The Ethical Hedonist: Plastic Tubes and Pots and Pans

Alright, you left the giblets out of your Thanksgiving gravy so that your vegan cousin Megan could eat something at your family dinner. Smooth move, my friend, especially since we both know she gives the best Christmas gifts. But now that December is here you’re expected to bake for people too, and you can’t just leave the butter and milk out of your favorite snicker doodle recipe! Now what will you do?! The answer, dear reader, is science! In my 3.25 years as a humanities major here at Davis, I’ve made it a point to avoid any areas of study that might require me to sit in a lab for 3 hours. Luckily, baking science only takes about half an hour of actual work and ends in brownies rather than lab reports. What’s more, the better you understand the ingredients you’re using, the more substitutions you can make. This is important for lazy, cheap-skate bakers like myself, and it’s especially great if you want to adapt your favorite recipe into a... ...

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Boy Scout Christmas tree lot opens for holiday season

On Nov. 23, the Davis Boy Scout Christmas tree lot officially opened for this year’s Christmas season. The lot will remain open until Dec. 24. The tree lot is located at 480 Mace Blvd., on the corner of Mace and Cowell boulevards across from Nugget Market. It is the lot’s 52nd year of operation and its third year at this location. According to 2012 Davis Boy Scout Christmas Tree Lot foreman Jim Borchers, the lot is not only a Davis tradition and a convenient place to pick up a Christmas tree, but also a way to support the local Boy Scouts and the community as a whole. “There are five troops in the city of Davis, and they all come together to help work on the lot,” Borchers said. “The scouts get to be helpful, and it’s a fun activity for all the boys.” The five Boy Scout troops who work on the lot are Troops 66, 111, 139, 199 and 466. Venture Crews 66 and 111 are also involved.... ...

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End of rain, end of reign

For over four centuries, the rains came regularly and plentifully, nourishing the growth of one of history’s great civilizations. Rising from the jungle floor of parts of present-day Mexico and Central America, ancient Mayan cities bustled with activity, sustained by abundant cropland and governed by a complex social and political order. And then, the skies began to dry, leading to political discord, economic upheaval and ultimate collapse. At least, that’s the story the stones tell. By comparing millennia-long rainfall records from a natural mineral formation in Belize, with glyph records carved into stone monuments by the area’s former inhabitants, a multidisciplinary team of researchers has provided new evidence that climate change played a central role in the disintegration of Classic Maya civilization, which lasted from approximately 300 to 1000 CE. The results of the study, published in the Nov. 9 issue of Science, address what has been a longstanding mystery surrounding the disappearance of a scientifically advanced society whose peak population may have reached up to 10 million — far... ...

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Campus Judicial Report

Five more minutes A first-year student was referred to Student Judicial Affairs (SJA) for cheating on an exam after time was called in an economics course. The professor saw him talk with a friend and change his answers on the exam after the exam period had ended. When meeting with a judicial officer, the student denied cheating, but admitted to working on the exam after time was called. He agreed to one year of probation, special seating arrangements for all future exams and community service as sanctions. Probation means that the student will likely be suspended or dismissed if he is found in violation again, but he retains his right to a formal hearing if he disputes the charges. You were warned A fourth-year student was referred to SJA for submitting an assignment in a University Writing Program course that contained plagiarism. When meeting with a judicial officer, he admitted to plagiarizing despite receiving handouts on plagiarism at the beginning of the quarter. He agreed to Deferred Separation and community... ...

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Column: Big Bad Wolf

121205_op_Ringrose Edits: ZS EL J JLB Notes: Quotation marks are for print, the italics are for online version Headline: Column: Big Bad Wolf By KATELYN RINGROSE Stop relying on fairy tales for your romantic information; instead, turn to science! Learn to pay attention to the body language of people around you, and understand that most of our communication is silent. It’s true that opposites attract. In order to avoid incestuous repercussions, people tend to gravitate toward mates who exhibit different physical traits from themselves. Why Grandmother, what a big nose you have… Better to smell you with, my dear. In a sense, our noses have been designed for sex. Smell allows us to determine if a person is healthy, compatible or related to us. Our noses prevent inbreeding by making the pheromones of our relatives smell repulsive to us. Why Grandmother, what big eyes you have… People with dilated pupils, an indication of lust, are perceived as more attractive than those with smaller pupils. Better to see you with, my... ...

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News in Brief: Architect-contractor teams selected for campus art museum

Three pairs of architect-contractor teams have been chosen by a museum selection committee to design and build the new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, according to a Nov. 30 news release by the UC Davis News Service. The three finalist teams are, Kitchell as the contractor, WORKac as the design architect and Westlake Reed Leskosky as the executive architect; Oliver and Company as the contractor, Henning Larsen Architects as the design architect and Gould Evans as the executive architect; and Whiting-Turner as the contractor, SO–IL as the design architect and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson as the executive architect. The selection process included a series of evaluations and criteria such as art-exhibition experience, design ability, familiarity with the University, understanding of the art and academic communities and team cohesiveness and creativity, according to the release. Each team will have four months to prepare their designs and proposals. Final designs will be unveiled in April. In order to continue participation with the campus community, an open call exhibition will... ...

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The soils giveth, and the soils taketh away

Unraveling the complex pathway that carbon takes on its endless migration from atmosphere to soil and back to atmosphere has been one of the outstanding challenges of earth science, made all the more complicated by human activities such as agriculture. A recent study by researchers from Belgium and the U.S. has provided new measurements of how agriculturally-driven changes to the landscape can act as both a source and a sink for atmospheric carbon. Specifically, the researchers quantified for the first time the long-term net storage, or sequestration, of carbon in the soil due to agriculturally-induced erosion over an entire drainage basin. The results show that the capture of carbon in eroded soils partially offsets the net emission that clearing land for cultivation produces in the first place. But the study also showed that over the course of 500 years, roughly half of the stored carbon is re-released into the atmosphere — a finding that has important implications for understanding both the past and future role of human influence on the... ...

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Co-founder of Coursera to visit campus Thursday

Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, a major provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), is scheduled to visit campus Thursday to speak on developments in online education. The lecture, entitled “The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone,” will address MOOCs, top-quality courses from high-ranking universities that are offered for free. MOOCs use technology to bring real course experience to students, according to a press release from Koller. This includes video content, interactive exercises that use auto-grading and peer-grading, and peer-to-peer interaction. Andy Jones, a continuing University Writing Program lecturer and Academic Associate Director for Academic Technology Services, said he was intrigued by Koller after reading that she had received a MacArthur fellowship at 36 and a bachelor’s degree at 17, as well as a master’s degree a year later. “A thought leader in the fields of probability theory and machine learning, in the last year Koller has focused on higher education, and the potential game-changing arrival of Massively Open Online Courses (or MOOCs),” Jones said in an email interview. “We are... ...

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Campus Chic

Myra Orgain, third-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Hometown: Orinda, CA Spotted in front of Peter J. Shields Library The Aggie: What are you wearing? Orgain: “The shoes are from Modcloth, the skirt is from A Pretty Penny in Oakland, the sweater is from Therapy in Berkeley and the blouse is vintage. My watch is Coach and my rings are all vintage.” How did you decide what to wear today? “Partly the weather and partly my mood.” Where do you find inspiration? “Right now, I’m channeling a more classy mood. I’ve been watching a lot of Downton Abbey, so the early 1900s and a lot of film.” What is your favorite winter accessory? “Sweaters, beanies, knit things.” STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org. ...

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News-in-Brief

In order to accommodate shifts in student enrollment, the chemical engineering/materials science dual major will be discontinued and the microbiology major’s name will be changed. Enrique Lavernia, dean of the College of Engineering, said the conclusion to discontinue the dual science major was reached after assessing dramatic decreases in the number of students graduating in this major. Students will be able to complete a chemical engineering major with the new materials science minor instead. Lavernia also assured that these changes to the College of Engineering will have no negative impacts on the students currently in the program. “No course would be eliminated, as the dual major consists entirely of courses already offered in engineering. All of these courses would continue to be offered. There are no courses dedicated solely to this major,” Lavernia said. In addition to the discontinuation of the dual major, the decision was made to change the name of the microbiology major to “microbiology and molecular genetics.” “Faculty in the microbiology department requested the name change to... ...

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Tech Tips

The advent of the smartphone is pretty remarkable. Whether we like it or not, the constant access to wireless data via satellites changes the way people interact with the world around them. Additionally, with the ease that GPS programs can be integrated into smart phones, it’s virtually impossible to get lost. Then the iPhone 5 came out with iOS 6 and we’ve all heard the horror stories about people being led down streets that didn’t exist, against one-way traffic, or, god forbid, being a few minutes late because a traffic feed failed to update properly. Fortunately, there’s Waze — a mobile app that provides an open-source, crowd-sourced solution to iOS 6 Maps and Android users frustrated with their default map options. Waze is a crowd-sourced map application. This means that it compiles data from all of its users into a constantly updating database. The database includes live traffic data, road conditions, road changes and even notable disturbances like police checkpoints, photo-enforced intersections and accidents. Additionally, Waze provides a beautiful user... ...

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Column: Discontented tweets

Sexism is dead. No, not really. It was swept under the rug and buried. Whether it was covered in fear of repercussions or simply because the behavior was considered “acceptable,” it is still here and resides in what I used to consider a free-thinking industry: video games. In response to a tweet from Kickstarter’s Luke Crane, “Why are there so few lady game creators,” Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy lists various answers as to why females in the video game industry seem so rare. When I delayed a League of Legends match with my friends to read about the uprising against video game industry sexism, I expected something similar to EA Games’ harsh treatment of their employees during crunch time. The stories and reasons I read appalled me. According to Twitter user @SweetPavement, one reason is “Because if I succeed, I’m exceptional. And if I fail, I’m proof that women shouldn’t be in the industry.” Some female developers may not even make it into the industry. Tweeter @GabrielleKent recalls a time she... ...

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Obesity gets 0wn3d

Obesity has never been a problem historically until recently. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity has nearly tripled since 1980. Nearly 100 million Americans are now considered obese. This staggering number comes primarily from poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle that has become the norm in our society, and video games only bolster this problem. Most video games still use the traditional controller-and-console setup in which a person can sit and play for hours on end. Combine that with excessive snack foods that have no nutritional value, and you generally get obesity as the end result. With the help of a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the Get Up program — a collaboration between the UC Davis School of Education, Foods for Health Institute and Play4Change — wants to combat this epidemic by using video games as motivation for children and teens to live healthier and more active lifestyles. The project is currently under development. Started in September of this year, the team is... ...

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UC Davis students create clothing for charity

A UC Davis student’s ambition to better the world has driven him to the world of entrepreneurship. What started as a New Year’s resolution is quickly turning into reality in the form of The Runaway Robot, a clothing company “focused on trying to make the world a better place” one shirt at a time. Alexander Ogloza, a third-year communication major, along with 11 or so interns, has created the company to help charity missions around the United States. The artist responsible for the company’s inception and the art on the clothing is Tomio Hayase-Izu, a third-year environmental policy major. “The Runaway Robot is a good example of students taking the initiative by using these resources, creating something greater and hopefully in doing so, giving back to the community,” Hayase-Izu said. “We had a vision, and are doing our best to follow it.” As young as The Runaway Robot is, the company has already been awarded the UC Davis Entrepreneurial Fund Grant. The fund awards “sound business ideas that are motivated... ...

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Column: Off my chest

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, I can see the lights at the ends of many tunnels as it seems like a myriad of things are about to come to a close: the quarter, my tenure as a columnist, the year, the world. I’m not going to bemoan any of these circumstances as they’re rather inconsequential to me. I, instead, would like to talk about something that lies near and dear to my heart. Back in February of this year, I started noticing an odd little bump on my chest, below my sternum, above my solar plexus and between my right and left nipple. I thought it a little odd, but I shrugged it off and watched in fascination as it grew alarmingly in size over the next few months. It wasn’t until August that I finally went home and got the bump checked out. By now it had grown to somewhere around two millimeters in height and width and was a fairly grotesque-looking... ...

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