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The Chronicle T h e i n d e p e n d e n t d a i ly at D u k e U n i v e r s i t y



Duke Student Gov’T

Turner unveils YT reform plan

Layoffs may be necessary to close deficit

A dance for Rwanda

by Lindsey Rupp The chronicle

by William Jiang The chronicle

Special Secretary for the Young Trustee process Amanda Turner submitted her proposal for reforming the Young Trustee selection process and a draft of the new Young Trustee by-law to Duke Student Government Wednesday. Turner, a senior and president of the Black Student Alliance, also presented the results of her study on the Young Trustee selection process to the DSG senate. The draft of the by-laws was not open to debate at this meeting because the purpose of the presentation was to inform senators and students who chose to attend the meeting of outcome of Turner’s inquiry. Senators will debate the draft at next week’s DSG meeting. “When asked the question directly, everyone from administrators to students to current Young Trustees has said no, the current Young Trustee Process is not broken,” Turner wrote in her Young Trustee Process Report. Still, Turner’s proposal made several suggestions for changes. Turner’s draft outlines various changes to the Young Trustee Nominating Committee, which selects the Young Trustee. Previously,

rob stewart/The Chronicle

Dancers perform during the “Around the World in One Night” event in Reynolds Theater Wednesday night. The concert aims to raise funds for Discover Worlds, a non-profit organization benefiting Rwandan orphans.

See DSG on page 4

The University may be considering layoffs to help cut the $125 million deficit from its operating budget by the end of the 2011 fiscal year. Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said the administration will probably not initiate any more large-scale, personnel programs to address the deficit in the near future. It is now up to departments throughout the University to adjust their expenses to meet their smaller budgets, he said. Trask said for some of those units—from academic departments to administrative offices—meeting their smaller budget allocations could mean layoffs, particularly before fiscal year 2011. “I do think there will be some units that do have to reduce their workforces,” Trask said. “I wouldn’t at all be surprised if some start doing things in anticipation of [fiscal year 2011]. The sooner they can find those opportunities, the better off they’ll be.” Employees and their related expenses account for about two-thirds of the budget, he added. “I believe that what the University is attempting to do is to be very strategic and systematic in the way we’re trying to reduce the workforce—it’s clear that we do See layoffs on page 4

H1N1 vaccine Taking another step toward a cure will go to high- Research breakthrough marks progress in ‘war against chordoma’ risk groups first by Joanna Lichter The chronicle

Dozens of parents lined up in downtown Durham Wednesday to get their small children vaccinated against the H1N1 virus. Only children aged six to 35 months, a group considered to be at high-risk for contracting the virus, were eligible to receive the vaccine. Durham County Health Department officials said they expected to go through all 400 injectable doses available at the free clinic. The clinic, which was held at the Health Department headquarters located on Main Street and Dillard Street, was not the first of its kind in Durham. Last Friday, 387 doses of vaccine were distributed to pregnant women, caregivers and children aged six months to three years, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s vaccine distribution recommendations, Health Director Gayle Harris

Scientists have discovered that a rare genetic anomaly—an extra copy of an entire gene—causes familial chordoma, a rare bone cancer. For Josh Sommer, a Duke undergraduate from 2005 to 2008, this revelation has personal implications. Sommer was diagnosed with chordoma, which has no cure, halfway through his freshman year. After conducting initial research, Sommer realized there was no organized, collaborative effort to combat chordoma and find a cure. As a result, he cofounded the Chordoma Foundation in February 2007 with his mother Dr. Simone Sommer to help bring together scientists and find funding for chordoma research. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center and the National Cancer Institute recently discovered that having an extra copy of a gene called brachyury causes inherited chordoma. “The brachyury discovery is big,” Sommer said. “It is extremely important because it opens up a whole new front in the research effort in the war against chordoma, and other cancers as well. It gives us a whole new set of hypotheses to test,

See vaccine on page 5

See chordoma on page 5

by Ciaran O’Connor The chronicle

The local music scene comes out for Troika 2009, RECESS 4

Women’s Soccer: Bounced out Blue Devils fall in the first round of ACC tournament to Florida State, PAGE 7

larsa al-omaishi/The Chronicle

After he was diagnosed with chordoma, Josh Sommer, a former Duke undergraduate, founded the Chordoma Foundation to support research seeking a cure for the cancer.


“Newspapers will survive!” ­—Author Mark Bowden on social media’s effect on journalism. See story page 3

2 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle






Israel navy seizes ship smuggling Iranian weapons

Health officials predict late FHA delays audit release arrival of swine flu vaccines WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Housing Administration abruptly delayed the release of a long-awaited independent audit of the financial soundness of the agency, citing potential problems with the accuracy of some of the study’s economic models. The audit, compiled by Integrated Financial Engineering of Rockville, Md., was scheduled to be released Wednesday, and the agency’s top officials planned to brief reporters on its results. But Tuesday evening, the agency postponed the event, saying the report had yet to be finalized. In a separate statement Wednesday, FHA Commissioner David Stevens said the delay was related to economic scenario tests that the agency requested “above and beyond” what was originally to be included in the audit so that the FHA could “better understand a broader range of risk scenarios.”

Food is an important part of a balanced diet. — Fran Lebowitz

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two state and city public health officials briefing Congress Wednesday said they do not expect to have enough pandemic-flu vaccine to meet the needs of their high-priority population groups until well into December, and possibly not until January. The officials said their predictions are the consequence of maddening vaccine shortages throughout the fall but amount to little more than guesses. Federal health officials at the same briefing refused to endorse the timetable, though they did acknowledge the current wave of H1N1 influenza may be mostly over by the time the vaccine is abundant. “Current projections show that 62 percent of Alabama’s vaccine will not be available until after Dec. 1,” Donald Williamson, the state’s health officer, told a House Appropriations subcommittee.

TODAY IN HISTORY 1895: Utah approves female suffrage.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s navy seized a cargo ship Wednesday, intercepting what officials described as 300 tons of weapons being smuggled from Iran to Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas. The haul was the largest in Israel’s decades of efforts to curb the flow of arms to its militant Middle East foes. Hundreds of crates—some opened to reveal rockets, mortar shells and boxes of grenades and bullets—lined the dock in Israel’s port of Ashdod hours after the predawn naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea near Cyprus. By evening, Israeli forces were still unloading the 40 containers of armaments found aboard the Antigua-flagged vessel Francop, which remained under guard in the port. The weapons, including hundreds of Grad-type Katyusha rockets, were concealed beneath civilian goods and enclosed in a plastic material capable of fool-

ing electronic scanners, Israeli officials said. Rear Adm. Roni Ben-Yehuda, the deputy Israeli navy commander, said the cache was “a drop in the ocean” of arms being shipped to Hezbollah, an Islamic militia that pelted Israel with rockets during a monthlong war three years ago. Israeli officials made the most of the seizure to bolster their claim that Iran, with Syria’s complicity, is arming enemies of the Jewish state, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that bar Iran from exporting weapons. Iran and Syria reject the allegation. “Today the whole world can see the large gap between Syria and Iran’s statements and their actual activities,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said. “The ship’s arrest is not only of critical military importance, but also of political importance. Facts cannot be argued with.”

al seib/los angeles times

Flames burn across Angeles Crest Highway as U.S. Forest Service firefighters prepare to battle the blaze. The fire, which began the morning of Aug. 27, was not fully contained until Oct. 16. It was the largest fire in Los Angeles County history. Questions are now being raised about the U.S. Forest Service’s minimal response to the fire when it was still small and relatively easy to contain.


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Social media lauded as witness for Iran Minister sheds light on Israeli political scene by Jeremy Ruch The chronicle

Social media may just be the new megaphone for revolution. “Witnessing Iran: 1979 and 2009” was the theme of a discussion led by two experts who explored the pivotal role social media has played in Iran’s volatile political history in the last three decades. Moderated by Bruce Kuniholm, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy, the event featured Negar Mottahedeh, an associate professor of literature and expert in social media in Iran, and Mark Bowden, author of “Guests of the Ayatollah,” a book documenting the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. Mottahedeh began by pointing out that post-election unrest in Iran this summer was publicized first through social media, like Facebook and Twitter. By posting information and videos about demonstrations online, Iranian activists were occasionally able to escape constraints imposed by Iranian authorities. “Social media became a model for reporting, collaborating and organizing the campaigns,” Mottahedeh said. For example, leaders of the opposition movement in Iran were able to use online communication to get followers to plug in electrical appliances whenever President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared in television broadcasts, Mottahedeh noted. The ensuing power outages prevented the president’s supporters from seeing his speeches. Social media was also used to broadcast domestic unrest to the global community. For two weeks following Iran’s election, Mottahedeh said, the most popular hashtag on Twitter was #iranelection. Similarly, in an environment where the state-run media was perceived as a “lie

broadcaster,” Iranians turned to alternate sources of information. “You didn’t go to CNN, you went to YouTube,” Mottahedeh said. “Videos give you a flavor of what is going on on the ground.” Bowden said innovative forms of media have always played a role in Iran’s politics. An exiled Ruhollah Khomeini, who later became Iran’s Supreme Leader, used cassette tapes to disseminate his lectures to the Iranian populace immediately proceeding the 1979 revolution that brought him to power, for instance. “New media has been a piece of this story all the way through,” Bowden said. Bowden added that Iranian students who took hostages in the American embassy also used media to publicize their message and keep it in the spotlight.

“American journalists flooded and were welcomed into the country,” he said. If it weren’t for extensive coverage by media networks with journalists situated in Tehran, Bowden said the “story would have faded into the back pages of the newspaper.” Still, Bowden noted the development and use of social networks has come at the expense of unbiased, in-depth reporting. “[Social media] functions more as a tool for political activism than journalism,” he said. “The emergence of these digital tools is a tremendous threat to tyrants everywhere. It’s also destroying journalism.” So when Mottahedeh pointed out that the inclusion of a dated newspaper in a video is often an easy way to prove when it was filmed, Bowden interjected. “Newspapers will survive!” he said.

caroline rodriguez/The Chronicle

Negar Mottahedeh, associate professor of literature, emphasizes the importance of social media in Iran during its post-election turmoil earlier this year. Mottahedeh spoke as a part of the “Witnessing Iran” event Wednesday.

by Toni Wei

The chronicle

When Isaac Herzog, Israeli minister of welfare and social services, delivered the Rudnick Endowed Lecture at the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Fleishman Commons Wednesday, he turned the honor into a family tradition. Herzog—whose uncle gave the inaugural Rudnick Endowed Lecture—spoke to a small crowd on “Israel, World Affairs and the Peace Process,” emphasizing international misconceptions of the Israeli government. “When people analyze the Israeli political scene, they misunderstand it because they only see the American political scene—they think it’s always Republicans versus Democrats,” he said. “You have to criss-cross agendas to maneuver the Israeli political scene.” Herzog said with all of the pressing issues Israel faces, sometimes the Israeli government does not follow the same priorities as other countries. He added that although issues like health care are important, they are often superseded by issues related to the Israel-Palestine conflict and other local matters. “We say we have a crisis every six hours,” he said. “At least.” Despite the conflicts, Israel has weathered the economic downturn well, Herzog said, adding that the country has excellent trade agreements with several current and rising economic powers, as well as stable banks and an alleviated tax system to encourage See israel on page 6

Offices see fewer students after move to Warehouse by Alejandro Bolívar The chronicle

For its new inhabitants, calling Smith Warehouse home has had its share of ups and downs. During the last year, the University has consolidated several offices across campus into the building located near the East Campus bridge. Smith Warehouse—which is still under construction—currently houses the offices of DukeEngage, the Robertson Scholars Program, the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows, the University Registrar and the Bursar’s Office. The International House and the Career Center are also slated to move within the next few months. Several members of the departments that have moved to Smith Warehouse said student traffic has decreased since their relocation. “We are seeing fewer students in our office,” Margaret Riley, director of the Global Education Office for Undergraduates—formerly known as the Office of Study Abroad— wrote in an e-mail. “It does appear that students find getting there to be a challenge.” She added that traffic has increased at the Global Education’s satellite office at the

Pratt School of Engineering. Barbara Wise, assistant director of OUSF, also said she saw an immediate drop-off of students visiting because of the ongoing construction, but it has not affected the office’s basic operations. “Those who need us find us,” she said. Duke Performances, which was previously located in the Bryan Center, has not been affected by the decrease of students visiting their current location, Director Aaron Greenwald said. “Duke Performances does not require students to come through the office on a dayto-day basis. It requires students to come to our performances, which are not held here,” he said. Since moving, the department has enjoyed better access to the Durham community and to East Campus, Greenwald noted. He added that he is confident Smith Warehouse will eventually become the corridor between Duke and Durham. The University has made efforts to make the location more accessible for students. The C-6 bus route was recently implemented to connect Smith Warehouse with West Campus. In addition, Salade-

lia Café, which opened three weeks ago at Smith, has already become a gathering spot for the building’s occupants. “Eighty percent of customers are faculty members or Duke employees; not too many students yet,” employee Logan Hornbuckle said. Faculty members housed in Smith also noted that working in the renovated building has its advantages. The move has facilitated more interaction between departments that had previously not had the opportunity to work together, Wise said. Kristin Hill, a fellow for the Robertson Scholars Program, said that, compared to their old offices, Smith Warehouse “is inviting, warm and now with the little shuttle, convenient.” The relocation of the departments to Smith has elicited mixed reactions among students. Juniors Vijai and Ajai Atal said the trek to Smith is difficult and “maze-like,” and that the new bus service has not been advertised enough. Others said they appreciated that Smith allows many departments to be in close proximity to each other. Melissa Yeo/The Chronicle “It’s nice that everything [is] there,” sophomore Dan The Smith Warehouse is the new home to several offices originally located all across campus. OfBarron said. ficials whose offices were relocated said fewer students have visited their offices since the move.

4 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle

layoffs from page 1

DSG from page 1

have to reduce the workforce and we’re trying to manage that,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for human resources. “It is likely that we’re not going to be able to avoid [layoffs] in total, but we are trying hard to avoid that in the large scale.” In April, Trask announced that Duke needs to shed about 1,000 jobs over two years. Provost Peter Lange agreed that if there were to be layoffs, they would be decentralized in individual units. The University has taken steps toward its 1,000-position goal and eliminated the equivalent of about 400 jobs through cutting vacated positions, reducing overtime hours and incentivizing 295 bi-weekly employees to retire, Trask said. He added that Duke has saved between $15 and $20 million through the programs. In addition, the University officials sent a retirement incentive package to 198 monthly salaried employees Oct. 16. Salaried employees have until Dec. 8 to accept or decline the package. Trask said he does not expect a high acceptance rate for the program because decisions will likely be based on individual financial situations. Rather than retiring to a steady pension plan like the bi-weekly early retirees, salaried retirees will receive one check. It is also difficult to predict how much the salaried incentive could save the University due in part to the range of salaries included in the offer, Trask said. The average salary is just under $70,000, but the pool ranges from the $40,000s to six-figure salaries. Cavanaugh said HR has been speaking with eligible employees frequently since the incentive was mailed out. The first group session that was held to answer general questions about the package was filled to standing-room only with employees and their families, he said. “I think that there’s general optimism, but the situation is still a significant challenge to all of us, so it’s going to impact different people differently,” Cavanaugh said. “So if you were one of the individuals who is contemplating the retirement initiative, that is a very personal decision and we are trying to position people as best we can to make good, informed decisions.”

the selection committee was composed of 10 DSG and 10 Inter-Community Council members. Turner’s draft proposed changing the committee to include 18 members— six members from DSG and six at-large members chosen by a DSG selection committee through a publicized application and interview process. The last six members will be chosen from among the presidents of specific campus organizations by an ICC committee. The entire nominating committee would be selected before winter break. In an effort to reduce conflicts of interest, anyone who runs for the Young Trustee position cannot serve on the YTNC, according to Turner’s draft. Also under Turner’s plan, the Special Secretary for the Young Trustee process would serve as the chair of the YTNC in order to ensure that the process is conducted in a fair manner. Applications for Young Trustee are tentatively due before the end of the second week of the Spring semester. The nominating committee would then review the applications and narrow the number of candidates to eight semifinalists, and then to three finalists. Turner’s draft gives the YTNC and DSG equal votes in the final selection of the Young Trustee, and DSG representatives on the nominating committee would vote with the YTNC. Turner said her inquiry revealed that one of the primary concerns about the Young Trustee selection process is that it tends to favor candidates who currently hold leadership positions. “Most students agreed that student government leaders, while they are not the only people on campus that demonstrate leadership and a commitment to making Duke a better place, have a highly visible positional qualification for the role that other applicants do not and cannot show,” Turner wrote in her report. “Therefore, there is a need to fix the perception that positional leadership is all one needs to run for Young Trustee successfully.” Turner noted in her report that the Young Trustee should bring an understanding of the Duke experience and the concerns of undergraduates to the Board through his or her service, and that this knowledge is not limited to organization leaders. “The most important thing to do is to look outside of the positional leadership,” Turner said in an interview.

Margaux mcaulay/The Chronicle

Senior Amanda Turner, special secretary for the Young Trustee process, presents her proposal to reform the Young Trustee selection process at DSG’s meeting Wednesday night. Turner’s report also suggested that a special secretary be elected every year to review the Young Trustee process. Junior Gregory Morrison, the executive vice president of DSG, said he thinks Turner has done a good job in conducting her inquiry. “It’s been a very open process that’s run with integrity,” he said in an interview. “Her report is a good thing for the student body to consider.” In other business: DSG also considered transparency issues with the quality of DukeEngage programs. Lisa Ma, a senior and former editorial page editor of The Chronicle, raised concerns that the Trinidad and Tobago trips are not meeting DukeEngage’s stated mission. To address this problem, senior Spencer Eldred, DSG vice president for student affairs, proposed a plan to create and monitor a feedback program that would allow students to review past DukeEngage programs and help students select which program to apply to, similar to the new CourseRank site.

DukeReads on Ustream Live! 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 5

Provost Peter Lange and NPR’s Frank Stasio discuss House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan ‘81 Access this interactive book chat: or

Submit questions via: #dukelive

the chronicle


Chordoma from page 1

sylvia spewak/The Chronicle

A sign outside the Student Health Center informs visitors of alternative ways to prevent contracting swine flu without receiving vaccination. The vaccine, which is in short supply, was only given out to high-risk groups such as children and pregnant women.

vaccine from page 1 said. Prior to Wednesday’s clinic, Durham had given out 3036 doses in total. The University is following the CDC guidelines and currently only offers the vaccine to pregnant patients and students, and staff involved in patient care, according to an e-mail sent to the Duke community Oct. 28. “We receive X amounts of vaccinations, which are very systematically controlled through the state,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of human resources at Duke. “We only have very small amounts that are available.”

H1N1 vaccine production is running several weeks behind. Only 13 million of the 120 million doses originally promised by the federal government have been distributed. “The vaccine is produced using a chicken egg as an incubator for the virus to grow in,” said Dr. Ian Greenwald, Duke’s chief medical officer for preparedness. “It’s a slow process that essentially has been around and in use for vaccination production since the 1970s.” Once the vaccine has been manufactured by companies under contract with the U.S. government, the CDC oversees distribution to states which allocate doses

to best serve their populations, said Amanda Aldrich, spokesperson for the CDC. Both cities and private institutions like Duke receive the vaccine through the state health department. “When the first few batches came out, the number was so small that we sent it just to local health departments so that we could get it across the whole state,” said Amy Caruso, spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Immunization Branch. “As we’ve gotten larger quantities of vaccine, it’s gone a lot further.... It is reaching private providers and pharmacies and hospitals.”

and new research to do, although it is by no means an answer.” After completing his junior year in May 2008, Sommer took a leave of absence from Duke to dedicate himself to the foundation. Sommer currently works in a laboratory at Duke under Dr. Michael Kelley, who is the first federally funded chordoma researcher. Although other familial cancers are commonly caused by a single alteration to an individual’s DNA sequence, chordoma is the first to be explained by the duplication of an entire gene. “What’s unique about this is that it’s not a single nucleotide change or a small insertion or deletion, but a huge copy [of a gene],” said Kelley, an associate professor of oncology and the primary researcher on the study. “That was unexpected— there was no example of that in any other cancer.” Initially, the research team used traditional gene mapping and sequencing techniques to study the increased susceptibility of family members to chordoma, said Xiaohong Yang, an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at NCI and a collaborator on the project. When this approach did not yield the desired results, scientists employed a genome-wide search for large inherited genetic alterations. Using a comparative genomic hybridization chip, which allows scientists to examine large changes in a person’s genetic sequence, re-

searchers identified the duplication of the brachyury gene, Yang said. “The mechanism of how we found this gene is the most important implication of our study,” she said. “If we use the [chip] to complement gene mapping approaches, it may lead to more successes in other cancer syndromes.” Brachyury regulates the development of the notochord, which is the embryonic precursor to the spinal cord. Brachyury is often highly expressed in the tumor tissue of chordoma patients and had been indicated as a subject for further study in prior research, Kelley said. “What was unknown was what was causing some families to have a markedly increased risk for developing chordoma,” Kelley said. “Four out of the seven families we studied inherited an extra copy of the brachyury gene, and that extra copy puts them at an increased risk for the disease.” The second copy of the gene was not found in people with chordoma from the other three families. Sixty-five people, 21 who have chordoma, participated in the study. Although it is unclear why some individuals with chordoma do not have the duplication, Yang said she is not surprised by the results because chordoma and other cancers have many causes. The discovery does not represent a cure for chordoma, but Sommer remains optimistic. “I don’t know if we can actually succeed [in finding a cure] within my lifetime, but if I didn’t think we could ultimately succeed, I wouldn’t be doing this,” he said.

6 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle

Israel from page 3 investors to come to Israel. Israel has also had economic relationships with North Carolina. Herzog was involved with the North Carolina-Israel Partnership in the 1990s, an enterprise that established trading relationships between the two entities. Herzog said the Israeli government wants to work toward peace with Muslim countries, with the help of the United States as a mediator. “Right now there is a convergence of interest of all parties, to move toward a historic peace deal,” he said. “The question is whether it can succeed.” When people deal with Israel and the Middle East, they should know more before passing judgment, Herzog said in an interview after his speech. “We strive for the same values as everyone else—the pursuit of human rights, peace in the region,” he said. “We should never give up.” Students who attended the lecture said Herzog explained a complex issue well and did a good job of clearing up the propaganda surrounding the issue of peace with Muslim countries. “I thought what was great was you could come with any amount of knowledge,” said sophomore Tali Chuchinsky. “He presented it very diplomatically and simply for a complicated issue.” The Rudnick Endowed Lecture series is sponsored by the endowed lectureship fund created by David Rudnick, director of Medallion Financial Corporation. Rudnick said the goal of the lecture series is to provide the Duke community with exposure to Israel’s role in the Middle East. “I think there couldn’t have been a better example than Isaac Herzog,” he added. “He really brought firsthand knowledge.”

brandon semel/The Chronicle

Isaac Herzog, Israeli minister of welfare and social services, speaks about his country’s political and economic relationships with the international community during the Rudnick Endowed Lecture Wednesday evening. Herzog said issues such as health care are superseded by crises caused by the Israel-Palestine conflict.

THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM: A FOUR PART SERIES Building a Sustainable Energy Future: Market Approaches to Choices and Tradeoffs

Please join us for a panel discussion featuring: Tom Albanese CEO, Rio Tinto Aubrey McClendon CEO, Chesapeake Energy George McLendon Dean, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University Chairman, PTP Energy Scott Nyquist Energy Practice Leader, McKinsey & Company Bill Timmerman CEO, SCANA Energy sponsored by:

Inaugural Forum Thursday November 5 4 - 6 p.m. Geneen Auditorium Duke University: The Fuqua School of Business Free and open to the public


volume 11, issue 12 no bull

November 5, 2009


Three nights. Nine venues. More than 60 bands.

Preview the highlights here including Bowerbirds, Pipe, Megafaun and the Love Language.


photo illustration by maddie lieberberg/the chronicle

through the night one-man show comes to Reynolds for one night

page 3

american idol

Carrie Underwood returns with her third album

page 7

video islands

Nick Thorburn, et. al. played at the Coffeehouse Sunday

the blog

Page 2




In this era fraught with turmoil, with unemployment on the rise and Birthers and Teabaggers breathing down our collective neck, sometimes silence screams louder than any botox-afflicted VH1 reality star. The absence of a strong moral compass is more indicative of the collapse of Western society than any ensuing degradation. Earl Simmons, the Dark Man X. No public figure so encapsulated the late ’90s/ early aughts era. No other poet had the singularity of vision to tell it like it was. Now he’s gone, and we’re all poorer for it. In “Party Up (Up In Here),” an uncompromising jeremiad and his magnum opus, the Dog/Dark Man echoes the sentiments of one Conan the Barbarian, that there is no greater pleasure in life than to drive your enemies before you and hear the lamentations of their women. For Mr. Simmons, there is no truth but that which is carved out of obsidian by bare fists, no solace but in death. For a country fed up with neo-liberalism and mecha-Reaganism, DMX offered a new dichotomy we could all get behind.

No longer Republicans and Democrats, this nation, he proposed, was best divided between Cats and Dogs. Between cowardly, self-serving scrubs and Real Dudes. No one else could approach his rhetoric. His swag was phenomenal, likening being in the presence of his enemies (always nameless, faceless) with visiting a gentleman’s club. He also has one of the greatest rap sheets in history. Real talk. His accomplishments are too numerous to list in full, but his beef with Ja Rule was one of the 11 or 12 best of that year. And listening to “Party Up” on YouTube still makes my eyes misty, harkening back to Mitzvahs of yore. Alas, it’s like he fell asleep, a sort of hiphop Rumpelstiltskin (ed. Rip van Winkle). May he return like a hip-hop Aslan, barking at us like a dog while doing wheelies on an ATV in downtown Hoboken. (ed. Wait, he had an album come out in 2006 that debuted at number two? That undermines this thesis. So, this is a little embarrassing. You’ve been great, folks. ) —Asher Brown-Pinsky

[recesseditors] For the love of love Andrew Hibbard..............................................................masochism (Kathy O’Dell!) Eugene Wang...........................................................selling out to the highest bidder Claire stalking. In tears. Kevin Lincoln...................................................................what happens in the barn... Charlie McSpadden...................................................................Major League Boozer Maddie Lieberberg.......................................we had an equestrian team in the UES Jonathan Wall.................................................doesn’t do the other thing to his profs Will Robinson......................................................................................stays in the barn

November 5, 2009


I’m sure there are a significant number of people who think I’m going to hell. I am a sinner who writes about sin. I express no regrets. I never ask for forgiveness. With this in mind, I’m surprised there isn’t a group outside my door right now, praying for my eternally damned soul. Perhaps I’ve already been written off as beyond saving. I was raised Catholic. I am still Catholic, and I believe I’ve more than earned that designation. I went to Catholic school, received all the mandatory sacraments and recite several Hail Marys during takeoff every time I fly. Just to make things clear, Catholics don’t play around with the Sesame Street theology of eternal life through faith alone. Read Dante. You’ll see exactly how high we set the bar. Therefore, I believe that good people go to heaven and bad people to hell. I believe that bargaining with a higher power will help the Ravens convert on third and long. And I don’t believe that sex will be a sin that I’ll ever have to answer for at the pearly gates. I’m not a biblical scholar. I can’t quote even a sentence of scripture. I know, however, the difference between right and wrong. Every religious rule worth following has always boiled down to peaceful and loving connections between human beings. Participating in sex is far more in keeping with this principle than condemning those who do. Furthermore, though sex, particularly the casual breed, is often labeled as hedonistic, it is realistically one of the few times we actively consider the needs of other people. Decrying sex’s immorality goes against both earthly and heavenly logic. If you believe in God, you believe that mankind was not merely a cosmic accident. And so why would we be purposefully programmed to sin? When judging sexual behavior, many

seem to em- phasize the nature of an act over the intentions behind it. This is the product of a mass mixup between the immoral and the impolite. For example, somewhere along the way, the missionary position has gained acceptance as the least sinful form of sex. Take a step back and this notion seems as wholeheartedly superstitious and misguided as human sacrifice. Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t let a guy slam you unless he’s on top. Which one is not like the rest? If I switch positions, ignore the laws of the taboo, do things that “nice girls” don’t do, do I offend your moral values or merely make you uncomfortable? Whether or not my decency is compromised doesn’t mean my beliefs are. I add up every D-floor make-out, every walk of shame, every orgasm, and still, the sum is never offensive to me. At the end of the day, what keeps me up at night is the sight of my best friend’s face when she found out I kissed her boyfriend or the memory of the hook-up I regretfully tossed aside because another option looked shinier and better. The recollection of my more R-rated bedroom adventures, however, is always followed by a peaceful slumber. When it comes to sex, we may sin a thousand times in our intentions, but we should never beg forgiveness for our actions. Brooke Hartley is a Trinity junior. Her column runs every other Thursday.

Duke Performances in durham, at duke, the modern comes home. MiaMi string quartet & kalichstein-laredo-robinson Saturday, November 7 • 8 pm | Reynolds Master Class with JaMie laredo & sharon robinson Friday, November 6 • 5 pm | Nelson Music Room urban bush woMen Thursday, November 12 • 8 pm | Reynolds residenCy with urban bush woMen Tuesday, November 10 through Thursday, November 12 laMbchop + alejandro escovedo Friday, November 13 • 8 pm | Reynolds cioMpi quartet: concert no. 2 Saturday, November 14 • 8 pm | Nelson Music Room st. lawrence string quartet Saturday, December 5 • 8 pm | Reynolds

$5 tickets duke student

every show, all season. take advantage.

urban bush women • 11/12


November 5, 2009

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One-man show deconstructs stereotypes by Claire Finch The chronicle

Director Charles Randolph-Wright was sitting on some East Campus steps one evening in 1978 when he was inspired to drop the pre-med track and follow his dreams. The woman he was conversing with that night is the mother of senior Maggie Skoglund, who, after seeing a rehearsal of Wright’s production of Through the Night in New York this summer, worked to bring the show to Duke. “I saw the show in July, and had never been so viscerally moved by a play before,” Skoglund said. “I was on the subway ride home and it just hit me—how do-able the play would be if I did bring it to Duke.” The show, premiering tonight in Reynolds Theater, features not only Randolph-Wright’s now-developed directorial prowess, but also the lauded acting of Obie awardwinner Daniel Beaty. Beaty plays all six of the show’s roles, employing the multiplicity of characters to address stereotypes concerning African-Americans. “It starts out and you get these outline sketches of who people are,” Skoglund said. “And as the show goes on, it

peels away these stereotypes, and it starts humanizing each character.” Randolph-Wright sees Beaty’s particular iteration of racial commentary as one of its great universalizing elements, he said. “What I love about Daniel Beaty’s work is that he really calls upon the state of black men in’s sort of a call to African-American men saying, ‘take responsibility,’” Wright said. “It’s a really important message for everyone—even though, yes, its about AfricanAmerican men—it’s universal in that we all have to take responsibility.” Randolph-Wright hopes that the show’s successful artistic execution of socially meaningful themes will inspire other creatively inclined undergraduates to enter theater work. “It’s very inspiring, especially for those Duke artists like me who wanted to pursue this field. Seeing a work like this will inspire them to actually go after it,” Wright said. “And that’s the point. Try and make a difference, try and make a change, try and go after that ultimate thing you believe in. Why not?”

special to the chronicle

Charles Randolph-Wright’s play will come to Duke for tonight only.

Weekend to show viability of Duke arts scene by Sanette Tanaka The chronicle

This weekend marks the fusion of student creativity with the business savvy of artistic alumni in the first ever Duke Arts Weekend. Initiated by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, the campus-wide showcase will feature student artwork, student performances, an original play and panels by alumni in the arts and media industries. Ranging from paintings to poetry to films, over 150 works were submitted and accepted by students of all disciplines. “You don’t need to be an art major to participate this weekend,” said Beverly Meek, Duke’s arts outreach and communications assistant. “Most students here have some sort of art experience in their backgrounds, and so this event came entirely from their interest.” Last spring, a student approached Vice Provost for the Arts Scott Lindroth and suggested displaying student artwork in an attempt to engage the greater Duke community. Lindroth expanded the concept to include an alumni reception, discussions and even elementary school contributions. Duke Arts Weekend kicks off on Thursday with Through the Night, a one-man play that uses the perspectives of six characters to delve into stereotypes of African Americans. After seeing the play last summer, senior political science major Margaret Skoglund knew she wanted to bring the production to Duke. “I had never been so thoroughly moved by a play in my entire life,” Skoglund said. “After the show, I just lost it— tears were streaming down my face.” Performed by Def Jam poet Daniel Beaty and directed by Duke graduate Charles Randolph-Wright, Through the Night parallels the weekend’s alumni focus. Alumni will also host various discussions throughout the weekend that emphasize the business aspect of the arts. “We want to introduce students to all careers inspired by art—not only the creators or producers, but the lawyers and managers as well,” Lindroth said. “These are viable careers, and the alumni can show all the opportunities that exist for students here at Duke.” Junior Will Passo, Duke Student Government vice president for Durham and regional affairs, believes this weekend will serve as a networking resource for students who are interested in the arts and media industry—a “career fair for the arts,” he said. In addition to the campus’s creative output, Duke Student Government will also sponsor works by Durham’s Y.E. Smith Elementary School students through the Draw Your Own Picasso project initiated by Passo. Thirty kids created Picasso-like works out of blue construction paper and cutout shapes. “Part of DSG’s mission is to use the arts to connect Duke with Durham,” Passo said. “In addition to our broader policies, I think it’s important to target and affect a small audience once in a while.” After the whirlwind of events, most student pieces will be taken down by Sunday, although a few select works will be on display in the BC’s Brown Gallery until February. “This weekend is going to be big,” Passo said. “The arts movement is pushing Duke in a new direction, focusing on non-traditional careers with an artistic path. See it while you can.”

rob stewart/Chronicle file photo

Duke Arts Weekend, organized by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, seeks to connect alumni in the arts with students looking to have artistically focused careers. A student arts showcase will feature student works and performances across artistic boundaries.


MUSIC FESTI The chronicle

“I don’t know any other place like this. Even noted towns like Austin or Athens—I don’t think they come anywhere near [the Triangle],” Red Collar’s Jonathan Truesdale said.

rds i b er w o B

Earlier this week, on their way home from their European tour, Bowerbirds’ Phil Moore and Beth Tacular took some time to answer questions about their music, tour, environmentalism and more. Fresh off the phenomenal success of their second LP, Upper Air, Bowerbirds are headlining this year’s Troika Music Festival, performing tonight at DPAC. For the full interview, go to I’ve followed the European tour on your blog. It looks spectacular. How has it been and are there any particularly noteworthy incidents you would like to detail? Beth: It has been a really amazing tour this time around. For the most part, our drives have been more manageable than our other two times in Europe, so there were only two 12-hour drive days this time, which meant we were less sleepdeprived than usual.

1 y, 1 a d rs u h C, T DPA


We also have a new drummer, Dan “Yan” Westerlund, who has been really making our new songs, especially, sound more like we intended them to sound, so that’s been really fun. He is a phenomenal drummer, trained as a jazz drummer, and he can maintain the idiosyncrasies of our rhythms, keeping them kind of minimal while also adding complexity in a very thoughtful way. The band has up to this point been you two with other people coming in to fill percussion, strings, upright bass, etc. Mark Paulson has played with you a fair amount. Is there any possibility of making that third spot permanent or are you happy working with a rotating cast of musicians? Beth: Well, we always wanted Mark to be a permanent member, but he has always had other projects and commitments, and for years we didn’t make enough money so that he could afford to tour with us and also take any time off for those projects when he got home. Right now, we are really enjoying playing with Yan, and we’d love for him to stick around for a long time. We are also trying to figure out if we can afford to take anyone else on tour, because we would love to have someone playing either a bowed stringed instrument or another guitar player, especially if that person could also sing. We have always wanted to have permanent members, but everyone we have worked with, until Yan, has either had their own other band or music project or has a family and so they haven’t been able to commit to touring all the time. In terms of Troika, the prevailing theme seems to be community. How have you benefited from your local peers? Beth: We got a lot of help from a lot of people locally, and both the Rosebuds and the Mountain Goats took us out on tour really early and gave us exposure to a lot of new people. We also learned a lot about performance from both of them, and the Rosebuds were really inspiring even in a practical way in that they are another couple who started out in a similar way to us, and where Kelly learned as she went, sort of like I have. I remember being inspired by her, and it helped me overcome my initial doubts about really being someone who could play music. I mean, even watching her figure out how to really use her voice over the last couple years has been inspiring. Similarly, how do your respective roots and then your new shared home of North Carolina figure into your songwriting? Beth: Phil started really writing music when he lived with his ex-girlfriend out in a farmhouse in See bowerbirds on page 6

by Andrew Hibbard


The chronicle

onathan Truesdale will be having a Rick Allen moment during Red Collar’s show Saturday at the Trotter Building. The drummer for Durham’s Red Collar, Truesdale broke his arm at the end of October while in New York for the College Music Journal Marathon—in some sense, the Big Apple’s answer to South by Southwest, which Red Collar also played in March. But after going through one questionably successful show sans drummer (mind you, Red Collar is the type of band that demands percussion), Truesdale gave it the one-armed try. “I felt like I had to [play]—I don’t want to make it sound like something heroic because it wasn’t,” he said. “But we wanted to play every one of our shows.” Truesdale’s commitment to play at CMJ evinces the core of Red Collar’s psyche. This is a true-to-form rock band, nothing pretentious about it. Although not quite punk in sound, Red Collar

brings that kind of energy. It’s not perfect, mistakes happen, but it’s rooted in the now. And more than anything, it’s earnest. “We just thought that was the way you were supposed to play music,” guitarist Mike Jackson said. “That’s our approach: f— it. Let’s just go and have a good time and focus on right now.” After forming in the fall of 2005, Red Collar spent time earning its keep the old-fashioned way— persistent, energetic performances. Fast forward to the present and Red Collar is standing mighty in the See red collar on page 6

Trott er bu ilding , satu rday, 11:30



Over three nights and at nine venues, the 2009 Troika Music Festival will present over 60 of the Triangle’s best bands. From new superstars like Bowerbirds to old favorites like ‘90s punk superstars Pipe, the music community will be out in full force. Musicians and fans will come out to celebrate the virtues of our metropolitian music scene.

November 5, 2009

by Andrew Hibbard

photos special to The Chronicle


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IVAL November 5, 2009

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park, Thu rsday, 7:4 5 pm


by Jake Stanley

“ A lot of the music we fell in love with in Wisconsin was made in the South,” Cook said. “This area still resonates with such force.... We’re surrounded by so many good musicians. It’s so inspiring and makes you want to be better. There’s not a specific sound, but there’s such a scene here.” The musical scene—as well as the supportive local community—have made Durham Megafaun’s home base, although touring frequently draws them away from the Bull City. The band’s first jaunt across the pond starts Nov. 13 in Paris. Luckily, Cook noted, they will

birds of avalon

duke coffeehouse, friday, 12:00 AM by Charlie McSpadden


the chronicle


irds of Avalon, fresh off a tour of the southern and central United States, has finally flown home. The Raleigh-based psychedelic rock group—whose album Uncanny Valley dropped this past June—are ready to jump back into the Triangle music scene by performing at the Troika Festival this weekend. The festival, though a familiar event for members of the local quintet, has impressed the group with its recent surge in size and popularity. 쏟쏟 “When we first started out, all three points of the Triangle seemed really far away from each other. [Troika] seemed separate, like a Durham institution sort of thing,” bassist David Mueller said. “Now it’s really ubiquitous. You can see it everywhere and everybody’s excited about it.” With Troika evolving, so has Birds. The band, started by guitarists and married couple Cheetie Kumar and Paul Siler, formed in 2005 with vocalist Craig Tilley. The group eventually picked up drummer Scott Nurkin and, finally, Mueller. “All of us have different musical tastes, and they overlap,” Mueller said. “The writing process is very collaborative: one person will bring something in and everybody cobbles the sound together.” The last Durham show Birds played was at the Duke Coffeehouse back in 2007, just after the five-piece released their LP Bazaar Bazaar. “I feel we’ve really found ourselves as players since then,” Mueller said. “Over the years, we’ve created something that is more a product of each of us... it has more of an irregular shape, which is more interesting.” Mueller, who grew up attending concerts at the Coffeehouse, is excited to return. “It’s cool because [the Coffeehouse] has a rootsy sort of feel,” Mueller said. “The people who work there do it because they care about it; it’s professional, but it also feels like a community.”

share the stage with Akron/ Family and the Dodos. “We get to hang out with our really good friends in a faraway place, which is always exciting,” he said Cook said the band is excited to play the Troika Festival this evening, even though their current American tour draws them away only hours after leaving the stage. “We have to leave right after the show to get to Connecticut, so we’re going to miss everyone, which blows!”

came the Love Language’s eponymous first album. He described the process as “very redemptive.” he Love Language frontman Stuart McLamb is a “At the point I was at in my life, I didn’t have a whole funny guy. A day after signing to Durham-based lot going for me,” McLamb said. “I sort of poured evMerge Records Oct. 1, he said in a press release, erything I had into these songs.” “As of yesterday, I’ve overdrawn my bank account by The result was an energetic batch of nine alter$200, my girlfriend dumped me, and my car won’t start. nately tender and rollicking lo-fi pop songs. Deeply I think this Merge deal could be a real turning point.” emotional and evocative, The Love Language is in many A month later, he told me, “I’m still thinking about ways reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s debut LP Funeral, lunch and a pack of cigarettes right now.” And the bank though it’s hardly derivative. When Raleigh-based account? “I think I’m only around $40 in debt.” Pretty the Rosebuds invited McLamb to open for them, he modest expectations for a guy who wrote and recorded assembled a seven-piece band, including two former one of the best-received debut albums of the year, but Capulets, for a live show. The album was later picked things have certainly been worse for McLamb. up by Portland-based label Bladen County Records In 2007, after a pair of messy breakups—one with his and released in March of this year. It garnered posigirlfriend, the other with former band the Capulets— tive reviews from national media sources like Pitchfork McLamb moved back in with his parents and and National Public Radio and received a boost began recording the songs that from the Love Language’s performance at the eventually beSouth by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.Fast forward to Merge. The reaction, McLamb said, has been slightly surreal, if not exactly surprising. “I felt very proud of what I’d made, and I remember having high expectations for it even before we had a label,” he said. “But it’s still crazy to think that I recorded these songs on a fourtrack in my parents’ dining room.” The next step is a sophomore album, for which McLamb and the rest of the Love Language have already started making demos. “I’m gonna get a lot closer to the sound I wanted [on the second album],” he said. “It’s sort of a vintage sound, but futuristic, too. Like Star Wars, I guess.” From his vantage point, McLamb sees the rapid ascent of the Love Language as coinciding with a renaissance in the TriM angle music scene at large. “Years from A 0 0 : 2 ay, 1 now, I think this will be looked back on aturd s , e f as a golden age,” he said. “There’s so ca . st much good stuff going on right now.” broad by Ross Green


age u g n ve la the lo


Durham C entral

The chronicle

s their stunning album Gather, Form & Fly accrued critical praise nationwide this summer, Durham freak-folk trio Megafaun was in a familiar situation—on the road. Phil Cook, the man behind those freaky banjo sounds, enjoyed the recognition from the likes of music titans Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. “We were still on tour when the press was coming in, and it definitely added an excitement, a feeling of validation,” he said. “Validation is always a nice thing,” Gather, Form & Fly crystallizes the unique sound Phil, his brother Brad and Joe Westerlund have been shaping since their days in DeYarmond Edison, a group that included fellow Wisconsin native Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Megafaun blends traditional Americana and folk concepts in a crock pot of electronic and natural sounds. “Darkest Hour,” for example, features pulsating African drums amidst sounds of falling rain and chirping birds. This leads into a three-part gospel harmony that surges through a barrage of distortion toward the glorious final lyric: “Over years I had yearned for your light within/ peeking the kin/and bury whenever I falter.” Epic doesn’t quite do justice to this music. Cook said this nuanced, dynamic sound is the product of the band’s work ethic. “All three of us need to make a record that is an honest and thoughtful statement,” he said. “If a song is missing something, we usually find a way to balance it out.” DeYarmond Edison saw them move from their native Eau Claire, Wisc. to the heart of North Carolina: the Triangle. Cook says the Piedmont’s musical heritage had attracted him for years.

The chronicle

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bowerbirds from page 4 the countryside of Iowa. When she went to work in the mornings, he would get up, make coffee, feed his chickens and then write songs all morning. He seems to really thrive creatively on being in a quiet, natural setting (as do I). So after we met, he took a job watching birds in South Carolina, and w e lived an hour’s drive from human civilization for a summer. That’s when he began the songs for Bowerbirds, and they were very influenced by our daily and nightly encounters with all these new (to us) plants and animals, like wild boars and turkeys, night hawks, passion fruit, pitcher plants and bears. This was such a beautiful and inspiring time for us that we decided we really wanted to live close to nature, so we eventually bought land in North Carolina, to be close to the Triangle music scene and to have our quiet and peaceful place. Our whole second album, Upper

red collar from page 4 local music scene. The band has spent this year making personal sacrifices while supporting their first full-length album, Pilgrim, released in February. Red Collar spent the summer touring, sometimes playing to crowds as small as 10, but delivering passionate performances no less. To be sure, it wasn’t glamorous. The band spent nights sleeping in their van, and Truesdale recounted the experience of having phone conversations with his girlfriend that weren’t always easy. So coming home has been a welcome change of pace. And the Triangle has enabled Red Col-


Air, was written in between tours out on our land, while we were living in the Airstream or the cabin we are (very slowly) building. I know you’ve mentioned before that Derrick Jensen has influenced your songwriting. Can you explain how? Phil: I had always enjoyed playing and writing music before Bowerbirds, but just before I started writing Bowerbirds songs, in particular lyrics, I kept feeling like I needed to speak to an audience more than I had been. My lyrics in “Ticonderoga” meant a great deal to me, but I really wanted to be able communicate those thoughts more directly. Derrick Jensen put words to thoughts I had been having but hadn’t been able to express for years about the earth and all the creatures within it. His storytelling is colorful, concise and truthful. I had been reluctant to write from a purely activist perspective, and I still am, but Derrick’s writing helped me believe that my perspective was important and worth making music from. lar to thrive, benefiting from the communal spirit and the rich history. “You can be true to yourself and make the music you want and have the music career you want. It’s nice to have seen that be done in this area before,” Jackson said. “At the same time, we’re going to do it in our own way, and the music’s not the same. All the bands are really connected, but there’s no one sound.” With Truesdale’s injury, the band has postponed its December mini-tour, and he said he suspects this might be their last show of the year. It’s fitting, then, that it will be for the crowd that helped push them to their current success. “I want to bring it,” he said. “I want to end strong.”

November 5, 2009

...more troika The Future Kings of Nowhere

kevin lincoln/Chronicle file photo

Future Kings of Nowhere’s Shayne O’Neill, now a Brooklyn resident, will return home for one show tonight. by Stefanija Giric The chronicle

Future Kings of Nowhere front man Shayne O’Neill may be on his way to becoming a Brooklynite, but he knows that he can always come home again. Surviving both a hiatus and the exodus of their lead songwriter to New York earlier this summer, the Future Kings of Nowhere are bringing their brand of “acousticore” back to Durham to play the Troika Music Festival. “What we’re doing right now is somewhere between a full band and the solo thing,” O’Neill said. “It’s like how it was before, but stripped down—it has more of a folksy feel.” Since his relocation to Brooklyn earlier this summer, O’Neill has been reaping the benefits of being in a city teeming with creative energy. “It feels like forward motion, being up there,” O’Neill said. “So many more things

seem possible.” But he’s not the type to forget his roots. “It’s this sort of feeling of family—I really adore everyone that I’ve played music with,” O’Neill said. “I feel so lucky that I can come down here and have this amazing group of people to play with.” For their performance at the Troika Music Festival, the Future Kings of Nowhere are planning on pairing old favorites with some fresh tracks, including songs from O’Neill’s solo EP. As for after the festival, O’Neill plans on using his new experiences to continue writing songs. “I really enjoy performing and playing music with other people, but it’s the process of creating a three-and-a-half minute piece of art that I really love.” The Future Kings of Nowhere will play tonight at DPAC at 10 p.m. tonight.

Picasso and the Allure of Language On view through January 3, 2010 The Nasher Museum presents a groundbreaking exhibition examining Pablo Picasso’s lifelong relationship with writers and the many ways in which language transformed his work. Picasso and the Allure of Language was organized by the Yale University Art Gallery with the support of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Pablo Picasso, Dog and Cock, 1921. Oil on canvas, 61 x 30 1/8 inches. Yale University Art Gallery. Gift of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903. ©2009 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Tickets: 919-660-1701 | Duke students FREE (1 ticket per ID)


November 5, 2009

julian casablancas phrazes for the young rca


carrie underwood play on sony


Carrie Underwood, guitar-playing blonde lady (not the one Kanye stole the mic from at the VMAs), completes the disintegration of country as a genre with her new album Play On. She has mastered what that classification has come to mean: an amalgamation of modern R&B, ‘70s folk rock and Christian contemporary. The only true holdover from the music of Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, Sr. is the instrumental garnish: pedal steel, banjo, fiddle, all polished to a glossy studio sheen. These jams go wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Young Carrie has a firm grasp on our zeitgeist, writing songs on decidedly firstworld problems. For example, there’s bad boyfriends on the stomping glam rock of “Cowboy Casanova” and late-night Sally Struthers “Feed the Children” guilt trips

on “Change.” That song implores the audience to reject apathy for ineffectual charity as Underwood sings, “For a dime a day you can save a life.” But the topicality doesn’t stop there. No, no. The whole album is a paean to Sun Belt living cut short by Bush’s second term, Iraq and the faltering economy. It is a celebration of the glory that was and an acknowledgement of modern realities and dingy apartments (“Temporary Home”). It verges on schmaltz from time to time, but Ms. Underwood really sells it. And if it comes off as derivative, it’s because she has learned from the best: shades of the Police, AC/DC, Shania Twain, Eddie Money and Fleetwood Mac are all in evidence. While this record is certainly the crowning achievement of the American Idol industrial complex, what is not certain is whether this is the country equivalent of Tha Carter III, or the one album that might unseat Reign in Blood as my apocalypse-scenario soundtrack of choice. —Asher Brown-Pinsky

• Exhibition of student visual art, film, poetry, sculpture • Performances by Duke Jazz Ensemble, Duke Chamber Orchestra, Sabrosura, student bands • Through the Night presentation featuring Def Jam poet Daniel Beaty • Panels with alumni working in arts, media, and entertainment* • FREE Dinner for students and alumni* • A Picasso inspired exhibition by Y. E. Smith students • Networking Reception for students More info @, on Facebook, or call 919-684-0540. *Pre-registration required for dinner and panels. Register at Sponsors:

Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts Duke Alumni Association Duke Career Center Duke University Union Office of Student Affairs Duke Student Government Arts Theme House

The Strokes are rapidly becoming a better-dressed, indie-rock version of Bill Belichick. Like Coach Hoodie’s many disciples now also head-coaching in the NFL, the leather-clad New York outfit has spawned albums from four of its five original members, two having joined bands and two going it alone. The most recent of these is frontman Julian Casablancas with his solo debut, Phrazes for the Young, and it’s the best Strokes-affiliated release since 2003’s Room on Fire. Casablancas was the primary creative mind behind two Strokes classics, Room on Fire and its predecessor Is This It. Phrazes is the successful iteration of what he appeared to be going for with the band’s third album, First Impressions of Earth, an unfocused and overblown experimental divergence. On Phrazes, Casablancas has packed

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in the maximum amount of sound per square inch. Every second is stuffed with ’80s synths, hand claps, drum machine, organic percussion, electric and processed guitars and Casablancas’ cocky wail. Opener “Out of the Blue” laces an electric take on gospel organ into a more conventional rhythm guitar. “River of Brakelights” rides a flurry of drum machine and fuzzy guitar into a soaring chorus that perfectly evokes the song’s title. And “Tourist” ends with horns sprouting up between beeps and bass like grass from cracks in the sidewalk. The songs’ biggest flaw is that they’re almost all overly long, but there are worse problems for such enjoyable music to have. Casablancas’ lyrics speak to themes of urban alienation, and his vocal performance is dexterous and forceful. And single “11th Dimension” is blistering work, a disco cut that wrenches Casablancas back into modern music. It’s about time: personality like this is always more than welcome. —Kevin Lincoln


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ong bak 2

dir. t. jaa magnolia pictures


In a cinematic climate plagued by easy explosions and automatic weapons, it’s refreshing to see a martial arts master slash, kick and break more people in two hours than Jack Bauer shoots in twentyfour episodes of primetime television. Although Ong Bak 2 offers seamless, lyrical fight scenes, it provides little substance to complement them. The movie makes only a fleeting pretense of being anything but a pure action film. Tien (Tony Jaa) loses his parents at a young age and then spends time at dancing and martial arts schools in ancient Thailand. Jaa, who also co-directs, actually fused tradtional Khon dancing with martial arts to create an entirely new style of fighting called natayuth (literally “dancing

November 5, 2009

fighting”). This explains angry Tien’s strange and beautiful method of fighting, lending many of the battle sequences a poetic onscreen aesthetic that is complemented by expert cinematography and sharp editing. The directors succeed in giving the piece a Buddhist serenity, but when said tranquility is not punctuated by plot twists and suspense, it makes one want to meditate…or take a nap. Jaa, like his character Tien, has shown a marvelous aptitude for the martial arts. Ultimately, however, the film is a purely visceral, in-theater experience that fails to stick. At the movie’s close, Tien’s soul leaves this world and, as the narrator tells us, perhaps will one day find a new form in which to rest. Thai superstar Jaa will undoubtedly find himself in many more characters’ minds. Maybe next time he won’t forget to bring the story with him. —Andrew O’Rourke

coco before chanel

dir. a. fontaine sony pictures classics


this is it

dir. k. ortega columbia pictures


Michael Jackson is a star among stars. No one has ever engendered as much international fascination and sensation as Jackson has with his music, dance and personal life. This Is It continues the observation of the truly dangerous double-edged sword this degree of fame creates. As Jackson and his enormous crew dance, sing and jam their way towards an epic concert run, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the entertainment magic of Jackson and his iconic moves. At the same time, however, musings about prescription drugs, mounting debt and all the other dramas that cloud Jackson’s memory continued to interrupt my simple fan enjoyment of the spectacle. The documentary can’t hide Jackson’s gaunt frame or muffle the questions many filmgoers have concerning his last months, but it can ignore these peripheral issues. And it does. And that’s a good thing. Instead, director Kenny Ortega offers a final, unadulterated glimpse of Jackson, focusing on the roles that fit the artist best: dancer, musician and performer. This Is It proves that, even at 50, the King of Pop would not be outperformed. The rehearsal footage hints at what would have been a show of spectacular choreography and special effects. Skilled dancers and musicians surround Jackson at every moment, anxious and excited to be in the presence of the entertainment legend. The footage further serves as a tribute and consolation to the crew, whose months of rigorous, behind-the-scenes practice so sadly resulted in a show that never was. This Is It’s ultimate success is its ability to capture the total possession with which Jackson approached his art. The man was his music, and nothing could ever be too perfect. It’s not easy being King. —Tina Siadak

Few know that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was a sensation who rose from the ashes of an abject childhood, but this queen of the haute couture world was as dark as her bottomless eyes. In Anne Fontaine’s biopic Coco Before Chanel, Audrey Tautou simmers as the “world’s most elegant woman” who could never have it all. At the opening of the film, a young Gabrielle Chanel and her sister are abandoned at an orphanage by their father. As a result, Gabrielle is left sickened by the notion of love and from then on life becomes “a bore.” Upon leaving the orphanage, the sisters take jobs as seamstresses and spend their nights performing in a cafe where Gabrielle is fatefully christened “Coco.” With dreams of moving to Paris, Coco reluctantly accepts the advances of aristocrat Etienne Balsan (Benoit Poelvoorde), who offers her the comfort of his country estate. It is here that Coco meets the true love of her life, Arthur Capel (Alessandro Nivola), who, unlike Etienne, encourages her habit of doctoring dress shirts and ultimately funds her empire. Fontaine subtly foreshadows the woman Coco is destined to be as we watch her tear into corsets and take the first crack at her famed “little black dress.” Tautou’s own dark eyes pulse with the past that drained the real Coco of any interest in frivolity and inspired her to market a

wardrobe of simplicity, “the keynote of all true elegance,” as the designer once claimed. The film’s cinematography is as breathtaking as the costume design, which reaches its climax in the final scene: Coco’s first runway exhibit. One cannot help but beam as Chanel’s dazzling creations glide across the screen in an act of resurrection. Yet somehow, Coco resists. Underneath the beauty of her quilted classics, Chanel wore a broken heart. —Emily Ackerman



The Chronicle


November 5, 2009

The Duke field hockey team takes on No. 3 Virginia today in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament in Charlottesville, Va. with an NCAA tournament berth at stake

The best Tar Heel defense presents test teacher at Duke Football Scouting the opponent

by Harrison Comfort The chronicle

There’s an old story that goes like this. A group of senior professors in the English department is sitting in an office talking. The question arises: Who is the best teacher at Duke? The usual names come up in rapid succession: Frank Lentricchia, Stanley Fish, etc. Eventually, one of the distinguished faculty members pipes up. “You’re all wrong,” he says. “The best teacher at Duke is Alex Mike Krzyzewski.” The reply: “Hell, if I could choose all my students, I’d be the best teacher at Duke, too!” Over the past 23 months, the answer to that question might have changed. For my money, the best teacher at Duke is David Cutcliffe—not because Coach K is slipping (he’s not: see last year’s 30-win season for details)—but because Cutcliffe is doing what he’s done without even picking his students. Let’s recap: Since arriving as head football coach in December 2007, Cutcliffe has won nine games; in the five previous years that I had been at Duke, the football team won eight games. Since arriving as head football coach in December 2007, Cutcliffe has won four ACC games; in the five previous years that I had been at Duke, the football team won three ACC games. Cutcliffe’s record is 9-11; the previous five years’ record was 8-50. And he’s done all this without his own players. (This isn’t a dig at the players. Ex-coach Ted Roof brought in a lot of talent—maybe Cutcliffe would’ve chosen these players himself if he had the chance. But the fact is, he didn’t have the chance.) The national discussion about Cutcliffe and Duke Football (what an awesome phrase to write) is that Cutcliffe deserves some consideration for ACC Coach of the Year. Please. Cutcliffe should be a shoo-in for ACC Coach of the Year and the odds-on favorite for National Coach of the Year. I’d even put him up there as a contender for a Nobel Prize in Biology for bringing Blue Devil Football back from the dead. Maybe he deserves to win the Pulitzer Prize, because the rise of Duke Football is the best story of the year. I might even award him the first-ever Rick Reilly Cheesy Column Prize for providing this columnist with the opportunity to make two awful, corny jokes. The fact of the matter is that what Cutcliffe has done in a season and a half has been nothing short of astounding. And whether the Blue Devils finish out the regular season with four wins and a trip to Tampa, or four losses and a trip home for Christmas, Cutcliffe’s second year at Duke


See Fanaroff on page 8

For the past two decades, North Carolina has completely dominated its rivalry with Duke. The Tar Heels have won 18 of the previous 19 contests over the Blue Devils and it has become almost the norm for North Carolina to take a victory—and the Victory Bell— back to Chapel Hill. This year, however, the Blue Devils have more than a fighting chance against their biggest conference rival, in large part due to their potent offense. Duke’s tremendous success has largely resulted from senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis’s excellent play and his stellar receiving corps. And though head coach David Cutcliffe’s offense has hit its stride, North Carolina’s defense will be the best the Blue Devils have faced. The Tar Heels’ defense allows a league-low 265 yards per game and a meager 163.4 yards in the air. “[North Carolina’s] defense continues to dominate at every angle,” Cutcliffe said. “They’re terrific up front, and their linebackers—there’s nothing to compare with. Their secondary plays so well together [and] they’re probably the hardest-totackle team that we’ll play.” Earlier this season, though, the Tar Heels showed some vulnerability against the passing game in a loss to Florida State. Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder imposed his will against North Carolina’s defensive backfield, throwing for 395 yards and three touchdowns. A major difference between that matchup and Saturday’s contest against the Blue Devils, which could play into the Tar Heels’ favor, is that the Seminoles featured a strong running game. Because of the one-dimensional na-

CHase olivieri/The Chronicle

North Carolina has beaten Duke five straight times, with the Blue Devils’ last win coming on November 22, 2003. ture of the Blue Devil offense, the Tar Heels have all eyes on shutting down Lewis. “[Duke] can make huge plays in the passing game,” North Carolina head coach Butch Davis said. “The thing that makes them extremely dangerous is that Lewis can extend plays and keep drives alive.” To Duke’s credit, no team has been able to contain Lewis and the aerial attack yet. Even when teams drop eight players back into pass coverage—like Virginia did last week—Lewis has not been denied. The Tar Heels will rightfully focus their defensive strategy on making it very difficult

for Duke to move the ball through the air. Their secondary, which is an experienced group, has already proven this season that it is capable of disrupting receiving routes and cutting off passing lanes, having given up just four touchdowns through the air. And despite the odds, Lewis and the rest of his team believe they have what it takes to move the ball on offense. “You have an opportunity in front of you and it’s up to you what you do with it,” the Blue Devil quarterback said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been favored to win in a game. What matters [is] what you do out there on Saturday.”

Women’s soccer

Duke eliminated by FSU in ACC tourney by Nicholas Schwartz The chronicle

ROB STEWART/The Chronicle

KayAnne Gummersall and the Blue Devils wasted several scoring chances against Florida State, falling 2-0.

Practice makes perfect, but even the most prepared teams need a few lucky breaks in order to succeed. Duke was unable to capitalize on a few golden opportunities on the attack, and its inexperienced defense was eventually exploited in 0 DUKE a 2-0 loss to No. 1 2 seed Florida State FSU (15-3-1) in the first round of the ACC tournament. The No. 8 Blue Devils (8-8-4) now must wait to find out if they will be selected to play in the NCAA tournament. Duke has been eliminated in the first round of the ACC tournament for three consecutive years, but has made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament the past two seasons. Duke did well to keep the Seminoles

off the scoreboard in the first half, as Florida State continually attacked a passive Blue Devil squad. With five freshmen competing in the postseason for the first time, Duke’s inexperience showed. The Seminoles forced four saves from goalkeeper Tara Campbell and outshot Duke 10-3 in the first period. Duke would gain momentum late in the first half, sustaining possession by involving the fullbacks in the attack. The Blue Devils missed their best chance of the half in the 39th minute, when senior captain Elisabeth Redmond carried the ball deep down into the right side of the Florida State penalty area. Redmond slid the ball across the face of the goal to an outstretched KayAnne Gummersall, but the striker could not direct the ball into the open net. “We created some good opportunities See W. soccer on page 8

8 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle

FANAROFF from page 7

W. Soccer from page 7

will be an unqualified success. Quite simply, no one does what Cutcliffe has done over the last year and a half. When he showed up, Duke Football wasn’t even a national joke; it was a national non-entity. Sometimes the Blue Devils were blown out; other times they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. All of the things that have happened to Duke’s opponents over the course of this season—interceptions returned for touchdowns, fumbled punts recovered in the end zone, receivers running free through the secondary in the last three minutes of the game—used to happen to the Blue Devils. I know. I watched it happen. Maybe it’s just the ball bouncing Duke’s way for a change—karmic payback from the Football Gods for all the years they spent smacking the Blue Devils in the mouth. But I’d like to think it’s a culture change. Just listen to the players: “We know whatever situation we are in, we can come back,” quarterback Thaddeus Lewis said after the Virginia game last weekend. “We know what we are capable of.” Contrast that to a representative quote from two years ago: “You come out here and you play hard, and your defense plays hard for four quarters, so to see the clock go to 0:00 and you are the winners is a great feeling.” That’s Lewis after Duke beat Northwestern early in the 2007 season, its only win of the year. This year’s Lewis sure sounds more like a winner than 2007 Lewis. And that’s the point. I’m not on the field, and I’m not in the players’ heads, but it seems to me that if you expect to win, you’ll play with more confidence. And confidence always makes things easier. Somehow, some way, despite 15 beyond-awful years, Cutcliffe convinced those kids to believe in themselves. It took Moses 40 years in the desert to change the Israelites from slaves to free men. It only took Cutcliffe 23 months in Durham to change Duke Football from losers to winners. Perhaps less important, but no less difficult—after all, Moses got some help from plagues and all that. Moses got the original copy of the Ten Commandments and a spot on the Mount Rushmore of biblical figures. At the very least, Cutcliffe deserves some end-of-season hardware.

and unfortunately just didn’t finish them,” head coach Robbie Church said. The Blue Devils continued to pressure the Florida State defense, and had a goal called off in the waning seconds of the first half. Carey Goodman cracked a spectacular volley over Seminole goalkeeper Erin McNulty, but the referees, after conferencing, decided the ball did not cross the plane of the goal before time expired. In the second half, Duke played evenly with Florida State, trading shots with the Seminoles. Campbell was stellar in goal, saving point-blank shots from the Florida State forwards. Redmond found space again in the 55th minute down the left flank, dribbling past a scattered Seminole defense. With the goalkeeper approaching, Redmond fired a ball to the far post with her left foot, but it narrowly missed. Duke would rue its missed chances as the second half progressed and Florida State ratcheted up the pressure, ex-

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Elisabeth Redmond had three of Duke’s 12 shots, including one strike in the 55th minute that barely missed the far post, in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss.

classifieds Announcements Attention: Sophomores and Juniors! Make a teaching license part of your undergraduate studies and earn a Minor in Education at the same time! The Program in Education at Duke offers students the opportunity to earn a teaching license at the elementary level (grades K-6) or at the high school level (grades 9-12 in English, math, social studies, or science). Students in the Teacher Preparation Program also qualify for the Minor in Education. Applications for admission are now being accepted. For elementary licensure, contact Dr. Jan Riggsbee at 6603077 or For high school licensure, contact Dr. Susan Wynn at 660-2403 or swynn@ DUKE SUMMER SESSION 2010! It’s not too early to plan your summer. View projected summer course offerings at Questions? Contact us at Registration for Summer 2010 opens on February 22

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hibiting its league-leading offense. Seminole standout Tiffany McCarty converted on a defensive lapse in the 70th minute, dribbling through a hole in the Blue Devil back line and past a charging Campbell. McCarty coolly finished inside the box, and the Blue Devils were unable to recover. Duke gifted the Seminoles a second goal in the 82nd minute when junior Gretchen Miller, defending a corner kick, headed the ball into the Blue Devil net. “We played hard, we just didn’t get the end result,” Gummersall said. Although Duke was unable to make a run in the ACC tournament, strong midseason results against quality opposition may still be enough to propel the Blue Devils into the NCAA tournament. In a conference boasting six ranked teams, Duke still tallied four victories, and held two top-10 teams to draws. “We could have used a quality win on our resume,” Church said. “We’ve got some quality results in the toughest conference in the country. We deserve to be in. We’re a tournament-caliber team.”

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The Chronicle places on campus we avoid: dillo bar:�������������������������������������������������������������charlie, hon, likhita smart home:���������������������������������������������������������������������� will, noko parties:������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ jessica the laundry room on central:������������������������������������������������� shuchi smith warehouse (no pun intended):���������������sabreena, scott, joe KapZZZ:��������������������������������������maddie, margaux, andrea, dianna classrooms and beds:�������������������������������������������������� klein, lawson science drive altogether:���������������������������������� gabe, lindsey, chase Barb Starbuck avoids the media cave:������������������������������������� Barb

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Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. (No number is repeated in any column, row or box.)

Answer to puzzle

The Independent Daily at Duke University

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10 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle commentaries

CourseRank makes passing grade The daunting task of book end, Ben Getson and others bagging classes may have be- in DSG who set this project come a little bit easier thanks into motion deserve credit. to CourseRank, a new course Overall, the CourseRank evaluation Web site recently platform—developed by reunveiled by Duke Student cent Stanford University gradGovernment. uates—is laudWhile Coursable. To build editorial eRank has potenup a wide tial to help students make more range of reviews in the system, informed scheduling choices, it requires each user to submit significant adjustments to the evaluations of classes they have Web site are needed. taken. Also, access to the site The CourseRank site ad- is NetID protected, ensuring dresses a legitimate need. that reviews and comments For students, especially un- are authored only by Duke derclassmen without a strong students. This is a good step advising network of peers and to protect the integrity of the faculty, it can be difficult to Web site and differentiate it select courses due to the lack from generic, commercial sites of information on ACES. Fre- like quently missing course synopThe goal of CourseRank ses and the University’s opt-in is to guide students to qualsystem for publicizing course ity courses and quality proevaluation data further com- fessors. Although the site plicates the process. To this provides a strong framework

—“MikePosner” tweeting at us about the story “The Duke 50.” See more at

Letters Policy The Chronicle welcomes submissions in the form of letters to the editor or guest columns. Submissions must include the author’s name, signature, department or class, and for purposes of identification, phone number and local address. Letters should not exceed 325 words; contact the editorial department for information regarding guest columns. The Chronicle will not publish anonymous or form letters or letters that are promotional in nature. The Chronicle reserves the right to edit letters and guest columns for length, clarity and style and the right to withhold letters based on the discretion of the editorial page editor.

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will robinson, Editor Hon Lung Chu, Managing Editor emmeline Zhao, News Editor Gabe Starosta, Sports Editor Michael Naclerio, Photography Editor shuchi Parikh, Editorial Page Editor Michael Blake, Editorial Board Chair alex klein, Online Editor jonathan angier, General Manager Lindsey rupp, University Editor sabreena merchant, Sports Managing Editor julius jones, Local & National Editor jinny cho, Health & Science Editor Courtney Douglas, News Photography Editor andrew hibbard, Recess Editor Emily Bray, Editorial Page Managing Editor ashley holmstrom, Wire Editor Charlie Lee, Design Editor chelsea allison, Towerview Editor eugene wang, Recess Managing Editor Chase Olivieri, Multimedia Editor zachary kazzaz, Recruitment Chair Taylor Doherty, Sports Recruitment Chair Mary weaver, Operations Manager  Barbara starbuck, Production Manager

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The Chronicle is published by the Duke Student Publishing Company, Inc., a non-profit corporation independent of Duke University. The opinions expressed in this newspaper are not necessarily those of Duke University, its students, faculty, staff, administration or trustees. Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board. Columns, letters and cartoons represent the views of the authors. To reach the Editorial Office at 301 Flowers Building, call 684-2663 or fax 684-4696. To reach the Business Office at 103 West Union Building, call 684-3811. To reach the Advertising Office at 101 West Union Building call 684-3811 or fax 684-8295. Visit The Chronicle Online at © 2009 The Chronicle, Box 90858, Durham, N.C. 27708. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior, written permission of the Business Office. Each individual is entitled to one free copy.

what distinguishes a threestar class from a five-star one. The qualities that constitute a “good course” vary from person to person, and the evaluation system should reflect this. Breaking down the review into components—quality of class discussion, course organization, amount of work, etc.—would elicit more robust reviews and allow each individual to formulate a subjective review of the course based on what qualities matter to them. Making students leave a comment about a course when evaluating it would also help in this matter. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the rating should focus more on professors than on specific classes. The system should account for the fact that teaching responsibilities for a certain course

are often rotated through department staff each semester, a process that can substantially change the nature of the course from year to year. Sorting evaluations by professor rather than course is one solution to this problem. Thankfully, the CourseRank platform is new, and Duke is currently using the site on a trial basis. Therefore, site developers have the financial incentive to work with DSG officials to fine-tune the site to meet the needs of students and provide them with helpful, meaningful course information. We are confident that collaborative efforts between DSG and CourseRank programmers can make this happen. Chelsea Goldstein recused herself from this editorial due to her involvement in this project.

Why I pray


wow... @dukechronicle thanks for making my mommy feel proud.

to achieve this, it falls short in several key areas. Basic changes to the system could mitigate these concerns. First, the Web site design places too strong an emphasis on the grades students received in a class. Displaying course grades could provide some information, but it should not play a central role in the evaluation of a course. The current setup could possibly encourage students to seek out courses with a track record of easy grading, rather than courses with engaging professors or material. Second, the rating system employed by the site is inadequate. Students are asked to rate a class by assigning it a certain number of stars out of five. But there is no standard for this evaluation, leaving students confused about


or the past 10 years I have prayed before going to bed. This prayer is lazy at best. I do not kneel, nor do my prayers ever exceed 20 seconds. I pray, instead, thomas on my side between my sheets, gebremedhin while I express word-by-word my thoughts and wishes in a barely audible whisper. The bulk of my short prayers are consistent. I pray for my mother, my father, my brother and my dog (I refer to him in the present tense though he has been gone many years, and I believe that because he was so good he still deserves to have someone pray for him, regardless). The rest of my prayers are ever changing and often selfish. They depend on my mood, or the weather or the timeliness of an event. I may pray for the love of a good man, for good grades or talent. It is important to note that I am not religious— I am an individual who worships evolution over creationism. I was born into a secular household, though both my parents were raised on the philosophy of a higher power. The impact of such early educations is not entirely noticeable as their parenting was grounded on factuality and personal choice. I see the Bible not as the word of an abstract being, but instead, as the product of human hands and human minds—and although it is used to promote love and understanding, in the wrong hands it is also capable of exploitation and hate. I do not believe in a vision of God as an absolute being with absolute power. Perhaps, instead, I believe in karmic energy and human consciousness—the idea that one can will something into existence. In the end though, I understand that whether or not God exists is of little consequence, as it cannot be proved one way or the other. Why then do I pray? Last Sunday, before bed and after my nightly prayer, I fell asleep listening to a podcast from the duo, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant. In the podcast, Josh and Chuck highlighted two different studies on prayer. The first study was conducted in 1988 by San Francisco cardiac physician, Randolph Byrd. He assembled a list of 393 patients who, on paper, were statistical clones—same race,

same age, same heart conditions. He split the patients into two groups: the first group would be prayed for by several local Judeo-Christian prayer groups, while the second group would not. Both groups were well aware of the study as they had signed consent forms. After 10 months, the study found that members of the group who were prayed for recovered from their surgeries in greater numbers than the group that received no prayer at all (85 percent and 73 percent, respectively.) Another study contradicted these findings. The Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer was published in The American Heart Journal in 2006. Researchers split patients into three groups: the first group did not receive any prayer, members of the second received prayer and were aware of it and the third received prayer but were unaware of the fact. The results found that members of the group who received prayer and were aware of it, surprisingly, fared the worst—their recovery rates were much lower, as they suffered more complications after heart surgery. The other two groups fared about the same. STEP’s findings run completely counterintuitive to general thought, as they suggest that prayer may be harmful. I believe that the contradictions between the two studies arise from the fact that prayer is not quantifiable, as people pray in different ways. When I pray, I pray out loud and in repetition. My prayers consist of one or two sentences that I repeat over and over out loud, almost like a meditation or a mantra. The summer before my freshman year, my mother was attacked by an aggressive and advanced cancer, and so, each night, I filled my lungs with words in her honor. My mother fought quite hard—her days filled with organic shakes that tasted like toads, hours at the gym even at her weakest. Now, with the cancer in remission, my mother is in much better health. Sometimes I like to believe that my nightly prayers helped in willing her back to life—even if they played just a very small part. I think, more than anything, I pray to hear myself pray. The words that pass through me at night speak of what I have, what I may lose and what may be. These prayers, filled with familiar words and names (Mom, Dad, Matthew, Max), are like heartbeats. In the chaos of day, they are hard to hear, and only in the quiet of night do they emerge and ease me into sleep. Thomas Gebremedhin is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Thursday.

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Think about it tomorrow


Are you happy?


re you happy? Take a moment and think about it. If it’s taking you more than 60 seconds to answer this question, then I’m guessing the answer is no. But how many times do we ever stop to ask ourselves this question? dayo oshilaja In the Duke bubble, we rush from classes can’t we all to our extracurricular get along? meetings, to our workstudy jobs and then to our volunteer meetings. After all that is done and it’s 10 p.m., we hole up in the library for hours on end writing papers, finishing problems sets and studying for tests. In the few free moments we do we have, we schedule in social activity, making sure that we’re spending the requisite number of hours with our friends. But how much of what we actually do makes us happy? The National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey has been asking men and women since 1972 one simple question: How happy are you? They ask respondents to judge this on a scale of one to three, with three being very happy and one being not so happy. It is a representative survey of both women and men of differing socioeconomic statuses, educational attainment and marital statuses. The survey has discovered that not only are women less happy then men, but their happiness levels have declined over the years. These results are even harder to understand when one places them in historical context. Ostensibly, women seem to be doing better, or at least better than they were in the 1970s when feminism was a serious movement and not a faintly derogatory word. Back then, women were fighting for equal status and the ability to do the same things as their male counterparts. In 2009, many would say that women have achieved this goal. A couple years ago, Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House, and last year we saw the first viable female presidential candidate. Women have also managed to knock down barriers in the job market; for example, four out of the eight Ivy League universities have female presidents. Women are even excelling in the educational field; in 2008, women earned 59 percent of all bachelor’s de-

grees and 61 percent of all master’s degrees. So, if we women have now successfully achieved all that we set out to, why are we still so unhappy? No one really knows. Critics argue that the survey isn’t giving clear results and that men really aren’t that much happier than women. They argue that maybe women are simply being more honest about their feelings then men. Others argue that it’s a result of women doing too much because they must juggle their careers and their roles as caretakers in the home. In the end, there is no real answer to this problem. Personally, I believe that as a culture we are placing too much emphasis on the future and are not focusing enough on the present. I think increasingly we put our happiness on layaway and believe that even though our present activities aren’t fulfilling us or making us happy, they will in the future. Nowhere is this more evident than here at Duke. How many of us are currently pursuing majors that we absolutely despise simply because it will lead us to economic success? I’ll be the first one to admit that I did. Yes, I sort of think my public policy major is interesting, but the main reason why I chose it is because I knew that it would help me in the job market. I don’t know about you, but I have often regretted my decision, particularly when I’m stuck in a frustratingly boring economics class instead of a challenging but interesting African and African American Studies course or even a political science course. Seniors, how many of you are interviewing for jobs you aren’t passionately interested in but know that they offer high salaries? I completely understand that after spending almost $200,000 for a four-year Duke education, it’s only natural that you would want to end up with a high-paying job, so that your parents can think that they’re very expensive investment paid off. But the question still remains: Will that job make you happy? Aren’t we falling into the trap of thinking that money equates happiness? Make no mistake; I’m not here to tell you what to do with your life. That is a decision that only you can make. All I’m saying is that life is short. So why don’t we take the opportunity to be happy now instead of in the nebulous future, because now is all that we really have. Dayo Oshilaja is a Trinity junior. Her column runs every other Thursday.

Interested in being a columnist or blogger? E-mail Shuchi (sp64) for an application.

h where shall I go!? Oh what shall I do!? Frankly my dear members of the Class of 2010, I don’t give a damn, and nor should you. Well, that is not quite true. You and I do give a damn, nay, many a damn. As a sizable portion of us face the hopelessness of joblessness, it is difficult to avoid asking ourselves and everyone around us where we shall go and what we jordan rice shall do. real talk Some will tell us that what we are looking for will come. Others will give us a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and send us on our way with the promise that we will succeed (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed). Maybe they are right, or maybe they are lying right to our face, laughing internally at our misfortune. Either way, we should not listen. There is nothing to be done apart from sending out applications and receiving rejection emails; or rather, waiting to receive rejection e-mails that companies do not even have the decency to send out. Consequently, it would be prudent to put a moratorium on discussing or even thinking about the future during weekends and after sundown on weekdays. The day of reckoning is upon us; the end of college is near. This means no more living within seconds of your friends, no more Fridays off, no more taking classes for the fun of it and no more free access to seats in Cameron Indoor Stadium that I expect some would pay thousands to have. No more summer vacations, spring breaks or fall breaks. No more Wednesday Night Drinking Club or Big Beer Thursdays. And most definitely no more LDOC, Tailgate or Shooters. And what will we get in exchange for relinquishing these privileges? People judging you for going out that hard on a Thursday night, and a hang-over at work on Friday. At 9:00. AM. And that’s not Pacific Time or some sort of metric time; it’s the real 9:00 AM. I have glaringly omitted the good that can come after graduation and the bad that can come before. Surely, independence of a magnitude we have never known could be nice, and I have already chronicled on these editorial pages that the Duke bubble can be suffocating at times. In fact, if you were to read through my previous columns you would realize that I am far from a Duke cheerleader. I do know, however, that after graduation the vast majority of us will never again have the chance to live and learn as we do here. Our last days at Duke should be spent enjoying the time we have left rather than lamenting the future—even if that future may be bleak. Carpe diem, I say, but not in the “this day is beautiful so I should seize it” kind of way. Rather, carpe diem in the “each subsequent day from this day forth may and probably will be worse, so we should carpe some diems now while we still can” kind of way. There will be ample time for wallowing in misery later. Perhaps we will find time for it while waiting for the bus that we’ll take to pick up our checks on the first of the month. Or maybe it would be appropriate to wait until we are in those long hospital lines we were promised when we signed onto that public insurance option. If they actually were to exist, then that would be the perfect time. Until then however, put on the blinders to the future in spite of that impending doom feeling that casts its ominous shadow over all that you do. That feeling is real, merited and it is not going away. It is best then not to think about it or to ask about it. Ignoring it? Entertaining some good ol’ self delusion? Those sound about right until we emerge from the safety of college into reality. Those companies, those medical schools, those law schools, those graduate programs, those fellowships, scholarships, internships and externships will have their day to ruin your life. Don’t let them have it now. Where shall you go? What shall you do? To that I put my hands over my ears and LALALALALALALALA, I can’t hear you! Jordan Rice is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Thursday.

12 | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009 the chronicle


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Monday, November 9, 2009 Applicants have until 12 midnight EST on November 9 to submit an application online. Applications submitted after this date and time will not be considered. DukeEngage applications for independent projects, domestic group programs and Study Abroad hybrid programs can be submitted at any time up until the spring semester deadline of January 14, 2010. Brooke Kingsland ’11 took part in the DukeEngage program in Muhuru Bay, Kenya this past summer in collaboration with Women in Secondary Education and Research (WISER). DukeEngage students will return in 2010 to continue enhancing health and education programs with a focus on youth.

For more information on DukeEngage group programs scheduled for Summer 2010, visit Questions?

November 5, 2009 issue  

November 5th, 2009 issue of the Duke Chronicle

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