The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: November 2013 Page 2 of 8

Don’t forget the vets

You may not know that Monday was Veterans Day because the Bates community did not publicly acknowledge it. As taxpayers or future taxpayers living in a global economy shaped in many ways by US military interventions, each of us has some connection to the military. All of the students at Bates have grown up in the post-9/11 era, and for most of our lives we have been at war. Many of us know people our age who have enlisted in the military for one reason or another. If members of the Bates community are interconnected by virtue of being Bobcats, then we all have connections to veterans. Bates faculty, staff, and current and former students have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Their family members have served as well. Our collective silence on Monday was therefore both peculiar and frankly embarrassing.

Perhaps our discomfort arises from the sense that celebrating veterans amounts to celebrating war. Distinguishing between those who wage wars and those who fight in them is important. Professor Joe Hall, with whom I spoke, has a cousin who fought in Afghanistan. On the one hand, Professor Hall admires and respects his cousin’s service. On the other, Professor Hall is ambivalent regarding the political decisions that sent him to Afghanistan. Wars are repulsive precisely because people die and suffer in them. Veterans Day, a national holiday, seems a good occasion to acknowledge those who have seen wars firsthand.

Before Veterans Day was Veterans Day, it was Armistice Day – a holiday that celebrated the ending of World War One. Celebrating the end of a war is much less complex than celebrating veterans because people can agree on how to celebrate peace, but not on how to celebrate those who fought in war. Professor Loring Danforth made the point that if we commemorate those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, then Iraqi and Afghani veterans should be commemorated as well. Indeed, Veterans Day compels us to grapple with the difficult questions of whom to recognize and how.

I envision a complex and perhaps contradictory holiday. We might acknowledge the inequality that compels some segments of society to volunteer for service more than others. We might celebrate our troops’ humanitarianism. For example, this past week 90 U.S. marines and sailors arrived in the Philippines, tasked with helping a humanitarian assistance survey team of around 90 U.S. soldiers already on the ground in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. We might also offer sympathy and regret for subjecting troops to sacrifices out of proportion to gains, especially in the context of conflicts like those in Iraq and Vietnam that ought not to have happened in the first place. We might solemnly remember that our government compelled young men and women to kill. It exposed veterans to grave bodily and psychological injury and death. Once home, veterans often have suffered from addiction, homelessness, post traumatic stress, and suicide. We could offer veterans at Bates and the surrounding community an opportunity to tell their stories of glory and heartbreak and to share their diverse, complex perspectives.

War is an unfortunate component of all of our lives. Veterans Day should be an opportunity for serious discussion rather than just a normal Bates Monday or a day that celebrates veterans in typical militaristic fashion. Bates should be sophisticated enough to honor those who fight for our country while critically analyzing their experiences.

Part of the reason we are able to study and teach comfortably and in the safety of our classrooms is because of our veterans. Acknowledging our veterans in intellectual and thoughtful ways would make for a more intellectual and thoughtful college.

Orchid brings West Coast quisine to the east

Lisbon Street has long held the reputation as the strip of culinary delights for Lewiston-Auburn foodies. From the marriage of spices at Mother India to the upscale French offerings at Fuel, this area of town has been known for its up and coming rejuvenation of the local community. It’s not uncommon at Bates to see friends brunching at Forage or of the myriad of sandwich offerings at Marche.

orchid 2Most recently, one of Lewiston’s latest additions is bringing a taste of California sunshine and west coast dining to Maine. Orchid is a Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese fusion restaurant that recently opened its doors down the street from Fuel. This spectacular gem to the community has a wide host of fans who enjoy coming to the establishment for its wide selection of brews and the delicious dishes.

Upon walking into Orchid, there is ambiance of class and a warm atmosphere. The two owners, a husband and wife from San Jose, California, often greet guests at the door and offer personal recommendations to first-time visitors.

A few years ago, the couple moved to Lewiston to help a friend manage a restaurant, and they noticed that there was a niche for contemporary Asian fusion that could be filled. After some intense planning, the pair (the husband is Vietnamese and the wife is Thai) decided to return back to Lewiston to open shop.

Despite having a myriad of options on the menu, Orchid is able to maintain authentic savory flavors and the differences in cooking between the three distinct different Asian cultures. Due to Vietnam’s colonial period under the French, much of Vietnam’s cooking is lean and healthy – relying less on oil and more on fish sauces, peanut sauces and herb garnishes such as cilantro and mint. Popular Japanese-American cuisine comes in the form of sushi, which undergoes a different cooking method than favorite Thai dishes such as pad thai and green curry. The spices and oils used in each culture are incredibly versatile and country-specific.

Recommended at Orchid is the green dragon roll, the pad see ew, and a number of their Orchid specialty rolls. In addition to their entree menu, Orchid’s dessert menu is full of gems including a white chocolate creation with hazelnut drizzling and vanilla ice cream beneath the exterior. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of mochi desserts ranging from red bean to green tea flavors. The hospitality at this restaurant is top notch and visitors will find themselves full and content after an evening at Orchid. The owners are incredibly personable and will always be on hand for conversation at the bar or at your table.

Lisbon Street has long held the reputation as the strip of culinary delights for Lewiston-Auburn foodies. From the marriage of spices at Mother India to the upscale French offerings at Fuel, this area of town has been known for its up and coming rejuvenation of the local community. It’s not uncommon at Bates to see friends brunching at Forage or of the myriad of sandwich offerings at Marche.

Most recently, one of Lewiston’s latest additions is bringing a taste of California sunshine and west coast dining to Maine. Orchid is a Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese fusion restaurant that recently opened its doors down the street from Fuel. This spectacular gem to the community has a wide host of fans who enjoy coming to the establishment for its wide selection of brews and the delicious dishes.

Upon walking into Orchid, there is ambiance of class and a warm atmosphere. The two owners, a husband and wife from Southern California, often greet guests at the door and offer personal recommendations to first-time visitors.

A few years ago, the couple moved to Lewiston to help a friend manage a restaurant, and they noticed that there was a niche for contemporary Asian fusion that could be filled. After some intense planning, the pair (the husband is Vietnamese and the wife is Thai) decided to return back to Lewiston to open shop.

Despite having a myriad of options on the menu, Orchid is able to maintain authentic savory flavors and the differences in cooking between the three distinct different Asian cultures. Due to Vietnam’s colonial period under the French, much of Vietnam’s cooking is lean and healthy – relying less on oil and more on fish sauces, peanut sauces and herb garnishes such as cilantro and mint. Popular Japanese-American cuisine comes in the form of sushi, which undergoes a different cooking method than favorite Thai dishes such as pad thai and green curry. The spices and oils used in each culture are incredibly versatile and country-specific.

Recommended at Orchid is the green dragon roll, the pad see ew, and a number of their Orchid specialty rolls. In addition to their entree menu, Orchid’s dessert menu is full of gems including a white chocolate creation with hazelnut drizzling and vanilla ice cream beneath the exterior. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of mochi desserts ranging from red bean to green tea flavors. The hospitality at this restaurant is top notch and visitors will find themselves full and content after an evening at Orchid. The owners are incredibly personable and will always be on hand for conversation at the bar or at your table.

Correction 12-12-2014: In the previous report, The Student has wrongly identified the owner of Orchid’s hometown as Southern California. It should be San Jose, California.

Brooks Quimby Debate Council impresses overseas

This semester, the Brooks Quimby Debate Council (BQDC) has made it increasingly clear that they are “arguably the best” debate team around.

Debate photo by Matt Summers '15The Council recently selected teams to compete at the internationally renowned Oxford and Cambridge University debate competitions in England. The tournament, which is considered a preparation for the World Championships, is one of the most prestigious debate events in the world. Debaters and judges hail from a variety of countries, cultural backgrounds, and age groups. As a result of the diverse meeting of debate participants, prestigious schools such as Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Princeton send their highly qualified debate teams.

Every year, the Brooks Quimby Debate Council selects teams to compete abroad at Oxford and Cambridge. Earlier this month the Council selected three pairs: Matt Summers ‘15 and Stephanie Wesson ‘14; Ben Claeson ‘15 and Emily Schwalbe ‘14; and Alex Daugherty ‘15 and Shannon Griffin ‘16. All teams made it to “live rooms,” meaning that they had the opportunity to compete in the elimination rounds. While none of the Bates teams “broke,” one of the three judges did vote for Summers and Wesson to be part of the final sixteen groups in the elimination rounds.

Despite not breaking, the Council teams still view their work as a great success.

Senior debater Emily Schwalbe says, “All of our teams were in a position to break, and it would have been exciting to have teams in the break at such a prestigious tournament, but we all did extremely well for such a tough competition.”

The team this year also made great improvements from their past performances at the Oxford competition. Matt Summers said, “Having one of our three judges in the last round voting to put us into the top 16 was also a big honor, considering how much Bates teams have struggled at Oxford in the past.”

The team sent two pairs to Cambridge this past weekend; Taylor Blackburn ’15 and Jack Stewart ’14 along with Sasha Grodsky ’16 and Jillian Zook ’15. Zook did not travel far to Cambridge as she is studying at London School of Economics this year.

Blackburn and Stewart had an impressive tournament, missing elimination rounds by a mere point. Blackburn was also the 6th highest speaker at the entire tournament of over 300 debaters.

International debates are intimidating because the judging pool is less predictable than in American debates, and British Parliamentary (BP) style of debate is not typically used in college-level debates in the United States.

Since the Oxford debate is an international event and the judging pool is not a clear, targetable demographic, the debaters must demonstrate a depth of understanding in international affairs in order to succeed. Sophomore Shannon Griffin noted that debaters abroad even tend to like a style of “debating that is so smooth and flowing, that it tells a story.”

In British Parliamentary style, debaters hear the motion only fifteen minutes before having to make arguments, thus the debaters cannot prepare to speak about specific areas of discussion in advance.

Debate 3Stephanie Wesson remarked that the Bates strategy was to take extra time to practice for the British Parliamentary style. “We usually spend most of our time practicing in the American version of debate, so for Oxford we prepared in the British version. This requires lots of time outside of our usual three-practices-a-week schedule. We hold extra rounds on weekends and attend British-style tournaments in the U.S. to prepare. A lot of debate preparation is also being well read so you can easily come up with arguments in the middle of a debate round. Reading a lot and talking regularly with your partner [are] also part of the preparation.”

Every individual debater prepares differently for such an event, but Griffin again emphasizes that being well read is of the utmost importance to her. “To prepare for this event I do a lot of reading and discussion about politics on the international scope, since your competitors and judges come from all over. It’s best to have knowledge and relevant examples other than things that pertain to the U.S.”

The teams debate five motions during a tournament. Among these were “This house would provide mobile teachers for the compulsory education of children of travelling communities,” and “Developed economies should collectively agree to impose radically redistributive tax codes.”

The excitement of debate abroad proved an important bonding experience for the teams representing Bates. Wesson reflected on the positive energy among teammates while competing. She remembers, “Before going our different ways to debate in that last round with our partners, we all supported each other and built up each other’s confidence– just like any team before a big game. This was a great moment for me, not just because we were all doing well in the tournament, but that we were all feeding off each other’s energy and getting excited for our teammates.”

Griffin had a similarly supportive experience. She said, “The upperclassman gave me a pep talk beforehand, since this was my first time debating abroad. It was really nice and considerate of them; team bonding is an important aspect already, but abroad we rely on the support and advice of each other even more.”

Sometimes the cultural variety at such an event can seem surreal in retrospect. Summers commented,It was cool debating against debaters from Abu Dhabi and Belgrade on the same night as we competed against Cambridge.”

Debate 2Bates debaters also relish the international events because this variety of cultural perspectives encourages all participants to challenge, morph, and reaffirm their own personal beliefs. Griffin highlights this as a personal perk of the Oxford competition.

One of the great things about debate is that you are immersed in a diversity of views, and sometimes you learn something new that it forces you to reevaluate and challenge your own views. I think that’s something healthy to be exposed to, because it results in you growing as a person.”

While Bates students were incredibly successful at this competition, they still work towards even higher goals in the near future. Shannon reflects on the team’s results from the competition, “If we would have won the last round we would’ve advanced to the out [elimination] rounds. This is quite impressive; it just gives us something to work towards next year and makes us even hungrier for a victory next year.”

The team is now preparing for the World debating championships in Chennai, India.

America’s hidden epidemic

America is currently in the midst of an epidemic. And no, it’s not swine flu or guns. Using the latest available analyzed data from 2010, the CDC reported that drug overdose deaths have increased for the eleventh year in a row, from 16,849 deaths in 1999 to 38,329 deaths in 2010. Over the same time, gun-related homicides have actually decreased.

drug picDespite the fact that the total deaths from drug overdose is more than twice as high as the total number of gun homicides (around 15,000, depending on the source), drug-related legislation and media coverage has been virtually nonexistent when compared to the constant focus on gun control.

Why is this?

Perhaps because of the high profile of guns, particularly in regards to all of the recent mass shootings that have happened in the United States. It’s a lot easier to find supporters for a law to “save the children from gun violence” than to “save the addicts from overdosing.”

Drug addiction needs to be taken more seriously. As I wrote last week, drug addiction – or “substance abuse” as it is called in the medical literature – is much more serious that people usually imagine. Substance abuse is a disease listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – the mental health industry’s bible of every single mental disease. An addict is very rarely able to simply quit without any outside assistance. The act of chronic drug taking literally changes the brain to adapt to the drug’s effects, thereby forcing users to simply take it to feel normal.

Pharmaceutical drugs accounted for nearly 60% of all overdose deaths in the 2010 data. And of all these overdoses, three in four were cause by opioid painkillers such as morphine, Vicodin, Oxycontin and heroin. While certainly extremely effective at its primary role of pain relief, opioids’ danger comes in that there is not much leeway between its effective dosages and more dangerous dosages that can cause sedation and cessation of breathing. Therefore, opioids can be especially deadly for those looking to simply get high.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed legislation to combat this ever increasing number of opioid drug overdoses. By early December the FDA plans on filing a recommendation with the Department of Health and Human Services to formally reclassify some of the most potent opioids from Schedule III to Schedule II controlled substances. These long-sought changes will introduce restrictions on these drugs’ availability that should curb overdose deaths.

However, despite this step in the right direction, another recent move by the FDA has many doctors and addiction experts questioning whether the Administration actually has consumers’ best interests in mind. Last week an FDA panel voted 11-2 to approve a powerful new opioid painkiller known as Zohydro. While approval of a new opioid option is certainly not unexpected, the details surrounding this approval have raised many questions about the FDA’s intentions.

An article last week in the magazine addressed some of these concerns. Firstly, the only active ingredient in Zohydro is pure hydrocodone, a synthetic opioid. Many painkillers on the market contain an opioid ingredient in combination with acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, in order to reduce the addictiveness of the drug. Zohydro does not take this precautionary measure. Another common method of abuse prevention in painkillers is to prevent the drug from being crushed up in order for some users to snort the drug for a quicker high. This can be accomplished by several mechanisms, such as including a plastic coating around the drug, or by coating the pill with a chemical that renders it ineffective if crushed up. Again, Zohydro does not contain any of these preventative measures.

In a testimony to the FDA during Zohydro’s approval process, Duke professor of medicine Judith Kramer flat out said, “This drug will almost certainly cause dependence in the people that are intended to take it.”

While the responsibility of protecting the public from potentially dangerous drugs does not solely fall on the shoulders of the FDA, it seems to me that they should be more responsible.

Reduction of overall drug overdose deaths must be a coordinated effort from the federal government all the way down to individual citizens. But as we have seen with gun control, the most important step in such an intervention starts with education and attention. If the mainstream media would spend more time on this ever-worsening epidemic, perhaps some actual positive changes could happen.

Despite drawbacks, fighting will always belong in hockey

Hockey is a great sport because it perfectly mixes speed, skill, teamwork, and toughness. The brutality of the game is unquestioned. One part of the game that has been under some scrutiny in recent years is the place of fighting in the game of hockey. Critics of hockey fights note that something seen as uncivilized and even illegal in the real world has no place in a sport played by civilized men. True fans, however, know that while fighting should certainly be placed in the backdrop behind the game itself, it belongs in the game.

Gone are the days of the Broad Street Bullies in Philadelphia where line brawls seemed to be a common occurrence. This is not a necessarily a bad thing. While fights bring a certain amount of entertainment, people pay to watch these talented athletes play, not fight.

But what seems to be happening in the modern day NHL is an attempt to wean fighting out of the game. This year we have seen new rules being instituted such as mandatory visors for rookies, the outlawing of removing helmets before fights, and a more intensely enforced instigator penalty. All of these rules attempt to discourage players from fighting– nobody wants to suffer from badly bruised knuckles after punching another man’s hard plastic visor or helmet. Believe it or not, the regulations are making the game more dangerous.

One of the major reasons fights take place is to protect other teammates. When an opposing player takes a run or a cheap-shot on a team’s player, they have to pay a physical toll brought on by a protective teammate. The threat of taking a beating from NHL enforcers and tough guys seems to be a pretty large deterrent from running other players. If somebody attempts a cheap-shot with the intent to injure on star players like Sidney Crosby, they better believe another player of greater physical stature is going to take note. Hockey players in the NHL take on a certain responsibilities of policing themselves. Taking fighting out of the game takes away a major deterrent to “running” another player.

What the NHL needs to take away from the game is not the fights, but the headshots. We have seen other leagues, like the NFL, attempt to take steps to take headshots out of the game, with increased knowledge of the dangers of concussions, and so forth. The game cannot afford to lose star players like Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux for extended periods of time due to concussions from dirty hits. The NHL has claimed to attempt to take any hits targeting the head out of the game of hockey, but so far it has not been very effective, as a concussion from a dirty hit seems to be weekly hockey news. The penalties/suspensions for these plays are not strict enough, and players seem to continue these poor habits. This is the problem with hockey today, not fighting. Less than 10% of all concussions in the NHL come from fighting, and often times these head injuries are less severe than the ones obtained from other “hockey plays.”

Throughout the history of the NHL, there seems to be a mutual respect between players and opposing teams (even rivals). Tough guys and enforcers don’t go after skill players. Unless players commit abnormally heinous acts, players usually agree to fight another before actually dropping the mits. Additionally, onlookers can often see the fighters pat each other on the back and mouth “good fight” after the referees step in to break them up. Fighting is a part of the game. Whether fights take place in order to help give teams energy and momentum or they take place to pay somebody back for a dirty play, they have a place in the game.

Donate for Haiyan relief eagerly and wisely

Although the storm has abated, typhoon Haiyan left a trail of massive destruction in central Philippines, killed thousands of people and dislocated hundreds of thousands of others. Survivors are struggling with much desperation and little food or water. Governments and charities around the globe were quick to respond. Volunteers and supplies were sent to disaster-stricken areas. Bates students are contributing their parts to the relief efforts in various ways. Student organizations such as International Club, Sangai Asia and the DJ Society are planning to hold fundraising events in the near future.

However, when you put a few dollars in the donation basket, the cash will not be automatically translated into the equivalent amount of food and water on a starving survivor’s table in the Philippines. Your donation will travel a long and arduous path before it reaches the very people you intend to help.

Although charities are not-for-profit and operate with a different business model, like any other business they have operational costs and need to manage their funds in a way to stay financially viable. Therefore, not 100% of your donation will go to the cause. Although it is perfectly understandable that a loss is incurred in the process to cover other costs, sometimes the loss can be so shockingly high that may make you reconsider your donation.

An observation of relief efforts for natural disasters in previous years exposes the inefficiency of some charities. In 2010, the US government, American individuals and charities donated a total of $3 billion to Haiti after the earthquake which killed 220,000. The number itself only tells part of the story as reports shows that actual Haitians received less than 1% of the money the US pledged. An FBI investigation shows that in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005, more than 4,000 bogus charity websites were set up to solicit “donations” from unsuspecting individuals.

Inefficiency is a well-known issue, especially among smaller charities that either do not have enough personnel or rely mostly on contributions from unpaid volunteers who do not possess necessary expertise. Such understaffed charities are forced to outsource part of their fundraising work to telemarketing companies and professional fundraisers, who are experts in the art of persuasion but care little about the cause. They start every fundraising call with literally the same phone-a-thon script: “Hello, I’m (insert name here) calling from (insert organization here). I’m calling to ask for your support for (insert cause here). Do you have a minute to talk?”

It is not uncommon for telemarketing companies eat up more than half of the donation. The Hawaii chapter of Alzheimer’s Association is an extreme case of charity inefficiency: It started a fundraising campaign in 2012 and generated $16,101, but only $20, a negligible 0.12% of the total donation, was passed on to the charity. The rest was used to pay the telemarketing company.  Note that the $20 still needs to be split between covering the charity’s operational costs and actually funding the cause. I doubt if $20 is enough to make an impactful effect on anything.

Before you get tired of all the cynicism above, let me stop demonizing charities here and acknowledge it is inadvisable to generalize all charities. With more than one million registered charities in the US, the efficiency and capacity of different charities vary a lot.

“There are a lot of great charities out there, but there are also some scoundrels and thieves,” explained Ken Berger, CEO and president of Charity Navigator, an independent organization which evaluates and supervises charities.

American Red Cross exemplifies an efficient charity. For every dollar you donate to it, 92 cents will be spent on the cause.

Several major media networks including CNN and PBS have released their long lists of recommended charities that support Haiyan relief. With so many options, it is up to you to pick the right charity that best serves your purpose. Below are some tips for clubs and individuals that can help you make the choice.

Stick with the brand names such as American Red Cross and Salvation Army and avoid new charities established after the disaster. Chances are bigger charities are more efficient and have the experience, equipment and personnel for disaster relief.

Before telemarketers reach you, make a donation on the charity’s website directly to cut out the middleman. By doing so, all of your donation will go to the charity instead of ending up in the wrong hands.

Do your own research and pick the charity which makes the most efficient use of your money. Websites such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch rate different charities and offer information on what percentage of donation through different charities will go to the cause.

We rarely associate economics with philanthropy, but being a discerning donor and make donations wisely make a huge difference to the people on the receiving end of the aid. After all, what really matters is how much strength this money can provide to the people on the other side of the world.

Men’s hockey keeps pace with league, poised for second half breakout

The Bates men’s hockey team endured a tough three-game stretch against some very good teams over the weekend, as the Bobcats lost 4-2 to Bowdoin on Thursday, tied Merrimac 1-1 on Friday, then lost a heartbreaker 6-5 at Holy Cross in a brutal Sunday night game. The game against Bowdoin (who sent some of their varsity players to play) was not a league contest, so has no consequences for Bates’ postseason aspirations. Only the matchups against league-leading Merrimac and Holy Cross matter for the standings, and the loss/tie combination moves Bates’ league record to 0-1-2.

hockey 2Playing against a tough first-place Merrimac team in front of a rowdy Bates’ crowd, the Bobcats put forth their best effort of the season. After surrendering a goal just two minutes into the game, senior goaltender Matt Mosca shut down the Merrimac offense for the remainder of the game. First-year forward Brad Rutkin responded for the Bobcats, scoring his first career goal on a tip-in from in front of the net to tie the score at one. Senior defenseman Alex Cruz commented on the play, “I mean, that was probably the worst goal I’ve seen in my life, but I’m pretty sure they all count the same.”

The game was hard-hitting throughout, as Bates strong-men Cruz and senior alternate captain Ty Silvey punished Merrimac from start to finish. On one sequence, Cruz hit a Merrimac player so hard he literally went through the boards, and play was stopped to repair the rink. “We played very well that night from goalie on out,” noted senior forward and captain Chris DeBrase, “it showed in how we only allowed one goal. Unfortunately their goalie played awesome and we hit the posts a couple of times.”

On Sunday, the Bobcats travelled all the way to Worcester, Massachusetts to face the Holy Cross Crusaders in a night game. Bates caught fire right from the start, as senior forward and alternate captain Sean Thomas scored two quick goals in the first period. Thomas played like a man possessed after being shut out by Merrimac, and would finish with three goals for the hat trick. After a goal by sophomore Emmet Shipway, Bates led 3-0 at the end of the first period.

The Crusaders would respond with three goals of their own, but tallies by DeBrase and Thomas gave the Bobcats a 5-3 lead in the final period. Unfortunately, Bates suffered a defensive collapse in the last ten minutes, surrendering three unanswered goals, and lost the game 6-5. “That was the most upset I have been in my career at Bates,” said DeBrase, “They had a ridiculous fluke goal to tie it as it bounced off of Mosca’s stick weirdly and bounced in, but we still shouldn’t allow six goals in a game.”

Silvey, the anchor of the defense, was equally perplexed, and was quoted saying, “I’m not really sure what happened there, but we definitely have to be tougher in front of the net next game.”

Despite the setback, the Bobcats remain in good position to mount a strong campaign after winter break. Thomas is probably the best offensive player in the league, and DeBrase is a great complement to him in addition to being a great team leader. Silvey and Cruz give Bates an experienced and tough defense, and many younger players are showing great progress and contributing early. With the addition of some players who have spent the fall studying abroad or playing for the football team, Bates will be one of the most talented and deep teams on the ice this year.

Bates hosts St. Joseph’s College at Underhill Arena on Thursday night at 7:00pm.

What’s wrong with being connected?

Electronic devices and social media have become vital centerpieces in our lives. Occasionally, this truth is met with resistance, including statements such as, “People today are too attached to technology,” and, “You always feel the need to be connected…Disconnect!” The message seems to be that our computers and phones are distracting us from “real” social interactions.

However, these protesters often forget that the entity on the other side of this “connection” is not simply a vast and mindless world of Technology, but is often, indeed, a fellow human being. In fact, the overall effect of technological advancements has been to promote and enhance human interactions, rather than inhibit them.

Primarily, many common websites and mobile applications allow us to connect with friends and family in new ways. A prime example of this is the ever-popular Facebook, where our list of friends may contain people we knew from high school, college, travel and work experiences, and family members. By posting pictures and updates, we are able to show all of these people what is going on in our lives: activities we are involved in, milestones we’ve reached, new jobs, adventures, and opportunities with which we’ve been presented. We no longer need to wait until Christmas card season to see pictures of our family members or learn about important events in the lives of those about whom we care.

In this way, we are able to benefit not only from being able to share our own experiences with others but also by staying updated with the happenings of others. Especially as we go off to college and later move away to build our new lives, sites such as Facebook allow us to maintain these meaningful human connections, even in such a busy world.

A recent fad has also provided a unique method of staying in touch with those who are important to us. Snapchat is an application for smartphones and iPods that allows photographs to be sent, but to only be viewed for up to ten seconds after being opened. This spontaneous method of sending quick messages creates an interesting dynamic, in which the sender can show that he or she has seen or experienced something that has reminded him or her of the receiver. This provides the opportunity to reach out to a variety of people, without the expectation of an extended conversation.

New technological tools also encourage collaboration, something that is especially evident when partaking in group projects of any sort. The Google feature “Drive” allows for documents, presentations, and spreadsheets to be shared and collectively created and edited simultaneously, with features such as comments and revision history. Before this was available, group papers and projects were often completed by splitting up the work by page or paragraph and hoping that those separate pieces would be coherent when put together. With Google Drive, each group member has access to each of the other parts, which encourages better transitions and a big-picture perspective of the goal of the project. Members can even collaborate on the same part of a project at the same time, even from separate locations.

Finally, websites such as Tumblr or Reddit that promote the sharing of images, videos, and ideas have the potential to connect us with people around the world. We are able to see that others are interested in the same things that we are interested in, and to share our opinions and questions with these global communities. This encourages us to think harder about what we assume to already know, and to discover new interests related to our own.

The suggestion to “disconnect,” of course, carries complete validity, as time spent on one’s own can have great value. However, the blanket statement that “connecting” is unhealthy and unnatural is simply misguided, for what this new technology allows us to do is to connect with other people.

Anthropologist and photojournalist shine light on news production in Palestine during Bates visit

Tufts University professor Amahl Bishara and Palestinian photojournalist Mohammed Al-Azza delivered a joint lecture on Monday, November 11th titled “U.S. News Production & Palestinian Politics.”

Bishara is an anthropology professor at Tufts University who specializes in journalism and the ethnography of peace relations in the Middle East. As research for her 2012 book Back Stories: U.S. News Production and Palestinian Politics, Bishara spent several years studying the work of foreign media correspondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through an anthropological perspective.

“The anthropological approach to news is unique,” explained Bishara. Bishara notes that, as a fluent Arabic speaker, she spent more time immersed in Palestinian society, which differs from most foreign correspondents.

Bishara’s book Back Stories is one of the first ethnographies on the Second Palestinian Intifada and its aftermath. The Second Intifada signifies the period between 2000 and 2005 initiated by a Palestinian uprising that led to heightened violence between Palestine and Israel.

The Gaza Strip is unique in that it is a self-governing region bordered by Israel on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. Since 2012, however, the United Nations has recognized the Gaza Strip as an official part of Palestine. The West Bank is a landlocked Palestinian territory currently governed by Hamas.

Amahl Bishara is also a documentary film-maker. In 2002, she released the documentary Across Oceans, Among Colleagues, a film that aims to expose some of the threatening situations that foreign news correspondents are subjected to in war-torn regions.

Bishara shared a five-minute clip from her documentary that focused on work conducted by Mazen Dana, a Palestinian news reporter who spent a decade covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for a British news agency. Dana was shot and killed during the summer of 2003 by American soldiers in Baghdad while attempting to film outside of the Abu Ghraib prison. Bishara expanded on the importance of those who risk their lives in order to cover relevant issues in dangerous settings, noting, “the vitality of our news depends on people like Mazen Dana.”

A significant issue in today’s news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the idea of “balanced objectivity,” which refers to journalists’ attempts to demonstrate a balance between the Israeli and Palestinian parties in news reports. Bishara noted that these efforts are problematic due to the fact that the conflict is not balanced between Palestine and Israel in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. A news story, however, is able to construct the idea of peace between Israel and Palestine through strategies such as including a first-hand account from a witness of each country.

Bishara emphasized, “My argument is that foreign correspondents are representing the political conflict,” and that they cannot truly be objective and outside of the news in which they are reporting. This reality becomes especially pertinent when applied to the American government and military ties to Israel.

Politics major Kate Pagano ‘14 commented on the lecture, “I was particularly moved by Bishara and Al-Azza’s bravery in trying to unveil the unspoken truths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their work exposes the flaws of U.S. news production. It’s concerning that so much of the news on national television is misconduct through, what Bishara calls ‘balanced objectivity.’”

As the second part of the talk, Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Al-Azza offered an evocative narrative that ended in his account of being shot by Israeli soldiers for taking pictures of protestors in the West Bank.

Al-Azza first described his childhood growing up in the Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank, made up of 5,000 Palestinian refugees. It was through a photography project offered by the a youth program intended to help children find productive and safe activities in the camp that Al-Azza discovered his passion for photography.

As an adult, Al-Azza’s hobby in photography became a vehicle for representing Palestinian life in the West Bank. Al-Azza explained that media representation in the West Bank is “not very strong, because it only talks about the clash with Israel,” and he hopes to offer positive visual representations of the lives of Palestinians through his photos.

Ongoing protests materialized in the Aida refugee camp as a means of expressing support for those in the Gaza Strip when war began at the end of 2012. Al-Azza explained that he tried to take pictures of the demonstrations, despite continual disapproval from Israeli soldiers on site at the protests. On April 8th of last year, Al-Azza was ordered to stop taking pictures by an Israeli soldier, and as he turned to walk away, the soldier shot Al-Azza on the right side of his face at a ten-meter range. Al-Azza was treated in the hospital for two months, and upon returning home, he was arrested and jailed for eleven days. Thankfully, Al-Azza is currently recovered from the injury.

Al-Azza concluded his account by stating, “To be a journalist, especially in Palestine, it’s not easy, but I want the community to talk about Palestine in a different way, to show Palestine to outsiders, to show the truth about Palestine.” Al-Azza’s account nicely supported Bishara’s research findings by offering a personal account of the sacrifices made my news producers in regions exposed to violence.

Mohammed Al-Azza’s photography exhibit “From These Streets” is currently on display at Tufts University.

Men’s basketball starts season strong, crushing UMaine Augusta and Farmington

The first two games of the Bates men’s basketball season have gone ideally, with the Bobcats dominating wins at home this past weekend by tallies of an astounding 107-46 over UMaine Augusta and 75-54 over UMaine Farmington. Bates has high ambitions this year, with a specific focus on winning all of their games against Maine competition and securing a coveted NESCAC championship.

basketballSophomore guard Mike Boornazian has taken over the scoring load, putting up 21 points against Augusta, a game that ended in limited minutes due to the blowout score, and 17 points versus Farmington. After a freshman year in which he earned major minutes and made the Maine all-rookie team, Boornazian commented, “In the offseason, I worked a lot on my jump shot and ball handling as well as my midrange pull up because I knew I was going to be asked to score in several ways this year.” He emphasizes that the team is the ultimate priority, and believes that the squad is “very resilient and very hard working,” which will be huge assets throughout the season. According to junior guard Billy Selmon, “We’re playing and acting as a team more than we have in the past and I think that’s why we have been successful thus far.” Selmon has embraced his role of being a defensive disruptor and offensive penetrator. He will be a major factor in solidifying the team’s attitude of playing with intensity to outwork their opponents and forcing turnovers to push the pace of the game. Senior captain Luke Matarazzo confidently stated, “We have taken our defensive intensity to another level this year and we are quicker/more athletic than we have ever been.”

The freshmen “twin towers” Marcus and Malcolm Delpeche will also be integral to the Bates defense this year. At 6’7’’ and 6’8’’ respectively, the pair both have the ability to impact the game with their dominant rebounding and shot blocking, and both “love to run the floor,” in the words of Malcolm. Marcus believes that he can play a big role as long as he “makes sure I’m contributing to the team every day” and improves weaker facets of his game such as free throw shooting. If you’re having trouble differentiating between these two athletic, and tall, Bobcats, note that Marcus is currently sporting a mini afro, while Malcolm has a mohawk. Since the Bobcats rotation is more uncertain in the frontcourt, the Delpeche twins could seize minutes at the power forward and center slots. Matarazzo also expects that, “Returners Mike Newton, Josh Britten, Adam Philpott and Derek Murphy along with freshmen Max Eaton” all could make significant contributions off the Bates bench.

basketball againnnnnnnnnnnnThe Bobcats opened their season very auspiciously, taking a 62-15 lead over University of Maine Augusta. The massive lead allowed coach Jon Furbush ’05 to see many different players and combinations that he might otherwise have been unable to observe in game action. The team approached this situation well; Boornazian comments that, “We all push each other not to look at the game as a blowout, but rather an opportunity to work on the things we practice and get better as a team.”

The team had a much better opportunity to apply their work in practice to a competitive game situation against Farmington. Selmon stepped in for Matarazzo and chipped in with 9 points and an outstanding defensive effort. Junior co-captain Graham Safford added 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds to help the Bobcats comfortably maintain a 41-26 halftime lead in a game they never trailed.

The number of players that have already stepped up in these first two outings shows the essence of this Bates team; though Boornazian may be called upon to shoulder the scoring lead, many players have the potential to meaningfully contribute when called upon. It will be interesting to see if they can manage to improve upon their 10-15 record of last year to achieve all their aspirations. The Bobcats continue their season this Tuesday with a home game against St. Joseph’s of Maine College. NESCAC league play begins for the team on December 5th with an away game against the Colby Mules.

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