Category Archives: Opinion

Are Summer Jobs Realistic Anymore?

With the school year winding down and summer break almost upon us, a lot of students are starting to make plans for their summers. Some have vacations, some will simply be going home for the summer, and many will be looking for a summer job. College and life, in general, are expensive and we could all use a little extra cash in our pocket. People have been doing this for years, so it is no big deal, right? Not exactly.

starbucks worker
“Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round.” Photo from: http://cdn.thesimpledollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/starbucks-barista.jpg

The world is changing and progressing rapidly and things aren’t the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round, at the very least. And working year-round is not a very plausible option for most college students. First of all, most college students go home for the summer which is usually not very close to college. It can be two hours away, four hours away, or six or eight hours away. So even if a college student wanted to, the idea of having a year round job is not a possibility. And with that option gone, the job opportunities dwindle. Most places of business do not want to hire someone only to replace them after three months; that is just bad business.

If a college student lives near their college campus and does stay in the same area year-round, they will still run into similar problems. While it is not impossible to keep a job and go to college at the same time (plenty of college students do exactly that), it is difficult and not something that everyone can do. Any college student can tell you that college is hard and that it takes a lot of time and effort; many have to spend the vast majority of their time working on school work. It is not uncommon for them to have very little spare time left and it’s hard to work at a job when you only have a few spare hours. College is intensive, and the whole point of summer break is to give you an actual break, not spend it begging for a job that you’ll likely have to quit in a few months.

High School Lunches Need Improvement

Many of us remember what our high school lunches were like, and they are probably not fond memories. Many school lunches were rather lackluster and little more than a small sandwich, a carton of milk, and a sub-par side. With the recent budget proposal by Donald Trump that would cut funding to many food programs quite a few rely on, a drastic improvement to school lunch programs is needed.

school lunch
“The portions are also often small, so even if the food itself has not gone bad, students are still hungry after they have finished their lunch.” Photo from: http://mybrownbaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/school-lunch.jpg

There needs to be a good balance between lunches that are healthy and lunches that have plenty of food. Often times, the food available to high school students is clearly not fresh; buns are stale, fruits have those tell-tale soft spots, and milk is expired. The portions are also often small, so even if the food itself has not gone bad, students are still hungry after they have finished their lunch. Many high schools are known to reuse leftover food for the sake of cutting costs, which leads to the bigger issue that schools face: lack of funding.

It is not uncommon to hear about a high school having trouble with getting sufficient funding for all sections of the school. Since public schools receive their funding from the government, they often have to spend a specific amount of the funding on a specific department within their school. For example, the athletic department is often known for getting the lion’s share of the funding for a variety of reasons. Sports teams are a big crowd pleaser and they draw good publicity for the school and the school systems, ergo they receive more funding than most. While the athletic department of a school shouldn’t be underfunded, a portion of the excessive amount of money it receives could go to the school lunch program to help provide fresh food for the entire student body. Students deserve fresh fruit, fresh meat, and larger portions. This is a program that benefits all of the students, not just a specific subset of them. Thus, it deserves more funding, especially given that soon many students will be receiving less food thanks to federal budget cuts.

A Need for More Emergency Phones

If you have ever been on Radford University’s campus for any lengthy amount of time then you have probably seen the emergency telephones with the blue lights scattered around campus. These phones are there for any student to use if they are in need of police assistance or if they feel unsafe walking around campus. These phones are there to help people whenever they need it. However, there are relatively few around campus and given that the size of Radford’s campus is not insignificant, we could use more of them.

emergency phone
“Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone.” Photo from: http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/campussafety/images/bluelighttall-420×420.JPG

While Radford University’s campus is on the smaller size for a college campus, it can still take a fair bit of time to traverse and there are many places around campus where emergency phones are not nearby/easily accessible. Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone. The phones provide a large enough light source so it is easier to see (and therefore makes it harder to sneak up on someone). Also, if a phone is nearby then a potential victim has a better chance of contacting the police and getting help. The more difficult it is for a potential perpetrator to attack someone, the less likely they are to attempt it.

One of Radford University’s top priorities should be the safety of their students and the university should always be trying to find better ways to improve that safety. While an increase in emergency phones might not completely stop all assaults from happening, it could certainly result in a lower risk of assault or sexual assault. Students are given a lot of freedom while they are away at college. Part of that freedom is being able to go wherever they want whenever they want, and that comes with a lot of inherent risk, especially for people who are out alone.

Is the Renovation Needed Now?

WhittHall
“Maybe the university should focus more on maintaining what is already here rather than advancing one area and leaving another lacking.” Photo from: http://i1.wp.com/www.andassoc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WhittHall.png?fit=476%2C305

Anyone who has been on Radford’s campus has seen the various renovations that have been happening across the campus. Whitt Hall has been under reconstruction for the entirety of this academic year, and the old apartments that used to be home to several humanities departments are long gone and are being replaced with a new parking lot. Just this year, the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building, or CHuBS, opened up after several years of construction. Several of the dorms in Moffett Quad were reopened after renovations last academic year. In fact, it seems like as soon as one construction project is finished, a new one begins. All of these new improvements are very nice and provide great facilities for both students and staff, but is all of it really necessary right now?

There’s no arguing that many of the new renovations and additions to Radford campus are needed; many of these buildings are very old and are in desperate need of an upgrade. But the real question is whether or not these renovations are the best option right now. After all, there have been instances of various departments around campus lacking in funding and supplies. So far, none of these instances have been a real issue, but maybe the university should focus more on maintaining what is already here rather than advancing one area and leaving another lacking. This is not to be ungrateful for the new facilities that we have (they are very nice and very helpful) but more so for the idea of spreading the help around and making sure every department gets what they need first before we spend more money. Not to mention that sometimes all of the construction going on can cause a bit of trouble for students as it often closes off pathways people typically use.

Goku vs. Superman

Many people in the comic book community strongly believe that Superman is the strongest character to exist. However, those in the manga/anime community believe that the character Goku from Dragonball Z is the strongest character to exist. These two communities have been arguing since the 90’s about who would win in a fight: Superman or Goku. Now, it seems almost impossible to compare two characters from two totally different realms, but some people have gone into real depth when talking about who would win.

goku vs superman
“Based on Goku’s power level and ability to fight, Goku would win against Superman.” Photo from: http://img13.deviantart.net/b2ad/i/2012/099/e/5/superman_and_goku_by_dmgoodr-d4vkc5y.jpg

Superman and Goku have some similarities that should be considered in this fight. Both characters are not from Earth, and both of their species have been proven to be much stronger than humans. Each has special abilities, such as flight and super-strength. Both characters are the protagonists in their series. Both have enemies that have pushed them to their limits.

Now, what differences do they have? Goku has the sense of Ki, which enables him to pull off the Kaioken, Super Kamehameha Wave, speed, and flight. He is a Saiyan, which means that he can surpass his “base form” and become a Super Saiyan, or even surpass that with Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan Blue God. Superman does not have the transformations that Goku has, but he does have x-ray vision, heat vision, cold breath, and is basically “invincible”.

In power levels, a human’s power level is 5 (based on Dragonball Z readings). Superman’s power level is 5 x 3125 because he can lift 3125 times what a human can, thus making his power level 15,625 (1). Goku’s power level at Kaioken x4 was about 40,000, thus making it seem like Goku would win out of pure strength. Goku also has been trained in martial arts, which means he has been trained to fight, unlike Superman (2).

So, in conclusion, based on Goku’s power level and ability to fight, Goku would win against Superman.

1 – http://www.wjunction.com/202-general-discussion-archive/107398-goku-vs-superman-scientifically-chosen-answer.html 2- https://9gag.com/gag/ao0n6ze/goku-vs-superman-the-truth-that-hurts-dc-fanboys

Anonymous Online

There are countless websites and apps that will let people say whatever they want without revealing themselves. They do this through the use of usernames (which can be almost anything) or by allowing the option for people to remain anonymous. It is a popular feature that many companies and/or websites use to encourage conversation and use of their product. After all, there are no real consequences of typing out a message; people are more open to talking and saying things they wouldn’t normally say if they know they can walk away without anyone ever realizing it’s them. But, that is part of the problem, isn’t it?

Conceptually, being anonymous online is a good idea; it makes for a much more relaxed and stress free environment. People can discuss things that might be unpopular, and having that feeling of freedom can make things easier. But when this idea is put into practice, and real life people get involved, it gets much messier and the worst in people tends to come out. Without the fear of punishment, what’s to stop a person from saying terrible things to anyone and everyone?

cyberbullying
“Without the fear of punishment, what’s to stop a person from saying terrible things to anyone and everyone?” Photo from: http://highstermobile.co/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cyberbullying.jpg

Let’s face it, the reality of the situation is that online, people can say things that are racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic, which are just a few examples in a long list. It’s because people with those kinds of views have a mask and a wall to hide behind. They can go about their lives without anyone knowing that they have been spouting hate. If someone started shouting racist slurs in public, then there is a legitimate fear of retaliation, be it physical or legal. Many of these kinds of people are aware that what they are saying is offensive and derogatory. They say it with the intent to hurt and infuriate but they also know that doing so could get them into trouble. Which is why becoming an anonymous figure online is their tool of choice.

Anonymous online posting can be a good thing, but it is a dangerous two edged sword. It often seems to be hurting just as much as it is helping. At the end of the day, it poses an interesting question: how much online freedom is too much? On one hand, it’s rarely a good idea to give up freedom for the sake of security/policing, as that leads to tyranny. But give people too much freedom, and that leads to anarchy. Not to mention, you have to make sure all of these rules are enforced equally. It wouldn’t be right or fair to consistently accuse one group of doing the wrong thing while ignoring another group that is actually committing the action.

Cat-Calling: Don’t be Sexist

One of the issues and daily harassments that women have to deal with is cat-calling. This is when men yell what are usually superficial, sexist and derogatory remarks at random women passing by. Some of the worst ones involve blatant and disgusting sexual acts or innuendos, while others objectify women and focus on one specific aspect of their body. You would think it would be common knowledge not to harass someone, especially a random stranger. Yet, it happens far too often.

cat calling
“Yelling at a woman to tell her she has a nice backside is, again, objectifying her and making her an object for your pleasure.” Photo from: http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2015/07/05/635717311775156065-116091019_attractive-woman-men-staring.imgopt1000x70.jpg

The thought process behind cat-calling is the cat-caller tends to have a skewed perspective on what a compliment is. Telling a woman that you’d like to have intercourse with her (usually said in more crude terms) is not a compliment. It’s objectifying her and reducing her from a real person to a thing for sex. Yelling at a woman to tell her she has a nice backside is, again, objectifying her and making her an object for your pleasure. Contrary to popular belief (or so it would seem), women are real people, actual human beings, and they are not there for the purpose of pleasing men. Hearing that they would be a good sexual partner does not make them feel good. It makes them feel uncomfortable and possibly worry they may be sexually assaulted.

Women like to be complimented; in fact, everyone does  it’s a normal part of being human. We like to hear nice things about ourselves. But being reduced to a single, sexualized body part or sexual act is not a compliment. It’s demeaning and dehumanizing. Women are more than just their bodies and they are not there to make men want them. A good general rule of thumb is that if you would say it to your mother, then it’s probably okay to say to another woman. If you wouldn’t say it to your mother then you probably shouldn’t say it to a random woman walking down the street.

A Right to Online Privacy

With the recent House bill that would allow Internet Service Providers (ISP) to sell anyone’s private browsing history, it is a good time to discuss people’s right to online privacy, as well as the serious breach of net neutrality. Originally, ISP had to obtain your permission to sell your online history to anyone, but soon they will be able to sell it to whoever they want to, whenever they want to. Which, frankly, is a massive invasion of privacy.

cyber criminals
“ISP will be able to track your every move online as soon as you make it. They can, essentially, stalk you online.” Photo from: https://www.fbi.gov/image-repository/cyber-crime.jpg/@@images/image/high

What you do online is private information, unless you choose to make it public. But until you make that choice, it is a private matter. However that boundary is about to be crossed and soon it’ll be open season for every internet user. The least of it is that individual targeted ad campaigns will become the norm. Companies will analyze the data and try their best to get you to buy their product, likely at a higher rate. While that is annoying, it is not the most serious issue. ISP will be able to track your every move online as soon as you make it. They can, essentially, stalk you online. With this kind of information and power at their fingertips, the internet will no longer be a neutral entity and instead become just another method of exploitation.

There is also the fact that ISP will be taking advantage of you and making money off you, and you won’t see a dime of it. Think about it – the product they will be selling is your internet browsing history, something they wouldn’t have if you did not go online. You make the product, and they sell it off to the highest bidder. All you get are more ads to inconvenience you. Even if we ignore the invasion of privacy that is occurring here, this still isn’t a fair deal. This bill allows ISP to sell your private information and make money off something you create. All the while, you get harassed by a large amount of ads, and they profit off of you.

Real or Virtual Classrooms?

The world is constantly evolving and growing as the level of technology increases and new technology becomes readily available. It seems like every day there is a new technological development that helps us in our daily lives. One of these developments is the rise of online classrooms.

It is becoming more popular to make college or high school courses available online, removing the need for students to be present inside of a classroom. The main reasons for these (relatively) new online classes are their accessibility and convenience. Some students are stay at home parents, some cannot afford both the tuition and campus housing, and some have jobs that prevent them from having a normal class schedule. There are many reasons for people to make use of online courses; they are helpful and they allow many people who could not otherwise manage to get a college degree to do so. But people can also miss out on the experience and knowledge that comes with having an actual class that isn’t just an assignment on a screen.

computer
“There are many reasons for people to make use of online courses; they are helpful and they allow many people who could not otherwise manage to get a college degree to do so.” Photo from: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/sites/default/files/images/students-looking-at-computer.jpg

In traditional classrooms, there is a greater opportunity for discussion among the students. People can ask questions and ask for further explanation if they do not understand the material. With most online classes, you get an assigned reading, a worksheet and/or assignment, and maybe a video explaining what you need to do. The issue is that this method does not provide many, if any, actual teaching moments. If learning was as simple as opening up a textbook and reading it, then we wouldn’t need teachers, or even actual classes. Learning isn’t as simple as reading the material and then taking a test on it.

None of this is to say that online classes are bad or that we should do away with them, but they certainly shouldn’t become the primary method of teaching. We should stick primarily with traditional classrooms and supplement education with online classes. Keep online classrooms, improve them, encourage them, but don’t let them become the main method of teaching.

Netflix’s Asian Erasure and Racism

We all know about Netflix. In fact, it often seems synonymous with college nowadays. Everyone has it, and everyone uses it. There are hundreds of shows to watch online, some recent and some old. Some of them are even Netflix originals. Many are based off previous characters and/or are revamps of old shows. There are several Marvel superhero TV shows, for example. But one of Netflix’s newest TV shows is based off an anime that many may have heard of. Netflix is doing a live action remake of Deathnote, and they completely messed up.

anime
“Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is.” Photo from: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af03a0ff80f68be7963f4bf0ac3907b8a21eb6f3d742b5c1b645de387a6c6cff.jpg

This is a TV show about a Japanese person in Japan dealing with, among many other things, the Japanese legal system. Yet, they place the show in America and make the main character (and presumably the rest of the cast) white. The show isn’t even out yet, and they’ve already ruined a large part of the entire premise of the show. Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is. Taking a show like this and completely erasing them is both salt in the wound and a blatant insult to Asian people, and more specifically, Japanese people.

This type of action shows blatant discrimination towards Japanese people. Here was a perfect opportunity to hire Japanese actors, portray some aspects of Japanese culture, and give Japanese people heroes and villains that they could identify with and relate to, so they wouldn’t have to feel like they are on the outside looking in. This is white washing to such an extreme that it seems like a very deliberate insult directed at Japanese people. Everything about this show came from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Now it is just about a white boy becoming a serial killer, and if we wanted to watch that we could just turn on the news.

Inter-Department Classes

Everyone ends up majoring in one specific field of study during their college career, but what if we could start taking classes from other majors and incorporating them into our class schedules? An English major focuses almost exclusively on literature analysis and technical writing skills, but what do they know of the sciences or of business skills? A geology major knows about Earth, its composition, and how it functions, but how many have professional writing skills? New types of courses should be implemented in all of the majors so that people can gain interchangeable skills and knowledge to help them further their lives and careers.

job listings 2
“New classes that mix different fields of study together could be very helpful to a great many people.” Photo from: http://www.onpointexecutivecenter.com/wp-content/uploads/here-are-four-tips-for-drafting-the-most-impressive-job-listings-_16001268_40007186_0_14070211_500.jpg

Each major focuses on teaching one specific set of skills but everything else is placed on the back burner. Let us say a student has extensive knowledge in human anatomy and they go on to discover something significant in the field. While they could probably explain it to other people in their specific field, other people outside of it would have little to no knowledge of the terminology that would be used nor have the background knowledge to understand why such a discovery would be significant. This is where writing and communication skills that are offered only in English classes come in handy because then a person would be better able to explain what has happened.

New classes that mix different fields of study together could be very helpful to a great many people. A writing in biochemistry class, design in business class, or music in physical therapy class are just a few options that could be made available to students. Any number of classes could be created and offered to both expand a student’s knowledge and help them specialize for possible work opportunities. In a world where so many people are obtaining the same or similar degrees as each other, the need for more specialized skills becomes greater.

Dorm Life vs. Apartment Life

The vast majority of people in college either live in a dorm or in an apartment. Few people actually come from the town or city that their university or college resides in, so we need alternate lodgings while we’re away. Most college students tend to live in the dorms because most universities require that you live in a dorm for at least one year of your college career. But plenty of people also live in apartments near the college campus, and many people often wonder which is better.

apartment listings
“Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly.” Photo from: http://suffolkjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/listings.jpg

One of the upsides to living in a dorm is there are no bills to pay. Once you’ve paid your tuition, you’re set; you can use as much heat, water, and electricity as you want without worry. The same cannot be said for those who live in an apartment. Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly. This leads into the issue of roommates as well. Practically everyone in a dorm has at least one roommate, and some even have three or four. The same can be said of most people who live in an apartment. While there is the option to live by yourself, most people cannot afford to do so and have to get at least one other person to live with them. However, the main difference between having a roommate in a dorm and a roommate in an apartment is that in an apartment, utility bills can be very high/expensive with multiple people. A single person can increase the bill significantly for the other roommate(s).

The flip side, however, is that in an apartment there is almost always more space and everyone has their own room. One of the worst parts about living in a dorm is the lack of space and the fact that you have to share a small room with another person. While you still have to share space inside of an apartment, you have your own room at least. This extra space can help ease a lot of the tension that one usually finds inside of a dorm room. There is also the benefit of having your own personal kitchen and not being subjected to a limited meal plan. With your own kitchen, you can make whatever meals you want whenever you want them and store whatever food you want without any real hassle or fear of it going bad. At the end of the day, it comes down to your own personal preference as to where you want to live and what you want to sacrifice.

Book to Movie, Should it be done?

There are countless books and novels out there. Some are fresh off the presses, while some are decades or even centuries old. However, nowadays it seems like every book, regardless of age, is being made into a movie. Two of the most famous book to movie franchises are the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. The Chronicles of Narnia is another example, as is Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, The Help, The Martian, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not to mention all of the movies based off comic books, if we want to count those as books. More and more, we get movies that are based off books. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it really a good idea?

books to movies
“The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums.” Photo from: https://storiesinsightsandweirdthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/chorvs.png

The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums. A book can tell you exactly what is going on, exactly what a character is feeling, and exactly what the impact of a decision is in each and every scene. It’s much harder to convey these sorts of things on a movie screen. Which isn’t to say it can’t be done, but you need both a good actor and the right actor, and that doesn’t always happen. When a character’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions are directly told to an audience, then everyone has a better understanding of what’s going on in a scene and a better understanding of why another scene or an action can have significance. But in a movie, characters don’t stop to explain everything; you are along for the ride and you have to figure out some things on your own. This can lead to a murkier understanding and lessens the impact a movie can have.

Admittedly, this goes both ways. Books tend to do a poor job of conveying action in a scene, whereas movies have a definite edge in terms of visual appeal. If, for example, a massive battle is occurring, it’s hard to imagine the sheer scale of it. But in a movie, you can experience the entire thing. You can get close ups to see the emotion of a character and you can get shots that pan around the entire battle. It’s hard to be awed by words on a page, but it’s easy to be awed when you can see it happening for yourself.

Movies and books are always going to be tied together because of their nature; they’re mediums for telling a story. While there are times when a book can work well as a movie, they probably should not be made into movies as often as they are.

Movie Theater Pre-Show

Almost everyone loves to go to the movies; it’s a fun night that can be relatively cheap (depending on where you go) and it requires very little effort on your part. You go, you grab yourself a snack, and you sit and enjoy the movie. And then you do the same thing the next time, and the time after that, and so on. As fun and exciting as going to the movies can be, it can get a little monotonous, can’t it? Sure, you usually see a different movie each time but unless you’re going to see a movie you are really excited for, it kind of seems like the same old thing each time. But, what if there was something new and exciting each time you went to the movies, something you couldn’t predict? That’s where pre-shows come in.

Radford theatre
“On opening weekend for the new Beauty and the Beast movie, they had Disney princesses galore taking photos with everyone. They also had a pre-show that was all about helping the Beast change back into a human.” Photo from: http://www.southwesttimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Radford-Theatre-Marquee-web.jpg

Pre-shows are usually only done by smaller movie theaters, but they are typically live performances for a movie’s opening weekend. The pre-show can consist of anything; some theaters bring in magicians or comedians, some have sing-alongs, and some people dress like the characters from the movie and do photo shoots. It can be anything. For example, the Radford Theater on Main Street, for most of the popular movies that come out, does several of those things for their pre-show performances. On opening weekend for the new Beauty and the Beast movie, they had Disney princesses galore taking photos with everyone. They also had a pre-show that was all about helping the Beast change back into a human that involved a magician, a Frozen sing-along, and even a sword swallower.

Pre-shows put a new level of excitement into going to the movies. You can get more involved and your night out becomes much more of an experience. You get something out of it that you wouldn’t get from just buying the DVD later on. It’s kind of like dinner and a show, in a way. So, really, why not have the pre-show and why not enjoy the pre-show? Most places don’t charge extra on those nights, and if you go somewhere like the Radford Theater then it’s only about five or six dollars. More theaters should do pre-shows, and we should thank the ones that already do them.

Die…and Become a Tree?

Many people wonder what happens to us after we inevitably pass away. Is there just nothing, a black oblivion without consciousness or thought? Or is there some afterlife, a place where our soul or spirit lives on? Many religions and philosophies dedicate themselves to finding out, and while we can’t say for certain what happens to us after we die, we do have a say in what becomes of our bodies once we do pass away. And, as it turns out, you (or at least your remains) can become a tree.

capsula mundi
“Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top.” Photo from: http://www.jebiga.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CAPSULA-MUNDI-05.jpg

The Capsula Mundi project was created by two designers, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. It is a new, more eco-friendly burial practice that is quickly becoming available. Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top. Then you are buried in a special “cemetery” (land set aside for these burial pods) and the tree eventually grows by using the resources and nutrients from your body.

So what is so great about this new type of burial? For starters, it is much more environmentally friendly than your traditional burial. Wooden coffins (and coffins in general) are only used for a few days for the sake of the funeral ceremony and after that they are essentially thrown away. That’s a lot of trees that have been cut down for a pretty limited use. Whereas the burial pod does the exact opposite and creates more trees–trees that will, presumably, last for many years. The pods are also completely biodegradable and will eventually become a part of the soil, providing more nutrients for the tree and the surrounding area. Not to mention, you could have an impressive tree that will continue to grow even more impressive as the years go by rather than a headstone that will wear down to a blank rock.

A plot in a cemetery is, essentially, useless. This isn’t meant to disrespect any of the dearly departed or anyone who might want to have a traditional burial. However, you can’t argue with the fact that this type of memorial would be more helpful than a headstone. There is also the fact that a “cemetery” full of trees would be a lot cheerier and not nearly as depressing as our typical cemetery. Wouldn’t a person want their loved ones to be happier when they went and visited them?

Picking Classes With or Without an Advisor: Which Is Better?

picking classes
“Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?” Photo from: https://blogs.sjsu.edu/mysjsu/files/2013/10/sjsu-student-picking-classes-26z640c.png

As April approaches, we are getting closer and closer to picking our new class schedule for the upcoming semester. Many of us are in different places in our college careers and in different majors and/or concentrations. Some of us are graduating seniors who do not need to worry about picking a new class schedule. However, most of us have at least another semester to go and now have another thing to worry about, at least for a short while. We also all have to go and speak with our advisor, if for nothing else to get the required pin number to register. Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?

There are pros and cons to both sides. If we went without the advising meeting then we could all just get our pin numbers via email and go about our day. Many of us are very busy and do not have much time to spare for extra meetings. Forgoing an advising meeting is, admittedly, quicker, easier, and more convenient. Also, once a person reaches a certain point in their college career, they know what classes to take. At this point, it’s mostly a matter of deciding when to take their classes, something they do at their discretion.

However, it is also very helpful to meet with an advisor simply because they typically know things about the class you will be taking that you wouldn’t know. There is also the case of the same class being taught by multiple teachers. An advisor may have some insight on some of the teachers and be able to tell you which one would work well with you. The biggest issue most college students run into with picking classes is that they simply don’t know what they are getting into most of the time. Our advisors are the best resource we have available to get the inside scoop on our unknown classes.

Will History Repeat Itself?

There have been a number of concerns since Donald Trump took office a little over two months ago. Various activist groups and minorities have been voicing their concerns about Trump’s attitude towards his new position and the effect his policies and his beliefs could have. And while there are definitely more immediate concerns with Trump’s policy making, there are many who are concerned with the long-term effects and potential results of a Trump presidency.

One of the more famous people voicing their concerns is George Takei, an actor who is most famous for his role as Sulu on Star Trek. He has said the current political climate looks similar to the time leading up to the mass internment of Japanese Americans in America during World War II.

George Takei arrives at the Premiere of "Bridegroom" at The Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
“He has said the current political climate looks similar to the time leading up to the mass internment of Japanese Americans in America during World War II.” Photo from: http://instinctmagazine.com/sites/instinctmagazine.com/files/images/blog_posts/Nigel%20Campbell/2015/10/14/george%20takei.jpg

George Takei was one of the many Japanese Americans who were unjustly placed in internment camps during WWII, and he fears that similar events many happen to people of the Islamic faith. He is concerned that the similar rhetoric used against Japanese Americans is now being applied to Muslims in America. People would say that a person of Japanese ancestry was an enemy of the state, just because they were Japanese, and now people are calling anyone of Islamic faith a terrorist (1).

At the rate things are going, will we end up having another national crime where we wrongly incarcerate an entire group of people because of baseless and bigoted fears? Trump has already issued a travel ban against Islamic countries and he did it within the first week of his presidency. What will happen two or three or four years down the road? We’ve already gone down this road before and it was a national embarrassment and an inexcusable act of mass discrimination. We need to make sure history does not repeat itself.

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/18/opinions/george-takei-japanese-american-internment-day-of-remembrance/index.html

eSports vs. Regular Sports

eSports should be just as respected as traditional sports. eSports athletes put just as much effort into their training as any Olympic athlete.  To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day.  They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies. In team eSports, watching your opponent’s past match footage gives each team a vital edge going into the big games.  Even ESPN is taking notice of the growing popularity of eSports.  If ESPN is treating eSports with respect, you should too.

eSports are competitions of skill conducted through video games.  Nearly any game can allow people to compete, but the most successful eSports games are ones that have high skill caps and reward both great strategy and great physical execution of that strategy.  eSports are a combination of physical and mental competition in the same way traditional sports are.

video games
“To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day. They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies.” Photo from: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_640x362/HT/p2/2016/04/26/Pictures/_18efe1c0-0bbc-11e6-9193-d7b8f3a11d8b.jpg

eSports are not only solo sports.  There are team based games that require as much precision and coordination as the best basketball teams.  This does not detract from the achievements of solo eSports athletes.  Many dominant fighting game competitors put in as many hours as the grandmasters of fencing.

eSports also have the advantage of accessibility.  In many cases, there are many more opportunities to play eSports at high levels than there are for more traditional sports. Many of us do not have the privilege of living in a family that can afford the costly sports training needed to compete in the highest levels of sports.  The eSports community is full of stories of teenage prodigies discovering the game that takes them all the way to the top of the competition. Barrios Gonzales from Chile, and Leonardo Perez of Mexico came from poor families, but are now making a large amount of money playing Super Smash Bros. in America. The low barrier to entry can make players’ dreams a reality.

One challenge to eSports’ growing popularity is the complexity of the games.  It is often more difficult to explain to a newbie what the rules of a game are than it is in traditional sports.  Most eSports are more complicated than putting the ball in the place, but this may change as the next generation of game designers build games with spectators in mind.  As eSports become easier to watch their popularity is sure to grow.

eSports are a growing industry.  They will never totally replace traditional sports, but that is okay.  There is a place for both in the spectrum of entertainment options.  All achievements that push the boundaries of human possibility should be recognized.