Putin meets with NATO leaders and algaculture

4 04 2008

ArticlesI personally have nothing against the University of Cincinnati’s newspaper, The News Record, but seriously…

On the front page of the April 3, 2008 issue, there is a headline above a picture reading Solar-power alternative. The picture depicts a field in front of one of the college buildings covered with pinwheels. Then beneath that is the caption for the photograph, which reads, “Pinwheels in the ground on McMicken Commons represented the 1,000 people that die from some form of terminal cancer every day.”

pinwheel2

I am now absolutely lost on the intended meaning of the photo.

Perhaps the headline is implying that, because solar-power is not a worthwhile endeavor, we should offer our resources to some alternative cause, such as curing cancer. The irony, of course, would be that the pinwheels imitate sources of wind power, which is an alternative to solar-power. But what then does wind power have to do with terminal cancer? I would really like to know.

Or perhaps the the headline implies that a good alternative to solar power is wasting resources. Solar power is usually tagged when speaking of alternative forms of energy and environmental causes, but here there is none of that at all. All I see is a magnificent waste of plastic, in the form of pinwheels, promoting ideas completely contrary to those usually related to solar power. What else are we to believe other than that the university does not support environmental causes?

That last possibility is that someone wished to tag a photograph with a completely irrelevant headline to make it appear as if the University has some sort of relationship with alternative energy research that is most easily disseminated subliminally. If this is the case, I recommend insert random keywords like green, conservation, and algaculture into headlines whenever possible. Nothing sends subliminal messages like “Ethnic Unrest Continues in China and Algaculture.”





Downside of Obama strategy

8 03 2008

ArticlesThis article in The Washington Post analyzes the implications of losses in some of the most important states come the November elections.  The subtitle of the article states that these losses are “spurring general-election fears.”  I don’t believe this is the downside of Obama’s strategy though.  I think the downside is that the strategy attracts writers like the author of this article who casts doubt into the minds of millions by declaring to them, “You are afraid.”

People rant and rail against the press all the time for shaping the minds of voters.  They’re like modern brain washers, only no one seems to realize the gravity of the impact they’re making on the general public.  People get almost all their knowledge of the events outside their homes from the news.  Likewise, their own reality is shaped accordingly; they have no reason to believe most of that which is stated confidently to them might not be true.

To be fair, they’ve been casting unnecessary doubt on Hillary’s campaign for months now.  Both candidates have been in a near-tie since the beginning, and yet writers keep “unintentionally” insisting that people should or should not vote for someone based on possible outcomes of strategy.  These journalists are pulling conclusions from their behinds, publishing to the masses, and resultantly causing the conclusions to be just one step closer to coming true.

And why complain about strategy anyway?  We will see whether or not strategies is working or not based on which candidates are doing better than the others.  If assuming certain strategies will work better in the future is only going to affect the way the strategy is working now, I’d say the whole process is better just left alone.  Let the people just vote for once.





The Antichrist for President?

4 03 2008

ArticlesThere is an odd little buzz going around drawing attention the Barack Obama’s similarities to the Biblical Antichrist. There are even blogs being created for the sake of pondering this question. It struck me as odd because I was under the impression that Hillary Clinton was supposed to be the butt of all jokes Satan-related. Now I’m supposed to believe both Democratic candidates are apostles of evil?

obama

This worries me only because I’m still confident of my assertion that a Democrat will be the next President of the United States. George W. Bush’s approval ratings are still pushing for new lows, so I don’t see how the percentage for his Republican successor, John McCain, could go above 50%. Then again, unforeseen events always have the potential to completely change the direction of anyone’s campaign.

I maintain that if nothing substantial happens in the U.S. or the world between now and the Fall, the Democratic candidate will win the Presidency. Therefore, it’s extremely important what happens in the Democratic Primaries today, primarily in Ohio and Texas. We could be choosing quite literally the lesser of two evils, either Satan or the Antichrist. We’ve been faced with campaigns that deliberate non-issues like Health Care, Iraq, and immigration. It’s time we look at the real issue.

Teachings suggest that the Antichrist will rise to power via the same path as the true Chris, with great charisma and messages of peace and hope. He will be given spiritual powers by dark forces as well as by people who see him as a modern messiah. Finally, he will obtain authority over the entire Earth and become untouchable by all mortals who oppose him.

Satan, on the other hand, has had a much broader spectrum of meanings for people. Generally, it is used to describe either Lucifer, the Fallen Angel, or to any of many embodiments of evil and temptation. Many believe we are dealing with the works of Satan on a daily basis.

Between the two, one path is obviously much more bleak than the other. However, when people rally so fervently for “change,” change will come, whether it be good or bad. We have dealt with Hillary’s kind before, but are we really prepared for what change may come with Barack?





The downfall of social networking

24 02 2008

FeaturesWhen I first joined Facebook, it was being hailed as the “anti-MySpace,” a social networking site without all the controversy, gaudiness, and induced obsession. At the time, the site had only just been opened to people other than college students, and the administrators were wary of keeping people in their respective realms. The site was meant to connect people within individual schools and businesses easily and securely. Then something happened.

People migrated en masse to Facebook from other websites. These same people cried that, while Facebook was sleeker and easier to use, it was too simple and boring. They wanted more interaction, more of a reason to spend hours on a site that wasn’t created with the purpose of entertaining. As a result, applications and widgets were added. Voila, Facebook became MySpace 2.0.

facebook

How did Facebook go so quickly from being the greatest new site on the web, the anti-MySpace, to a MySpace equivalent? The greatest irony of all lies in the article itself, which boasts of millions of dollars being invested in the many new features of the site. The features in question, though, are the destroyers of the sleek and secure design Facebook once had. Suddenly hundreds of outside businesses have access to millions of people via Facebook. Every application on the site asks to access your profile information before you can use it. That in itself should be a hint that everything is not quite as it seems. Advertisements now appear literally everywhere.

Even worse, Facebook is now getting the negative vibe previously only associated with MySpace. Millions of users in the U.K. have fled the site after a rash of criminal trials used Facebook profile items as courtroom evidence. People had accepted that MySpace was open to the public, but Facebook was supposed to be the more private of the two, only for the your own eyes and the eyes of those you allowed access to your profile. Instead, it turns out Facebook is just another risky, potentially life-changing network.

Big news right now is the Moroccan Fouad Mourtada facing three years in prison for creating a profile of the younger brother of the Moroccan king. Creating profiles of stars and celebrities is already a common practice around the world. As a result, prominent Moroccan bloggers are showing solidarity by posting the following text on the blogs:

Today, Tuesday, February 19, is the fourteenth day of Fouad Mourtada’s imprisonment. He committed the error, but not the crime, of creating a Facebook account in the name of Prince Moulay Rachid. This account contained no insults against the Prince nor was it the instrument of any swindling attempts. His name was immediately given wide publicity by the authorities, in breach of the presumption of innocence he’s supposed to enjoy, and he alleges having been beaten and mishandled during his arrest. He initially had trouble finding a lawyer willing to defend him. The trial, due to begin on February 15, has been postponed to February 22, while his habeas corpus application has been rejected.

(…)

For this reason, this blog will be on strike on Tuesday, 19 February as a gesture of solidarity with Fouad Mourtada and the other prisoners of opinion currently jailed in Morocco.





The Race Card

17 02 2008

FeaturesI first saw Richard Thompson on The Colbert Report of all places. He was interviewed recently for his latest book, The Race Card, which deals with accusations of racism where there either is none or is not reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that racism is involved. For more information on the book, visit the New York Times book review.

The ideas offered by Richard Thompson reminded me of an incident several months ago that provoked a similar response from me. At Miami University in Ohio, an art student placed seven nooses in a tree above a tire swing in such a way that the nooses could only be clearly seen from the swing. It was meant to juxtapose life and death. It had been previously accepted by the art department and was to be on display for less than twenty four hours very near the art department’s building. However, by the end of the day, police had turned the area into a crime scene, the officials at the university were considering what penalties should be handed to the students involved, and the news across the U.S. was depicting the completely innocent students as racially insensitive.

noose

Interviews with students yielded commentaries on the events:

“I feel really disappointed because I’m a minority here, also, and this action shouldn’t be on campus,” said Weiying Wang, who is from China.

“Especially on a campus that’s dominated by white people and it’s only a few black people,” said Nick Winbush. “It’s probably only three-percent black people. I don’t think it’s acceptable.”

“Anytime you see something like that, you think of all the lynchings that were done,” said Towns, who saw the display before it was removed. “For anyone who is black, it depicts a time that you don’t want to relive.”

I argue that all these people are being completely unfair, if not absurd. First of all, this was done only days after Halloween; the atmosphere of Halloween should have been enough to take the ropes seriously.

Second, we know that the project was not racially motivated. If it was racially insensitive, and I insist that it wasn’t, it still was not a hate crime. The students should not be punished for society’s faults, for seeing too much good in people. I can’t imagine how I would feel to have to stop and consider the racial consequences of my every action. That isn’t to say I don’t try to act in a most respectful manner toward all people. I just don’t make an extra effort for some people based on the color of their skin or the nation of their heritage.

Third, nooses do not symbolize lynchings of black people. They symbolize death (as was their purpose in the art project). They have been used for thousands of years on people of every race in most every country. They have been used on people of every race and nationality within the U.S. itself. Furthermore, they have not been used in the recent past in the U.S. for much other than suicides. Minorities who suggest that nooses are racially insensitive are being racially insensitive. They are thrusting aside the deaths of millions of people and telling the world to focus solely on their struggles, and if not theirs, then their parents’ or grandparents’ struggles.

Many minorities cry that racism hasn’t gone away. Perhaps at some point they should look at themselves and ask why they aren’t letting it go away.

I’m not suggesting that there aren’t many real racism problems in the U.S. On the contrary, there is still a lot of work to be done. I’m simply suggesting that as long as minorities insist on others’ racist motives when there simply is no evidence to suggest them, racism can’t and won’t go away.

If I saw a noose hanging from a tree on campus, I would be probably be a bit concerned. I might wonder what is going on and what its reason for being there could possibly be. However, I would not immediately consider the possibility that it was created as an insult to minorities. There simply isn’t enough evidence to suggest that. If death by the noose is racially insensitive, then why the heck am I just as scared by the thought of be hanged as anyone else? Death is not simply black or white.

For further reading on this issue, please visit the following sites:
Everything isn’t about race
Academics’ artistic freedom only protects left wing provocateurs





This is your article on drugs

9 02 2008

ArticlesWhen people write articles for widespread publications, I like for the authors to draw clear lines between objectivity and subjectivity. Otherwise, it can be really hard to tell what the point or motive of the entire article is, like in this one about Barack Obama and drug use.

The article offers insights into Barack Obama’s college days and focuses on drug use presumably because of its headline value.  While the article seems particularly objective, offering information directly from Barack’s autobiographical works and comments by college friends of his, by the end of it, I wondered why I had read an entire article to learn absolutely nothing.  The entire articles uses the following format: paragraph about Barack and claimed usage of drugs, paragraph about Barack’s friends and their lack of knowledge of drug usage, paragraph about random, unrelated activities Barack participated in during college, repeat.  This pattern is followed to the very end, which ends with someone quoted as saying, “I would never say that he was a druggie.”

In the end, we assume that Barack’s statements are true as well as those made by his friends.  If they are true, then the article appears to be worthlessly objective.  The author offers no conclusions or analysis, instead choosing to simply end the article.  I feel it’s fairly obvious that, if Barack used drugs in college, not everyone would have complete knowledge of it.  That point is clearly illustrated here, but that seems to be the only point.  I’m fairly the headline of the article tells the entire story of the article much more succinctly and effectively.

If the article has some other motive, perhaps to hurt Barack’s image if only by using a title that misleadingly accuses Obama of being a liar, then suddenly the point is something completely different.  The article is still a worthless read, but because it is fairly well-written and lengthy, it can be published in a newspaper such as the New York Times.  In essence, it successfully hurts Barack’s image without appearing as if it is, which seems to be the cruel path some journalists are taking nowadays.





Because reality makes much less sense than it should

26 01 2008

ArticlesThat phrase was the spur-of-the-moment tagline for this blog, but I had not yet directly referred to it. While I believe the world makes much less sense than it should in multiple ways, here are solid examples of coincidences that test one’s capacity to believe. People themselves may be stranger than fiction (as is the title of my last post), but some of the things that happen to them are even stranger yet: Ten Strange Coincidences