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"That guy" on immigration

(01/31/18 5:00am)

Everybody knows “that guy.” He is “the person everyone loves to hate and never wants to become”—at least according to the most popular definition provided for the term on In Washington D.C., the idiomatic label has been applied to one person in particular, especially as the Trump administration makes a concentrated effort to pass immigration reform in the start of its second year.

The future of Duke housing

(01/18/18 6:12am)

With Duke’s announcement that Central Campus will be no more come Summer 2019, students and administrators alike have begun considering how to reform the housing paradigm to best accommodate a Duke where upperclassmen live exclusively on West Campus. Monday night, students participated in a panel on “The Future of Duke Housing.” The debate largely centered around selective living group (SLG) housing policy since the soon-to-be-eradicated Central Campus is home to the overwhelming majority of selective living group sections at Duke. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day—the one designated “off” day for SLG rush—panelists from fraternities, sororities, co-ed SLGs and the independent community gathered to discuss community building and inclusion on West Campus. Prospective solutions such as a transition toward a residential college system as well as “linking,” which would allow students in first-year residence halls to live together on West Campus,were discussed.

Debating guns and 'Gorgias' at Duke

(10/16/17 4:00am)

In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates elucidates the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric. After debating with the famed rhetorician Gorgias, Socrates establishes that philosophy is an art—a true comprehension of a moral argument—whereas rhetoric is a skill oft used for personal gain. Rhetoric, in short, is the ability to advance one’s particular philosophy; without either component—rhetoric or philosophy— an argument will never see the light of day. Should one utilize philosophy and neglect rhetoric, his or her words will fall upon uninterested ears. Should one utilize rhetoric and neglect philosophy, his or her ideas will remain unclear. 

Ranking responses

(09/15/17 4:00am)

Earlier this week, U.S. World News and World Report released its comprehensive rankings for the best colleges in America. To the surprise of Duke students—who likely submitted their application to the university whose hallowed halls they now walk, only after first referencing the famed list—, their beloved school had fallen one spot.

Meloria silentio

(09/01/17 4:46am)

A recent New York Times study found that Duke has more students whose family’s income lies in the top 1 percent, i.e. earning more than $630,000 per year, than it does students who align within the bottom 60 percent of the income scale. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent lay claim to residing within the upper fifth of the income bracket, with the entire undergraduate student body possessing a median family income of $187,000 compared to the national $56,516.

On Charlie Gard, “the Death Party” and healthcare

(07/28/17 7:03am)

A mass congregates on Downing Street. Upwards of 100 Brits have gathered for a protest. The unseasonably crisp air of midsummer London chills the skin and stops the activists’ collective voice from carrying beyond the gates to the Prime Minister’s residence. It is a certain reality, which the individuals who comprise the crowd ignore, as they chant “save Charlie Gard,” in vain and in the cold.

The police of the world

(04/12/17 4:45am)

One week ago, President Trump ordered the complete eradication of a Syrian military airfield in response to incontrovertible evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad authorized a chemical weapons attack against his citizens. Trump made the call from within the walls of the “Southern White House”—his beachside residence at Mar-a-Lago—prior to his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump has inherited varied reaction from both sides of the aisle for this bold maneuver. Democrats and Republicans alike have praised him for executing a necessary humanitarian intervention, while members of both parties also have criticized him for abandoning campaign promises as well as potentially catalyzing further conflict in the region. Amidst all the clamor surrounding Trump’s decision, one phrase has consistently been mentioned in both laudation and condemnation: “world police.”

The enemy of my enemy is my pen

(02/22/17 6:51am)

President Trump has entered the eye of the storm. After a raucous first month of media blowback against his policies as commander-in-chief, Saturday Night Live has gone on a two-week break. The relentless Trump-attack vehicle has portrayed the President as a petulant toddler, his press secretary as a deranged lunatic and his chief strategist as the devil incarnate. The late-night comedy sketch TV show, which informs way more voters than it should, will do Trump no harm—at least until it returns on March 4.

A tale of two classes

(02/08/17 4:26am)

The sound of my phone vibrating on the wooden desk beside my bed combined with the monotonous ringing of “Radar”—the default iPhone 5 alarm sound—forced me out of bed. I leapt toward the sound and stopped the alarm, hoping that my roommate didn’t wake up at this ungodly hour because of my academic masochism. The time was 6 a.m.; after collecting four hours of sleep, I was awake again and ready to take on the day.

Beyond the headline

(01/25/17 12:16pm)

“Look at those hands,” beseeched our new president of the 17 million viewers who tuned in to watch the March 3 Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. “Are they small hands?“ he asked rhetorically in an attempt to disprove seemingly irrelevant criticisms of his physical appearance. “And he referred to my hands,” continued the soon-to-be leader of the free world, “if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem,” said Donald J. Trump in clear reference to the wealth of information at his fingertips. Of course, it follows that big hands would boast big fingers, which naturally would have big fingertips with access to an abundance of information, especially in this day and age when “d**k jokes” can be retrieved by the thousands with the simple click of a mouse.

Good neighbors

(12/08/16 4:33pm)

“Good fences make good neighbors,” insists time and time again the man who lives adjacent to Robert Frost’s narrator in his poem “Mending Wall.” They also make for great photographs, as any American study-abroad student who has posed in front of the Berlin Wall, Prague’s John Lennon Well or the Great Wall of China will tell you. With a Facebook feed covered in photographs of friends posing in front of any one of the aforementioned “fences” with a “like”-maximizing caption, I set out to break the 100-like threshold on my trip to Belfast. However, when I had a friend take a photograph of me standing in front of the Peace Wall, upon viewing the picture, I realized that the shot was “un-postable.”

You can bet on it

(11/17/16 9:00am)

Huddled around a table in our kitchen, decorated with a half-drank bottle of Jameson and a half-finished Settlers of Catan game, my roommates and I—all Americans studying abroad in Dublin—watched Donald J. Trump be elected president. When Wisconsin went red, and it was apparent that we were witnessing the greatest upset in a presidential election in modern United States political history, I decided to puncture the silence that had taken over the room.

What’s in a pint?

(10/13/16 2:32pm)

What’s in a pint? The answer to this question is more than 473.146 cubic centimeters of beer. It’s more than 208 calories, seven percent of your daily value of magnesium or a loaf of bread’s worth of carbs. Why is the beverage, which some refer to as laughing juice, others refer to as aiming fluid and most simply call “beer,” such an important part of life in Ireland and all over the world? While abroad in Dublin, I have conducted extensive research on this matter, and I believe that I finally have the answer (although additional study will most assuredly be needed).

Twenty miles north

(09/29/16 3:59am)

Mecca and St. James’s Way step aside: the pilgrimage of choice (at least for fall semester study abroad students) is Oktoberfest. Every year, thousands of Americans aged 18-22 rush to Munich to partake in the annual festival of beer and pretzels in which the clinking of steins provides a percussive compliment to the brass of traditional German folk music.