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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Top 5 Coolest Cars

Have you ever wondered about what makes a car awesome? Think powerful, stylish, and limited edition. Here are some of the coolest cars in the world, all of them powerful, stylish, and of course, limited edition! Remember, these are in no particular order!





5. Ferrari LaFerrari

Priced in the millions, LaFerrari is certainly one of the best cars ever made by Ferrari, and perhaps one of the best cars in the world. Only around 500 of these limited edition cars were made. The LaFerrari can go from 0 to 60mph in under two seconds!







4. Bugatti Chiron

One of the most advanced cars ever built, the Bugatti Chiron is so powerful that it cannot reach its maximum potential with current tire technology. That said, the Bugatti Chiron has a massive horsepower of 1500, and top speed of 261 mph. Yet, the Bugatti Chiron can theoretically reach speeds of around 310 mph with better tires. Imagine how powerful that car must be; 310 mph is almost five times as fast as cars drive on the freeway!






3. Aston Martin Valkyrie

The Aston Martin Valkyrie, priced at $3 million, is one of the most aerodynamic supercars ever. Not only does this car look awesome, but it is styled completely differently than other cars. The top of the car is shiny black, and the back looks like the tail end of some rocket ship from a Sci-fi movie. The Aston Marin Valkyrie is unique because the bottom half of the car is completely open, making it extremely aerodynamic, like spacecraft.







2. Lamborghini Veneno Roadster

Only 9 Lamborghini Veneno Roadsters were produced in total. “Veneno” means Venom, a fitting name for this badass red/black car. Being made primarily of carbon fiber, the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster weighs only 3285 pounds: extremely light compared to the normal supercar or even the average car.








1. Lykan HyperSport

Looking like a vehicle straight out of the Bat Cave, the Lykan HyperSport even has blue headlights to emphasize the effect. Yet, the headlights of this Arabian car aren’t just blue. They’re also diamonds. Each headlight is constructed of 220 15-karat diamonds, a total of 420. The Lykan HyperSport is even customizable with rubies or sapphire headlights, if one prefers a red or blue glow. Of all places to find an exotic car made just for the sole purpose of being extravagant, it’s no surprise that this car originates from the Arabian Peninsula.




What do you think is the coolest car on this list? Are there any that I may have missed? Add your thoughts in the comments below!


Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

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Monday, October 23, 2017

The iPhone X: Revolutionary or Just Creepy?


We all know Apple reinvented the idea of a phone with their revolutionary creation of the iPhone: a touchscreen device with no physical keyboard that combines the iPod, phone, and internet access into one. Just like how they removed the keyboard, Apple is yet again removing another item for a bigger screen: the home button.



Introducing the iPhone X: the newest and most innovative Apple product in years. You might ask: how do we even use an iPhone if we can’t go home? The answer is this: the iPhone X’s navigation is all done using swipes and the new “side button”, which used to be the power button. The new side button can be held down to activate Siri and double tapped to use Apple Pay. With more screen, the iPhone X can display far more at once. Also, the screen is curved, and has the ability to produce true black colors, in contrast to older models that can only display dark grey.





Face ID
Without the home button, how does fingerprint work? Well, it doesn’t. The fingerprint on the iPhone X has been replaced with new facial recognition used to unlock your phone: Face ID. The facial detection can “learn” over time of how you look, so that even with different hairstyles or clothing, the iPhone X will still detect that you are the one unlocking your phone.



One cool (or slightly creepy) addition is that the iPhone X can know when you are looking at or using your iPhone. If your eyes are open and looking at the screen, the phone has options to make notifications and buzzes quieter for you. Weird, huh?





  

              Outside of the screen and facial detection, the iPhone X also comes with new software: IOS 11. IOS 11 is mainly a reorganization of how the current iPhone works. On top of that, the IOS 11 may have a feature that detects when you are driving. If so, the iPhone X can be set to automatically notify people who are contacting you that you are currently driving and cannot respond. No more texting and driving needed – this might save many lives!



                One long overdue, but still awesome, feature of the iPhone X is its ability to charge wirelessly. Simply put your iPhone X on the wireless charging pad, and the phone will charge. An interesting feature is that the wireless charging pad holds charge by itself, so it doubles as a portable phone charger.



What do you guys think about the iPhone X? Is it revolutionary or just plain creepy with its ability to recognize our faces and know when we are looking? It seems like the phone would be able to track our behavior and facial features, but some think it's the next best thing in technology. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why Chromebooks?

Many schools in the Mountain View Los Altos school district have opted to use chromebooks at school instead of Mac or Windows computers. As a junior in high school, I still remember the day when we had those opaque white colored Mac computers that ran around on COW’s (Computers on Wheels). Unfortunately, I also have memories of trying to complete a brochure about Japan while having the Pages application crashing every time I tried to save my file. Apparently the metallic colored new Macbooks were too costly for the school to buy in bulk, so we did not enjoy that luxury. So when my middle school replaced all of the old computers with fast, sleek Acer chromebooks, we were all overjoyed. Never again did we have to deal with slow computers, or so we thought.



Even though chromebooks are much less powerful than a normal computer, they make it up with their speed, portability, and battery life. For a normal computer, I would be happy to have 7 hours of battery life. When I first used a chromebook, I noticed that the estimated battery life was over 11 hours! Most computers can barely last 5 hours, yet a chromebook sticks through thick and thin, refusing to run out. A chromebook is also much faster for browsing the internet or typing essays in Google Docs. Lastly, it is small and light, so it can be carried around easily in backpacks by students just like how a small binder or notebook would be carried.


The reason for the speed and battery life of a chromebook is that chromebooks do not have as many background processes as a Windows or Mac computer. The problem, however, is that as a result of processing less information, a chromebook has less capabilities than a Windows or Mac computer, so chromebooks tend to be useless towards software developers and graphic designers. Yet, as a student, most of what we need to do at school is simply browsing the internet or working on Google Drive. With chromebooks, students have a light, portable device that fits their school needs, perfect for carrying around in a backpack and writing essays for school.

Do you like chromebooks for school? Or do you prefer to use a Windows or Mac laptop? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

Monday, September 18, 2017

Google's Toughest Interview Questions

Have you ever wondered how Google hires employees? Tech companies like Google always ask the hardest and most extraordinary questions during interviews. These questions challenge your critical thinking skills and force you to think fast while the interviewer scrutinizes your every move. Try some of these questions for yourself, and see if you could be the next Google employee!


1. If ads were removed from Youtube, how would you monetize it?

This is a hard one. Monetizing an industry is figuring out how you would earn money from it. And imagine thinking up of something while being interrogated by the interviewer!

2. How many ways can you think of finding a needle in a haystack?

If you could hook up your brain to the internet you could probably figure this one out. Otherwise, you’ll probably have to improvise.


3. Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane.

These are a type of question known as Fermi Estimation questions. The way I would approach this is that we know that there are about 30 rows of seats in a normal plane, with 6 seats in a row. That makes 180 seats. Each seat should have about enough room around it to hold around 1000 tennis balls each. That would make about 180,000 tennis balls to a plane, so I would answer 6 for the power of ten. For these types of questions, you just have to get your within the power of ten. Also, the interviewer is looking for your reasoning behind your answer, more than just checking if your answer is right or not. Still, these are very, very tough questions.


4. How would you explain cloud computing to a six year old?

Honestly, I don’t know how to say the word “information” without saying “information”. I’d probably use the word “stuff” a lot.


5. How would I explain the importance of HTML 5 to Larry Page and then to my grandma?

That’s going to have to be a very smart grandma, or I won't be working at Google anytime soon.


6. Do you prefer earning or learning?

I want to pick money but then I wonder what the interviewer would think.



7. How many cars travel across a bridge each day?

Another Fermi question? Can we please just say “a lot”?


8. How many degrees are there in the angle between the hour and minute hands of a clock when the time is a quarter past three?

7.5 degrees. The hour hand is a quarter of the way past the 3 hour/15 minute mark, which is 1/48th of the entire angle that the hands could go.



9. Why are manhole covers round?

So people can fit easier because people are also relatively round? A popular answer is that a round manhole wouldn’t fall through the hole, but a square one can.


10. Name a prank you would pull on a manager if you were hired.

I can’t tell if they’re asking this to protect themselves or to see if you’ll do anything questionable in the office.





Post Written by Howard W., HW Assistant
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trees


Trees are easy to forget about, despite being incredibly important for all life on Earth. But they take on many different shapes and sizes, creating unique and beautiful naturally occurring art. Here are some especially magnificent trees from around the world!


The rainbow eucalyptus tree (right), also known as the Mindgao gum, is found in the tropical forests in the Southwest Pacific, such as New Guinea. The bark sheds and matures at different rates, cycling through intense tones at different times. This creates the palette appearance of the tree.



  

The monkey puzzle tree (left) is native to the most southern countries in South America, such as Argentina. When the tree was first identified by Europeans, one individual remarked, "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that!", and thus the tree was named.



The crooked forest in Poland is more of a creepy phenomenon. This forest is 400 trees that have a 90-degree bend, mostly northward. In the area surrounding the forest is normal pine trees. There are three main conspiracy theories about the mystery. The first is that heavy snowfall caused the trees to grow irregularly. The second is that tanks in World War II caused the bend. The third and more accepted theory is that farmers bent the trees for construction, but fled during the German invasion.

This last one is an honorary mention since technically wisterias are vines. Wisterias are native to East Asia and are especially respected in Japanese tradition. The Wisteria festival celebrates their blossoming in spring, with Wisteria tunnels, like the one pictured to the right below, where people can walk underneath the tree to see the flowers above.


What's your favorite tree?

Post by Swathi P., Homework Assistant

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lessons from Your Favorite Cartoons

Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, Finding Nemo… Other than being some of your favorite childhood animated films, these movies also had a larger message that you might have skipped over when you were younger. I didn't catch these profound quotes when I was a kid, but now reading these words of wisdom will make you appreciate the moral of the story.

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
First off, my favorite childhood film, ever, is Lion King. Naturally, Mufasa said this inspiring quote, which explains that we must confront past challenges in order to learn from our mistakes. Life is not about avoiding conversations on tricky subjects; it is about embracing them so that we can improve upon ourselves in the future.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."

Oogway, the prophetic turtle in Kung Fu Panda, tells this to the protagonist, Po, when he feels dejected and as if he was not truly meant to be a chosen Dragon Warrior. This saying eases the worry that you might feel in a temporary moment and reminds us that we must find happiness today without endlessly hoping for it in the future.

Your differences don’t define you.
Finding Nemo talks about the little quirks of all of its characters make them unique. From Nemo’s little fin to Pearl’s constant inking (“aww, you guys made me ink!”) and Dory’s short-term memory loss (“P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”), many of the marine creatures in this film have their own little imperfections but don't let their differences stand in their way.

Nobody gets left behind (or as Lilo and Stitch put it, ohana means family) The entire Toy Story trilogy is about toys saving each other. Saving Wheezy from the garage sale, saving toys from the evil neighbor's house, and saving toys endangered by the prospector. 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What's new in Teen?

          Did you know that the teen collection has undergone a massive upgrade?  I'm talking new books, new music, new graphic novels and new games.

          We've updated our K-pop collection.  Sad that there was no NCT 127 or NCT U?  Missing that new Seventeen album?  Wondering when we'll ever get around to buying the newest BTS album for the BTS Army members out there?  Well, it's here (or on it's way).  Some of the albums are here now and ready to go, others should be here soon.  Either way, come and get them, or place holds on them.  They don't have to be in the building for you to place a hold, you can be first in line!
 

          We also bought a ton of new graphic novels.  We've updated our current series but we've got some completely new titles as well. Come check out Maid-sama, Horimiya, Black Panther, Black Canary, Spider-Man 2099, School-live, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun and more.

Last but not least (drum roll please)......

WE NOW HAVE XBOX ONE, PS4 AND SWITCH GAMES!
Yaaaaaaaaay!


          We're only starting with a few but you'll see games like Persona 5, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Dishonored 2, Dead Rising 4 and more.  This is just the first batch, so expect more!

           Also, remember, if you ever want to see something at the library that's not here, let someone know.  The librarians are always open to suggestions and they want to make sure to buy things teens want.  They want your help!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Night Witches

When we think of World War II fighter pilots, we think of the brave men that sacrificed their lives for our nation. But while American women were contributing to the war effort by holding down the home front, young Soviet women in their teens and twenties were on the front lines, dropping over 23,000 tons of bombs on the enemy.
Under the command of Joseph Stalin in 1941, one regiment of female pilots and bombers began to operate under the moonlight. The 588th Night Bomber Regiment was nicknamed the "Night Witches," or Nachthexen in German, because they snuck up on the enemies in the darkness of the night and their only trace was the "whoosh" sound of a sweeping broomstick.

These women were not only young, but they also were incredibly resourceful with the old plywood and canvas airplanes they were given. Their 1928 bi-planes were slower than the stalling speed of the enemies' aircraft and came equipped with no parachutes, but that didn't keep these women from flying over 24,000 missions in their 3 years of operation. 

In the new novel Night Witches by Kathryn Lasky, one young 16-year old girl is called to duty to help take down the Nazis. Living under German threat in Stalingrad, this thrilling book follows the reality that many young pilots faced as the first women to ever fly in combat in history.

My personal favorite part of the story is the fierce feminism that these women displayed. They may have decorated their aircraft with flowers and had to borrow old men's uniforms, yet, the German airforce feared these women so much that they automatically were awarded an Iron Cross for shooting down a Night Witch. 

If you want to learn more about this enticing story of leading females in history, make sure to check out Night Witches to read it for yourself. Comment what you think of it once you're done, and enjoy!

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Monday, May 1, 2017

Image result for summer scene
It's almost summer and that means it's time to sign up for Teen summer programs at the library!

We've got some favorites - henna, beaded jewelry, hula - and some brand new programs - folded book art, learn to solder - there's something for everyone!

Registration for programs is open now! Click here to go to the summer program flyer. Click on the name of any program you want to register for and the registration page for that program will open in your browser.

Sign up for as many programs as you want, but only for programs you are going to actually attend!

Questions? Email marie.richardson@mountainview.gov

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A New Exoplanet


Almost forty light years - or 240 trillion miles -  from Earth, scientists have discovered a new planet: LHS 1140b.

An international team of astronomers in Chile recently discovered this rocky exoplanet. Approximately 6.6 times the mass of Earth, LHS 1140b has a very dense iron core, scientists hypothesize. It is close enough to Earth for scientists to view with the next generation of telescopes. The dwarf star that the planet circles is close enough to not only have water, but also to sustain life. These two criteria - distance from Earth for telescopes and the amount of starlight received for water - are obstacles that are not found in a lot of planets. Astronomers have found 20 planets around Earth's size that might support liquid water, but LHS 1140b stands out because of its proximity to Earth.

Already, astronomers are able to conclude that the conditions are very stable on this planet, without high energy flares and a milder climate.

MEarth-South Telescope in Chile
With new telescopes, both already in use and of the near future, scientists will be able to learn more about planet's conditions. With telescopes in Chile, the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere can be detected. In 2018, NASA will launch James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to detect the presence of ozone. In 2025, the The Giant Magellan Telescope will be able to discover even more. Understanding the atmosphere of new planets can reveal a lot about the planet, because with a thick enough atmosphere, winds can distribute the heat and make the exoplanet livable.

What do you think about this new planet?

Post by Swathi P., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Memes!

From Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, and various online outlets, you can find Internet memes. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a meme is simply a picture, phrase, or video that becomes viral. A meme, in its essence, should never be questioned for it is random and no one knows where it originates. Generally popular among teens, parents look at Pepe the Frog and ask, what’s the hype? Thus, I want to go through and list the best memes in the last year.

Salt Bae
You know the guy. He is actually a Turkish chef that literally sprinkles salt on his food just as his viral Instagram video shows, making a dramatic finishing touch to his steaks. Honestly, I think anyone who looks at this photo finds it funny. I love memes.

Cash Me Outside (How Bout Dah) aka Danielle Bregoli on Dr. Phil
So this is a 13 year old girl that has serious behavior management issues, and her iconic line “Cash me outside” is all part of the language she learned “from the streets,” as her mom puts it. This girl was out of control on Dr. Phil, offending both the doctor and the audience.  She has literally blown up since then, and she now has over 5 million followers on Instagram. 

                                               Kazoo Kid (Trap Remix)
THIS is one of the best things on the internet. Kazoo Kid cannot be explained with mere words. You must follow this link to see him in his full glory. It is just a very odd episode from a '90s children’s show called Special Friends that has been resurfaced. The things the kid says, “I like to sing, dance, pretend, and have fun!” make this strangely hilarious. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/you-on-kazoo

Brain memes
This meme is a series of glowing, scientific images of the brain that are meant to show a level of being mind-blown. The brighter and bigger the brain photo, the more incredible the subject of the meme. Sounds odd but I promise it is ironically funny once you find the right one.

PPAP
"I have a pen, I have pineapple… Pen Pineapple Apple Pen." Do you love the Japanese man in shades and a yellow suit, or do you loathe him for inventing this catchy, obnoxious tune? No one can quite explain why an artist would go to such lengths to produce a song with odd lyrics, and that is why this meme is pretty darn funny.

Jelly Belly Pet Rat Gummy Candy
 Most underrate meme out there. It's a viral video by the Youtube channel runforthecube, in which a narrator intentionally mispronounces words as he opens a package with a gummy rat inside. You must see it to believe it, please do click out of this tab to watch it if you haven’t already.

Harambe
RIP 2016, he was more than just a gorilla. Enough said.

So that’s your 2017 meme count so far, but expect many more to come. My favorite meme of all time is “Bad Luck Brian,” I’d love to read your favorite in the comments!

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Most Powerful Computer

The computer has become a key element of our future, and especially in our Silicon Valley, they are central to innovation and technology. For example, a computer AI used machine learning to develop its abilities to eventually defeat the world’s best players in both chess and Go. With all the computers that are being made around the world, they have become commonplace in our lives. The processing power of computers is truly mind-blowing, able to do millions of calculations per second. If you can, imagine a computer thousands of times as powerful as the computer you are reading this with. Process that thought for a second, and think about how many thoughts you were able to have compared to the sheer number of calculations a computer like that could do in the same amount of time. The computer that you are imagining is the Sunway TaihuLight: the most powerful computer in the world.




The Sunway TaihuLight, a Chinese supercomputer, was completed in June 2016, completely toppling over the old reigning supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, with its max processing power of 125 petaflops per second, which happens to be several times more powerful than the Tianhe-2. To put that into perspective, a petaflop is 1000 teraflops, or 1 with 15 zeros behind it. That’s how many floating point operations it can do in just one second! As humans, we could probably only do one, maybe two calculations in a second. With the Sunway TaihuLight, China now has the world’s fastest two supercomputers, both of which are more than TWICE as fast as the 3rd fastest computer in the world, the Titan, an American computer.


The TaihuLight has custom-designed SW26010 processor, and compared to older supercomputers computers, which averaged around 2 gigaflops per watt in terms of efficiency, the TaihuLight is able to run at about 6 gigaflops per watt. In other words, the TaihuLight can do three times the work with the same amount of power!

Overall, the TaihuLight took $270 million to make including the research and creation of the supercomputer. Do you think that America will be able to top China’s supercomputer in the coming years? Or will China remain the world’s leader in supercomputers? Write your thoughts in the comments below.





Post Written by Howard W., Homework Assistant

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Haunted Places

Ever been spooked by a creaking in your house, an apparition in the corner of your eye, or something that seems just a little supernatural? As it turns out many spooky local places share their tales of haunted spirits and curses. Which one of these spots will you visit?

     Winchester Mystery House

A widow to a wealthy man, Sarah Winchester was left alone and found comfort in building a mansion, so she ordered for 24/7 construction until her death. The 160 rooms, "doors that lead to nowhere", and odd details were part of the $5.5 million she spent on this spooky place. Sarah’s spirit is said to loom in the halls of this haunted mansion. On Halloween night, you can even tour it in the dark!

      Redwood Road Castro Valley
There is supposedly a preschool at the end of this road where a man stabbed a bunch of people with a single knife in 1980s. Urban legend? Maybe, as I couldn’t find anything really substantial on this occurrence. But get this: the only evidence left of the old preschool is its swingset, that has swings move by themselves with no explanation. Creepy...
                                                                                     City of Colma
Known as the “City of Souls,” Colma is a small town between Daly City and Millbrae that houses more dead than living people. In a span of two square miles, there are 2 million people buried in 17 different cemeteries and only about 1600 residents. San Francisco passed a law against burying people on valuable city space, so the dead folks are now sent to Colma. 

     The Blue Lady of Moss Beach Distillery
70 years ago a woman in a prohibition-era Moss Beach had an affair with a man named Jack and they shared romantic walks alongside the coast by the Distillery. She died tragically by falling off the cliff, and ever since then, multiple people have reported spotting a lady in blue late at night in the vicinity. 

       China Town Ghost Tour
So basically, you can travel through the streets of San Francisco’s China Town at night and go to a lair where a magician supposedly conjures up a Chinese spirit before your eyes. You get a bonus by learning all about the folklore and history of China Town. Just make sure to reserve your tickets in advance!

Which of these places will you visit? Stay safe out there and let me know if you find any supernatural activity.


Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant