The Malware Pandemic

Cybersecurity attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so organizations need to be more vigilant. (Author: Gardener)

In the information technology world, Log4j could become the equivalent of a particularly virulent Covid variant - and a potentially greater threat to companies. Log4j is an open-source Java-based utility that logs error messages in software applications. In early December, a cybersecurity officer at Alibaba Cloud service in China discovered a vulnerability — a bug — in Log4j that could expose millions of businesses and other organizations to cyberattacks. Compared to a data breach that exposes sensitive information belonging to millions of retail customers, the dangers of Log4j's bugs are harder for non-IT staff to understand. But as a cybersecurity threat, Log4j could become a disaster of pandemic proportions. That's because countless organizations have the utility on their IT networks—and many don't even know it's there. Log4j could allow cybercriminals worldwide to steal data, encrypt servers, shut down factories, trick companies into wiring them money, and demand thousands, even millions of dollars for ransom. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to protect their IT networks from cyber attacks. In May, the Minnesota legislature established a Cybersecurity Commission to review and potentially update the state's cybersecurity policies. It also becomes clear that almost any company can be a target. Businesses are far from helpless, but they still need to be more vigilant – and better understand the enemy. Theft of corporate and customer data remains big business for threat actors, but the real boom in cybercrime is ransomware. The S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network recorded $590 million in reported ransomware activity in the first six months of 2021, compared to $416 million for all of 2020. And according to a ransomware survey of November 2021 by UK-based cybersecurity company Mimecast, the US Victims interviewed paid an average ransom of $6.3 million. It's being used against almost every industry," says Sean Curran, senior partner in cybersecurity at Chicago-based digital consultancy West Monroe, which has an office in the Twin Cities. Bad guys have expanded beyond "hard targets" like financial services firms, governments and utilities to attack complex global supply chains, which can be as simple as hitting a few small businesses, Curran notes. Ransomware has typically infected a company's network when a hacker steals an employee's credentials via a phishing email or similar scam. "The second most popular vector for ransomware -- some would say it's now the most popular -- is direct exploitation of a server, firewall, or other network component," said Allan Alford, CTO and CISO at TrustMAPP, based in St. Louis Park is and produces cybersecurity performance management tools for Chief Information Security Officers. "If there's a known vulnerability that allows you to attack from the outside and come right in with administrative privileges, you don't need anyone's credentials." What's unique about these breaches is that the malware that infects an organization's IT systems stays there, biding its time, so to speak. "Eighty percent of businesses that are hit by one ransomware attack are hit by a second," said Joe Kingland, CEO of St. Paul-based cybersecurity firm Blue Team Alpha. "The ransomware is not removed properly. Or companies don't step up their defenses after an attack. They assume they paid the ransom, so it's business as usual.” Kingland notes that, on the surface, ransomware isn't particularly difficult to remove. "A ransomware gang can have five or six routes into a company," he says. There is even what cyber experts call "ransomware as a service" (RaaS), where malware creators offer their code to other cyber crooks in exchange for a ransom cut or other ill-gotten gains. S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued an alert about an RaaS company called Conti, whose craft allows its "affiliates" to wreak havoc on IT systems without having to develop their own ransomware. Here's some good news on the cyber front: Businesses seem to be more vigilant about phishing. "It's certainly still a big problem — we still see all these phishing emails," says Curran. A likely reason for this decline is the growing use of multifactor authentication, which requires an employee to provide two types of digital IDs to access a company's servers, rather than just the standard username and password combination. One-time passwords and numeric codes sent to the employee's smartphone or email are common secondary authenticators; Many organizations have adopted security tokens or biometric identification. While multi-factor authentication methods aren't perfect, they "eliminate almost all phishing problems," notes Nate Austin, co-founder and vice president of business development at New Brighton-based technology services provider Mytech Partners. But here's the bad news: phishing is by no means the only way threat actors infiltrate corporate networks. But as in the case of Log4j, a tiny flaw in a widely used piece of software can explode on networks worldwide. A bug could be something that isn't visible, notes Aaron Shilts, CEO of Minneapolis-based cybersecurity firm NetSPI, which specializes in network penetration testing and "attack surface management" for its business clients. More than 50 percent of NetSPI's work consists of testing applications for vulnerabilities - what Shilts calls "the lifeblood of every enterprise". "Modern companies are built on many layers of technology - different modules and software components to manage their customer relationships and deliver their services," says Shilts. Cybersecurity has been further complicated by the hybrid work environment of the pandemic era. "Communication between the company's home base and the people in the field is a little thinner now," notes TrustMAPP's Alford. "And there's a lot of avenues [for threat actors] to get in and exploit that." This is especially true for larger organizations. For example, “If you're working from home and a guy calls and says he's from IT at your company, you'll probably believe him. Because of this, Alford says identity and access management has become one of his company's most important missions. Identity and access management tools ensure that the person logging in is really that person. These tools can also manage and track an identity across an ecosystem of many disparate IT systems. Another strategy Alford and other cyber experts recommend is vulnerability management, a family of tools that scan the entire environment for vulnerabilities that need to be patched. Patching or fixing bugs is essential. There are many vulnerabilities in applications built on Linux or by third party developers such as Apache, the software developer community under whose auspices Log4j was written. And "the ability to identify and exploit [vulnerabilities] is just so much faster than it was years ago," says West Monroe's Curran. IT folks talk about "zero-day" vulnerabilities - newly discovered bugs that are so vulnerable to cyber threats that software developers and vendors have "zero days" to develop a patch, so to speak. As Curran notes, many organizations believe that once they "caught" a threat from their antivirus software and patched the bug, "the attacker has lost access." In reality, he says, it is already too late. Last March, malware attackers exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange, affecting an estimated 250,000 users of the email platform. Organizations applied the provided patch, only to later discover that the malware was still there. Six months after the reported attack, "we have seen massive ransomware deployments related to this original breach," Curran says. Smaller businesses and local governments were among the main victims of the attack. Antivirus software and firewalls are useful and necessary, but they're not enough. Mark Abbott, chief legal officer of Minneapolis-based technology services firm Atomic Data, notes that vendors have implemented automated systems designed to detect threats that are somewhat unusual and do not exhibit known patterns of bad behavior. There are also vulnerability scans that "integrate with and complement your patch management," says Abbott. Another set of defense weapons, called Managed Detection and Response (MDR), combines automated surveillance and response with human expertise. "Many of the toughest vulnerabilities cannot be found with software, automation and scanning," says Shilts of NetSPI, whose penetration testing offers a similar combination of automation and manual deep dives. "Hackers know that firewalls, switches, and even some server firmware are rarely updated unless there's a problem," says Mytech's Austin. Threat actors can attack an organization from these vulnerable locations “unless you and your IT team ensure security. But these devices are among the last things that keep people safe, as updates are often manual, potentially disruptive to service, and easy to overlook.” Cloud computing, for all its benefits, is not a cybersecurity panacea. While the cloud has improved organizations' ability to manage their remote workforce, it has also increased the "attack surface" for cybercriminals. However, cloud providers can be a reliable ally for cybersecurity. "Microsoft spends as much [more] money on security and protecting its [cloud] infrastructure than small businesses combined could ever spend on their on-premises servers," says Austin. Microsoft's security features include data loss prevention, which enables organizations to prevent sensitive data from leaving their IT environment. But as Austin notes, these features won't work if companies don't enable them. Cyber ​​experts consistently recommend ongoing security awareness training for all employees so they stay on top of best practices. With the well-being and even survival of a company at stake, "cyber should be a board-level issue," says Shilts, "because the stakes are high." Larger organizations should consider hiring a CISO; Smaller companies should have an external IT consultant with proven cybersecurity expertise. And companies of all sizes should regularly test their systems for potential vulnerabilities. Like most cybersecurity professionals, Shilts recommends that companies understand their environment, be it on-premises or in the cloud. "But it's one of the most difficult things." Even if the Log4j bug turns out to be less destructive than initially feared, organizations must constantly shore up and strengthen their complex and critical IT areas. 1,800) was hit by a malware attack last summer that locked city employees out of their IT network. Lewiston, in southeast Minnesota near Winona, paid a $60,000 ransom. Then the attackers demanded another $120,000 to unlock network data. But the attack shows that companies are by no means the only organizations vulnerable to cyberattacks. In 2021, the Minnesota Legislature established a Cybersecurity Commission, which met in November. Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, chair of the eight-member commission, says the Legislature recognizes "the importance of cybersecurity in every aspect of our lives," including state and local governments. The state is not particularly vulnerable, at least in comparison. In 2020, the Internet Association, an IT trade organization, ranked Minnesota #1 in cybersecurity of any state. But as Koran notes, "the number and severity of threats have increased." One of the commission's goals, he adds, is "to have a tool in which the Legislature is deeply involved and fully informed, so they understand the threats not only to the entire Minnesota government, but also to our private industry." How The cyber attack on Lewiston shows that even small government units are vulnerable. This puts both the government and citizens at risk, says Koran: "The counties really provide the vast majority of government services." As the Cybersecurity Legislative Commission is building its structure, it is still too early to predict how its work will develop will. Koran says he doesn't expect massive bills from the commission. Instead, he says, there will be a focus on sharing cybersecurity information and best practices across all levels of government. Koran also wants to ensure that state and local governments have the financial and technical resources to create and implement cybersecurity policies, including effective ways to recover should an attack reach its target. As Lewiston city leaders discovered, a successful attack can take place in any city.


Biden is interviewing at least two Supreme Court nominees as the announcement nears

As the President enters the final stages of his Supreme Court selection process, the White House has begun advising allies on how to defend against anticipated attacks. (Author: Gardener)

Supreme CourtJudge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to arguments as high school students watch a re-enactment of a landmark Supreme Court case last December. President Biden is in the final stages of his first Supreme Court nomination -- having completed interviews with at least two leading contenders -- and West Wing officials have begun advising outside allies on how to defend the nominee against possible attacks, the authorities said informed persons on the process. One of the interviews was with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has been on the federal bench for nine years and, according to one of the people, has a background as a public defender. Michelle Childs, a South Carolina federal judge who is a favorite of House Majority Whip James E.C., an influential Biden ally. This person, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to more openly discuss a sensitive topic, did not rule out that Biden may have interviewed other potential candidates as well. The White House declined to comment. With a rollout as early as this week, West Wing officials have begun telling supporters to prepare for an upcoming announcement. Richmond, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, said according to a person with direct knowledge of the private conversation at a video conference call Sunday night with members of the Win with Black Women organization. He urged interviewees to "continue to protect potential candidates from possible attacks on their records." The potential election of Ketanji Brown Jackson would make history as the first federal public defender on the Supreme Court, Richmond said the White House will likely brief only a few close allies and rely on them to spread the word once a decision is made and an announcement is made present. Richmond also said the White House plans to distribute talking points to supporters on how to respond to anticipated criticism of the nominee, who Biden has said will be a black woman. "We know what some of the attacks are going to be - 'Unqualified'. "Affirmative action pick," Richmond told the group. "Well, it wasn't an 'affirmative action pick' when we just picked friends, white friends of the president, all these decades. White House officials said Biden is on track to meet his self-imposed deadline of late February to announce his election, claiming that no decision had been made. "The President has not selected a candidate, nor has the administration given any indication that a specific candidate is expected," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Tuesday. But three of those briefed on the selection process said they expected Biden to select Jackson, who emerged as the front runner shortly after Justice Stephen G. Breyer resigned and would not take effect until this summer at the end of the Supreme Court's current term will , and only if a successor has been confirmed. Biden's vow to nominate the first black woman for the Supreme Court would fulfill a promise he made as a candidate. According to people familiar with the process, he has reviewed at least three candidates for the seat and is considering several others. S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year and is a former Breyer employee; Childs, who was lauded by Republicans in her home state of South Carolina; and Leondra Kruger, a California Supreme Court justice who has represented the federal government before the Supreme Court and is also a former clerk there. The President has said he will select a candidate by the end of this month, giving him a week to meet the deadline he publicly announced at a difficult moment in his presidency. Officials and others involved in the process stressed that pending an announcement, changes are possible in the process of finding a candidate. However, Jackson's appeal to her champions was evident from the start. She has received high praise from Democrats and was confirmed last year with the support of three Republican senators -- a remarkable affair in a Senate bitterly divided 50-50 between parties, although there are no guarantees that the same GOP -Senators Jackson would support the nation's highest court. Jackson would also make history by being the first federal public defender to become a Supreme Court justice. In recent weeks, the sorting out has been opaque to even some of Biden's closest allies on Capitol Hill. Many times, White House spokesmen have refused to answer even basic questions about where the President and his team stood. But behind the scenes, White House officials are preparing allies for an imminent rollout. "If we have to make some calls when the president makes up his mind before he announces it to the public, the unfortunate part is that we won't have the ability to call everyone individually on that phone," Richmond said during Sunday's video conference call . Clyburn, whose influence on Biden has been evident since he helped reverse Biden's struggling campaign with a coveted confirmation ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary, has campaigned publicly for Childs. He said in an interview Monday that "nobody told me" that Biden had made a decision. The South Carolina congressman said he spoke to Richmond twice on Sunday, but they did not speak about the Supreme Court. Richmond and Clyburn have been close since serving together in the House of Representatives. Clyburn said he had a hunch about who Biden would pick, but when pressed, said he would choose to keep it to himself. "I'm not going to share that with you," Clyburn said.


New York Times Editor-in-Chief Dean Baquet says he doesn't regret the newspaper's email coverage of Hillary Clinton in 2016

"It was running news. It was a serious FBI investigation. The stories were accurate," Baquet told the New Yorker of the Clinton coverage. (Author: Gardener)

New York Times* New York Times editor Dean Baquet said he does not regret the newspaper's coverage of Clinton's emails. * In an interview with The New Yorker, the editor dismissed the notion that Trump had escaped scrutiny from his reporters. * "My God, we wrote stories about Donald Trump molesting women — we did the first one," he told the magazine. The New York Times editor-in-chief, Dean Baquet, said in a lengthy interview with The New Yorker that he does not regret the newspaper's coverage of the email controversy surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Baquet, a New Orleans native who received the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism while at the Chicago Tribune, also dismissed the notion that the newspaper did not adequately cover Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. "My God, we've written stories about Donald Trump molesting women — we did the first one. We wrote the first story about Donald Trump where we got a sheet with his taxes — or [Times investigative reporter] Sue Craig got a sheet with his taxes,” he told the magazine. Baquet, the paper's first black editor, who has headed The Times since 2014, is due to retire this year. The controversy arose when Clinton — a former first lady and US Senator for New York who served as the nation's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 before winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 — rented a private email server for the official one Instead of using official State Department email on federal servers during her tenure at Foggy Bottom. In March 2015, The Times ran the story that Clinton had used a personal email account while she ran the State Department. The issue became a focus of the 2016 presidential election, with then-GOP candidate Donald Trump frequently using the controversy to portray Clinton's behavior as careless and potentially criminal. However, many Democrats and media watchdogs criticized the paper for focusing on the issue -- claiming that the paper failed to adequately examine ethical and financial issues surrounding Trump when he ran as a pro-business political maverick who would shake up Washington. A three-year federal investigation into Clinton's email practices found no criminal wrongdoing, but handling the controversy has been cited by Clinton and others close to her as a likely reason for her loss to Trump in 2016. In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that Clinton had been "extremely careless" in conducting her email correspondence, but did not recommend charges. However, in late October 2016 -- less than two weeks before the general election -- Comey told Congress that the FBI was investigating newly found emails that appeared "relevant to the investigation." But two days before the 2016 election, Comey announced on November 6 that the FBI had not changed its position on Clinton. Critics questioned the timing of the writing, arguing that the uncertainty surrounding the investigation had severely impacted voters, particularly those who cast their ballots before Election Day.


The Silent Protest by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell

Young recently pulled his music from Spotify because of the streaming platform's role in spreading misinformation. Though unexpected, the move wasn't entirely a surprise. It seemed chock full of irony, but for longtime fans it also seemed like the youngest thing to do. (Author: Gardener)

Neil YoungIn May 1970, the National Guard shot and killed four Kent State University students protesting the Vietnam War. Shortly thereafter, the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released Ohio, a hard-hitting, optimistic critique of Richard Nixon and the American government. Though the song is delivered with purposeful repetition and skillful harmony, self-proclaimed "Canerican" Neil Young rises to the surface with undisguised fury. More than 50 years later, "Ohio" remains an anthem of protest and clinging to government, and Young is a champion of free speech. Young recently pulled his music from Spotify because of the streaming platform's role in spreading misinformation. Young's decision comes days after a coalition of doctors, nurses, researchers and educators wrote an open letter to Spotify criticizing the platform for allowing Joe Rogan to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to spread. In their statement, they stated, "While Spotify has a responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company currently has no policy on misinformation." Rogan and Spotify's case adds to an ongoing conversation about the role of tech companies the dissemination of misleading information. Particularly amid an ongoing public health crisis marked by conflicting claims with dubious scientific backing, questions remain about what constitutes free speech — and what needs to be regulated to protect the common good. Facebook and Twitter have already faced public scrutiny and legal action for their role in spreading misinformation; Now, it seems, Spotify must face its reckoning. After all, it was his scathing criticism of Southern Man that prompted Lynyrd Skynyrd to write Sweet Home Alabama. While Young's move could easily be dismissed as an impulsive decision by a man who had once written an entire album criticizing Monsanto, the following was even more striking: Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Nils Lofgren all pulled their music also back . The conversation about misinformation and corporate guilt is nothing new, but seems to be cast in a new light when fixtures from the past take a central role in the dialogue. It's like we've come full circle again, navigating the realities of partisanship and protest. But while such artists once penned anthemic songs of anger, their new form of resistance is much quieter. In 1970, Mitchell released "For Free" - a track that has been repeated and re-emphasized over the decades, particularly by the likes of Crosby and Lana Del Rey. Throughout the song, Mitchell questions the spirit of songwriting - the force that drives one to compose not for profit but for free. With her retirement from Spotify, she is putting these questions squarely into focus and putting her principles into practice. She shows that her music is much more than something to be consumed: her work is an extension and expression of herself, and she has the power to decide where and under what conditions it may be played. Just as Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify in 2014, Mitchell and Young have claimed ownership of the fruits of their labor. As Young has stated on his website, "I support freedom of expression. Private companies have the right to choose what they benefit from, just as I can choose not to endorse my music on any platform that disseminates harmful information.” In many ways, the musicians' stance against Rogan is less about 'censorship' and more a power play of the artist. It's a calculated retreat from the structures they believe perpetuate the spread of harmful misinformation. It is simply a form of protest that has adapted to the age and grievances in which it finds itself. Since the 1970s, ethical boundaries have been drawn and redrawn, and the concept of free speech has fallen victim to the changing times. Nobody seems to have the right answer these days — not Young, not Mitchell, and certainly not Spotify. However, Young and Mitchell have encouraged us to take a critical look at the media environment inhabited and the way it perpetuates harmful rhetoric. Her protest may be soft, but it still manages to speak volumes.


Austin Cindric looks ahead to the 2022 Cup Series season's Alex Weaver sits down with Cup Series rookie Austin Cindric to discuss his Daytona 500 win and his preparation for the 2022 season. (Author: Gardener)

Austin CindricExperience the Daytona 500 like you've never seen it before through the lens of the best NASCAR cameras available for the 2022 Great American Race.


The reason you hate Mondays isn't because of work. It is something different.

Weekdays are okay, bearable and manageable. But the Monday blues never seem to leave us. (Author: Gardener)

MondaysBut the Monday blues never seem to leave us. Immediately following Sunday afternoon lunch, we are immediately caught up in the myriad of anxious Monday thoughts. It is understandable that you are afraid of Monday, since you only had two days of relaxation before a five-day work phase. Poor Monday! I've hated Mondays my whole life because I didn't have a clear idea of ​​my week, didn't have enthusiasm for my work, and many other unfathomable reasons. The more I forced myself to love Monday, the more I feared it. Unable to change my relationship with Monday, I began maximizing Sunday. As I unlocked the hidden potential of Sundays, I regretted that I had wasted much of my life waking up late, going out for breakfast, and watching Netflix all day. The reason you hate Mondays is your Sunday routine because what happens on Sunday stays with you all week! The blues you experience on a Monday is directly related to what you did the day before. By using your Sundays instead of spending them, you can recharge your mental, physical and emotional batteries and set yourself up for a great, productive Monday/week. I know you want your Sundays to be work-free, routine-free, playful, guilt-free, and relaxing. That's exactly why this article is for you - I'm sharing my Sunday routine that made me fall in love with Mondays. It also rewired my brain to perform at my best (and keep my stress levels down) throughout the week. Every day we are inundated with information. We are constantly bombarded with information, whether it's from podcasts, social media, books, or the news. Absorbing information is one thing, applying it is quite another. So use your Sundays to experiment with what you have learned. After reading an article or watching a video, reflect on the insights. Don't make it difficult for yourself; Make it easy for yourself by making a list of new things you want to try. Work through the list and discover the excitement of taking positive steps forward. You won't believe how much joy and satisfaction you will have every day. However, you may occasionally encounter obstacles, especially when forming a new habit or staying calm. As long as you have a motive in life, your Mondays won't overwhelm you. As you work to build a passive income stream, use the time to invest in yourself and your future. You're preparing for a future where you don't have to rely on someone else for your income. Sundays are a great day to work on because you have the time to focus without worrying about distractions at work. Even if you want to generate some extra income from your creative energy, there are no better days than Sundays. Here are a few ideas on how to monetize your Sundays while keeping the entertainment and relaxation factors intact: * If you're a speaker who loves local history and monuments, consider becoming a tour guide in your city. * If you're a little outgoing, you can make money by watching people's pets or watering their plants. * Look around your apartment or house for items you can rent out. Start by renting a room. He says it's a bonus as he gets to meet new people and socialize. * People can throw a party in your backyard or classroom if you feel comfortable. * Use your talents by working at weddings on weekends. Even if you don't need money, you still need to engage in activities that keep your brain active. Researchers have found that the brain's vitality increases when it stays active. When you're active, you'll have more energy during the day and sleep better at night, waking up twice as energetic on Monday morning. As we come to the end of this list of activities to do on Sundays, the final item to include in your Sunday routine is "me time" - take back what's yours! Treat yourself to some much-needed attention, care and pampering on Sundays. If you're lost, you can't win anything. When you are exhausted, you can replenish everything in your life. Me-time is about paying attention to your body and mind and aligning them. Spending time to recharge leaves you feeling energized, focused, and ready to face any obstacles that may arise in the future. As a result, you'll be more productive at the start of the week than ever before. So a productive week or a charged Monday is directly proportional to your Sunday rituals. I'm not saying you should cram your Sunday with all of these activities - it's up to you to choose which ones fit your lifestyle. Do things that bring you the most joy and benefit. Sunday is more than just a day of relaxation—it's an opportunity to do things you might not otherwise have the time or opportunity to do. Don't spend your Sundays lying in bed watching your favorite TV shows!


Penn needs to do more to honor Lunar New Year

Columnist Tony Zhou argues that Penn should put more emphasis on the recognition of the lunar new year in recognition of Penn's Asian community, which currently celebrates it. (Author: Gardener)

PennKeep up to date with this daily newsletter with Penn, which rounds up all the top news stories from the top news stories from DP, 34th Street and Under the Button. 34th Street Magazine's "Toast" to Dear Old Penn is a Sunday morning newsletter with the latest information on the culture and arts scene on the Penn campus. Penn, Unbuttoned is Penn's only intentionally satirical newsletter, bringing you your weekly dose of Under the Button comedy. The week's top stories from DP and beyond, meticulously curated for parents and alumni and delivered to your inbox every Sunday morning. Quaker Nation is the Daily Pennsylvanian's weekly sports newsletter, bringing you the latest on all things Penn-Sports. Receive it in your inbox every Tuesday. Toni Zhou | Penn needs to do more to get Lunar New Year Toner's Groaner | Penn should do more to recognize the minority of students who celebrate cultural holidays like the Lunar New Year. Being an international student since high school, I celebrated the Lunar New Year without my family for the fifth year in a row. Like all other Quakers celebrating this holiday, I was trapped on campus, embraced by a bizarre and complicated sense of jubilation, homesickness, and stress. Unlike Western holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, which stretch over longer pauses and give people ample time to go home to celebrate with their families, Lunar New Year can be a uniquely emotional experience for Penn's Asian community . The Lunar New Year marks the turning point in the lunar calendar and is a holiday widely celebrated in East and Southeast Asia. Although different families may have different traditions, the underlying theme is reunion with loved ones. Unlike most western holidays, where it is customary but not necessary to celebrate with the entire extended family, the most important aspect of the Lunar New Year is that people return home reunited with their families. No matter where they are, millions of people travel every year in the harsh winter, sometimes thousands of miles, to see their family, if only for one night. With Lunar New Year's Eve falling on a Monday this year, even most domestic students couldn't make travel plans to celebrate with their families. However, many students managed to adapt to the situation. College first-grader Nicole Zhao recalled her experience of the holidays, noting that "thankfully I was still able to talk to my family and see their faces now that video calling is available in this day and age." For many Asian students, this experience of separation, along with other shared traditions, can be a powerful bonding tool that brings community closer. But just as the physical separation of close family members during the pandemic testifies to the limits to which the internet can replace physical interaction, celebrating a cultural holiday remotely with family will always be different than celebrating in person. Nonetheless, students celebrating the Lunar New Year organize events with other members of their community during this festive period. Alan Zhang, a first-grader at the college, recalled his experience, describing, "For the first time ever, I spent [the Lunar New Year] with friends on campus, away from my family members, eating stew." Self-organized celebrations like a hot dinner were on common on campus. And celebrating with people coming from different cultures is important for the Asian community itself to recognize the Lunar New Year as a holiday celebrated by many different communities, rather than a homogeneous one. SEE MORE BY TONY ZHOU: For many students, celebrating the Lunar New Year on campus seems odd because it's only recognized by the few in the Asian community who celebrate it. It is surprising that the university itself has never sent out a message or announcement recognizing the holiday. College first-grader Joanna Xiang was overwhelmed by the university's lack of recognition, stating, "I'm quite disappointed that the school really didn't put a lot of effort into promoting the cultural holiday." While certain Asian advocacy groups last week hosted events like Lion dance performances in several dining halls promoted the holiday, Penn's decision to remain silent during this holiday or other cultural holidays undermines the mission of cultural inclusivity and makes minority students feel more likely to be alienated. Ideally, like any major holiday, celebrating the Lunar New Year means having fun and not thinking about the next half term or project that's coming up the following week. Many students celebrating the holiday experience struggle to complete their homework during Lunar New Year week, making the experience stressful. While some other universities have professors offering deadline extensions for students celebrating Lunar New Year, most Penn students in the Asian community had to work through their work for the next day of school, disrupting preparations for the holiday. Following Congresswoman Grace Meng's recent bill to make the Lunar New Year a federal holiday, Penn should at a minimum offer housing to students whose celebrations interfere with their academic work, and such action may be the first step in earning Penn's respect to show people's observance of this holiday. The Lunar New Year is a special occasion that is central to many Asian students at Penn. But it's important to realize that unlike traditional American holidays, many students had to celebrate this holiday while attending school. Penn needs to take more responsibility for promoting holidays like the Lunar New Year as part of its mission of inclusion. TONY ZHOU is a college freshman from Zhejiang, China.


Here you can finally play Elden Ring in the United States

"Elden Ring," the long-awaited collaboration between FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin, will be released this week. Here's when it will unlock in the US (Author: Gardener)

Elden RingAfter years of waiting, the launch of Elden Ring is just around the corner and we now have a confirmed release time for the highly anticipated role-playing game (RPG). Developed by FromSoftware (the team behind the notoriously punitive Dark Souls franchise), Elden Ring was first announced at E3 2019. With creative input from Game of Thrones writer George R. There weren't any specific details about its story or its mechanics, and were there any in-game footage to reference. There was a long period of radio silence following this momentous reveal, and we didn't hear anything tangible about Elden Ring development for several years. That was until the project made a triumphant (if overdue) comeback at Summer Game Fest in 2021. While retaining much of the core gameplay of Dark Souls - including its emphasis on stamina bar management, the online summoning feature, and the general combat system (not to mention it even recycles a few animations from older games) - it's also crucially evolved further developed on the formula. For example, Elden Ring introduces horseback exploration and mounted combat into the mix. Differences aside, Elden Ring is guaranteed to still offer that signature FromSoftware challenge that we've all developed a love-hate relationship with by now. With that in mind, you'll have to invest a ton of hours to master this game and learn its various intricacies. Luckily, you can get off to a rough start with this grind if you preload Elden Ring early before launch. Publisher Bandai Namco has unveiled a graphic on Twitter detailing when the Elden Ring will be released in each global territory. While the game is technically scheduled for release on Friday February 25th, some players will be able to get it a bit earlier. The console version of Elden Ring unlocks at midnight on Friday, regardless of where you live. This means some countries will inevitably get it a bit earlier than others, as time zone differences mean Australia and Europe reach 12am ahead of North America. If you're on Xbox, you can trick the system by setting your computer's internal clock to use New Zealand Daylight Saving Time. For those in ET zones, you can then arrive after midnight 18 hours earlier than necessary. You can perform a similar cheat on PlayStation, but you'll need to set up a New Zealand PSN account for this to work. While the console version of Elden Ring unlocks at midnight local time, the launch of the PC edition is synchronized globally. Setting your computer's clock doesn't make a difference, although you'll still get the game early since it comes out at 11pm on PC. UTC on Thursday February 24th. To be clear, Elden Ring is unlocking in the United States at this point: you can preload Elden Ring so it's ready to play as soon as it unlocks in your designated time zone. For PC and PlayStation owners, the option to do so will be available 48 hours before the game's official release. Here's where to preload Elden Ring in the US:


Snoop Dogg celebrates 4-20 at Lincoln

What better way to celebrate 4-20 than with a Snoop Dogg concert? That's what's going to happen when the iconic weed-loving rapper joins the ranks of rising country star Koe Wetzel (Author: Gardener)

LincolnSkip to main contentSkip to main content Enjoy unlimited items at one of our lowest prices ever. You have permission to edit this article. What better way to celebrate 4-20 than with a Snoop Dogg concert? That's what will happen when the iconic weed-loving rapper is joined by rising country star Koe Wetzel on April 20 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The show, just one of two announced for the pairing, was put together by Mammoth Inc., the Lawrence, Kansas promoter who books shows at the Pinewood Bowl and sometimes the Arena. "They're the ones who brought us Cardi B," Lorenz said. “They worked with the management of Snoop and put this together. The idea was to do a 4-20 event and use the synergy of the Super Bowl halftime show.” During the Feb. 13 show, Snoop Dogg started with a PG version of his hit song “The Next Episode” and then closed dr Dre, the producer who launched Snoop's career in the early '90s, on "California Love" and at the end of the 15-minute show with Dre, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar for "Still DRE" Considered one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time, this show aimed squarely at Generation X, the 40- to 55-year-old audience who embraced Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Doggystyle" and the hits "Gin and Juice." and "Who I Am (What's My Name?)" and made him the biggest star of West Coast hip-hop in the early '90s. The 4-20 show will be Snoop Dogg's third Lincoln appearance. In 2001 the Pershing Auditorium was sold out. But when he returned three years later, the show was moved to the Pershing basement as Snoop's popularity had plummeted. However, over the past decade, Snoop Dogg has regained prominence for his laconic notoriety, movies, TV shows, and commercials like his music. "He really came back," Lorenz said. "Now maybe people know more about him from his Corona commercials and as Martha Stewart's sidekick. But his audience has come back, especially after the Super Bowl.” Snoop Dogg is doing so well now, Lorenz said, that the BOK Center in Tulsa put a second show up for sale when his first announced concert there sold out. Koe Wetzel is among the hottest new country artists. Known for mixing rock, even some grunge, with his country, the Texas-born singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer has become a touring phenomenon, selling more than 120,000 tickets in COVID-stricken 2021, enough, to propel him to the top of Pollstar's worldwide touring list for the second year in a row. Tickets for the Lincoln show range from $45 to $125 with all seats reserved. Tickets go on public sale Friday at 10:00 a.m. at You can reach the author at 402-473-7244 or [email protected] Receive the latest local entertainment news in your inbox weekly! Get the latest news straight to your device.


The UPSC toppers are very active on social media

IAS Tina Dabi is one of the most socially active IAS officers in the country. Ria Dabi, her sister, is now also an IAS and very active on Instagram and Twitter. (Author: Gardener)

IAS Tina DabiIAS Tina Dabi is one of the most socially active IAS officers in the country. IAS Tina Dabi is one of the most socially active IAS officers in the country. Ria Dabi, her sister, is now also an IAS and very active on Instagram and Twitter. Ria Dabi, her sister, is now also an IAS and very active on Instagram and Twitter. Check out her latest tweets and Instagram posts below. Check out her latest tweets and Instagram posts below. UPSC Civil Services is tempted by millions each year. Tina Dabi is one of the most famous UPSC toppers of all time. She is also extremely active on social media and has many fans. Check out her latest Twitter and Instagram posts that never fail to inspire students. She also has a sister, Ria Dabi, who was AIR 15 in UPSC CSE 2020. Check out the Dabi Sisters activity on social media for inspiration to UPSC aspirants below. Check out her latest post below. Tina and Ria Dabi the Dabi sisters are one of the famous duo who are IAS officers. It was in 2015 that Tina Dabi cracked the civil service at the age of 22 and was followed by her sister Ria Dabi who also became one of the UPSC toppers in 2020 at the age of 23. Always inspiring those around them, the sisters have spoken in many interviews about the motivation required for candidates to qualify for CSE. Tina Dabi shares various tweets like the ones listed below Tina Dabi was born on November 9th, 1993 and is currently 27 years old. She became an IAS officer at the age of 22. She was married to Athar Amir Khan, also an IAS officer.