright that they desire immortality. Some, like Aubrey de Grey, a leading advocate for immortality, insist that aging is a disease that must be cured. “The reason we have an imperative, we have a duty, to [stop aging] as soon as possible is to give future generations a choice,” said De Grey in conversation with Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die.  “People are entitled, have a human right, to live as long as they can; people have a duty to give people the opportunity to live as long as they want to.” 
However, the unpredictability of immortality obviously creates several moral issues. Death is a central but subtle part of our lives. There is no way to know exactly how the lack of it would affect the human race. “Immortality changes the very nature of human interaction,” said the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, the director of the Ethics Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and an ordained Buddhist monk. “Part of the reason that we tend to deeply care for and deeply love one another is that we know those people won’t be there forever...we cherish the limited time we have together.” 
What is the value of life if it never ends? “If we were immortal, we wouldn’t get out of bed. We’d have no reason to,” said Priyadarshi. “When Death is Good for Life,” a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Review, found that “the awareness of mortality can motivate people to enhance their physical health and prioritize growth-oriented goals; live up to positive standards and beliefs; build supportive relationships and encourage the development of peaceful, charitable communities; and foster open-minded and growth-oriented behaviors.” 
But it’s no secret that immortality might have equally unpredictable benefits too. Multiple studies have shown that awareness of mortality increases in-group preference and out-group hate. An Atlantic article by Hans Villarica about terror management theory asks readers to remember their childhood fears. Many will remember monsters, the dark, and deep waters. All of these could cause harm and, potentially, death. A child’s security net is their parents. With age, fears take a more abstract form and the expectation of safety shifts from the parents onto the culture. When reminded of their mortality, people lean back onto the culture that has protected them thus far. Some experts attribute the increased political polarization in our society since 9/11 to this theory. Without the fear of mortality, therefore, perhaps it will be possible that we will also stop fearing people different from us.
As life extension technology continues to evolve and the possibility of immortality becomes more realistic, we must seriously ask ourselves—what, ultimately, is the reason for immortality? Some, like de Grey, suggest that humans have a right to experience life at the maximum. But perhaps living life to the maximum isn’t about quantity—rather, it’s a matter of quality. 
“Very rarely can you say that somebody used all 70 or 80 years of their lives meaningfully,” Priyadarshi points out. “People want immortality simply because they don’t want to die.” 
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Get Out: a fictional masterpiece by Jordan Peele that illustrates what goes wrong when you put too much blind faith in those we perceive to be “woke.”
Get Out follows the story of Chris, a black male, whose seemingly normal visit to his white girlfriend Rose’s family quickly takes a dark turn. Many horror films that deal with race—The Cabin in the Woods and The Purge franchise, for example—feature Southerners or the KKK terrorizing black characters. However, Get Out’s antagonist is a suburban white family who was viewed as being progressive. Get Out was immediately seen as a nightmare to most African-Americans; but after further analysis, it becomes clear that the themes of Get Out should worry all Americans. As the movie progresses, Jordan Peele introduces many subconscious ideas that should cause the audience to stop and think—under the fictional narrative of the movie, is there any fact to Chris’s experience? 
In the beginning of the film, Chris and Rose are stopped by police officers. When one officer asks Chris for his identification, Rose steps in and accuses the officer of being racist. As events unfold,  it is revealed to the audience that maybe the police weren't being racist, but rather doing their jobs. This plays into the liberal mentality that all police officers are bad and racist and out to do harm. Instead of hearing the officer, the viewer unconsciously allows his bias about the situation take over and see the police as villains. 
Another subconscious idea is placed into our heads in the scene when Chris plucks cotton from his chair before the trance-inducing brain procedure. It isn't until Chris takes the cotton out of his ears that the audience realizes that Chris picked the cotton to save his life. Ironically, something that many blacks were once killed for, cotton, saves Chris’s life. 
Finally, the scene that everyone in my movie theater gasped over—the ending. With Rose shot by her “grandad” and Chris choking her out, the audience begins to see the hues of red and blue lights—the police. We feel the sinking feeling in our guts that we all know how this ends, with the black guy always being screwed over in the end no matter what the situation is, but Get Out changes that—or did it? In an unreleased final scene, the actual police arrive rather than Chris’s ally Rod, arresting Chris and jailing him. The idea that we all assume the black character will be held accountable for violence plays back into the question of what parts of this movie are fact or fiction. Have we as a society come to expect that the black man will always be charged with the crime, regardless of his guilt? How can we transverse day-to-day with all these subconscious ideas eating us up? 
In the end, Get Out gives the viewer a lot of powerful ideas and imagery. More importantly, it shows how many prevalent societal ideals and biases we hold within our subconscious. Get Out leaves the audience with a final question. What do we do? How do we fix this? Most importantly, where do we go from here?  
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AFH Photo // Abraham Rosa
Walk into a room of teenagers. What’s the first thing you notice? You are most likely to see that all of them are either using a smartphone or have one in their pocket. Many adults and members of the older generations are quick to criticize, deeming smartphones distracting and bad for adolescents. While some aspects of today’s technology can be overwhelming, this constant disapproval is uncalled for: the thin powerhouses have many practical uses that are changing the world for the better.
A Pew Research Center study reveals that by the end of 2015, almost 75 percent of American teens had access to a smartphone. 17-year-old Lauren Cloherty, a senior at Boston Latin School, uses her iPhone daily and agrees that it assists her in very practical ways.
“I use it to look things up and inform me about topics I am interested in,” Cloherty said. I also get notifications for breaking news and I like that. When I’m driving, I use maps to help me get places. I even have a AAA app, which would help me if I was ever stuck in the middle of nowhere and needed assistance.”
Justin Fyles, product strategist at the mobile design firm Intrepid, works to create applications for companies that are useful to all consumers. He believes in building things that are necessary for people and impactful in their lives.
On smartphones and modern technology, Fyles said, “It’s really the intersection of people and the world around them. The goal of smartphones isn’t to remove you from the world; it’s to enhance the world that you’re experiencing.
Smartphones help people capture moments, learn things, travel, communicate and connect with others. They bring information right to our fingertips and allow us to read the news in real time. They give us tools and opportunities to change our daily lives for the better, and we should be eager to appreciate these.
“Yes, we are using more and more technology,” Fyles said, “but technology is permeating itself into more aspects of our lives and benefiting us. As a society, we’ll increasingly spend time on smartphones as they advance. It’s up to us whether we want to spend that time for a burst of entertainment or if we want to learn Mandarin. Or learn Spanish. Or video chat with someone in Iran and connect around the world. 
As a teenager in today’s ever-changing technological world, Lauren finds her phone very helpful in her academic life. She even has a whole folder on her iPhone with apps for school.
“Some apps I use include Google Drive, Quizlet, to help me study, and WordReference, which is basically a dictionary,” Cloherty said. “I use these for school all the time.”
It’s no secret that technology is infused with today’s world and smartphones are going to continue evolving. Only one question remains: will you evolve with them?
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AFH Photo // Maya Chin
As this school year begins, students should consume the right foods in order to stay on track and boost mental stamina. I spoke with Hanna Kelly, a registered dietitian at Brookside Community Health Center, to see how foods affect the body. 
1.      What would you suggest an upcoming student to eat?
To maintain good health, every meal should be about half fruits and vegetables, about a quarter starchy foods (potatoes, rice, bread, etc.), and about a quarter proteins (meat, eggs, fish, chicken, beans, etc.). 
2.      What is your favorite food?
I try to get my patients to eat more vegetarian proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu. These foods have many of the same things as meats but are much healthier alternatives.
3.      What foods do you think teenagers should avoid?
Sugary drinks, like soda, juice, and Red Bull! These do almost nothing for the body, but add extra calories (the things that make you gain weight) and sugar (bad for almost every organ in your body).
4.      What is the best diet for someone wishing to maintain focus?
A diet lower in sugar and caffeine, both of which can temporarily provide a lot of energy but are very quickly used up, leaving a person with less energy and a lower attention span than when they started. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal), and proteins works best to keep up energy levels.
 5.      How much of an effect do you think food has on our bodies?
Food affects everything in the body! Every single thing the body is able to do is because of energy, vitamins, proteins, etc. obtained through food. The entire structure of your body is made up of very small pieces of protein, which you get from eating protein. Without food, a person literally cannot live or exist in the first place. Additionally, most of the common American health issues (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more) can usually be prevented by eating a balanced diet. It’s much easier to prevent these than to try to fix them later in life.
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AFH Photo // Vanessa Vo
Raiden Wallace, 16, from Edward M. Kennedy High School, always felt like his body “just doesn’t feel right.” When he hit puberty, he realized that “this isn’t the body I want.” So he embarked on a journey to find his true identity—inside and out. 
It was a struggle for Wallace to embrace his true self. He didn’t know how people would react. As he got older, he stopped caring about what people had to say. “I love myself,” Wallace says proudly as a thriving, beautiful, transgender male. 
There are millions of people who are part of the LGBTQ community worldwide. People who are not part of this community may be confused about the difference between gender and sexual orientation. Sexuality and gender are both important when it comes to who you are and how you live. Equally important is understanding the differences. 
Gender Identity
Being transgender is about gender identity. According to the American Psychological Association, the term “transgender” is used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the sex they were given at birth.
A transgender male or female can express their gender by changing the way they dress and changing their behaviors to match their identified gender. Hormones and surgery can be an important part of the transgender journey towards self discovery. “I believe identity is a journey,” said Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist, speaker, and writer. She believes that identity is powerful and meaningful. 
Sexual Orientation
According to the American Psychological Association, there are three classified sexual orientations: heterosexual (attraction to the opposite sex), gay (attraction to the same sex), and bisexual (attraction towards both sexes). This includes emotional, romantic and sexual attraction.
Difference Between The Two
People often confuse gender and sexuality. Others think they’re both the same thing, but they’re not. Sexuality is whom you’re attracted to, and gender identity is who you are. It’s better to ask and question than to assume. 
We need to realize that people who belong to the LGBTQ community are just like everyone else. The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to young people within the LGBT community. Their studies show that the suicide attempt rate is about four times greater for LGBT and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth.
“There’s too much shame in the world,” Ochs said. “There’s too much invalidation of our experiences.”
Many students experience depression because of unacceptance. When they have no one to go to, some feel hopeless and turn to self-harm or suicide. We need to do more to support each other regardless of our differences. We’re all human, right? Let’s all treat each other that way.
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