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The tyranny of time

(04/12/24 4:00am)

“I wanna go fast” is one of Will Ferrell’s most iconic lines in the NASCAR-themed comedy film "Talladega Nights." In the movie, the protagonist Ricky Bobby — played by Ferrell — basks in the glory of being a NASCAR folk hero before crashing and burning out of the sport after a string of poor performances. Ironically, the need for speed — the desire to go fast in all aspects of his life — is what slows Bobby down. Only when Bobby overcomes his fear of losing is when he returns to his former glory.

Ordering destruction

(03/29/24 1:07pm)

Do you ever wonder what happens to your food waste when it magically disappears on the dish return at WU? Well, we found out when the dish conveyor belt broke down just a few weeks ago. In its place were trash cans and recycling bins filled with a pastiche of unsorted waste. Compostable to-go boxes stuffed the trash can while the contents of the recycling bin ranged from half-eaten chicken to ice cream cones. Notably absent was a bin for composting. Evidently, Duke’s food waste wasn’t being handled as I had once thought.

The quiet crisis is upon us

(03/08/24 5:00am)

The phrase "invasive species" often conjures up images of 18-foot-long pythons prowling the Everglades or a pack of wild boar pillaging the forest. But invasive species exist all around us — many times in subtler but more pervasive forms. From the House Sparrows that fly overhead to the English Ivy that adorns our buildings, invasive species quietly choke our landscape.

The grass is as fake as the people who walk on it

(02/23/24 5:00am)

Merely a scent of the noxious odor emanating from Abele Quad was enough to drive me back into the library. From the safety of the great indoors, I was able to watch the Dust-Bowl-era scene unfolding on the other side of the glass. Clouds of dirt billowed from the barren soil, concealing the azure blue sky above. A column of tractors spewed tiny pellets of synthetic fertilizer across the parched earth, which then helplessly flew away with the next gust of wind. Such hardships must be necessary to prepare for the day when the verdant strips of turf will magically form a pristine lawn, right?

Elko Urbanism: The end of an era?

(02/09/24 6:29am)

And in a blink of an eye, it was all over. After a season full of so much hope, everything fell apart with remarkable speed. Less than 24 hours after a triumphant victory over Pitt, Blue Devils football coach Mike Elko stepped on a private jet headed for College Station, Texas, to sign a contract as the new Texas A&M head coach. Soon after, a cascade of Blue Devils hit the transfer portal, making it clear that the Elko Era was officially over. Those happy memories of storming the field after knocking off Clemson, getting hyped for College Gameday and savoring back-to-back bowl victories are now all things of the past.

Under these towering oaks no more

(01/26/24 5:00am)

“We’re gathered here today this afternoon on Abele Quad, the heart of West Campus, under the generous shade of these towering oak trees that seem as old as time.” These eloquent words conjure up a lucid memory in my mind. The unbearable heat of a Durham summer. The ominous threat of storm clouds, ready to unleash a fury of rain, thunder and lightning at any moment.

The convenience of more

(12/08/23 5:00am)

The last lap in Mario Kart when the music speeds up. That critical stretch of a football game after the two-minute warning. The last 0.2 miles of a 26.2-mile marathon. All three make an apt comparison to the hectic pace of the final few weeks of the semester between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. With finals, projects, shopping and holiday social gatherings all crammed into a few short weeks, the sentiments of joy and gratitude which are supposed to define this season get pushed to the wayside.

The 15-minute campus

(11/10/23 12:52pm)

A mere two decades ago, a little-known railway system whisked riders across the sprawling Duke Hospital complex. A maze of tunnels, bridges and underpasses carried little railcars throughout the cavernous complex. This was the core of Duke’s futuristic Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system — a new mode of mass transit that was poised to redefine the urban landscape. Built in the late 1970s, Duke’s PRT pioneered this flexible mode of transportation and helped elevate Duke Hospital to its world-class status. Despite the PRT’s success, the system was demolished in 2009 to make way for the construction of the Duke Cancer Center and Duke Medical Pavilion.

The climate costs of conference realignment

(10/27/23 4:00am)

On Sept. 1, the ACC unofficially became the All Coast Conference after its additions of Stanford, Cal and SMU. Like a vulture feeding on a rotting carcass, the ACC capitalized off the surprisingly swift decline of the Pac-12 (the most prominent college athletic conference in the Western US) to expand its national appeal. While ACC executives framed the move as necessary for survival in the anarchic world of college sports, it is apparent that the primary motivation for this move was TV revenues. The ACC is posed to gain over $600 million from its contract with ESPN as a result — and that doesn’t include revenue earned from other multimedia companies.

The university in the parking lot

(01/16/23 5:00am)

Duke has long branded itself “the university in the forest.” But new developments proposed in the Duke 2024 Master Plan shatter this illusion. Graduate housing behind the Fuqua School of Business, an additional quad behind Edens, and a major expansion of the Duke Medical Center are just a few of the projects outlined in the plan. Collectively, these new additions would result in a loss of 11 acres of tree cover on campus, degrading both ecological and human health. The unchecked growth of the campus’ physical footprint contradicts with the Duke Climate Commitment, where university leaders pledged to “imagine, design and implement a sustainable future for all.” If Duke truly wants to be a leader in addressing climate change, then the university must align its actions with its words.