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Letter: Free speech is dead, and we killed it

(01/29/19 8:01pm)

A few days ago, a well-intentioned university administrator sent an email to students advising them to self-censor their choice of language in public in order to maintain future opportunities. Many authors in this publication and elsewhere have pointed out the racially and nationally discriminatory overtones this email espoused. To my knowledge, none so far have pointed out the grave implications this incident has for Duke at large.

Letter to the editor

(08/18/17 2:12pm)

I greatly appreciated Katie Becker's arguments for removing the statue of General Lee from the Duke Chapel, as well as the subsequent letters discussing the idea. I'm very enthusiastic about Jonathan Hill's proposal to replace the entire triplet of statues meant to represent the American South with three figures who better encapsulate Duke's ideals. While I agree completely that the statue of Lee—and really all monuments honoring slavery and those who fought for it—should be removed, if we as a community choose to remove Lee, we must not stop there.

Board of Trustees make surprise announcement on proposed natural gas plant

(04/04/17 4:04am)

The university’s Board of Trustees, in a secret meeting with Duke Climate Coalition, Duke Seize the Grid, and Duke Green Devils last Saturday at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, has reached a historic compromise regarding the proposal by Duke Energy to build a new natural gas plant on campus.

Artificial barriers, real consequences

(03/21/17 5:12am)

It’s common knowledge by this point that in the United States, healthcare is more expensive and harder to access compared to similar societies, such as Western Europe or Canada. What’s more is that despite our higher spending, we are no healthier than our counterparts. The political polarization around healthcare policy has resurfaced again with the American Health Care Act now forming in Washington, and basically nobody is happy with the status quo or all of the proposed changes.

Basketballs are flat

(02/28/17 5:52am)

Former Duke Basketball player and current NBA star Kyrie Irving has been in the headlines recently as more and more “established” scientists jump on the bandwagon of refuting his claim that the Earth is flat, not round. This puts Irving in good company: just over a year ago, legendary rapper B.o.B. got himself into a similar situation. For the Bill Nyes and Neil DeGrasse Tysons of the world, these rejections of round-Earth orthodoxy have presented an opportunity to gain fame and notoriety by publicly refuting the flat-Earth theory. Many flat-Earthers believe the round-Earth theory was created and popularized by conspiratorial elements who wish to hide the truth from wider society.

Beyond natural gas

(02/15/17 6:02am)

Toward the end of my 24 consecutive hours in the walk-up line for last week’s basketball game, I was approached by a student with a clipboard and a short speech about Duke Energy’s proposed natural gas plant. She introduced herself as a representative of the Duke Climate Coalition (DCC) and asked me to sign a petition opposing the construction of the plant. After talking about it for a moment I was on board, as were many of the students waiting in line around me. As she left I found myself harboring some reservations about the petition, which I would like to publicly elaborate on as Duke’s natural gas plant continues to be a topic of campus conversation.

The right connections

(01/31/17 5:24am)

It’s almost the exciting time of year when campus is flooded with newly-admitted high school seniors and their families, eager to take their first look around at Duke. This also presents an interesting challenge to current students: how do we show our new Blue Devils around campus without walking by the same locations several times? Walking the same paths in different directions not only makes for a boring tour, but is also a terribly inefficient use of our time as students. With a little foresight and the right mathematics, however, this problem can be avoided.

​Mind the squeaky wheels

(01/17/17 2:41pm)

A recent Chronicle article reported on the results of a Duke study of a New Zealand community which found that about 80 percent of public services were consumed by the the neediest 20 percent of the population. This relationship was tied back to a neat mathematical result called the “Pareto Principle.” The Pareto distribution, and the related Zipf distribution, often arise from systems where habits or patterns are self-reinforcing, such as criminal convictions or health issues. I felt the article showed far too little excitement about this, and I seek to rectify that now.

A win for terrorism

(08/04/15 8:12am)

A few weeks ago, delegations from the United States and other nations met with Iranian representatives in Vienna to draft the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Iran promised the world that its nuclear program would remain peaceful, and the world promised to end a campaign of economic sanctions. I do not know how to build nuclear bombs, so I will not comment on whether or not the deal will actually prevent Iran from building them. However, having read the full agreement, I am troubled by the fact that it not only fails to stop, but in fact helps to increase the Iranian regime’s support for terrorist groups around the world.

Deconstructing the national fear of Duke’s Adhan

(01/26/15 10:01am)

I am an Israeli Jew. I was born in the city of Haifa, which, as is typical of major cities in Israel, is home to a sizable Muslim population and dozens of mosques. Five times a day, from early morning to late at night, the Muslim faithful are called to assemble for prayers using an ancient chant, likely to be almost exactly the same words and melodies heard during the life of the prophet Mohammed.