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Anxious for my precious

(12/10/12 9:19am)

Fellow hobbitses, we will have our $270 million precious in just one week. Make no mistake—this is no typical precious. Our precious was forged in the depths of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mind, then passed through the long ages until it finally rest in the capable hands of the great Peter Jackson; truly, our precious seems destined for greatness.

Defeating death

(12/05/12 8:06am)

Thousands of years ago it was written in Corinthians 15:26: “And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Throughout history, we humans have vainly tried to defeat death in whatever way we could. We have created religions that promise an afterlife. We have, like Alexander the Great, conquered entire nations—not for land but for eternal fame. We have searched for “fountains of life.” The Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang even ingested mercury tablets in an attempt at immortality. When this backfired, islander Xu Fu convinced a desperate Huang that if only he lent him some treasure-laden ships he would find an elixir on the mythical island of Japan. Needless to say, Fu never returned, and today we are still headed toward the same destination as these men. It is a destination that is conceived as paradise by many and oblivion by few. It is a destination that has consumed billions.

Malala vs. the Taliban: reason vs. rage

(10/24/12 7:15am)

To Americans, the scene is unimaginable. Returning home from an exam, 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai looked on in horror as armed men stopped her bus. “Which one of you is Malala?” the gunmen demanded, before shoving a gun against her soft hair—against a little girl’s head—and pulling the trigger. Rather than apologizing for this heinous act, the Taliban has incredibly spent the past few days trying to justify it.

The Longest Spring

(09/28/12 3:32am)

Nearly two years after its inception, the Arab Spring rages on. Children are dying. Regimes are crumbling. Families are failing. Faced with this reality, first and second generation Middle Eastern immigrants at Duke are left to wonder what is happening to their homelands. Although they live in Durham, they are casualties of events taking place a world away.

Facebook friends, not friends

(09/12/12 5:52am)

The time was late, my eyes were bleary, and after a long day of studying I was sitting at my desk staring at Facebook. It was the middle of finals week, so other than a few brief forays from my room to eat, social interaction over the past few days had been basically nonexistent. As I scrolled through various statuses (most of which were humble-bragging or expressing some form of cliché political outrage), something snapped. What snapped? I don’t know. What I do know is that my mouse clicked the “deactivate” button, and for a brief moment I thought I’d finally mustered up the courage to delete my pixelated existence forever.

To the freshmen

(07/02/12 6:28am)

In the middle of the dreaded Logic Games section of my LSAT two weeks ago, while frantically darkening in bubbles and trying to decide whether A can sit next to B or C or if it in fact has to sit next to D, I had an adrenaline-fueled realization: I’m a rising senior.

Republicans: an endangered species

(06/14/12 9:33am)

A few days ago I did the unthinkable: I watched Fox “News.” And as I listened to an old, white, Southern, anti-gay, anti-abortion conservative debate politics with another old, white, Southern, anti-gay, anti-abortion conservative, something struck me. These people are almost extinct. At this point they’re practically an endangered species. And if Republicans don’t act soon—if they don’t, as Charles Darwin might have said, adapt—they will become extinct, if not from changing social norms then from demographics alone.