Review Category : Opinion

Sustainable Agriculture: Food Solutions

If you gaze into the depths of the food system too long, you might begin feeling dizzy. It can make a person uneasy to learn about and recognize the inequality and privilege related to the ways we get (or are unable to get) our food. While the maze-like relationships between all the actors within the food system usually serve to confuse, disenchant or even perturb us, they also offer opportunity. Untangling this mess requires innovative and creative ideas that address the root cause of problems. One opportunity we have is to learn how to grow food, again. Only 100 years ago, 90 percent of folks in the U.S. farmed. Only four generations later, and less than 2 percent of us do. Such a shift has essentially eliminated the knowledge and connection we have with our food. Cultivation is an activity that can bring us back to not only our own roots, but to humanity’s roots. Cultivation, the act of caring for the land, can reveal more than just knowledge of... ...

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Guest Opinion: Health Care Open Enrollment is Closing

Purchasing health insurance is essential to make sure that you are prepared for any worst case medical situations, and by law every American is now required to get covered. If left uncovered in the case of a serious medical emergency, you could be saddled with staggering medical bills. If you are without insurance, you have until March 31 to find and sign up for a plan. While this might sound like a daunting task, it is essential that you get covered and it is easier than you might think. Remember that if you are on your parent’s health insurance plan you can stay on it until you are 26, and if not you can still enroll in the Davis SHIP plan if you are a registered UC Davis student. But if you are graduating and can’t stay on your parent’s insurance, or otherwise find yourself without insurance, there are a lot of questions you probably have about the next step. Here are some key tips for finding affordable health insurance:... ...

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Letter from the Editor

Twelve months ago, former Editor in Chief Janelle Bitker published a Letter from the Editor that began with: “There will be no issue of The California Aggie outside your lecture the first day of spring quarter. Or the next day. Or the next day.” I never thought I’d be saying the same thing. The California Aggie is suspending its print edition and staff pay for Spring Quarter. As of today, everyone who works for The Aggie is a volunteer for a digital newspaper. We’ll still be publishing news online and updating our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) as if we had a printed edition of our paper. Yes, the fee referendum passed — thanks to you. Yes, after a couple of weeks, the Office of the President finally has the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor-approved referendum. But guess what: Spring Quarter tuition and fees have already been issued. In the language of the bill, it is explicitly stated that the funds would have come into play in the spring. The Aggie... ...

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Guest Opinion: An Incident of Hate

Linda P.B. Katehi recently mentioned via email that she would like to hear about hate crimes occurring on our campus. To stop further hate crimes, I demand that she disband police patrols, stop student surveillance and fire Officer S.R. Terry. The following occurred Thursday, March 6 between 7:15 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Orchard Park Road. I heard shouting outside on the street. I went outside and saw two police cars and a police bicycle; five cops total. A Hispanic male student (whom we shall refer to as “C”) was being held in front of the nearest car with two police officers trying to question him. He was not cooperating and was shouting that his rights were being violated. He was demanding to speak to a lawyer, shouting for help. I later found out that he and his companion had been stopped because they were smoking Swisher Sweets, and Officer S.R. Terry allegedly smelled marijuana. Though even after a thorough search of both victims and the premises, it was not... ...

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Literary Lessons: Stimulating Reading

There are lots of ways of understanding the universe. I always see Life & Style magazines everywhere, and I realize that those are pictures of how I am supposed to comprehend life. I make this hypothesis based on supply and demand. American society will be given the type of philosophy it craves, much in the same way a mother might feed her developing preschooler boxed macaroni and cheese, Doritos, and ice cream every night. Clearly, these glossy pages of gossip are how people want to think about humanity, and they are so provided. However, for the sake of everything that isn’t social media and supermodels, I would like to propose an alternative. I proposition that we understand the universe not in the way that only satisfies our simulation-hungary id. I suggest a thing called reading. I can watch Girls and get a solid look at bourgeois, white, indie kids who live in New York City. I receive this with a grain of nudity, well-placed clothing shout-outs and background music. Then... ...

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In Transition: C-C-Conclusion

It’s officially the last week of Winter Quarter, which means that I only have one quarter left here at UC Davis — and only one quarter left of college. That’s terrifying. As difficult as this journey has been, it truly has been some of the best years of my life. And with that, please let me introduce you to my alter ego, Sappy Sarah. She’s spent some time reminiscing and here’s what she has to say: Being a transfer student is weird. I’ve already graduated from college once, but I still can’t believe my time at UC Davis is almost up. As I think about my college experience coming to a close, I consider myself lucky to have had two very different college experiences. Each one taught me different, but irreplaceable, life lessons; lessons that I hope will bear influence on the rest of my life. As I prepare to graduate, I can’t help but think back to my community college graduation and reflect on my experiences at my CCC.... ...

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Latin Americanisms: FIN

The life of an opinion writer is not what you might expect. Sure there are the initial dreams of print-fame and glory (not really) coupled with the undying adoration that is to be expected from faithful and attentive readers (I remain hopeful). But these well-intending illusions of grandeur quickly give way to the more unassuming reality that is student journalism at a place like UC Davis. It’s a job that is done for the love of journalism itself. When all is said and done, we columnists have it fairly easy. We write our thoughts (for better or worse), go through the editing process, and then wait patiently for that most glorious of days, print Thursday. Editors and non-Opinion writers (read: actual journalists — or anyone outside of the wondrous twilight zone that is the Opinion section) on the other hand tend to do the important work while allowing us to further indulge in our navel-gazing. For that, we thank you. Any column that deals with culture or its interweaving fabrics,... ...

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Guest Opinion: DrinkSavvy

Recently, words like “rape culture” have become more prominent in news and social media. Anti-rape campaigns are picking up speed and people are becoming more aware of the frequency of rape. Statistics and information have been drilled into my head since high school: according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “between 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience rape or attempted rape,” and “90 percent of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.” At orientation we are warned of the consequences of sexual assault and are given facts and more statistics regarding rape and date rape drugs. We are forced to become aware of the concepts before college even begins. But how aware are we really? The honest answer is that as informed as we are that date rape drugs exist and are used, it is impossible to be aware of an event involving date rape drugs because they are odorless, colorless and tasteless. We can be as informed as possible, yet remain completely unaware of the presence of substances like... ...

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SB 41 veto: Faulty reasoning

On Feb. 24, ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom vetoed Senate Bill #41 (SB 41), a measure that passed through senate with a 10-0-2 vote. The bill called for more ASUCD transparency by amending the bylaws to somewhat mirror California’s Brown Act of 2003, which calls for open meetings for local government bodies. In the case of SB 41, all meetings of the ASUCD senate and its subordinate bodies would have to be announced, with an agenda, 48 hours prior to them taking place. In her veto message, Sandstrom cited logistical issues with being able to publish agendas on time for Monday Internal Affairs Commission meetings, because the Student Government Administrative Office is closed on Fridays. Sandstrom also vetoed the bill because she took issue with the use of the word “crippling” in it, a word she called “politically incorrect.” If Sandstrom has issues with the wording of the bill, why would she wait until after senate passed it to bring up her concerns? Senate had discussed SB 41 for weeks before... ...

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In Transition: C-C-Cool Stuff

Being a student is hard. It’s a long, difficult process that can feel isolating and even impossible at times. But the glass isn’t always half empty! There are a ton of great things about being a transfer student (and a UC Davis student in general) that I’ve discovered over the past year and a half. Knowing that I’ll be graduating in June, I feel like I have an obligation to pass on my wisdom. So here you go! Once I transferred here, I was struck by an odd jealousy. Sure, it was cool to finally be a UC Davis student, but I still felt like I was missing out on a lot. It can be really hard to meet people as a transfer student, and one of the things I was most jealous of is that I never got to live in the dorms. Like I said, it was an odd jealousy. To me, there’s just nothing like being thrown into that “college” experience by learning to cook ramen in... ...

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Latin Americanisms: The Narcocorrido

How many times have hip-hop aficionados been characterized as lovers of thug music? Answer: many times. There is an undeniable racialization of the rap scene in the U.S. that has been an ongoing project for certain media and political entities since Rapper’s Delight first hit the airwaves and flooded the music world with its inner-city funk. The flip side to this this dominant criminal narrativization of rap as a musical medium has been its popularity exploding in parts of the country which by their very makeup seem antithetical to its urban soul. White suburban kids have become a prime consumer base for the latest in hip-hop, almost single-handedly (have you been to a hip-hop concert lately?) spurring on new artists like Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Freddie “Gangsta” Gibbs, among others, to the forefront of 2014 hip-hop. Now you might ask yourself what if anything does this has to do with Latin America? After all, it is the focus of this column. I’d like to let Trap artist Gucci Mane... ...

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Literary Lessons: Bathroom Reading

I have heard through the grapevine that the people who run UC Davis are pretty smart. In order to manage various student academic websites, organize class schedules and keep havoc from wreaking everywhere, they maintain a very well-organized system. One would think that with this kind of organization, there might be at least some attention paid to the basic necessities. I’m not talking about fancy golden fountains with water coming out of the mouths of nymphs. No, I’m talking about toilets. For whatever reason, UC Davis just hasn’t been able to nail it in the sanitation department. There are a few successes on campus, but all in all the restrooms are a major wreck. I, like everyone else, need water. And then, after I consume this water, I need to do a little dance to get it out the other side. Personally, I prefer not to do this dance in public, but considering my last few experiences, the bushes are looking pretty hospitable. For the record, I am a girl,... ...

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Guest Opinion: Re: Recycling

A few years ago, I walked into a Costco which had its tire section at the entrance when a tire came in. As I curiously walked closer to the tires (because hey, I’ve never been to a tire shop before), I was shortly greeted by a noxious odor from the stack of tires, and I walked away. These tires clearly emitted some serious volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short, many of which are of concern in the non-toxic side of environmental activism. Yet with a brief visit to many green stores both online and brick-and-mortar, one can encounter objects made from recycled tires, inner tubes and bicycle tires. These objects range from purses, belts, coasters, bags, pencils, and so forth. Car tires have also been recycled into pavement, gym mats, cushioning substrate for playgrounds and as building material in experimental or DIY sustainable housing. Is it possible that recycling, while normally a very good environmental technology, tends to supercede the health and safety side of being “green”? Tires are... ...

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Sustainable Agriculture: Ag Origins

The history of agriculture always starts with the estimate that “agriculture” began 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, in what is now called the Middle East. This is where wheat was domesticated, large scale irrigation was created and wool was initially shorn from sheep’s backs for human use. While this all may be true, labeling the Fertile Crescent as the “origin of agriculture” reflects a Eurocentric approach to agriculture that has had detrimental and oppressive effects on the way we perceive other cultures and ways of cultivating. Notice that wheat, irrigation and wool are all products of European necessity: wheat is the chosen food staple, irrigation is necessary in northern climates and wool is crucial for long winters. Creating such a Eurocentric image of agriculture has predictably limited us in imagining the spectrum of land management practices used by non-Europeans. When gold-miners rushed into California nearly 150 years ago, they were awestruck by the magnificent “wilderness” before them. California was not a land of “wilderness” untouched by human hands... ...

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The Philosophy of Education: Time Management

Have you ever clicked on a website, and upon finding it takes a few seconds to load, switched to another tab to “make use” of the time? Do you find yourself doing the same thing when toasting or microwaving food for a minute? I know I have. Why are we so impatient? I believe we fear wasting time by not being productive, and thus we find it hard to focus on anything that does not provide constant stimulation to make us feel productive. Multitasking truly can increase our productivity. For example, while waiting for your bread to be toasted, you can pack your backpack for school. However, for multitasking to be effective, there must be enough time to do another task. How much can you accomplish in the three seconds of waiting for a website to load? Despite potentially increasing productivity, multitasking can mentally exhaust us, especially if we switch rapidly and frequently from one task to another. In order to switch, we must abruptly break our train of thought... ...

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