The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


January Newsbytes #2


By: Staff Writer Deeksha Raina



Gas prices in the Bay Area plummet by 38 cents to an average of $2.46 per gallon. Over the past year in the Bay Area, gas prices have been steadily falling, with an average of a 29.5% decrease from last year. Cynthia Harris, a spokeswoman for Emeryville-based AAA Northern California says, “we could see a further drop in gas prices beyond what has been happening.” The last time such low rates were recorded was back in 2009. This whole situation was fueled in part by a decision made by Saudi Arabia and other petroleum-exporting countries last November to decrease gas prices but still maintain high production levels.



President Obama is pushing for more affordable high-speed broadband all across the United States. Obama highlights several high-profile cities around the world with incredible Internet download speed such as Seoul, Tokyo, and Paris. In comparison, only a few US cities, including Cedar Falls and Kansas City, come close to those high levels of speed. A quick analysis shows that major US cities such as New York and Los Angeles have disappointingly low download speeds, which can result in the US becoming less economically competitive compared to other countries. President Obama says that in the future, he plans to use executive action to ensure that all cities have faster internet speeds.



People all over the world mourned for the loss of some of France’s best cartoonists after the recent attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. In France’s most violent event in half a century, two gunmen, offended by Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons concerning Islam, stormed the office of Charlie Hebdo on January 7, killing 12 people and injuring countless others. The two suspects were caught and killed on January 9. Circulation of the newspaper dramatically increased, from a 60,000 papers per week to over 5 million as international communities eagerly awaited Charlie Hebdo’s response to this tragedy.



For generations, scientists have questioned whether a truck carrying birds would weigh less if all the birds were flying in the truck instead of sitting. Although it may seem obvious that the weight would decrease, for many years, physicists have claimed that the downward force from the birds’ wings would exert the same amount of pressure down on the truck as the weight of the birds while sitting. Scientists at Stanford University tested the theory and discovered that weight of the truck would actually fluctuate. A bird’s downstroke has double the force of an upstroke, so during downstrokes, the truck will have to carry double the weight of the birds. During the upstrokes, the truck does not carry the weight of the birds at all.


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