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Young Composer's Work Dropped For Nazi Melody : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

"This was his obligation to our orchestra as a commissioned artist and particularly important given the fact he was working with students, ages 12-22. Had the composer revealed the sources of his piece and the context under which they were used upon submission of the final commission in September 2014, the piece and the notes could have served as an important teaching moment for our students. However, without this information, and given the lack of transparency and lack of parental consent to engage with this music, we could not continue to feature his work on the program. Again, if the composer had been forthright with us from the start, this situation would not have transpired."

Inventors Remorse

2 min read

http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/the-inventor-of-the-keurig-says-he-feels-guilty-for-creating#.th14xbxLmG

As college students, coffee tends to be classified sixth food group. In anticipation of this, one the first things freshman put on their dorm room shopping list is a Keurig. These beloved machines are quick, convenient and versatile; basically any college students dream, right?

One would assume the that genius mind who invented these things must be pretty pleased with himself for creating such a versatile machine that can not only make single serve coffee, single serve coffee, but ramen noodles as well. Well that assumption would be wrong. According to Buzzfeed, John Sylvan, inventor of the Keurig, say that he “feel[s] bad sometimes that [he] ever did it” due to the impact the K-Cups have on the environment. In fact, Sylvan felt so guilty that is 1997, he sold his shares of the company for $50,000. Now, he has to sit and watch in remorse as the popularity of the Keurig sweeps the nation and millions of K-Cups are used each year. Keurig address this issue and has a goal to make their Green Mountain K-Cup packs 100% recyclable by the year 2020.

Apparently Sylvan has a few ideas about how to achieve this goal but Keurig refuses to listen to him. Interesting move on Keurig's part considering Sylvan was the inventor. This fact brings up moral issues surrounding large corporations such as these. In this instance, it doesn’t seem to be apparent that Sylvan wants anything from the company, all he wants to do is help clean up the mess he has made. Is it wrong for Keurig to refuse his help when they could more rapidly solve the problem that has been created through the invention of the Keurig machine? Regardless, Sylvan doesn’t seem to be acting too bitter towards the company. He simply doesn’t use  or own one of his own inventions, and makes drip coffee instead. So it seems the ball is in the publics court. Will people keep on fueling their coffee addiction using the convenient Keurig machine and say hell to the environment or will they jump on the boat and retailiate against the envirmental monster that is the Keurig machine?

Justice Department: No Darren Wilson charges

2 min read

For some reason my last current event link would not upload saying that the website did not exist, so i just picked a new current event online. 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/politics/ferguson-darren-wilson-justice-department-report/index.html

The Justice Department formaly closed the investigation of Darren Wilson and the charges of murder against Michael Brown. The Justice Department claimed that there was no evidence of murder and that they were not able to disprove Darren Wilson's account of fearing for his life, and also that he was in danger when Brown reached for his gun. Witness accounts however are inconsistent in detail except for the fact that Brown was headed towards Wilson when shot. Some accounts gave a description of Brown with his hands up when shot, as if surrendering, but then later were taken back. 

However, during the investigation, further discrepencies were discovered about racism inside of the Ferguson Police. There were many accounts of bias against African Americans in terms of racist emails spread throughout the Police Department as well as many different accounts of targeting African Americans in crimes to raise funding for the Police Department. Some accounts even described policemen using racial slurs and gestures when making arrests. 

The Controversy About

2 min read

American Sniper. Did you go see this box office hit, contributing to the over $400 million worldwide grosses? These people have:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/11360239/American-Sniper-the-controversy-in-90-seconds.html

Some find the storyline extremely patriotic (not in a good way) and overly aggressive, while others commend its tribute to American heroes who defend our country. The nay-sayers who think this movie is too much feel like it promotes a warlike sentiment over the entire United States, but others appreciate the recognition it gives to those who serve & protect the citizens of the United States of America.

 

As for me, I have yet to see the movie... BUT I am a fan of any and all military movies. If not for their entertainment value, they all usually at least offer a certain historical perspective of wartime in some territory/country/any place in the world. Even though I haven't seen American Sniper yet, as a person in the Army, I feel like I would like it.

 

For any of you other war-movie-fans: I just recently saw the movie Fury, which chronicles the experiences of an American tank crew in Nazi Germany nearing the end of WWII. The crew, which features actors Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf among others, is plagued with the responsibility a newcomer (a typist who has been in the Army for a matter of months). As they fight to deter the Nazis and keep one another alive, director David Ayer gives a VERY accurate representation of pretty much everything that goes in to this movie.

 

Warning: it's a sad movie, but you probably could have guessed that. Not all war movies are exactly "happy-go-lucky".

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/13/oxford-junior-dictionary-replacement-natural-words

The 28 authors, including Atwood, Motion, Michael Morpurgo and Robert Macfarlane, warn that the decision to cut around 50 words connected with nature and the countryside from the 10,000-entry children’s dictionary, is “shocking and poorly considered” in the light of the decline in outdoor play for today’s children. They are calling on publisher Oxford University Press to reverse its decision and, if necessary, to bring forward publication of a new edition of the dictionary to do so.

The Romantic Power of Music

2 min read

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/the-romantic-power-of-music/371806/

 

According to recent studies, musical ability might be a sexually selective trait. Cody C. Delistraty analyzes how music iis and was a driving force for women when selecting reproductive mates. The following is the first instance in which this was discovered from the pianist Franz Liszt in 1841,

"Using his whole body—his undulating eyebrows, his wild arms, even his swaying hips—Liszt dove into Händel's “Fugue in E minor” with vigor and unfettered confidence, keeping perfect tempo and playing entirely from memory. It was the start of the phenomenon later called “Lisztomania,” and the women in the audience went mad."

From this performance, women obsessed over Liszt. Liszt had women fighting over various objects he threw in the crowd after his performance, Delistraty talks about how a woman even saved a cigar butt he disposed and put it inside of a lockette necklace- despite the bold smell. Delistraty defines Liszt as a marker in history, in which we discovered that music can be a selective trait for mates. Studies have shown that women on certain peak moments in their reproductive-menstrual cycle are more likely to choose a musician with more complexity and intention in their music. The idea behind this choice is that the more crafted the music, the more complex and likely the man behind it is a sustainable, suitable partner- which yields attraction to women. However, women not in their peak reproductive stage of their cycle have shown no preference in music. What does this mean? It seems to be that when women are in an opportune moment to reproduce, they desire to choose the most attractive mate, which happens to be the man with the most intentionality and sophistication- perhaps signifying intelligence or alpha-male qualities attractive to the most basic reproductive instinct.  For if they can learn to play an instrument so well, they will probably be able to take care of the woman. However, this does not mean that men who can weild an instrument are more likely to find a life long partner, just, that in todays day and age women will be more likely to have sexual relations with a man who shows they can hold the spotlight.

SNL Called Out for ISIS Skit

2 min read

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/snl-isis-parody-camry-commercial-sparks-controversy-article-1.2133467

This past weekend, SNL featured a digital short making fun of a touching father-daughter Toyota Camry commercial. In their version, however, SNL had the daughter leaving to join ISIS instead of the U.S. army.

Viewers were outraged and took to Twitter to call out the show for its poor taste in light of the recent news that three British girls left to join ISIS. Their arguments centered around the sensitivity and gravity of the situation and the fact that the militant group continues to massacre large groups of people.

But others maintain support for the move made by SNL, citing free speech and the importance to be able to talk about these issues. The actor playing the dad in the clip, Taran Killem, agrees.

Personally, I am pretty split. While I see what Killem is saying and understand about free speech, I feel like the clip doesn't contain a real message like it could have. It just contrasts the idea of the girl joining ISIS instead of the military, communicating no real point about the group. In that way, I feel like the clip was in bad taste because the ISIS point was purely a comparison with a reference to a recent event, albeit a tragic one (the girls leaving to join the group).

Some sources have compared this to the Charlie Hebdo incident in terms of free speech, and I agree that free speech is an important right. SNL should have the right to talk about issues like this. However, the show could have made such a controversial issue like the girls leaving to join ISIS into much more than a parody of Toyota. They could have used this chance to make a statement, and that failure leaves the clip flat in my opinion.

Here's the video. What do you think about the clip?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L2fazw5Y9k#t=102

 

Awakening to Cultural Studies

There are many intellectual awakenings that mark the transition from high school to college. Critical thinking, historical consciousness, political and ideological critique: all of these I brought with me to college, none was new. But one of the ideas I did not bring with me, one of the moves I really did learn in college, was to look at popular culture, this thing I had grown up with, this thing that was as familiar to me as my own family, as something strange, something to be studied and attended to, with the same rigor and intensity that one would devote to philosophy or history or literature.