THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
a review of
respectability politics, a.k.a.
BITCOIN & BLOCKCHAINS
Insiders love it, headlines can’t stop mentioning it, most people are confused by it; so what’s really the deal with Bitcoin? april 2018 | volume 14 | issue 7 | amputd.com
overing Student Government elections is very difficult for AMP. Since we send our stories to print at the end of every month, our March issue is finished before candidates are announced, and our April issue is published after elections are over. Because of this, our involvement has often been minimal. Last year, however, we were able to critique the shortcomings of the election through our post-election UnElection campaign, in which we managed to gather more votes in a fake election than Student Government did in their actual elections. While the UnElection was fun in its own right, it also showcased a lack of student engagement vernment elections is very difficult for the student body as a whole does little to indicate that. Their online and enthusiasm with Student Government. Unfortunately, we have our stories to print at the end of every meeting minutes haven’t been published since November of 2016, not observed many signs of improvement this past year. issue is finished before candidates are making it difficult to quickly figure out what Student Government is In the eyes of AMP, an organization committed to promoting April issue is published after elections planning for students. Checking their social media presence also isn’t campus dialogue and facilitating the development of a shared campus involvement has often been minimal. much help. Scrolling through the past academic year primarily yields Student Government elections culture, the most importantovering function of Student Government is is v ble to critique the shortcomings of the posts on a resolution concerning the bathroom bill, the introduction Since we send stories to print to serve as a communicationAMP. bridge between the our student body and at t ction UnElection campaign, in which of hammocks to campus, and a few advertisements for sponsored month, our March would issue is be finished before administration. Ideally, Student Government in tune votes in a fake election than Student political events leading up to election week. announced, April is published with the questions, concerns, problems,and andour ideas of issue a broad and al elections. 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Since we send our stories to print at the end of every meeting minutes haven’t been published since November of 2016, than ever before, we need to ensure preparedness for advancements As the new school year rolls around, there’s something about UT ng the development of a shared campus engagement onand students is not an effective solution. Until Student sneezing, frantic essay-writing, miserable last-minute recommend some ofmonth, these non-demanding poses right before bed. fun in its own right, it also showcased a lack of stude our March issue is fi nished before candidates are role only if it regularly communicates and engages with students of month, our issue isforfi nished before candidates making itassist diffi cult to quickly fi gure out act what Government is overing Student Government elections is March very diffi cult body as a are whole little to indicate Ththere. eir online Dallas that seems to have strayed from its usual familiarity. Earlier yet Nick: to come. 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Editors’ Desk Election Season
Editors’ Desk Editors’ Desk Election Season How to Monogram Keep it Going: Editors’ Picks Musings
Election Season Monogram Musings
Election Season Monogram Musings
Zachary Boullt - Editor-in-Chief
Maisha Razzaque - Marketing Director
Matt Carpenter - Managing Edi
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2 0 1 8
HOROSCOPES & AMP WATCHES: A PREGNANCY PACT 04 APRIL AMP STAFF by
Let the stars and immature teenagers be your guides this month.
Editor-in-Chief Maisha Razzaque
05 ILL-ADVISED AUNT MO & AUNT JO with
AMP’s advice aunts return with more answers to your questions!
SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE 06 THE RAFAEL SANCHEZ by
How does the U.S. education system set certain kids up to fail?
08 RESPECTABILITY POLITICS: DIET RACISM
Web Editor Hannah Popal
Morality policing silences voices of dissent, most often those of color. SATIRE
DELICIOUS 10 PRETTY ALI RAZA by
Marketing Director Ruqiya Barreh
Chef David Chang’s new Netflix show proves to be a treat.
YOUR ANXIETY MANIFESTING IN YOUR BITCHIN’ INSTA FEED? 12 ISMAISHA RAZZAQUE by
Contributors Morganne Blaylock Zachary Boullt Joanna Haug Parisa Jesudasen Christian Kondor Ali Raza Katie Risor Rafael Sanchez
Designers Valeria Acosta Wendy Ampuero Graziella Detecio Christi Lazutkin Chiamaka Mgboji Jose Quinones
Media Adviser Chad Thomas
Can social media cause anxiety? Look at that notif and then read on.
14 BITCOIN & BLOCKCHAIN FOR DUMMIES by PARISA
Cryptocurrency has become a huge player in the economy of 2018, so how does it even work?
SHOWCASE 18 DJ AMANDA MACEDA with
This month’s DJ is a real rock star (we’re sorry, Amanda).
FOR THOUGHT: GOOD UNION BARBEQUE 20 FOOD KATIE RISOR by
Can this barbeque joint survive our reviewer’s grilling?
22 TEMOCRACY by ZACHARY
Because real results are for chumps.
UPPER: THE LOST EPISODE 24 FIXER EMILY HUFFMAN by
Disclaimer Opinions expressed in AMP are those of the editor or of the writer of the article and are not necessarily those of the university administration, the board of Regents of the University of Texas System, or of the operating board of the magazine.
Have an opinion? Think you’re funny? Write for AMP! Contact us at email@example.com and follow us on social media @AMPatUTD for more information.
Chip and Joanna Gaines make the STEM takeover of UTD a bit more bearable. Or do they?
WITH SCHOOL VIOLENCE, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 26 FACED RECOMMENDS STRICTER DRESS CODE by CHRISTIAN
Officials preserve the right to bear arms by taking away students’ to bare arms, among other things. 22 right | amputd.com
ARIES (3/21 - 4/19) Inside the box is another box, and inside that box is the promise you made yourself. If you don’t look away from the train window from time to time, the action will surely miss you.
LEO (7/23 - 8/22) Just because mythical creatures don’t exist doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to be one. When you believe in yourself, the entire world stops spinning on its axis to watch your steady burn.
TAURUS (4/20 - 5/20) This month is a bird and you are the stone. Don’t make any assumptions. Don’t follow the same tired narratives you’ve been force-fed since birth; you’ve a better palate now.
VIRGO (8/23 - 9/22) The cymbals will keep crashing outside your window until you look outside, so just do it already. There is no use going to great lengths for people who would rather spit on than save you in a fire.
GEMINI (5/21 - 6/20) You will drunkenly stumble into a play in the heart of the city, only to realize it is your own life occurring on stage. It has been awaiting its star, only its star is not you.
LIBRA (9/23 - 10/22) Underneath the slate-gray sky exists everything you love. Everything you hate, yes, but everything you love, too. Remember the two are intertwined, like your two hands clasped together.
CANCER (6/21 - 7/22) Look for the place in your heart where it is always raining. You don’t mind the rain; in fact, you’ve always quite liked it. Everyone else will learn to as well, so long as you’re prepared.
SCORPIO (10/23 - 11/21) You know perfectly well that there is a fake image overlaying the real one, but you pretend it isn’t there. What’s the use, if you can’t even fool yourself ? What’s the use of running?
SAGITTARIUS (11/22 - 12/21) That’s an interesting choice for an interview outfit. What, didn’t you know? Your interviewer, the moon. You, late. She asks about your fear of the dark and you deny it. CAPRICORN (12/22 - 1/19) What happened to your milk teeth? Where are they now, do you know? Somewhere in the world your younger self is sleeping. Somewhere in your eyes is a solemn trace of steel. AQUARIUS (1/20 - 2/18) You never understood what that phrase meant, but neither do any of us. Words have no meaning. Birds have no souls. If you squint, you’ll see the sky through the slats in the ceiling. PISCES (2/19 - 3/20) Mid-mornings you think to yourself how vast and beautiful the world can be. Late nights you wonder if you had been dreaming. The answers to your questions are the questions themselves.
AMP Watches A Pregnancy Pact - ‘You made a chump out of me!’
ilms that tackle societal issues can tend to be a little... special. While a skilled director can deftly weave discourse of current events into works of art, sometimes that just doesn’t work out. 2010’s A Pregnancy Pact is an absolutely perfect example of bad things happening to perfectly good problems. The story is framed against the backdrop of a real pregnancy pact - “a pact to get pregnant” as it was so eloquently explained in film that allegedly developed in Gloucester, Massachusetts in the late 00s. And if there’s one thing they got right, it’s how hideously accurate all the characters’ costumes were. From the male lead looking like he fell out of an Abercrombie to his counterpart, Sarah, having hopped from the pages of a Justice catalog, it all felt strangely period appropriate, right down to
the shutter shade shirt over a baby bump. This is the where we should mention that, yes, this film is really about teenage pregnancy. And honestly, we really cannot tell if it’s supposed to be a good thing or not. Usually, protagonists are supposed to garner some kind of empathy, but Sarah’s reasons for getting pregnant make absolutely no sense and her behavior, which culminates in her getting blackout
drunk at a party when her baby daddy (rightly) confronted her about getting pregnant without his knowledge, is unwise, to say the least. That being said, this entire film could’ve taken place in the Upside Down, because everyone is about as morally ambiguous as Sarah. From Sidney, the worst journalist since the lead from Christmas Prince who announces Sarah’s pregnancy to most of the town, to Jesse, the father who initially makes sense and gets angry at Sarah’s manipulation and deceit before warming to fatherhood, for some godforsaken reason. Surprisingly, the redeeming character isn’t the 20-something iCarly ripoff; rather, one of the pregnant teens’ mothers, Danielle, who wearily advises her daughter against having a baby, ends up being our favorite. And after enduring A Pregnancy Pact, we, too, feel her tiredness.
d e s i v d A Ill d Aunt n a o M t un
How do I know when to leave a party? I hate it when people are sloppy drunk but I love the free alcohol? – should i go now? MO: If it stresses you out, it isn’t worth free alcohol. Jo: I think this is a time when you should weigh your options. Does your annoyance at sloppy drunks outweigh your love of free alcohol? (Which you will be enjoying RESPONSIBLY, AMIRIGHT!?) If so, head out. MO: Can I interest you in bulk buying at Walmart? Boxed wine is $4/L which is basically free. Jo: Drink alone at home instead! Totally healthy! Not concerning in any way! MO: Invite some non-sloppy drunks over to keep it healthy!
I have seven housemates and three roommates. How do I create my own space and find alone time? – seldom solo
MO: How big is your closet? If it’s big enough, it could be a personal bedroom. Jo: If it’s nice outside, I would suggest utilizing the outdoors as your own personal space. Do you have a park nearby? Go read there! Get some sun! Just put headphones in so you don’t get approached by weird men/ people trying to sell you things. MO: Aunt Jo, some of us live in snow. Not everywhere is as nice as Spain. Jo: FINE, I will stop complaining about being cold when it’s 50 degrees out.
My boyfriend’s roommates keep making weird sex jokes about me and my boo. How should I handle them? - grossed-out girlfriend MO: Have you tried explaining the orgasm gap to them? Jo: If you’re trying to educate them rather than telling them to eff off, this is a good solution. MO: And if you are Aunt Jo, it is a constant state of being. Everytime you dispel sexual myths, you are channeling us.
PARADOX dir. Daryl Hannah
hen I heard the premise of this Netflix original that first premiered at SXSW — a fantasy musical western starring Neil Young and his backing band — I thought the idea was so out there that it might just turn out to be genius. Unfortunately, what I saw was...not a professionally-made work. The strange way it was shot — shaky, inconsistent camera angles, weird cuts, unsteady zooms — and the poor audio quality felt like a student film — I later found out part of it was filmed on Hannah’s phone. I suppose it then goes without saying that there was barely a screenplay and no real acting talent. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this film’s existence. The Neil Young performances were good though.
THOROUGHBREDS dir. Cory Finley
T Writing credit: Emily Huffman
his film was pretty stunning for a directorial debut. It was shot beautifully, the script was clever and fun, and the performances by Anya TaylorJoy and Olivia Cooke were pretty damn delightful. Anything negative I would have to say about this would just sound nitpicky, so I’ll leave it alone and let you come to your own conclusions. Most importantly though, folks, don’t mess with horse girls. march 2018
The School t0 Prison Pipeline n October 25, 2015, a 16-year-old student named Shakara was body slammed to the ground by a police officer while in school and subsequently suspended. The reason? She was on her phone. Unfortunately, this story is endemic of a larger problem in the school system known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” This phrase refers to the policies and practices in place at schools meant for naturalizing the transfer of minority students from schools to prisons. This pipeline is most easily seen in policies that make schools in neighborhoods with large minority populations to look and feel like prisons. If you attended a high school in an urban community in the U.S., you probably already know what I’m talking about. With surveillance cameras, police officers, and metal detectors, schools already look more like a prison than a place of learning and growth for these children. The implementation of these policies serve no purpose other than to exercise control over the students. Schools start to become a panopticon, where the students are under constant surveillance and suspicion. They start to internalize this gaze, thus internalizing the feeling of being a criminal. These physical tools of surveillance aren’t the only way that students internalize criminality. It is the way we teach students in high school that tells our youth of color that they are criminals. As professors of education Ivan Watts and Nirmala Erevelles have said, “schools exercise social control through disciplining practices that appeal to ideological notions of what constitutes ‘normative’ behavior.” The way that schools define this “normal behavior” is through whiteness. This is why we see more security measures in place in schools that are made up primarily of people of color,
while suburban or rural schools, both of which have a larger white population, don’t include nearly as many. This makes it so that minority students are more likely to be disciplined than their white counterparts. According to the ACLU, while black students make up only 16 percent of public school enrollment, they account for 42 percent of all school suspensions. According to another statistic by Carla Amurao, journalist for PBS News, black and Latino students are 3.5 times more likely than their white counterparts to not graduate. This, coupled with the fact that 68 percent of all males in prisons do not have a high school diploma, means that as of now, 27 percent of all black children in the United States are practically guaranteed to be imprisoned by the time they reach adulthood. Teachers play a huge role in this pipeline. Take Shakara, the anecdote from above. Shakara was manhandled and thrown out of the classroom because her teacher decided that being on her phone was “too distracting” for the classroom. There are two obvious problems to this that anyone can see. First, how does her being on her phone distract anyone else from doing their work? Second, why would the teacher call a police officer for such a petty offense? There was no reason why a police officer needed to take her out of the classroom and there is no reason why the teacher should want
to take the student out of the classroom in the first place. This isn’t an isolated case either. Seventy percent of in-school arrests happen to black or Latino students, showing that teachers are disproportionately dishing out punishments based on the color of their students’ skin. Even if you make the racist argument of “black students just commit more crimes,” multiple studies have already shown that when white students commit the same types of offenses, i.e., chewing gum or having a phone out, they are far less likely to receive the same severe punishments. Obviously, this is not an argument to get rid of all school rules — that would be chaos — but what I am saying is that it is up to the teacher to be a better judge of discipline, and to dish it out evenly, regardless of race. It is through empathy that teachers can be able to relate to their students. The reason so many teachers have a hard time understanding why their minority students act the way that they do is because they overwhelmingly come from different backgrounds. According to John Raible, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “85 percent of all teacher candidates in the U.S. are white women...characterized by an ‘overwhelming presence of whiteness.’” It is very possible that this increases the disconnect between teachers and students of color. After all, teachers have a tendency to pick favorites, particularly those students that the teacher can relate with. Likewise, students that don’t connect with
their teacher are more likely to clash, and thus receive harsher discipline. This is where UTeach comes into play. UTeach is an organization on campus that helps undergraduate students receive their teacher certification while still going to school. Not only that, they give these prospective teachers the tools to teach most effectively by not only teaching the practice, but theory as well. This makes it so that the teachers understand not only why they’re taught to do something, but when they did something wrong and how to best rectify it as well. The difference between UTeach and simply taking a test to get a teacher certification is the knowledge of the best way to teach children. UTeach does a great job of teaching students how to deal with noncompliant children — and if teachers don’t learn how to deal with situations like Shakara’s, they’ll only keep calling the police to deal with students.
RAFAEL SANCHEZ junior | mathematics My name is Rafael Sanchez and I am a math major.
design by: jose quinones
respectability politics a.k.a.
rotests in America are like Twilight Zone episodes from hell. A horrendous tragedy of some sort occurs, then everyone’s up in arms for a grand total of two seconds before immediately forgetting their rage in favor of the brand-new tragedy that now has everyone up in arms. In recent years, protests have all followed this same pattern—all except the Parkland protests, the nationwide movement sparked by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Through some miraculous feat, the efforts of these high school students have managed to avoid the curse of pop-culture activism. Their message has managed to both steadily gain momentum and, in spite of backlash from the NRA, remain well-received by many high-profile individuals and news networks. The Parkland protests’ overwhelmingly positive reception by the public is in stark contrast to another quintessential social movement of recent years: the Black Lives Matter movement. When the Black Lives Matter movement first kicked off in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, it was met with public scorn and police repression. Public figures were quick to disparage the movement as “a terrorist organization” or “inherently racist,” and nearly 200 members of the Black Lives Matter movement were arrested for “refusal to disperse” within the first four days. Despite the age-old adage of all publicity being good publicity, the buzz that surrounded BLM was anything but. This same contrast can also be seen within the Parkland protests themselves, namely the walkouts that occured one month after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas. In predominantly white schools, public reception tended to focus on how mature and inspiring the efforts by the students were, while in predominantly black schools, everyone was more concerned with the alleged impropriety of the students’ actions. When faced with these stark differences, the question remains: Why are the same types of actions performed by the same types of teenagers received so differently? The miraculous feat that the Parkland survivors
managed to accomplish was actually no feat of their own, but the work of respectability politics. Respectability politics is the idea that marginalized communities are told, or teach themselves, that in order to be treated with respect by those in power, they must “behave better.” In the African American community, “behaving better” entails distancing oneself from all aspects from blackness and assimilating into white culture as neatly as possible. By creating a level of distance between oneself and stereotypically black behavior, a dichotomy between “good” and “bad” African Americans was created, and the closer one can get to whiteness, the better the person is considered and the more valued their opinions are. Although respectability politics has been a concern of the African American community since slavery, the term itself was first coined in 2001 by Professor Evelyn Brooks in her book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920, where she discussed how women in black Baptist churches created social welfare programs aimed at improving the supposed “propriety” of their communities. This mindset translated to teachers in the Jim Crow South, who focused on teaching their students to integrate into white, middle-class communities in order to distance themselves from the negative stereotypes associated with blackness and truly succeed. The belief that a complete separation from black culture and an acceptance by the white majority are the hallmarks of success for an African American person also affects how black people interact with politics. Since Jim Crow, black communities have been expected to integrate and become more “white” in order to gain access to political benefits from the powers that be, which has helped stifle any sort of political disquiet. Respectability politics still manages to rear its ugly head in modern day protests, namely in Colin Kaepernick’s Take a Knee movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. Both movements focus on unique challenges faced by the African-
design by: nicholas provenghi
American community, and despite the fact that they were conducted civilly and raised valid concerns, they both were subjected to more needless scrutiny from the American public. For example, the Take a Knee movement, a protest against police brutality started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was vilified despite being peaceful and respectful. In fact, according to Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s teammate and co-founder of the movement, everything about the protest was meticulously planned out in order to get the message across without being disparaging in any way. The act of kneeling itself was specifically chosen for its reverent nature, and the fact that the protest was depicted as disrespectful was baffling to both Reid and Kaepernick. In spite of the careful organization that went into the inception of the movement, Kaepernick still faced repercussions for his political activism. He faced accusations of being a “traitor” by an anonymous NFL executive and received multiple death threats. Allegations of NFL teams blacklisting Kaepernick for his actions began to arise after he went unlisted during the 2017 off-season and training camps. By this time, the Take a Knee movement had begun to attract nationwide attention. Despite the fact that Kaepernick was extremely mindful of how he went about his protest, he was still vilified for not protesting “politely” enough and told that no one would listen to him if he kept “raising hell.” The Black Lives Matter movement is another example of how respectability politics plays into modern protests. The majority of the BLM protests were started by teenagers concerned about violence in their communities, just like the Parkland protests. But instead of being met with sympathy, they were attacked and depicted as violent thugs. As Patrisse Cullors, the Black Lives Matter Network co-founder, put it, “White people get to be everything. They get to be victims, they get to be heroes. And black people, unfortunately, continue to be criminalized for our moments of courage, for our moments of mourning and grieving. And that often looks like when we go out into the streets, when we protest, when we demand for our lives to matter, we’re given heavy police repression.” Images of the early days of the Ferguson demonstration are more reminiscent of a war zone than a peaceful protest: police officers decked out in Kevlar vests and armed with rifles, firing round after round of tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. Ferguson police goes out of their way to exercise military might over the citizens in an attempt to stifle any attempt at political discourse. Black teenagers are penalized for calling attention to the problems in their communities and treated like criminals for exercising their constitutional rights. Even for those who don’t actively engage in politics, respectability politics still manages to play into the everyday life of African Americans. Now, it’s not as explicitly stated as it was during slavery or Jim Crow, but it still plays into how black people have to carry themselves in the world. See, black people don’t have the right to just exist as they are. No, they have to be the “cool” black friend. They have to let their white friends get away with saying the
n-word, subject themselves to countless tirades of “OK, but this can’t be racist, right?” and they absolutely, under any circumstances, cannot comment on issues that upset them lest they come across as the “angry” black person. In our allegedly post-racial world, respectability politics operates as an invisible jail cell, and the court of public opinion is the judge, jury, and executioner. The constant policing that black people have to go through in their everyday lives strips them of the agency necessary to operate freely in the world around them. White people insisting that respectability politics isn’t real doesn’t erase its existence or minimize the harm that it causes. The amount of agonizing scrutiny that’s required of black people to function in a majority white society is not only unfair, but unsustainable. Black people are people first and foremost, so expecting them to be able to silence their opinions indefinitely in order to keep the “peace” is insulting. Their emotions will inevitably boil over and result in actions like the riots in Ferguson. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” If black people’s concerns get drowned out and undermined when they’re being civil and respectful, tensions will rise, black people will lash out, and there will be no chance at any sort of conversations that might be able to fix these concerns. In order to combat this issue, white people must step up and be better allies to their black friends. Since white people don’t have to factor in their race and how it influences their interactions with the world around them, they operate in society with a blindness that prevents them from fully understanding black people’s concerns. Rather than policing the opinions of their black friends, they should allow them to voice said opinions and create an open and engaging atmosphere where steps can be taken to fix the problem. Now, I’m not trying to say that all white people are maliciously keeping black people from stating their concerns, but I am trying to say that sometimes, white people won’t recognize an issue merely because their race prevents them from doing so. However, that doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist and the steps shouldn’t be taken to solve it. If there is an issue on race, then white people shouldn’t be the ones dictating how the conversations go. They should instead amplify the voices of black people and be willing to listen and engage without policing how black people voice their opinions. Respectability politics does nothing but silence the voices of those who deserve to be heard and dismiss the problems that need to be solved. “Keeping the peace” means nothing if that peace is achieved through silencing dissent.
RUQIYA BARREH freshman | neuroscience Just wants to know why people are like this.
y t t e Pr s u o i c i l e D
gly Delicious is a Netflix Original documentary series produced and hosted by master chef and restaurant mogul David Chang. The series follows Chang through a multitude of locations and styles of cuisine as he explores connection between culture, history, and food. Chang, who’s also founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, is sent on a journey across America, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, China, and Japan in order to find the tradition and history behind certain staple American dishes, as well as the evolutions those dishes have undertaken when introduced to daring chefs in other nations. Throughout the docuseries, Chang questions how tradition and history shaped food the way it did and how dishes are being advanced by chefs who aren’t afraid to kick tradition to the curb in the name of culinary progress. The show doesn’t follow the usual fare of a Food Network show, where the recipes and flavors of a dish are judged, but instead follows Chang’s desire to understand cuisine itself. Ugly Delicious does many things well. Each episode features Chang experiencing a different cuisine that could be called a staple in different parts of America. The first episode starts with Chang and food critic Peter Meehan in a Brooklyn pizzeria questioning what makes a pizza a pizza. Each episode follows a similar structure, with Chang breaking bread with fellow chefs like Wolfgang Puck or celebrities like Aziz Ansari and exploring what makes a certain dish. Chang’s exploration of cuisine demonstrates that tradition is important within the culinary community, and this theme plays a central role throughout the show. In each episode, you meet multiple traditional cooks from across the globe, each with their own ideas of what makes a certain dish, who think that anything outside of that is an abhorrent crime against the culinary arts. Ugly Delicious does a good job of showing why each cuisine is so steeped in tradition and doesn’t vilify or put down traditional chefs for sticking to their roots when cooking. On the flip side, the show respectfully asks why a certain dish needs to be made a certain way, when daring chefs have broken tradition and created modified dishes that are unique and delicious. Nowhere in the series is this better put than when Chang is hopping from crawfish boil to crawfish boil in New Orleans, noting that each chef vehemently sticks to tradition, one chef even claiming that his mother had a fit when he added pineapple to a centuries-old Cajun recipe. Chang finds this to be in curious contrast with the attitude towards Cajun crawfish boils in Houston, where the vast Vietnamese population
took the Cajun classic dish and made it their own, creating a “VietCajun” style of food. The unique Houston cuisine has become a sort of advanced level of the traditional Cajun cuisine it’s based off of, enjoyed by newcomers and traditionalists alike, and was only possible due to chefs who weren’t afraid to break tradition and add diversity to centuries-old recipes. Throughout each episode, Chang delves into the history of the food he’s eating and how that history has shaped what we eat today. For some of the dishes, like tacos and pizza, the history is relatively simple, but for some of the dishes, the history can get dark. Chang tries to understand and show the audience the effect that attitudes like racism had—and have—on the culinary world. The episode covering fried chicken, for example, delves into its origin in American slavery and how the dish has become associated with harmful stereotypes focused towards African Americans. The connection between the enslavement of African Americans and fried chicken and the harmful stereotype that stemmed from it causes African Americans to hesitate from professionally cooking or publicly enjoying a dish that is loved by many around the world. Another example is in the crawfish episode, where Chang learned about how the Ku Klux Klan drove Vietnamese refugees out of New Orleans and into Houston, where they were free to stay and develop the Viet-Cajun cuisine that Houston is now known for. Chang’s analysis of historical events and how they shaped the food we eat today is deep enough that it is educational, but not so complex that it is a burden to watch. This aspect of the show is sure to attract those who want to see something beyond the beautiful and mouthwatering dishes that Chang and Co. manage to find in every corner of the world. When you look past all the historical and cultural analysis that Chang is so fond of, you get to the delicious dishes that Chang is eating while discussing the culinary world with the likes of Steven Yuen and Aziz Ansari. Every episode features a multitude of dishes from every kind of restaurant in the most beautiful locales in the world. In the pizza episode, Chang starts out in his friend’s pizza restaurant eating a crispy pizza; the viewer gets to watch the chef make and roll out the dough then add sauce and parmesan and add it to a crackling fire in a brick oven. The episode then follows Chang across New York and Tokyo eating different iterations of pizza, from a classic pie from one of the first pizza restaurants in America to eating a wasabi mayo and sushi grade tuna piece
he shared in Tokyo with Aziz Ansari. The episode “Home Cooking” follows Chang and food critic Peter Meehan cooking a Korean-American Thanksgiving meal, complete with a perfectly brown mouth-watering turkey. In “Fried Chicken,” “Shrimp & Crawfish,” and “BBQ,” you get to watch Southern chefs cooking their specialties with love and care. You see Chang eat (and then profusely regret eating) bright red and juicy Tennessee hot chicken, and meaty marinades drip off a rack of ribs in a smoker on a cold night. The food is the most important part of the show, and it is presented and filmed well enough to transport you to the kitchen. Ugly Delicious has many high notes but it seems to have one weakness, which is that every episode follows the same sequence of events. They all start off with Chang and a person or small group getting ready to cook or eat. They ask a question about the nature of the food. Opinions are given, topics are discussed, food is eaten, history is given, new versions of the dish are pondered and discussions ensue about how food connects us all. This formula, while perfect for a documentary, hurts the show due to its episodic nature. On a platform that is famous for allowing one to watch multiple episodes of a show in quick succession, episodes have to offer enough variety to keep the viewer engaged. The fact that every episode seems to follow the same plot makes it hard to bingewatch, but the fantastic food and deep discussion is enough to keep you interested enough to watch the whole season eventually. Overall, Ugly Delicious is a success. It received good reviews from critics: a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 from IMDb. While the redundant nature of the episodes makes it hard to binge-watch, both the delicious food and the examinations of how that food came to be are enough to keep people hooked. The discussions on culture, tradition, race, and history elevate this show above ordinary competition and instructional cooking shows one would normally find on cable, attracting those who wouldn’t usually watch eight episodes of a guy eating food with his friends. Ugly Delicious is out now on Netflix.
ALI RAZA senior | accounting Rumble young man, Rumble. design by: chiamaka mgboji
IS YOUR ANXIETY MANIFESTING IN
YOUR BITCHINâ€™ INSTA FEED? 12
n the age of phone fiends and Facebook moms and Twitter feuds, the pairing of social media and feelings of elevated anxiety are not an unusual pair. Intuitively, the correlation makes sense. There’s an expected cycle of becoming immersed in social media and having it fuel anxiety — both existing and newfound — of the user. If you google “social media and anxiety,” you don’t have to look too far for a handful of credible sites that tell you that social media excess is the culprit for causing skyrocketing levels of anxiety. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued warnings of depression and anxiety that result from social media excess. But what if this one-track way of looking at this relationship is keeping us from taking in the big picture? If we look at anxiety as a predisposition for excessive social networking, we’re talking about a whole new scenario. I find that the sensible approach is to view it through the same lens that we look at addiction. What constitutes addiction? Addiction criteria spans personal life neglect, escapism, mood-modification, dependency, tolerance, and efforts to conceal addictive behavior. It’s not a reach to attribute some of these characteristics to the behavior of people who are seemingly addicted to social media. In fact, researchers as Nottingham Trent University concluded the plausibility of classifying this kind of behavior as symptoms of “Facebook Addiction Disorder.” The fact that there are active efforts to legitimize social media addiction as a mental illness classification speaks volumes about its seriousness. The basis of the addiction goes beyond the psychological aspect. In fact, neuroimaging studies show that social media engagement triggers activity in parts of the brain associated with the reward pathway (the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area). If we consider social media addiction in the same category as substance addiction, it opens the door to analyze it in a similar way: Specifically, risk factors that predispose a person to develop the addiction. If you’re not one of these people, the prospect of someone becoming psychologically and even physically addicted to something like using Twitter can seem ridiculous. However, this is where the kicker of a predisposition comes into play. It’s been shown that people who are depressed are more likely to develop alcohol addiction. According the Addiction Center statistics, 3040% of alcoholics have a history of depression-related disorders. In the same vein, we can analyze what predisposes people to becoming addicted to social media. This isn’t an unfounded assumption. In 2013, a Kent State University study found that genetic factors played a larger part in social media addictive behaviors than environment. But what specific predispositions are we looking at? A 2013 study reported in Yale’s Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors found that female subjects with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other
mood disorders are more likely to report excessive social media use. The same study reported the tendency of anxious people to replace face-to-face interaction with social media engagement. Personally, I’m no stranger to excessive levels of anxiety. While I wouldn’t personally classify myself as a social media addict (though I do dabble in the occasional late night rabbit-hole Pinterest browse), I can see how constantly keeping up with and contributing to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feeds can morph into a copingmechanism-turned-health-issue. This anecdotal evidence isn’t exactly scientific proof of this specific correlation between anxiety and social media, but it’s a good starting point to really think about the extent of smartphone mania and who among us is most vulnerable. Gauging vulnerability is especially important because as the terminology for social media addiction remains somewhat novel, there aren’t exactly a lot of treatment options for it. You can treat your anxiety, but how do you treat the behaviors that lead to the spiralling misuse of social media? Talkspace, an online therapy company, pioneered a program to help patients manage their use of “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.” However, the success rates of the program so far are not so promising. Talkspace cofounders, Roni and Oren Frank, have said that the program doesn’t see a lot of patients, and that those who do sign up will drop off early. All these subtantiatations lead me to speculate about something that’s been picking away at me since the idea of social media as a coping mechanism sprouted in my mind. Do people with active, seemingly well put-together feeds have insidious underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with their lives? Was the picture of the açai oat bowl from your favorite yoga Instagrammer a well-crafted cry for help? Think about it. There is so much curation that goes into maintaining online personas for some of the biggest and most beloved people on the internet. What if we applied this ideology to some well-known celebrities who are, as the kids say, incredibly online? Can the link between anxiety-ridden persons and their propensity for social media presence categorize musician-actordancer Renaissance man Ansel Elgort as a relatively non-anxious person based on his minimal levels of social media engagement? By contrast, is Chrissy Teigen’s gut-bustingly hilarious Twitter account a distraction from the real-life anxieties that plague her? And if we are on the nose about all of these cases, one question remains. What is Neil DeGrasse Tyson hiding?
[some MAISHAauthor] RAZZAQUE
senior | cognitive science When not sobbing over period film soundtracks, she’s trying to use “that cursed Egyptian amulet” in daily convo.
design by: valeria acosta
BLOCKCHAINS S E I M M U D FOR Insiders love it, headlines can’t stop mentioning it, most people are confused by it; so what’s really the deal with Bitcoin?
hen something called Bitcoin became the biggest hype of 2017, I had little understanding of what exactly a Bitcoin was and disregarded its worth due to my lack of understanding. However, little did I know the sheer prevalence and future value that such a thing has caused. You may be wondering, understandably, why someone who doesn’t even know what a Bitcoin is would be taking the time to interview and summarize the purpose and worth of cryptocurrency and blockchains. It all began like most grand adventures do… in the middle of my dorm living room as my roommates and I were procrastinating on the impending responsibilities of the start of our week. After being sucked down a black hole of BuzzFeed videos, the autoplay option on YouTube really screwed us over by playing a video on Bitcoin. It really bugged me that I had no idea what this “Bitcoin” was and, logically, because we had so much free time, my roommates and I entered another black hole of trying to understand cryptocurrency. After an hour of informative videos, the main thing that we got was that there were miners that got money for doing math problems. We then realized that we had tons of calculus problems that needed to be done and the topic was closed, but I just couldn’t stand not knowing. The next day, I asked Luis Osta of the UTD Blockchain club to explain cryptocurrency in simpler terms. Luis is the marketing director and web developer for the club and therefore is more than qualified to answer my questions. After his explanation, I researched it in a more educated
manner and quickly realized just how important cryptocurrency is and how it can be used in my very own job field. The complexity of cryptocurrency is what has stunted many from realizing the potential it has for the future of our economy and so I’ve compiled a sort of dummy guide to the basics of cryptocurrency. Since it is the most popularly known cryptocurrency and one that has received massive interest recently, Bitcoin is where I will begin. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency that allows for the decentralization of currency so that the role of the middle man can become obscured. Basically, it is a new kind of currency, sort of like electronic money, that you can use without having to pay someone else to take care of it. OK…so how does one go about earning a Bitcoin? Essentially anyone can earn a Bitcoin through something known as “mining” — and no, this does not mean that you are going into caves looking for precious metals. Mining is the process of verifying group transactions. Essentially, multiple people in a network are trying to make sure that a transaction is correct and not fraudulent, and therefore whoever is able to decode the block first gains a certain amount of Bitcoin. In order to decode a block, a miner must hash for a Bitcoin. Hashing is often explained as simply as solving a math problem, but is easily misunderstood by novices who think that there is potential in earning Bitcoins by doing their calculus homework — and yes this is what me and my roommates thought before someone set us straight. Hashing, as I understand it, is a process
design by: graziella detecio
of verifying the legitimacy of a transaction by taking a long stream of input data — such as “nfni3lb64ojwweoj” — and trying to manipulate it to produce a new hash that begins with a stream of zeros — such as “000000.” This process is extremely hard and requires tons of processing power, which ensures that Bitcoins won’t all be mined in one go. Once a hash has been correctly identified, the miner is granted a sum of Bitcoins and the transaction is added as a block to a blockchain — a ledger, or list of records that is unable to be modified or altered. While Bitcoin and cryptocurrency may seem all fine and dandy, a lot of concerns are beginning to arise as the popularity of mining has increased exponentially. The first concern is a common worry that has emerged with the advancement of technology, and that is the belief that a transition to a digital form of currency would allow hackers complete access to any and all Bitcoin. In defense against such concerns, blockchains prevent hackers from gaining access to Bitcoin because they are large and public ledgers, and unless a hacker gains at least 50 percent of the network — known as a Sybil attack — then the blockchain will remain secure. Hacking online wallets and gaining access to transactions, however, is a real threat, but is more of an issue of personal security rather than a network issue. Essentially, avoiding hacking mostly has to do with making sure your online wallet is secure, offline, and password protected. Another popular concern has to do with the increase in mining volume. Because mining requires intense levels of computer power and electricity, miners have begun using cautionary alternatives. In fact, the energy required to mine Bitcoin these days is comparable to the electricity use of the entire world in one day! This electricity overload is likely to hike up electrical costs for everyone within a grid, causing undue pressure upon households. With Bitcoin gaining massive popularity due to its recent jump in worth — from less than 1 cent in 2010 to over $17,000 in 2017 — it has largely surpassed all other cryptocurrency in mundane popularity and understanding, though this should not be the case. While Bitcoin is a good prototype, as Luis puts, “it is the first, but not the last.” Since Bitcoin’s creation by Satoshi Nakamoto — pseudonym for a super mysterious person or group — tons of different versions of cryptocurrency have come out of the woodwork with new and improved uses. Ethereum is improved in that it features access to “smart contracts.” Smart contracts allow individuals to transfer funds from one entity to another, but the perks of using Ethereum lie in the fact that individuals are allowed to program the contracts. Litecoin is another alternative increasing in popularity as it is being advertised as “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” Its promotion is due to its quicker transaction confirmation. Ripple is a cryptocurrency with the same benefits as Bitcoin but without the mining, therefore reducing the amount of computational power involved. The main craze with cryptocurrency has not necessarily been in the rising price of Bitcoins, but rather in the potential that blockchain has for our economy. Bitcoin brought about interest in blockchains because it has the largest blockchain and has proven its legitimacy. Subsequently, many people confuse blockchains and Bitcoin as being the same thing, when they couldn’t be more different. Bitcoin is one of many different types of cryptocurrencies
and blockchain is the design behind all cryptocurrencies. It is an online ledger that is fully open to the public and essentially a reliable recording of all transactions in a network. Some cryptocurrencies do allow for more private blockchains that are anonymous, but most of the popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are public. One worry with digital money is that many people believe that there is no limit. For example, if I give you $10 worth of Bitcoin, what stops me from giving the same $10 worth of Bitcoin to another individual? The answer is the miners. The main purpose of miners isn’t necessarily to earn money, but rather to hash transactions to determine whether or not they are fraudulent. And when they decode a block, they add it permanently to another block, creating an unhackable, fraud-proof system. Because blockchains are seemingly incorruptible ledgers, many industries are considering implementing them, especially since they are fraud-proof and cut the cost of a middle man. It is the epitome of a collaborative community that uses trust, and as Luis puts, it is a more efficient and cheaper way to store information. Finance is becoming an interested party in the use of blockchains, as well as companies similar to Uber that want to remove the use of transaction fees. Businesses are interested in its use in the security of information. There has even been talk of use in election voting in the sense that blockchains claim to be fully transparent and accessible to the public. One industry that might come as a shock to some people that could potentially depend upon cryptocurrency and the blockchain design is the entertainment industry. There has been an increase in discourse among artists like Taylor Swift and streaming services like Spotify with artists claiming that they are not getting paid for their work and are receiving lower royalties than deserved because of these companies. This can be avoided through use of blockchains, since artists can create smart contracts that specify the amounts they should be paid based on how their work is being released. So, in the case of Taylor Swift, if Spotify or other companies want to use her music, they have to pay a specified amount in a smart contract, and the contract will pay her so that she gets fairly compensated. Ethereum is a perfect example of a cryptocurrency that can allow this based on the fact that it allows for the self-programming of smart contracts. Blockchains have potential in so many fields ranging from health care, to business, technology, finance, and many more. Understanding simply the basics of the system is essential in the future if blockchains become as prevalent as predicted. If you or anyone you know are interested in learning more about blockchains or are interested in data mining, the UTD Blockchain club provide great opportunities of workshops on mining, speaker events, and networking opportunities. More information can be found on their website: utdcrypto.com.
PARISA JESUDASEN sophomore | biology Parisa’s a bookworm who can be found with her nose in a book or her laptop, but regardless…always sipping a cup of tea.
QA What is your position in the UTD Blockchain club and what are your credentials that make you knowledgeable on the topic? Marketing officer and web developer. Had meetings with blockchain developers, participated at hackathons, and had discussion with industry professionals about cryptocurrencies and how to do proper analysis. What is Bitcoin? The original cryptocurrency to allow decentralization without a middle man. Provides the promise of a fraud-proof system that doesn’t require middle man. Therefore you can directly transfer funds yourself. Blockchain? The system that allows for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be fraudless. All transactions are grouped and verified and gets added to a chain — continual series of transactions happening in a network. It is basically a gigantic accounting ledger with millions of users. Data mining (do you earn an entire Bitcoin or a part of one)? The role of miners is to verify the groups of transactions by downloading network nodes. Whoever verifies it first gets a certain amount of Bitcoin. Buying and selling Bitcoins is like stock.
Is it hackable, like can someone potentially steal Bitcoins and claim them as their own? Main security Sybil attack is a hack in which an individual can gain control over half the network. This means that they can control most of the blockchain and subsequently verify it themselves, but it is unlikely to occur as it is easily discovered. You could also lose your money depending upon if you go on fraudulent websites or how you store your wallet. More of a problem with you than the network. What is cryptocurrency? Name for different kinds of decentralized online currency. Ethereum is another one. What does your club do on campus? Organize events, workshops teaching developing Ethereum, how to start mining, investment in cryptocurrencies. Speaker and networking events. What about the disadvantages of Bitcoin? Lacks a lot of basic functionality — Ethereum you can do contracts, while you cannot with Bitcoin. Each cryptocurrency has its advantages and disadvantages and are better for certain purposes.
with Luis Osta of the UTD Blockchain Club Do you think that Bitcoin is causing a technological revolution as it has caused multiple boom towns like that of the Mid-Columbia Basin, where miners look for cheap electricity sources? Wouldn’t go so far as to call it a revolution, but rather a way for people to make money. For example, in China you get free electricity if you run a blockchain which is an incentive to have more power over the network. Is the danger of electrical overloads a constant threat? The most threat it would have is making costs higher for everyone. Do you believe Bitcoin will ever work as mainstream currency? Why or why not? Bitcoin was a good prototype — think of first paper currency — a good starting place. The first but not last…Ethereum is looking more interesting with its use of contracts, but cryptocurrency has a long way to go. What do you think about the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto — do you think that he is truly of Japanese origin or that he is someone else? The entire point of the mystery behind him is that he doesn’t want fame. He is simply looking to a solution to the problem
of a open source development and therefore chooses mystery to promote the invention of blockchains rather than an individual. Can anyone become a Bitcoin miner? Is there certain expertise that is required? What does a miner do necessarily? Yes, anyone can become a miner. It would be beneficial to understand the basics in it to maintain security, but some background on physical computers, mining rigs, and desktops can be helpful as well. How long has Bitcoin been around and why do you think it recently has been of such interest? Because there is potential to make money off of it, it has become a hype. It seems like an easy way to make money and in a lot of ways it is, but it does offer a solution to a lot of human problems such as the overhead costs because of middlemen.
PARISA JESUDASEN sophomore | biology Parisa’s a bookworm who can be found with her nose in a book or her laptop, but regardless…always sipping a cup of tea.
in collaboration with RadioUTD
How would you describe your show to somebody who’s never listened?
This month, AMP got to know a real jewel of RadioUTD’s lineup and get some insight into her passion for rocks.
amanda maceda saturdays, 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
I’d just say “rocks” repeatedly. Like rocks, and rocks, and rocks, ‘cause it’s rock music of different subgenres. Right now, it’s a lot of blues influences and some indie sprinkled in now and then, and then some folk influences. I play a lot of folk rock bands. But then during the breaks, I try to get in rock facts or information or rock-related events, like next week [Editor’s note: the week of March 26] I’m planning on interviewing the president of Geo Club. It’s just rocks.
So that explains the idea then behind the name of your show?
Mmhm. ‘Cause like, Geo-Tunes...I’m also a fan of Pokémon, so Geodude. It’s got a nice ring to it. Plus, I just really like rocks. And rock music. And puns. So it worked out pretty well in the end.
What made you decide to incorporate the science side of that into your show?
Well, I heard about Radio during freshman orientation over the summer and I went to the Radio booth and I was really interested in it and they told me to come up with show ideas and submit an application. They asked like, “What show would you do, what music would you play?” so I came up with a variety of stuff. A few of them did have puns. I had one that was for folk and had to do with egg yolks...but then I saw that there was already a folk show with a pun and I knew I couldn’t touch that. So, rocks was my next best thing. And I really like them; I went to a visual and performing arts high school, and senior year, I just did a whole series on people morphed with rocks as art pieces. So I’ve got some rock knowledge.
Your show description online also mentions how you discuss any news concerning geological and astronomical activity. Is there anything exciting you right now about that?
Honestly, a few weeks ago I was thinking about talking about the Oscars and how they had that, I forgot what type of crystal it was, but it was what the stage was made out of. I’ve talked about past news, like one of the first weeks of this semester I talked about an old moon rock scandal. Yeah. It was NASA interns and they made, like, a lot of money, but in the process they tampered with the rocks themselves and contaminated them so now they’re not really useful. Also I’ve talked about rock openings, like how the Perot had a new mineral that came out over December called the “alien eye” mineral. Very cool, very glowy.
What are some of the influences for your song choices?
For song choices? I would say folk rock is really strong. There’s some main bands that I’ve listened to for, like, four-plus years now. But also just the way Radio is set up, you get to listen to new bands all the time and find new sounds. So I spend a good amount of time listening to all the songs and trying to see what blends best with each other, so it varies that way and I get influenced by other shows.
How did you get into the music that you listen to now?
Ooh. There was a summer camp that I went to that was related to creative writing. It’s called Senior DECATS and you choose, like, a major and electives — I actually work there now over the summer — but one of the first classes I took was about creative writing and what the teacher did was, she chose like a “creepy” song to play and we would have to make a story out of it. And then I made a Pandora radio station — this was seventh grade, mind you — I made a Pandora station off of the creepy song because I liked it. And then, eventually, I actually got into one of my favorite folk rock bands that came on the station and I looked into them and kind of branched out from there on Spotify. When I figured out what Spotify was, that just launched everything and I really got into that genre.
What are some songs or artists you’d recommend for someone looking to explore different types of rock music?
Depends on how different they wanna go. If they really want to try out something that they may or may not [like], I would say The Peculiar Pretzelmen, they’re coming out with a new album on April 6, I believe. Their main tagline right now is “make blues, not bombs,” but, like, they describe themselves as “voodoo stomp rock,” so if you really want to try something new I would suggest that. Other than that, I would maybe suggest The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, they’re more blues-y rock, but they’ve still got a different vibe than, say, mainstream rock music.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or your show?
Rocks are cool. I like rocks, you like rocks, let’s chill, Skype message me about rock questions or your favorite rock. It’ll be rockin’.
food for thought
Good Union Barbeque
inding a restaurant for you guys this month was a little difficult. February and March have been really busy so we haven’t been trying many new places. Then, I discovered that the place I was going to review over in the Cityline complex had permanently closed (Texan Melts, RIP). After some scrambling, I ended up trying a new place in the same area: Good Union Urban Barbeque. Located in the Cityline complex off of K Avenue which is right next to the DART Bush/Cityline Station, this place was a bit of a mixed bag for me because of the price and location. However, I admit that the food was good. Now, barbeque is very close to my little Texan heart, but I’m used to having it in a homemade potluck fashion or ordered en-masse from a mom and pop shop, so I was naturally pretty skeptical of anything advertising its barbeque as “urban.” Most of the time, high-end looking barbeque restaurants are overpriced and overrated. Traditionally, Texan barbeque is brisket, pork, and sausages smoked over a wood fire which gives the meat a delicious smoky taste, so the sight of artful piles of wood outside the doors made me hopeful that it would at least taste good even if it was overpriced. Upon entering, I was impressed with the design of the restaurant. I didn’t think “urban rustic” was a thing that was possible, but somehow Good Union achieved it. The walls were decorated in places with what appeared to be train car doors with their logos printed on them, and their lovely designed slogan was printed on the wall next to a little ‘About Me.’ Their menu hanging above the order counter was nicely organized and easy to read even for me. It seems that “urban” barbeque means that they only serve sandwiches. This is fine by me because I love a good brisket sandwich, but it is a little strange to not be able to order barbeque plates. UTD is a pretty diverse place, so some of you may have never had barbeque. When you have barbeque at someone’s house, there is usually a ridiculous amount of meat in big aluminum tins and you pile some of each on your plate along with some pickles, onions, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni, and bread on the side.
Someone once told me that if there is space left on your plate, you’re doing it wrong. So, typically at barbeque restaurants they offer big plates that mimic that experience or sandwich meals that cost less, but at Good Union there were only basic sandwiches like brisket and pulled pork, specialty sandwiches, burgers, and salads. The cheaper end of these started around $8 and sides and a drink were around $3 each. So in the end it was like $14 for a chopped brisket sandwich, a little bowl of potato salad, and a fountain drink. And the potato salad had celery in it. So I was a bit annoyed at the price, although not surprised, but I was hopeful that $8 would at least give me a lot of meat on the sandwich. On this front, Good Union did not disappoint. My brisket sandwich arrived on a lovely homemade bun with barbecue sauce, onions, fancy pickles, and a generous serving of chopped brisket. The buns were toasted on the ends so it wasn’t soggy. My boyfriend complained that the bottom of the bun wasn’t cooked all the way, but I think he’s just being picky since we’ve been watching a lot of Great British Bake-off, but I digress. But guys, it was pretty dang delicious. The meat tasted smoked, the sauce was good but not overpowering, and I even liked the pickles — which is rare for me. The potato salad, I didn’t like so much, but mostly because of the celery situation. All in all, it was a good meal. I just wish I could have tried more for less money. Most restaurants, particularly barbeque ones, at least include one side with their entree, but Urban’s sandwiches were about the price of a combo meal anywhere else. I will admit they are probably higher quality than most. At least I liked it more than Dickies. Short version: the food, service, and ambiance were great but the price was not. I would recommend this restaurant for when your parents visit and you want a treat.
senior | ATEC/EMAC Likes painting rocks and trees.
design by: katie risor
t’s that time of the year again. Student government elections have come and gone. At least, I think they have. I’m writing this before they’ve actually ended, and this should be published after they’re over. Unless we have a situation similar to UT Austin’s student government elections on our hands — which isn’t very likely since UTD student government elections are not nearly as consequential, controversial, or cared about — then yes, it’s true, election season has come to a close. I may not have actually seen the results yet, but is that going to stop me from covering it in these pages? Not a chance! Yes, Comets. Another year has passed, and that means another year of student government members working together in their inner recesses to develop tickets to ensure all of their legacy big shots and favorite newbies have a place on next year’s committee. You have deliberated between the presidential and vice presidential candidates that care so much about UTD in the specific form that gets them a new kickass resume item, a monthly salary, a fancy office and desk, and a swanky golf kart license (as the former editor-in-chief of this magazine, I will kindly ignore any potcalling-the-kettle-black accusations you may levy against me). You have met the candidates, or perhaps you’ve seen their impeccably taken and edited identical plinth and mall fountain photos, or maybe you’ve paid no attention at all. But when that fateful ballot box came to the small minority of you students that actually voted, an even smaller amount of you that had a genuine care about the results outside of your friends winning had a lot to think about. Really though, something about this year felt different. Maybe it was the student government rule change that shrunk the size of the tickets so that the giant Greek life, McDermott, and other organizational ticket blocs meant to maximize votes were split into two. Maybe it was the fact that there is actually a contested election this year. Who knows? But students knew this year mattered. Consider the fiery debate and discussion that occurred at the candidate debate. Is the best way to reach out to students to e-mail them to come to student government events or for student government members to attend other students’ events (god forbid we consider doing both)? What is the best way to ensure that the student government members who say that they’re working hard for the campus but never actually show up to events do what they’re supposed to (though of course even though they keep bringing up a student government member attendance problem, it definitely isn’t any of the tons of current student government members that are currently on the tickets)? How can we ensure that student government members wear the proper dress code to meetings? Who will best blaze a new path while following the good works of their predecessors (even if the bar is so low that one of the candidate’s answers to what they admired in the previous administration is that they did a good job of holding office hours)? Who loves UTD the most? Y’know, the real issues. Or how about the fiery online and social media campaigns of this year? The candidates praised their innovative online campaign techniques, and the evidence showed. Both campaigns made the bold choice to forego using their posts to actually educate students and elaborate on their platforms but rather post candidate profiles
with really great pictures so you know just how cool and involved everyone is and how great they look in business and business casual. (By the way, if they post anything about their platforms besides website links after I finished writing this piece, then they definitely got an advance copy and cheated, so don’t trust them.) The choice students faced this year was monumental. The future direction of our campus hung in the balance. On one side, we had the Catalyze ticket, which stood for more school spirit, sustainability, and better communication. And on the other side we had the Your Voice ticket, which stood for more school spirit, sustainability, and better communication. Really, the differences could not be more stark. Yet somehow the two campaigns both engaged in platforms of positivity and goodwill, focusing on their own strengths rather than engaging in the types of healthy dialogue and debate about the other campaign’s platform proposals that could actually educate the student body on their feasibility, their timeline, and why they should be bigger priorities for student government than the other ones. Yet make the choice, students somehow did. Some voted for who they felt had the best attainable goals. Some voted for their friends, or whoever their friends told them to vote for. Some voted for random people they didn’t know based on who looked or sounded the most student-governmenty. Some voted for whoever they felt was the most attractive. Some clicked names for fun. But vote the students did, investing the almighty power of popular sovereignty into a lucky selection. Despite all of the conflict and deliberation, our new government emerged. Our new president and vice president stood apart from the rest for their leadership experience, campus involvement, care for sustainability, dedication to mental health, campus pride, advocacy for better communication, commitment to students, Comet pride, and love of UTD. They were honored and humbled by students’ faith in them and felt renewed passion to lead UTD into a beautiful tomorrow. The other candidates, though disappointed, knew that student government was in good hands and will still work tirelessly to ensure they help make UTD better for everyone, plus they knew they’d all be appointed senator anyways. And the student body received a score of returning and new representatives to try to figure out ways to effectively spend the massive student government budget. While the election might not have brought a high amount of student engagement or involvement, we can rest easy knowing that the administration is toasting to another boring, uneventful election rather than any of the bad publicity that they could have received from an election like UT Austin’s. And in the end, that’s what really matters. In conclusion, why didn’t Your Voice run a smear campaign against Catalyze called Cata-Lies? What were you thinking? It would’ve been so easy! Ugh.
ZACHARY BOULLT junior | political science Zachary enjoys pretending that his stupid jokes are changing campus for the better.
design by: valeria acosta
UTD THE LOST EPISODE
Chip and Joanna Gaines of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper have recently announced that season five will be their last. However, one episode from the season that took place on our very own UTD campus over the summer of 2017 will never air, and was considered to be lost to time — that is, until now. Though we could not recover an official transcript, we were able to acquire the following journal entries from AMP’s resident home renovation correspondent who was present during the taping. This is the only remaining documentation of the lost episode entitled “Campus Builds New Engineering Building.”
design by christi lazutkin
AY 1: Dear Diary, I met Chip and Joanna today. They seem pretty nice for the most part, but while I was giving them a campus tour, Chip kept muttering “long way from Waco” under his breath the whole time. I told him it was only a few hours away, but that seemed to only make it worse because he started to visibly twitch. Joanna kept making faces at the newer buildings when she thought I wasn’t looking, but she brightened up when we passed some of the University Village buildings. She kept saying things like: “I would give the bricks a fresh coat of paint, new shutters, freshen up the balconies, and ramp up the landscaping.” I told her that those weren’t part of the project, and then she demanded the camera crew to stop filming. DAY 2: Diary, I may have made a huge mistake in joining this project. Chip immediately greeted me today with a cheery “demo day!” and the camera crew followed him as he ran straight for the construction site before I had the chance to tell them that it was a new building and that the demolition had already happened. I tried yelling after him, but it was too late. The man is just an absolute MONSTER with a sledgehammer! He just kept hacking away relentlessly, unable to hear anyone’s screams over his joyful whistling before the construction crew finally put an end to the madness (though there were…a few casualties). I tracked down the foreman after the incident was over and asked him his thoughts on what had just transpired. “Well, he just took down some loadbearing walls, so the building is structurally compromised and the floor plan is now completely wrong, but there’s only so far a budget can stretch, y’know?” he explained. “No choice but to work around it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to refill my blood pressure medication.” I could just make out Chip’s grin and a “good work, team!” from a distance. DAY 15: I won’t lie, dear Diary, I’ve been a bit scared to go on site lately — I don’t think so much dust is supposed to fall from the ceiling when people walk on the second floor — so I was relieved to find out the camera crew was following Joanna today to look for decorating materials away from the new building. “We’re gonna need a lot of shiplap for a building that size,” she began. “So I’ve started early on recovering as much as possible from this building over here!” With horror, I realized she was gesturing at the Art Barn, or what used to be the Art Barn, as its siding had been completely stripped away. I demanded that she tell me who allowed this, but Joanna just pointed to several members of the campus administration standing nearby, rubbing their hands together. “What a shame, it’ll have to be torn down now and replaced with a science building, there’s just too much missing shiplap!” exclaimed one of them. Diary, I imagine that in the future, the blame for the Art Barn’s demise will rest entirely on the campus administration and facilities management. Let it be known that this is simply not true — the Art Barn is dead because of Joanna Gaines’s insatiable, animalistic desire for shiplap. DAY 27: Dear Diary, Chip’s role in this is mostly finished, though his skin has visibly grayed and his eyes are now a sickly dull yellow, which I theorize is due to the sheer time and distance away from Waco. He also keeps singing Sinatra in a voice that can only be described as the world’s worst opera tenor, though I cannot say whether this is due to his worsening condition or if this is just his normal behavior. I pray that this project is over quickly before it is too late for him to recover.
DAY 30: “So I enlisted the help of our sign guy, Jimmy Don, to make a fun metal sign to go in the entrance,” Joanna explained to me this morning. When we got to Jimmy Don’s temporary studio, however, we were presented with a sign marked with an unmistakable “BU.” “So, uh, when I heard you were working on a new science building for a university, I just sort of assumed it was Baylor!” Jimmy Don laughed. “Sorry about that. Anyways, I made y’all a backup sign that I thought would go nicely instead.” With that, he pointed to a set of three separate signs that read: LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE. DAY 52: Well, Diary, it appears we have finally reached the end of the road for this project. When I arrived at the site today, I was greeted with an enormous, four-story sign plastered with a photograph of the building at the beginning of the project. I stood with the rest of the campus administration as Joanna asked, “Are y’all ready to see your fixer upper?” Chip was heaving more than usual as they pulled the sign away, his skin now sagging and his arms covered in liver spots. I made sure to keep my distance. “So, I thought it would be super fun to add a front porch to this building, I could just see all these engineering students studying and enjoying a nice mint julep here,” Joanna explained. I was a bit confused as to why a porch would be necessary for an academic building, but I had to admit that a julep sounded awfully nice. No one else was saying the obvious, though, so I felt I had to say something. “This looks just like a house.” No acknowledgement. When we went inside, I became even more confused. There appeared to be…a living room? With an open concept floor plan that led directly to…a kitchen and dining room? “Guys, isn’t this just a house?” I asked. But Joanna just raised her voice over me. “My super sweet furniture guy, Clint, made y’all this beautiful aged wood dining table,” said Joanna. “We just had to add this cool farmhouse sink and a pot filler to the kitchen,” said Chip in-between some particularly gruesomesounding coughs, “and of course this wonderful...” (more hacking) “...subway tile.” “This is just a regular kitchen inside of a straight-up house!” Again, no one seemed to share my convictions, as the campus administrators acted as if this were the plan for the engineering building all along. DAY 53: Diary, here I must admit something of which I am not proud. Driven to madness by being the only one who seemed to notice that Chip and Joanna had made an average place of residence out of what was intended to be a place of learning, I… destroyed it in the middle of the night. I stole Chip’s sledgehammer and just went at it, overtaken by a primal rage uncharacteristic of my normally calm and collected temperament. By the time I came to, nothing but rubble stood in place of what was once admittedly a well-done shabby-chic renovation job. But I won’t apologize. It was a house. However, I am afraid I must now leave campus forever, and possibly the country. This is the last you will hear from me, dear Diary. Don’t forget me when and if this episode airs.
EMILY HUFFMAN sophomore | ATEC Could probably finally write that “big break” screenplay if she’d just turn off HGTV.
volume 2 RICHARDSON’S FINEST NEWS SOURCE
Faced With School Violence, Dept. Of Education Recommends Stricter Dress Code
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The nation was left reeling again on Valentine’s Day in the wake of a horrific school shooting in Parkland, FL that took the lives of seventeen people and crashed Facebook’s servers for a full minute as literally every decent person added a temporary profile picture and shared memes from Occupy Democrats. This shooting, though, was far more attention-grabbing than the thirty-odd mass shootings that preceded it in 2018 for one simple reason: something’s actually happening. The students who survived the shooting have begun to speak out and protest against legislators who refuse to enact gun reform, and high schoolers across the nation are rising up in opposition to the bloody status quo. And what’s crazier than anything is that people are listening. Students are discovering what adults never have: for a crinkly old
congressman with an A+ rating from the NRA, the only thing scarier than a third-hand retweet from Cory Booker is the threat of being voted out of office. Reforms have already begun at the state level and in the private sector. Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) enacted a widely-criticized gun law in early March, and Dick’s Sporting Goods has put a number of new restrictions on its sale of firearms, especially the kind of weapon that was used in the shooting. Early on Monday morning, after weeks of student walk-outs and completely unrelated teacher strikes and many, many misinformed tweets from both sides, the US Department of Education finally released a memo addressing the issue—and their solution is stricter dress codes. “Clearly, we have allowed a level of indecency into our schools,” the memo reads, “so profound as to provoke violence. Our students,
our children, deserve better than this. Our official recommendation to America’s educational institutions is to enforce more stringently our standards of dress for our students, increasing a sense of community among our students and ensuring nothing like this ever happens again.”
“Our official recommendation to America’s educational institutions is to enforce more stringently our standards of dress for our students....” Republican members of congress leapt on this memo immediately in the joyful realization that all accountability for their lack of action had disappeared like a moderate political opinion in a Twitter feed. The Florida House of Representatives went into an emergency session at the end of the day on Monday to work on a repeal of all gun reform ever, and as this piece was being written, they were in the process of instituting new guidelines for the allowable length of high school girls’ shorts. President Trump reportedly screeched jubilantly upon hearing the news while in a meeting where he was learning what the GOP’s official position on the matter was. All of the usual suspects on the left cried foul in the usual fashion, firing off thousands of tweets questioning DeVos. This merely resulted in widespread irritation and DeVos retreating to her office shouting something along the lines of “I told you so!”
“I told you so!” Utterly fed up with everyone shouting at each other in Washington, our correspondent set off to Tallahassee to get a comment from Rick Scott. Scott was more than happy to give us a comment, which we’ll admit was a little surprising given that he’d spent the past month getting protested against by people about our correspondent’s age. “We really think this is going to be a huge leap forward,” Scott told our correspondent, almost shaking with glee. “The enforcement of school dress codes has always been something that we’ve prioritized in Florida, and we think we’ve really seen some improvement in the past few years, especially since 2012 right
before Sandy Hook. We think that Secretary DeVos is really onto something, and we can’t wait to see more results.” “My good friend Dr. Michael Grego, the superintendent down in Pinellas [County], used dress codes to significantly decrease gang violence back when he was the superintendent of Seminole County Schools, and we think he and superintendents like him are doing a phenomenal job of making our schools a better place.” When our correspondent pointed out that there had been multiple gun-related incidents in Pinellas County during Grego’s tenure and that Broward County Schools has as strict a dress code as any, Scott realized that our correspondent was just as capable of voting him out of office as any of the protesting high schoolers in the state, and called security on him. On the way back to the airport, our correspondent caught a glimpse of a white guy walking out of a local high school with his underwear showing. Editor’s Note: A few weeks after his bizarre, belated interview piece, our political correspondent finally turned up at the office to do his salary paperwork before fleeing campus with two bags, a blanket, and a manila folder of memes, claiming it was “time for spring break” or some B.S. We finally received this piece in a last second email from a remote location in South Texas, accompanied by a scrawled copies of every dress code persuasive essay our correspondent wrote in middle school. We think it’s worth mentioning that he wrote against dress codes every single time.
CHRISTIAN KONDOR freshman | mathematics Christian is AMP’s elusive political correspondent. He wishes the elevators in Green weren’t actually haunted.
N E X T
How to turn your child’s room into a gun safe
design by: wendy ampuero
by katie risor
We know itâ€™s spring when the duck returns.
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