Review Category : Opinion

Tunespoon: A major crisis

Google “useless college degrees.” “Music,” along with a crappy stock photo of a confused man/woman in a graduation gown scratching his/her head in worried bewilderment, is on that list. I assure you. I have heard it so, so, so many times. From unimpressed aunts and uncles, from my sometimes unsure parents, from inexplicably shocked fellow students. It’s a tough life, and it often feels unfair that this course of study that I’m embarking upon, with every passion I have within me, pales in comparison to the science-technology-engineering-mathematics fields. It doesn’t exactly help that UC Davis is a premier research university. My music degree, in comparison to the highly-regarded STEM universe, often feels like a death sentence. I know so many people who work in labs, who study in bays and farms, who have dreams of medical school, who take internship opportunities that will lead them to prosperous days of discovery — and for a living nonetheless. And you have me, lost, not sure and maybe a little scared of the... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: School Dress Code

When I was in eighth grade, I got sent to the office in the middle of geometry class because of the skirt I was wearing. Really. That’s it. A skirt. It wasn’t even a particularly offensive skirt. It didn’t have any images of weapons or defamatory slogans on it. It was just a plain old denim skirt. It was tacky maybe, but definitely not offensive. So why, you ask, would anyone send such a respectful student like myself to the office for such a harmless offense? Well, the answer is the school dress code. Ah, the school dress code. The term brings back vivid memories of casual shirts tucked haphazardly into pants and sneakers worn with virtually every type of outfit imaginable because other kinds of shoes simply were not allowed at my public school. I remember telling myself in the eighth grade, at least I was no longer subjected to those hideous brown, yellow and green uniforms that my old private school required. This was comforting knowledge, but I... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: Political bliss

One of the most contemporary debates about higher education concerns the value of going to college. Most of the debate focuses on fiscal reasoning and future economic prospects. But talking about college only in these terms would be ignoring other vital advantages that come with education. The panel above shows Calvin making a rather backhanded argument for skipping his homework. His flippant attitude is indicative of a modern problem in political participation, and can be analyzed to show the growing importance of higher education that often extends beyond job concerns. One phrase Calvin often advocates (with disastrous results), is that “ignorance is bliss.” I hate when people use this expression. It supposes that being aware of your surroundings (always inevitably negative) has the effect of creating an equally negative temperament in a person. This is a low opinion of learning, which I believe most people find to be a rewarding experience. It ignores the fact that education values problem solving, and that perhaps some optimism could be gained from knowing... ...

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Science is Serendipitous: The issue with the “Monsanto” model

Have you heard of Monsanto? It’s a biotechnology company focused on enhancing agriculture. You may have heard about them through the news, or even here on The California Aggie due in large part to the bad press they’ve been getting. You see, the debate is largely focused on two issues with Monsanto — its use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and its suspicious business practices. Whatever you may think of either issue, there is no denying that Monsanto has had massive success in its endeavors. Yet for all of the success this company is having, they are embroiled in scandals and controversies from both the scientific and public communities. The research that Monsanto and other biotechnology companies are doing to genetically engineer our food is a topic that requires a lot of academic reading for a proper debate. What I’m primarily concerned about is the ethics behind Monsanto’s model of “doing science.” It’s a profit-first-based model, aimed at establishing a monopoly-like foothold in the agricultural sector and keeping research behind... ...

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Crafting Gemeinschaft: Death via the color grey

We have been told throughout our lives that graffiti is bad. It depresses home values, encourages gang activity and is destroying our youth. This notion makes it difficult for public art pieces to find their place in society, because they are wrongfully correlated with such vandalism. Do you remember around spring of last year when all of a sudden on the Death Star you saw the faces of your peers? Where did they come from? What was their purpose there? I bet it made your walk to statistics 10 times more enjoyable. Yet getting the installation, called “Davis Inside Out,” approved was considerable work. Part of the reason the Aggie Public Arts Committee had difficulty getting the project approved is because something like that had never been done before on campus, especially by students — people are uncomfortable with difference and the unknown. If projects such as “Davis Inside Out” are done more often, it won’t be as much of a hardship to get projects approved in the future, because... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: Work It

A few years ago, I worked at a restaurant as a hostess where we were required to abide by a dress code. The dress code in and of itself was pretty standard: According to our training manual, as long as we wore all black and we weren’t dressed sloppily or showing too much skin, we were fine. But there were a few instances that made it clear that this code was a little more complex – and, in some ways, sexist – than that. For example, when a coworker of mine came in dressed in her usual semi-professional attire, but wasn’t wearing any make-up, my boss came up to me and said, “Tell her to put a little eyeliner on, will you? She’s scaring away all the customers.” It threw me off, to say the least. She must be joking, I thought, but when my boss added that she couldn’t tell my co-worker herself because it might end up being an issue, I realized how serious she was. It wasn’t... ...

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Tunespoon: What really matters

Taylor Swift’s 1989 is 2014’s first platinum certified selling album, and likely to be the only one. For an album to be platinum certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a label must sell at least one million digital and/or physical units of an album. Know-it-all economic pundits often use RIAA certifications as symptoms to diagnose the future of the music industry. Chances of survival are low. Music’s ever-increasing accessibility is contributing to the death of the album, and as a result, the music industry as we know it. Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are often accused of being culprits for the death of the music industry. According to a highly sensationalist article by Forbes aptly titled “Why Taylor Swift’s 1989 Could Be the Last Platinum-Selling Album Ever,” young people are the core consumer of the music industry. Hardly any teenager buys CDs anymore, as modern technology abandons them. The convenience of digital records is a hindrance for preteens; purchasing digital albums with a credit card requires... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin has Character

In my 11 years of reading Calvin and Hobbes, I would like to think that I have developed an understanding of Calvin’s character. Not only does the strip provide a poignant commentary on education, but it provides a personality that is remarkably befitting of many stages of life, from childhood to adolescence, and beyond. As such, Calvin displays many of the qualities of a college student. We can analyze his personality to determine why students may struggle or succeed in their educational careers. The strip above displays a common phenomenon. A student demanding a lot from their institution, but perhaps is unwilling to work hard. Like Calvin, many students today harbor cynical attitudes toward the way they are educated. Part of the reason may be that schooling prior to college is seen largely as a burden, with boring lessons and distasteful structure. A lot of students may feel marginalized, especially in a large university like UC Davis. And when this marginalization occurs, people tend to look inward. One of Calvin’s... ...

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Guest Column: An Open Letter to the UC Student Community

My name is Avi Oved. I am a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. I am an economics major. I am a fourth year. I am the Student Regent-designate of the University of California Board of Regents. And I am Jewish. Prior to my appointment as your Student Regent-designate, some members of the UC community raised concerns about my ability to be an effective leader. I was called upon by many of these students to answer for my conduct, for my past work as the Internal Vice President of the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council, and for my personal beliefs. With the tumult of this summer and my confirmation by the UC Board of Regents behind us, I am taking this opportunity to answer. In the months and weeks preceding my appointment, there were many conversations that took place about my history of work and service in student government. Some of these conversations were heated, and some of these conversations took place on social media. The technology that... ...

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Crafting Gemeinschaft: Big wheel keep on turnin’

Check the corresponding box if you have ever done any of the following as a biker: Impatiently running a red light because the light has not changed for you and you have been waiting for close to ten minutes [   ] Taking a collective turn at the stop sign with all the other bikers instead of going one by one because that is ridiculous [   ] Locking your bike to a tree/bench/post/etc. due to lack of parking and you’re about to be late to a midterm [   ] If you checked off any or all of the above symptoms, you have been diagnosed with biker road rage. If left untreated it can lead to future complications, such as seeking car loan approvals. I find it odd that we go to one of the most “bike-friendly” college campuses in the nation (we are the only city to have received the Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award, given out by the League of American Cyclists), yet as a city we are behind in... ...

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Science is Serendipitous: Green Chemistry

If you’ve attended any institute of higher education, you’ve probably taken a chemistry class once in your life. So you know that when you start a chemistry lab class, the first thing you go over is the safety rules, and how to handle the harsh chemicals used. Before you start each lab, you also go over what kind of reactants you’re going to use, and how dangerous they could be. But we shouldn’t waste dangerous chemicals. What if I told you there was a whole field of science trying to reduce the interaction with harmful chemicals and do the same experiments with friendly and safe chemicals? The field is called “green chemistry,” and I’m hoping it can clean up the way we conduct chemical research and engineering. When I get into my research work, I want to make sure I’m using chemicals that are safe, sustainable, and get my product with minimal cost and time. Green chemistry is a sustainability and safety concept for the world of physical and natural... ...

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Closed senate, no transparency

By The Editorial Board  Within the past two weeks, ASUCD Senate has held two closed sessions that were not open to the public to discuss various issues on the UC Davis campus. As senate has previously only held less than five closed sessions since the start of Fall Quarter 2013, it is a surprise and concern that two have been held in the last two weeks. The first closed session of this academic year was held Oct. 16 to allow senate time to discuss information regarding Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA). It was called in the middle of the senate meeting, which is regularly held on Thursday nights. The second closed session was the week after, on Oct. 23, to discuss the Whole Earth Festival (WEF). However, the details of the meeting are not clear to the public. Last year, about $20,000 was lost in the Whole Earth Festival budget. While we understand that holding these sessions to discuss matters without interruptions could be more efficient and sometimes necessary in weighing personnel... ...

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Guest Opinion: Policing Palestine on Campus

In September, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent an email to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. The ADL is an avowedly Zionist lobbying organization with a long history of attempting to silence criticism of the Israeli state, usually via specious claims of anti-Semitism. They have also spied on Arab American activists in the Bay Area. This particular letter, which we can assume from its contents was sent to other campuses, recommended the heightened monitoring of specific groups organizing on campus. These included American Muslims for Palestine, as well as anyone involved with calls for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” in response to Israel’s state policies of occupation and apartheid in Palestine, and its ongoing blockade and siege of Gaza. Paying risible lip service to free speech, the letter further suggests strategies for policing these students. Its full text is available here. One cannot be surprised when lobbyists lobby. We could easily imagine the John Birch Society sending a similar letter in 1961 suggesting that schools monitor and police members of the Student Nonviolent... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: I’m a cat, duh

Written By CHELSEA SPILLER   It’s almost Halloween! You know what that means: It’s the one time of the year when you get to be anything or anyone you want. Unless you’re a girl. Then, according to most of the costumes available, you can be a sexy anything or anyone you want. Yay! I guess. OK, I’ll be honest — I’m kind of conflicted. In my experience, Halloween costumes made for women are essentially just sexualized versions of men’s costumes. While I think it’s problematic to say that revealing Halloween costumes are a negative thing, because that could imply an urge to censor women’s bodies, I do know that it’s nearly impossible to find a woman’s costume that doesn’t have the word “sexy” in front of it. But with men’s costumes, the opposite is true. This double standard, in my opinion, is where the issue lies. On one hand, it’s kind of fun and empowering to dress up and look, well, hot. Maybe that’s just my narcissism talking, but who cares?... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: Big picture boy

Written By ELI FLESCH Watterson, Bill. Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1994. Print. In today’s society, the value of a college education has greatly increased. Recent trends in the structure of the job market have created a greater need for highly skilled workers. Students seem well aware that how they perform in college will play into their future careers, and they treat it as such. They go to great lengths to build flawless resumes and treat college as a sort of pre-professional endeavor. While this seems a natural response to an ultra-competitive society, it remains to be a surprisingly short-sighted way of treating college. One of the reasons I love Calvin is because he’s a big picture man. In the column above, he shows Ms. Wormwood that integers are but trifles in the grand scheme of things. Of course, his attitude is a little fatalistic — perhaps he’s too big picture. But that’s the joke. His attitude does help put education into... ...

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