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Bridget Garnier, Geoscience Assistant, presented “Using Sketching Software With a Virtual Tutor to Increase Sketching and Spatial Skill Development in a Classroom Environment” at the recent Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver.
By Jake Hauschild ’15, PoliticOle Columnist
“Stop voting. Stop pretending. Wake up! It’s time to be in reality now. Why vote?! We know it’s not going to make any difference!”
Comedian Russell Brand, apparently healed from his recent divorce with Katy Perry, made quite a splash on Wednesday when he, on BBC’s Newsnight, criticized even the idea of voting in a political election, calling voting a false sense of authority “based on a preexisting paradigm … that only serves a small group of people.” This comes only two weeks before the U.S.’s November 5th Election Day, where citizens across the States will vote to elect mayors, city council members, U.S. Congress seats, state legislature seats, and two gubernatorial positions.
This is certainly not the first time that Brand has spoken out on politics. The actor has previously mocked the British social classification and monarchical system and condemned the media’s narrative take on politics. Even so, this is without a doubt the fiercest, and most revolutionary, political criticism he has publicly made, essentially asserting that democracy under the current “erroneous and duplicitous” system does not work, and calling for an alternative form of authority that doesn’t “destroy the planet, create massive economic disparity, [and] ignore the needs of the people.”
The video of the interview has gone viral, receiving almost 4,000,000 views in its first 48 hours. It prompted Time Magazine to, perhaps facetiously, call him the “world’s greatest thinker.”
Brand’s message may speak strongly to many American voters, still frustrated with the congressional brokenness exposed by the government shutdown, as they head to the voting booths soon to elect new officials into office. Some are surely hoping that it does. While the interview certainly did not encourage democratic participation, Brand did say that “when there is a genuine alternative … let’s vote for that. But until then, why bother?” Many candidates currently running for office believe they are indeed that genuine alternative for their respective regions. Democratic New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, Green-endorsed Socialist Minneapolis city council candidate Ty Moore, and Socialist Seattle city council candidate Kshama Sawant are among those who huge messages of social and economic change and have legitimate chances of winning their elections.
Of course, skeptics, Brand included, would likely cite the prophetic declarations of change that then-candidate Barack Obama offered, which have debatably ended in disappointment for all but his more moderate supporters.
According to Brand, there is no doubt in his mind that a revolution, whether through democratic means or otherwise (probably the latter), is going to occur. It’s hard to know whether or not he’s right. Either way, his argument is worth deep consideration, even if that consideration, much like my own, is compelled by the desire to hear his funny accent. Because let’s be real. It is pretty funny.
Jake Hauschild ’15 is a Political Science Major with concentrations in Latin American Studies and Statistics from Kasson, MN. Jake is a regular columnist for The PoliticOle. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Carpenter, Professor of French, presented a paper entitled, "Benjamin: Translating Allegory," at the annual colloquium of Nineteenth-Century French Studies, held in Richmond, Virginia. The paper focused on Walter Benjamin's theory and practice of translation as it relates to the understanding of allegory.
Monica Bruckner, Geoscience Assistant, presented “Using the On the Cutting Edge RTOP Instrument to Characterize How Geoscience is Taught” at the recent Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver.
Senior forward Simon Ginet was honored with the MIAC Elite 22 award over the weekend for his success in the classroom and on the field.
When you think of movie music, you probably first think of big, emotional soundtracks. You think of monumental and memorable movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Lion King” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. If you are interested in film scores, you even think of the names behind them: John Williams (“Star Wars” and “Harry Potter”), Hans Zimmer (“Inception” and “The Dark Knight” trilogy) and Danny Elfman (“Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Spider-Man”).
I am obsessed with film music. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my hundred-plus-song “Best of Film Soundtracks” playlist and has seen me lose myself in it multiple times a day. Most of the songs on that list are from sweeping, orchestral soundtracks, written and directed by the composers listed above and others like them. But the future of soundtracks may be changing, and that “most” may become “some” or even just “a few.”
With a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Tron: Legacy” may not be the most successful (or timely, given the 28-year gap) film sequel ever produced. The soundtrack, on the other hand, received more positive reviews and even won the award for “Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film” from the International Film Music Critics Association. On their list of the 50 coolest movie soundtracks, ShortList said of the album, “It might not have been full of dance floor slayers, but it certainly displayed a wondrous versatility to [Daft Punk]. One that should see them score soundtracks for years to come.” Yep, if you didn’t know, “Tron: Legacy” was scored by the famous electronic duo, Daft Punk, and as far as I’m concerned, they did a spectacular job – at least enough to earn a few spots on my prized list of movie music favorites.
This trend of pop and rock artists scoring movies is not entirely new (think Cat Stevens for “Harold and Maude”), but it is picking up. Just last week, Pharrell Williams and a conglomeration of rockers were commissioned to help Hans Zimmer compose and produce the soundtrack for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” – a significant deviation from the soundtrack for the first movie, scored alone by James Horner (“Titanic” and “Avatar”).
For those thinking “Blurred Lines” and cringing, allow me put your mind at ease. While much of Pharrell Williams’ music is more along the lines of pop and hip-hop, he has been steadily and successfully easing into the cinematic music world in his work on “Despicable Me” and the 84th Academy Awards, both collaborations with Hans Zimmer.
And therein lies my point: musicians from pop, rock, dance, hip-hop and other genres are making substantial contributions to the world of film music, and there is a chance that this is the start of a new trend in composing.
Other examples of mainstream musicians going film-ward include:
–“The Social Network”: scored by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.
–“Requiem for a Dream”: Composer Clint Mansell was previously the guitarist, composer and lead singer for an alt-rock band in the 80s and 90s.
–“The Royal Tenenbaums”: scored by Mark Mothersbaugh, who co-founded the cult-classic New Wave group Devo.
–“The Princess Bride”: Mark Knopfler, the lead guitarist and singer of Dire Straights, wrote the score for this cult-classic.
Is there evidence that the trend will persist and flourish? Well, it isn’t as though it hasn’t been happening for some time, but with technology making production much easier and film music gaining so much attention, chances are that more and more popular music artists will consider making the leap to “scoring” over “writing.” At the very least, I believe we can expect to see a few more musicians dabbling in musical fields that are outside of their usual expertise.
If you haven’t been paying attention the last month or so, then you won’t know that the government was shut down. As in, “we are Congress, hear us roar,” shut down. Now if that alarms you, please don’t worry about it! Congress, led by senators from both sides of the aisle, agreed on a budget solution and a deal to raise the debt ceiling. But wait, is this a moment for celebration? Isn’t this compromising, hard bargaining, “get-stuff-done” attitude supposed to be what Congress should be doing in the first place?
I would argue that it does not seem unreasonable to expect congresspeople, both Democrats and Republicans, to be unhappy about a deal that is ultimately about compromise. The individuals of the Tea Party movement, however, are more than unhappy. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Oh boy, a college student is going to bash the Tea Party for being too conservative to function, how original.” I will be the first to say that I disagree with the Tea Party’s positions on almost every issue. That is, however, not my point in this column.
The fact that there is a subset of senators, representatives, lobbyists and strategists in Washington, D.C. that is actively attempting to work against functioning government sickens me. As a movement, the Tea Party is extremely popular with those whose voice often gets lost in the shuffle of the rank and file Republican party. They also are a group that utilizes the American people’s fear and distrust of their government to gain political power and throw useless attempts (a jerry-rigged government shutdown for example) to get their name out and, frankly, showboat.
Literally minutes after the Senate passed the deal to reopen the government, Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi Republican state senator, announced his candidacy against veteran Republican Thad Cochran. He states in his email to supporters and potential donors that Cochran’s vote on a deal to open up the government was “more of a surrender than a compromise.” Which is, in his eyes, technically true.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is another establishment Republican in the cross hairs of Tea Party activists and strategists, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, strategist Jim DeMint or Iowa’s Representative Steve King.
The goal, as illustrated by DeMint in an interview with New York Times, is to unseat those who are willing to compromise in Washington. This is a nightmare for Republican party strategists like Karl Rove who see their establishment candidates unseated by far-right Tea Party candidates, only to be knocked off by center-left Democrats. As of Oct. 28, Rove has not pledged any money from his Super PAC (American Crossroads) to any Tea Party candidates.
If the Republican party is going to survive the Tea Party, veteran leaders are going to have to be on top form, or it is going to cost the party the 2016 election. Certain members of Congress have even flirted with the idea of breaking off from the Republican party.
Though third parties have only a small significance in most elections, the percentage of those not voting Republican could tip the balance of power in favor of the Democrats by essentially splitting the Republican party. Compromise isn’t sexy, compromise isn’t fun, and compromise isn’t easy – but it’s what needs to happen in Washington. Obstructionism, on either side of the aisle, does a great disservice to democracy everywhere. Bold statements for a big problem.
If Cupid’s bow is known for being erroneous, then why can’t one take matters into one’s own hands and control one’s own dating life? In fact, that is exactly what many are trying to do through online dating websites.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, online dating’s approval rating has increased 15 percent since 2005. This change in attitude can be partially attributed to the prevalence of dating websites in our media.
We’ve all seen the commercials: the dancing duo laughing silently as a voice-over promises that you, too, can find happiness, provided you sign up for the advertised dating website. However, these cameos often leave one wondering about the success of the sites.
This doubt has spawned a negative stigma. By making an online profile, a person can earn a reputation as “desperate.” Twenty-nine percent of the members of the Pew study originally deemed it so, and that number only decreased to about 21 percent with the study’s recent update.
But is that really our societal definition of “desperate”? What if you live in a foreign city and only know a few dreadful co-workers with whom you have no connection? What if you have had countless dates fall through? Is it truly that terrible to use the Internet to seek out others with similar interests?
With the rise of technology and the Internet’s expanded capacity, communication has become easier than ever, making it possible to find a long-lost childhood friend, for example, in minutes on social media websites such as Facebook. It seems only natural that sites geared toward finding relationships would follow.
And yes, as the more notorious parts of the Internet involving sexual subjects have increased, it does seem logical that sites encouraging casual hookups would also increase. Whether we care to admit it or not, the Internet functions as a reflection of our society.
Despite the increase of digital courtship, still only one in ten people will actually admit to their participation in online dating. Some people attribute this to embarrassment, wishing they had a “cute story” of how they met their partner. As a result, they sometimes create a façade.
But why is seeming “cute” a valid pressure? There is no need to craft the tale of how you met your boyfriend after he saved you from an arduous death by an anaconda while you were exploring the Amazon, when, in actuality, he really only digitally saved you from a night alone.
Dating websites help comb through personality traits and interests and help rank priorities. Then, they can match you with people who reported similar interests and priorities. Contacting these people is still up to you; you are not under any obligation to respond to any inquiries, and you can review profiles to learn more about potential dates. Users of dating sites still must take a few actions – online dating is not entirely free of agency.
The sites can introduce you to people you may not normally have had the chance to meet in everyday life. They save you the trouble of wandering around your city, hoping to blindly meet someone who enjoys disc golf or hiking as much as you do. One of those digital dates could end up a friend or something more, depending on what level of relationship you seek.
However, dating and love are never simple, meaning that online-based relationships also have their faults.
Users of online dating sites should exercise caution. As implied in the negative stigma, there is a level of superficiality that can define the sites. Your profile is whatever you choose to reveal or post, meaning that you can intentionally or unintentionally lead on those who choose to contact you. This can stem from many sources: a profile picture taken ten years ago after you had completed a marathon or simply a lack of insight into your own interests.
It is important to remember the value of honesty when dealing with the Internet, as many can use the computer screen as a smoke screen to show how they wish they were.
All things considered, though, I think that these sites can genuinely work if taken seriously.
Julia Pilkington ’17 (email@example.com) is from Santa Barbara, Calif. She majors in English and theater.
Image by Emma Johnson
Sports fans are an intense group. Their loyalty to their team is extreme, and they are deeply invested in their team’s success. This passion helps explain the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins football team.
For some time now, the Redskins’ name and logo have been criticized for being disrespectful and racist towards Native Americans. Over the years, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to change the name, but recently the efforts have been gaining steam. Even President Obama voiced his opinion, saying that he would think about changing the mascot if he were the owner of the team.
While there has been a lot of media coverage of this issue, it is almost certain that the name will not change in the near future. Leaders of the Oneida Indian Nation recently met with NFL officials regarding a name change. After the meeting, the Nation’s representative Roy Halbritter said he was “disappointed” with the NFL’s refusal to consider a name change. Team owner Dan Snyder has publicly defended the team’s name multiple times. Snyder has made it very clear that while he owns the franchise, the name will not change.
It must be clear that no one is claiming that Washington fans are racist. Fans don’t oppose a name change because they want to offend Native Americans. They just don’t want the representation of their favorite franchise to change.
For sports fans, rooting for a team is about more than just cheering for the players on the field. Players come and go all the time; some are traded, some retire. A fan’s favorite player can change, but their favorite team is constant. Fans invest so much in their team that changing the name seems unthinkable.
This might not make sense to some people, but to Washington fans, it is about loyalty. In a letter to fans regarding the name change, Snyder calls the name a badge of honor. I’m sure that many Washington fans agree with Snyder.
Here’s the problem, though: If you aren’t a Native American, then you don’t get to decide what is offensive and what isn’t. If Native Americans say that the word “redskins” offends them, then we have to believe them. It’s up to the rest of us to decide whether or not we keep using the word, knowing that some consider it offensive.
Peter King is a well-known and highly respected sportswriter. He has a weekly column for Sports Illustrated called Monday Morning Quarterback. In his Sept. 5 column, King wrote that he would no longer be using the name “Redskins.”
“Here’s what it came down to for me: Did I want to be part of a culture that uses a term that many in society view as a racial epithet? The answer kept coming back ‘no’,” King wrote.
Since it does not look like a name change is coming any time soon, all football fans will have to make this decision personally. Many will say that the name represents a team and a city and is too important to change. I understand their reasoning, but I disagree. If Native Americans consider the name a racial slur, then it’s time that I stopped using the name.
firstname.lastname@example.orgGraphic Credit: ALLI LIVINGSTON/MANITOU MESSENGER
The Multicultural Affairs office (MCA), International Student Organization (ISO) and Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC) sponsored International Awareness Week from Nov. 4-8. The week’s events, which included panel discussions and a display between Boe Chapel and Buntrock Commons, ends Friday with International Food Night. Groups representing various cultures and ethnic groups will be serving their respective cuisines in seven honor houses.
International Awareness Week is “an opportunity for the student body to become educated about some aspect of international affairs which the committee – the International Awareness Week committee – has decided to talk about,” said Nathan Detweiler ’16, co-chair of ISO and an event coordinator for International Awareness Week.
The week relates to the ever-popular spring semester event “International Night,” though, according to Detweiler, “International Night celebrates cultures and ethnic groups from throughout the world, and International Awareness Week focuses a lot more on an issue that not only relates to the international community but to humanity at large.”
The theme for International Awareness Week this year was “War and Footprints of Reconciliation: Moving Beyond War.”
“As the International Student Organization, we think it’s important to talk about something universal,” Detweiler said, “so we chose human suffering and reconciliation.”
Each of the week’s events focused on that theme, and included the discussion “Reconciliation: What Has and Has Not Worked in Somalia,” which took place on Nov. 5 and the faculty panel “Footprints of Reconciliation,” which featured Professors Charles Huff (psychology), Steve Soderlind (economics) and Amine Bekhechi (French) and took place on Nov. 6. On Nov. 7, another panel, “MISS[ed] SAIGON,” featured Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Kwon-Dobbs and David Mura, a novelist and former instructor at St. Olaf. The events all sought to point out shared experience and common ground.
“I think that’s the strength of the whole week,” Detweiler said. “International Awareness Week is much more global in that the appeal of the theme is not limited purely to an international perspective but relates back to humanity as a whole. We can all relate to overcoming adversity; we all have stories like that, and it’s important to take stock in that common heritage rather than separate ourselves by divisions that have no truly significant bearing on who we are as humans.”
International Food Night ends a week focused on suffering with a happier note.
“It’s a more universally appreciable event because it’s not education, it’s food,” Detweiler said, “but at the same time there is interaction between the people who are cooking and the people who are visiting and getting food from them.”
The organizers of the events hoped to facilitate interactions between the different cultures that are represented in the student body.
“The cooking teams, the honor houses and the ‘guests’ hopefully get to know each other in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise and experience each others’ cultures in a casual, fun setting,” said Vashti Daniel ’16, the event coordinator.
“On the surface,” Daniel added, “it might seem to contradict the theme of International Awareness Week, but we think that Food Night fits in perfectly because not only does it spread awareness about different cultures, but it does so in a setting that is minimally artificial.”
International Food Night occurs in the Rose, Thomson, Huggenvik, Felland, Schmidt, Holstad and Larson Houses from 7-9:30 p.m. on Friday. The groups involved include the Korean Culture Association, Talking Circle, Hmong Culture Outreach, Karibu and ISO. Students may begin at any time, but the event coordinators recommend that they attend each house in the order listed above.
In the past few weeks, the Dallas Safari Club caused uproar among environmental and conservation groups. The club announced plans for a new fundraiser for endangered rhinoceroses in Namibia. The huge public reaction is no surprise, given that the club intends to raise money by auctioning off a permit to hunt (and kill) one of the endangered black rhinos it is raising money to protect.
The club’s arguments for its fundraiser indicate that they believe the monetary benefits of the permit auction are worth the negative public backlash. The club expects the permit to sell for at least $250,000, possibly up to $1 million. They pledge that 100 percent of the proceeds from the auction will go to The Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia’s Black Rhino. The funds would assist in paying for health checkups for the rhinos and would help protect the animals from poachers.
This fundraiser is entirely hypocritical. Though it has the potential to raise a significant amount of money, the participation of the members comes not from a genuine dedication to conservation but rather from a place of noncommittal philanthropy.
In other words, the members of the Dallas Safari Club couldn’t care less about the well-being and preservation of the endangered black rhinos of Namibia. Their charity allows them to justify their harmful hobbies and consider themselves charitable through passive participation.
An important question to ask of the Dallas Safari Club is what will be done with the body of the rhino after it has been hunted. Rhino horns are highly valuable on the black market and are considered powerful enough by some cultures to cure anything from a hangover to cancer. A single rhino horn can sell for anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000, depending on its size.
Where will the money from this valuable body part go? The horn could sell for a price comparable to that paid for the permit. By selling the horn, the victorious hunter could win back much of what he or she paid for the permit while still enjoying the experience and satisfaction of hunting down a black rhino in Namibia.
An organization that claims to fight for a certain cause should not violate that cause in the process. The Dallas Safari Club should not raise money to protect endangered rhinos by offering the opportunity to kill one.
Yes, it is a hunting club. Yes, the auction could raise a significant amount of money. But a hunting club raising money for animal conservation is already a contradiction, and the fact remains that their method is completely hypocritical and ridiculous.
The club serves its own interests by investing in wildlife conservation. After all, what would a hunter do if there was nothing to hunt? The club protects its own interests by investing in the preservation of wild game.
The club’s website states that it is “more than a club.” Rather, it is “a way of life!” Indeed, the Dallas Safari Club is concerned only with the protection of a lavish lifestyle. The protection of endangered rhinoceroses in Africa is most likely the last thing on the minds of club members vying for the permit to hunt, kill and display such an impressive trophy.
Anna Krainc ’16 (email@example.com) is from Downers Grove, Ill. She majors in English and Spanish with a women’s and gender studies concentration.
Graphic Credit: DANIEL BYNUM/MANITOU MESSENGER
The Diversity Awareness (DA) House is one of the longest-running honor houses on campus. For nearly twenty years, the DA House has attempted to introduce conversations about diversity and tolerance to the St. Olaf College community.
Located in Huggenvik House, directly across the street from President David Anderson’s house, the DA House is home to a collection of students who identify with different nationalities, religions, classes and races. That list only begins to address the ways in which the house members recognize diversity. House member Sheridan Blanford ’15 talked about the new ways house members will tackle the difficult job of evoking thought and conversation about diversity on campus and in the world.
“We are trying to shift the meaning of diversity from the color of your skin to all the things that make you unique,” Blanford said.
According to Blanford, there is a stigma on campus that the issue of diversity is “only meant for people of color,” and that stigma is the reason behind the changes in this long running program. By building the house’s mission on uniqueness, members hope to get a larger group of students and faculty involved in the diversity conversation at St. Olaf because everyone is affected by the issue of diversity.
One of the DA House presidents, GT Maskalo ’14, sees a “misunderstanding about what diversity truly means” in the St. Olaf population.
“Diversity can mean so many things to different people”, Maskalo said. Each member of the house has their own individual definition of diversity, and that works because diversity of opinion “contributes to the uniqueness of gifts we bring to the community and to the conversation [about diversity],” he said.
Conversation is the cornerstone of the DA House’s vision for St. Olaf. House members believe that open conversations about the place of diversity in our college’s community will increase tolerance and knowledge of the world, which are two qualities that St. Olaf strives to instill in its students.
The first DA House event this year was on Sunday, Nov. 3. The members hosted a Diversity Dinner and Discussion on the topic of race and class relations. Around 20 people were in attendance, including two professors. Sharon Lane-Getaz, professor of statistics, was asked to lead discussion on what could be considered a sensitive and controversial topic: diversity at St. Olaf. Professor Lane-Getaz has been facilitating workshops similar to event on Sunday night with many different groups in the area for about a year.
Those who attended the dinner were asked to answer a series of questions and identify their places in a class hierarchy. The group identified several strengths and weaknesses associated with ther classes. When everyone in attendance came together to share what they had discovered about class, there was no sense of judgment or nervousness in the group. This is the goal of the DA house; the members aim to create an atmosphere in which people are able to talk openly about experiences they have in common and experiences that are unique.
The dinner discussion put into action the mission articulated by Blanford and Maskalo. The dinner not only provoked thought about the meaning of diversity, but also successfully brought a diverse group of people together to have a conversation.
According to Blanford and Maskalo, more conversations and gatherings such as this one will bring a stronger sense of community and acceptance of differences to the St. Olaf campus. Throughout the year, the student body can expect events focused on the wide variety of passions found among DA House members.
Following her squad’s victorious performance at last weekend’s MIAC Championships, Donna Ricks was selected by her peers as the 2013 MIAC Women's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year. This is her seventh conference coaching award, having won for cross country on five previous occasions and indoor track and field once.
In its final road contest of the season, the Carleton College football team racked up over 350 yards of total offense, but the Gustavus Adolphus College rushing attack proved to be too much to handle. The Knights (4-5, 2-5 MIAC) fell behind early and were unable to complete their comeback bid, dropping the game by a final score of 34-19.
On the back of a two-goal performance from Will Corcoran and a tremendous defensive effort in the second half, the Carleton College men’s soccer team defeated Saint John’s University, 2-1, to claim its second MIAC postseason crown along with the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The Carleton College men’s swimming team won eight of the sixteen events but came up short against the University of St. Thomas, 162.5 to 125.5, in the annual celebration of the Margate Memorial Trophy.
STEVENS POINT, Wis. - UW-Stevens Point defeated St. Olaf 8-1 in a non-conference men's hockey game on Saturday night.
ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - No. 5 Bethel University built a 33-0 halftime lead and defeated visiting St. Olaf 47-0 on Saturday afternoon.