Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

We can help prevent coral bleaching

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells We’ve all heard the statistics before – the ocean covers over 70 percent of the earth and carries 97 percent of its total water. But did you know that coral reefs carry 25 percent of all aquatic life?  Coral reefs are very important to the vitality of the ocean. Not only are coral reefs valuable for many marine specimens, but they are beneficial to humanity. Organisms inhabiting coral reefs have been found to contain certain properties that help combat against numerous diseases such as cancer and HIV. In addition, coral reefs act as barriers when storms strike across the seas. Sadly, many corals are dying. If there is a change in the environment, such as a rise in temperature, the corals will release algae, which causes the coral to turn white. This process is known as coral bleaching. According to World Wide Fund for Nature, other reasons for coral bleaching are overfishing and pollution. In addition, WWF states that 25 percent of coral reefs around the globe are completely ruined and two-thirds of coral reefs are threatened with extinction. Without coral reefs, many sea creatures will not have a safe haven and will be exposed to the cruel, open waters. Biodiversity in the seas will become a thing of the past. Also, we will lose a resource that helps aid in eliminating certain illnesses. There will be no more research on other possible benefits from organisms that come from coral reefs. Many times, we as a society overlook how important nature is and take it for granted. We throw trash on the ground and in the waters without any regards to how it impacts the world around us. We need to open our eyes and see how we treat this place we call home. As Christians, it is especially important that we take care of not only our oceans, but the earth as a whole. God made this planet for us to watch over. In Genesis 1:26, God says that He has given us authority over the animals in the ocean and on land. What does that say of us as children of God when we neglect God’s creations? So, what are some ways to reduce coral bleaching? The first thing is to be aware of your energy usage. By being conscientious of this, you can help eliminate the effects of climate change on the ocean. You can also use less plastic items. For instance, you can use a reusable water bottle and put food in non-disposable containers. If you have plastic products, remember to recycle to reduce waste....

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Surviving the holidays with stressful family members

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells For many of us, Belton has become home. From Frosti Cones to Arusha’s to the creek that runs through campus, we can say we’ve built memories here that will last a lifetime. But despite making Belton home, many of us have aching hearts for those we left behind in our hometowns. As a San Antonio native, I miss good Mexican food and my church the most (along with my family). However, some of us at UMHB don’t have the privilege of a heart that beats for two places at once. For some, Belton is our one and only home. But what happens when winter break comes and we have to go home to people that don’t feel like family? There are a couple of options for those who are unwilling to go home, and the first of which is to stay in Belton. If you live off campus or in the apartments, this isn’t a problem. Apartments on campus stay open throughout all breaks and holidays, so no alternative housing is needed. If you live in the dorms, however, staying on campus is a little harder. The Residence Life office does have an option for those wanting to stay on campus, but the process is selective and requires a need. Those who want to apply can email residencelife@umhb.edu to receive the form that will allow requesting students the chance to choose specific dates to be on campus and why they’re requesting housing. If you must go home, there are some things to remember when your family gets you down over the holidays: your worth is not determined by what they think of you or your decisions. Your worth is given to you by the everlasting God, who sent His son to be tortured and killed so that you can sit at the right hand of God. If your earthly father isn’t ideal, you have a heavenly father that provides you with the desires of your heart. If your home is for some reason unsafe, please see if there are friends and family who will take you in for the holidays.  You don’t have to tell on your family to receive the help you need. In addition, free longterm counseling is offered by the university who can help prepare you for the long winter break. Appointments can be made in the counseling office (Mabee 3rd floor) or at (254) 295-4696. Often, others act out because they never resolved issues that haunt their past. This could be anything from school bullies to abusive parents. But whatever they have to say, it’s...

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Black Friday: Great sales, but at what price?

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells Ninety percent off. 50 percent off. Signs everywhere are already advertising the lowest prices of the year. Soon people will be pushing others out of the way and fighting to get the last item on the shelf, all in the name of saving a buck. On Thursday we spend time talking about what we are thankful for and eating turkey with our families. Then Friday comes and once-thankful people are fighting over electronics, home décor, and other material goods, pushing and shoving to get the best deal. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Black Friday just as much as the next person. Black Friday has become an integral part of the American Thanksgiving weekend. It’s just as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football. It’s the day that officially begins the Christmas shopping season. I usually get up early every year and seek out bargains myself. However, I think that Black Friday’s gotten out of hand. According to moneycrashers.com, Black Friday didn’t become the busiest shopping day of the year until 2002. In fact, from 1993 until 2001, it ranked between the fifth and 10th busiest shopping days of the year. Why the sudden increase of shoppers? Stores began to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.Patrons no longer had to wait until the early hours of Friday to go shopping. Stores such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target began to offer “early bird” shopping while grandpa was still passed out in his recliner. Despite the savings these stores offer, the stores should remain closed until after Thanksgiving. This is a time for being thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on His people, for laughing with family, and enjoying delicious food—not bundling up and scratching and clawing for the last big screen TV. According to a recent article by USA Today, CBL & Associates, which oversees many malls nationwide including Mall of America, will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Their reason for closing? CEO Stephen Lebovitz stated that they decided to close, so their employees could spend time with their families. The fights and stampedes that have broken out over Black Friday are excessive as well. Car accidents, stabbings, shootings, and even death have occurred because of Black Friday shopping. According the New York Daily News, a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2013 by bargain-crazed shoppers. In the same store, a pregnant woman was trampled on, which resulted in the miscarriage of her child. Other shoppers go to such methods as pepper spraying fellow customers to get the deal they want,...

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Do you have early-on set Christmas spirit?

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells ‘Tis the season… except that no, it’s not. One of the worst transitions that happens all year generally occurs around this time: early-onset Christmas. Halloween has yet to happen, and Thanksgiving is still weeks away, so there should be no appearance of Christmas music. Somehow the phenomenon occurs in the same way each year. It starts with one or two mentions of Christmas in a commercial or a magazine, and suddenly despite two other holidays between now and then, everyone is in the throes of festive cheer. It seems like an innocent mistake to make, but what real ramifications does it have to start playing “Holly Jolly Christmas” and Michael Bublé’s Christmas album too early? For me personally, it causes a good deal of resentment toward the music. It would be fine if it were simply for the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it never stays within that constraint. It goes from a novelty thing, something fun and cheery, to something that simply comes off as obnoxious and overdone. It creates stress that doesn’t need to occur. The easiest fix to this problem is to just keep “Jingle Bells” put away until AFTER Thanksgiving. A month’s worth of the holiday spirit is plenty. The majority of Christmas music is not about the birth of Jesus Christ anyway. If that were the goal, it would be so much easier to support it. There is plenty of other gospel music to enjoy leading up to the actual Christmas season. When the majority of the music is about presents and candy and coming up with all of the hokey traditional ways of cuddling up to someone, it becomes nearly impossible to support more than a month of the endless drivel that is contemporary Christmas music. Even Rudolph and his red nose become annoying when the song gets overplayed. So just calm down, everyone. “Frosty the Snowman” will still be waiting for you come late November. The temperature is more likely to be at the right place for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” will be slightly less horrifying since it’s actually being played during the right season. There is a time and a place for everything, and since place is up to the discretion of the people, please keep the Christmas music in the right time...

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Inappropropriate costumes are the scariest thing this Halloween

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells Halloween is just around the corner. Many students plan on dressing up and celebrating Halloween in some way, but we should be careful when we put together a costume for the big celebration. Having poor taste in costumes can really ruin the night and cause the costume wearer some embarrassment. While most costumes would be fine to wear to a  Halloween party or while trick-or-treating, there are some costumes that should not be allowed on the streets this Halloween night. Dressing up in costumes for Halloween is a way for some to express themselves in a unique way. However, a Halloween party is not the time, nor the place, to be controversial, especially when a costume pokes fun at a national crisis. It has never been and never will be funny or practical to dress up as a Boston Marathon victim or the Twin Towers. It is considered rude to dress up as a character from a culture other than your own. We have all seen those Native American or Indian princess costumes at our local Halloween stores. Sure, it might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually very demeaning to the people who represent that culture. It would be funny if I went as a Starbucks-obsessed teenager with UGG boots because I represent that specific culture, but it would not be funny if I dressed up as a belly dancer and paraded around in a lifestyle I know nothing about. It can be seen as racist and culturally ignorant. This also includes the use of black face. Black face is seen as racist and in poor taste. One thing that I have never understood is why men’s costumes are so focused on genitalia and women’s on sexuality? I’ve seen so many tactless costumes that focus on these parts and completely detract from the fun and the festivities of Halloween. Another question is why are most women’s costumes so revealing? It’s usually cold on Halloween night, and it’s not practical to be walking around a neighborhood in a costume that shows too much skin. You are able to portray a nurse or vampire without being immodest (and cold). It is also not a good idea to dress young children up as characters from shows portraying adult themes, like Walter White from the TV series Breaking Bad. I understand that this specific costume was very popular when it was airing, but it’s not a kid-friendly show and therefore, is not a kid-friendly costume. While children’s costumes are less controversial than others, parents should still be aware of the messages they...

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Is Netflix taking over the entertainment world?
Oct26

Is Netflix taking over the entertainment world?

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells I believe that Netflix is taking over the entertainment world as we know it. How so? Well, to begin with, here are a few scenarios that everyone can relate to. First scenario: you go to the movie theatre and it is a horrible experience. You either viewed it with the wrong crowd, movie goers were constantly talking, or someone decided to bring their restless two-year-old child to see Deadpool. Another scenario is that you’ve waited all week for the next episode of your favorite show and when it finally airs it’s just a filler episode. The last scenario is when it comes to lack of money. Have you ever wanted to just stay home and hang out with friends rather than spend money going out with them? Have you ever just wanted to binge on a show? Find that anime from when you were a child? Watch a Disney movie? These situations are why Netflix has become so popular and why it is slowly dominating the entertainment world. Netflix is not only readily available to you in your own home, but it’s also only $8 a month. According to statista.com there are 70 million subscribers worldwide. But, people’s boredom and lack of money are not the only reasons that Netflix is so popular. It is also popular due to Netflix original series. Many of the most popular shows in the past two years have been Netflix originalseries. Popular Netflixshows include Luke Cage, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and coming soon, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Of course, there are other popular shows on various networks, but in my opinion, Netflix is dominating. Netflix original series plays to a variety of demographics, and because the shows aren’t tied to a network, they don’t have to worry about network executives controlling production. They do not have to worry about something being too violent, having too much cursing, or too much sexuality. This gives Netflix the upper hand over other networks. Other networks do have successful shows, but ask yourself, for how long? Normally around the third season, your favorite show becomes a bit watered down. It’s like you can see production companies putting their sticky hands in and ruining the show. And the ones that are popular either end badly or are cancelled in the middle of a season. From my perspective, all their series are perfection. Others feel this as well because Netflix is continuously cranking out seasons of their best shows. Another thought is that Netflix is taking advantage of our...

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