Sony Puts a Damper on “Fortnite” with Unjust Crossplay Policy
Imagine waiting in a Gamestop line and purchasing a Nintendo Switch so you can play “Fortnite” with your friends who use different consoles than you. Once you finally purchase it and get home, you set up the Switch and download “Fortnite” from the Nintendo store, but while attempting to log into your Epic account, an error appears, stating, “This ‘Fortnite’ account is associated with a platform which does not allow it to operate on the Switch.” 
“Fortnite” is a multiplayer shooter global phenomenon from Epic Games that is available on PC, console and mobile. All statistics relating to your wins and kills, along with “Fortnite” skins and v-bucks (the currency used to make purchases within the game), are stored on your Epic Games account. However, to play “Fortnite” on a Nintendo Switch or Xbox One, you need to make a new account if your account is linked to Playstation 4 (PS4). In other words, if you want to play with friends on other platforms, you better kiss all of your $20 skins goodbye!
Crossplay is the idea within the gaming industry that all gaming consoles and devices—whether it be on PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch or mobile—should be able to play the same games together, regardless of the platform they are on. Crossplay is accepted, and even encouraged, by most major gaming companies. However, it is being stopped by Sony, the distributor of PS4, who wants to keep PS4 from crossplaying with Xbox and Nintendo consoles because they are their competitors.
Thanks to Sony’s harsh stance on crossplay, Playstation owners can only play “Fortnite” with players on PC and mobile, whereas players on the Xbox and the Switch can play with all platforms besides PS4. Sony does not allow players to use items they bought on PS4 to be used on other accounts.
If your account is or has been linked to a Sony PS4 account, that account cannot be accessed on Xbox or the Nintendo Switch. This is a move by Sony to keep PS4 players buying vbucks on PS4 and using them for in-game purchases on PS4 and not on other platforms. 
While Sony may lose some revenue from crossplay, crossplay would allow gamers to play with friends regardless of the console they are on, and it would save consumers money who would otherwise purchase another console. 
If your account is under Epic Games and not Sony, Sony should not be allowed to block its users from playing on other devices. They are basically infecting your account so they can keep you on their platform and continue to profit off your purchases. PS4 was the best selling console in the market and wants to keep it that way. Sony is the thorn in the side of “Fortnite” crossplay—all other major companies involved (Epic Games, Nintendo and Microsoft) want crossplay, and see it as a way to advance, progress and expand within the gaming industry.

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Imagine being one of the best and biggest basketball players of the NBA, but you keep receiving bad comments from fans about how much money you spend. How would you feel? 
Nowadays, NBA players are making huge amounts of money because they are extremely talented. Being a professional basketball player is not something that it easy to achieve; it demands skills, courage and most importantly, mutual respect between one and others. 
People criticize NBA players by saying they get paid a lot of money by just bouncing the ball, and that they don’t do anything to assist their communities, but this is untrue. People should know that even though their salaries are higher than the president of the United States’, NBA players are still giving back to their communities.
Lakers forward LeBron James created a unique school that exceeded expectations. According to SB Nation, James’ I Promise school “began as an Akron-based non-profit aimed at boosting achievement for younger students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now the movement has the means to educate these students year-round.” This demonstrates that James actually cares about where he grew up. He knows what it is like to feel like you do not have a way out, and only having limited opportunities.
James is a great source of inspiration and motivation for the youth. “LeBron is making sure that when our kids grow up, they have something to do,” said Mohammed Al Birdari, a student at BINcA. “Some might say that he’s done nothing for anybody, but that’s where they’re wrong. He donates to charity to help young poor kids, and if you tell me that’s not enough, I don’t know what is. He’s making history,” said Birdari. 
  James is not the only NBA player who cares about the fans and their community. Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose, who in 2011 became the youngest player in the NBA to win most valuable player, launched a college scholarship fund. According to, Rose’s program “will award more than $400,000 in tuition money.” Rose reportedly said, “I hope to provide student a path to college that was not previously available to them.” Even the best point guard in the NBA is giving money and dedicating his time to his community.
Sherlandy Pardieu, an 18-year-old student and athlete at BINcA, thinks basketball players should give back to the community. “People and athletes should always provide a little back to their community because usually the communities are the fans that got the athletes to where they are at today.”
People will always criticize basketball players even though they do their best to support and satisfy communities. It seems like people will never be satisfied, whether or not they give back. However, despite the facts that NBA players are receiving criticism every day, they will always give back to their communities because they know how important the fans are throughout their careers. 

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Ever wondered why there are so many green spaces in Boston, but you never visit them? It might be because you do not know the benefits they may provide. I am sure you are asking yourself, “how do small, insignificant parks help the city and its people?” Green spaces are important—especially for people living in areas where there is a lack of green space—because they benefit our wellbeing. 
Urban green spaces are pieces of land that are undeveloped and have no buildings or other structures. They can be parks, community gardens or public seating areas—places that help people feel more relaxed. They prevent teens from being aggressive, they relieve stress, they help the economy and, most importantly, they reduce crime. 
According to an organization named Pacific Standard, “Researchers from the University of Southern California report urban adolescents who grow up in neighborhoods with more greenery are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.” This shows that teenagers seem to be less aggressive when they are surrounded by green spaces because they feel calm and that prevents them from getting into fights with their peers. 
Toni Jackson, a coordinator of extended learning time at BINcA, wishes, “kids felt more comfortable sitting outside by themselves with their thoughts. I just sit outside in a park and think. Kids don’t do that so much anymore.”  
When teens go to parks, it become easy for them to interact with nature and meet others teens. “An urban green space setting is also a great way for teenagers driven by 21st century technological advancements to build relationships that last a lifetime and meet new people,” said Mohamed Somane, a student at BINcA. 
 As specified by a study on online legal information service FindLaw, “Well-maintained green spaces may provide a place for people to interact and hang out. As a result, this may lead to more people and families just milling around. The presence of more people may make it harder for criminals to commit crimes without being spotted and apprehended.” This shows that green spaces help fight against crimes because with a bunch of people in parks, it is less likely for criminals to commit a crime in public. 
Surprisingly, green spaces also help boost the local economy. According to an article published in architecture magazine “Arch2o,” “Urban green spaces can be one of the factors that attract significant foreign investments that assists in rapid economic growth.” Even though they are public and free, when cities make sure that their parks are safe and clean, they attract business people and tourists to come more often.
I have felt connected to parks from a very young age. When I lived in France, I would get out of my house at dawn to play soccer and basketball, and spend time in parks until sunset. Therefore, I encourage all teenagers to dedicate at least 15 minutes of their day surrounded by green spaces.

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How does perfect not exist yet I can imagine it? As people, we definitely have different truths to perfect, but by connecting them we can apply all our truths to pursue a full utopia, or even just a personal one.
A utopian world is seen as something fictional and unachievable because no matter what the circumstances, not everyone will be satisfied with the same outcome. When speaking about a perfect world, I am not only talking about the Earth being perfect. I am talking about a satisfaction within oneself, both physically and mentally. Often times, the word ‘utopian’ is used as an insult, because people think it is unrealistic and naive. But according to Philosophy Now magazine, we can achieve a utopia by having interdependent societies with a maximum of 200 people, which just might be the beginning. 
The way humans have chosen to use religion has held us back. If we did not have religion, people would not be condemned to it, and fear the religious factor in their lives. If not for the way people shaped religion, the inquisitions would have never taken place, and the death of Joseph Smith and various martyrs would not have been favored in history. However, Nancy Ammerman, professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University does not necessarily agree. “In a utopian world people would not be religious because they’re afraid,” she states. But, she also believes they would be religious for other reasons. “I think we would invent something like it anyways. I think people would invent something to be that moral yardstick even if they didn’t call it God,” said Ammerman. With the perspective of Ammerman, I still feel as if religion has not redeemed itself from all it has caused. Even though religion is used to signify hope, it is also used to view others inferiorly because of the advantage people think they have by devoting their lives to god.   
 To reach a personal utopia, people should allow themselves to openly choose their own paths for all aspects of life. So far, people have taken what is meant to be good and shaped it into something not in everyone's best interest. 
In a utopia, when it comes to crimes—they cannot be eliminated—but there will be more rational and reasonable responses. This will take away the privilege problem, and law enforcement officials will treat the people who have committed crimes humanely. German Lopez said in his article, “American policing is broken. Here’s how to fix it,” when talking about an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department, “the Justice Department found Baltimore police consistently violated at least three amendments in the US Constitution — the First, Fourth, and 14th — and engaged repeatedly and persistently in a pattern of racial bias.” This is exactly the opposite of what we will do. We will assure that officers get a sufficient amount of training, including implicit bias training, and that they are put under rigorous observation enabling them to be aware of their prejudice. 
Material egalitarianism would not be the ideal in a utopia, because we still have to prevent ourselves from falling down a wrong path, and work hard for ourselves. An egalitarian system could also encourage people to take advantage of the system. There shall be rich people and poor people, but they shall all have an equal amount of taxes taken away from them, no loopholes. The poor will get equal support, but it will not exceed standard help. The idea is that everyone works for what they have and will be satisfied with what they have. We need to focus not on being equal but being fair. And this is where the dystopia comes into our world, because of the envy and greed which arises towards those who have more. Instead, we should all rely on equal rights that come from within differences. 
We always wonder why we desire an ideal world and why we can imagine it, when it does not exist. It takes so much to acknowledge our ignorance, but that is where it begins. We must realize that we essentially need interdependent societies, surround ourselves with people we can connect with and still have a social factor within our lives to eventually expand. We tend to be unintentionally ignorant, and that leads us to not realize our true ways of contributing to discrimination and other bad habits. Having a personal utopia is the alternative to the “what if we really can not make a worldwide utopia?” argument.
The difficult part of pursuing a perfect world is that one’s own definition of perfect is different from everyone else’s. This results in having to live in your own utopia as a rebound idea of the ideal world. What you want to believe is perfect and what you decide to make your truth is how to kickoff. If people do not want to commit to having a perfect world within themselves, then they must realize the importance of feeling humble and confident.
 An ideal world does not have to exist within the world as a whole, but even a personal utopia is valid. We need to come to realization that the world we are in could be considered dystopian, due to all the avarice. There are mini communities around the world that would be considered very cooperable. Assistant Professor Jessica Gordon of VCU explained in her article “History of Brook Farm,” that a small town in West Roxbury was a small example of a utopian society, because it revolved around the idea of interdependent societies that could expand. However, I believe the world needs to spring better relationships in their communities and then connect to one another eventually as countries. Although this may take years to achieve, it is achievable if we all take a step back from insecurities, envy, greed and all of the rest.
John Horgan, a Canadian politician who wrote: “ What’s your Utopia?” asked that very same question to a Freshman humanities class. “Utopia isn’t a completely perfect world, but a world with the perfect amount of imperfection,” said Ryan, a Freshman in Horgan’s class. This simply means there is no competition, with everyone well-aware that they all contain some kind of flaw, and can cope with it. 
Speaking about perfection may seem naive, but in reality we fear it. We fear the things we have to change within ourselves, because of our lack of acknowledging all the bad things we are at fault for. 

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At Juniper on the UMass Amherst college campus, Betsy Wheeler (Managing Director) and Jennifer Jacobson (Juniper Director) walk around South College. They are going to be hosting teens from all over the world to come work on their writing. They are bursting with excitement; they have been planning this week for over a year now, and it is finally here. Finishing up their final check on everything, with beaming smiles and happy, light voices, they welcome the energetic teens who enter. 
What is Juniper? 
Juniper is a writing institute designed specifically for teens in high school. This program is made to help inspire and develop teens’ writing. Teens go for one week during the summer to develop their writing community and read and edit each others’ work. This program is for anyone who loves writing. You must be a rising sophomore, junior or senior in order to attend. While I was there, I met a rising senior from Los Angeles, California, a rising junior from Connecticut, and a rising sophomore from Reno, Nevada.
Why should you go to Juniper?
Juniper is 100 percent worth going to if you want a career in any type of writing. At Juniper, you will be challenged to try different styles and techniques of writing. For example, I consider myself a novelist, but when I went to Juniper, they challenged me to write poems, and I fell in love with being a poet. In my workshop, my mentor had us make word banks of words we do not normally use and try to incorporate some of those words into our writing. This will force you to step out of your comfort zone and see if you like any other writing styles.
 “Flying out from Reno, Nevada was definitely worth it,” said Lexi Deeter, a Juniper alum. “The friends I made and the skills I learned are long-lasting. Since writing communities don’t really exist where I live, having those second and third pairs of eyes allowed me to turn a hobby into a passion.”
What workshops are available?
The workshops change every year because the mentors who direct them are also changing, but they always revolve around fiction, poetry or visionary art writings. For example, mine was a freewriting workshop, where everyone brought in a piece of their writing and shared it, then gave each piece editorial advice. 
Will I get free time to work on my writing? 
Yes, they will alway give you free time to write. However, if you do not feel inspired, writing time will be your free time to get to know your “pod” (the group you are assigned). My pod had movie time with snacks, and we bonded over our love of romantic comedies. 
Is submitting an application hard?
No, the application process is easy! To apply, fill out their online application on their website ( When it becomes available, send a writing sample, and select what type of workshop you want. 
How much does the program cost?
The program costs around $1,800, which includes housing and food. When you apply, they will present you with the cost and choices in housing/food. If you are accepted and decide you want to go, you have to put down $200 immediately towards tuition costs. 
They do offer a full scholarship. I was lucky enough to get to full scholarship and everything was covered completely. (Pay attention to their website to apply for the schoolarship). The full scholarship covers the cost of the housing, tuition, food and transportation. 
Where is Juniper?
Juniper is hosted by the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the UMass Amherst campus. UMass Amherst is in Western Massachusetts, about two hours from Boston. 
Overall, you should give Juniper a chance and apply to go to this once-in-a-lifetime immersion program— it will be worth the cost! Make sure to use all of the opportunities they give you, such as performing at an open mic or going to an optional mentor workshop. 
“Juniper was a fantastic experience,” said Laura Chin, a Juniper alum, “and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking to learn a lot about writing and also become part of a very talented, slightly strange, extremely wonderful and lovable community of young writers.” 

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