Review Category : Opinion

Guest Column: UC Student Regent Welcome

As classes resume and we return to campus, reminders of the diversity of our student body are all around us. Some students have arrived freshly inspired by the beauty and culture of foreign countries, and some emerge from the depths of backbreaking jobs and seemingly endless hours of internships; still others sit in the very same classrooms they frequented during long days of summer school, while some just soaked in the sun and enjoyed the peaceful bliss of doing absolutely nothing.   But while many of its students wandered far from their campuses during the summer months, the wheels of activity continue to turn at the University of California. The governing body of the University, the Board of Regents, continued to hold its bi-monthly meetings at the University of California San Francisco. And in July, we were privileged to take our seats at the table as Student Regent Saifuddin and Student Regent-designate Oved. Allow us to introduce ourselves. The UC Board of Regents can be a distant, removed body of... ...

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Tunespoon: The good old days

If you subscribe to the notion that “music was so much better back then,” then I really don’t blame you. I too have seen a hilariously fallacious comparison between legendary ’60s pop masterpiece “God Only Knows” to Nicki Minaj’s throwaway promo “Stupid Hoe.” So, perhaps the only solution to the dearth of substantial music is a steady diet of Bob Dylan, Beach Boys and The Beatles.   But, I have to confess, I’m not a Beatles fan. They’ve made an indelible mark on the industry, and on many peoples’ lives. I am not one of them. So just because someone grew up with a rotary phone doesn’t mean that they should happily hand over their smartphone for “the good old days.” The times, they are a-changin’.   A discontent Esquire Magazine list aptly titled “Eight Reasons Why Old Music Is Better Than New Music” exemplifies the aggressive stubbornness of its faulty logic. Some items on the list simply are not true, such as the claim that there are “more artists... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin isn’t curious

                  When talking about ways to improve the value of education, most debates center on what teachers and institutions can do to improve a student’s experience. Less is said about how students can help themselves. As illustrated above, Calvin seems to be suffering from a lack of intellectual curiosity in the classroom. He vocalizes a certain inevitability in education — that students are ultimately in charge of whether or not they take an interest on a subject.   Engaging students is an uphill battle, but it’s not impossible. Professors can, and often do, interest students in their fields. The best professors are visibly enthusiastic about their fields; they make their teaching inclusive and accessible. This enthusiasm acts as a prerequisite for making a student curious. Without this type of engagement, the entire onus is put on the student.   While students are largely responsible for their own academic interests, some policies and technological trends are making it harder for true engagement. This... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: The history of fashion

I’ve noticed that there is a lot of stigma around people who choose to wear clothes that aren’t made particularly for their assigned genders. Male bodies wearing dresses, or female bodies rocking suits and ties, for example. Despite this stigma, there are individuals who attempt to express themselves in a way that defies the limiting gender binaries that have been set in place.   There is an argument I’ve heard more than once that attempts to justify who gets to wear what, and it’s a big part of why I wanted to write this column in the first place. The argument, which is that “it’s only natural” that boys don’t want to wear dresses and girls do, is ridiculous and, according to history, absolutely not true. Furthermore, if you take a look at the types of clothing that people wear around the world even today, it’s clear that this divide is a learned behavior, not some kind of inherited trait. Nevertheless, this argument gets used often and creates a huge... ...

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Science is serendipitous

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford This may sound weird, but you know when you’re lying in bed too excited or too stressed to sleep, and you just stare at the ceiling and think? I do that almost every night, except I’m not thinking about a project, test or even that pizza I’m going to get tomorrow — I’ve got science on my mind. I get excited thinking about projects that aim to cure diseases or help a poor community gain access to clean water. I once spent an entire night thinking about a research paper that addressed researchers’ hopes to grow back limbs we have lost (search HOX genes and regenerative medicine). During one of these late night sessions, I wondered what kinds of methods were being used to help people who have lost their sight. One scenario that came to mind was the X- Men character Cyclops and the pair of shades he wears on his head to... ...

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Crafting Gemeinschaft

This is my first year living in a house in Davis and I was really excited — not because of the amount of leaves I get to rake, but because of the invitation I found on my door to my neighborhood’s block party. The Ninth Davis Neighbors’ Night Out (DNNO) took place on Sunday, and organizers set the aim of breaking the Guinness World Record for “Most Neighborhood Potlucks On the Same Day.” DNNO is part of the City of Davis’s Good Neighbor Initiative, which was created to promote understanding and effective communication between neighbors. The way DNNO works is that multiple people sign up as “party sponsors” who are in charge of sending out invitations to the event or have the option of getting invitations directly from the city. When I went out to my neighborhood’s block party and met our party sponsor, Susan, she said that it was her second year as a sponsor. The neighbors each pitched in by bringing a dish and their lawn chairs, thereby... ...

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Bacteria talk — you’ll like what they say

As humans, when we need to get things done, we talk. We see our way of communication as special and only available to us. Well, it may be true in some instances, but communication is available to all living things around us, and even living things that are inside of us. Bacteria are present in you and on you in a huge way. According to an Anaerobe science journal study done on our “gut” flora, we have approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells in us or on us compared to human cells at any given time. When someone mentions bacteria, we like to think about the evil (pathogenic) bacteria that harm us. Before you start engulfing yourself with antibacterial spray, these bacteria on us are harmless or even beneficial to our body. Am I telling you that these colonies of bacteria can actually be good for you? In a sense, yes! Bacteria help you digest your food, keep your stomach feeling just right and cover your skin with an extra... ...

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Dress to impress (or, you know, not)

If you’ve ever worn a skirt (or shorts, or a dress, or heels, etc.), chances are you’ve been catcalled by some random dude you never have, and probably never will, meet. It’s also highly probable that after said catcall, you felt exceedingly self-conscious about what you were wearing. Are my shorts too short? Is my top too low? Would creepy strangers leave me alone if I were wearing sweatpants? The answers to these questions are clearly, emphatically, no. But sometimes, when you’re all alone on the street somewhere, it’s easy to question, or even blame yourself, for the offensive choices of others. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who has the guts to call these assholes out on their behavior — in which case, you’re awesome. Keep up the good work. However, this type of self-blame happens far too often and it’s not necessarily just a case of being too intimidated to respond to the aggression of others. In fact, I would argue that this self-blame is the result... ...

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Whoa, man

I heard a song on the radio. I think it goes something like: “Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhh!” It’s a really great, sticky melody and the production really makes the track shine. No, it isn’t “Good Time” by Owl City. No, I’m not talking about Sam Smith’s epic melisma showcase in “Stay With Me’s” bridge. No, the riff to “Seven Nation Army” isn’t even actually sung in The White Stripes’ original recording. People do that because, I don’t know, sports make them do it! To be honest, what song it was is a riddle with no answer. Songwriters, from behind-the-scenes, filthy-rich hitmakers to the SoundCloud free music sharer, all have access to the holy grail of catchiness: the much sought-after long “O” sound. I think of it as the monosodium glutamate, or MSG, of the music world; sprinklings of it here and there might make food tasty, but overload will surely kill you. “Ohs,” just like MSG crystals, are shortcuts to adding real substance. Let’s sample American Authors’ hit “The Best Day of My... ...

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Uncritical Calvin

Watterson, Bill. There’s Treasure Everywhere: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1996. Print. One reason Calvin and Hobbes has stayed relevant in our culture is the insight it is able to provide with humor. I started reading the comic when I was in second grade. Almost 11 years later, I still find it as fresh as ever. Similarly, it satirizes themes that have stayed significant for decades. In the comic strip above, we see Calvin arguing for learning by “factoid.” Since the strip’s publication over 20 years ago, the issue of how we learn has become even more relevant. There seems to be a consensus across all disciplines that critical thinking is the best way to understand a given topic. But critical thinking is threatened in modern society by trends in technology. To understand why, we have to first examine exactly what critical thinking is and the process by which we derive knowledge from it. We will see that the rise of factoids creates a cog... ...

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Reality Bites, But It Doesn’t Have To

Crafting Gemeinschaft Most of the time, when we hear the word sustainability, we think about our resources and the environment, but the word can provide some insight when you think about it in terms of yourself and your daily schedule. It is common for people our age to overschedule themselves, to pile a minimum-wage job on top of a minimum-wage job because it is better than feeling unproductive. But there has to be something wrong with overscheduling ourselves to the point where we are uncomfortable with doing nothing. There’s often this false notion that taking the time to do things that make us happy is unproductive. And if we give into this false notion, it is going to lead to pent-up aggression that is going to manifest itself down the road. It does not help that companies are placing unrealistic demands on their employees, expecting them to carry their work home with them. The sad part is that the employees have to put up with a never-ending workload because they... ...

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Online Thoughts

When was the last time you read an opinion online? It was probably a few minutes ago, when you saw your friend’s Facebook status, or my own Facebook status, recommending that you read this article from The Aggie because it provides such great wisdom and insight. (It’s true!) You probably did read something that someone online thought of very recently, and whether you know it or not, it affected your thoughts in some way. Online opinions are here; they’ve been here; and they are just as valuable and important as those in print. Journalism is changing. Newspapers are moving to the internet, sometimes because they want to and sometimes because they have to. But either way, they’re here. We have websites like Facebook, Buzzfeed and Tumblr. Basically, if someone has an idea, they can post it and get it seen. You can choose to agree or disagree with what they have to say, and then you can tell them what you think by posting it in the comments. Online posts... ...

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Swiper No Swiping

UC Davis Dining Commons (DC) recently implemented a new rule that will only allow students with meal plans to have 10 guest swipes. This means that those students can only swipe in 10 additional guests a quarter. The rule will limit the sense of community that sharing swipes has created in the past among freshmen and upperclassmen, while also limiting the ways in which students can use the swipes they have already purchased. An officer of Student Development said one reason for the new policy is to prevent freshmen from feeling pressured to use their swipes to let in big groups of people from extracurricular activities they are involved in. This was specifically listed as an issue among athletes and students participating in Greek Life who may feel that they have to swipe in their whole team or multiple members of their sorority or fraternity. In our experiences and based on what we’ve seen with others, the act of swiping in a group does not result from feeling pressured, but... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping

If you thought this column was going to be about the movie Mean Girls, I’m so sorry to have to tell you that it’s not. But please, before you leave to re-watch clips of what is probably the best teen movie ever made, I have a proposition for you: Find me a place where I can comfortably shop for gender-neutral clothing. Seriously. I dare you. I’ll even buy you the limited edition director’s cut of Mean Girls if you succeed. (I’m kidding. Probably all I can afford to give you is a high five.) In all seriousness, the struggle to find clothes that aren’t exclusively made for women or men is extremely difficult. Sure, American Apparel has a few items that are labeled “unisex,” but you can’t deny the fact that their store is divided into two distinct sections solely devoted to men and women. Virtually every other clothing store you might find yourself in is also divided by gender. Why is this? When did we, as a society, decide... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: The Institution

I came to college to learn. I’m interested in many subjects and have been fortunate throughout my life to enjoy the benefits of top quality public education. But learning, when done right, is never easy, and is often hindered by varying circumstances, policies and individuals. Calvin, from the popular comic, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, lives the woes of modern education and displays intelligent cynicism on the matter — an intelligence distinct from the poor test grades he receives. Calvin and Hobbes can help us understand issues concerning education in a comical way (because I’ll be damned if I make this column another homework assignment). This column will address the discrepancy between self-education and institutional education. The strip above illustrates the problem in a simple manner: boy feels he’s learned enough, teacher says no, boy sits back down. Institutional education (which sounds bad, I know) exists in part to provide resources and professional guidance to students. It presupposes that the teachers know more than the student and that the... ...

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