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OPINION

4 | TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013

OPINION EDITOR: ALIE DALEE | opinion@reflector.msstate.edu CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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Choose a major for love or money? Miley’s muse “Molly” — MDMA’s pop culture influence on society

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onfucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote helped me determine my major, as it should have helped everyone. Admittedly, before I decided to become an English major, I jumped from one future career to another. I tried to think about my personality and what I would enjoy doing while making heaps of cash. I would ultimately feel good about my decision only to be told I would never make any money. Eventually I said enough was enough and just chose something I knew I would enjoy doing even without money rolling in. Students are led to believe that the sole reason their choice in major should be determined is by how much money they will make once they graduate. Alfie Kohn, author of “The Schools Our Children Deserve” and “The Homework Myth,” wrote, “Some of the least inspiring approaches to schooling, and the least meaningful ways of assessing its success, follow logically from thinking of education not in terms of its intrinsic worth, or its contribution to a truly democratic society, but in the context of the 21st-century global economy.” Money should factor into our decision as students who live in the economy that we do, but when that gets in the way of actually learning and enjoying what we learn, it needs to be re-evaluated. Annie Murphy Paul wrote an article titled “Is School Just For Getting a Good Job?” In this article she writes, “The good news is that research in the science of learning suggests that one choice we don’t need to make is between a rich, rigorous, engaging education and an

CHELSEA RHODES Chelsea Rhodes is a freshman majoring in English. She can be contacted at opinion@reflector. msstate.edu.

education that prepares students for flourishing careers: these things are one and the same.” In today’s world, college students get what they pay for. No matter what major students choose, they will be provided with a curriculum that both challenges and prepares them for their future in the work force. I firmly believe that if a student chooses a major, and does not worry about the future income as much as he or she worries about getting an education and becoming prepared for a career, he or she will probably make more than enough money and will be in an enjoyable career. Students who choose a major based solely on the probable income are more likely to drop out or change majors, which could cause them to spend more time and money on their education in the long run. If engineering is something you love and enjoy, then you should have no problem earning your degree, but if you decide to be an engineer based solely on the criteria of potential income, you will more than likely make a lot of money doing something you have no heart for. If you want to be a writer, chances are you will have many struggles getting published and earning a living until you do, but the struggles will fade away in comparison to seeing your work published. My point is this: If you love learning and follow your interests, then the money will follow. Do not follow the money. Follow your heart.

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hat used to be a temperature. When taken in simple name that re- larger doses, it promotes halluminded people of a cinogenic actions. Michelle LaFleur, Grant Supgirl with pigtails has transpired port and Alcohol and Drug Speinto a drug trend called Molly. If you are over 40, the term cialist at MSU’s Longest Student may be relatively new. How- Health Center, explained the ever, today’s society recogniz- chemical make-up of MDMA. “Molly is a synthetic drug. It es Molly as the crystalized or powder form of three, 4-meth- gives you an MDMA-like high, ylenedioxymethamphetamine so it is very similar to Ecstasy,” (MDMA), which contains some LaFleur said. “Synthetic drugs of the same compounds as Ec- are 10 to 20 times more potent than a plant-based counterpart.” stasy. Immediate side effects of The street drug has been glamorized by popular culture in the MDMA are dehydration, vomrecent months. Rapper Kanye iting, loss of appetite and the West uses the term in his song inability to urinate. These can “Blood on the Leaves,” and Mi- result in tiredness, headaches, sore or dry ley Cyrus mouth and just canToday’s society feelings not stop recognizes Molly of depres“dancing with as the crystalized sion. “This Molly” in or powder form drug causher song es your “We Can’t of (MDMA) ... The street drug has been glamorized brain to Stop.” release all Just by pop culture in recent the serolike some tonin and of your months.” dopamine favorite at once. pop icons, MDMA becomes a force to be So, when you come down off the drug, all your serotonin reckoned with. Koye Davis is a local rapper. is depleted. It takes days and He shares that MDMA popular- sometimes weeks to build your ity is a trend and yields negative serotonin back up depending on the amount of MDMA a person results for those who partake. “I feel like it started with hip- uses, so people can become very hop and lot of the key artists are depressed after they take it,” Lapromoting Molly. It is basical- Fleur said. If MDMA is so dangerous, ly a popular drug; it is in right now. It is really not good for why are celebrities like Rick Ross, Madonna, 2 Chainz and people at all,” said Koye Davis. According to the Drug En- Trinidad James endorsing it? forcement Administration, Popularity is the answer, accordMDMA causes an increase in ing to Davis. “Basically, artists are running heart rate and blood and body

with it. Like, if you use it in your song, then your song is going to be popular. So people are using it to get more attention. They probably are not even using the drug, and they are getting other people to do it,” Davis said. According to DrugPolicy. org, MDMA was popularized by psychotherapist and mental health practitioners in the 1970s and early 1980s as a form of treatment. In the 1990s, it became the preferred drug at clubs and raves. Today, MDMA undergoes clinical trials to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder patients. However, it has quickly regained its popularity as a party drug. Keenyn Wald, a staff counselor at Student Counseling Services, shares his experience in drug counseling to expand on MDMA’s popularity. “I have been working with alcohol and drugs for eight years. I have not seen a rise and overall drug use. What I have seen is a natural cycle of what drug is popular. Right now, it is Molly,” Wald said. Wald continued to state that a drug’s popularity is cyclical. “If you look back over the past 10 years, Ecstasy was really popular, then it winged down. Then, it was cocaine, and it went down. With these higher-level drugs, you see a rotation of what is more pop culture — what is in the now,” Wald said. From the early 1900s to today, there has been a significant change in how people used drugs. Emily Ryalls, communication associate professor and pop culture expert, said she be-

ERICKA SMITH Ericka Smith is a senior majoring in communication. She can be contacted at opinion@ reflector.msstate.edu.

lieves social media has created more dialogue when it comes to illegal substances. “Media has provided an outlet for people to be more open about drug use,” Ryalls said. “In the 80s, when cocaine was going crazy, people were not out at four in the morning tweeting for the disco track that they had just done a line of blow in the bathroom. Today, that would be the case.” As MDMA becomes a household name in the media, many would think users are more aware of its side effects. That is an inaccurate assumption. Over Labor Day weekend, two young people fatally overdosed on MDMA at the New York Electric Zoo Festival. On average, the New York Health Department said it sees 10 deaths resulting from MDMA and Ecstasy overdoses annually. Molly is no longer the girl next door that people envision. Molly is a dangerous trend in popular culture and society that is leading to an increase in overdoses and MDMA-related hospital visits. The next time a celebrity like Madonna asks, “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” at a concert, officials hope that people will look for a girl rather than the MDMA-like drug.

INTERNATIONAL INK

Hurricane Phailin illustrates the destructive power Mother Nature has over Earth

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ndia’s east coast was hit by Hurricane Phailin, a tropical cyclone category five that drew worldwide media attention on Sunday. Experts from across the globe found glaring similarities to the devastating Hurricane Katrina that hit the southern coast of the United States in 2005, killing about 2,000 people and damaging properties worth $81 billion. After examining the consequences of Katrina, the Indian Meteorology Department, the state government and the emergency forces adopted a zero casualty plan, which means if you live on the coast and do not want to leave your home, you will be forced out. Due to this policy, only 18 casualties have been reported as of today. Mike Brown, climatologist/ meteorologist at Mississippi

State University who also enjoys storm-chasing, said Katrina was rated a category three hurricane. The water in such hurricanes tends to rise up rapidly and people often get trapped. “The vast majority of the deaths are attributed to the water and the damage caused to properties is attributed to the winds,” Brown said. “You’ve got to get people out of the coast. What we learned from Katrina was, people have lived through other hurricanes before, and they think this is just another hurricane when in fact every storm is different.” India’s CNN affiliate CNNIBN reported 8 million people affected by the Phailin fatalities, numerous damaged properties, snapped power lines, overturned cars and houses were seen. The estimated damage will be pre-

dicted in the coming days when the affected areas become accessible. Lindsey Storey, Gulfport, Miss. resident who survived Katrina on the coast, said there will always be emotional scars with something like the destructive Hurricane Katrina. “There is your life before the hurricane and there is your life after the hurricane, so, for me, life is completely different now than it was before the hurricane.” Storey said. “For people my age, Hurricane Katrina was the first one of this magnitude, because of the timing when Hurricane Katrina came in, the effects were much more catastrophic.” Hurricane Phailin broke the Indian Ocean intensity record set by the 1999 Orissa cyclone just prior to its Saturday landfall, according to the U.S. Navy’s

Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Kamal Lochan Mishra, Odisha state’s disaster manager, explains the evacuation measures that have been taken. “We have taken a zero-casualty approach,” Lochan Mishra said. “If people do not move, force will be used to evacuate them.” In an updated report on Sunday afternoon, CNN said authorities surveyed the damage Sunday. CNN reported food assistance would be provided to severely impacted villages. Teams from nonprofits organizations also canvassed the affected areas. Initial surveys indicate the damage was not as bad as many feared it could be, Save the Children said. But strong winds and heavy rains continued to pound some areas.

“There may be delays in being able to reach the most vulnerable families with aid,” Devendra Tak, a spokesman for Save the Children, said. “This also means it could take some time before the full extent of the damage is known.” The Indian armed forces and National Disaster Response Force will play a major role in the rehabilitation of the affected areas as they did when more than 10,000 were killed in the Himalayas this summer after floods ravaged the foothills, washing away millions of livelihoods. K.C. Singh, former Indian diplomat and strategic affairs expert tweeted, “Natural disasters hit poor the worst as no economic security network. A cow dead, boat destroyed, hut gone, birds killed = livelihood washout.”

PRANAAV JADHAV Pranaav Jadhav is a junior majoring in communication. He can be contacted at opinion@ reflector.msstate.edu.

In a natural calamity of this magnitude where destruction and devastation is unavoidable, human beings are reminded of Mother Nature’s sheer dominance on planet Earth. We live in an age where technology can only predict a catastrophe, not avoid it.

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Why should we give any weight to the Higgs boson? Managing Editor

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he Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics last Tuesday to theoretical physicists Peter Higgs and François Englert for their independent predictions in 1964 of a massive particle now known as the Higgs boson. The verification of the Higgs boson is what is important, not so much the theoretical details from 1964, as physicists have assumed its existence for a long time. Really, the verification of the Higgs’ discovery and the consequent Nobel award draws my immediate attention. According to about.com, six different theoretical physicists, including Englert and Higgs, independently discovered the modern version of the Higgs field and Higgs boson theories after building off of the work of their colleagues from the decade before. What really makes the verification of the Higgs’ existence important is that, according to Charles Day’s physicstoday.org article, Steven Weinberg used the Higgs mechanism soon after its postulation to formulate the quickly verified and important electroweak theory. If the Higgs particle had instead eluded discovery or if the laws of physics had been different and the Higgs did not exist, then there would be huge ramifications for all

of the physics that emerged after Weinberg in what is now called the Standard Model. The Standard Model is the subject of rigorous research, and it provides insight into the function of many practical processes. It provides a look into phenomena including cosmic radiation and Radon-222 decay that, according to the EPA, make up the majority of the radioactivity to which our bodies are subject. Additionally, the functions of heavier versions of the particles that we are familiar with existence allows advanced research into the detailed functioning of familiar particles. The Nobel Prize this year is notable because of how soon the award follows the verification of the theory. Admittedly, the theory’s consequences have been implicitly verified for quite some time, but the most important part, the existence of the particle that actually does all of the work in the theory, is only a discovery that is one year old. According to Dave Goldberg’s slate.com article on the topic, the short time frame between discovery and award surprised the physics community, as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences did not award Englert and Higgs last year when the Higgs boson was very relevant and yet they did not continue to postpone the award for as long as the usually do.

“This year’s announcement represents an incredibly quick turnaround for a committee that has generally been fairly conservative in its awards,” Goldberg said. Additionally, there is no real consensus on whether or not the particle discovered is necessarily the Higgs boson without a doubt or if it is one of many Higgs particles or even another particle entirely that conveniently appears where we expect the Higgs. According to Don Lincoln’s PBS Nova Next article on the Higgs particle, there are supersymmetric interpretations of the Standard Model that predict at least five Higgs particles instead of just the one discovered recently. If you ever hear anyone accuse physics of being boring, pay them no mind. Just this year the Nobel Prize has brought up enough drama and contention to fuel the publication of yet another round of books that try to paint the picture of what happened and who should have gotten the prize. With six possible recipients and a maximum of three winners, there is guaranteed to be some animosity and confusion over the award, and this ignores the fact that Englert and Higgs did not actually find the particle but rather thousands of experimental physicists in Switzerland and France. I expect the Nobel Prize to con-

CAMERON CLARKE Cameron Clarke is a junior majoring in mathematics and physics. He can be contacted at opinion@reflector.msstate. edu.

tinue to be controversial as long as it runs. There is little chance of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences changing its paradigm, and so even in a time of large collaborative experiments and small impacts by thousands of physicists on one problem, we will probably continue to see acclaim and adulation given to a select few individuals for discoveries not fully understood or fleshed out in time. Hopefully one day another prize will come along that recognizes the efforts of every scientist involved in groundbreaking research, but that may not even be necessary. Who will the textbooks remember? I am not sure that it really matters as long as scientists get to enjoy their work and have a chance to further the pool of human knowledge.

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