A peek into the topics buzzing at Cassandra

It's Friday! Time to talk about the most relevant internet news of the past seven days. Culture moves fast, and we at Cassandra try to move even faster to keep up with all the relevant issues Gen Z can't stop discussing. This week has been a busy one, so today, we won't have time to dive into Apple's announcement of their new VR headset beyond this very important Succession meme. Instead, we will discuss NYC's air quality crisis, the 14-year-old animator in Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse, and how the US celebrates Pride with a Human Rights emergency. Welcome to this week's edition of Viral News!

Image of a smoggy New York City skyline


All you need to know about Gen Z's reaction to the Dune-post-apocalyptic aesthetic that the northeastern United States, and specifically New York City, went through as a result of the Canadian wildfires this week is in this Wes Anderson-styled TikTok. The unprecedented fires caused by climate change and human negligence (yay us!) produced a massive cloud of smoke that's currently traveling south along the East Coast. It's such a concerning event that Gen Z took to social media to make poignant remarks as satirical videos highlighting the situation's dangers and absurdity. Some videos showed panic and asked for advice, but others were calm and aesthetic. The low air quality made some even argue that Dyson was onto something with their headphones/breathing device, Dyson Zone, arguably inspired by Blade Runner —and we apologize for all the sci-fi references in this section— that was mocked just a couple of months ago.

Image of an animated Lego Spiderman from Preston Mutanga


Preston Mutanga, the Gen Z who, at only 14 years of age, landed a job on one of the most anticipated superhero movies of the past years, is now receiving all the recognition he deserves. After learning how to animate in Blender 3D from his dad and Youtube tutorials, he created his own channel (LegoMe_OG) and Twitter handle (@FG_Artist), where he posts CGI-animated content that tends to go viral. One of his hits was a recreation of the Spider-man: Across The Spider-verse trailer using legos. The video reached the film's writers, and they contacted the teenager to get him on board by having him animate the Lego sequence of the movie. The self-thought prodigy claimed to do his part of the film after finishing homework and during spring break. If this isn't a testament to the internet's reach to teach younger generations new skills, we don't know what it is!

Image of an empty highway surrounded by mountains with the text, "Anti-LGBTQ+ laws? Know before you go."


Just a few days ago, Cassandra released The 2023 Summer Travel Bulletin: Traveling with Pride, highlighting how much the LGBTQ+ love to travel but also struggle with the burden of safety when selecting destinations and activities. The current climate of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation popping up in many states around the country has made LGBTQ+ folks more susceptible to attacks, discrimination, harassment, and homophobia, pushing the Human Rights Campaign to declare a first-ever state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans. Along with a national warning, HRC released a downloadable Travel Guidebook focused on the safety of LGBTQ+ residents and travelers with information and useful resources pertaining to each state. Although some young people have expressed through social media posts and comments how this scary situation brings anxiety to their lives, they are also determined to keep going and to celebrate their month by giving visibility to all these matters. Just ask these Alphas!