Newspaper Sections

Special Series


About SSFP

Technology News

Robots and Ethics, Teaching AI to Make the Right Choices

by Will DeFour, age 14

In some nursing homes, robots help people with medications and health issues. In other scenarios, robots learn to distinguish between what is dangerous and what is not, such as grabbing a sharp knife or similar tool.

Robots have extraordinary abilities, allowing them to perform advanced tasks and work tirelessly. However, humans have many advantages over robots. One of those is the ability to make ethical choices. Engineers and philosophers are now working together to teach robots how to make the right decisions in different situations.

People make ethical choices daily; they don’t even think about it. They consider what will happen and the cost of changing their decision before deciding. These choices are easy for the brain because the human mind is an advanced organ that evolved over billions of years. Robots, on the other hand, are just complex algorithms that can’t make ethical choices. [Read More]

New Breed of Supercomputer Aims for the Two Quintillion Mark

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

There is a new type of supercomputer under construction known as an exascale supercomputer. Exascale refers to a supercomputer that can perform two quintillion operations in a second. This drastically compares with a phone which does 17 trillion operations and the human brain which does 228 trillion operations in a second. These computers can help rearrange human life.

One such new supercomputer has been built inside a data center in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago. The computer, also called Aurora, is located in the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory. Built by Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aurora is the size of two tennis courts and weighs 600 tons. High-powered machines like Aurora will take months to be fully operational because technicians are always on the lookout for errors, improvements, and changes. Although this process will take a long time, Aurora should be fully operating in 2024.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier was the first working exascale computer and got the title of the world’s most powerful computer. Aurora is not fully operational, tests have shown it is the second-most powerful. Other supercomputers are being built around the world. For example, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is building a $600 million exascale computer named El Capitan, which potentially could be more powerful than Aurora. Another exascale supercomputer called Dojo is being built by Tesla, which spent more than $1 billion. The United Kingdom and other places are trying to create their exclusive supercomputers. [Read More]

Dumb Phones on the Rise as Gen Z Looks to Limit Screen Time

by Allison Torres, age 15

Flip phones became popular in the 1990s and 2000s. At that time, they were a great invention in communicating with people wherever and whenever.

Over the years, phones have advanced technologically, which can be seen in both positive and negative ways. In 2007 smartphones came along, replacing flip phones with iPhones and Androids.

Smartphones have many advanced features like cameras, GPS, and many more applications, that can incorporate your data. This incorporation of personal information concerns people about their data being collected, shared, and used by companies. [Read More]

UW-Madison Researchers Are 3D-Printing Efficient Motors

by Sedona Afeworki, age 15

Four researchers from UW-Madison have achieved a groundbreaking feat by developing an electric motor using 3D printing technology. According to The Wisconsin State Journal, this prototype incorporates a "higher-percentage silicon electrical steel," which effectively reduces energy loss.

The prototype takes on a circular shape with prongs designed for winding wires around them, allowing for the generation of an electrical field, also known as a stator. The most significant innovation in the design lies in the prongs themselves, featuring intricate patterns of thin geometric lines aimed at minimizing energy loss. In contrast, the conventional method for producing such stators involves a lamination process that rolls coils of electrical steel. [Read More]

Meta faces $24 Million Fine for Campaign Finance Violations

by Sandy Flores Ruiz, age 16

A Washington State judge has levied fines against Facebook's parent company in a campaign finance lawsuit brought by the state. Judge Douglas North of King County's Superior Court fined Meta, one of the richest companies in the world, nearly $25 million for repeatedly and willfully breaking the campaign fund disclosure law.

The State of Washington requires businesses to be transparent about their ad sellers. If asked, they must provide the public names and addresses of those who purchase political advertisements, who the advertisements target, how they were paid, and the number of views each political advertisement received. Washington's Fair Campaign procedures were established in 1972 and strengthened by legislative action, and more than 800 infractions have been detected that the corporation has committed. [Read More]

Congress Struggles to Pass Big Tech Reform Bill

by Leilani McNeal, age 17

New legislation that targets Big Tech platforms has successfully passed both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The bill is expected to reach the Senate Floor this November.

The nation’s largest internet platforms, commonly known as Big Tech, are under fire for potential consumer choice violations. The bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee, pushes for antitrust reform for social media and big tech companies. But, as midterm elections loom, some in congress are hoping to run out the clock. 

Being pushed for two years, the bill, called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, is a draft proposal that would issue civil penalties against platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon for inapt use of user data collecting. So far, the bill is backed by several political leaders such as one of the bill’s chief sponsors’, Ken Buck (R-CO) and Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee leaders Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). [Read More]

How Submarines Sparked Arctic Exploration

by Daniel Li, age 14

Built in 1952, the USS Nautilus was the first submarine ever powered by a nuclear reactor and, coincidentally, also the first to ever reach the North Pole by traveling under ice. William Anderson, the commander of the Nautilus, wrote in his logbook, “Embarked following personage at North Pole: Santa Claus, affiliation: Christmas.” Spending multiple days underwater had not seemed to affect the commander’s sense of humor.

The Nautilus was 319 feet long and brought 116 crew members to the North Pole. While these numbers are impressive, the defining characteristic of the ship was its nuclear reactor, which eliminated the need for conventional practices such as surfacing or using snorkels to provide air for engines and batteries. All power was provided inside the submarine. [read more]

NASA Launching Unmanned Craft to Explore Metal Asteroid

by Theodore Morrison, age 16

An object traveling just above half the speed of sound. Sounds intimidating? Not for NASA, intend to launch an unmanned spacecraft into space to investigate an object which is made up of an unknown metal. NASA hopes to gain new insight from the asteroid in regards to Earth and its history.

The object is conjectured to have been previously located at the center of a now non-existent planet as the metal core of the planet. NASA hopes to gain valuable insight into the core of Earth by studying this object, believed to have a similar composition to Earth. Even if NASA discovers that their conjecture is incorrect, a secondary theory remains an exciting possibility. That theory states that it formed in the proximity of the sun when the heat burned away the materials until the iron atoms formed into a solid metal state. A further explanation, as a third possibility, is that it is a grouping of materials forming a natural model of our archaic solar system. This knowledge will provide valuable information to the scientific community regarding the origin of the world we live in today.

Information is not the only thing we are gaining from this project. This project will be the first to utilize Hall Effect thrusters in space, an innovative propulsion system that utilizes the ionization of xenon gas, which is often seen in science-fiction movies such as Star Wars. The process of ionization specifically involves changing the number of electrons in an atom by one or two which then forms an electric field capable in this particular circumstance of generating enough forward thrust to travel at the speed of 32,400 MPH in space. Fun fact, xenon gas is additionally used to make sure that car headlights work. [Read More]

Lumpectomy Advances Breast Cancer Treatment

by Dulce Maria Vazquez, age 14

A new study has found that many women with breast cancer can get rid of the tumors without having their breasts removed. This can be achieved through a lumpectomy, the surgical removal of multiple cancer lumps. This surgery usually lasts about 40 minutes with patients claiming that it is not a painful operation, Patients who dealt with many tumors have been studied using sensitive imaging techniques.

It has become more common for women to be diagnosed with more than one cancer tumor in the same breast. Some researchers inquired whether or not lumpectomies were better than the removal of the breasts itself. Two- hundred women who had two to three tumors in the same breast ranging from ages 40-87 were studied.

To meet surgical qualifications, tumors had to be no greater than five centimeters and remain two to three centimeters away from the normal breast tissue. Recently, three percent of the women in the study had their cancer return post-lumpectomy. This study was discussed at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which caught the attention of several researchers. John Kink a Florida-based surgeon at the Moffit Cancer Center believes the integration of lumpectomies to be “a step forward” in the field of cancer research. [Read More]

Brain Wave Technology Could Help Assess Concussion Severity

by Kevin Chen, age 15

Researchers in Texas have discovered a new technology that could use brain waves to detect the severity of a concussion and compare injuries in a standardized way. Known as magnetoencephalography (MEG), this technology may offer a way for doctors to evaluate and quantify the seriousness of concussions by measuring brain waves, potentially indicating the healing progress of a concussion.

Primarily employed in planning epilepsy surgeries, MEG scans the brain for various frequencies of waves, including delta waves with a frequency of one to four hertz. Typically, a person's brain frequency falls within the range of 13 to 30 hertz, known as beta waves. Researchers observed that individuals with concussions exhibited unusual delta waves, leading them to consider MEG as a new avenue for concussion detection. [Read More]

Madison Students Revive Wisconsin History with Modern-Made Birch Bark Canoe

by Camila Cruz, age 16

Students are using modern technology to build a Native American birch bark canoe; in doing so, they're keeping a part of Wisconsin history alive. In a new class offered through a partnership with the local office of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Madison junior high and high school students built a plywood reconstruction of the boats used by Wisconsin tribes for centuries.

Gene Delcourt, a woodshop instructor, directed the class. He learned the skill from a German YouTuber and a master Ojibwe canoe maker. Delcourt previously studied the art of canoe making when he traveled to Lac du Flambeau in 2021 and learned from expert builder Wayne Valliere of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Delcourt had also built three canoes at a Monona alternative school.

[Read More]

The Android vs. iPhone Divide

by Kelly Vazquez, age 18

There is a heated debate, primarily between teenagers and young adults, regarding the choice of mobile phones. In these debates, Androids are, more often than not, put down despite being the most commonly used worldwide.

Kira, a 15-year-old, reveals that she owns an iPhone because it's the popular choice among her friends, and she doesn't want to feel left out. Kira's experience with peer pressure to own an iPhone is not unique. According to Melissa Jones, a former teacher from Indiana, it's not just the type of phone that matters to students; it's also how "up-to-date" the phone is perceived to be. [Read More]

Wisconsin History and the Invention of Typewriters

by Sedona Afeworki, age 15

Christopher Latham Sholes created the first practical typewriter in 1874, right here in Wisconsin.

He was born in Pennsylvania in 1819 after finishing his apprenticeship in newspapering and moved to Green Bay when he was 18 years old. There, he started working for his brothers at the Wisconsin Democrat as a publisher. Around a year later, his brothers promoted him to edit the Madison Enquirer. Sholes later moved to Kenosha and created the Southport Telegraph, which he worked on for seventeen years. He also worked in Wisconsin politics, organizing the Republican Party and Free Soil Party, which resulted in a successful campaign to outlaw the death penalty.

In the fall of 1867, Sholes created a working typewriter with the help of Matthias Schwalbach, a machinist, and Samuel Soule, an inventor. Later, he had a test race with the superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph; the superintendent was writing with his hand and Sholes using the new typewriter. In the end, Sholes was quicker in finishing the sentence. One would think it would give them more sales, yet that wasn’t the case. [Read More]

Princess Peach Returns in a New Solo Game

by Amare Smith

It’s been nearly two decades since Princess Peach got a new game, and now Nintendo just announced that she would be getting a second game called “Princess Peach Showtime”. This game was released on March 22, 2024.

The game is only playable on the Nintendo Switch, which left fans needing clarification as Nintendo is coming out with a new console. However, fans anticipate that Nintendo will slowly shift from the Nintendo Switch to the newer console in the next few years. Nintendo has yet to release or announce information regarding the new console, but they will officially make their statements later in 2024. While most didn’t expect Peach to have a new game this year, many are excited to play the game and learn more about the new console later this year.

In the upcoming game, Princess Peach has a few character roles to play. During her levels, she has to beat her enemies and tackle various obstacles. “Super Princess Peach” was the first game of her own. Not many fans enjoyed the first game, but good memories were made, and there are high hopes for the new game. [Read More]

Wisconsin Joins Lawsuit Accusing Meta of Harming Children's Mental Health

by Kelly Vazquez, age 18

The state of Wisconsin joined a lawsuit in October against Meta, along with 33 other states, alleging that the company’s apps harm children’s mental health. Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, is a technology company that has created applications that have found massive success, such as Instagram and Facebook, which have three billion and 1.35 billion active users, respectively. But the company has also found itself in hot water multiple times.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Wisconsin Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul joined forces with a bipartisan group of attorneys general from multiple states in a legal action filed in federal court in California. The lawsuit claims that Meta has deployed addictive features that negatively impact the mental health of young individuals, and contribute to the mental health crisis among the nation's youth. Additionally, the lawsuit says that Meta has violated federal law by regularly collecting data from children under the age of 13 without obtaining their parents' consent. [Read More]

LED-Embedded Bandages: A Bright Future for Wound Care

by Amelia Pearson, age 13

There is a big difference between normal bandages and future LED-embedded bandages. Modern bandages are currently being developed at the University Of Southampton in England. These bandages can stop microbes from reproducing and can also kill the microbes.

These bandages are ingrained with scaled-down LED bulbs emitting UVC wavelengths, usually used for cleaning medical equipment. The UV light replaces the antibiotics often used to kill germs.

The bandage needs a battery to power the lights being emitted, so the thought of wireless powering was seen as the most practical. With wireless, will minimize the harmful chemicals coming from thrown-away batteries. [Read More]

NASA's Osiris-REx Returns with Asteroid Samples to Avert Future Earth Collisions

by Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 17

A NASA spacecraft unleashed its sample findings that could help prevent a collision on Earth. After a seven-year expedition of observing the asteroid Bennu, a sample container landed in a Utah desert this past September. The sample is predicted to contain 250 grams of high-carbon dust and rocks from the asteroid.

In 2016, Osiris-REx, NASA’s third deep-space robotic mission, departed into space, costing over $1 billion. After two years of searching, the spacecraft landed on Bennu to gather material that has been dated back to 4.5 million years ago. Researchers will use this new data to improve the understanding of planet and life formation. To acquire the material, Osiris-REx inserted a stick vacuum connected to a container into the asteroid. However, much more dust and rocks were gathered than expected. This damaged the spacecraft’s container and lost a significant quantity of material. More than 100 grams were collected from extra material that was stuck on the outside of the container, bypassing the original goal of 60 grams. [Read More]

Ultrasound Waves Offer a Solution for Microplastics in Water

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Pollution has become a big problem in today’s economy. Microplastics are a type of pollution that is really small and barely visible yet they are found in our bodies, causing a lot of damage. Microplastics can contain toxic chemicals, viruses, and bacteria.

These plastic bits are an issue for humans and wildlife. These plastics are incredibly hard to see, even smaller than a sesame seed, and no more than five millimeters wide. The bits can be found in water, air, and foods leading to their accumulation in human bodies as resources are utilized. The materials within these bits can contain toxic chemicals. Additionally, both bacteria and viruses can attach themselves to the microplastic. Wildlife can also ingest plastic bits through drinking water from rivers or the ocean. [Read More]

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Flies Toward the Sun

by Daniel Li, age 16

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has achieved a remarkable feat by getting close enough to the Sun to study the intricate details of solar wind. This has revealed information that was previously hidden as the solar wind left the Sun's corona in a uniform stream of charged particles.

Understanding the origin of the solar wind is crucial for predicting solar storms, which are responsible for auroras on Earth, but they also disrupt satellites and power grids. In a forthcoming article in the journal Nature, a team led by Professor Stuart D. Bale from the University of California, Berkeley, and James Drake from the University of Maryland-College Park, reveals the Parker Solar Probe has found that coronal holes are where solar wind originates.

According to their findings, some exceptionally high-energy particles detected by the Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, can only be explained by magnetic reconnection. [Read More]

Revolutionizing Data Transmission: Researchers Achieve Unprecedented Speeds Using Microcombs

by Daniel Li, age 15

A team of Danish researchers and physicists recently discovered a way to transfer almost 1.84 petabits of data per second - which is equivalent to nearly 100 million Netflix movies playing simultaneously - using only one small chip. In recent years, achieving this would have required more power and more chips, even though the previous record for the highest data transmission rate using one chip was only set in 2020.

The team used a relatively discovery as the basis for their development. In 2005, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a team of researchers who discovered a way to convert laser light into a special type of rainbow, called an optical frequency comb. To accomplish this, a laser is shined through a special chamber, which produces a rainbow with all of its colors spread out evenly. However, this process involved massive machines, larger than a standard refrigerator. Two years later, another team built on this discovery, and was able to achieve a similar effect, but with much smaller chips, dubbed “microcombs.”

Microcombs can be used in various fields to detect diseases, provide information about unknown planets, build more accurate clocks, and even efficiently transmit data. Compared to conventional fiber optic cables, microcombs are far better at transmitting large amounts of data at once. [Read More]

Revolutionizing Space Communication Through Lasers

by Allison Torres, age 15

Lasers represent the future of communication. Currently, the International Space Station relies on 5G and broadband internet for its Earth communication. However, this mode of communication involves a delay of approximately 2.5 seconds for information transmission.

Unlike radio waves, lasers constitute invisible light with greater robustness. Their wavelengths are also 10,000 times shorter than those of radio waves. Consequently, lasers require a mere 0.0003 megabits per second to traverse from one point to another. Introducing lasers into the orbit within our solar system stands to significantly enhance the speed of data transmission via satellites.

The application of lasers extends beyond space-related endeavors. We currently employ lasers in various technologies, including 3D scanners, laser surgery for cancer treatment, barcode scanners, and information processing in DVDs, and Blu-rays. [Read More]

The Complex Steps and Technologies Behind Spacecraft Missions

by Aarosh Subedi, age 11

There are many steps before you launch a spacecraft, and many kinds of spacecraft are important to the technology we use today. Multiple types of satellites watch the world around us. Meteorological satellites give meteorologists information about what the weather will look like. Communication satellites make television possible to watch; navigation satellites help people guide their ships in water; geodetic satellites help record unknown places on Earth. Satellites that are used by militaries help perform observations to find enemies in specific places. Many more types of innovations are used to go to space.

It takes many months to launch a spacecraft. Before a launch, the instruments will perform the experiments and functions for the assigned mission to ensure everything works properly. This takes place in phases, where technicians put together components and make sure they work together. While the spacecraft's instrumentation is being powered up, the components for the launching vehicle also go through the same process. [Read More]

The System Scientists Use to Track Near-Earth Objects

by Dulce Maria Vazquez, age 14

The Torino scale is a system that predicts the chances of objects in space hitting the Earth. Established in 1999, the Torino scale rates the potential of an asteroid to cause harm by looking at its size, and the probability that it will hit the Earth. The scale ranges from zero to ten—zero means no danger and ten means that an asteroid is guaranteed to hit the Earth, and large enough that an impact would cause worldwide destruction.

This scale is meant to be an easier way for people to understand the risk associated with asteroid impacts. However, there has been a public debate about whether the scale is helpful. Some say there are other systems that are more effective. Others say the Torino scale isn't beneficial because it's unlikely for an asteroid to impact Earth.

If an asteroid appears to be approaching Earth, it is observed continually until its orbit can be determined. If astronomers determine there is no chance for an object to hit our planet, the object is assigned a zero on the Torino scale. But if there is a chance the asteroid could harm the Earth in the next 100 years, it will be given a higher value. [Read More]

Study Reveals COVID-19 Pandemic Prematurely Aged Teen Brains

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

New MRI brain scans show that teen brains have matured beyond the years of their physical age (as much as three to four years) after the Covid-19 pandemic. This shows the importance of this time for teens’ brain development.

Scientists studying this topic were working on teen mental health before the pandemic hit, so they already had some ideas on what could have affected teens before and after. Researchers revealed that the pandemic was hard on teens, increasing anxiety and depression and prompting scientists to look at the changes that were being made to the brain. [Read More]

New Cloning Technology Offers Hope for Endangered Species

by Allison Torres, age 13

A new black-footed ferret came into this world on December 10th, 2020. This newborn ferret is named Elizabeth Ann, and she has grown up with lots of energy and curiosity. What Elizabeth Ann doesn’t know is that she could be the key to saving her entire species. This is because her species, the Black-footed ferret, is one of the most endangered animals in North America.

A long time ago, black-footed ferrets lived in many wild areas across North America. When Europeans arrived in areas where ferrets were living they disturbed the natural environment and the food sources ferrets need to survive. This caused the population of black-footed ferrets to rapidly decline. By the late 1970s, the species was thought to be extinct. [Read More]

Will the Tasmanian Tiger Roam the Earth Once More?

by Sandy Flores-Ruíz, age 16

For the past years —scientists have thought about reviving extinct species. Scientists in Australia and the U.S. have recently started a multi-million dollar project to bring back the Tasmanian tiger from extinction.

The stripes on the back of the Thylacine gave its nickname of “Tasmanian Tiger,” despite the animal being a marsupial, a type of Australian mammal that raises its young in a pouch, like a kangaroo, instead of a tiger.

The Tasmanian tiger went extinct in 1936 when the last known tiger, Thylacine, died in the Hobart Zoo. Years before humans arrived in Australia, these tigers roamed free. However, once humans started to populate Australia, the population of these tigers decreased. The last known tigers to roam free on the island of Tasmania were then hunted to extinction. [Read More]

100 Foot Jump Breaks World Record

by Moore Vang, age 13

What can jump as high as the eyes of the Statue of Liberty? Well, the jumping robot can! The robot was designed by Elliot Hawkes, a mechanical engineer from University of California, Santa Barbara. With the ability to jump three times higher than any other jumping robot, it can also out-jump any living animal.

Hawkes has been working on the robot for seven years. “It started out as a stick with weights and rubber bands,” he said. Nobody would’ve called it a robot at the start of its creation because it didn’t have anything electronic or any motors on it, he recalls. This got him and his colleagues determined to find out, “Just how high can it go?” After many years of work, the robot reached heights as high as 100 feet. Hawkes and his team recorded this on the website Nature on April 23, 2022.

Various researchers studied how different types of animals jump. Hawkes didn’t want to copy any of the animals so instead, his team learned the types of features of certain animal jumpers and how to find ways around it. Muscles in the body of many animals including humans provide energy for jumping. These muscles pull on stretchy hamstrings that react just like a spring, launching the body high into the air. A muscle can only tense up and release once per jump. Weight is also a factor due to large muscles making the animal or human heavier. Typically, the heavier the animal, the harder it is to move against the force of gravity. [Read More]

Pluto Is Not a Planet – It’s a Dwarf Planet — by Hiba Al-Quraishi, age 14

NASA has finally revealed the first set of beautiful images taken from a new space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. The first picture from the Space Telescope was a plethora of distant galaxies that go deeper than scientists have ever seen. NASA says the new Webb Telescope will eventually replace the Hubble Telescope. Some of Webb’s images show areas of the universe Hubble has already studied, and some show areas Hubble could not reach. [Read More]

Webb Space Telescope Sends New Images to Scientists on Planet Earth — by Ashley Mercado, age 13

NASA has finally revealed the first set of beautiful images taken from a new space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. The first picture from the Space Telescope was a plethora of distant galaxies that go deeper than scientists have ever seen. NASA says the new Webb Telescope will eventually replace the Hubble Telescope. Some of Webb’s images show areas of the universe Hubble has already studied, and some show areas Hubble could not reach.[Read More]

CN Tower in Toronto Is “Canada’s World Wonder” — by Jonah Smith, age 13

One of the world's tallest freestanding towers can be found in the city of Toronto, Canada. This large tower was made in collaboration with the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Broadcasting Company in the 1970s. The people of Canada treasure this tower and fondly call it “Canada’s World Wonder.” [Read More]

New Super Computer Ranked Most Powerful in World — by Julian Medina Ruiz, age 14

Recently, a new supercomputer named Frontier passed a major milestone. This computer can perform one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Frontier’s storage system is able to hold 33 times more data than currently housed in the entire Library of Congress. This new computer was introduced on May 30, 2022 by the TOP500, a list that ranks the 500 most powerful computers in the world. [Read More]

Scientists Model the Human Face of the Future — by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 11

Scientists in Denmark, with the help of technology, have developed predictions on what the face of a human being could look like in the future. [Read More]

Local Observatory Renamed For STEM Pioneer Jocelyn Bell Burnell — by Mariah Justice, age 17

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another,” said Greek philosopher Plato. With the renaming event on September 7 for the Bell Burnell Observatory— previously the Oscar Mayer Observatory—Madison has a new facility for cultivating the exploration of astronomy. [Read More]

NASA's Perseverance Rover on Mars has a 'Pet Rock' — by Theodore Morrison, age 14

Perseverance, a rover engineered by NASA, has managed to acquire an interesting tag-along friend while exploring Mars, the fourth-farthest planet from our sun. This friend isn’t sentient though; it’s a rock that got stuck in one of Perseverance’s wheels while the rover was investigating the formation of another rock. [Read More]

The Mysterious Story Behind America's Lost Snow Cruiser — by Jazmin Becerril, age 14

During the United States Antarctic Expedition Service of 1939, an amazing new vehicle – unlike any other – was used. The creator, Thomas Poulter, came up with the idea for a huge mobile vehicle base after experiencing a near-death situation in which he was stuck at an Antarctic base due to the weather. He sold his idea to the Research Foundation of the Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois in the mid-1930s which agreed to design the vehicle under Poulter’s supervision. [Read More]

As Electric Car Sales Increase, Ford and GM Struggle to Catch Tesla — by Giovanni Tecuatl Lopez, age 17

Have you ever wondered if Tesla has competitors in the electric car market? Both Ford and General Motors (GM) have Tesla as target number one; these companies, already in the electric car market, plan to close the gap between them and Tesla. [read more]

TikTok's Algorithm Targets Minors with Harmful Content — by Gabriella Shell, age 16

Falling prey to TikTok’s addictive algorithm and wasting two hours on the app is a common affliction shared by many---children, teens, and even adults. However, TikTok’s algorithm is far more dangerous than simply stealing your time: the app sends inappropriate, harmful, and sometimes even predatory content to minors. [Read More]

Google Removes Apps For Stealing Users’ Personal Data — by Kadjata Bah, age 17

Just this spring, Google took numerous apps riddled with malware off of its Play Store. Its action came after various Android apps were discovered to contain data-harvesting code, sparking questions on cybersecurity and privacy. [Read More]

The Steam Deck, a Portable P.C. Gaming System, Launches in 2022 — by Amare Smith, age 17

The Steam Deck is a handheld similar to the Nintendo Switch. The screen is nearly identical in size to the Nintendo Switch OLED. You can hook it up to either a TV or a PC. Feel free to play on your Steam Deck however you desire. You can play PC games on the handheld, which is a unique feature. It uses Bluetooth and has SD cards. Depending on the amount of gigabytes the handheld contains, the cost is significantly higher than the OLED. [read more]

Federal Government Plans Increased Surveillance of U.S. Citizens — by Leilani McNeal, age 16

The Department of Homeland Security wants to hire private companies to analyze public social media data. [read more]