The Light

Before, it was dark.
Now there is light,
Bright and dancing across my eyes.

It glows and shifts, gold and bright,
And behind it is the dark from before,
And maybe it shifts too.

I see figures, silhouetted by the light.
They glow too and wear bright halos.

I can’t see their faces.

There’s a voice, soft and sure.

“Just stay calm.”

Aren’t I though?
I watch the lights above me,
They’re so very pretty.
Shiny and gold and so, so pretty.

I don’t know where I am, and everything seems far away.
I feel floaty and fuzzy;
The world is a blur of light and dark.

The figures are people, I think.
And I can still hear the voice.

“Calm down, just breathe.”

She has a very nice voice.
Such a nice thing to wake up to.
Is this waking up?

I can’t tell.

“Breathe, just breathe. Calm down.”

It hits me now, how rapid my breaths are.
How they could be interpreted as panic,
Though I feel so at ease here.

InOutInOutInOutInOut

I don’t want to leave, but I try to slow my breathing.
She’s asking so nicely, after all,
And she seems worried about me.

In, Out. In, Out. In, Out.

Why would anyone be worried here though?
Can’t she see the lights?

I try to watch them again, but they’re fading now.
Or the dark is receding, and they’re merging into one.

Now the light is much too bright,
And the shadows from before are entirely gone.

The figures resolve fully into people, into nurses.

I am awake.

Castle of Crows – Part 5

The moment the sky went dark, Aunt Pen was grabbing us both and pulling us out of the room. I could hear howling from outside, followed by the familiar cawing of crows, and while the noises scared me, the panicked look on Aunt Pen’s face was what kept me from asking questions. Her face had lost all color, and as she pulled us through the halls and up the stairs she kept looking around like she expected something to jump out of the shadows at us.

When we got to the third floor, Aunt Pen started leading us down a very familiar hallway. It was where we’d first started looking for the passage to the tower, and when Aunt Pen stopped in front of that blank wall it occurred to me that she might not have been completely honest when she said she’d never found the passageways.

There was a crash behind us, and Macey and I turned to see a crow had crashed through a window down the hall. Before I could even try to identify him though, there was a scraping sound, and we turned again to see the stone wall opening up to reveal a staircase. Aunt Pen grabbed us and pushed us through the opening. Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 5

Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 3: Pasts That Define Us

The day continued and the two travelers began sticking to the shade of trees, avoiding the searing sunlight of midday. Aliene was beginning to feel the rebound of her exertion. She looked back to Jacobus who had stayed quiet over the past few hours. The man still looked as if he was on a leisurely walk. Does he outclass me by so much? The thought had wormed its way into her skull, exacerbated by the silence between them. Aliene had only been able to compare herself to Hafwen growing up; her mentor had always been better at everything. Speed, power, endurance, and stealth, the four tenants of a hunter. Hafwen told Aliene she was better than some but how could the young girl really know?

The use of magic had always been compared to how she used her muscles normally. Magic just made up the difference in what she could normally do and what she may need to do. The farther the difference, the more magic needed. Outer magic was a little different but pulled from the same source within her. Hafwen had drilled Aliene till her magic was drained, then made her keep going, fighting through the sharp tingling that ensued. A sensation Aliene was starting to feel now in her legs.

Should I just rest? A foreign concept after twenty years of scheduled life. They had food for a few days and nowhere to go. I have nowhere I need to be. The realization of that fact stung Aliene more than she expected. Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 3: Pasts That Define Us

U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

President Donald Trump has made questionable decisions throughout his presidency that have had people wondering, “Why would he do that?” Well, this decision may be questioned by many as well.

It was made official on Saturday that the Trump Administration was pulling the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. This action is only the beginning of a six-month formal withdrawal process that will allow both sides time to change their minds if they want to.

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made the official announcement for the U.S. yesterday, citing Russia’s numerous violations of the treaty in the 30 years that it has been in effect.

The end of the treaty is most likely going to result in the production of more nuclear weapons from both sides, which has multiple countries around the world worried about another nuclear arms race between the former Cold War rivals. Continue reading U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

Time to Cut Out the Bacon and Alcohol, Research Says

For most of us, bacon is one of our favorite meats to eat. It can go with anything and everything in our meals. The same can be said about alcohol, once you have turned 21 and you drink responsibly. But research says it may be time to cut out both alcohol and bacon from your diet.

In a study that sampled data from 51 million people, The World Cancer Research Fund found that even a small amount of processed meats and alcohol can increase the risk of a number of different types of cancer by at least 40 percent.

Their study also found that obesity will overtake smoking as the “number one risk factor for cancer” within decades.

We have known from previous studies that obesity is becoming a worldwide health epidemic as more and more people look for ways to cut time preparing food and buy pre-made foods as a result.

Studies have also shown that obesity is linked with at least 12 different cancers, which include breast, liver, and prostate, to name a few.

The results of the findings will be presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of April.

The recommendations from the fund are to drink mostly water and to reduce intake of all processed foods, which include fast food and foods high in fat.

 

Castle of Crows – Part 4

The rain kept on for the next three days. Macey and I explored every room we could get into: spare bedrooms, parlors, a study. The first day was all hide and seek, and while there were plenty of great places for us to hide, with only two of us it got boring quickly, with the seeker often being unable to find the other. Hiding got boring when no one was around to find you. After I hid behind a couch and under a curtain, Macey spent an hour trying and failing to find me, so we called off the game until we could get more players. On the second day we stayed together and explored what we could, even venturing into the basement to see if there was a dungeon, but we only managed to find the wine cellar before Macey insisted on going back upstairs.

Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 4

NASA is Losing Hope to Revive Opportunity Rover

The clock is ticking for the 15-year-old Mars rover, Opportunity. After six months of attempts, scientists from NASA have failed to revive the rover.

In June of 2018, the rover was unable to avoid a planet-wide wind storm on Mars, which blocked out the sun for several months. Opportunity is powered by solar energy and without any new energy, the rover’s batteries are drained.

In those months since Opportunity went off online, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California has sent over 600 commands to the rover in hopes of reviving it. However, the warmer temperatures and wind knocking off the dust on the rover have not helped.

John Callas, the mission project manager for JPL said to reporters, “We’ve got another week, we are running out of time.”

The Martian winter has ended a rover’s mission before; it ended Spirit’s mission in 2011. But winter on Mars is still months away. However, the temperatures are dropping in the southern hemisphere where Opportunity is located right now.

The efforts to revive Opportunity have lasted just as long as Spirit’s attempts, but JPL has tried multiple long shot attempts. JPL had plans to head to NASA’s headquarters to talk about the next options for Opportunity, but that was postponed due to the government shutdown, which just ended on Friday.

Opportunity has lived up to its name. It has brought a ton of opportunity to everyone wanting to learn more about Mars, but it has done the impossible as well. Opportunity’s mission was supposed to last only 90 days when it landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, but it has lasted over 5,480 days and the rover has traveled about 28 miles in that time span.

It would, of course, be sad to see the end of NASA’s most successful mission but in the end, the many opportunities that Opportunity has brought to us are not to be forgotten.

Eating Fried Chicken Daily Linked to Increased Death Risk

We know that we are granted three things in life: birth, death, and taxes, but as all of us are on the road to finding a way to live longer, one thing has been ruled out: fried chicken.

In a study done in older women, it was found that a daily serving of fried chicken will increase your risk of death from basically anything but cancer.

The study, which was published on January 23 by the medical journal, BMJ, found that those who were to eat fried chicken daily would have a 13% increase of death compared to those who do not eat fried foods. Women who eat daily servings of fried seafood saw a 7% increase in death.

It was highlighted by the authors of the study that if people were to lower their consumption of fried foods, in particular, fried chicken and fish, it could increase the health quality of the public.

It was found in 2017 study that daily consumption of fried potatoes doubled the risk of death compared to those who avoid them.

An assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Wei Bao, along with his team, looked at food habits of over 100,000 women between the ages of 50-79 in records from the 1990s. They were followed up for an average of 18 years.

Bao was able to use daily food records that were recorded by the test subjects to come up with his data, which proves that if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, then more likely than not, you will have a longer life expectancy.

Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 2: What is Known

Darkness filled the area within her vision. Through Aliene’s reach, however, she felt every branch, vine, and pool. The tears had dried from the sheer speed Aliene had been running at. “Away, just get away,” was her only thought. As a ray of dawn pierced the dark of the forest, Aliene reached a small clearing and stopped, allowing herself to breathe deeply.

“About time, how long did you plan on running like that?” Jacobus’ voice made Aliene turn around and glare at him.

“I was sure I had left him behind, how then?” Aliene’s thought was cut off when she noticed Jacobus wasn’t breathing hard; his wasn’t even elevated like hers. “What are you?”

Jacobus had a slight smile as he answered, “Just a former monk; let’s leave it there.”

“No, I know most of this forest by heart. You as a stranger would not have been able to keep up so easily.” Aliene dropped her pack, drawing the sword sticking out of the bag. “Now really, what are you? Why are you following me?” Continue reading Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 2: What is Known

Void Between the Light

Can you hear me, hush’d one?
My love through aeons, burning bright
Under me, my birth’d soul,
And stolen from my sight?

Can you hear me, hush’d one?
I, who bathed you, my love and light
Your sign amidst the heavens’ void
A life, a breath, your starry night?

You see me not, your lasting star
The Mother of the Frozen Rite
I whisper close, that you are mine
Through astral tether, distant kite

The color of the spacious spanse
To guide you to my Dancer’s light
I shine across the oceans wide
From pact of planet’s turning spite

And from the heart comes understanding
Something not quite wrong or right
I call through dreams, my form to fore
The void between the light

YouTube Promises to Stop Promoting Misleading Videos

Believe it or not, there are people out there who believe that the Earth is flat even though it has been proven that the Earth is a sphere. But now, if you make a video on YouTube saying that the Earth is flat, your video won’t be recommended.

For years now, videos about Flat Earth theory, as well as videos about 9/11 and Sandy Hook being inside jobs, have popped up in people’s recommendations.

While this change will affect less than 1% of YouTube’s videos, that 1% is over a million videos on the platform.

Lawmakers have been increasingly worried about the spread of false propaganda that can be harmful to those who have lost loved ones in tragedies like 9/11.

You may be asking how can YouTube and its parent company, Google, do this in the United States? Well, it comes down to Google being a private company.

The 1st Amendment of the US Constitution grants us the right to freedom of speech so why are some people like Alex Jones getting censored?

It comes down to Google being a private company, which means they are allowed to control what content is released on their sites. Which means that you will have to dig deep if you want to hear about the Flat Earth theory or the US Government is Killing People for Fun theory.

While YouTube has done the steps to remove these videos from the suggestion lists, they are not removing the videos from the platform.

Twitter and Facebook are currently trying to phase out the videos from their suggestion lists on their sites as well.

 

To Sell Your Soul- Part 1

Demon deals are perfectly ordinary. Sure they’re a terrible idea, but an ordinary one. And despite the fact that they’re illegal, and despite the fact that demons aren’t trustworthy, and despite the fact that making a deal will guarantee you a spot in hell, people are constantly making them. And, in the especially stupid cases, breaking them. People think they can get away with it by moving away, either to a Haven or a big city, as if hiding behind a barrier or getting lost in a crowd could actually stop a demon. Slow them down a bit maybe, but never stop them, not when they had humans to act as debt collectors.

Continue reading To Sell Your Soul- Part 1

Starbucks to Update Wi-Fi Filters

Starbucks has been known in recent years for great coffee, okay deserts and sandwiches, and some of the best Wi-Fi that a place can offer. But that has resulted in people trying to take advantage of it in all of the wrong ways.

In an announcement on Thursday, Starbucks will be placing new filters that will not allow people to watch porn. These new filters will be in place by the start of 2019.

Starbucks referred to themselves as a “third place” in between home and work for a lot of people, and in order to keep it that way, Starbucks will be enforcing the ban of porn in their stores. Previously, Starbucks only had a rule against using their Wi-Fi for viewing “illegal content…in their stores.”

The company did not have an answer for how it prevented the use of their Wi-Fi for such things as porn. They are also behind the 8-ball as most other companies, such as McDonald’s, went with the ban back in 2016, while Starbucks has just “pledged to place the filters.”

The type of filter is unknown as of right now, but in the UK, Starbucks uses a system called Friendly Wi-Fi, which has been approved by the government for use over there.

Now, for those who use the Wi-Fi the right way, hopefully the internet service will be much faster now without the risks of viruses.

 

Photo retrieved from Ars Technica

Castle of Crows – Part 3

The sky had darkened with the rain, but it wasn’t until the sun started to go down that the large windows that lined the ballroom no longer provided enough light for us to see by. There were no light switches anywhere that we could see, so Macey was forced to end her impromptu ball in favor of finding Aunt Pen for dinner.

As Macey and I made our way towards the kitchen the rain only seemed to grow heavier, beating on the windows with new force. In the time it took us to reach the kitchen, the noise of the storm had swelled so loud it was almost enough to drown out the voices arguing in the kitchen. I stopped upon hearing them and pulled Macey back from the open door when she didn’t. Continue reading Castle of Crows – Part 3

Red Dead Online Has Been Released and the Ratings Aren’t So Hot

Beginning on Tuesday, Rockstar released the highly anticipated Red Dead Online Beta to those who had purchased the Ultimate Edition. On Friday, the beta was released to everyone and oh boy, the mode has been filled with not so much glitches but rather a lack of things.

The lack of content:

So, for an online mode to succeed, there needs to be some type of content, like story mode or events, or something. Red Dead Online may be in the beta stages, but the lack of activities on the mode makes it seem like the only reason it was released was to give the players something, along with patching a few things.

It only took me a few game hours before I had finished the online story mode (more content to be released) and the few other optional missions. That’s a small issue when compared to this next one.

MICROTRANSACTIONS

Microtransactions are here to stay as long as the player is willing to pay for them but come on Rockstar, why does it seem like your Red Dead Online mode has the transaction system of a mobile game? There should not be two different currencies in the game.

It is bad enough that the in-game economy is so bad that it is going to take a ton of grinding to get the weapons and clothing you want if you did not buy the ultimate edition. I can not stand it when your game is more or less a pay to win situation.

That type of system has led to gamers buying fewer of those games. Now, most of the time, you’ll see those games in the sports gaming side of things, but you get my point.

The plotline makes no sense

There won’t be any spoilers in here, but the plotline describing how your character got to where he/she is makes no sense. Where is your “redemption” for this plot? Rockstar aims for a story mode here, but based on what I have played so far, it just seems like another GTA Online but with the lack of flying cars, jokes, and whatnot.

Do not even get me started with the try-hards as they are in every online game.  However, it does not help with the gaming experience.

Red Dead Online is unable to capitalize on the main game’s success for now, and it won’t until Rockstar is able to fix these issues or make the game better.

 

Photo retrieved from Polygon

Florida Man Arrested for Streaking Across Football Field

After this Sunday’s game, police arrested John Morrison for streaking his way across the Hard Rock Stadium.  Morrison’s decision to streak across the field was a protest against the Miami Dolphins’ brutal loss to the Buffalo Bills. When asked to comment Morrison stated that “the Bills are the worst football team in American history, and losing to them was totally unacceptable.” The Dolphins have been having a rough season this year, and they’ve suffered quite a few losses. This one, in particular, has fans riled like never before, and Morrison wasn’t the only audience member upset with the outcome of the game. Many fans had harsh comments in the wake of this loss, some going so far as to accuse the Bills of having cheated their way to victory. Scott Jones, a lifetime Dolphins fan, said he “wouldn’t be surprised to hear about another ‘Deflate-gate’,  or a similar scandal.” The Bills have denied all such allegations, and the Dolphins declined to comment on the loss.

As upset as fans were with the team though, they were even more upset with Morrison. Helen Brannon, whose family has attended every Dolphins’ home game since 2014, had this to say: “I don’t know what the [censored] he was thinking with that stunt! For [censored] sake, there’re kids here! How am I supposed to explain to my kids that some people have such massive [censored] inferiority complexes that they just strip down and run [censored] naked across a  [censored] football field?” Many other parents in attendance seemed to agree with Brannon’s sentiment, though they did balk at her wording. Other fans have cast blame on the stadium staff for failing to catch Morrison before he was able to make his way onto the field, though the cameramen have been praised for keeping the man off of the jumbo screen. The stadium has apologized for the lack of security for the field and has made promises to ensure that it will not happen again.

The Depths-Elixir – Part 1: Wandering the Dark

“How long have I been down this path?” Lazuli thought to himself. He scratched his fingers along the wall, simply glad to have another sound over his breathing and the crunching echoes from boots on stone that reverberated through the tunnel as Lazuli walked on. A sense of time was always the first to go when travelling outside of a large city. Lazuli mentally kicked himself over his foolishness for only packing one time-piece, a rookie mistake. The ticking of cogs was often enough to stave off the maddening effects of travel into the long sections of black road between cities.

Continue reading The Depths-Elixir – Part 1: Wandering the Dark

US Only Country at G20 Not to Back Paris Climate Accord

President Donald Trump was the only person at the G20 summit in Argentina not to sign an agreement to uphold the Paris Climate Accord, but he and 19 other countries did sign an agreement committing to reform global trade.

It is well known that the president does not believe in climate change as shown by numerous tweets, but this is a firm committment to his campaign promise that said he would leave the agreement, which he did just last year.

However, in a huge win for the president, he was able to get an agreement on trade that more or less stated a need for reform. This agreement called for the reforming of the World Trade Organization. A topic of Trump’s campaign was that the United States has been treated unfairly by multiple countries in trade agreements.

The White House is treating the G20 as a victory for the president as he was able to achieve a better deal for the United States.

President Trump had to cut his visit short due to the death of former president George H.W. Bush on Friday.  He and the First Lady are planning on going to the funeral, which is to be held next week.

Trump has made it clear to the entire world that the United States will not be a part of the climate accord and the question now is: Will the Paris Climate Accord succeed without the United States?

Continue reading US Only Country at G20 Not to Back Paris Climate Accord