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The position of the natural sciences in Western society today is something of a paradox. By many standards, science in the U.S. and Europe has been enjoying a renaissance since World War II that has only accelerated in recent years. Governments have been devoting millions of dollars annually to basic research. Additionally, many firms in science or sectors of the economy related to science have maintained robust Research and Development divisions. These organizations have helped to set and pursue national priorities. As a result of this funding and direction, researchers have achieved major advances in a great diversity of fields and continue to publish new results at an astonishing pace.
In countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, the sight of a sudden explosion that seems to come from nowhere has become an increasingly common sight. The use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone technology has been in the headlines more frequently in the last few years as the Obama administration has increased its dependence on UAVs to attack and kill suspected terrorists. This has raised some complex questions about the morality of this technology and the effects it has on the way we both wage and view warfare.
On Oct. 10, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the future of affirmative action in the admissions process of the nation’s public universities. If the court rules in favor of the petitioner, it will no longer be legal for public and private universities to use the various personal characteristics of applicants — including race, religion, gender and sexual orientation — as factors in the admissions process.
About a year ago, the University introduced the Hopkins Community Partners Initiative (HCPI), which involves a plan to significantly improve 10 surrounding Hopkins neighborhoods between Penn Station and Wyman Park. The establishment of this initiative is praiseworthy and a necessary progression towards improving the area and the student body’s well-being.
This past Wednesday evening, Americans were ceremoniously presented with the preferred platitudes of this election season. In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama predictably talked past one another, evaded the moderator’s questions and stuck to tired campaign catchphrases in search of the ever-elusive “zinger.” The debate capped off a long summer of productive discussion on the issues that matter most to America’s future – issues like Romney’s tax returns, the pleasure of firing people, why airplane windows don’t open, whether you really “built that” and the morality of various canine transportation methods.
One can always count on humans to be fascinated by technology. Always curious, and sometimes cautious, the public is reliably eager to see how great developments will invariably alter the context of the world in which it lives. However, this evolution is not always so benevolent and often comes at a tremendous price. The military has been at the forefront of technological innovation and revolution since the beginnings of civilization, striving to make the defense of the state as formidable as possible. The problem arises when the reciprocation of production makes the international system far less stable. Many times when this occurs, the gruesome aftermath vehemently persuades the global community to prohibit the use and dissemination of these weapons out of a mutual understanding that the world is safer without them. This begs the question, should we only consider the implications of these technologies after they have been used? I think any rational person would say no.
During this election season, one of the issues weighing most heavily in the minds of voters will be the state of the economy. For all that has been said of the economic plans of the two candidates, it is easy to forget that the most important actor in the financial recovery will not be on the ballot this November, and is already in the midst of executing a large-scale and unconventional policy known as quantitative easing.
Fall Fest ended Sunday, leaving some students relaxed amidst an impending cascade of midterm exams. It also served as a taster of what is to come in the spring with the activity-saturated Spring Fair. Over the past few years, Spring Fair has consistently attracted larger crowds and offered a greater diversity of sights and events to Hopkins students than most other campus programs, including Fall Fest.
Hopkins students have been noticeably absent from recent events on campus. Last week, only about 50 students attended the MSE Symposium to listen to Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America. Only six students attended the second annual $2/Day Challenge, which seeks to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless by encouraging its participants to sleep outside with limited resources. The event coordinators attributed the low turnout to students’ aversion to living without luxuries such as electronics and showers.
The Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) has, over the past few weeks, begun to issue citations to jaywalkers in an effort to improve traffic safety and maintain an active presence in key intersections around the Homewood campus.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a mental health condition that causes much controversy in the medical world. The disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder, is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personalities that alternately control a person’s behavior.
The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) offers an interdisciplinary major that allows students to design a course of study that fits their interests and goals. To date, I am the only student currently declared in the major.
The flare-up between Israel and Iran has progressively gotten worse over the past six months and, with the events that took place at the UN General Assembly, it is clear that an Israeli preemptive strike is becoming more imminent. While addressing the UN, Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, appealed to the General Assembly to stop Iran before their nuclear capabilities are complete. In Israel, many believe that if Iran becomes armed with nuclear weapons, the Iranians will not hesitate to use those weapons against Israel. To Israel’s credit, they may be right. There has been constant vitriolic and dangerous language coming out of Tehran in which leaders have vowed for the destruction of Israel.
It is Wednesday at 10 p.m. Like clockwork, in the common room on the ninth floor of a building at the corner of N. Charles Street and 33rd, I close my Shakespeare anthology and position myself in front of an anachronistic wood-paneled spectacle of a television. Tonight is no night to burn the midnight oil and scour the seventeenth century sonnets of some guy who is long dead. No — tonight, I will set my work aside in favor of some well-deserved relaxation, because tonight brings this week’s episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
Complacency is something that as Hopkins students we are mostly unaware of. Each of us was admitted into this university because of our desire to be better, to work harder. Hopkins has a reputation as a sweatshop of academics, where the classes are punishing and the hours, long. But these complaints are mostly from outsiders. To the insiders — the students — those long hours and extra classes are in pursuit of something bigger. That drive, the ambitious pursuit of our own future, is what makes Hopkins such a powerful university. But as insiders it is easy to get lost within the pull of Hopkins, surrounded by peers of similar charisma and discipline. What happens if you go outside of the university? To other schools? Does the same disciplined drive that we cherish at Hopkins also thrive in our nation as a whole? Or has complacency sunk its generous weight onto the back of our national ambitions?
Early in July, the Obama administration lifted longstanding sanctions on U.S. investment in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Such a change in the economic constraints on what was and could still reasonably be considered one of the poorest and least democratic countries in Asia would appear to be a primarily positive development. While it certainly is an important stepping stone in both improving the quality of life of Burma’s suffering people and integrating Burma into the international community as one of its more open and productive members, the hasty pace at which the U.S. is moving in on the Burmese economy runs the risk of undermining the worthier goals of ingraining a progressive, permanent democracy in Burma.
After more than 150 years as a united country and more than 67 years as a republic, Italy is about to undergo general elections in the upcoming spring of 2013. Parliamentary legislation and the presence of so many different small parties make the length of the prime minister’s term highly subjected to political transactions. Since 1994, when the so-called “Mani Pulite” corruption scandal put an end to the dominance of the moderate Christian Democracy, the prime minister has been changed nine times. However the upcoming elections are something completely unprecedented due to the precarious economic situation of Italy and the EU and to the contestants for the prime minister’s seat.
These are tense times in the Middle East. A new government in Cairo is testing the waters of democracy. The Syrian regime is in the midst of a bloody and protracted conflict with anti-Assad forces. Iranian leadership remains determined to pursue the nuclear route despite draconian sanctions and intense diplomatic pressure. Netanyahu continues to spew belligerent rhetoric from his perch in Tel Aviv.
On Tuesday, Hopkins was awarded a $7.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance science, technology, engineering and math curriculum in Baltimore City schools. The program, named STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES), aims to improve STEM education for 1,600 Baltimore students in nine area schools through a partnership with Hopkins engineering faculty and undergraduates.
A woman was struck by a taxi at the corner of North Charles Street and E. University Parkway last weekend. She is the second pedestrian in a month to be hit near the Homewood campus. A broadcast email, however, was not sent out to notify students of the incident because the pedestrian was a non-affiliate and there was no imminent danger to other students. Campus Safety & Security has disclosed that it will soon launch a Twitter account to inform students of similar incidents in the future.