Rules might actually save your life
Oct19

Rules might actually save your life

“Thanks for the rules, UMHB.” It’s not a phrase heard often by students or faculty. We grumble when the MTV Music Video Awards are on and we can’t see Kanye’s antics. Twenty-one-year-olds can’t have alcohol — period. Girls and guys still separate by 1 a.m. all over campus. We even have a foul language policy. It is easy to criticize the sometimes oppressive regulations. One aspect of college life is that it is a time for teenagers to become adults. Being policed about public displays of affection sure doesn’t make us feel like adults. My parents seem to think they can kiss whenever they want, and, honestly, that’s more damaging to my mental health than a few kisses in the McLane lobby. But I see the other side. Last week a friend of mine was raped at her university. She’s a freshman, like everyone else in her dorm, and, like everyone else, she was drinking last weekend. At her school — a large and well respected university — alcohol and drug use are the norm. Finding a sober student on a Friday night is harder than finding a drunken one here. The school turns a blind eye to the partying and fraternizing. After all, it is college. She went to a friend’s room and had a few drinks like normal after a hard week of class. But the girl, barely 18 years old, soon forgot everything. She woke up beaten and bloody. Her lips were shredded — a mere illustration of the abuse the attacker inflicted on her body. Doctors found drugs in her system, obviously hidden in the drinks she was given. The other clues from the evening — marked in her skin, hair and blood — are too graphic to describe. I shake with anger just to write about it. But she woke up to this reality. It is something she will wake up with for the rest of her life. According to a 2000 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, one in five girls experience rape or attempted rape during their time at a four-year college. That’s 20 percent. Ninety percent of the incidents are related to alcohol use. If you have five sisters who go away to get their education, statistically speaking, one of them will be attacked. America is a civilized, developed world power. Rape is a crime of ignorance and savagery. And yet, in our institutions of education and scholarship, the most basic of human offenses is common. I will be the first to say that sometimes the rules here feel fascist. But truthfully, that’s all hyperbole. No one is hurt by...

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Linking Internet with television

Google announced what it calls “multimillion-channel TV,” which aims to link everything online and on television to Internet capable TV. Beginning Oct. 16, users could have an operating system on their television where they can access movies, Youtube, music, Netflix, sporting events, shows and Facebook. Google has already made deals with the renting giant Netflix, along with HBO and the NBA. What this means for cable and satellite providers is uncertain, but they probably won’t be happy. If Google can customize the television experience to have exactly what customers want to watch and nothing else, why bother with 5,000 channels of Lifetime movies and Family Guy reruns? Cost will be the decisive factor for Google TV’s success. With a reasonable price tag, people who already rely heavily on Internet-based media will be quick to jump on board. Currently, Sony is selling a line of TVs with Google TV retailing anywhere from $600 to $1,400. Many people have already left behind cable or satellite in favor of hulu.com and other sites that show TV shows online. Google TV just may make the separation from satellite that much easier. Advertisers and producers must also be concerned. Selling ads to online viewers is a difficult process that hasn’t been developed fully yet. Most streaming sites now have ads before and during videos, but the viewership is difficult to calculate. The success rate of online ads is also undetermined. But Google has one advantage that Facebook already capitalizes on. Personalization. They know users’ every search term, and handle all Gmail users’ messages. They could sell ads based on each viewer, meaning advertisers would not have to worry that their ads would be wasted on someone uninterested. This is already how Google ads on websites work. It means no more male sexuality drug ads for young people or feminine hygiene ads for men, and that alone seems pretty utopian. Google already dominates search, mail and maps. Even their lesser successes such as GoogleWave, iGoogle, and Google Docs are highly intuitive. Their business is simple — blend entertainment to give users and viewers what they want. Google TV can now dominate TV. It will have sporting events, movies, shows, all on demand. When you want it, they have it. Even more deadly to satellite: Youtube, Facebook and Twitter will all be linked as well. Imagine watching American Idol and tweeting about a contestant’s performance right on screen. How about pausing Shawshank Redemption to video conference on Gtalk with your parents? Or muting that conference and smiling and nodding while you resume Shawshank. No one has to know right? Expect GoogleTV to treat cable networks as...

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Party at the President’s
Oct05

Party at the President’s

It’s not every day that students can lounge around in their president’s home, but University President Dr. Randy O’Rear may be more open to guests than people assume. O’Rear and his family revealed their new home to students Sept. 28. The Campus Activity Board organized the event to showcase the newly completed structure. The president’s old house has become the Musick Alumni Center and Museum. The new house, located on University Drive, was completed in time for the fall 2010  semester. After the open house, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was shown on a screen on the lawn. O’Rear was eager to share his living space with students. “We wanted to have them over and enjoy some good food and fellowship. The house is very student friendly and designed to entertain lots of different groups and folks, but especially students. You see the media room and the game room and the outdoor areas, it’s just a wonderful home,” he said. Neither O’Rear nor his wife, Julie, minded the people walking through their living room. “Well I think that’s why we are here,” O’Rear said. It’s not our house. It’s the university’s house and it’s our home. We are here to serve students.” Sophomore Kendra Horton was most impressed by “the bigness of it all.” “The media room is really great,” she said “I loved the lighted letters.” The letters spell out UMHB and glow in vibrant purple and gold in the darkened media room as they sit above a built-in microwave. Soft theater style lighting was the only other source of light, other than the glow of the massive screen, the focal point of the room. The backyard was another visitor favorite. Groups gathered as the sun dipped over the horizon and glimmered off Nolan creek as it crawled by. “It’s a wonderful setting,” O’Rear said. “The thing I like most is the convenience of it being on campus. But when you walk in that door and you come out here in the back, you could be 100 miles away from a college campus.” The backyard may be an escape from university life, but the interior is filled with UMHB symbols.  Beyond the glowing lights, relics of past and present riddle the house. A large university steeple symbol adorns the bathroom wall. Even the retaining walls around the trees in the front resemble large U’s. Students gathered at the symbols as they found them a sort of ad hoc “I Spy” game. The tours weren’t all access, however, as student ambassadors welcomed guests and also made sure no one invaded the family privacy. It’s all in a day’s...

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Redemption for pros this season

Dogfighting, drugs, sexual assault. How about just losing your edge? This is what is associated with some of the NFL’s biggest and most tarnished stars. But these players aren’t fading away like a post-supernova red dwarf. They are back on the field, out to earn all the love and fame they lost. Michael Vick jerseys used to be the biggest seller among NFL merchandise. In 2007, he  left Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for a prison cell in Leavenworth, Kan., charged with dogfighting. But in 2009 he came back to football, as the second string quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. This year, after an injury to Kevin Kolb, he was starting again. He was sensational in his first start, throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Kolb is healthy again, but Vick is staying under center. The New York Jets are a team filled with second-chancers. Their story is so intriguing, HBO is producing a reality series called Hard Knocks about them. Coach Rex Ryan has assembled a team ready to make a playoff run after a strong showing last year. Veterans like Jason Taylor and Anthony Cromartie could be past their prime, but Ryan believes in them. He also added former MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. The running back is fourth all time in rushing yards. The San Diego Chargers let him go after a poor season last year, but he is already racking up yards with the Jets. Receiver Santanio Holmes is waiting to play after being suspended for drug use. He became immortalized for the making the winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII. The man who threw that pass to him is also waiting for the end of Holmes’ suspension. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in a Georgia nightclub this summer. While charges were dropped, Roethlisberger still has to serve a four game suspension. But his Steelers are 3-1 without him and Pittsburgh fans are willing to forgive the two time Super Bowl winning quarterback for a chance at another championship. Is this the year for redemption in the NFL? Jets receiver Braylon Edwards hopes so after he was charged with a DWI Sept. 21. Every year, football players run into trouble more than endzones. In 2008, Plaxico Burris shot himself in the leg and is sitting in jail. He didn’t have a permit for the gun that he was carrying in his sweatpants. But Burris will be back, just like the rest of these NFL thugs. What else do players know? Some spent high school and college getting away with things because of the jerseys on their backs. The University of North...

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Television comedy full of laughs
Oct05

Television comedy full of laughs

The Thursday night lineup on NBC is set for more laughs this year, with the new Outsourced joining mainstays Community, The Office and 30 Rock. NBC comedies need to build up all the strength they can, with star Steve Carrell leaving his role as Michael Scott in The Office at the end of this season. The Office was getting back to what it does best, pranks and goofy office marketing, in the season premiere. The second episode finally had some reconciliation for Paul Lieberstein’s Toby, who Scott has hated throughout the series. In mandatory counseling sessions, Toby finally reaches Michael. It was one of Carell’s best performances. Outsourced is about an American novelty company that moved its call center to India to cut costs. Manager Todd Anderson  must move with his center or lose his job. The show focuses on cultural differences, and the pilot is certainly worth watching. Look for the show to improve each week, as the character nuisances become more defined. The second episode was already better than the first. Community was a breakout hit for NBC last year. The clever show about community college students brought in Betty White for the first episode. She even sang during the credits. Other networks are bringing back their comedy standbys. CBS still reels in viewers week after week with Two and a Half Men. Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother also return. These two shows don’t get the viewers Men does, but they do very well in younger, more educated viewers. ABC’s sophomore comedy Modern Family is also looking to return to its comedic geniuses. The show won an Emmy this year for Best Comedy. The first and second episodes were as good as ever. Over at Fox, it’s dangerous to follow shows that aren’t animated, chock full of singing, or focused on paranormal events. If Fox ever gets its hand on a cartoon about alien-investigators who also are in a  show choir, perhaps it could outlast the Simpsons. Glee is still dominating Tuesday nights, as it even held top spots on iTunes single downloads for a while. It has recorded 34 Billboard Hot 100 songs already this year. Unfortunately, the singing – does autotune count? – is more important to fans than plot lines. The people behind Arrested Development are showcasing Running Wylde on Fox Thursday night. Will Arnett stars are a businessman who is in love with his childhood sweetheart, who is also an environmentalist. Her daughter, Puddle, narrates. The pilot left much to be desired, especially compared to Development. If network TV still isn’t enough, FX’s late night shows are back as...

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