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When I was thirteen, I received a graphics card for Christmas. Perhaps not the average girl’s Christmas wish, but this came after some complaining that my desktop couldn’t render long distances in World of Warcraft. It was a good upgrade, but I still felt that my performance was lagging. The next year, my dad and I built a replacement desktop computer and I specifically requested two things: a terabyte hard drive so I would never have to delete a file again to make space for a patch, and a new NVIDIA graphics card. My previous card was nice, but I got the GeForce GTX 250! It could fully render shadows! (And long distances!) Needless to say, my gaming experience dramatically improved with the new graphics, copious amounts of DDR3 memory and a dual-core processor. My desktop ran like a dream, and six years later it is still keeping up and was recently upgraded to Windows 7 from XP.
Hardware is the very beginning of a computer; it is what determines not only the speed and capabilities of a machine, but also if the machine will last. Without a basic understanding of what is inside our computers and how they work, selecting the right hardware can be difficult. A basic formula for computer buying may be that higher numbers (GBs, Ghz, Price) indicate a better performing machine, but that method is too simplistic and may not help you buy the computer that is right for your needs. I hope to offer you here a basic explanation of computer hardware which you may find useful the next time you decide to purchase a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone.
If your computer was a person (and let’s be honest, if you hang out with your computer enough it is kind of like a person to you), the processor (CPU) would be its brain. The processor manages the operations of the other parts while it executes commands, opens programs and otherwise handles the information it summons from the hard drive (HDD) (See Note). The hard drive is where information is stored on your machine for long periods of time. Programs are stored on the hard drive along with your photos, videos, documents, and so on. While the processor initiates a program starting, it is not able to run the program without rapid access to random pieces of information within the files.
Here is where RAM (memory) steps in. RAM is short-term memory, in use when programs are operating but wiped every time the computer shuts off. RAM holds all the information the processor may need to grab at random while executing commands. The more RAM you have, the more information can be held for the processor to use at will. Adding RAM to an existing computer is one simple way of increasing its speed and RAM is particularly useful for people who multitask. But of course, adding RAM only does so much and it is the relationship between all three of these main components – the processor, the hard drive and the short-term memory – that determines a computer’s speed.
For gaming enthusiasts, it is also important to consider the graphics processor (GPU). The GPU may be “dedicated” or separate, in which case it is often called a video/graphics card. A dedicated GPU is exactly what it sounds like: a processor for graphics only, operating with its own RAM separate from the rest of the computer. Computers without dedicated graphics, most often rely on integrated graphics that are a part of the CPU.
If you are shopping and looking at tech specs, you will notice that hard drives and memory are both measured in gigabytes while processors are measured with gigahertz. Hard drive size varies, and can be selected based on individual usage, but know that as RAM goes, 4GB is a good, standard amount of memory and anything 8+GB is designed for higher performance. Another acronym you will see with memory is DDR3, which is simply the current version of memory available (new, and an upgrade from DDR2 when I built my desktop six years ago). For processors, generally the more GHz the better; Intel’s most common chips are the (4th gen) Core i3, i5 and i7. I would recommend an i5 for the average user and i7 for extra performance. Although, since Intel just released (5th gen) Core M processors and will release their 6th generation in the second half of 2015, the processor landscape will soon change.
Waiting a little bit longer to make a computer purchase can have big payoffs. Buying new technologies with an eye toward performance can mean a longer lasting machine.
Note: While I only mentioned hard drives above, many computers now (and all ultrabooks) use solid state drives (SSDs). While a HDD is a disk with a magnetic coding, spun around read and by an arm, a SSD is a set of flash memory chips which store data and require no moving parts. Flash memory is much faster, but it is also much more expensive. An in-depth comparison of the two can be found here.
Tianen Chen, Beau Smit, and Kevin Grow all reached double figures yet the Carleton College men’s basketball team lost the conference opener at Augsburg, 68-58.
First-year Nnenna Ezem poured in 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds, but the Carleton College women’s basketball team dropped its conference opener, 65-58, to visiting Augsburg College.
The research that Beret Amundson ’15 did this summer as part of a St. Olaf College internship program at Hennepin County Medical Center has been published in the journal of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine.
As one of six students participating in the Rockswold Health Scholars program at HCMC, Amundson worked alongside clinical chemist Fred Apple to study the efficacy of the tests hospitals use to determine if a patient has experienced a heart attack.
Amundson worked as a research assistant in the Cardiac Biomarker Trials Laboratory. She examined immunoassays that hospitals use to measure the amount of cardiac troponin in a patient’s blood. Cardiac troponin is a protein released during and following a heart attack, so it acts as an indicator of a heart attack.
“This research is important because it allows hospitals to determine which immunoassay is best going to suit their needs, and which will give the most accurate results when determining whether a patient has had a heart attack,” says Amundson.
Apple and Amundson worked closely together throughout the summer. Apple recommended relevant clinical chemistry literature and discussed articles, the progress of her research, and the process of writing a paper on her findings. Her research was published in the October issue of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine.
The Rockswold Health Scholars program was created through the support of Gaylan Rockswold ‘62, a highly distinguished neurosurgeon at the hospital who wanted to give students the opportunity to work with physicians, research scientists, and administrators in a variety of departments.
He and his wife, Mary Garnaas Rockswold ‘63, established an endowment to help fund the summer program, which aims at providing undergraduate students with training and immersion.
Students are invited to attend lectures and conferences typically reserved for medical school students and residents. They also get the opportunity to practice simulations and even watch doctors perform surgeries.
Through this program, Amundson came to recognize the need for collaboration between researchers and physicians or other healthcare providers.
“The implementation of findings of scientific research is necessary in order for health care to be more efficient, effective, and affordable,” she says.
Amundson will graduate this spring with majors in chemistry and biology. She plans to begin medical school after she takes a gap year — during which she hopes to conduct further research in the field of chronic disease.
“Though I ultimately want to be a physician, I hope that I will be able to do clinical research throughout my career,” she says.
“Doorway to Knowledge.” Jenny Dao ’17 captured this scene at the side door of Holland Hall with her iPhone camera. Click image for larger view.
David W. Dunlap has worked at the New York Times as a metro reporter for 39 years, witnessing an astonishing number of events and helping decide how the press covers them. Currently, he writes a column for the Times called “Looking Back,” reflecting on coverage of items from 9/11 to Joe DiMaggio’s wedding to Marilyn Monroe. One of his recent articles discusses reporter inaction during the AIDS crisis and the day an article about AIDS finally made the front page of the Times, but only after the disease claimed 558 lives.
Today this seems shocking to us, especially in the wake of incessant reporting on the spread of Ebola and its (admittedly small) threat in the United States. How could a disease as terrible as AIDS go uncovered for so long? Did the media not realize it was happening, or did the media simply not care? The Times did not cover AIDS at all until a 1981 article on page 20 entitled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” It recounted the rapid spread of the disease and its danger. Instead of picking up the story, the media published only two articles on the illness that was striking five or six lives a week until the New York Times’ front page article on May 25, 1983.
Dunlap quotes Randy Shilts’ film And the Band Played On when Shilts says the Times was “setting the tone for noncoverage nationally.” Reporters kept their mouths shut for fear of ending their careers by covering the crisis and Dunlap expresses regret over his complacency in the media black-out surrounding AIDS.
So this raises the question: what is different between then and now? If the AIDS epidemic occurred today instead of 30 years ago, would the media almost completely ignore it? I don’t think so. For one, information spreads so much more quickly than it used to, with fewer obstacles to impede it. It is easier for the media to pick up stories that are already sensational than to try to raise interest about a story that nobody cares about. A mysterious and deadly disease would cause people to talk, and news outlets would pick up on that and cover it until everyone was sick of it, as has been done with Ebola coverage.
Also, homosexuality is a much less taboo topic these days. Almost everyone knows an openly queer-identified person, and there are several prominent queer pop culture figures. Now that this is so, the media is more willing to talk about issues regarding sexuality and open discussion about a disease many initially believed only affected gay men in the United States would not cause as much controversy. In fact, it would be expected. Otherwise, the news media would not be fulfilling its duty to inform the people.
However, I also posit that we are not as advanced and open-minded today as we think we are. Yes, you have heard about the Ebola virus constantly in the past few months. Coverage of it saturates your newspapers and televisions, causing fear and frenzy in some people through overexposure. But when did you start seeing all this coverage of Ebola? Was it when the outbreak that has killed 5,000 West Africans to date began in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia? Or was it when the disease hit the United States in August, affecting four people thus far and killing one?
Ebola is indeed a tragedy, but we still only care about it when it affects us and our everyday lives. The same sort of slow-moving action and advocacy occurred during the AIDS crisis, when people suddently realized the disease could affect anyone engaging in certain activities. We have come far in accepting one group of people – sexual minorities – but we have a long way to go in caring about those living in countries far away from us. It’s a substitution of one group that the media does not care about for another.
This article is dedicated to Steven Walker (July 2, 1964 – March 20, 1992).
Audrey Walker ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Mountain Grove, Missouri. Her major is undecided.
Graphic Credit: LOUISA CARROLL/MANITOU MESSENGER
Scared Scriptless, St. Olaf’s improv comedy group, held its annual “A Very Potter Improv Show” on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 in Haugen Theater. Each show featured one half of the group’s actors divided into two teams, or “houses.” The Slytherin and Ravenclaw houses competed on Friday, while Gryffindor and Hufflepuff battled on Saturday.
The night featured various improv games such as “What you got?” where groups of three competed in a mini team rap battle, and “Blind Line,” which required the improvisers to blindly incorporate the audience’s dialogue suggestions into their scene. The weekend was a success, as both nights had Haugen filled to the limit well before the show began.
Scriptless’ origin is unconfirmed, but current members believe it was formed in 2002, when a group of friends met to do improv together.
The group has been growing over the past several years. Casey Bouldin ’15, the president of Scriptless, has seen significant change during her time at St. Olaf.
“My freshman year, the group was lucky to have more than 15 or so people at practice. It’s really the last three years that has seen a boom in popularity,” Bouldin said. This year, more than 30 students attend the Wednesday and Sunday night rehearsals.
Improv, by definition, is a form of unplanned acting that involves multiple actors creating a scene that is based on a prompt. In many cases, the prompt is given by the audience, making the entire show very engaging. Short form improv shows, like last weekend’s, are made up of a variety of three-minute scenes.
“The biggest thing that sets [improv] apart from other comedy, I would say, is the team,” Bouldin said. “Improv is a team sport, and while there are some very talented people who have done one-person shows, most improv is done with at least two people. Stand-up is me comedy; improv is we.”
There are very few rules when it comes to improvisation, but most scenes are anchored by the idea of “yes, and…” This rule helps the scene continue, developing the characters and plot smoothly and simultaneously. By saying “yes, and…” the improvisers are accepting the ideas of their castmates and adding onto them. Rejecting creative ideas causes the scene to become stagnant and die quickly. Such scenes are usually hard to perform and painful to watch.
“The first rule of improv is that there are no rules, but there are guidelines that, when followed, produce really strong pieces. My top three guidelines are to have fun, listen and don’t try to be funny,” Bouldin said.
Scriptless meets every Wednesday and Sunday night in Viking Theater from 9:30 to 11:00. Rehearsal usually begins with some sort of warm-up to get everyone focused and energized after the school day. Announcements follow, and then the group is led in a variety of games that are focused around one particular guideline, such as setting, object work or characterization.
The group performs three shows per semester and one during Interim. The group has had a great turnout this year, and Bouldin said she hopes for even larger crowds in the future.
“We actually had to turn people away for the first time ever, and I want to apologize to everyone who didn’t get to see the show,” Bouldin said. “We’re in the Pause next, so everyone who wants to will be able to get in, I promise. Our popularity just humbles me. It’s incredible.”
In response to anyone who has been hesitant about joining improv, Bouldin said that it’s a group for everyone.
“Scriptless is one of the most diverse clubs on campus in terms of backgrounds and interests, and I think that is so, so cool,” Bouldin said. “Sure, we’ve got a theater major or two, but we’re made up of everyone. English, music, neuroscience, chem, Latin, education, bio – you name it, we’ve probably got it. And for those doubters out there who want to come but don’t think they’re funny or whatever: most people in Scriptless have never done improv before joining, and being funny is the last thing we want from you.”
Mitchell Biewen poured in a season-best 17 points and John Eckert was close to a triple-double, but the Carleton College men’s basketball team could not hold off a late charge from the University of Hawaii-Hilo, a Division II program from the Pacific West Conference, and ultimately lost 81-71 in overtime.
Gabbi Stienstra paced the Knights in scoring for the second time in as many days, but the Carleton College women’s basketball team absorbed a 70-56 defeat at Linfield (Ore.) College. First-years Nnenna Ezem and Kayla Frank chipped in a dozen points apiece.
To say that the St. Olaf men’s cross country team won the NCAA Division III Regional Championships in Pella, Iowa on Nov. 15 would be the understatement of the year. The Oles obliterated the competition, placing five runners within the top 10 finishers and beating runner-up Loras College by a monumental 57 points.
Grant Wintheiser ’15 once again led the way for St. Olaf, winning the 8K race in a time of 24:45.6. The championship was Wintheiser’s second in his intercollegiate career, having won the event previously as a sophomore in 2012. Eli Horton ’15 of Central College attempted to spoil the party for St. Olaf, finishing in second place. It proved to be only a minor obstacle. Jake Campbell ’16 finished in third position in 24:45.6. Just behind him was Jake Brown ’15 in fourth place in 24:50.7. And right behind him was Paul Escher ’16 in fifth place with a time of 24:54.1. Capping off the remarkable performance by the Oles was Phil Meyer ’15, who claimed eighth place in 25:03.3.
St. Olaf ended the event with a team score of 21 points. The total was 30 points better than the 51 the Oles scored to claim the regional championships 12 months ago.
St. Olaf will now prepare for the NCAA Division III Championships in Mason, Ohio on Nov. 22. The Oles are the defending champions, but are currently ranked behind North Central College and the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Both teams will fancy their chances of capturing the national title; however, St. Olaf will be reluctant to relinquish its title of National Champion.
The St. Olaf women’s cross country team will also compete in the national championships, following a hugely impressive second place finish at the Central Regional Championships.
Leading the way for the Oles will be Amy Waananen ’15, who finished in 12th place, Jamie Hoornaet ’17, who finished in 13th and Piper Bain ’16, who finished in 14th place. The Oles placed 26th at last season’s NCAA Division III Championships.
Junior Gabbi Stienstra poured in a career-best 20 points, but a late rally fell just short as the Carleton College women’s basketball team dropped a 76-74 decision at Pacific University. Stienstra’s big game included a quartet of three pointers, one shy of her career high.
In an act of goodwill, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined volunteers prior to election day in their mission to encourage Minnesota citizens to vote. What began as an innocent act of civic engagement ended in controversy and embarrassment when a photo of Hodges posing with a volunteer was misconstrued – by the Minneapolis Police Department, no less – as an endorsement of gang activity. The photo features Hodges (a white woman) and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change worker Navell Gordon (a black man) pointing at each other, a gesture that the Minneapolis police force called a known gang sign. After local news station KSTP-TV aired what was meant to be an exposé of Hodges’ gang associations using these unfounded accusations as a basis, the story was nationally circulated and widely ridiculed for its obvious racism.
Mockingly dubbed “Pointergate,” the story comes on the heels of an open letter Hodges sent to Minneapolis residents that accuses the Minneapolis police of abusing the public’s trust. Police union chief John Delmonico, a source of the allegations against Hodges, has traditionally responded combatively to those who criticize the conduct of the Minneapolis police, and this occasion was no different. Delmonico reacted to this criticism with bitterness, as he displayed in an interview on the KSTP report.
“Is [Hodges] going to support gangs in the city, or cops?” But there are more troubling factors at work here. Gordon was first identified by the news report as merely a “convicted criminal,” which would support the police’s fabricated claims about Hodges’ gang associations. In reality, Gordon does have a criminal record but has been trying to turn his life around by working for Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. All of this reinforces the fact that every one of these allegations was pure speculation, based on nothing more than bitter rivalry and the convenience of Gordon’s physical appearance.
This story only legitimizes Hodges’ distrust of the police. That police officers would allow a grudge to get in the way of clear-headed, unbiased investigation does not speak very highly of their dependability. What’s more, there was no investigation required at all in this case because no criminal activity occurred. The “Pointergate” moniker is completely warranted due to the situation’s complete absurdity; however, this absurdity is tempered by its disturbingly racist undertones that speak to obvious bigotry on the part of the Minneapolis police as well as the ostensibly unbiased news source that ran with the story.
While “Pointergate” is slightly more amusing than other recent stories of police brutality and racial discrimination, it still reveals a concerning propensity toward racial stereotyping that in a city as socially progressive as Minneapolis comes across as pretty shocking. Even more concerning, both the police and the news station are standing by the report despite its widespread ridicule by everything from fellow local news sources to The Daily Show. Both Hodges and Gordon have responded to the controversy, telling the Star Tribune they were in fact just “pointing at each other” in the picture. The fact that this needs to be explained at all is troubling.
With the release of each of these stories, it becomes more and more apparent that the dream of living in a post-racial society that began with President Obama’s election is unlikely to become reality any time soon. In order to achieve it, the sort of racial stereotyping of which the Minneapolis police is guilty needs to stop. While “Pointergate” may stem more from general animosity than racism – which is obviously no less concerning – it could not have come about were it not for the fact that Gordon is a black man whose actions were categorically misappropriated in order to fit in with preconceived notions of his race.
This unfortunate story has tarnished the progressive image that Minnesota has built up lately with its legalization of same-sex marriage, its recent initiatives to combat racism in public schools and its re-election of Democratic candidates like Governor Mark Dayton, Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and State Representative Keith Ellison. “Pointergate” points out deeper social issues both outside of and within our state that need to be addressed.
Nina Hagen ’15 (email@example.com) is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in English with a concentration in women’s and gender studies.
Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER
On Saturday, Nov. 8, thousands of students across the world took part in Code Day, an intense 24-hour event where teams create apps, develop games or launch ventures overnight. The experience is meant to encourage more people to learn programming and show just how big of an impact one can make with these skills.
Past participants in Code Day have gone on to create venture capital-funded startups, get hundreds of thousands of downloads in app stores and more. 14 students from the St. Olaf Computer Club, otherwise known as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), drove up to PowerObjects, a software company in Minneapolis and the regional host for this year’s Code Day.
The PowerObjects office was full of high school and college students alike, setting up their workspaces and warming up for the 24-hour programming marathon. Code Day kicked off officially at noon with participants coming up to pitch ideas and assemble teams. There was a vibrant energy in the room as everyone excitedly got started building their projects with no time to spare. There were participants from all skill levels, ranging from absolute beginners to seasoned experts.
“It was quite inspiring [to be surrounded by all those experienced people and] to see everyone helping each other out,” Nadia El Mouldi ’18 said.
St. Olaf students split into two teams. One team’s idea was to build a “Caf Buddy” app for mobile phones. Jacob Forster ’16, a computer science, math and physics triple major, came up with the idea one day while having dinner at Stav Hall.
“I wanted to make something that people would be able to use so that if they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t have to eat alone in the Caf,” Forster said. “The idea was that if you wanted to get a meal and you can’t find someone to go with you, the Caf Buddy app would randomly match you up with someone going at the same time.” He said he feels that every St. Olaf student could benefit from this app.
“I think we often get into our friend groups and sort of cling to them like there are no other options out there,” Forster said. “I wanted to make an app that would make it easy for people to branch out of their current friend group and meet new people.” Forster had been considering this idea for a while, but had never had the opportunity to implement it. That’s exactly what Code Day is for: providing a space where young programmers can make their ideas and dreams a reality.
Making an app overnight is far from easy, but the participants felt that the experience was certainly worth the effort.
“The best thing for me was getting to work with the rest of the ACM team members for a whole 24 hours straight,” Forster said. “You would be surprised how much you can learn about people when you are thrown in a situation where you all have to work together and constantly help each other to make things work.”
The other team from St. Olaf was largely made up of first-year students who saw the event as a learning experience.
“I wanted to meet people who shared the same interest, and I wanted, as a beginner, to know how these kinds of events worked,” El Mouldi ’18 said. Justin Pacholec ’18 had similar expectations.
“I went to Code Day to learn how to create something out of nothing but an idea,” Pacholec said. “My favorite part was learning how to code in HTML. Only one person out of six on our team had ever coded in HTML before, so that was great learning experience for all of us.”
Their idea was building a Web app that helped users write poetry. Dubbed “Stanza: Elegant Expression Made Easy,” the app is a simple but useful creation. As writers build their poems, the app shows a list of words that rhyme with the previous sentence, and the list changes dynamically and automatically as the poem grows. What started out as a small Web experiment made purely for learning turned into a fun app that made it easy to write poetry and made the words flow intuitively, so much so that the group ended up winning “Best App.”
The app’s simple nature allowed the students to finish early and they spent the remaining time polishing it and adding features. The judges cited its elegant design as one of the reasons that it won first place.
“We’d love to see this more fleshed out, maybe even adding different rhyming modes, or a haiku mode,” said judge and CEO and Founder of PowerObjects Dean Jones.
The Caf Buddy app received honorable mention.
“I personally found it very interesting,” Jones said. “I’m definitely excited to see where you can go with this. I can imagine a future system to match people up based on certain likes.”
Forster and his team have no plans of stopping. They currently have a working prototype and are hoping to expand and release it.
“I envision and hope that it becomes an app that is used commonly here in order to branch out and just meet new people and experience new viewpoints here at Olaf,” Forster said. “I can imagine freshmen using the app to meet new people or current seniors, fully entrenched in their friend group, using it to have a great dinner at the Caf with someone who they may have never met before or always wanted to meet.” Forster said he believes that the app could really make an impact.
“Unless you are in a lot of activities or sports, it is often not easy to meet new people here at Olaf because we are all so busy. So the one thing we have in common is that we all eat,” he said. “Of course, you never know if the person you eat with could become the person you end up eating with for the rest of your life.”
Photo Credit: OMAR SHEHATA/MANITOU MESSENGER
The Carleton College men’s basketball team opened its trip to the Aloha State with 62-57 loss to Division II program Hawaii Pacific University. Sophomore Tianen Chen paced the Knights with 12 points, and first-year Kevin Grow added 10 points.
That timeless tune
Yet it fits an older time
Do you recognize it?
And does it take you back
Back in time
This mental time travel
To a place you’ve never been
Only imagined—From before you were born
What does it say?
What does it touch?
Feel the extension
The long stretch
Thinner and thinner
Clay, putty, plastic, metal
It doesn’t really matter
It doesn’t really show
And that’s okay
Just a façade or is this
The real the new
The way it’s meant
And what did you lose?
Do you even care?
Was it worth it?
Bet it wasn’t
Feeling the smooth soft
Is this right yet?
Have I plunged in yet again
“And what would you recommend?”
Or is everything important
Pages full of bright yellow
Not of pink or blue or orange or green
That’s okay too
But where is the importance?
Dog ears, and kitty whiskers?
Meaning, simple meaning
Can you trace it back
Does the origin even matter?
Of course. – But why?
And is the integral still the same
Forward or backwards?
What about the derivation. I don’t know
“And that’s not okay” – why?
When will you be taken back
When will it show what you lack
Will you travel to a place you’ve never been
Where the rules are different
To a time that never was—
A time and place you could never be
And will you even notice then?
Will you even care then?
I don’t know
I don’t know
And that’s not okay
But it has to be…
“I do have a lot of things to be thankful for, but mostly it’s my opportunity to be here,” St. Olaf College student Halima Ingabire ’18 tells WCCO-TV.
The CBS affiliate profiles Ingabire and fellow student Norbert Abayisenga ’17, two students from Rwanda who overcame adversity to graduate at the top of their high school class and enroll at St. Olaf.
Just a few months into her first year at St. Olaf, “Ingabire is incredibly grateful for the chance to grow in such a peaceful and engaging setting,” WCCO reporter Bill Hudson notes. “She has quickly embraced why Americans devote a day for giving thanks for what they have.”
“I feel like I have family here,” she says.
Seniors Alex Polk and Eric Wittenburg headline a quartet of Carleton College football players that were named All-MIAC Honorable Mention. Joining them in garnering recognition were sophomores Brandt Davis and Chris Madden.
This year’s celebration of Africa Week took place from Nov. 10 through Nov. 16, and focused on the theme “Inside Africa.” On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the festivities included African Storytelling. Students gathered in the Lair to enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and a night filled with folktales.
In previous years, Professor of English Joseph Mbele has narrated these stories, but this year the students rose to the occasion, and five students took turns sharing stories from their childhood.
The first storyteller of the night was Tazo Mnangagwa ’16. He told a story about a vain hare who was put in his place by a tortoise in a race. The tortoise was able to win because he placed other tortoises who resembled him at every milestone to ensure his success. Although the tortoise cheated to accomplish his goal, the moral of the story, according to Mnangagwa, was centered on the hare. Mnangagwa then shared another story about a mean lion and the hare who changed the lion’s ways.
Next up was Nii Akita ’16 who shared some stories from Ghana. His first story was about a spider who wanted to be the best at everything, and how he became the “king of fables.” The spider was given a mission thought to be impossible: acquire the book of everything, from knowledge to lies to stories from God. He was sent to fetch a python, a leopard, a powerful queen bee and a devilish fairy. With the help of his cunning wife, the spider succeeded and won the book that made him very powerful. Akita concluded by sharing the moral of the story: you may be small and disregarded, but once you learn to use your brain, you can overcome anything.
The night continued with various stories which were told in animated voices to a lively audience. The end of every tale was met with applause. Most of the tales were about animals given human abilities and qualities. The hare and tortoise examples of two celebrities in the animal kingdom with wide-ranging acting skills are very popular in African storytelling.
Chandreyi Guharay ’16, the third storyteller, gave a brief summary of how the presence of Africans in Nicaragua came to be. Her story was one of the few that contained human characters. She told the story of a powerful African chief who lived in the northern part of Nicaragua.
“He was like the Jesus Christ of his community, for he did wonders like multiplying foods and vegetables,” said Guharay as she painted his image on an ethereal canvas.
She further explained the relationship the community had maintained with nature, which led to conflicts with the arrival of the British and the disappearance of the community. The descendants of the chief reappeared ten years ago, claiming they were back to protect the people and nature.
Then Themba Jonga ’18 told two stories. One from was from South Africa and the other was from Lesotho. Before he began each story, he enlisted the help of the audience in practicing a storytelling tradition. He said a phrase, and the audience responded with the appropriate responding phrase.
Jonga’s stories were short yet enticing. One of his stories was titled “Why Monkeys Live in Trees.” This story was about a wild cat whose tail was tied to a tree by a monkey, and to teach the monkey a lesson, the wildcat later played dead and then chased the monkey at his funeral. The monkey jumped in a tree in attempt to escape, and until this day the monkey lives in trees and does not come down to the ground because he is afraid of the wildcat.
Daniel Odetola ’16 was the last storyteller of the night. One of his stories was a 30-second story which he described as an example of an African dilemma tale. The story goes like this: a man permitted a snake to enter his mouth and take refuge in his belly, and the snake refused to come out. A heron pulled the snake out his throat, and the man imprisoned the heron, his wife released the heron, and was killed. Which of the three was most ungrateful?
Although the audience was not seated under the moonlight by a fireside to experience African storytelling at its fullest, the Lair booming with laughter and applause suggested that it was a fun night, and for an hour the audience was truly inside Africa.
Photo Credit: MADISON VANG/MANITOU MESSENGER
As if 21 degree temperatures and a barrage of snow weren’t enough to make life difficult for the St. Olaf football team, the Oles faced MIAC powerhouse St. John’s University on Manitou Field to close out its season on Nov. 15.
The Oles needed to get off to a flying start in order to compete with the Johnnies and found themselves in a tense battle throughout the opening exchanges. Despite competing strongly, the Oles found themselves down 14-0 at halftime, conceding a touchdown in both the first and second quarters.
Josh Bungum put the Johnnies out of reach early in the third quarter, catching a 17-yard pass from Nick Martin to give St. John’s a 20-0 lead. The Oles stayed in the contest by blocking an attempted conversion by Alexi Johnson. However, with just under four minutes left in the quarter, Sam Sura broke through the Ole defense for a 21-yard touchdown to give the Johnnies an unassailable 26 point lead. Once again, Johnson’s attempted conversion was blocked by the Oles.
St. Olaf finally managed to put points on the board when Joel Reinhardt ’15 caught a three-yard pass from Nate Penz ’16 with 19 seconds left in the third quarter. Ezra Coughlin ’15 was unable to add the extra point, leaving the score at 26-6 in favor of the Johnnies. Neither team was able to register any points in the final quarter of the game.
St. Olaf concludes its season with a 1-9 record, going 1-7 in MIAC play. The Oles’ lone victory of the season was against Carleton College on Oct. 18. With the victory over St. Olaf, St. John’s (9-1, 7-1 MIAC) clinched the conference title.
Photo Credit: BECCA REMPEL/MANITOU MESSENGER
At first glance, the class looks like any other taught at Carleton College. The room features desks, a blackboard, and a projector. The students tote backpacks and laptops, take notes, and sip their coffee while listening to a professor in glasses and a blazer lecturing at the front of the room. But there is one thing about them that makes this course unique: half of the students are from St. Olaf College.