The Independent

Rumble 2012: If Debates Were Actually Informative

October 17, 2012

By Matthew Greenberg – Sports Editor When Al Gore invented the internet, he forgot to account for server overloads during live-streamed events. As online viewers began to download the live-stream feed of “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” a debate between Jon Stewart, anchor of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, they were suddenly dismayed to find the overwhelming number of downloads taking place all at once had caused the servers to crash, leaving paying audiences without the feed for over an hour. Although the live-stream aspect endured a hiccup in its presentation, the debate was one for the ages. Anyone who was frustrated by the distinct lack of information presented during the presidential debate certainly got their money’s worth with “The Rumble.” Stewart and O’Reilly viciously, although still respectfully, debated such topics as Medicare, government entitlements and the Middle East. Both pundits made great (and some not-so-great) points on the various discussion points, with O’Reilly accenting his arguments with flashcards that read things like, “Bush Is Gone” or “Drones Yes, Waterboarding No,” while Stewart used a mechanical lift behind his podium to compensate for the nine-inch difference between his hobbit-like 5’7” self and the yeti-sized 6’4” O’Reilly. One topic that was debated most fervently was government entitlements. O’Reilly based the majority of his arguments on not wanting to pay taxes for women to have birth control included in their healthcare, driving the point home with a flashcard reading, “Buy Your Own,” as well as his view that President Obama has made it too easy for people to get disability benefits and food stamps. Stewart rebutted that O’Reilly’s own father collected disability when he left his job. O’Reilly tried to explain that it was collected from the private sector and not the government, but he had no substantial response to Stewart’s question concerning what people should do if they don’t happen to work for the private sector. Stewart drove the dagger into O’Reilly’s argument when he said, “Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry, you're a moocher?” The night was filled with thought provoking statements and informative discussion, as well as a heaping helping of zingers by both pundits, including one by O’Reilly to moderator E.D. Hill when he asked, “Are you still here?” It is fair to note that Hill maintained about as much control over the two cable network heavyweights as Jim Lehrer had in the presidential debate — zero. After an hour of debate from behind their podiums, the pundits came and sat center stage for half an hour to answer pre-selected questions from the audience at home and in the auditorium. By the end of the evening, the influx of worthwhile information left viewers fatigued in an absolutely satiated way that they had never known was possible from any sort of political debate. Both sides made substantial arguments, Jon Stewart’s leftist logic outplayed Bill O’Reilly’s right-wing “Bull----,” as Stewart so eloquently put it. Half of the net profits from the debate were designated for a series of charities chosen by Stewart and O’Reilly, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Fisher House Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the USO. “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” is now available on demand and for download at therumble2012.com. It’s worth every penny....

NEIU’s Annual Research Symposium

October 17, 2012

By Christos Liardakis – Opinions Editor Michelle Kuehlhorn – Staff Writer             Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) hosted its fourth annual science symposium on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. The symposium was brought together by the Student Center for Science Engagement (SCSE) which featured student research done in the areas of biology, chemistry, earth science and physics. Each person presented a research topic from SCSE summer program of 2012. When presentations on the podium concluded, students presented posters to display their research. Podium presentations included research on the effects circadian rhythms have on preying mantises on registering light stimuli, presented by Edgar Mantes, Will Bogue and Andrew Urdialles. Kevin D. Gallaher also presented about research involving the characterization of a unique red-light photoreceptor found in a bacteria, Stigmatella Aurantica. Mairead O’Connor-Maleny presented her research on differentially linked sialic acids in H5N1 influenza and shared her thoughts about the importance of her research as she explains “Studying H5N1 influenza allows us to determine if there will be another pandemic like the swine flu back in 2009. Studying bird flu also allows us to see how bird flu can jump the species barrier from birds to humans.” The first presentation was the “Relationship between Soil Properties and Erosion in a Stream Affected by Urban Runoff” by Danielle Whitfield. Her research was on storm runoff and parking lot drainage systems, which can have a strong erosive effect on the soil when the water is discharged into a small drainage channel. Soil properties may have an effect on storm runoff erosion patterns and could potentially affect stream restoration efforts. This study investigated soil erosion in a channel in a public forest preserve, starting at a culvert that opens from a parking lot drainage system. After graduating from NEIU, Whitfield is looking to become a middle school teacher with an interest in science. “The First Analysis of the Electro-retinogram in the Praying Mantis (Insecta: Mantodea)” by Barabara Popkiewciz was the second presentation given. She researched various aspects of praying mantis behavior, extensive portions of which were focused on the unique object recognition abilities. They have undertaken a detailed analysis of the electroretinogram (ERG) in three species of mantis: Popa spurca, Tenodera a. sinensis, Sphodromantis lineola. Their data revealed the complex functional interactions between the cellular components in the mantis optic lobe and the general principles by which the insect’s visual systems operate. After graduating from NEIU, Barbara is going to medical school to be a neurologist and her interest in neurology link to the SCSE. The third presentation was the “Can a Machine Learn to Distinguish Pollen Types, specifically Picea, Mariana and Picea. Glauca?” By Anthony A. Barkan. His research examined a machine that will learn about the pollen grain analysis and further machine learning projects using the methods devised during this research. If a computer can be trained to differentiate similar pollen types such as the spruce pollen P. mariana and P. glauca, then research involving machines learning to identify a new pollen samples will be validated. This research will gain significance worldwide as research on global climate change with biodiversity, oil and gas, and medical studies recognize the importance of pollen recognition. After graduating from NEIU, Anthony wants to become a Paleo-ecologist. He wants to attend California Berkeley. Anthony was not initially interested in pollen, but became interested in it after his summer research 2012 at SCSE. His main interests are pertaining to sediments and paleontological studies to find pollen that affected this area during the time of the dinosaur and over the last millions of years....

Legacy Project Honors GLBT Community

October 17, 2012

By Joe Daddario – Staff Writer Emily Haddad – Editor-In-Chief Photo by Joseph Daddario Legacy Project creator Victor Salvo. Photo by Joseph Daddario The area of Boystown along Halsted Street in Chicago now plays host to a brand new outdoor museum entitled the ‘Legacy Walk,’ honoring the GLBT community. Utilizing the iconic rainbow pylons located between Addison and Belmont Ave, this five-block walking tour spotlights some of the most notable deceased leaders and pioneers of recent history, who were members of the GLBT community. The Legacy Project was conceived in 1987 after the initial display of the now-famous Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt highlighted the fears of dying prematurely from AIDS and being forgotten after death in the GLBT community. The mastermind behind the Legacy Project, Victor Salvo, said it was the culmination of a decade-long scholarly project meant to educate people and commemorate the roles the GLBT community has played in history. “We were worried AIDS would kill off the GLBT community before history recorded our existence. Who would remember those who came before them if we didn’t know ourselves?” The 1998 installation of the rainbow pylons celebrating the GLBT community in the Boystown area acted as a catalyst for the Legacy Project, providing an ideal place for commemorative plaques to be erected, and the general climate of acceptance in Chicago provided an affable political audience to hear the proposal. Salvo said Chicago was “the biggest small town in the world.” He described Chicago as a unique mix of working-class ethics and a multinational mindset that has fostered a populace that values history, the individual, and the cultural differences found on every corner. Philanthropic organizations such as the Jane Adams Hull House flourished in Chicago, offering resources, education and safe haven. Today, Chicago has openly gay individuals in all levels of city management and is one of the only cities in the world to openly celebrate their GLBT community. 18 plaques are now attached to the rainbow pylons on Halsted.  The plaques recognize the following people: Jane Adams, Alvin Ailey, Reinaldo Arenas, James Baldwin, Dr. Margaret Chung, Barbara Gittings, Keith Haring, Barbara Jordan, Christine Jorgensen, Frida Kahlo, Dr. Alfred Kinsey, Leonard Matlovich, Harvey Milk, Dr. Antonia Pantoja, Bayard Rustin, Alan Turing, the ‘Two Spirit’ GLBT people of the U.S. and Canada, and Oscar Wilde. Salvo spoke at the unveiling ceremony Thursday afternoon. He stressed the importance of the project and how it gave the younger GLBT generation role models to look up to. Salvo went on to say that the project gave the younger generation “a belief that we always have and will matter,” something the older GLBT generation did not have. Other speakers included Ralph Kennedy, the board chairperson of the Legacy Project, Alderman Tom Tunney and a representative for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel....

errant particles

October 17, 2012

By George Borawski – Visual Media Editor Photos by George Borawski Joan Truckenbrod's "errant particles" gracefully dances the line between a singular serenity and a frenetic perplexing daze. Located just outside of the Recital Hall, her exhibit combines a quasi avant-garde minimalism with rolling footage of cityscapes, cats and what seems like a boat’s-eye view of a gently undulating lake. A soundtrack adds to the effect, enhancing the atmosphere of an already peaceful and contemplative scene. She does all this in a seemingly unpretentious way that is absorbing and surprisingly pleasurable. Titles of pieces include "Still Life with Cats" "Ephemeral Visions" and "Foreclosure." The exhibition reads much more like a series of vivid memories than individual pieces of art. While Truckenbrod’s display appears unorthodox and the work rightfully pushes its viewers out of their comfort zone by projecting images on unconventional surfaces, any aversion to the strangeness of this exhibit should be immediately overlooked. Most work of this style can be overcome by considering it as a whole experience rather than piecemeal parts....

Common Sense Up In Smoke

October 17, 2012

By Chris Tormos – Staff Writer For medical practitioners and hobby enthusiasts of marijuana alike, Colorado’s proposed Amendment 64, legalizing and outlining the regulation of marijuana, holds great potential for removing the drug from its current legal grey area. Colorado’s Amendment 64 is one of three proposals - Colorado, Washington and Oregon - for full-legalization in 2012. However, statistics suggests that Colorado has the most potential for an optimal outcome. According to the Denver Post, “Amendment 64 has the support of 51% of likely voters surveyed and 40% opposed” with the remaining 9% unsure. Colorado’s current marijuana policy is considered for medical usage only. Patients who have recommendations from doctors can purchase marijuana legally at dispensaries. There are some stipulations; it is intended for usage in the privacy of one’s home. Open and public displays of usage with possession under two oz. are a maximum fine of $100. The laws that currently stand are easy enough to abide by, so why is there a need for law reform? The answer may lay in a different kind of green that isn’t smoke-able. The economic hardships of the state are pushing legislators to consider more unusual funding alternatives. Colorado is currently facing a budget deficit of 400-500 million dollars, and an annual general revenue fund growth of only 57.8 million. Early speculative figures suggest an estimated 60 million dollars in revenue from the combined regulatory taxes and savings on processing and prosecutions of drug crimes. Passing Amendment 64 would also eliminate the need for “patients” to have to go through doctors, leaving their names in paperwork and databases in order to procure the pungent herb. Certainly some people who use medical marijuana find its effects medicinal and rely upon it for relief. However, most “patients” of medical marijuana fake a simple ailment to get a doctor’s recommendation so they can enjoy getting stoned in the privacy of their own home. This may come as a shock but like the allegory of the cave, allow your eyes to adjust to the blinding embrace of enlightenment. Moderation is the key to living a successful life and enjoying all the indulgences it has to offer. This may seem simple enough but if it were, the war against stupidity would not still be waged in the trenches. Whether it is weed, coffee, cheeseburgers, alcohol, candy bars, television, gambling, video games, or social networking, you simply have to observe moderation. The watermark of the stupid is one who acts on impulse without foresight, oblivious to the surroundings or consequences and feeds only the most basic of drives, the pleasure center, “this feels good and so I want it now.” In order to evolve one must observe moderation as well as the fine art of appropriate timing. There are times in life that it is certainly appropriate to smoke a joint or imbibe drink. And in this we discover the modern riddle of the sphinx, where only the intelligent may pass. “Is this an appropriate time for (insert vice here) and am I using said vice in moderation?” Stand at the gates and ponder as long as it takes, but do so knowing it is an easy answer to an enjoyable life and self-control. The very basics of that phrase needs to be a characteristic all should strive for, control of the self. If one masters the concepts of control, timing and moderation, then they too can realize the very best part of this riddle. One will never have to give up any of the things that make life that much more enjoyable because they never abused them....

Chinese Products Endangering Us, Our Pets

October 17, 2012

By Yesenia Taveras – Staff Writer                   Commercial pet foods, or in this case pet treats, bearing the label ‘Made in China’ are in the news once again for containing harmful ingredients. Since 2007, there have been warnings from the FDA of tainted pet foods that can harm and even kill pets. Certain foods can even transmit harmful substances or bacteria to owners during the feeding process. This latest round of tainted pet products is primarily chicken jerky treats. The entire compromised list of pet treats includes: chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), sweet potato jerky, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes or yams. Some of the brands behind the allegedly dangerous pet treats are Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch and Milo’s Kitchen, according to the FDA. All of these are manufactured in China even though they are owned by the American Companies Nestle Purina and Del Monte respectively. From the initial investigation through the present, there have been more than 2,000 reported illnesses confirmed by the FDA as primarily from the above three brands, related to the consumption of the jerky treats. For the past 18 months, there have been 360 dog deaths and one lone cat death in relation to the jerky treats. These are not isolated incidents and illnesses have been reported in all 50 states as well as in six Canadian providences. The earliest issues of a similar nature go back to 2007. At this time, it was pet foods instead of treats that were killing pets and making them sick. After an extensive investigation by the FDA it was found that wheat gluten and rice proteins being used in the pet food were tainted with melamine, a toxic chemical compound which is typically used as a fire retardant additive as well as being a by-product from pesticides. Why add something like this to pet food in the first place? It is speculated that the goal was to make the pet food appear to have more protein content than it actually did. Melamine is high in nitrogen. Since nitrogen is a major component of protein, one of the more common ways to test for protein levels in the grain industry is by testing the level of nitrogen. If wheat gluten has melamine added, it will appear to have higher protein content and appear to be more nutritious than it actually is. This previous case culminated in charges being filed against several businesses in China and a business in the US, as well as massive recalls. According to the FDA’s website, the FDA is in charge of regulating pet foods. However, it is stated on their website that, “There is no requirement that pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA. Many ingredients such as meat, poultry and grains are considered safe and do not require pre-market approval.” The sudden increase in the number of pet deaths and illnesses raises questions about whether the FDA should be doing more to protect household pets, and what the agency can do when faced with the production and importation of pet foods from overseas. The simple answer is product demand. An estimated 86 million pounds of pet food came from China in 2011 alone. Even after the previous scandal, companies are still buying meat that may not be safe. The FDA is currently involved in a wide-range investigation with the help of toxicologists to discover the point of contamination. But it has proven an uphill battle. As a US government agency, the FDA has little jurisdiction overseas and was recently denied the ability to acquire any samples when investigators tried to visit several plants in China. How can you keep your pet safe? Watch for symptoms or erratic behavior that may point to illness. The main symptoms to watch out for are vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood and/or mucus, pancreatitis or gastrointestinal bleeding, frequent urination, increased urine, severe thirst and kidney failure. Opt for treats that state ‘Made in America’. Pet stores like Pet Supplies Plus have conveniently set up a location on their website to search for American made products. Pet Supplies Plus also has an entire section of treats that are only American made and they offer a huge variety of treats at comparable prices. Please note that many pet stores are still carrying the other brands, as they have not been recalled. Avoid buying any jerky treats or pet food items that are made in China. Do not purchase any of the above-mentioned types of treats or brands until the FDA, upon the conclusion of their investigation, declares them safe....

Biden’s Smirk Said It All

October 17, 2012

By Patrick McIntyre – Staff Writer Joe Biden and Paul Ryan came out swinging in the solo vice-presidential debate Oct. 11.  Both Democratic Vice-President Biden and Republican challenger Ryan extended fiery attacks on the other, but Biden displayed his confidence and utilized his knack for interruption.  Consistently catching Ryan off guard, his smile was the residing snide commentary questioning the legitimacy of Ryan’s plans. Contrary to the presidential debate a couple weeks earlier, Biden and Ryan inched a bit closer to taking a strong stand on specific issues throughout the discussion.  “I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground,” Ryan said, perfectly capturing the importance the debate meant for the Obama administration.  As Biden held a heavy load on his back, mostly as a result from the backlash caused by President Obama’s lackluster performance in his debate with Romney, he poised himself as the Biden most fans understand him to be—aggressive and unashamed to call out deceit. Luckily, Martha Raddatz of NBC News moderated in the form of a watchdog, as opposed to Jim Leher’s pushover moderation at the presidential debate.  Raddatz forced the candidates to stay on topic and consistently provide straight-forward answers.  The topics stretched far and wide, this being the only debate between the candidates.  Despite the limited time, both men dug impressively deep defending their positions.  Libya was the first topic of the night, when moderator Raddatz sought to discover the truth of what happened in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in the country last month.  Biden claimed U.S. intelligence caused the administration to alter their position, causing skeptics to suspect a mishandling of the entire situation. As the conversation delved into the sluggish growth of the economy, Biden defended the slow but consistent recovery during the last 43 months, resulting in last month’s dip in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, the lowest in over four years.  Ryan stayed on the offensive, claiming the recovery was not progressing fast enough, and offered his plans to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making over a million dollars.  “Their holding hostage the middle-class tax cut to the super-wealthy,” Biden said of Ryan’s intentions.  Interruptions aside, Biden displayed his belief in investing in the middle-class.  His fight for maintaining tax rates on the middle-class and desire to raise them on the upper class (but still far from pre-Bush era levels), was representative of Biden’s classic defense of hard working Americans. Medicare, a major topic of dispute in the election, was a winner for Biden.  Romney and Ryan’s plans for Medicare would initiate a “premium support plan,” a vaguely defined term essentially allowing seniors to purchase private insurance in the free market.  The Obama administration comfortably sits on the side of country—weary to drastically alter programs that have been successful and support so many people in need. Smirking glances and flailing arms dominated Biden’s side of the screen as Ryan spoke.  More than simply an attempt to display an antagonistic demeanor, it represented the anger and frustration Biden, and most Democrats, have for the top-down model consistently presented by conservatives for improving the economy....

Asian and Global Resource Center

October 17, 2012

By Jacklyn Nowotnik Photos and story by Jacklyn Nowotnik Photos and story by Jacklyn Nowotnik Students involved in the Asian & Global Resource Center at Northeastern Illinois University promoted Asian culture by doing henna hand art to willing students. Henna ink comes from the powdered leaves of the henna plant, which can be found in parts of Africa and southern Asia.  It is commercially cultivated to be used as a fabric and hair dye, and also for body art. The use of henna as a hair dye goes as far back as ancient Egypt. Mummies were found with henna hair dye in their hair. Archeologists speculate that henna acts as a natural preservative on mummies. Henna is also used as a leather dye and preservation, and has anti-fungal properties. Henna is used as a body decoration for special events such as births and weddings in many regions of the world, including the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. The style and motif of the henna hand art depends on the regional preferences, and can include geometric designs, organic or natural shapes, and complex patterns of dots. Look for more events from the Asian & Global Resource Center in the Student Union coming soon!...

Standardized Testing: Help or Hindrance

October 17, 2012

By Karina Rivera – Staff Writer The process of acquisition and application of knowledge is currently being tested in the youth of America through the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). It is often put into question whether these tests are accurate evaluations...

Parents Panic Over Possible Diaper Shortage

October 17, 2012

By Yesenia Taveras – Staff Writer An explosion at the Nippon Shokubai Co. factory in Himeji Japan left one firefighter dead and 36 others suffering from mild to severe injuries. The explosion and fire damaged the acrylic acid tanks of the Himeji Plant on September 29, 2012. The injured include firefighters,...

From Russia with Trillions of Diamonds

October 17, 2012

By Chris Tormos – Staff Writer The Russian government recently declassified the 30-year-old discovery of a 35-million-year-old, 60-mile-wide diamond field; remnants of an asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as the Popigai Astroblem. Upon its discovery in the 1970s, the USSR was already producing...

Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence

October 17, 2012

By Michael Dobbins – Contributing Writer When deliberating the mysteries of the world, atheists often quote the late Carl Sagan’s declaration that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Whether it’s God, reincarnation or other supernatural beliefs, atheists demand such...

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