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November 2012

YOUNG v ot e r s

casual encounters THE RISE OF

5 PEOPLE TO AVOID AT A

PARTY

OPERATION INTERNET FREEDOM

college

APPS You’re doing them wrong

HOW TO START YOUR DAY

RIGHT

MODERATE

ISLAM


Thank you for supporting our launch

Sarah McGuinness Five PeoPle to Avoid At A PArty

www . neosmagazine . com

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NOVEMBER 2012

in this issue S TA R T

37

The Rise of Casual Encounters

An intevestigation into the ways the Internet is manipulating our perception of relationships by Ben Hornung

38

Operation Internet Freedom The World Wide Web is the last frontier. But for how long can we preserve its purity? by Katherine Vega

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END

ELECTION 2012

30

YOUNG VOTERS The 2012 election poses a greater opportunity than ever before for young voters to change the tide of the nation. How young voters can make themselves heard, and the issues relevant to us by Sam Mintz and Andy Wang

46

College Apps: You’re Doing Them Wrong

A guide to the misconceptions and myths intertwined with college admissions. by Ama Badu

50

How to Start Your Day Right How to make your wakeup time a bit more bearable and alleviate frantic and stressful mornings by Danny Wolfe

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N E O S november 2012

contents

N 3 Letter from the Editor

live

academia

five people to avoid at a dance karen yuan

7

car torque your first car nathaniel white

9

the move in

public or private schools?

year round school?

18

study

sparknotes vs shmoop

neos

n ov e m b e r 2012

54

apple vs samsung nathaniel white ben hornung

56

20

eric su

admissions

how i got in leslie tu

politikos

58

Gaming

27 sarah murphy

tuff! Free S

5 free indie games we love bryant peng

60

REview

latest phones hans choi

sam mintz

64

Editorial

raphael cohen

69

the tunnel lily george

70

i-OS

top free apps

modern Disenfranchisement

collin zeng

why we lie

elaana israel

10

careers

creative

ben hornung

schools

student loans and the election

13

scientia

67

25

bryant peng

72

53

nicole lu

minimalist everything desk clutter

39

15

matthew kolbert

5

2

39

pop

Movies

5 movies to watch this semester max funcheon

the selfish season windy vo

72 the innocence of MUSLIMS bouchrA rebiai

74

the photography of kyle meadows justin lai


N E O S Justin Lai

editor in chief

Michelle Zhang

mana g i n g e d i t o r features editor

Katherine Vega

politics editor

lifestyle editor

Sam Mintz

Karen Yuan

Lily George

writ e r s

Ama Badu Paul Brown Guy Burstein Hans Choi Raphael Cohen Max Funcheon-Dinnen Ben Hornung Elana Israel Matthew Kolbert Nicole Lu

Danny Wolfe

Steven Lai

a rt d i r e c t o r

cre at i v e e d i t o r

copy editor

photography

Sarah Murphy Bouchra Rebiai Kaitlyn Stahl Eric Su Leslie Tu Windy Vo Andy Wang Nathaniel White Collin Zeng

/

a rt

Nathan Weir Kyle Meadows Kaleb Roberts Danielle Dover Sarah McGuinness design

Bryant Peng

FROM THE EDITOR Three months ago, Michelle and I speculated

vast majority of the staff had never met

over the possibility of launching a brand-

one another before. Despite this lack of

new magazine. The idea seemed completely

physical proximity, communication remained

ridiculous and impractical at the time.

excellent, and the quality of the publication

However, we decided to give it a shot.

was never compromised.

Early attempts at brainstorming good names

I would like to thank the friendly staff at

for the magazine went on for weeks, until my

reACT magazine (readempoweract.com) for

friend Michael suggested Neos. It was a Greek

their support and advice in helping our own

word meaning young, youthful and new, and it

publication launch. In addition, I extend my

was perfect.

gratitude to Miriam Leuchter, editor-in-chief of Popular Photography Magazine, for her

After building a website for receiving

words of wisdom and mentorship.

applications, we set a deadline and posted links all over the internet. Ambitous students

Launching Neos was not just the culmination

from all over the globe sent in their requests

of the entire staff’s hard work; it was a

to be on staff. After whittling through this

testimony to the power of the internet, the

massive plethora of talent, we finally decided

vitality of America’s next generation, and the

on our staff members.

generosity of people everywhere. Thank you for supporting Neos.

I was pleasantly surprised and immensely impressed by the work ethic and dedication of the editors and writers of Neos. The

JUSTIN LAI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CONTACT US FOR ADVERTISTING AND SUBSCRIPTIONS

www.neosmagazine.com Question, Suggestion, or Response?

Send email to: michelle@neosmagazine.com MAIL US

P.O. Box 202706 Austin, TX 78720-2706 Please allow responses to be emailed for grammatical and design purposes. Be sure to include who you are and where you are from.

neosmagazine.com

3


Live

Five People To Avoid At A Party As you foray into the dark and treacherous terrain of parties and dances, here are some particularly dangerous beasts to look out for. by Karen Yuan i l l u st r at i o n by sar ah m c gui n n es s


L Live

T I ME F O R TURKEY A look at significant turkey-related happenings from over the years.

the kitschy dance moves evoke are awkward chuckles

Number One: The Hyper Grinder This might sound like the name of a coffee machine from a 2 AM infomercial, but it’s actually

and averted eyes, the same reaction an autistic kitten’s

TURKEY FOSSILS

tone-deaf yowl would achieve.

Meleagrididae fossils are recorded from twenty three million years ago in present day U.S.A. and Central America.

the guy who’s just very happy to see you…and you…

(Of course, it’s likely that the final joke is on those

and you...and you. Other names for the hyper grinder

bystanders. When you realize that the only people

include “surprise ninja grinder” and “guy who is sick

around to pass judgment are pimply teenagers, the

of the long-term relationship he has with his right

quality of your dancing becomes less significant and

hand”. This is the boy who sees a dance as a very

you focus on simply having fun.)

23 MYA

large Pokémon arena – you know the phrase: Gotta catch ‘em all. Typically, he’ll leap out of the shadows

Number Four: The Red Cupper

and grind every friend in your dance circle, because

These kids, who hover around outside holding a

he’s nondiscriminatory. As an eye-opener to the

red cup and never actually dance, are split into two

fathomless depths of teenage social interaction, I

subsets:

present to you two (undoubtedly surprising) rules 1. Those who walk around outside with a red cup and

AZTEC WORSHIP

1. Be attractive.

take pictures for social networking, making sure to

2. Don’t be unattractive.

hold the red cup in obvious view.

The Aztec regard the turkey as a symbol of one of their central deities, the elusive, and tricky Tezcatlipoca.

that the success of the hyper grinder depends upon:

2. Those who walk around outside and slowly clear Number Two: The Couple Having Vertical Sex

1400s

the entire area of food.

Okay, so sex is an exaggeration. But here’s what the ultimate party animal Robert Frost once

Number Five:

said: “Dancing is the vertical expression

The Sweat Mountain/Forest

of a horizontal desire.” This is one of

The number one person you want to

those very poetic phrases that become

avoid at a dance is the sweat mountain.

bastardized by teenage Tumblr girls who

This guy personifies sweat. Olympic

set it in Helvetica against a slightly blurry

swimmers could train in the sweat

and poignant picture of an empty cup,

pools under his armpits and on his back

but it nonetheless is true. The Couple is a

and chest. When he brushes against

prime example of it.

you, the sight of slick and shiny residue

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Dickens’ classic features stingy Scrooge undergoing a dramatic change of heart; he upgrades Cratchitt’s Christmas feast to a turkey—a luxury at the time.

on your arm is enough to destroy your I know that they’re technically two

soul. The fumes that he brings hit you

people and not one person to avoid, but

like a freight train does, because both

they could count as one with how tangled

kill you*.

their limbs are. Dances are, after all, the Multiple sweat mountains create

perfect excuse to PDA the hell out.

1834

a sweat forest, usually located in the Number Three: The Kid Who

center of the dance floor. Only the

Dances Badly On Purpose

bravest venture here, and always

SARAH PALIN

with a partner. Here, you don’t even

The vice-president hopeful discussed the economy and budget in front a turkey being shredded alive.

A lot of people use this trick. They don’t know how to dance, so in order to mask that, they dance comically badly on purpose. They’ll back up with “The Lawnmower” or do the monkey arm-swing, and the routine will garner legitimate laughs for the first minute, but then it becomes a joke that’s dragged on too long. Bystanders can see right through this sad ploy. Eventually all 6

neos november 2012

When he brushes against you, the sight of slick and shiny residue on your arm is enough to destroy your soul.

know who you’re rubbing against or what body parts. It’s not really a mosh pit, because at least in a mosh pit you can kind of wiggle around and jump a bit. In the sweat forest, the individual is lost. It simply becomes one with the writhing smell of teen spirit*. *(sweat). N

wildturkeyzone.com

2008


Car Advice

Buying Your First Car N athaniel W hite

are doing is driving on public roads then you will not really get a chance to use the power the V8 puts out. Do I want an auto or manual? An automatic gearbox shifts the gears for you, but uses more fuel. In a manual gearbox-equipped car you shift the gears using a clutch. This can affect car choice, as some cars only come in one of these options. How many seats do I want? Do you want a people mover, or a hatchback? Eight seats or five with a large cargo space? Coupe with two seats or four? These sort of questions should all be considered. Alright, now that you’ve decided what type of car you want, almost down to the finest detail, it’s time to have a look at what

S

cars are available. In this stage, the internet o you’re getting a car, great!

you need it. Here are some questions you

Some of the best fun in life

need to ask:

can happen in cars. But when

●What do I need the car for?

choosing a car, it’s very easy

Are you going offroad? Are you driving

to get the choice wrong. After

around the city mostly? This should and

a purchase you are bound

will affect the final choice. If you are driving

to notice some things that you don’t like,

around the city without going offroad, you

or that simply don’t add up. However, if

don’t need a big, heavy offroad vehicle! It

you do a very thorough inspection before

will make life even tougher in the city than

purchase then the amount and severity of

it already is! Get something smaller and

these mistakes will be greatly reduced. In

easier to navigate through those busy city

this month’s Car Torque we will go through

streets.

the things that you really should look for

How big do I want the engine?

and know about.

Do you really need a 350ci V8? Again

First, before you even consider a

this depends on what you intend the car

particular model, or even a particular

for. If you want a street and drag car, then

brand, think about what you need and why

this would be a good choice, but if all you

neosmagazine.com

is your greatest ally. I’m not saying that print magazines are outmoded or anything else, but the sheer amount of information that you can find on the internet is unbeatable. Here you can find information on just about any type of car ever made, and more often than not, find reviews on them. You should take everything you read with a grain of salt. Some people are out to discredit certain companies and will write reviews just to defame them, while others do the exact opposite. So basically if you find a car with 100 good reviews and one terrible one, then maybe that isn’t the review to listen to and vice versa. Also, look for reviews or comparisons from reputable motoring magazines. These people may

7


L

nicole lu

Live

The Move in

Car torque, continued

not view some things as objectively as they should, but they generally don’t pull punches, and if they say something is bad, then it probably is. By now, you have done the research, asked the questions, and

The leaves are changing color,

the

around campus. Strolling the campus

temperature

read the reviews. It’s time to come up

is subsiding, and the lazy

on

with a shortlist. Compile the pros and

daze of summer seems to be

surreal, like I was in

cons of each, and think about them.

winding down, which can

some

Take each consideration seriously.

only mean one thing: fall is

the only child finally

Try to cut the list down to at most

here. For students across

goes

four different models of cars. Now

the country, this means the

Teary eyes and sad hugs

it’s time to go and have a look at each

start of a new school year,

abounded. The whole

of them in person. The best advice

but for boarding students

living at school thing is

who live hundreds of miles

much more complicated

from home, it isn’t the

than it might seem. New

typical experience.

students have to adjust

I can give you at this stage is don’t fall in love with a car before you buy it. View it as objectively as you can and try very hard to resist that temptation. When you get in the car look at the fit and finish. Check all

For all those bright-eyed new boarders out there, of

move-in

day

comedy off

to

felt

where college.

to living in a dorm room with a complete stranger,

course I too was a new student, so I know what it’s

eating every meal in the dining hall, sharing a

there large gaps between the interior

like to feel like you have no idea what is going on.

bathroom with 20 other people, and worst of all,

panels on the dash? Are the gaps

First, get to know your school’s faculty. More often

not having their parents around. I remember my

between the doors large and uneven?

than not, you’ll realize that your teachers or dorm

first move-in day. It was so odd to finally be moving

This sort of thing is often overlooked,

parents—as much as you might not want to admit

into the dorms where students in the glossy view

but it can indicate that the car has

it—can actually be (kind of ) cool. Second, don’t be

book I was mailed casually relaxed after a day of

had previous damage, especially if it

afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Too many

classes, or to eat dinner in the Hogwarts-esque

is a secondhand vehicle. Check along

new students are too intimidated by other students

dining hall that seemed part of another world

to break out of their usual habits and try new things.

altogether. It was beyond surreal for me. Of course,

Trust me, your years will fly by and by the end, you

after a while the newness of it all will wear off and

don’t want to have regrets about what you wish you

you will find yourself thinking of school as your

could have mustered up the courage to try. Most

second home. You might even slip up and say you’re

importantly, just be open to new things. Even if

“going home” when you really mean going back

you’re not comfortable pushing yourself into new

to your dorm. Nonetheless, once you settle into

all-

and unfamiliar situations, just being open to them

your daily routine, and find the true meaning of

important test drive, and show you

will go a long way. Once you come out of your shell,

“boarding school”, whether it be academics, sports,

some useful diagrams to help you

you will realize just how many opportunities there

or just late-night talks with your roommate, you’ll

along.

are to get involved in some pretty amazing things

realize there’s no place else you’d rather be.

of the gaps, inside and outside. Are

the lines of the car. Do they line up all the way? This can also indicate some previous damage and shoddy repairs. Check if all the doors and the boot shut smoothly too. In the next issue I will be talking some more about the visual

W H AT TO G E T & W H AT TO S K I P ON B L A C K F R I D A Y

inspection,

8

The poignant and exciting time of settling into boarding school.

talk

about

the

GET New Game Consoles • Compact Cameras • Computer parts and accessories • Low-end televisions

neos november 2012

Many items listed during Black Friday sales are truly awful deals. In general, Black Friday is only good for getting cheap things. There are hardly any high-end products at good prices; in addition, many of these items are cheaper around early-mid December. However, certain hard-to-find items (such as the brand-new Wii U) will be highly sought after, and rightfully so.

DON’T GET High-end TVs • Jewelry • High-end winter jackets (like North Face) • DSLRs and expensive electronics • Old consoles


PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN WEIR

neosmagazine.com

9


L Live

minimalist everything A b o u t T his Co lu mn Minimalism isn’t just an art movement; it’s a way of life. In Minimalist Everything, I’ll be taking a look at how to simplify pretty much anything you do.

D e c lu t t e r

your desk

A quick guide to getting rid of clutter and simplifying your working space B R YA N T P E N G This also applies to desktop vacuum cleaner robots, hole punchers, or any other desk accessories whose usefulness borders on novelty.

This is my desk. As you can see, there’s not a whole lot of real estate. Let’s take some steps to fix that. 1. Novelties A lot of things here don’t really have any use. They’re only there for sentimental value. • Game Boy Pocket • Perler Bead sprites • Cole (from inFAMOUS) figurine • Basketball snowglobe • Super Mushroom mint container Leaving the piggy bank, though, because it’s a nice place to put all of my change.

3. school materials I can put the textbooks and papers I’m not currently using into a backpack, and take them back out later when I need to. If you like having all of your work in front of you, try using in-out boxes. Put returned assignments, notes, etc. in an expanding file (highly recommended!) or a box so you can find them when exams come around. Bookshelves are a convenient place to put your textbooks, so it might be a good idea to clear out some space.

You don’t have to part with your cherished collectibles, but maybe put them somewhere else – like on a nightstand or by the television.

4. miscellaneous All of those pencils can go into a cup. The Apple USB Cable doesn’t see much use (especially with wireless syncing), and having speakers makes the earbuds redundant. And personally, 2. unused desk accessories Having I Am America (And So Can You!) on my desk gives the impression that I’m well-read, but virtually no one else goes into my room; better save it for the workplace. I don’t use my ruler or fan that often, and who still needs tape? 10

neos november 2012

I don’t like having that many consumables on my desk. If you love your headphones, how about a stand to rest them on? There are plenty of DIY projects you can follow on the Internet. Earbuds and cables, on the other hand, can be stored tangle-free either by using a binder clip or, like I did, wrapped in a circle around itself. Having food on your desk isn’t that big of deal, especially with all the space we’re freeing up. That’s just my own preference.


You could even take it a step further and leave only the computer, the sheet of paper, and a pen. Or just the computer. For most people, that’s not very practical, but if everything you do is digital, go right ahead.

5. Rearrangement Almost done; I just need to move a few things around. Put the stapler by the lamp, adjust the speakers and piggy bank, and move the laptop back for more room to work – and we’re done. Everything that’s left serves a useful purpose.

MESSENGER BAG PURSE

carry your load

ROLLERBAG BACKPACK

which bag to use and what to use it for kait lyn stah l

Out of those listed, a backpack is the most practical. Not only can it carry everything I need for the day, but it also has multiple pockets for organization. Maybe this year the front pocket you keep your pencils in won’t collect wrappers and a chaos of junk by the end of year. This will undoubtedly happen, but it’s nice to have the option to be organized for once. Backpacks are customizable so that you can add in your personality and durable so that you can keep them for a long time. The fact that you can use backpacks in many other instances outside of school add to their practicality. If you’re sleeping over at someone’s house for only a night, a bigger bag would be unnecessary when you have a backpack perfect for a few changes of clothes. Want to go hiking? Pack up your gear, water, and snacks in your backpack. They are also great in airports so you have stuff to do on planes. Their main function is carrying and they succeed at it. One of the main differences between backpacks and messenger bags is their carry load. On a backpack, two straps support the weight, but on a messenger bag, there is only one strap. This means that you have to go with lighter loads, which does not include multiple textbooks. If you attempt to put too much weight in, the strap will put too much tension on your shoulder, and a messenger bag is much more uncomfortable to switch from shoulder to shoulder than a backpack. They are also

neosmagazine.com

quite awkward for any non-flat-chested females since the strap digs into the cleavage, making them stick out. Despite these flaws, it has many of the organizational perks of a backpack. It does not come in as many styles and colors, but this is perhaps why it is considered more stylish and adult-looking than a backpack. In high school or college where backpacks are the norm, the benefit of appearing more professional does not matter as much. A purse or small bag like a tote is less sensible than a messenger bag, because it can hardly carry all of the required materials. At my high school, we didn’t have any time between classes (we had to be able to teleport if we didn’t want to be late) to go to our lockers. However, as a female in college these can make sense seeing as you often need only a few materials. They are also the most fashionable choice, which resonates well on campuses where style is a priority (see preppy private university). There is nothing more pretentious than a rollerbag unless you cannot physically lift your bag. Hey, it is totally understandable if you are young or have an injury, but unless I see that the bag is twice your size or you’re on crutches, please leave it at home. Why the grudge against these pseudo-suitcases? Many schools have a two-way stair system, people going up on one side of the flight and down on the other. Between classes, these can be quite packed and the last thing anyone wants is to be late because someone with a rollerbag had to stop in front of the stairway. It is frustrating to have to wait for the person to push the handle of their rollerbag down, carry it up, and then once again stop. The person with the rollerbag then takes up more time to extend the handle and roll off oblivious to the angry hoard behind him.

11


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ENVIRONMENTALIST

Live

Stay Green During Exam Season When exams are around, we usually tend to slip out of our green habits by using more paper, plastic and fossil fuels. Let’s look at some popular study habits and try to make them greener. Taking

notes,

rewriting,

and

summarizing are important parts of the studying process. But lots of used paper gets thrown away - think of it as throwing away the trees that were used to make it. Why not try recycling your used paper at home instead? You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do and how creative you can get with it. You can make cards, gift-wrapping paper, and simple plain paper. Just Google ‘how to recycle paper at home’ and you’ll get tons of tutorials.

POLYPHASIA Is splitting up your sleep beneficial to productivity, or impractical?

grades. For convenience, you’ll be carrying around a plastic water bottle

Everyone has heard the cliché that there

the Uberman sleep schedule consists of six

are never enough hours in a day, but only few

20-minute naps every four hours. In theory,

within few days, which won’t be helping

know that certain techniques can actually

each snooze sustains the sleeper’s wakefulness

the environment. Travel mugs, on the

lengthen our days. Sleep, the counterpart to our

for just enough time until the subsequent nap

working hours, has not only the most enigmatic

takes over. The main benefit is an abundance of

qualities but also serves as the foundation for

time for previously unachievable tasks.

that gets rancid if it’s not replaced

other hand, are durable and keep their contents at a constant temperature. Why not use one for water? If your proctor doesn’t allow anything into the exam hall except transparent containers, try

our everyday activities. In fact, sleep and

explaining why you don’t use plastic

productivity are zero-sum: each aspect is

This ideal technique, however, prompts a

simultaneously engaged in a tug of war and

whole slew of questions about its viability. If

balancing act. Polyphasic sleeping, however,

polyphasic sleep is truly great, why haven’t

plastic bottles during the exam, and

upsets that ever-changing equilibrium for the

we adopted these sleep schedules already?

recycle creatively - use them as vases, or

better.

The truth is that the transition period is ruthless. One must endure the debilitating

beforehand; chances are you’ll be allowed to take it in. If not, then use

as room decor after filling with colored sand. Finding a good place to study is also

After a long day of productivity, we usually

sleep deprivation induced by a rejection of

important. Usually you’ll be studying

retire to our beds for about eight hours a

one’s innate biological clock. Also, the sleep

indoors, but why not cut down on

night to refresh both the body and mind.

schedules are fundamentally incompatible

On the contrary, polyphasic sleeping acts

with everyday life. Since the universal culture

by segmenting sleeping time into multiple

of humankind is monophasic, a departure may

have a private outdoor area, simply

portions,

not be practical. - Andy Wang

move your desk out there. Just make

ultimately

resulting

in

a

net

reduction of time slept. One type of schedule, 12

Staying hydrated helps you get better

neos november 2012

electricity usage by going to that quiet spot at the park and enjoying the sunshine while you’re busy? Or, if you

sure your books are safe if it rains.-

bouchra rebia


I want partly to be like my philosophy teacher. I already daydream in class­ —not about that girl sitting in front of me—but about teaching philosophy to a class of high school students. I’d open with a lecture on normative ethics, and I’d delineate the various schools of thought. Deontology. Teleology. Virtue. Existentialist. Kant, Bentham, Aristotle, Sartre, “Collin, what is the answer to problem 17?” I hurriedly glance at my homework. It has been transformed into a lesson plan for philosophy.

I Must Be A Doctor COLLIN ZENG The idea was pounded into my head. Subtleness? There was none. The choice was laid out: I was either to be a doctor, or a failure.

I didn’t express this sentiment to others because I feared it would come off as naive. A teacher? He clearly hasn’t thought of the financial dimension of the choice.

But I could never see myself as someone in a white suit, or as someone in blue-green scrubs. Not even after I heard the same tried monetary arguments presented for the nth time. Not even after I had given some credence to the idea on my own. A numbing apathy separated me from my parents’ desired path for me.

But I am able to see myself as a teacher; I, in fact, already am. I am already a tutor to peers and elementary school children, and I rather enjoy being one. I already am a paid private tutor for someone. I understand that there are more lucrative careers well within my ability, but I enjoy teaching students. I have had some truly great teachers who vastly opened my mind, such as my philosophy teacher. He planted in me the seed of curiosity. I became an insatiable student of philosophy. And as the best student does, he exceeds his teacher in the subject (Nietzsche). The impact my philosophy teacher has had on me is unimaginable. His introduction to existentialist ethics, and my research on existentialist ethics, has completely transformed the way I live. I strive to live authentically now, true to my own, rather than others’, will.

So what should I be? I never figured out how to respond when asked this question. My guidance counselor asked the same question, and I gave the same non-answer. He’d always quell my anxiety by smiling and telling me that it was normal for young people not to know. I wasn’t completely honest when I gave my counselor that “answer.” An idea had been in the back of my mind. I would be a teacher.

neosmagazine.com

But why do I want to be a philosophy teacher? The why behind the what is fascinating, especially when one is cynical. I constantly picture myself as young, neatlydressed, walking in front of a class of high school upperclassmen, and introducing myself while deliberately meeting the gazes of the students. Is it because I want to teach the students? Or is it because I want to be fawned over? It’s relatively easy to be a teacher, and one has the pleasure of meeting dozens of young people pushing the edges of propriety each day. The egoist would prefer the latter explanation. Most likely the answer lies between the two extremes. It is clear that I do not have a personal interest in entering the medical field. I do want to be a teacher, but monetary concerns cannot be disregarded. Perhaps I’ll end up compromising by being a part-time teacher; an adjunct professor at a university. Although my path is far from certain, I take comfort in this indeterminacy. Apart from philosophy, another one of my favorite courses was AP European History. I thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat note that the AP European History course starts on - the Renaissance. Cynics might question the motives of the College Board in picking the Renaissance of all periods to start the course, but that is immaterial. Although it has been two years since I have taken the course, one quote from Leon Battista Alberti remains fresh on my mind: “Man can do all things if he will.”

13


Academia Undergraduate Admissions Edition


public or Private?

Making The Right Decision For Your Academic Future matthew kolbert

Applying to college is stressful, work intensive, and exhausting. But for many, the hardest part comes after the acceptance letters are opened and tacked to the wall: the choice.

neosmagazine.com

15


ACADEMIA

A The choice between big or small, university or liberal arts college, and of

feeling at a higher tuition private school.

course, public or private. While many

Carly Baron, a Sophomore at Muhlenberg

students prefer the small class sizes and

University came to school for the top ranking

connections of a private school, others say

musical theatre program, but is staying for

the cost and the abundance of programs

just about everything else.

make a public school just as good, if not better, than a private one. day, trumps everything. Alex Gerin, a college freshman attending SUNY Binghamton University Binghamton,

Music While Studying? By Leslie Tu

“I was stuck between SUNY Geneseo and Muhlenberg, but in the end, the program,

Let’s talk money. Money, at the end of the undergraduate admissions

public school, but some prefer the personal

facilities and resources here are much better. It’ll all be helpful in the future.” Private schools make it personal, that’s

in

for sure. Higher tuition

New

allows for a larger, stronger

York was accepted

staff, resulting in smaller

into a variety of

class sizes. Those smaller

colleges,

including

class sizes allow students to

prestigious

get to know their professors,

Boston College. Yet,

building connections and

when it came down

relationships

to it, Binghamton

aid them in the future.

offered

great

Not to mention, a smaller

education at a much

class can allow stronger

made homework playlists. Scientific

lower cost.

understanding of the subject

experiments have made the question

being taught. When asked

even

because it was public

about any negatives of her

headphone use, volume, genre, task,

there wouldn’t be

private school education,

environment, and music preference

as many resources.

she responded

into the equation. The final verdict is

the

a

“At first I thought

that

will

People have always wondered about how music can influence studying; we’ve given our babies the Mozart treatment, bought special noise-cancelling

more

earbuds,

complex,

and

factoring

That’s definitely not

“Money. Other than that,

simple: it all comes down to focus.

the case. We have

I can’t thank of a single

on-campus tutoring,

Since unrelated lyrics and melodies

negative...I’m

are in most cases a distraction,

a brand new gym, our dining halls and library

so

happy.

Super super happy!”

the majority of these studies, like

are great. There’s never a dull moment here.”

Although the benefits of a private school

Public universities tend to be around

are clear, some private school students would

20,000 per year, including Room and

go back on their decision if they could. Emily

Board, a much better deal when compared

Natale, a freshman at Hofstra University said

to private schools that can cost upwards of

“I think I would have gone to a state school

40,000 every year. Many private schools,

if I wasn’t pre-med. My intro to bio class,

to memorize data, they are thrown

especially top ranking ones with massive

which is supposed to be huge, has only 40

off by the changing words and notes

endowments, grant large sums of aid to

students here.”

within the music.” However, everyone

the research done at University of Wales Institute, have found that “music impairs the cognitive abilities because when individuals are trying

students who simply cannot afford tuition.

At the end of the day, choosing between

is different, and some students find

Yet the majority of private schools do

public and private is up to you. Sometimes,

that background music blocks out

not have massive endowments, and the

the student loans are worth it, as the

noises that might otherwise catch

majority of the students aren’t in top ranking

connections you make at a private school

their attention. Many recommend

institutions. This middle ground is where

can lead you to a strong career in the future.

the massive student loan debt comes from.

classical music without words that

At the same time, if you work for it, a public

Students whose families lie in the middle

school provides all the same opportunities at

mix with the words you study. In the

ground, not wealthy enough to afford college

a lower cost, it’s just harder compete between

without assistance, but with just enough

thousands of other students. The decision, at

income to prevent them from receiving

the end of the day, is in your own hands, or

large amounts of aid. The obvious solution is

more likely, the hands of your parents.

1 681n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012

end, personal

preference

reigns

supreme, and it’s your job to find out what works best for you.


Scholarships Financial aid for anyone and everyone matthew kolbert Hispanics,

center, or your school itself, they are all worth

Catholics, journalism majors, children in military

writing the essay or two required to apply. If you

families, and people who just happen to live in

apply to them all, those small hundred dollar

a certain area. No matter who you are, you are

scholarships could turn into a laptop, several

bound to fit into at least one of these categories.

textbooks, or even a good chunk of your tuition

The best thing you do can do when you find a

for a year.

There

are

scholarships

for

scholarship that fits you is apply, because while you may not think you will get it, you have zero chance if you don’t even try. Here are a few

National Merit Scholarship This scholarship, as it’s name suggests, is earned on merit alone. It can only be received

scholarships that might fit you.

by taking the PSAT in your junior year and Free

application

for

federal

student aid (fafsa)

receiving a score that meets or exceeds your state’s cutoff. While 50,000 students are

The United States Department of Education

commended, only about 8,300 are awarded

sponsored program allows incoming college

National Merit. The award is a $2,500 dollar

freshmen to apply for Pell Grants, Stafford

scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship

Loans, Perkins Loans, and various work-study

Program, but many colleges offer additional

programs through a single application. The

merit aid to winners of this award. The main

application comes online January. Be sure to

power of this scholarship, however, is the effect

check for eligibility and your state’s specific

it has on a college application. Receiving any

deadlines.

level of the National Merit Scholarship can

deadline: june 30, 2013

make you stand out among the crowd in the

www.fafsa.ed.gov

college application process. RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED: MAY 8, 2013

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation This

award

is

intended

for

www.nationalmerit.org/

students

dedicated to their “studies, schools, and communities.” With over 250,000 applicants

Gates

Millennium

Scholarship

Program

and only 250 winners every year, it is certainly

A program sponsored by the Bill & Melinda

one of the more competitive awards. The prize?

Gates Foundation, it is aimed towards college-

Fifty finalists will receive a $20,000 scholarship

bound minority students. It awards 1000 full,

while the remaining 200 receive a $10,000

four year scholarships to the college of the

scholarship. In addition, scholars become a

receiving student’s choice. The qualifications for

member of the Coca-Cola Scholar alumni.

the recipient are a GPA above a 3.3 and a history

deadline: NOVEMBER 9, 2013

of leadership skills, as well as demonstrated

www.coca-colascholars.org

financial need. Millennium Scholarship winners are provided with personal and professional

Local Scholarships Local

scholarships

are

development through leadership programs, in the

ones

that

students tend to see as “too small” to matter.

addition to academic support throughout their college career.

Whether they are given out by your school’s

www.gmsp.org/

PTA, community service association, senior

deadline JANUARY 16, 2013

neosmagazine.com

17


undergraduate admissions

ACADEMIA

A

SPARKNOTES vs

SHMOOP Sparknotes is already a staple among countless procrastinating students. Is Shmoop a worthy alternative — or is it something greater? by Elana Israel

The new school year is here. New classes, new school supplies. and new books to read. But with all that work piling up, just what do you do when you just don’t have time to read and understand that Shakespeare play for English class? Usually you’d go to SparkNotes. com, a website offering book summaries and homework help, but there’s another site on the rise and its name is Shmoop.

Shmoop, a homework help site like

SparkNotes is reliable because you

and facts about the author. The analysis

SparkNotes has many of the same features

always can know that there will be a

of the major characters is exactly what

as the widely known study guide website.

summary of that book you still haven’t

it sounds like, a couple paragraphs about

Both feature book summaries and

read for English class. For almost every

the main characters in the book. The

analyses, explanations for other subjects

book on SparkNotes you can find context,

only downfall is that not much attention

and test prep study guides, but each has

a plot summary, analysis of the major

is paid to the minor characters.

their own unique characteristics.

characters, themes, motifs and symbols,

People

mainly

use

SparkNotes

SparkNotes, unlike Shmoop offers

a summary and analysis of each chapter,

because it provides a clear, easy-to-read

more than just homework help. It has

of course, a few important quotes, and a

plot summary. This is the main purpose

articles and videos on non-school related

short quiz checking your understanding

of their website. For each book, there is

subjects including movie reviews and the

of the book. The context and plot

a chapter-by-chapter breakdown. The

latest celebrity gossip. But that’s not why

overview provide a simple explanation

summaries are short, easy to read and

most people use SparkNotes.

of the book, a description of the setting,

help you grasp the main idea.

1 881n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012


Shmoop (right) features excellent, relevant videos in addition to rich and detailed summaries; however, Sparknotes (top) touts superb modern translations of all of Shakespeare’s major works, in addition to a plethora of lifestyle blogs.

The quotes section lists five quotes that

book has context, author info and a plot

that breaks the book down. It has multiple

SparkNotes deems the most important.

overview too, but they also have a short

quizzes about themes, symbols and quotes,

After each quote you can find the chapter

cartoon to help explain all that.

pictures relating to the book and questions

A summary comes first. It gives you a

to write an essay about or to think about

few paragraphs on the whole book, then

in your spare time. It even gives you essay

Last, but not least is the quiz section.

more in-depth summaries of each chapter.

tips.

This short mini quiz has twenty-five basic,

Shmoop summaries are more detailed

Although it has all of that, the one thing

factual, multiple-choice questions on

than SparkNotes’ and are bulleted instead

Shmoop doesn’t offer is a modern day

the book. There are no trick questions or

of paragraph form. This makes them easier

translation of Shakespeare. That is where

requests for in-depth analysis, just a few

to read. It’s theme section gives you a few

SparkNotes rises to the top.

questions to check your understanding of

questions to think about for each theme

While these websites aren’t substitutes

the SparkNotes summary you just read.

and eight to ten quotes relating to each

for actually reading the book, if you need

theme. And instead of only a few themes,

some extra help understanding the book,

it explains up to ten.

think about gong to Shmoop. SparkNotes

it comes from and a short paragraph explaining its importance.

One of the best features of SparkNotes is its “No Fear Shakespeare” section. It

is great for helping you understand

has descriptions of most Shakespearian gives

Shakespeare, but if you just don’t have time

play translated into modern day English.

summaries of each character, but unlike

to read that book for English, Shmoop will

It doesn’t provide analysis, but at least

SparkNotes,

detailed

give you a much more in-depth, detailed

the text is understandable so that you can

summaries on the more minor characters

summary. So try both and see which one

figure out one on your own.

instead of just a few main ones.

works better for you. Both of them will

characters and has every scene from each

Like

SparkNotes, it

offers

Shmoop more

Shmoop has many of the same features

Its analysis section is also a lot more

that SparkNotes has, but little changes

in-depth. It has everything, ranging from

make it a great alternative. Its intro to the

symbolism to allusions to a plot analysis

neosmagazine.com

always be there, but sometimes you have to try something new.

19


ACADEMIA

A

How I Got in

undergraduate admissions

Applicants to some of the country’s top universities share their secrets to success. By Leslie Tu If you’re in high school then you’ve probably sensed the impending presence of college applications—the notorious selection procedure is in the back of everybody’s mind. What do colleges even look for, anyway? Most of the information students receive about this all-important, heart-wrenching process comes from guidance counselors, junk mail, and the rumor mill — almost never from actual college students. We’ve interviewed three survivors of the college application process to see what all the forms, essays, and letters of recommendation are really about.

What’s the most important part of a college application? The

And

representing

yourself accurately in them. College

That they are all-consuming and

admissions teams at top schools are

horribly long. These days the college

really good at seeing through facades.

application process is streamlined and

They read thousands and thousands of

really do not take all that long. Make

applications and making yours stand out

up your mind on where to apply, and

as an accurate reflection of yourself as

just get it done. Do, however, take time

an individual (not a series of test scores)

to write good essays that are a proper

is critical. Obviously the best place to do

reflection of who you are. And proofread

this would be in the personal statement

andrew Schneider

and other essays.

college stanford university 2012 acceptance rate 7.1 % regular decision early action

essays.

6.6 % 12.8 %

What are some common misconceptions about college apps?

What do you think set you apart from other students? I believe that my high school self stood out because I was well-rounded

“most of all… relax. There is a college out there for you.”

and, coming from an urban public school in Tennessee, represented geographic

them! Nothing makes you stick out to an

diversity. In high school I played varsity

admissions officer more than misspelling

basketball on a top team in the state

your name (or their university).

while also doing more traditionally

me an interesting candidate. Most of

How did you decide which colleges to apply to and, ultimately, which college to enroll in?

the applicants to top schools have the

I was lucky. I only applied to four

numerical credentials; being accepted

schools (one early admission) and got

or rejected really comes down to what

into three of the four. My ultimate

you’ve done in addition to scoring well

decision was between Stanford and

on report cards and standardized tests.

Brown. I chose Stanford primarily

nerdy things like Quiz Bowl and Student Council. I think these contrasts made

because I thought it offered a balance

2 081n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012


between a big school atmosphere and an

Stay focused. Take a few days and

elite academic environment. Though I did

write good essays. Get them done

not plan to play sports, the opportunity to

with and then send them off. Don’t let

watch Pac-10 football and basketball was

applications ruin your senior year (or

another plus for Stanford. Also, Brown

your Christmas break). No one wants to

and Stanford’s admit weekends were at

be the person driving to the one FedEx

the same time and I chose to visit sunny

store in the city that is open at midnight

California over late-winter Rhode Island.

on December 15th to get your letter

Not surprisingly I ended up choosing

postmarked. Thanksgiving break is a

Stanford.

good time to finish everything up. And most of all… relax. There is a college out

Any advice for struggling high school seniors?

there for you.

What’s the most important part of a college application?

decide to apply to many or all of the top colleges without looking too deeply

In my opinion, the most important

into what the colleges themselves have

part of a college application is the essay

to offer in comparison to the student’s

portion. Your choice in essay topic and

interests (for example, many choose to

the themes you incorporate into your

apply to seven or all eight “Ivy League”

essay actually speaks a lot more about

schools because they feel like if they

you than I had realized, looking back,

can get into one of them, they would

and is the primary tool colleges use to

be happy with their college application

get to know you as a person on a deeper

results). It detracts from the ability of the

level and evaluate your candidacy as a

student to concentrate on writing their

potential student.

essays as well as they can for individual colleges, and also the colleges with the

What do you think set you apart from other students?

label of being a “top college” are often

I think the thing that set me apart

Dedication to the

the most from other students was my

activities [you’re]

level of dedication to the activities I was interested in and pursued in high school, which is something that colleges like to look for when they are recruiting

kevin tian college massachusetts institute

of technology

2012 acceptance rate early action regular decision

8.9 % 5.9 % 11.3 %

interested in... is something that colleges

like to look for when they are recruiting students.

students. I was heavily involved in math and music in high school, two of

not actually where some students would

my biggest passions even still, and two

be happiest or get the most out of. For

activities that I hope to continue to

example, UT Austin is a top computer

pursue throughout my life.

science school, and Carnegie Mellon

What are some common misconceptions about college applications? Probably the biggest misconception about applying to colleges that I’ve encountered is that some students

neosmagazine.com

ranks at #1 for undergraduate computer science on almost an annual basis. How did you decide which colleges to apply to and ultimately which college to enroll in? I had always planned in high school

21


ACADEMIA

A to major in mathematics, and as I

other older students to get to know them

took more classes and learned more

better. I am now a proud Course 14 Econ

about career options, to double major

and Course 18 Math major at MIT and

in economics. So, I applied to the top

still quite speechless about how genuine

ranked schools in those fields, as well as

the people here are about pursuing their

a few “safety” options which is always a

passions and how diverse yet undeniably

good idea for applying seniors. I applied

talented the student body is.

undergraduate admissions

to Caltech and MIT early action, and did the regular application process

on ivy league schools:

“The colleges with the label of being a “top college” are often not actually where some students would be happiest or get the most out of. “

for Stanford, Harvard, UT Austin, and

Any advice for struggling high school seniors?

UC Berkeley, for a total of six colleges.

To high school seniors, loosen up and

When application results came out in

have a bit of fun with the application

March, I was faced with a choice since

process! The whole system is set up to

I had luckily gotten into both of my two

get you to the place where you would feel

top choices, MIT and Stanford. What

the most comfortable and have the best

helped me make my decision, a decision

time learning and making new friends

that I am now completely confident was

and experiences that last for years and

the right choice for me in picking the

for some, a lifetime; its purpose is not

most rewarding school experience and

to stress out seniors who already have a

the campus where I would be happiest,

lot on their plate to handle as their high

was visiting both colleges during their

school career winds to a close. Best of

campus preview/admit weekends and

luck!

really talking to my fellow 2016ers and

Apply This is You

the different paths your application can take

This is YOUR DREAM SCHOOL

early action Non-Binding

early decision Binding

rejectment Choose another school

deferment Apply regular decision

design by bryant peng

The Key Terms by windy vo

2 281n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

With the turn of the seasons comes

perplexing the jargon can be. Early Action?

cool, crisp air, merino wool scarves, and,

Early Decision? What exactly do these terms

yes, college applications. If you’ve ever

mean and how do they relate to you as an

glanced over the Common Application, or

applicant? Read on as we crack the mystery

any of the others, then you know just how

behind those annoying college applications.

2012


What’s the most important part of a college application? What do you think set you apart from other students? The application essay is incredibly important. It should be something that clearly reflects you. Treat it as chance to define yourself as something more than your grades — regardless of whether your grades are good or bad. Craft a narrative of yourself. You have 500 words to make those admission officers want to meet you. What are some common misconceptions about college apps? I think an often overlooked part of the application is the recommendation portion. Even in your senior year, you can improve your chances of getting effective recommendations by providing your writers material about you. Take time to talk to them about your interests

A

non-binding

agreement

means

just what you think it means: if your

and about what you’re writing in the rest of your application. Avoid too much redundancy in your application, but make sure different parts support each other and create a common theme. How did you decide which colleges to apply to and ultimately, which college to enroll in? I applied to a few schools I was confident I would get into and then some others I knew were possibly out-of-reach but would love to attend. Visiting the campuses can be helpful — not for the tours, but a chance to experience the culture, check out the area, and imagine what your classmates would be like.

Peter Tu college harvard university 2012 acceptance rate regular decision early action

5.9 % 4.2 % 18.3 %

Any advice for struggling high school seniors? Find mentors — teachers, coaches, parents, siblings, friends. Ask for help, get feedback, try to have fun.

Now why would you apply to a college under a binding agreement?

Single Choice Early Action—while SCEA is nearly the same thing as EA, you can only apply to one college.

application impresses the college thus

Well, for starters, nearly half of college

you are admitted, you are not obligated to

admission spots are reserved for Early

enroll unless you truly want to. If you do

Decision applicants. However, beware

Lastly, there is Regular Decision. Non-

not choose to, however, there will be no

that if you decide to apply to your dream

binding, RD allows you a greater amount of

penalty. You’re also still allowed to apply

school through ED, then you must decide

time to work on your applications. Though

to multiple colleges.

to attend before receiving a Financial Aid

more competitive, RD provides you the

package, even if the school fails to meet

time and freedom to choose between other

your demonstrated need.

schools and various FA packages without

Meanwhile, in a binding agreement, if your application is accepted and the

being penalized or rushed.

college admits you as a student, you are

Unlike ED, Early Action is non-binding

required to enroll into their school. If you

and allows you the flexibility and time to

decide not to enroll, then there will be a

make your decision about which college

Now what are you waiting for? Stop

penalty; you could possibly lose a large

to attend. Furthermore, EA allows to you

procrastinating and go work on those

part of your enrollment deposit.

to compare FA packages. Watch out for

college applications!

neosmagazine.com

23


ON I T ELEC 2 1 20 politikos

2

1 20


$32091$ 0$919$8 46$1948 16$5168 41$6132 $

THE STUDENT’S

BURDEN sam mintz

neosmagazine.com

25


ELECTION 2012

W

hat’s something most college

help those at an economical disadvantage

students have or will have

and those who just can’t afford to pay off the

that is overbearing, usually

pile of debt they have forced themselves to

inevitable, and may make a

amass as they enter adulthood.

dent in their bank account for

The Republican campaign, on the other

several years of their life? If

hand, has a very different vision. It stated

you said student loans, you were correct.

that “the federal government should not be

While the promise of higher education is

in the business of originating student loans;

alluring for anyone who longs for a higher

however, it should serve as an insurance

paying career, an exciting four years of

guarantor for the private sector as they

independence, and the classic American

offer loans to students.” This is essentially

college experience, student loans are likely

a step back to the days when banks served

a part of your future. So what can you do

as middlemen. If the changes already made

about them? They aren’t getting any smaller

have led to the saving of sixty billion dollars

if you already have them. In fact, they

that have been put towards other education

are probably growing in size. This year’s

programs, why turn it back? Republican

presidential election makes many promises,

presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants

but the promises students, graduates, and

to end what Republicans have called the

students-to-be want to hear are ones of a

“government takeover” of the student loan

bright future when it comes to the cost of

industry, a takeover that seems to have

their education. While some candidates

shown positive results.

are making promises that make that future

In addition to supporting the reduction

seem slightly less daunting, others are

of government involvement in student

making it even more frightening.

loans, Romney also aims to relieve the

Let’s start with the Democrats. According

scrutiny that for-profit universities are

to the Democratic platform, their goal is to

receiving from Democrats. In what is most

create “an economy that out-educates the

likely not an odd coincidence, Full Sail

world and offers greater access to higher

University’s chief executive Bill Heavener

education and technical training.”

is a major donor to Romney’s campaign and

So far, the Democratic track record is pretty good. They have saved billions by

is co-chair of his state fundraising team in Florida.

removing the banks as middlemen, doubled

While Republican suggestions make

Pell Grant Funding, created the American

fiscal sense, they are not helpful for

Opportunity Tax Credit, and are currently

students who want to follow the American

working towards ensuring that students

tradition and attend a four-year university.

who can’t afford to pay student loans all at

A stated reason for the proposal to make

once only have to pay 10% of their income.

college loans private is that colleges are

While it would be lovely if President

increasing in cost too rapidly for financial

Obama could snap his fingers and wipe

aid to reasonably pay for. But why target the

away our debts, 10% sounds better than

aid, the thing that helps the students pay

an endless barrage of calls and letters

for college, instead of the colleges that are

demanding debt payment. In the meantime,

raising tuition so unreasonably?

the Democratic Party has several plans for

The fact of the matter is, while the

education and loan reform. They want to

intentions are noble, the solutions proposed

invest even more in Pell Grants and to make

by the Republican Party are not going to

college tuition tax deductible. Both greatly

work. Kids want to go to college. Yet it’s

2 681n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012

A Brief Overview of

FAFSA 1965

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Higher Education Act of 1965 President LBJ implements increased college aid as part of his Great Society social reforms.

the hea is reformed and the PELL GRANT is introduced

1972

the top four forms of aid offered

Pell GrantS

Up to about $5,550 in direct aid, depending on need.

PERKINS LOANS

Low-interest loans to finance lowincome post-secondary students

STAFFORD LOANS

$5,500-$7,500 in loans for undergrads and $9,500-$12,500 for graduate students

federal work-study program Part-time work programs to assist in paying tuition for accredited institutions.

JAN 1 JUN 30

Earliest date for acceptance of applications Final deadline for all online applications

Check www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines for your own state’s deadlines. Revisions to your application can be submitted by Sep 23.


SAM MINTZ

hard to disagree with the platform statement that “the status quo is not working” in reference to every student attending a fouryear, often private university. Some people don’t need a degree for the field they will

M A US n, ow yT

enter. We should certainly make an effort to encourage community colleges and trade schools for those whom they would suit best. As a student, I often talk to peers about how going to community college for two years before attending a university is probably the smartest option. But there is a certain stigma attached to community college, like it’s some sort of cop-out. If we want to change the status quo, we have to get people to want to change it, not be forced to by the government. At the end of the day, student loans and college tuition aren’t about politics. They’re about reality, they are what you have to deal with and how you will deal with it. Nationwide, about two-thirds of students are in debt, with the average amount being $25,000 per student. Students who should be able to get a job and start supporting themselves upon graduating school are losing significant portions of income to debt

Look Local Where you can make a difference The political faces you see on TV are almost

will do her best to understand and represent all

always ones you already know. They’re the

of those, but she doesn’t face the same massive

candidates for president or senator, the national

burden to her constituency as Mitt.

or big-time state offices. They’re the ones who

Maybe most importantly, she lives in your

run ads, who have nationally televised debates,

district, which means that if you want to, you

and who reporters talk about.

can call her up, or knock on her door, and ask

But believe it or not, they might not be the

her about the potholes on your street. You can

most important or helpful person you can vote

have a face to face conversation about the issues

for.

that you care about, and the value of your vote

— something that ironically was caused by

Out of the spotlight of the national press

the desire to be more successful financially

and attention are local politicians. These are

than the average person.

your state Senators or Representatives, or

Similarly, if you choose to volunteer on a

What are the solutions? Well, with

even your town’s Board of Selectmen or Town

campaign, or in your office, you’ll be right on

declaring bankruptcy out of the question,

Manager. While some of them have fairly large

the front lines, and can experience much more

those with debt have to buckle up and get

constituencies, others are in charge of tiny

personal interaction with the people in charge.

districts, as small as a neighborhood. This is one

You can really get to know them and understand

of the reasons why they can be better equipped

their views and values. I volunteered on a local

and more able to directly, personally help you

campaign for state representative in my town

and address your needs.

this summer, and was pleasantly surprised by

fiscally

responsible.

Unless

something

changes within the next four years—and things rarely do—watching your bank account is likely the best course of action. Eat out less, ride a bicycle to save on gas, and of course, work hard. Don’t adopt the “what’s the point of earning money if it’s all

means that she is not simply obliged, but forced to listen.

Local politicians can make direct changes

how involved I got to be. On several occasions,

happen in your neighborhood. Mitt Romney

I walked down the street canvassing with the

isn’t going to care about the potholes on your

candidate, talking about life and food and, of

street. But someone will: Jane Local, who’s

course, politics as we walked between houses.

going to get taken away from me” mentality.

running for State Representative in your district.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to get

Use your student debt as motivation. Make

She’ll care because her constituency is small

involved in the local politics of your area this

your college education worth it. And of

enough that she’s not beholden to the millions

fall. At the very least, vote. At the very most,

course, come November, don’t just hope that

that Romney is. She’s beholden to you and your

immerse yourself in an exciting, intense,

the next president of the United States helps

neighbors, and your vote is therefore many

valuable experience and see what politics is

your student loans reduce in size. Vote to

times more valuable to her than it is to Romney.

really all about. It’s not about Mitt’s tax returns

make it happen.

She will be more honest, because she can

or Barack’s birth certificate. It’s about people,

afford to be. Where Romney has to twist his

interactions, relationships, ideas, and values,

words so that this half of the country or that half

and all of those are in full display, right in your

doesn’t get upset, Jane doesn’t. The district will

neighborhood.

of course have different viewpoints, and Jane

neosmagazine.com

27


ELECTION 2012

Modern Disenfranchisement BY SARAH MURPHY

We’re facing arguably one of the most important presidential elections of our young

states also happen to be battleground states in

Akron and Toledo, all Democratic cities, early

the election. Take, for example, these states:

voting hours are limited to 8 AM until 5 PM on weekdays, with no voting at night or on

adult lives. This election will be the first time voting for many people in our generation.

Pennsylvania:

weekends when it is the most convenient for

And with a breadth of important issues

In Pennsylvania, a strict I.D. law has been

working people to vote. However, in counties

being debated this year, from abortion to

upheld by the state’s Commonwealth Court.

like Butler and Warren which in the past have

education and everything in between, voting

This law could cause the disenfranchisement

leaned Republican, early voting has been

is incredibly important. That being said, there

of almost 800,000 voters in the state. Out

expanded.

is a good chance that you or others you know

of this number, around 25% of African

segregates Ohioans based on their presumed

will not be able to vote. It all comes down to

Americans, 18% of the elderly, and 16% of

political party, especially in counties like

one simple acronym: I.D.

Hispanics do not have the I.D. required by law

Cuyahoga where nearly 50% of its residents

and would therefore be unable to vote.

voted before Election Day in 2008.

In this election season, many states have

In

begun implementing laws that would require

addition, student I.D.s that do not expire are

This unequal access to voting

So how does this affect me?

their citizens to have I.D. in order to cast their

also no longer an acceptable identification,

ballots. This issue is the subject of heated

leaving the over 120,000 college students

The alarming trend of voter suppression

debate between Democrats and Republicans.

enrolled in Pennsylvania State System of

has the potential to take hold in an ever-

Republicans have championed the voter I.D.

Higher Education’s universities potentially

increasing number of states.

laws, claiming that they need to be in place

unable to vote. Add to this the fact that getting

everything our country stands on: the idea

to avoid voter fraud.

Democrats, on the

an I.D. requires money, you also disenfranchise

that everyone has a voice in government.

other hand, think that voter fraud happens

the poor. Recently married or divorced?

It is a right to vote, not a privilege. And it’s

so rarely that laws are not needed, and that

You, too, may not be able to vote if your I.D.

certainly not something that a person should

they are merely a ploy to disenfranchise

doesn’t reflect your new name. To top it all off,

have to jump through hoops to be able to do.

minorities, the poor, and students. A study

Pennsylvania has the fewest governmental

When it all boils down, voter I.D. laws do not

by the nonpartisan news project News21

employees of any state, meaning those who

have a place in today’s society.

showed that since 2000, there have only been

can make it to a DMV to get the proper I.D.

2,068 alleged cases of fraud during the period,

will be inconvenienced by short hours and

with only ten in-person cases of voter fraud.

long wait times. To add insult to injury, the

The best way to fight these laws is to be

Considering the fact that there has been

state’s House Majority Leader, Republican

informed. Find out exactly what you need to

around 600 million votes cast in presidential

Rep. Mike Turzai, was quoted saying the law

vote in your state. Let your friends, family,

elections alone during that time, voter fraud

“is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the

coworkers, and neighbors know what they

has been minimal. But regardless of intent

state of Pennsylvania.”

need to do to vote. Talk about these laws on

It threatens

What can I do?

social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

to pass and create these laws, they are still a Ohio:

Helping other people who might otherwise

In 41 states, around 180 bills restricting voting

In Ohio, measures are being taken to keep

not be aware of the changes will help ensure

rights have been proposed. As a U.S. citizen,

people from being able to vote when they

that these suppressive laws have less effect

it is your right to be able to vote without

choose. Early voting days in the state have

than intended. Regardless of who it is going

restrictions.

Therefore, it is incredibly

been cut from 35 days to only 11. No voting

to, a vote is a vote. Don’t let it be silenced.

important that you find out what you need to

is allowed the Sunday before the election,

vote, and when you can do so.

huge problem to a vast majority of Americans.

which is generally when black churches urge

To find out what your individual states’ I.D.

There are some states in particular that

their congregations to vote. The three-day

requirements are, check out

could enact laws that would cause large parts

period before the election, also a time where

www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/

of the state’s population to be ineligible to

many vote, has also been restricted to only

voter-id.aspx

vote. Not so coincidentally, many of these

active duty soldiers. In Cleveland, Columbus,

2 881n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012


The howl

Election 2012: Time for a New Coach? BY danny wolfe

I

t’s game time in America: Blue Team

with kids in order to pay for massive tax cuts

likeability and warmth. Romney has to become

versus Red Team, left versus right,

for multimillionaires. Sounds like unnecessary

more the buddy you want to tailgate with and less the boss you’re trying to avoid.

Obama versus Romney. A struggle for

roughness to me.” Romney’s second down

political power and control. It may seem like

is stripping economic and environmental

Make no mistake about it, Obama’s case

this election has been going on since the last

regulations, Obama went on to say, and his

for re-election is no walk in the park. Millions

one ended—and that’s partly because it has—

third down is a Hail Mary pass of Medicare

are still reeling from a down economy and

but voting day is finally just a few weeks away,

cuts. “And I’ve got one piece of advice for you

unemployment remains high. Obama must

and once the ballots are cast you might actually

about the Romney/Ryan game plan, Ohio. Punt

convince voters that while times remain tough,

be able to watch a game on TV without seeing a

it away, it won’t work, it won’t win the game.

they are indeed getting better. He must also

campaign ad. Until then, politics will continue

You don’t need that coach, that’s a losing

focus people’s attention on his most popular

to weave its way into the world of sports.

season.”

accomplishments—the capture of Osama bin

Considerable work still lies ahead for the

Laden, the revival of the auto industry, and

candidates, two men who desperately want to

certain aspects of healthcare reform. Only then

the Republican nominee kicked off the start

lead this country. Perceptions must be changed

is it conceivable that voters give the man four

of the college football season by blasting the

and mistakes must be avoided. A convincing

more years.

Last month in battleground Ohio,

jobs record of the current White House occupant. “Today, 23 million people are

So who’d really make the best

out of work or stopped looking for work

coach for America? That all depends on

or underemployed,” Romney said. “Let

what you want your team—and country—

me tell you, if you have a coach that’s

to look like. Coach Romney would cater

0-23 million, you say it’s time to get a

to the best players—the top 1% of players,

new coach. It’s time for America to see a

if you will—creating the conditions for

winning season again and we’re going to

them to succeed. He would coach with the

bring it to them.”

firm belief that success naturally trickles

This is exactly what Romney must

down, that the rest of the team would be

do if he has any hope of winning in

elevated by the stars doing well. Coach

November: focus on the economy and

Obama would, in all likelihood, focus his

jobs, the economy and jobs. It’s the

attention on the middle class of players.

biggest issue on voters’ minds, and is a

You know the ones: those who get a decent

spot of potential vulnerability for the

amount of field time, say two hundred and closing argument must be made, both for their

fifty minutes or less per season, but who never

But Obama has never been one to simply

vision and against their opponent, in order

score the winning touchdown. He would coach

take a verbal beating, at least not when his

to gain final possession of the presidential

believing that a strong team is built from the

political life is on the line. Sure enough, he

football.

bottom up, and that the players with the best

president.

Romney has to shed the label of a flip

stats must be willing to sacrifice a little bit

flopper, a guy willing to take any position on

more. Which strategy is best, and which team

“The problem is that everybody’s already

any issue just to please the electorate. He must

you’d rather be on, is a question you must

seen his economic playbook…we know what’s

hope that by ignoring his prior statements on

begin to answer from now until you enter the

in it,” the president said in Cincinnati. “On first

social issues like abortion and gun control,

voting booth (if you’re over 18, of course) on

down, he hikes taxes on the average family

voters will as well. He must also exude more

November 6.

hit back immediately, using Romney’s football metaphors against him.

neosmagazine.com

29


v


v

G YOUN S R E T VO by sam mintz

2

1 20

ELECTION 2012

SPECIAL REPORT neosmagazine.com

31


Young people will certainly make an impact in the national elections this year, like they did in 2008.

But what effect will they have, and how strong will it be?

Y

oung people, more specifically the important political demographic of 18 to 19-year-olds, are notoriously bad at voting. That said, in 2008, these young voters came out in historically large numbers to help Barack Obama defeat John McCain to win the presidency. Someone with a simplistic view on politics might suggest that this is a good sign for Obama in this year’s election, as he could hope to garner the same youthful energy and numbers that he did four years ago. Instead, many signs show that not only will young people fail to match their powerful showing from 2008, but that they also may not come down so clearly on the Democratic side of the ballot. According to statistics provided by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, approximately 23 million Americans under the age of 30 voted in the 2008 presidential election, and youth voter turnout rose to around 52 %, rising over 50 % for the first time since 1992. These young voters strongly supported Obama and the Democratic Party, with two-thirds voters casting their ballots for the eventual winner. According to research from the Young Democrats of America, “Young voters are trending Democratic. Young people

3 281n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012

are identifying as Democrats, supporting the party’s issues, and casting ballots for Democratic candidates at the polls.” And in addition to voting strength, young people energetically volunteered for Obama. They brought energy, passion, and technological know-how to a campaign known for its grassroots nature and pioneering social media presence. But many people in politics and the media agree that this year is going to be different, in more ways than one. In an article for the New Republic, Cheryl Russell writes that three factors consistently correlate with voting rates: money, marriage, and homeownership. In recent years, she says, young Americans have been putting off careers, marriage, and home buying, which has coincided with voting rates falling. The bad economy is exacerbating these trends, she says, and candidates will be “facing an uphill battle” when it comes to winning the support and enthusiasm of young voters. And even if those young voters are persuaded to vote, it’s not a sure thing that they’ll swing the same way they did last time. Romney has gained momentum with young voters. An August poll revealed that Romney won 41 percent of the hypothetical vote of 1,117 likely voters between the ages of 18 and 29, according to an article from the Washington Examiner. In the same poll, Obama received just 49 percent of the youth vote.

THE C


Four years ago, the slogan that captured the hearts of young Democrats was “Change We Can Believe In.” This year, young voters may again seek change when they go to the polls. According to the Examiner article, well-regarded pollster John Zogby said that this year, “more younger voters are becoming libertarian, distrustful of current elected officials and worried that they are going to get stuck with the nation’s looming fiscal bill.” In other

words, he said, “they want change.” According to a recent New York Times article, “legions of eligible voters are young, jobless or underemployed, and lacking in formal education beyond high school. Undecided between the presidential candidates, and often discouraged, they are offering openings for both parties to make gains, experts say.” Both parties and candidates are certainly trying to win over fickle young voters. Despite the changes underway in the youth demographic, they are still a group coveted by both presidential candidates. Both are ramping up their use of social media and technology to appeal to young people on the cutting edge, and both also have a secret weapon. For Obama, it’s his wife, and for Romney, his running mate. Michelle Obama has directed campaign events towards young people, most recently college students in Florida. She has stressed the importance of voter registration and of energetic volunteering, and talked about such issues as healthcare and the economy, which are important to all voters, but especially college students with uncertain futures. Her energy and charisma appeal to a generation that sees her as a strong figure, even a hero. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s youthful running mate Paul Ryan has been harnessing charm of his own to appeal to younger voters. His rhetoric and energy seem to counterbalance the age and steady persona of Romney, who many are calling “out of touch.” At the Republican National Convention, Ryan directly appealed to these young voters, saying that “millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all. So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years? In appealing to the evermeaningful “change,” Ryan is employing powerful rhetoric that happened to work four years ago for Obama, the opponent on the other side of the aisle.

CANDIDATES neosmagazine.com

No matter which side of the election they land on, young people could have a dramatic effect on the outcome of this year’s presidential election, as they did four years ago..

33


democratic movement that occurred throughout the Middle East last year, as less than desirable. Ironically, parts of their respective

THE ISSUES

foreign policies are similar because they both advocate the use of sanctions and diplomacy to shape the international sphere. The crucial difference, however, is that Obama possesses the track record. In fact, Obama’s achievement of capturing and killing Osama

With the 2012 presidential election rapidly approaching, young voters who have just recently gained the privilege to participate in the epitome of the democratic process may be uncertain about their political preferences. Here are five youth-relevant issues that will play an important role in determining the election.

bin Laden has been a crowning moment of his presidency and will

A ndy Wang

Republicans have been skeptical about

probably convince many young voters to err on his side when foreign policy is considered. With great changes such as global

The Environment

warming,

young

voters

may

be

focused on the prospect of cutting carbon emissions. While Obama has given stimulus funding, albeit ill-fated, to the solar energy company Solyndra and promised millions of green jobs,

the veracity of global warming and continue to agitate for Arctic drilling and the Keystone Pipeline, two projects to increase the nation’s consumption of fossil fuels. The problem, however, is the tenuous balance between the utilization of green energy and the state of the economy. With the rising costs of energy, an increase in fossil fuel capability may be necessary to drive down energy costs and maintain the economy. On the other hand, an expansion of green energy from solar, wind, and hydroelectric sources can only increase the price of energy because of technological expenses and inefficiency and threaten the already fragile economy. Therefore, the issue comes down to whether young voters believe that America can wait on addressing global warming until after its economy has completely recovered or whether the threat climate change poses our posterity outweighs any economic Since America is exiting the century

Foreign Policy

repercussions. Undoubtedly, the state of the economy

as a major player in the international sphere, young voters are undoubtedly looking forward to an “American Century,” a century of peace and US

The Economy

will be one of the most pressing issues in the upcoming election. Since the country has endured its biggest

leadership. Although this generation

recession in a single lifetime during

has not witnessed the atrocities of the

Obama’s term, young voters will be

world wars or the controversy of the

looking for the president who can

Vietnam War, foreign policy of the 21st century will not been simple.

reinvigorate the economy by the time

From rogue states such as North Korea to terrorist organization

they enter the workforce.

such as Al-Qaeda, there are certainly new threats that the United

With last year’s credit downgrade by Standard and Poor’s, the

States must address. The biggest foreign event of our lifetimes, the

realities of US federal debt came into focus. If the United States

9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, has been firmly

continues to delve deeper into debt and is downgraded once again,

imprinted in our minds.

foreign countries may stop buying US bonds, sharply inflating

As for the election, Romney has been trying to frame Obama as

interest rates and damaging the economy. The economics of debt

the cause of weakening US power by criticizing Obama’s approach

aside, voters should be looking for the candidate that can effectively

to nuclearizing Iran and other conflicts caused by Arab Spring, the 3 481n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012


reduce the outstanding balance of the United States. Even though repeal what he calls “Obamacare.” Obamacare, however, has special Obama began his term with an $800 billion stimulus package, he has benefits for young voters. Young adults under the Affordable Care Act been trying to reduce wasteful spending and proposed eliminating are covered by their parents’ insurance until they are twenty-six. A tax cuts for the upper income brackets to increase government repeal would eliminate these benefits and once again make the United revenue. On the other hand, Romney pledges to take a strict stand

States one of the only western states without universal health care.

on US fiscal policy by repealing measures he deems expensive Nevertheless, a repeal would save almost $100 billion dollars and act and privatizing companies heavily reliant on federal government as a starting point for balancing the US budget. Thus, young voters must once again determine if the economy can handle the benefits the

subsidies.

The most blatant source of discontent is unemployment. Since a federal government is trying to offer to its citizens. job provides an income to buy the basic necessities of life, a higher

Unsurprisingly, the issue of education

unemployment rate means that the country’s general well-being is lower. Even though Obama has slowly reduced the unemployment rate from its peak of around 10%, the harsh reality is that he has lost almost 300,000 overall jobs since his inauguration. Nevertheless, both presidents will push aggressive policies to halt outsourcing and create new jobs. Overall, the general tendency will be to credit the incumbent for his mishandling of the economy. However, Obama may respond to Romney’s rhetoric by crediting the economic recession at the beginning of his term to his predecessors. In the end, voters will have to decide whether to give Obama another chance at revitalizing the economy or hand over the reins to Romney. Although youth sometimes conjures a

Health Care

sense of invincibility, sensible young voters will be keeping their eye on health care. After Obama eked out the Affordable Care Act two years ago, Republicans have been trying to repeal the law. In fact, the most distinctive break between Romney and Obama is

Education

will be very important to young voters. As US academic performance continues to decrease and the costs of higher education continue to soar, education is clearly in a state of flux in the United States. In response, both candidates have proposed new plans to boost the

education achievement of America. Obama’s plan, Race to the Top, offers competitive grants to schools with new educational innovation while Romney’s plan, A Chance for Every Child, tries to ensure that higher-quality education is accessible to children of all classes. Additionally, both candidates recognize the problem of increasingly expensive higher education tuition; however, they disagree on the solution. While Obama wants to continue feeding federal student aid in to the system, Romney is trying to say that blank checks to universities will only drive up the tuition price and that privatization of student aid is necessary. Nevertheless, both candidates are committed to increasing the overall quality of education in the United States; therefore, other issues will probably be more important in determining the election.

that Romney has stated that one of his first objectives will be to neosmagazine.com

35


the rise of

Casual Encounters

by ben hornung

I went to middle school with this girl, whom I’ll call Sylvia. As a sixth-grader she seemed just like the rest of us, going through that awkward pre-adolescent time no one can traverse gracefully. She was pretty by middle-school standards, being a long-haired girl who played a sport, and thus was a perfect match for my friend, whose genetics had mercifully given him straight teeth and a sinewy musculature that guaranteed twelveyear-old handsomeness. They dated for maybe two months, meaning they went out to movies or bowling together, usually

3 681n e o no 0 1b2 e r nse o s v esmebpe tr e2 m

2012

in groups. They held hands maybe four times, never kissed. It was a purer time when adult romance hadn’t yet permeated the gently harmless “I’ll like you if you like me back” atmosphere that might seem more at home in a dancing-related 1980s flick. Then summer vacation arrived, and, without the consistent crossroads of school, the glue of their relationship fell apart. Sylvia didn’t come back for seventh grade, for unrelated family reasons.


Fast-forward five years. It’s junior year of high school and Sylvia has in fact returned. Puberty was kind to her, she is well-aware and in control of herself, and does not hesitate to throw herself back into the romantic scene of our school. But this time, she does not limit herself to one semi-strong male. She couples up, in the one-time-only sense of the term, with a large number of guys in and outside of the school. While she doesn’t openly brag about these “hookups,” she’s not embarrassed by them, either.Grease’s Sandy Olsson would be shocked. Sylvia’s not an aberrant case, either. She and similarly minded teenagers are quickly becoming examples of the rule, rather than exceptions to it, as the mainstream subsumes the hookup culture and concept of healthy non-monogamous relationships. This is no longer your parents’ romantic environment, kiddies. What’s the drive behind the shift towards hookups? Well, to better understand that question it’s important to know the opposite side’s point of view. So what are the benefits of dating in the first place? As a generalization, dating provides an emotional connection with another person, the opportunity to share experiences, and, of course, sexual intimacy. Hookups, in their vaguest, most allencompassing sense, provide all of the physical aspects of a “couple” relationship and don’t bother with the emotional side. That’s not to say that teenage emotions have disappeared completely from the radar. We’re not suddenly sex-fiend robots unaware of and uncaring for each other. Instead, we’ve found a separate outlet for our emotions, arguably ill-fitted but undeniably easy to use: social media. Whether it be to Facebook, Twitter, or whatever sharing site will become popular next, the 13-18 demographic has suddenly decided that hastily posting their feelings on the internet is a great idea. And hey, why not? It’s ridiculously

neosmagazine.com

simple and all your friends can see it. It supplies an instantly gratifying sense of community with every click of “share,” all the release of a real-life support group without any of the forced interaction (because anything can be ignored on the internet) or face-to-face human contact. You just rant, post, and boom, it’s all gone and taken care of. Now you can move on to more pressing matters like the season finale of Suits. What’s the problem? The problem is this: as many of us well know, it is incredibly easy for this plan of action to backfire, sometimes in major ways, sometimes not. Entire sites

world, this kind of warning would fall to the sites themselves, but, unfortunately, encouraging a lack of self-censorship is the entire business model for, as an example, Facebook; the more you post about your likes and dislikes, as well as what you actually Like, the thicker your digital docket is, and the more specific and personalized Facebook can tailor the ads it shows you, which is where its money comes from. While the sites themselves would be the ones in the best position to stop such self-detrimental sharings, it’s in their best interests to let people post as much as they want, the more personal the

JUst rant, post, and boom, it’s all gone and taken care of.

have been devoted to posting examples of people’s stupidity and ignorance made manifest to the internet. The ability to express emotions incyberspace is simple because it requires so little, but its payout is the same: little. It’s a cop-out, a way to avoid dealing with life’s daily vicissitudes head-on and instead take them on weakly and without much effort. As other venues fulfill the desire for sharing emotions with others, many teenagers are finding it less necessary to seek a relationship for that reason. The need for an emotional partner has decreased as the ability to share anything and everything increases. Thus, the popularity of hookups skyrockets as people realize, hey, who needs a girlfriend when I can vent to Facebook? And as time goes on, teenagers specifically become more careless and bolder about what they share, since there’s no precedent for the use of this technology and no good way for people to understand the consequences of their actions before posting. In a perfect

better. The newfound romantic culture of hookups is a byproduct of the emotional disconnect caused by shifts in technology’s popularity. And hooking up in nature is a generally emotionally disconnected act, which then feeds back into the technology, creating a semi-vicious circle that may be slowed, but doubtfully ever stopped. Like Facebook, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hooking up can, in the right amounts and in the right ways, provide a healthy environment for high schoolers in particular where sexual experiences may freely abound. It’s an arguably more straightforward approach to the currently widespread system of regular dating, with its confusing affectional aspect. John Travolta accidentally predicted it quite nicely in Grease: “There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.” Perhaps the hookup culture’s growth will follow that of many social networks, currently slowing, and eventually fall back down to very manageable levels. Only time will tell.

37


operation internet

freedom katherine vega


The World Wide Web, in all its untamed glory, is the last frontier. But for how long? neosmagazine.com


FORTUNATELY, (or unfortunately, if you are the head of a major record company or movie studio) we have been very much in the Wild Wild West of the Internet for most of its existence. The world is at our nimble fingertips, in the palms of our mousewielding hands, just a short click away. As young adults, we’ve grown up with it. Sure, we may remember our young childhoods and playing outside before the days of dial-up, but there is no doubt that the Internet has completely changed the fabric of society in the developed world. Even in the developing world, the number of Internet users is growing at an incredibly fast pace. But as we become more connected than ever, these glorious Wild Wild West days may draw to a close as the government and corporations fight for jurisdiction over the web, especially in issues regarding piracy and copyright infringement. Net

find troubling. Were you watching the news this past winter? SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Protect IP Act) were both making headlines, especially when sites like Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit expressed their concerns quote loudly and clearly. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), had introduced SOPA with bipartisan backing. Support was strong in Congress. Then, voting for both bills ended up being postponed indefinitely after mass protests from people and websites alike. After all, who can survive the day without Wikipedia? The government and major companies like the RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) both say that piracy is bad, m’kay? Many would agree. The problem that most individuals and websites had with the bills was not that they were aimed to stop

STOPON ON STOP THE MASTERMIND

CONT PROV

neutrality, the idea that governments and Internet service providers

WW

should put no restrictions on what Internet users can do with it, is being challenged on both global and local scales. Whether or not people do anything about it shows a lot about the country we live in and the people we are. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of people under the

WEBSITE

age of 30 use the web in the United States. Almost ¾ of people over the age of 18 use it as well. So, where does that leave us as a society? We can look at silly pictures of cats. We can watch videos of people we’ve never met. We can Skype with our grandmothers while we’re away at college. We can fuel a revolution in the Middle East. With all these liberties come increasing restrictions that some 40

neos november 2012

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-TX)

REMOVES SITES TO PIRACY FROM HARMING USER-


piracy, but that they were the result of the government being lobbied

Pew Research indicates that teens and adults under 30 have the

and attempting to regulate something that they had little control

highest number of Internet users. Approximately 76% of teens use

over before. The bills were also incredibly harsh, even putting

social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and 37% of teen users

restrictions on what search engines can display and what websites

participate in video chats. A whopping 77% of teens download music

can be shut down for copyright infringement. For example, an entire

online as of 2011, and the majority of them say that they sometimes

website could be blocked if one post contained copyrighted material.

download those songs illegally, according to Mobiledia.com. (Yes,

Critics claimed that SOPA would take away free speech and thus be a

America! Sometimes, in acts of youthful rebellion, teenagers bend

violation of the first amendment.

the rules.) As much as some people may not like it, it’s the truth,

I’m not advocating piracy. I am, however, wondering about the

and unless something dramatically and suddenly changes with the

impact that regulations of the Internet would have on people in high

youth of America, teenagers will keep downloading illegally. A lot of

school and college. Nearly all of us use it, and we use it often for both

people don’t see the harm, and that’s not necessarily a moral issue—

academic and entertainment purposes. How much can laws and the

it’s an issue of the government not making itself clear. That’s what

opposition to them affect the average high school or college student?

they attempted to do this past winter, and that’s where people had a

Well, actually, a lot.

problem. The protests weren’t about piracy laws, but about strict and

NLINE PIRACY ACT NLINE

TESTED VISIONS

POSTPONED

JAN 20

WW

E BLACKLIST

WITH CONNECTIONS M ACCESS IN THE USA, -CONTENT SITES

SERVICE PROVIDERS

REQUIRED TO TRACK CUSTOMER TRAFFIC AND BLOCK SITES GUILTY OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

2012


The Historyof Internet Pi Peer to peer file sharing is nothing new, and its widespread use today is a result of many developments in the past few decades. A quick look at how internet piracy has transformed, progressed, and evolved:

1991 MP3 File Format The MPEG-2 Audio Layer III file format is developed by a coalition of scientists including the AT&T Bell Research Lab. It is able to compress a standard CD sound file by eleven times and becomes widely used throughout the nineties.

1998 digital millenium copyright act The bill is passed unanimously by the US Senate. It increases

the penalties for theft of intellectual property online, and officially outlaws the development and devices and services created to aid in copyright infringement.

instantly explodes in popularity, peaking at 80 million songs and 25 million active users.

A&M Records, along with several other music record companies, sues Napster for violation of the DMCA and for aiding in copyright infringement of mp3 files. Napster is forced to shut down in July 2001, and declares bankruptcy the very next year.

1999 Napster Sean Parker, Shawn Fanning, and John Fanning launch Napster, a peer to peer file sharing service that primarily aids in the dissemination of digital mp3 files. Napster

possibly unfair enforcement.

2000 A&M Records vs napster

O’Dwyer’s legal troubles as well. I don’t know, nor do I particularly care, if you pirate music,

Have you ever heard of Richard O’Dwyer? He is a 24-year-old

movies, or textbooks with basic knowledge of copyright laws. If you

student whom the U.S. charged with conspiracy to commit copyright

do, I especially don’t know or care why. Perhaps you are struggling

infringement and criminal infringement of copyright, which sound

financially and just want to watch that new action flick without

pretty similar but are apparently very different to the U.S. government.

shelling out $30 for a DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital/Magic/Extended combo

He created a search engine to find links to other websites with movies,

pack. Perhaps you are a wealthy trust-fund kid who just wants to

many of which were illegally uploaded. The best part of the whole

stick it to the man. Perhaps you just want to ruffle some record-

story? He’s not even American. No, dear readers, O’Dwyer is British.

company feathers. (If that sounds like you, then way to go. It worked.)

The United States has been trying to extradite him for well over a

Whatever the reason, things are changing, and quickly.

year now, and he could face up to five years in prison for each charge.

O’Dwyer’s situation is not an isolated event. It’s been happening

The Open Rights Group, an organization based in the United

more and more frequently, and while some may say that the

Kingdom that is aimed at “protecting your rights in the digital age,”

suspects deserve their punishment, many more would say that the

disagrees with charges and has been very outspoken about the

consequences of getting caught pirating are a little extreme. In

situation. They claim that O’Dwyer did not break any U.K. laws, and

2009, a woman was ordered to pay 1.9 million dollars because she

that he should not be under the jurisdiction of the United States.

downloaded and shared 24 songs from Kazaa, according a Huffington

Well, now what? Who’s right? If the fact that the internet is global

Post article. Yes, she broke the law. No one (well, besides her) denies

didn’t make it hard enough to monitor activities of questionable

that. But 1.9 million dollars?

legality, then the fact that no countries have the exact same laws did. And remember how Wikipedia protested SOPA? Well, they protested 42

neos november 2012

In addition, colleges and universities around the country


iracy 2001

2003

2011

bittorrent

piratebay

sopa controversy

The BitTorrent protocol is developed by Bram Cohen. Individual users known as seeders collectively upload files to those downloading the files, or leechers. BitTorrent is capable of transmitting very large files, such as movies and software. Other clients such as uTorrent and Transmission grow in popularity.

Swedish anti-copyright organization PyratByran launches the infamous website, with Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij as its first managers. Despite repeated efforts to shut it down, Piratebay.se still hosts over four million torrents.

2010 limewire shutdown Limewire, the popular music peer-to-peer file sharing service, is sued 75 trillion USD, with 11,000 songs marked as being illegally downloaded hundreds of times.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) from Texas introduces the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which its opponents criticize for severely compromising internet freedom. In early 2012 major websites including Reddit and Wikipedia coordinate a simultaneous “blackout”, and Google collects over 7 million online signatures. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NEV) postpones the vote until the act is revised and reintroduced.

have been cracking down on piracy for at least the past few years. In

enforcement, First Amendment rights are ignored. Regardless of

2010, the Higher Education Opportunity Act went into effect. Among

what people think is right, the world will not always work in favor

other, friendlier aspects, it required that colleges and universities

with the majority. If you have an issue with how the Internet, the

monitor Internet usage on their networks and put measures in place

government, and piracy are affecting you, then do something about

to combat file-sharing. This is not just about a few unlucky people

it. Don’t ignore the problem because you don’t think it’s relevant,

who got caught doing something illegal anymore. This is about

because in my experience, it always is.

schools spending a lot of money, between $350,000 and $500,000 a

So, some 20 years after the Internet first made its grand debut, it

year, according to TorrentFreak.com. If that weren’t enough, it takes

appears the days of near complete and total freedom (at least in the

a lot of time to keep tabs on the Internet usage of several thousand

U.S.) are drawing to a close. Bills like SOPA and PIPA in the United

college kids. The IT departments at public schools spend an average

States and a very similar European version know as ACTA have

of 750 hours a year simply tracking down and notifying all of the

already been proposed. While they failed the first time, they lurk

students who are accused illegal file-sharers. To make things even

in our legislative branches and without a doubt will be brought up

worse, their efforts seem to be futile, leaving universities with a huge

again. Organizations like the Open Rights Group and the Internet

bill to foot. Like many proposed ways to monitor people, this proved

Freedom Coalition (IFC) are working as hard they can to combat

to be one big waste of time and money.

regulation of the Internet, but still, there’s always a new group of

There doesn’t seem to be a compromise. Either the voices of

people who oppose them. The future of the Internet as we know it

the Internet are silenced, record companies are unhappy, or young

is up in the air. In the meantime, though, think about yourself. While

adults keep getting in trouble based on strict observance of their web

older members of Congress have gone on about how the Internet is a

usage. Without strict enforcement of copyright laws on the Internet,

“series of tubes,” we’ve built our lives around it. Shouldn’t we have a

record companies get annoyed and lobby the government. With strict

say in its future? N

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43


Photograph by nathan weir neosmagazine.com

63


Doing re ’ ou Y RONG W Them

By Ama Badu

46

The college application season will soon be upon some of you, and, as most of you know, the college admissions sweepstakes are going to be crazier than ever. With acceptance rates getting lower and the number of students applying to colleges increasing, you need to find a way to stand out from the pack and get acceptance letters into the schools of your choice. How can you do this? By simply not falling into the most common application some of1 2these pitfalls aren’t n e traps. o s nWhile ovemb er 20

difficult to spot, some seem so true that many students unknowingly fall prey to them. Don’t let this happen to you! I did a survey and asked students and educators to tell me about a few of the myths regarding the application process. The students who were interviewed listed their top three myths and a professor at Harvard College wanted to give you a few words of wisdom.


neosmagazine.com

47


the all-around student Myth number one. Most students begin to understand the importance of college while starting high school. Many students scramble around and attempt to become the all-around student that they think colleges need. Oscar, a computer science major at Carnegie Melon University, stated something that many students applying to college don’t seem to know. Some students think that they “need to have done everything in [high school], from Olympiads to research to having publications in journals, etc. The truth is, only a small fraction of college applicants have truly done those things, and you’re just fine without [them].” Here’s the main point: colleges are not looking for a well-rounded student—they are looking for a well-rounded class. Colleges and universities are looking for students who will

is completely right! Go for those harder courses. It will prove to

add academic, creative, and interest-based diversity to their school.

colleges that you have done and are capable of college level work.

Emily, a freshman student at Princeton University, said, “I know a

This will make you look much more college ready. To those of you

lot of people who subjugated themselves to clubs/activities/sports/

who are underclassmen, just make sure to start off your high school

etc. that they didn’t really care for, but thought [they] would ‘look

career with some higher level courses. International Baccalaureate,

good’ on their college apps.” Don’t be that student who overloads

Advanced Placement, or even Honors courses would be great!

themselves with activities that they hate just because they’re hoping that colleges will find it impressive, because they won’t. A padded resume that’s filled with things you did half-heartedly is not as good as a resume that has fewer things that you were truly a part of. You

the price tag

should find your interests and become a member of organizations about them, lead things, get officer positions, and leave your mark on whatever it is that you’re doing.

GPA vs. Easy Classes The higher your GPA the better, right? Yes and no. Of course every college wants to accept students with high and above average grades. However, what many students forget is that these same colleges also want you to challenge yourself with higher level courses. Colleges want to see if you’re capable of doing fairly well on college level work. Orland, an aerospace engineering major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said that in his opinion the number one myth is that “It’s better to have a high GPA than to take difficult classes. I think that this is not true at all, for the reason that you take easy classes and get a great GPA, but when you arrive at college you are slammed with very hard topics and lessons. So, I think that the more difficult courses you take, the better off you are [in terms of ] experience in tougher subjects and an experimented [study] strategy to use in college (even if you won’t do as well grades-wise). Colleges treat GPAs and look at courses differently, so definitely go for difficult classes!” Orland

You’ve just received a brochure from a school and the first thing that jumped out at you and your parents was the price tag. There’s no way you can apply to that school, right? False. This is one of the biggest myths I’ve seen. I’ve heard it from college counselors, students, and even my own family members during the college application process. Yes, some schools have ridiculous costs. I applied and was accepted into a school that was a top thirty private university. I was excited at the prospect of going there until I saw the whopping $60,000 price tag. But, wait. Did I throw out the idea of going there? No! Financial aid and scholarships brought the price of that school down to a reasonable cost. A good friend of mine named Ruth who is studying Biology at Wheaton


ON COLLEGE

curricular activities you are capable of adding to your academic load, the test

“Be there with the mindset that this is your only opportunity to make a difference and leave a legacy-

scores you need to register and prepare yourself for, the essays that are required as part of the college application package, the interview

process,

the

college visitations and the

your Four

Opportune Years.”

others. Having done all that is required of you as a high school senior, you can

Professor Prince Obiri Mainoo

rest assured that you have

harvard college

left no stone unturned in your preparation towards

College told me that she believes the number one college myth would be that “the college financial aid people will not help you if you need more aid. It is not true, well, from what I experienced with both Gordon and Wheaton [her top college choices]. They were willing to help me get the most financial aid possible so that I could attend their schools.” This is one myth that should not hold you back from properly applying to a school. If you can get accepted into a college then you can apply for financial aid and scholarships. Don’t let the cost of a school deter you from even applying. Every college is required by federal law to have a financial aid calculator on their website, so make sure to check that out. There’s nothing as bad as not even trying to get accepted into the college of your choice.

the next important stage in life—life as an undergraduate student, and I assure you, it is worth all the sacrifice!” He noted that the main myths that he has noticed among freshman applicants, from the perspective of a professor and college guru, were that they tend to back-door the way into the application process, meaning that some students apply into the easiest major at a university in the hopes of changing their major once they are in. Professor Obiri Mainoo warns that “this is not always a good idea because there are a lot of implications that [students] might not always be aware of.” Some universities have waiting lists for major transfers. Apply to the program that you sincerely want to be in. Professor Obiri Mainoo also said that some students think that getting recommendations from high up officials will give them a leg up, he then said in a rather witty way “what happens to foreign

a professor’s perspective

students and [students] from elsewhere?”. Yes, put your best foot forward, but don’t think that these things will give you an automatic in to any college.

Professor Prince Obiri Mainoo, a linguistics professor at Harvard University, was kind enough to give a professor’s perspective on these

Don’t fall into the traps that could stop you from getting into the

myths. “Having reviewed the above and many more, I am personally

school of your dreams. Our student contributors also gave some last

of the opinion that you would need to be your personal self. Know

minute advice for you applicants: Oscar said, “I wish I would’ve

what career you would want to prepare yourself for and check into

considered a state school, and applied to more schools. App[lication]

schools that are known to excel in that discipline. Whichever school

fees are not cheap, but I like having options.”. Emily stated that, “[I

you found yourself in, give out your best. Be there with the mindset

wish I had] started earlier on my apps. Waiting until the last minute

that this is your only opportunity to make a difference and leave a

caused me undue stress when it came to crunch time”. “What I wish I

legacy—your Four Opportune Years. Whenever the names of students

had done differently was do more overnight visits because that would

who have made the greatest impact in the college are mentioned,

have helped me significantly to see what the dorms look like and what

[your] name should not be missing. Finally, do not miss out on any

it is like to live in one,” stated Ruth. Take the advice of those who

ingredient needed to complete the application process. These may

have gone through this process before you. There are certain things

include the need to make good grades in your high school, challenging

you will not notice until it’s too late. Good luck on your applications,

yourself with difficult classes, especially if they would have a bearing

keep your eyes set towards your goal, and you can do it. Don’t fall

on the career you want to pursue in future, the community and extra-

for traps, don’t make careless mistakes, and you might just win the application sweepstakes!

49


Gone are the days of summer, when every day was a good day because it didn’t even start until three in the afternoon. Now that school is underway and you have to wake up at the crack of dawn, it’s time to develop some strategies to cope with that homework hangover that never seems to go away. Whether you’re in high school or college, starting your morning off on the wrong foot can ruin your entire day; all it takes is one missing sock or a soggy bowl of cereal to derail your mood. And while there is no silver bullet for taking down the monster known as waking up early, there are steps that can be taken—as laid out in this article by yours truly—that will make starting your day just a little more bearable. As Aristotle once said, “Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.” Very few things in life make me angrier

Danny Wolfe

How To Be Less Miserable When The Sun Comes Up Let’s be honest here: mornings suck.

than the sound of my alarm clock. Usually that shrill, high-pitched noise goes off right before I’m about to swim laps with Michael Phelps or cash in that billion-dollar lottery ticket that only exists in Dreamland. Waking up before your body and mind are ready is bad enough, but if you’re like me and use the alarm app on your cell phone then you probably also use one of those pre-selected ringtones that sound like what they use to evacuate office buildings during earthquakes. I suffered through this version of alarm clock hell for years, waking up to the same shrieking noise each morning, before I finally had the revelation that it doesn’t have to be this way. Pick a song you like. A monologue from your favorite comedian. The sound of Jack

50

neos november 2012


Nicholson smashing through the bathroom

only problem with these morning showers

stilettos or cutting off the circulation to

door in The Shining. You know, something

is that they never seem to last long enough.

your lower body with a pair of skinny jeans.

you wouldn’t mind waking up to in the

Most of us would spend the whole day in

Sometimes slip-on shoes and some shorts

morning. Whatever you choose, replace

there if we could, but once the shampoo

can look just as good and feel a whole lot

your tired, annoying, pre-set alarm with

washes away we usually realize that we have

better (sidenote: the other day I saw a kid

something new, something that won’t

things to do and a life to live. So we turn

walking to class wearing a bath robe—you

immediately irritate you when you hear it.

the water off and move on. Second piece of

should be comfortable, but you don’t have

Try this out for a few days (making sure

advice: don’t end your shower before you’re

to be that guy). Save your nicer outfits for

your new wake-up sound is loud enough

actually ready to face the day. Make room

when you go out on the weekends and there’s a reason to dress up. As promised, let’s talk about coffee.

Don’t end your shower before you’re actually ready to face the day. Make room in the morning to extend your shower, even by a few minutes.

It’s popular for a reason: acting as a stimulant on the central nervous system, the caffeine in a cup of Joe can help fight off drowsiness and keep you alert during the day. If you don’t already drink caffeine in the morning and find yourself struggling to stay awake during classes, it wouldn’t hurt

for your sleeping self to even recognize as

in the morning to extend your shower, even

to start trying. If you’re already drinking

an alarm) and then use it for a few weeks,

by a few minutes, and even if that means

coffee but are sick of the taste and stained

maybe even a month, until you begin to

waking up a tad earlier or taking breakfast

teeth, try switching to energy drinks. Red

associate that song/podcast/stand-up

on the go. I know this goes against every

Bull comes in a sugar-free version and still

routine you selected with having to get out

water conservation ad you’ve ever seen, but

does the trick of keeping sleepiness at bay

of bed. Then you know it’s time to switch

you can be environmentally friendly in other

(plus, it gives you wings). Just don’t overdo

it up and try something new. Don’t subject

ways and still take advantage of the benefits

it, unless you want your teacher asking you

yourself to the same torture you just set

of a longer shower. A little bit of extra time

why you’re twitching.

yourself free from. By changing—and

to relax in the morning will go a long way.

frequently rotating—your alarm, waking up

Well, that does it. Hopefully a few of these

for the day can become a slightly less painful

It probably passes through your mind at

tips will help alleviate your morning agony.

task.

least once between waking up and stepping

Sure, this article may just be solving one

out the door: what should I wear? Whatever

First World Problem after another (Oh, you

As we all know, the best part of waking up

your process is (whether you choose your

don’t like the tone your five hundred dollar

isn’t Folgers in our cup (although we’ll get

outfits the night before or grab whatever

smart phone plays for you in the morning?

to coffee in a minute, don’t you worry). For

clothes from the hamper appear the least

At least you have running water and don’t

a lot of us, it’s the shower we take that’s the

dirty) prioritize comfort over style as often

have malaria) but if you’re like most and

high point of our morning (as sad as that

as you can. This may seem hard when

can’t seem to get your engine running in the

may be). Not only does the hot water get us

we all think we’re the cover model of our

AM, they might help. Or maybe you think

out of our fog, it also provides us with a few

own fashion magazine, but trust me, your

they’re all useless and won’t change things,

solitary moments to gather our thoughts and

day will go much more smoothly if you’re

but humor me anyways and at least consider

begin preparing mentally for the day. The

not walking around campus in three-inch

them.

neosmagazine.com

N 51


Knights & SEGWAYS Steven Lai

5 2 n en e o s n ov e m b e r 2012 os november 2012

52


scientia

The latest in science and tech

ben hornung

Let’s try something. Turn to the person next to you and ask him: “Have you seen Mean Girls?”

you look fantastic today! Mean Girls is like pooping your pants:

his bowels or he doesn’t want to admit

says no, still turn back, but now be

everyone accepts that it happened, but

he’s got Regina George’s speeches

aware that your “friend” or “person-

no one admits it. Now, is it more likely

memorized?

sitting-next-to-you” is a liar. Watching

your friend has complete control over

If he says yes, turn back; if he

neosmagazine.com

But if your friend is lying, why?

53


by Paul brown & nathaniel white

S

Car torque, continued

S

54

That’s easy. People lie for the same reasons they touch themselves: 1) we want something we can’t get otherwise 2) we want to fit in, or 3) we’re really bored. Although he didn’t use that metaphor, similar lying guidelines were proposed by Dr. Jack Hoff of Phoenix University in a paper titled “The J. Erkin Criteria of Lies,” named after his colleague Dr. Jeffrey Erkin, who tragically passed away in a meatpacking factory-related accident days before the paper’s publication. According to Hoff, every lie ever spoken falls into one of those three categories, and can be measured in “Wangs,” after Dr. Charles Wang, who died in the same accident as Erkin. The more Wangs, the better the lie. For example, this entire article is based on lies. In my applicatoin to write for this magazine I said I was “very handsome, tall with wavy brown hair and piercing brown eyes.” Looking back, it seems somewhat strange that a magazine would require in-depth physical descriptions of their applicants, but at the time it didn’t really register with me because I was making everything up. I wasn’t talking about myself at all; I was describing an image from a peyote-induced dream where a young Kevin Costner and Zac Efron, in matching jorts, electrified a combined sperm sample Frankenstein-style. The creature that grew from that unholy seminal mashup was my inspiration for “Ben Hornung,” although I didn’t include the manatee tail or cloven hooves in my application for obvious reasons (it went over the word count). In real life, I’m a geriatric French-Samoan woman. I lied to comply with the discriminatory standards of a magazine targeting teenagers (because kids these days love reading!) so I could join and use the exposure to spread the seeds of my anarchoLuddite rebellion, for irony’s sake. Perhaps I shouldn’t have given away my secret in the very first issue, but I don’t really care because, again, I’m making it all up. That little fib within a fib, Fibception, was my attempt to obtain something I couldn’t get otherwise — in this case an interesting lie-related story — and distract myself from boredom. Thus, it satisfies both the first and third J. Erkin criteria, giving it a score of two out of three Wangs. This is about as good as it gets when it comes to lies. The elusive perfect lie, AKA a “Full Wang”, has only been found seven times throughout history, two of them in Mean Girls. And if that doesn’t tell you something about our culture, you probably haven’t seen it.

neos november 2012

Apple vs Samsung Innovation vs Irrelevancy

The tremendous amount of work Apple has put into making the iPhone one of the best and most advanced mobile devices in the world is evident from the first time you power one on. Since the first one left an Apple store in 2007, iPhones have flown off shelves. They became a cultural icon virtually overnight with their iconic design. For most of the late-2000s the iPhone was the phone to have, and nothing came close to usurping it. The balance of power, however, began to shift with the emergence of the Android platform. Android was most likely nothing more than a blip on Apple’s radar in the beginning, but since then, it has turned it into a legitimate problem for Apple. By November of 2010, Android had overtaken iOS as the most popular mobile operating system, but the iPhone still remained the world’s most popular smartphone. As months and years passed Apple and Android remained in this de facto stalemate. During this time, Samsung became the preeminent Android manufacturer, despite the

wide assortment of different handset manufacturers that use Android. Samsung began to make a dent in iPhone sales by using aggressive advertising techniques to show off their Galaxy series of phones. The iPhone, however, remained the most popular phone by leaps and bounds. Samsung took advantage of their position as the underdog and threw everything in innovative and creative new ideas for the Galaxy S II, released in 2011. By doing this, they created a legitimate head-to-head competitor for the iPhone. Meanwhile, the 2011 iteration of the iPhone, the iPhone 4S, only featured minor updates, despite the enormous hype built up around it. When these two phones were pitted against each other, it was truly a tossup. Despite the disappointment that was the iPhone 4S, no other line of phones was able to generate as much publicity and sell as many units as the


THE FACTS

California court awards Apple $1.05 billion. Verdict comes as a surprise to everyone, given California’s hositility towards Apple products.

Samsung is awarded 100 million yen ($1.3 million) by a Tokyo court. Apple remains the dominant mobile power in Japan, but Android users are growing steadily.

winner: apple

winner: samsung

In the UK, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is famously deemed “not as cool” as the iPad. Samsung’s products are regarded as unique products, not imitations.

winner: samsung

50+ lawsuits spanning over a year and a half. A look at some notable developments

iPhone, until the Samsung Galaxy S III. Many factors – such as publicity from the patent disputes, Android’s more mature operating system updates, the release schedule, and Samsung’s prowess in innovation and design —led consumers to begin choosing the Galaxy S III over the iPhone. The Galaxy S III not only outsold the iPhone 4S but also set a record for the fastest-selling smartphone in the world, moving over 20 million units in onehundred days. For the first time ever, Apple was playing catch-up to another smartphone

manufacturer. The iPhone 5 has reignited the excitement around the iPhone and come close to making up for the disappointment of the iPhone 4S. Apple included all the features people had been begging for – a bigger screen, a new design, 4G LTE, a better camera, and a revamped iOS 6; since its announcement, there has been nonstop buzz from prominent tech websites and blogs. Pre-orders for the phone on Apple’s website sold out in one hour. The biggest winner from Apple and

Samsung’s fight for smartphone supremacy is the consumer. Samsung now knows what it feels like to be the premier smartphone maker and will have even more incentive to overtake Apple once more. On the other hand, Apple now realizes that Samsung is a legitimate threat and another disappointing release could be much more devastating. Both companies have to come up with innovative and never before seen features or risk falling into irrelevancy.

The Inconsistencies of Apple Inconsistency Number One

understanding on the jurors part, or complete

here was incorrect, as, at their core if all the

When the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, did an

ignorance as to the jury instructions.

other programming was stripped off and the

interview with Bloomberg, he mentioned: “We

software from either side placed on the other,

wanted to make sure the message we sent was

Inconsistency Number Two

it would work. They are in fact the same type

not just a slap on the wrist, we wanted to make

The next problem with the ruling on Prior

of processor and would run the software. So

sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but

Art. Prior art is an idea or patent that can be

the incorrect argument was also incorrect from

not unreasonable.” This was in regards to the

proved to outdate the object or patent in

a technological point of view as well as a legal

amount of money to be awarded in damages

question. In this case, Samsung tried to argue

point of view.

to Apple. The problem with that statement

that some of the features that they were being

was that in the jury instructions, specifically in

sued over were features that were in existence

Inconsistency Number Three

number 35, it states: “The amount of those

before apple patented them. The jury foreman

The jury took three days to reach a ruling on

damages must be adequate to compensate

stated: “The software on the Apple side could

the whole case—a case with hundreds of

the patent holder for the infringement. A

not be placed into the processor on the prior

points of law, over a hundred jury instructions,

damages award should put the patent holder

art and vice versa. That means they are not

a large question sheet and thirty different

in approximately the financial position it would

interchangeable. That changed everything

devices involved. Most legal experts say that

have been in had the infringement not occurred,

right there.” The problem with this is that the

this is truly an impossible feat. The fact of the

but in no event may the damages awarded be

prior art does not have to run on the same

matter is that the jury could not have properly

less than a reasonable royalty. You should keep

processor, it does not have to run at all. The

considered everything in such a small time.

in mind that the damages you award are meant

prior art can just be a piece of paper describing

Because of these few inconsistencies I have

to compensate the patent holder and not to

the features in question. So by saying this, and

no doubt that Samsung will appeal and fight

punish an infringer.” And again it states exactly

by then confusing everyone further in later

back. Who will win the next case? With many

the same thing in instruction number 53! This

interviews, the foreman really has revealed

more lawsuits raging around the world, does

is a major problem because as a result of this

that the jury did not understand what prior

anyone really win? When will it end? These are

it could throw out all of the figures that the

art was, and therefore ruled incorrectly on

all questions we, and the companies’ major

jurors’ awarded, and it really shows a lack of

this. As a side note, even his argument stated

executives, should ask.

neosmagazine.com

55


S

S

evernote

productivity

Have you ever had a great idea pop up in your head, only to forget it when you couldn’t find something to write it down? Evernote offers a practical and versatile solution by allowing you to have notes, pictures, and documents synchronized across devices using your Evernote account. Want to remind yourself to buy eggs on the way home? Jot it down in Evernote. Struck by a brilliant idea on your way to work? Just use Evernote. Evernote also has the ability to compile notes into a notebook, allowing for organized access to all your ideas. All you have to do is create a free account on Evernote, and you can access your files from all of your computers and devices on any operating system. The premium version offers very few perks (such as extra storage and viewing history), so there are virtually no drawbacks to the free edition.

four for

free four great apps at the lowest price possible By Eric Su 56

neos november 2012


Want to listen to your favorite podcasts when you’re on your iDevice? TuneIn is a fantastic app for discovering new podcasts as well as staying up-to-date with the ones you love. If you have used Internet radio before, then you will be very well accustomed to TuneIn in no time. If you haven’t, TuneIn radio’s easy- to- use design lets you get right on listening. ‘TuneIn’ lets you stream live Internet radio from a plethora of stations around the world, from the local AM station to Asia news radio, using a clean user interface and reliable app performance. In each station, it makes suggestions for similar ones to listen to, and provides an option to look up the current song on iTunes. Like Evernote, TuneIn provides an option to create an account, where your bookmarked stations will be saved and synced across all your devices.

tunein radio

music/podcasts

Ever have that moment when you hear a familiar song, but you don’t know the name? Soundhound provides a quick and simple way of finding that song’s name. It can recognize almost any song within just four seconds of listening. Now you can figure out that tune that’s been stuck in your head.

soundhound

music/podcasts

dead trigger

gaming

Several years ago when the iOS was first introduced, many people found it unlikely that a device that small could possibly be a competent gaming platform. Today, the iPhone is powerful enough to run highly developed and graphics-intense applications. Such is the case with a new app, Dead Trigger. Dead Trigger, developed by Madfinger, is a post-apocalyptic first-person zombie shooter. The player can select various missions

turn the page...

across a map, which also acts as the game’s main menu. The levels include typical zombie elimination missions, but also timed

the free stuff

survival and defense operations. After doing missions, the player can then use the money and gold earned (both available

continues

as in-app purchases) to upgrade and purchase new weapons and items. Providing high-end graphics that run smoothly and beautifully on all the supported iOS devices, this game utilizes the efficient Unity 3 engine and displays the power of the iDevices. neosmagazine.com

57


Five Indie (and free) Games We Love by bryant peng

Get download links for all five of these games at neosmagazine.com

1. Cave Story

for: everyone

A Metroidvania action-adventure that surpasses its influences, Cave Story is widely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. It’s not hard to see why­—it has a compelling story, beautiful art and audio, and addictive NES-style gameplay with polished controls; everything is just perfect. Set on a fantastical floating island, Cave Story centers around Quote, a nonspeaking amnesiac, as he uncovers the island’s history and how past links to present. 58

neos november 2012


2. Ninja vs. Samurai for: the clever thinker Made by Michael Enger, Ninja vs. Samurai is a turn-based puzzler that looks like a stealth game. Although these have been around since chess, it’s an excellent example of how a game can be great simply by getting everything right. The art is delightfully clean, the music sets just the right mood, and there are plenty of levels to keep you busy.

4. Spelunky for: the avid adventurer Spelunky is the indie darling of indie darlings. Created entirely by Derek Yu, it was ported to the Xbox Live Arcade earlier this year with updated graphics. The original, however, is still more charming (and it’s free!). It’s a game about two things: exploration and death. As you venture further and further into the cave, you’ll come across a variety of threats, ranging from ghosts and giant spiders to spikes and arrow traps. Death is permanent—you lose all progress and start over in a different randomly-generated cave. Reaching the end of the cave takes you to the next world, which has its own cave and portal to another world, and so on until the final level. Even for experienced gamers, it’s a massive, difficult game that takes a lot time and luck to beat.

neosmagazine.com

3. Nudo for: the curious creative

Puzzle-platformers have been done to death, so it’s always a pleasant surprise to find games that break the mold while remaining true to the genre. In Nudo, you play as a character who can move the objects around him. Mix that with unorthodox level design, creative implementation of obstacles, and a pleasant soundtrack, and you get some truly unique puzzles. Solving all 32 unlocks a challenge mode that limits the number of actions per level. All in all, it’s a quaint little game that makes you think several steps ahead.

5. RunMan: Race Around the World for: the casual gamer At first glance, RunMan: Race Around the World looks like a school project put together in MS Paint. Once you get into the game, however, you’ll find that the mechanics are flawlessly executed, and the levels balanced so they’re enjoyable without being too difficult. RunMan oozes with personality; from the graphics, which are strangely appealing, to the sound effects, all of it fits together to create an experience that will fill you with glee—especially because the game is always smiling. This is a Sonic the Hedgehog-esque runner at its finest, stripped of all the frills until two core components remain: speed and score.

59


S

150

S

140 130 120 110 100

6

90

8

80 70

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

LG Optimus 4X

Phone height HEIGHT (mm)

PROS

PROS

Beautiful 5.55 inch Super AMOLED

The new and unlocked LG Optimus 4X

display, improved S pen since the last

features a speedy quad-core processor,

Note, and a great camera. The quad-

vivid 4.7 inch screen, sexy design, and

core processor and the 2 GB RAM is

Android 4.0.

much appreciated.

CONS CONS

Once again, the size of this phone,

Again, for those of us who love

while acting as an attractive feature

compactness, the Note 2 will be like

for some, may deter some potential

the Hummer for the coupe lover. S

customers. LG’s custom interface for

Voice still doesn’t match up to Siri.

the Android operating system is not quite as refined as other custom UIs

VERDICT

such as the HTC Sense.

Personally, I think that this phone’s gargantuan size gives it its uniqueness. Hans Choi

However, it is both garish and

VERDICT

gimmicky to the majority of the public.

In this size range, power and design

The recent multitude of Android smartphones - and Apple’s own iPhone 5 - are up for review

The PHONE

LINEUP 60

neos november 2012

issues become less important than the size itself. Although a lot of us love the concept of a phone that has such a large display, others may be disappointed (people with small hands will be extremely upset). However, besides the issue of size and the strange UI, this phone excels in every sense.


9 Samsung Galaxy S III

7.5

9

Motorola Droid Razr M

iPhone 5

PROS

PROS

PROS

The Super AMOLED screen on this

Affordability! For only $79.99 on

The iPhone 5 brings much-desired

phone, combined with a quick dual-

Amazon, the Droid Razr M will

features that were absent from the

core processor and 2 GB of RAM (as

appeal to many simply because of its

iPhone 4S, such as 4G LTE, a bigger

much as my 2009 Macbook Pro),

low price. 4G LTE, nice dual-core

screen, and a faster processor. The

immediately put this phone near the

processing, and good battery life

new design with its metal back is

top of the phone chain. The good

makes the Razr M stand out among

appreciated, and the lighter weight

battery life, Android 4.0, and a great

the plethora of budget Android

makes this phone feel great.

8.0-megapixel camera accentuate this

phones.

phone’s greatness.

CONS CONS

iOS 6 seems buggy, as evident in the

CONS

The colors in the photos taken by

Apple Maps App (a replacement for

As I said before, some features of

the Razr M are quite dull at times

Google Maps). The new connector on

Samsung’s custom UI are just not up to

and, in general, inconsistent from

the bottom requires people to buy the

par with similar features on different

environment to environment.

$29.99 adapter, and other accessories for the iPhone 4/4S are incompatible

phones. For example, S Voice still lacks the consistency and quality that makes Siri the best voice command software.

VERDICT One of the best smartphones on the market today. The Galaxy III is available on all four major carriers. My favorite smartphone currently, the Galaxy is a must have for Android fans.

VERDICT With its great price, the Droid Razr M will appeal to all those frugal

with the iPhone 5. The bigger screen is still small in comparison to the screen sizes on a majority of Android phones.

people that are searching for the right Android phone. I would recommend this phone to those on a budget of less than $100.

VERDICT Needless to say, the iPhone 5 is an amazing phone, with lightning fast 4G speeds and incredible performance with the new A6 processor. Easily a competitor for phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III, the iPhone 5 takes its place at the top of the smartphone world.

neosmagazine.com

61


Film

Max Funcheon-Dinnen

Anna Karenina

Movie Reccomendations? Suggestions? Criticisms? neosmagazine.com

Joe Wright unearths a modern classic in a splendid and dazzling rendition of Tolstoy’s beloved novel Max Funcheon-Dinnen

U.S. RELEASE

NOV

16

62

DETAILS Director: Joe Wright Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron TaylorJohnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson Run time: 130 mins

Set in 19th Century Russia and based on the highly-

who begins to question her loveless marriage to Alexei Karenin

acclaimed novel of the same name by Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

(Jude Law) after meeting a dashing young cavalry officer, Count

is a grand and lavish tale of love, loss, and what we give for

Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). At the helm is period master Joe

happiness. The story centers on Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley)

Wright, who reunites with Knightley for the third time, and as we

neos november 2012


saw with Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, is more than capable

entirely different from previous roles that made Knightley’s name.

of handling classic period literature on screen. Due to budget issues

Law, however is a nice surprise, leaving behind his charming good

the film is not a formulaic adaptation, with the majority of the film

looks for a stoic and grounded performance as the hardened and old-

shot using theatre sets and stages, bridging the gap between the film

fashioned Alexei Karenin. Macfadyen is also a delight as Oblonsky,

and Tolstoy’s Russia. Although this method could either go horribly

Anna’s brother, bringing some much welcomed comic relief to

wrong or horribly right, it hits the mark, and offers an interesting

very serious subject matters. The only actor who sometimes seems

take on the novel. The acknowledgment of using a theatre to host the

unsuited to his role is Taylor-Johnson who, although fine as Vronsky,

actions allows Wright to bring an amazing fluidity to the film, using

still seems too young and boyish to play the Count convincingly. The

swift transitions to sweep through a dense novel. These transitions

only glaring problem with the film is the tempo and pacing, as at

pay tribute to Russian culture, as simple movements from place to

times it feels drawn out and tiresome, and at other times too quick

place feel elegant and in time, as if the whole of Russia is a ballet.

so as to pass over important moments. While you must allow Wright

The use of theatre also allows the props and costume departments

some room for error, as it is a very dense story to fit into two hours,

freedom to experiment, and they pull it off expertly, making it hard for

it nonetheless does feel too long in places. Ultimately though, fans

even the most hardened of cynics to deny the film’s beauty. At times

of the book, or just period films in general, will be thrilled, and there

when watching Anna Karenina it almost feels as if you’re looking at

is definitely enough in there for others to enjoy. Although you can

an intricate and detailed painting. This could be distracting if not

guess from the nature of the tale that there will be tragedy, don’t let

for the fact that it’s set in a culture that’s famous for, amongst many

that put you off as you would miss out on something special. Anna

things, its appreciation of art. As for the substance of the film, it is

Karenina looks amazing, features great performances and strong

filled with fine performances, with many actors retreating from their

characters, and manages to devotedly adapt a classic tale in a neat,

usual typecasts to take on more challenging roles. Knightley is fine as

thought-provoking film.

the lead, although it was unlikely she was going to flop, as Anna isn’t

In Memorium: Michael Clarke Duncan Three brilliant films to commemorate the passing away of a brilliant actor As surely most of you have heard, actor Michael Clarke Duncan unfortunately passed away on September 3 after he was hospitalized following a heart attack. Known and loved for his larger-than-life presence and cult favorite characters, he will be dearly missed by film fans the world over. If you haven’t already reached for your nearest Michael Clarke Duncan film to celebrate his life, here are three of his films you must watch

The Green Mile—the film Duncan will be

Sin City – It one of the many comic book

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky

most remembered for, and quite rightly so,

adaptations Duncan either starred in or lent

Bobby— After watching the gut-wrenching

this is the one most people sat down and

a voice too, it was Sin City that he will be

John Coffey and the terrifying Manute, you

watched upon hearing the sad news. This

most fondly remembered for. As Manute,

should finish off with a more light-hearted

electrifying prison drama showcased Duncan

the enemy of the prostitutes of Old Town,

Duncan role, as Will Ferrell’s best friend in

playing the role of John Coffey (“Yes sir boss.

Duncan showed that he could be a bad guy

this silly yet funny parody of NASCAR racing.

Like the drink, only not spelled the same.”) a

too, and his performance was one of many

Showing that Duncan wasn’t just a serious

gentle giant convicted of a horrible act. Yet,

good things about this movie.

actor, but also had some comedy chops, this

there is certainly more to John Coffey than

is the perfect end to your Michael Clarke

first meets the eye, and Duncan is breath-

Duncan marathon.

taking in the role that earned him his welldeserved Academy Award nomination.

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63


1

lincoln

Here we have arguably one of the most loved Americans of all time being actors of all time in a film by arguably one of the best directors of all time. You can argue all you like but one thing you can’t argue with is the amount of attention this is sure to get come awards season. Watch it. Love it. As only Spielberg can do.

2

the hobbit: an unexpected journey

As the start of the prequel trilogy to one of films greatest trilogies dawns upon us, you won’t find many people not looking forward to this. Although there have been a few problems with this film, it is, after all, by Peter Jackson, who brought us the first trilogy. So it’s safe to assume he knows what he’s doing. Starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen.

3

skyfall

Roger Moore recently called Daniel Craig the ‘best actor to play Bond’, see why in his third outing as the ultimate spy. Costarring Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. Need we say more?

4

silver linings playbook

Seven Psychopaths – After a brilliant debut with In Bruges, Martin McDonagh returns with this bizarre film about ‘dog-nappers’. Seriously! Starring Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell, as well as a host of others, early footage looks very promising. Also, Christopher Walken. ‘Nuff said.

5

django unchained

Django Unchained sees Tarantino finally make his long awaited spaghetti western with Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, and could be his best film to date. Meanwhile SLP sees troubled teacher Bradley Cooper move back with his parents after a stint in rehab, only to be distracted by the equally troubled Jennifer Lawrence. Co-starring Robert De Niro, early footage looks glorious. And with leads as easy on the eyes as these, who won’t be pleased? 64

neos november 2012

FIVE TO WATCH

portrayed by arguably one of the best

&


the big wedding

1

Despite bringing together a very interesting cast, the trailer for The Big Wedding looks unfunny and uninteresting. Robert De Niro stars in what is sure to become another black spot on his otherwise impressive resume. Ben Barnes,

FIVE TO AVOID

&

neosmagazine.com

Katherine Heigl and Topher Grace co-star.

red dawn

2

Thor himself­, Chris Hemsworth leads in this remake of the 80s classic about a group of teens who try to save their town when an enemy army invades. If recent 80s remakes are anything to go by, this will not bring much that the original didn’t. Don’t expect a masterpiece.

fun size

3

Starring Disney Channel’s Victoria Justice and Suburgatory’s Jane Levy, Fun Size looks a lot less fun than the title implies. The plot sees Justice’s Wren searching for her little brother when he wanders off on Halloween. Expect little scares and little laughs in this poor looking teen comedy.

playing for keeps

4

Gerard Butler turns up in this comedy about a kids soccer coach who decides to have a go with the soccer mums. Gerard may be quite a looker but that doesn’t prevent this film from looking dull and uninspiring. But hey, at least he’s not surfing. Oh wait…

chasing mavericks

5

Gerard Butler hangs ten in this surfing drama about a California boy who enrols the help of a local surfing legend to help him survive a big wave. Early footage looks bland, corny, and uninteresting.

65


6 6 n en e o s n ov e m b e r 2012 os november 2012

66


Creative

A Sane

SchooL

SUGGE

STION RAPHAEL COHEN

School should be year-round. Most people probably think that since I want school all year,

Most people probably think that year-round school is literally

I’m a huge nerd. Well, if they were to think that, they’d be

twelve months of school without any breaks. Year-round

wrong. Twice. First off, I’m not in love with school. I like it,

school, contrary to popular belief, is not actually year-round.

but only sometimes. I certainly don’t like school enough to

In fact, it is more likely to give students, as well as staff, more

want to go there all year long without a break of any kind.

free time throughout the year than the traditional schedule.

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67


The schedule that I envision when I think of year-round school is a six week summer vacation tied with three weeks for winter and spring breaks. That schedule

IS YEAR-ROUND SCHOOL FEASIBLE?

would be as many weeks as the one that my school currently uses, but much more efficient. In fact, I’d be willing to say there could be an additional two weeks of vacation spread throughout the year simply from the efficiency the year-round schedule provides. The main reason I’m an advocate of year-round schooling is that it helps to quell the high levels of stress many

make a student lose their knowledge faster. Knowledge is different from stress in that it doesn’t immediately begin a decline as soon as a person is pulled away

This more efficient schedule is why fewer school days would be necessary throughout the year, and would keep those that remain as stress-free as possible.

from it. People can’t help but constantly learn new facts every day, so the decline, once it starts, isn’t as fast. This slower speed of breakdown is why stress is essentially gone by the end of June, but Geometry might take a little bit more time to dissolve. In the traditional schedule, you don’t see classrooms spending half a week reviewing what they learned about

students feel throughout the standard

from before they got a week off of school.

school

anxiety,

That’s because winter and spring break

regardless of how little a student might

aren’t two months long. If summer break

care about his or her grades. Even with no

was shortened and spring and winter

homework, there’d still be mental strain.

elongated, time would hardly be wasted

In a hypothetical world in which tests

on unnecessary reviews. This more

didn’t exist, school would still be rigorous.

efficient schedule is why fewer school

Having strict schedules to follow and

days would be necessary throughout the

multiple authority figures to please tends

year, and would keep those that remain as

to put students under a lot of pressure.

stress-free as possible.

year.

School

brings

Repetitive schedules and scary teachers restrict freedom, and restriction of freedom causes tension; that’s just the way it is.

Not only would students be learning more, but they would also be less hassled about it. The same goes for teachers and their

Now don’t get me wrong: a little restriction of freedom, a little

teaching. Time throughout the year to catch up on grading essays

restraint, is good to have. That’s how things get done and how

and creating lesson plans to match schedule changes relieves

people make progress. Still, school is a tense environment, and

teachers of hassle and makes class time even more efficient.

breaks are needed to relieve stress. People don’t usually like being

Teachers have deadlines to follow too, you know.

hassled. Therefore, school causes students and teachers alike to want breaks. I like a little pressure, but too much is too much.

People might have a few issues with how all the (extra) vacation time should be spent. Some might think that having less time

Not to continue speaking in universals, but most things in

during the summer would cause it to be cut short, but generally this

life either build up or break down over time. Stress, along with

schedule makes it so that there is more time throughout the year

knowledge, has a tendency to build up when constantly reinforced,

for relaxation. Personally, I’d think a six week summer vacation

but when left alone, unprodded and unpracticed, it breaks down.

would still be more than enough time, especially considering the

The more evenly vacations are spaced throughout the year,

three weeks there’d be for both winter and spring breaks and—if

the less time stress has to build up. It can never build up too

I could have my way—an additional two weeks in the middle of

much if there is a consistent way of dispersing it. The weekend

the year.

hardly satisfies the need for relaxation, as teachers generally

In all honesty, I fail to see why school years shouldn’t be

assign homework over them without regard to your personal life,

arranged this way. Year-round school reduces stress, is much more

combined with the fact that most students would like to sleep until

efficient, and provides families with the flexibility they need to plan

at least noon every day. Weekends would still exist in both systems.

vacations. It benefits both students (the ones who are concerned

As previously mentioned, knowledge builds up and breaks

with learning as well as those who aren’t) and teachers. Besides,

down in a manner similar to stress, but that doesn’t mean having 68

breaks spread throughout the year would

neos november 2012

stress and education don’t always need to go hand-in-hand.


The Tunnel L I LY G E O R G E

“Sizzle,” Mirra says, the fresh slang picked up from her older

sister gliding off her tongue. The stream rumbles as it flows into the belly of the tunnel. I gulp and adjust my feet, feeling the chilly water seep into my shoes. The streets are still warm from the early summer sun, and a burn is beginning to set on my shoulders and cheeks. Lights from paned-glass windows around the neighborhood flicker on with

intersection,” I say. Rachel chuckles.

We hunch over in a line, legs bent and spread to the sides of

the tunnel to avoid the water.

“If you see a snake or a black widow, just start running really

fast,” Rachel instructs. I pull back my hair and do one last check for spiders. Then, we begin to shuffle in, hands on the concrete, swaying side to side

the early evening. The tunnel is a concrete underpass designed to let rainwater

to avoid the stream below us. We’re a third of the way to the gutter,

through. Right now, though, it’s a mere trickle. Blackberry bushes

to where there aren’t any more names and dates on the wall and the

smother the mouth of the river, so I don’t know where it comes from,

darkness makes it impossible to see what’s in the water below. I begin

but it must be connected to the same streams that flow through

to breathe faster and deeper. We’re halfway to the gutter—it can’t be too much further from there, right? Maybe you can

my backyard a block away.

even see the end of the tunnel from that point, past

“You can’t even see to the other side,

where the path turns. My head begins to tingle,

Mir,” I say, looking up at our bikes as a car

and I stagger in more pronounced steps,

drives by, some soccer mom leering at us through the tinted windows, wondering what mischief those girls might be getting themselves into this time. Rachel stares into the chasm, estimating the danger. Her short blonde hair is pulled in a ponytail, and she’s got her hand to her lips a la The Thinker. “The only things we really have to worry about are snakes and spiders,”

I gasp to scream and cover my mouth before they can hear it

it, but Rachel already saw me jerk away from the spider web. She hands me her stick, and I swipe the web away before looking back

even with Mirra and Rachel. Rachel marches on, while Mirra stops and arches her head towards me, arms on the rough concrete. “You okay, Lil? You coming?” I gasp. “I-I think I’m gonna go back.”

splashing the river in her haste. She stumbles over in the

echo. Faded spray paint initials and dates line the

my cheek. I gasp to scream and cover my mouth before they can hear

go back alone, but too far to go forward

moment, then turns around and scurries over,

a broken stick and turning her head to hear the

I bend over to look further down, and a soft cotton brushes

around the tunnel, I can tell it’s too far to

She looks towards Rachel for a long

she says, tapping the wall of the tunnel with

darkness, a museum of misbehavior.

dizzy from the darkness and air. Looking

stream and grabs my shoulders, her feet still in the stream of frigid water. “I’ll go with you.” She grabs my hand and walks in front me, echoes playing as she spatters the walls with water. Rachel must be out by now.

We reach the end, and I sit down on a patch of grass next

in, this time more hesitantly. A sliver of light streams through a rain

to the heap of bikes. Mirra takes off her wet shoes and socks and puts

gutter a couple of yards away. I look at the girls. “You guys, it’s late, and

them in her bike basket. She lays down holding up her head with her

my Nana said she wanted me home before dinner,” I murmur.

hands and closes her eyes. The evening’s final flecks of gold glint off

“If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to,” Mirra says,

looking at me.

her skin as Rachel saunters over with her hands on her hips, spitting on the road.

I blink and rub my warm arm. Cicadas chirp.

“I’ll do it.”

Mirra smiles, not even opening her eyes. “It’s lame in there

“You sure?”

anyway, Rach,” she says. “I might get cobwebs in my hair. Besides, it’s

“I-it can’t be too bad, right? It just goes across the

getting dark out.”

neosmagazine.com

“Why’d you guys ditch me?”

69


The Selfish Season by windy vo

Photograph by Danielle Dover

The trees quiver in the thinning air: their wiry, slender boughs tremble and their leaves, which glow in the golden sunshine, clap.

his voice cracking like ice. “Nothing,” she snaps, even though she isn’t angry at him. Layla is always snapping—snapping like willow branches and birch twigs. She isn’t sure why, though unconsciously she knows exactly why. They continue walking, making a precise circle around Central Park. At one point of their Sunday afternoon trek, they step off the gray sidewalk and begin

The sound of autumn approaching is

long, blond eyelashes. His hand, encased

shuffling their way through the dying grass

quiet, yet certain. There is no doubt in

in a black leather glove, delicately clutches

and the thin layer of crackling leaves that

both their minds that autumn will soon

the cigarette as if it were a glass swan; the

covers the gentle sloping hills.

be on their doorstep, the tip of its nose a

muscles of his left forearm move and shift

sharp cerise color, and bringing with its

with years’ worth of fencing lessons every

daytime thunderstorms the kind of cool

time his hand swings up into a smooth arc

nights that will transform their breaths into

that lifts the cigarette back to his lips. She

autonomous circles of silver fog. He extends

watches him do this approximately three

Layla begins to fidget with her silver

his arm and she, reluctantly looking up at

times over the course of the next fifteen

charm bracelet, the one her father had

him, takes it. They walk, letting the memory

minutes—him, his distant, empty stare, and

given to her on her eleventh birthday years

of their muscles take control. Pockets of

the hand that moves like an appendage with

ago. She contemplates on slipping it off and

conversation float above their heads, idly

its own accord.

throwing it into the lake. She squeezes her

“We need to talk,” her father finally says, “about you leaving.” “We don’t need to talk about anything,” Layla mutters. “I’m not leaving.”

drifting away from the slippery lips of

Finally, his eyes flicker back down at her

eyes tightly shut and envisions the charms

other New Yorkers. With his free hand, he

and he smiles wanly. The smile doesn’t quite

slipping underneath the lake’s surface:

fishes through the pocket of his coat and

reach his eyes, instead it lingers on the lower

the little silver horse with the sapphire

produces an ultramarine box of cigarettes.

half of his face like an unwelcomed visitor.

eyes; the miniature gold harp; the replica

They’re French, Blondes—the kind Sartre

He clears his throat and then adjusts his

honeybee with its onyx-black enamel.

and Charrière, both miserable black-and-

jacquard-cashmere scarf. Two stone fists are

white men, smoked. With an engraved

pushing violently against the backs of her

lighter (“Mein Kleine Hasen”), he lights up a

eyeballs; her eyes, stinging, flutter wildly

She looks up at her father. He is an

cigarette and then takes a deep drag.

“I don’t want to leave,” she hears herself blurt out.

about, but then she looks down at her feet

aggregation of motley solemn colors, a

Out on the lake, a few lone toy sailboats

and with furiously rapid, tiny movements

miasma of diminished grays. They have

glide across the surface of the glassy, dark

she blinks back the tears. She tightens her

emerged from the preternatural depths

water. She remembers when he had helped

grip on his arm, afraid that if she so much as

of Central Park and now stand on the

her as a child push her own toy sailboat

relaxes her grasp, he will, like the columns

streets. Against the pomp of this vast and

off. She instinctively glances back at her

of smoke emanating from his cigarette,

indifferent world of steel and concrete,

father. He is still pensive, smoking the

dissipate into the crisp autumn air.

Layla fears for him, her father, the man

cigarette, his blue eyes dark underneath his 70

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“What’s wrong, Layla?” he finally asks,

who had grown up in Manhattan, who


has weathered the city’s brutality for

concord-grape purple shadows that dip

fine, blonde hair. Layla begins to study her

longer than she’s been alive on this

underneath his red-rimmed eyes in little

feet: they are two black blobs against the

immense planet. He knows how to take

half-moons and the perpetual frown

muted green of the grass. She wonders why

care of himself and he will be perfectly

lines that parenthesize his downturned

she had even bothered to get out of bed

fine without her. When she comes back

lips. Layla can’t help but to look at him

today and put these stupid boots on, and

to Manhattan for the winter holidays,

and see instead of her father a man who

then she remembers that these shoes had

he will make reservations at Per Se like

has to take Prozac every morning before

been the only ones that hadn’t already been

he does every year for their Christmas

he leaves for work, who always has to

packed away.

dinner tradition. When she comes back

ask her where he has left his keys the

to Manhattan for the summer, they will

night before and then will immediately

both jettison North America in favor of

interject thereafter a ‘never mind’ as he

spending the hot, humid days wasting

finds them on the 1960 sideboard next to

away in France, Italy, and all the other

the door, where he always leaves his keys,

“Layla,” her father says, turning, and

exotic-sounding European countries.

and who drinks without complaint the

gently cradling her face. “Autumn is the

bitter black coffee that she has brewed

selfish season; people use it as an excuse

The tears begin to spill out from her eyes. “Dad,” she croaks out. “I don’t want to leave.”

Yet all she can do is stare at the

for him on his commute to the Financial

for new beginnings and fresh starts. You

trembling line of her father’s shoulders,

District, while flipping through his

shouldn’t be an exception. I want you to

the line that was supposed to have been

rumpled copy of The New York Times.

take care of yourself before you try to take

hard, steadfast, and upright. All can

Her father looks at her with his sad blue

she do is pour over the white oval of

eyes and then breaks away from the gaze,

her father’s ashen face, absorbing the

carding an ivory white hand through his

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care of other people. Your ridiculous father will be just fine.”

71


The Innocence of Muslims by Bouchra rebiai

Right after the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, chaos erupted across the Muslim world after a derogatory film about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was circulated online.

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As an open-minded Muslim, I was shocked by the various

Then, a day after I heard about the attacks on the U.S. consulate

levels of hatred and violence in some of my fellow Muslims’

in Libya, I found a golden opportunity to express some of my

responses to the film: ranging from killing innocent people to

thoughts. On the Facebook group of a volunteer group I belonged

wanting to boycott entire nations.

to, someone published a few wall posts about the current events

While idly surfing the Internet, I came across many

that irked me. One was a picture of the American flag (which, by

questions from people who were confused about the situation.

the way, is one of my favorite flags) being burnt, along with a stupid

The most significant of all was, if Islam is truly about peace, then where are the peaceful masses who are against all the terrible violence going on? I considered this question the most significant of all not because it was the one that was most frequently repeated, but because it affected me profoundly. I was a member of those peaceful masses, and I was doing nothing to show it.

slogan: she wanted it to be posted as the group’s photo. She also called for the group to start a campaign to boycott all American products. I had to say something, so I replied, trying to voice my opinions, supporting my claims with examples from the Prophet’s life. Soon, it turned into a lengthy argument, and I had to break it off because my opponent was becoming overtly high-and-mighty

The reason why us moderate, open-minded, peace-loving Muslims aren’t voicing our opinions is because we, like every other person, want encouragement

Why? I asked myself. I wasn’t the kind of person to give public speeches within a limited group, let alone to the rest of the world. And anyway, even if I had that ability, I couldn’t do it. Who would want to listen to a teenager on the verge of adulthood talk about her opinion about the current events? Nobody would be interested in my views. I was about to give up. That part of myself that thinks I’m capable of doing everything and anything has a little voice that likes to speak up once in a while. And it spoke up then. Remember all those various movements that started with lots of skepticism and ended up changing the world? The ones you’ve seen in the media recently? The ones you read about in The Facebook Effect? That no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what your age or social status is, if you want to share something with the rest of the world, there is always the Internet, with its massive platforms? The voice was trying to convince me there was another way to get my message out. And I was getting convinced. After all, most successful big things start small. I didn’t need a large media corporation or a government by my side; I could just start by talking to the people in my own social circles, and eventually many people would hear about it.

with her opinions. But I learned something from that experience. The reason some of these young people get easily lured into hate and violence is not because of enthusiasm for their religion. No—the impetus for their fervent attachment to their ideologies is simply that certain misconstrued aspects of Islam match their own personal convictions well. These individuals are so enthused that when someone tries to convince them that they are wrong by using proofs from their very own religion, they refuse by trying to divert their argument away from the evidence. Later on, I realized something else. The reason why us moderate, open-minded, peace-loving Muslims aren’t voicing our opinions is because we, like every other person, want encouragement. We’re scared that if we say something it might be misinterpreted, or it might not be accepted by the masses. Now I know these aren’t good excuses, but not all my fellow Muslims have a little voice in their head that tells them they are capable of changing the world. Some people need others to push them to do something. I promise that I will be the ‘pusher’ for my circle of acquaintances. Will you promise to be the same for yours?

But surely it wasn’t that easy, right? There must be some sort of a catch. But there wasn’t. It actually was that easy, but I still needed people to embrace the idea. Plus, I was still reluctant to voice my thoughts online. neosmagazine.com

Bouchra Rebiai is a staffwriter currently living in Saudi Arabia. She is nineteen years old.

73


ArTist Interview

THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF KYLE MEADOWS Kyle shows extreme adeptness in studio lighting and post-processing, and his career has hardly begun. Interview by Justin Lai

Describe the contest you won and your reaction. I recently won the young category of “Food Photographer of the Year 2012.” This was an international competition with over 3,000 entries. As one of the finalists my work was exhibited in the Mall Galleries in April 2012. It was the first time my work had been published in a London exhibition and was a great opportunity to meet other photographers and to achieve recognition for my work. This helped to build my confidence as a photographer. What lights do you use? What are your favorite lighting modifiers and studio equipment? Whether on location, or in the studio, I tend to use a combination of Profoto and AlienBee flashes and Nikon speedlights. I believe light is the key to a good photograph and so being able to manipulate it is important to me. My favorite light modifier which I use for most of my portraits is my Kacey 22” beauty dish. I like how the light wraps round the face and accentuates every detail of my subjects.

neosmagazine.com

ABOUT the Artist My name is Kyle Meadows and I am seventeen years old. I live in the south of England, in the UK. I started photography at the age of 12 and since then, it has been my passion. I was selftaught until I took a school course at 16. I have always loved art and been a creative individual, and I feel that starting photography has given me an opportunity to express that creativity. I am drawn to commercial photography for two reasons. First, because I like being able to interact with people. Many large scale shoots require not only models, but make-up artists and assistants. I like meeting and working with different people. Secondly, I like having the ability to control light. I think light is the key to photography, and I am intrigued how light can alter the mood of an image. My inspiration for my work has come from many artists and photographers. It entirely depends on the projects I am working on. Recently, I have been fascinated by Jill Greenberg, a portrait photographer, and Alex Koloskov, a commercial photographer.

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What camera equipment and lenses do you use? For all of my work I use a Nikon D90. However, I want to upgrade to a Nikon D800 so that I can maximize the quality of my photographs when shooting commercially. I use a variety of lenses ranging from 18mm to 200mm. The lens that I tend to use most for studio work is the Nikon 50mm f1.8. This is because I like the quality of the glass, and the ability to shoot at large apertures. What do you recommend to photographers just getting into commercial work? I feel there are two categories one should focus on when considering becoming a professional. The most important thing in my opinion is to produce a portfolio. Set yourself personal projects and then deadlines to complete them. The key is to keep taking photos. Having a large variety of photos makes it easier to produce a good portfolio for yourself. The second thing to consider is getting your work known. Enter

BEFORE & AFTER

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competitions, set up a Facebook page, and think about setting up your own website. The more people who know what you do and can see your work, the more chance you have of getting clients. You seem to be very adept at processing. How long does editing usually take you? What tools do you use in Photoshop? Editing photographs is a large part of my workflow. I use a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to process all my work. My time spent editing depends on the shoot. Still life projects usually take under ten minutes, whereas some of my composite portraits can take up to two hours. However, I recently purchased a Wacom pad which allows me to work faster and more efficiently. I use a vast number of the tools on Photoshop. I like to make use of CS5’s refine edge tool to extract subjects from the background, and the dodge and burn tool to emphasize my choice of lighting on the model.


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PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN WEIR


Neos Magazine Issue 1