Yays and Nays

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

Yay |  To the informative text messages about the “non-imminent” threat to campus Monday. We’re glad to know we’re in the loop, but we needed more clear information.

Nay | To the inevitable tuition hike –– it could top almost 30 percent for some –– and possible state budget cuts to higher education. We’re tired of being the bastard children of Colorado’s budgeting system.

Yay | To Andy Ogide for being named with New Mexico’s Drew Gordon as the Mountain West Conference’s Co-Players of the Week for games through Sunday.

Nay | To the below-zero temperatures and sheets of ice that have become February’s character. What happened to the 60-degree weather on Friday? Oh that’s right, Colorado can’t make up its mind.

Yay | To Carmelo Anthony for playing against the Nets in a Nuggets uniform, for those of you who still want him around.

Nay | To global warming for diminishing one-third of Mongolia’s natural standing water and negatively impacting the work of its pastoralists, but yay to the fact that the country boasts Yak polo.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm

RamTalk

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Jan 312011
 
Authors:

If CSU has school tomorrow, Tony Frank will have earned “Chuck Norris” status.

To the guy walking to class in only shorts and a tee shirt: You’re either an idiot or one tough son of a bi***.
So, a 30 percent hike for tuition. Does that mean Lil Wayne is coming next year?

You know it’s going to be a bad day when the front wheel of your car falls off automatically.

And now for a tribute to the text alert Monday …
Thanks for the most ambiguous text message warning ever, CSU. I wouldn’t know whether to look for a giant gorilla or a guy with a bazooka.

I’m so glad I receive a text every time someone at CSUPD has a thought.
Dear CSU, I can always count on you when there is an “unspecified” threat to my well being. I got three text messages telling me that you are not telling me anything.

To the person making threats to CSU: You aren’t the only person who hates Mondays.

 Posted by at 4:15 pm

The Daily Record 02/01/2011

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

Friday arrests
1:39 a.m.: A 23-year-old male on suspicion of DUI, DUI per se, prohibited use of weapons and weaving at the 900 block of South Meridian Avenue.

Saturday and Sunday arrests
There were no arrest affidavits available at time of pick up.

Other notable items:
Sunday
2:29 a.m.: Suspicious circumstances/prowler at the 100 block of West Pitkin Street.
3:17 a.m.: DUI arrest at the corner of Ellis Drive and West Pitkin Street.
4:26 p.m.: Noise complaint at the University Village Apartments, 1600 W. Plum St.
6:26 p.m.: Criminal mischief at the 3000 block of Timberline Road.
9:27 p.m.: Suspicious circumstances/prowler at the 1200 block of Center Avenue.
11:29 p.m.: Suspicious circumstances/prowler at Front Range Community College-Remington Campus, 1400 Remington St.

The Daily Record will be published in the Collegian Tuesday through Friday. It is compiled by the staff of the 
Collegian from arrest affidavits and a daily incident record provided by the CSUPD.
The Daily Record is also available online at Collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:12 pm

Revolt in not 140 characters or less

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Jim Sojourner

Sure you can fit “viva la revolucion!” into a 140-character message, but you just can’t roll “r’s” on Twitter the same way you can roll them off your tongue. And oh is that sound of popular rebellion ever so sweet.

Popular revolt is the latest fad sweeping through the Middle East. After the Tunisians threw out their 23-year dictator, the struggle for democracy has spread like wildfire through the region, leading to the current mass uprisings in Egypt that threaten to topple Hosni Mubarak’s oppressive and (formerly) U.S.-supported regime.

It’s kind of a big deal.

But if you’ve spent any time watching CNN this week, you’d know the possibility of regime change and resulting policy implications pale in comparison to the most important story of all, ever, no matter what: Twitter.

News networks love Twitter more than the Egyptians love the thought of freedom.

Since the mass protests in Iran following the country’s corrupt 2009 election, every utopian media geek and his/her reporter friend has been quick to point to Twitter, Facebook and their ilk as the key, benevolent instruments of rebellion.

Everyone with ears has heard at least 140 news segments talking about the revolutionary power of social media, where users can share information and organize protests in ways never before possible. We’ve all watched Anderson Cooper contort his face in glee as he basks in the mighty glory of the omnipotent Twitter deity, all while his guest bloviates about how this new-fangled Internet thing is making it easier than ever to overthrow your local tyrant. All you need is 140 characters!

Well I’m not buying it and neither is social media expert Evgeny Morozov in his new book “The Net Delusion.”

Once a social media lackey, Morozov has come around full circle. He argues that, although the Internet does have the power to push some social change with tweets, blogs and video recordings, in the hands of authoritarian regimes, it has even more power to track down dissenters, lock down information and push agendas.

The news media nailed the stories about how protesters in Iran used social media to organize and push for change. What they missed, Morozov argues, were the months after, where the Iranian government used those same tools to hunt down dissidents and to keep an ever-watchful eye on its citizens. Other governments, he says, have combined traditional online censorship with new information-control techniques, where regimes hire bloggers and tweeters to spread misinformation or to push their own ideologies with huge success.

It shouldn’t take much brainpower to figure out that social media doesn’t just benefit the “good guys,” especially when the “bad guys” have more money and more resources to devote to Internet information, dissemination and control.

More than revealing that “dark side,” Morozov argues that the power of social media is overestimated simply because it’s more visible to everyone than traditional forms of communication.

According to an NPR story about his book, Morozov’s conversion to social media critic came in Moldova in April of 2009 amid anti-government protests. During the protests, he said he witnessed that much of the protest organizing was done over analog networks like phone calls or person-to-person conversations, not over the digital network. Unlike Twitter messages, though, these interactions weren’t readily visible, so Twitter got all the credit.

Getting back to the Middle East, it’s no stretch to say this probably holds true for the protests in Iran or Egypt. In a Monday blog post for The Atlantic, visiting scholar at the School of Information for the University of California Berkeley Kentaro Toyama said it better than I can: “It’s not so much that tweeting foments rebellion, but that in our age, all rebellions are tweeted.”

Even the Egyptian government seemed to have overestimated the power of the Internet when it shut down all Internet access in the country. The effect on protesters: nothing I can see. And, if Mubarak’s regime does somehow survive, what’s stopping it from using old Twitter and Facebook posts to hunt down activists?

My quarrel with Twitter-lovers and the Twitter-pated media, then, isn’t their belief that Twitter is a powerful tool –– clearly it’s made communicating and organizing grassroots movements easier than ever ––, It’s their simplistic, naïve and single-minded devotion to the idea that social media makes possible and empowers popular democratic movements and only popular democratic movements.

Technology serves any master; people power, not tech tools, drives popular revolt.

In Egypt, the revolution might be tweeted, but it’s the people chanting in streets that will bring tyranny to its knees.

Managing Editor Jim Sojourner is a senior journalism major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:08 pm

Love of music and Old Town’s dancing feet

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Chadwick Bowman

Catacorner to our beautiful campus is the just-as beautiful Old Town. My travels have made me a believer that this is my favorite place in the world.
Reason being, it is never lacking in excitement. And a growing import/export/passion is our music, for which we are becoming known.  

Visitors and locals roll through Old Town to spend time at our brewpubs, taverns, coffee houses and bookstores. But the long-thriving entertainment scene has become the best in Colorado, as noticed last week by the Denver Post.

The Post’s Jan. 21 article, “Fort Collins steps out as Colorado college town with the most vital music scene,” had me inspired, and developed a new realization of how much I like living here. The article claimed Fort Collins has moved past Boulder as the most active music scene in the state.

The Denver Post feature dissected the music that comes out of Fort Collins. The ultimate goal for Fort Collins artists is of course to play large venues in Denver and beyond, but the people and culture locally makes it easy for them to spread their sounds.

Just walk past the Aggie Theatre and through Old Town Square late at night and you’ll always see a crowd and lines gathered to hear what’s new.
But the notoriety all begins with the Blasting Room.

The Blasting Room is arguably the best recording studio in Colorado. It’s a punk-rock nerve center that has inscribed the likes of Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, MxPx, NoFX, Less Than Jake and the Fort Collins natives, Tickle Me Pink.

However, it isn’t just the heavy hitting bands recording here that draws all the musical attention.

DJ and producer of Pretty Lights, Derek Vincent Smith, has taken his electronic show on the road, selling out clubs and venues across the country. Pretty Lights headlined a show at Red Rocks, performing in front of a sold-out crowd — and oh yeah, he’s from the Fort.

Smith told the Denver Post he loves being from Fort Collins because nobody expects it.

But along with the other talented folk, solo and jam musicians –– Candy Claws, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Danielle Ate The Sandwich –– it is the people here that allow for the abundant, prosperous music scene. As avid listeners, we follow our local bands and seek out the new ones. We drop into the variety of venues to see what’s bumping.

Hodi’s, Avo’s, the Aggie Theatre and even the CSU campus and student organizations do a great job of bringing new music as well as established musicians to our city. The coffee house Everyday Joe’s is also a hot spot for students and community members, and a favorite for locals to show off.

Art Lab Fort Collins creates a unique opportunity for performers and opens up vacant store fronts and turns them into venues for artists and musicians.
The largest of musical festivities in Fort Collins comes by way of NewWestFest and Bohemian Nights. At the end of summers, the festival provides huge acts and a grand gathering for the entire community.

A wide array of genres appears at the festival, which funnels in about 70 bands, local and non-local.

The key to the success is simple. People love music. Fort Collins loves music.

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Good people drink good beer.” We have surpassed that standard in Fort Collins.

I say we add, “Good people drink good beer and listen to good music,” i.e. Old Town. The good music grown here and brought into Old Town and Fort Collins is good for culture and for business.

 In a interview in August, Sean Kennedy — lead singer of Tickle Me Pink — told me that though their fan base has sprawled out of Fort Collins, the release of their recent EP was geared toward their Colorado supporters, and when they get back into the studio, they would love to work with the folks at the Blasting Room again.

Tickle Me Pink still calls Fort Collins home. They understand their music will most likely take them to new places, but they are well aware of where they got their start, and who gave them a platform for success.

Continue to support our music and most importantly, enjoy it.

Editorials Editor Chadwick Bowman is a senior sociology and journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:06 pm

Our view: Staying vigilant, uninformed

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

With the “unsubstantiated,” “non-imminent” “threat” to campus yesterday, whoseriously considered not making the walk, drive, bike or bus ride to campus?

The emergency text messages and e-mails warning of the potential threat left the campus feeling eerie and paranoid, looking over its shoulder and scared of its shadow, yet ready to be vigilant.

Though the Collegian Editorial Board agrees the safety alert process works, we feel the verbiage in Monday’s warnings could have been more informative.

The word “unsubstantiated” left us believing there was no threat at all; yet the words “general threat” forced us to use our imaginations. Students were unaware if they were looking for a gunman, a bear, balloon boy, rabid geese or even Bigfoot, for all we knew.

The Clery Law, by which CSU abides, stipulates the university must inform students and community members of a potential threat –– a mandate with which we agree.
Our concern, however, is the conflicting messages of an unsubstantiated threat with which the FBI is involved and reports of military style helicopters flying above campus can lead to rumors, paranoia and ultimately an unproductive campus.

Moving forward, CSU students would like to know of potential threats, not improbable ones. We would like to know what to look for, in order to increase our ability to be vigilant.

We understand that there is an on-going investigation, but the best way to maintain safety is not to leave us guessing but to leave us informed.

 Posted by at 4:03 pm

Actions louder than words in The Illusionist

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

When it comes to French film, there are few filmmakers as influential as the iconic Jaques Tati.  

Back in the ‘50s, he allegedly wrote a script based on his strained relationship with his daughter, one that got lost in the shuffle after his death and supposedly made its way into his daughter’s possession.

She then brought the script to French animator Sylvain Chomet to convert it into a full-length feature film.  

Chomet took that script and made “The Illusionist,” an animated silent film that stars an aging performer nearing the end of his career. The performer’s illusion routine descends into insignificance, forcing his act to remote venues across the world.

At one of these locations, the man meets a young girl who becomes fascinated with his illusions, believing him to be a true magician. She excitedly follows him to his future venues and establishes a father-daughter relationship with the performer.

All of this is beautifully framed against the background of many a European metropolis that vividly pop off the screen through traditional watercolor animation.  

Just as captivating as the look of the film is the cast of charming characters who interact with the illusionist along his journey. In typical Chomet fashion, the characters are quirky, hilarious and are prone to just act weird.  

It’s amazing Chomet can get so much out of his characters without them having to speak any standard dialogue. Their actions establish their various personas just as well as words ever can.   

Although I did expect “The Illusionist” to be a charming movie, I did not anticipate it to make me feel like a child who just found the mangled remains of my favorite action figure after the dog chewed it up.

“The Illusionist” may seem straightforward on the surface, but it boasts a beautifully moving coming-of-age tale, where magic can be found in the most ordinary of places.     

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at verve@collegian.com and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg.

Coming next week:

Rabbit Hole

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as a married couple that tries to return to normal lives after a tragic loss. Kidman was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

 Posted by at 2:33 pm

CSUPD receives “non-eminent threat”

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Jan 312011
 
Authors: Allison Sylte

Early this morning, the CSU Police Department received notice from the FBI of a non-eminent threat that came through the Internet Complaint Center at FBI headquarters.

CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander said the threat was not considered dangerous, though the public safety team was pulled together and is in the midst of an on-going investigation.

“Past threats have been much more specific than this, but I don’t recall anything of this nature in recent history,” Bohlander said.

Bohlander also said that, while the police have not released the details of the threat, there is no reason to believe it is related to any particular student.

The Internet Complaint Center is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop and refer criminal complaints regarding cyber crime to appropriate authorities.

The threat was not deemed substantial enough to impact goings-on at the university, though campus authorities warn the community to stay vigilant. A text message and e-mail was sent to the campus community to warn them of the situation.

No further information regarding the nature of the threat is available at this time.

 Posted by at 3:52 am

Moving at 40 cages per hour

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Jan 302011
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

In the Painter Center at CSU sit 3,500 cages filled mostly with mice and other rodents. Laboratory animal technicians oversee the care of these animals.

Among the many tasks that they must complete are cleaning up to 40 cages per hour, regular room checks and feedings.

Sometimes they are the first to observe problems with the animals and bring them to the investigator’s attention.

“They are underappreciated for what they do, because they are the eyes and ears for us and for the investigators for when they go in to check on the animals,” said Dr. Lonnie Kendall, associate director of Laboratory Animal Resources.

Most technicians have at least a bachelor’s degree and must go through up to two months of training that corresponds with USDA and American Association for Laboratory Animal Science policy.

“There’s an awful lot of regulation and an awful lot that goes on before anybody gets to do anything with an animal,” said Michelle Adams, an animal care supervisor and animal technician for seven years.

About a dozen technicians work in the Laboratory Animal Resources, but can add up to hundreds in other departments across campus.

Many call them underappreciated, but this week, animal laboratory technicians are getting more recognition, courtesy of International Animal Laboratory Technician Week.

It was started nationally by the American Association of Laboratory Science in 1999, and partnered with the International Council of Laboratory Science in 2002. The week at CSU is sponsored by the CSU Animal Care Program, but is observed worldwide.

“It is important to have the week dedicated because animal laboratory technicians are one of the lowest paid individuals in the research and teaching chain and yet they’re extremely critical to the outcome of research,” said James Owiny, a university veterinarian.

This week features a luncheon Thursday where a “Technician of the Year Award” will be given to an outstanding lab technician who goes beyond their duties to keep the animals alive and well.

Anyone involved in the care of animals can be nominated or nominate themselves for the award and must have worked at CSU for a year or longer.

“I think it does drive home that as the animal care staff, we’re not just the hotel maids for critters,” Adams said.

Staff reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:03 pm

Bomb-detecting plants find CSU roots

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Jan 302011
 
Authors: Justin Rampy

A terrorist armed with explosives waltzes into a major U.S. airport looking to wreak havoc. He sits down next to a planter filled with luscious green plants while he reviews his plans to strike.

Within the next four to five minutes, while the would-be-bomber plots, he turns around and notices that all of the plants in the planter have turned ash white. He looks up just in time to see airport security swoop in from all angles to make the arrest.

This scenario could be planted firmly in reality within the coming decade with the help of June Medford, of CSU’s Department of Biology, and her team of researchers. Medford believes these bomb-detecting plants could be the most versatile biotechnology of the 21st century.

“They can be programmed to detect almost anything from pollutants to pathogens, or explosives to contaminations in ground water supplies,” Medford said Friday from behind a desk in her third story office in the Anatomy/Zoology Building.

All plants have receptors in their dermal tissue, which consists of all tissue that sits on the outside of the plant. When a certain pollutant or pathogen is floating through the air it attaches to a “binding pocket” in the tissue of a leaf or stem and triggers a chain reaction of protein activity.

These proteins signal nuclei within the cells of the plant to create enzymes, which break down chlorophyll (the chemical that gives plants their green color). In addition, they keep the cells from producing more, thus voiding the plant of any color and turning it white.

The reaction can be designed to accommodate many different reactants, and the extent of their capacity is not yet known, according to Kevin Morey, an assistant professor in the Biology Department.

Medford said she and her research team are working on several different aspects of the technology that are not yet field-ready, one of which is improving the plant’s reaction time.

Currently, it can take several hours for the plant to turn white once exposed to a reactant.

Nikolai Braun, the team leader for response time, said it is his goal to have the plants reacting in a matter of minutes.

“We have a lot of hypotheses, and for now it’s a process of trial and error,” Braun said.

Another “bug” in their theoretical salad is the level of exposure needed to cause a reaction.

According to Morey, a constant exposure to the pathogen is necessary to cause a reaction. This would be fine for detecting things like radon in your home or pollutants in the soil under your lawn, but detecting minute traces of explosive material for a limited time period is what the Department of Defense is interested in.

That is why the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA, recently provided Medford and her team with $7.9 million in grants to continue their work with these plants.

These agencies have put pressure on the program to finish faster, but Medford said it is likely to take three to four more years to complete.

“The problem is that plants move slowly. It takes time for them to grow. It takes time for them to seed, and it takes even more time for them to grow again,” Morey said.

Despite these setbacks, Medford believes this technology could be extremely practical and used for a broad range of detection. She said the technology could help keep food safe, the air and water free of pollution, and be a viable tool of defense.

With President Barack Obama recently stressing the importance of science research and education in the United States, Medford hopes it will inspire more of America’s youth to get involved with science.

“We are going to need more support and that means more students working with us to make sure we get this technology completed as quickly as possible,” Medford said.

Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:57 pm