TABLE OF CONTENTS EDITORIALS Pressmen!
NEWS USG Elections Science on Tap Geese Go Bye-Bye
4 5 6 7
FEATURES What I Be
Baby Mash-Up Taking Back Sunday Dark Souls II Lady GaGa Muppets Rappers You Should Know The Pull List Taco Bell Breakfast Michio Kaku
10 12 13 14 15 16 18 21 25
Facebook Buys Oculus
SPORTS Hockey Rink
THE STONY BROOK PRESS EXECUTIVE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR BUSINESS MANAGER ART DIRECTOR NEWS EDITOR FEATURES EDITOR CULTURE EDITOR SPORTS EDITOR WEB EDITOR OPINION EDITOR PHOTO EDITOR COPY EDITOR MINISTER OF ARCHIVES OMBUDSMAN
JODIE MANN NICK BATSON BEATRICE VANTAPOOL JASMINE HAEFNER ANNE-MARIE GRECO JOHN FISCHER MAGGY KILROY JULIANNE MOSHER JAEL HENRY IAN SCHAFER SEAN FISCHER DAINE TAYLOR GIL GAMESH HOWIE NEWSBERKMAN EVAN GOLDAPER
STAFF SURAIYA AFRINA LINDSAY ANDARAKAIS JESSICA BEEBE TERICHI BELLINGER DANIEL CASHMAR SIOBHAN CASSIDY JESSE CHANG ARIELLE DOLLINGER
RACHAEL ELLENBOGEN TAYLOR KNOEDL TOM JOHNSON PRISCILA KORB KYRIL KOTLOVSKY SAMUEL LIEBRAND BRIANA LIONETTI MEGAN MILLER
The Stony Brook Press is published fortnightly during the academic year and twice during summer session by The Stony Brook Press, a student-run non-profit organization funded by the Student Activity Fee. The opinions expressed in letters, articles and viewpoints do not necessarily reflect those of The Stony Brook Press as a whole. Advertising policy does not necessarily reflect editorial policy. Staff meetings are held Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. First copy free. For additional copies contact the Business Manager.
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THE PRESSMAN: FILLING YOUR TUBES SINCE JUST NOW WITH WORDS AND STUFF
With the opening of the new media space, which is to be shared with The Statesman and The Press, it has been decided that we must opt for complete unity in order to survive what could become some sort of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson quirky romantic-comedy between the two respective publications sharing a green-screen. We are putting aside our differences and perhaps we can learn from our individual strengths and weaknesses. For instance, we must assess the fold situation. No one gives a shit about the fold. So that’s settled. The Press’ layout stays, and we’ll keep The Statesman infamous newspaper texture so it’s fair or whatever. In exchange, The Statesman will teach The Press the art of dieting its font. This then brings me to the topic of “journalism.” The Press has one “news” person; John Fischer (J.Fisch). The Statesman; mad “news” persons. We among publications formerly known as The Press and Statesman agree that in the nature of a merger that it is ideal to make merging our nature. As such, we are working closely with the Stony Brook Hospital in creating an all-news abomination. We shall call it the J-Fishenstein. This mixedmedia monster will then keep us in favorable standing with the Newsday Cult. Moving onto sports. Considering our difficulty finding sports on campus, our very own Jael Henry and Mike Daniello will be sent to work the desks and phones and write advertisements and emails and stuff for the Jim Fiore Center for the Advancement of Women in Society. In our state of union, The Pressman means to address the issues we individually had as respective separate publications. It is understood that The Statesman holds a reputation of being “uncool” and that’s okay, for The Press on the other hand is regarded as “uncivilized” or “ridiculous.” Our collective purpose is to use our varying strengths, to 4 April 1, 2014
bolster one another’s weaknesses in order to establish a weaknessless mega-publication. Members of The Press mean to vigorously assess these sex and alcohol issues the members of The Statesman seem to be facing. Also, if a story on some snow/ice hazards is to hit the stands, we will have our best editors working in some pizazz—“Wizard sighted on campus: leading cause of students’ difficulty in maneuvering ice due to frost-magic.” Meanwhile, The Statesman can teach members of The Press how to actually be journalistic instead of wasting our time on writing bullshit satire and printing ridiculous stories about flying bears or ideal pooping scenarios. As an intellectual community who share a mixed media space (a room with a green-screen), we will collaborate to reach new standards of artistic integrity in the realm of visuals. The Statesman style use of the “journalistic photograph” will now feature Photoshop insertions of President Stanley from Tom Johnson. The articles themselves will be lain over space backdrops. We have fine ambitions in merging our contrasting ideals. The crusty old man that was once The Statesman will put on its Hawaiian shirt and thrift-shop for oversized tweed blazer along with knock-off Ray Bans which symbolizes The Press. It will be BBC meets The Daily Show, The New York Times and some whoever-nerd’s Wordpress page; like when Glenn Greenwald moved onto The Intercept, but with the journalistic integrity of Reddit. So let it be known the beginning of a new era for student journalism here at Stony Brook University. The merger that is The Pressman welcomes all new students and whoever else wants to type their lives away and offer their souls for ambition and access to a green-screen. The Independent, Asian American E-Zine and Blackworld can come too.
photo courtesy of usg
^R Read excerpts from the Executive Council hopeful’s platform statements
President Garry Lachhaar My goal is to be your voice with our school’s administrators- to fight for the things you want. As a student leader, one has the ability to change things for the betterment of the general body. Because of this, it would be my honor to represent the student body as your President; and be the change that you want to see. Executive Vice President James Alrassi As EVP, I will keep my door always open and will be publishing my office hours as well as those of senators, so that we elected officials can do our job and fight for what you guys want! Transparency is what will foster a positive relationship between Student Government and the student body. Treasurer Kathryn Michaud A USG treasurer needs to be organized, able to work under stress, be objective, communicate effectively, listen to people, dedicate 30-40 hours per week at the minimum, and make sure to remember that they are there to serve the students. I have a strong background in the skill sets required of a successful treasurer and would not run if I felt there was a better candidate than myself. VP of Communications Daniel Chung As a candidate for the position of Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, it will be my top priority to deliver Stony Brook students the information they need by expanding advertisement and media outreach efforts regarding campus events and programs. Ultimately, I hope that my efforts would establish USG as a more reliable, accessible and open resource on campus for students.
VP of Academic Affairs Steven Adelson I have obtained the necessary experience and have established the necessary relationships on the administrative level in order to ensure that next year is an even more successful year. In continuing my role as Vice President of Academic Affairs, I hope to pursue the following agenda items, in addition to the many concerns of the students here at Stony Brook University that become present throughout the academic year: VP of Clubs and Orgs Kimberly Pacia Through my team and senator position in USG, I have become involved with a majority of on-campus activities and events. I’ve had the opportunity to see what students want and have several ideas to enhance student life and improve the campus atmosphere as a whole. I hope to have the chance to work with new clubs to help them develop and effectively make all clubs aware of the policies and procedures. VP of Student Life Kenneth James Myers My name is Kenneth Myers and I am running for the position of VP of Student Life of the Undergraduate Student Government. I don’t like to read blocks of texts so here’s what I will do if elected VP of Student Life: Work with the booking agent to recommend performers and events to the SAB Work closely with the elected VP of Communications to provide and promote diverse events which sellout and cater to both commuters and residents Get the job done
MEMORY IS... by: betty lo
To many of us, a “memory” is something that we remember from the past. Either good or bad, it stays in our mind and sometimes it is used as evidence. However, memory is actually not as reliable as we think it is, and we found out why at “Science on Tap,, ” a web-series designed to show how scientific topics can be everyday bar-top conversations. The latest episode, titled “What do You Remember?” took place Monday, March 24 at the Stony Brook Yacht Club. Professor Steven Reiner from the SBU School of Journalism sat down with Professor Nancy Franklin and had an hour-long discussion about what memory is and why eyewitness memory can be dangerous. Franklin, a professor from the Department of Psychology, researches how memory functions and how it is influenced by human emotions. She began the discussion with what memory is not. “It’s not a video camera, it’s not a recorder. Memory is more sophisticated and intelligent than that,” Franklin said. People are not designed to take in every bit of information or else it would be overload. As selfish as it sounds, we only pay attention to what matters to us and we are bad at knowing how bad we are. These are some of the main reasons why 6
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eyewitnesses are potentially dangerous—one may be telling a story like they remember it with confidence because they rely on their memory. Memory can be contaminated. It may sound strange, since memory is in one’s mind so we tend to think that we have control over it. According to Franklin, 75 percent of attorney cases have used eyewitness memory as a primary or the only key of evidence while 86 percent of the time when people do co-witness, they copy each other. “I think so few people in America know about science so this was a wonderful way to introduce them to really important concepts that impact our society,” said Joan Miyazaki from Stony Brook who shared her thoughts on the event. “Our democracy is dependent on having factual information and we’re now beginning to understand what people’s biology has to do with their ability to be good witnesses,” she said. “Now we understand more about why people make mistakes.”
HUMANE GEESE CONTROL COMING TO CAMPUS :
by lindsay andarakis
As the long anticipated warm weather arrives, students will shed their mittens and parkas for tank tops and flip-flops. But watch where you step with those nice new sandals…the geese are back in town! The fall semester was filled with student complaints about the more than 360 Canada geese defecating all over campus walkways, clogging up car and foot traffic and being downright aggressive toward innocent students walking to class. What used to be an annoyance has now become a public safety issue and is causing hazardous driving conditions. Students are tracking fecal matter into residence halls and academic buildings making it more likely for them to become sick from the bacteria. Because the geese are overgrazing the grass around Roth Pond, the Pond will again face the problem it did during the fall semester when it turned a sickly, radioactive green due to the geese-induced algae blooms. The Roth Pond Regatta is one of the most anticipated events by students throughout the year and it would really be a shame if the pesky geese spoiled it. The Humane Society and PETA Humane Goose Control Solutions have advocated for the use of border collies and professional trainers to control the geese on campus in a humane manner. Beginning this month, border collies will be brought onto campus by personnel trained to handle the dogs that
will be used to scare away the geese. Once the Canadian Geese perceive a threat, they will flee the campus, in search of a safer place to roam. Students do not have to be concerned about the safety of the geese. The collies are only there to spook the geese so that there will not be such a high concentration on Stony Brook’s campus, left to cause problems. There are mixed responses among students about the university’s choice to use dogs to scare the geese. Some feel that it is a waste of money while others feel it is going to be completely ineffective. Some students think it is completely unacceptable. One response on the Stony Brook Happenings page, from someone who identified himself as Justin wrote, “I think this is a ludicrous idea. The geese are a necessary part of the ecosystem at Roth Pond. They do nothing but add to the serene beauty of our campus. As a resident of Roth Quad, I cannot imagine walking by Roth Pond and seeing NO GEESE. If action is indeed taken to reduce the goose population, I will personally lead a revolt against President Samuel L. Stanley.” If any students would like to learn more about geese control, they can contact Environmental Health and Safety at (631)-632-6410.
MARINES ASKED TO HELP CULL GEESE
by rusty shackleford
The first wave of United States Marines were deployed into Stony Brook University Saturday, March 29 in an effort to handle the large Canda goose population on campus. According to University President Samuel L. Stanley, the pest control experts that were hired by school officials to form a plan of action had been in talks with the United States Marine Corps for the past several weeks formulating a strategy. “After weighing all of our options we concluded that the only option was military action,” Stanley said during yesterday’s press conference. Col. Batt Nixon, executive officer in charge of what he calls, “Operation Maple Leaf,” said that his extensive experience in “mass extermination” meant he was the Marines’ first choice to head the initiative. “I can’t go into detail, but I’ve seen my fair share of killing large quantities of people, animals and forests,” said Nixon. “Mostly in, uhm, overseas.”
The goose problem was first addressed earlier in the year when a mass warning was sent via email to students after it was found that a goose had defecated on President Stanley’s car. According to Nixon, his unit includes 500 infantry, and three Abrams tanks, which he expects will be put to good use, especially around Roth Pond and the Staller Center steps, where the geese congregate en masse. “I definitely feel much safer,” said Stanley “knowing that we’ve made the right decision in dealing with the absolute menace that is these geese.” “This is the first time the Corps has performed an operation like this on a college campus, but it’s similar to a small city or village, with all of the targets gathered in large groups.” said Nixon. “Easy pickings, as we say in the military world.” If the initiative sees success, Nixon says that similarly actions may be taken on campuses across the nation.
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JIM FIORE CENTER FOR ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY OPENS ON CAMPUS by rusty shackleford
Stony Brook University celebrated the opening of the arena in its Jim Fiore Center for the Advancement of Women in Society this past weekend during a ceremony that one student described as “ballin’.” “There were hot bitches everywhere, no fatties,” said John Thompson, a sophomore women’s studies major who was there with his fellow classmates for credit. The event was presided over by the building’s namesake, Stony Brook University’s former Athletics Director, Jim Fiore. “I hope that this new arena will serve to promote women’s rights through athletics,” said Fiore before cutting the ribbon. “Through our programs, we hope to bring more female fans to games, and more male players to the courts.” he continued. “Sports, being a male dominated culture, is sometimes
intimidating to women,” Fiore said after the ceremony. “There are a lot of rules, and sometimes they get confused.” But Fiore plans to remedy the issue by handing out pamphlets to all female attendees, which will have his contact information printed on the back, “so that they can contact me … about sports.” he said. “Female athletes are welcome to come and learn the game,” said Fiore, but explained that there were no plans to build a separate court for women. When asked why the women couldn’t just play on the same court, Fiore responded that he “didn’t understand the question.” The exclusion of women’s restrooms in the facility was a “hard decision,” said Craig Fleishman, the building planner in charge of the center’s layout. “But it came down to that or an Auntie Anne’s [pretzel stand], and well, you know.”
WOLFIE DOMINATES IN UNDERGROUND MASCOT FIGHT RING by rusty shackleford
On Thursday, March 27, in an undisclosed location within walking distance from the SUNY System Administrative Building in downtown Albany, the smell of stale cigar smoke permeated the air, mixed with the sickly sweet scent of blood as Wolfie took his fourth consecutive win in the bimonthly fight club. The match had Wolfie pitted against the University at Albany’s Great Dane. Wolfie started strong with a powerful left jab and followed with a right hook that floored the Great Dane, while Stony Brook’s Manager of Athletic Marketing Chris Murray shouted “put that fucking dog down!” from the crowd encircling the two fighters. Wolfie jumped atop the stunned Dane and began pummeling while the crowd roared in concert with the violent display they watched over. Quickly, the Dane became a pulpy brown mess of blood and torn fabric requiring Commissioner of the SUNY Athletic Conference Tom Di Camillo and a 6’9” man with neck tattoos to pull the frenzied Wolfie off his opponent. There was a question of the legitimacy of Wolfie’s victory, in that foul-play has been an issue as of late. In the previous match, SUNY Old Westbury’s Panther Owie was 8
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found to be using plaster-cast wraps inside his gloves and was promptly dealt with outside. Before a thorough examination could be performed, shouts of “RAID!” were heard above the din of the crowd, and commotion swept through the makeshift arena. Everyone promptly headed towards the secret tunnel exit behind a poster promoting an upcoming Insane Clown Posse performance at Stony Brook University. Amidst the chaos, Murray assured the crowd he’d be coming back for his winnings, and that they hadn’t seen the last of Wolfie.
CONFRONTING INSECURITIES WITH THE WHAT I BE PROJECT by julianne mosher
“I am not my eating disorder.” “I am not my anxiety.” “I am not my addiction.” Everyone has something they battle with. Skeletons within our closets are always lurking in the shadows, trying to make us fail. Insecurities, depression, self-doubts and fears are part of the human mind. They will get the to the worst of us. In a new project created by Steve Rosenfield, the California resident exposes his subjects insecurities through a lens. By looking straight into the camera with dark words and phrases written on their faces or hands, the pictures give a lesson of assertion regarding diversity and acceptance within society. The name “What I Be” originally came from a song written by Michael Franti and Spearhead, who Rosenfield saw in concert while visiting Canada. Soon after the show, the two became friends when Rosenfield asked to photograph the group for his project. Along with Franti, Rosenfield has shot other celebrities for the project including Joss Stone, Norah Jones, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. However, “What I Be” is nowhere near completion. In an email interview with the photographer, Rosenfield said that he would love to one-day work with Eminem, Ellie Goulding, Shakira and Lady Gaga. But aside from his celebrity portraits, he visits colleges around the country to find students trying to escape from their insecurities through photography. “What I Be is in full force right now and there’s a lot of things in the works,” he said. “We’re currently trying to take the project global.” With capturing the sensitive and emotional sides of people, Rosenfield is also planning on releasing a “What I Be” book and a music tour. “My vision for the project is to show as many people as possible that it’s okay to be ourselves, just the way we are,” the photographer said. “We don’t have to be ashamed of our stuff, and if we are, don’t let it control our whole being. There are so many people out there that can relate to any given issue. It’s all about creating a community of compassion and conscious people.”The project was founded in 2010 and after hundreds of different portraits, it has gained respect for its innovative and positive approach to dealing with insecurities. “None of us are alone. We all can relate to someone else and don’t ever hesitate to do just that,” he said. “You get back what you put in.” Check out his site: www.whatibeproject.com or follow him on VOL XXXV Issue 11 9 Twitter @sjrosenfield
BABY OFF: EXPECTING CELEBRITIES AND THE ONES WE JUST WISH WERE EXPECTING BY LAUREN KLEIN
Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Kelso and Jackie are having a baby!
Scarlett Johansson: Her child will be beautiful, obviously, because her fiancĂŠ is French and they are all somehow gorgeous.
Justin Bieber & Amanda Bynes: The two hottest messes of 2013/2014 unite to have a child, which will most likely destroy the world someday. 10 April 1, 2014
Ginnifer Goodwin & Josh Dallas: Aka Snow White and Prince Charming, real life fairy tale. Theyâ€™re so cute.
Drew Barrymore: Again.
Kerry Washington: Kept it a secret for four months. Four. Months.
Olivia Wilde & Jason Sudeikis: May their child be blessed with their humor and wit.
David Bowie & Tilda Swinton: Think about it. VOL XXXV Issue 11
T A K I N G B A C K S U N D AY, HAPPINESS IS REVIEW by jessica beebe
Taking Back Sunday’s long-awaited sixth studio album Happiness Is was released on March 18th through Hopeless Records. It’s their first record on an independent label in ten years. The second album since the Tell All Your Friends lineup (Adam Lazzaravocals, John Nolan-lead guitar/backup vocals, Eddie Reyes- rhythm guitar, Shaun Cooper-bass, and Mark O’Connell-drums) reunited, it offers satisfaction to fans who were disappointed with the self-titled album that the band put out in 2011 when they reformed. With Happiness Is, Taking Back Sunday shows off refined skills and carefully crafted lyrics. It opens with hit single ‘Flicker Fade,’ which the band played often live at shows in 2013. It’s a powerful anthem unlike anything the band is known for; Adam’s smooth yet husky yells are backed by heavy guitar In the standout track ‘Better Homes and Gardens,’ frontman Lazarra sings deeper than possibly ever, telling a heart wrenching story (So just go on, that house that you hate, that house that we bought, and failed to make,
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it was all for nothing, it was a waste, and now you’ll never be happy) Still, while the album proves maturity it also might give you déjà vu to circa 2004 when Where You Want to Be was released. Tracks like ‘Beat Up Car’ are less heavy and more energetic, with upbeat choruses. Also, vocal tradeoffs between Lazarra and Nolan shows that the band is still nostalgic about 2002’s beloved Tell All Your Friends. The album gives off more of a straight ‘rock’ vibe than a ‘pop/punk’ one. While some fans were disconcerted with this, Taking Back Sunday states often in interviews that they don’t like to be categorized under subgenres like ‘pop/punk’ or ‘emo,’ but rather be free to roam under the wide range of ‘rock.’ Though Happiness Is didn’t disappoint, it probably won’t be a go-to record for fans (who have such high expectations of the band). Still, supporters should really be happy that Taking Back Sunday is still releasing good, solid records after fifteen years of selling millions of albums and touring the world.
by jesse chang
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” The call of the abyss returns in Dark Souls II, and it is undoubtedly worthy of carrying the torch of the Souls series. The events of Dark Souls have passed into legend and myth, as Dark Souls II takes place at least a millennia after its predecessor. The world of Drangleic is so far removed from Dark Souls that one might question why it is even titled Dark Souls II. However, in typical Souls fashion, the game deliberately yet vaguely hints at the connections between now and then. The story is almost completely between the lines, told between the scarce lines of dialogue (some of which are lies), item descriptions and even the character and level designs. The locales will take your breath away. From Software is still a master at visual storytelling, as every detail of the level design tells the story of a slowly crumbling world with hints of its past glory. Your twisted journey will lead you to towers above and chasms below, and everything in between will claim your life the first chance they get. In terms of difficulty, the game is much more accessible to newcomers, but it presents a double-edged blade. For instance, an area can have up to five bonfires, though it takes away the catharsis and relief you get from, say, reaching the bonfire at the bottom of Blighttown in Dark Souls. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still die plenty of times before reaching the bosses; the level design and relentless waves of enemies will still do you in. Speaking of which, I was slightly disappointed at the 30 or so bosses, as only two of them gave me any real trouble. However, that was only the first run, and the game truly deserves the moniker of “Dark” on NG+, with new enemies that live longer and hit harder at every corner. Even on the first run, I have seen many a host die to these “easy” bosses when I am summoned to help fight them. PvP has also been tweaked so that backstab-fishing is no longer viable. This prevents the constant backstabfishing that plagued the first Dark Souls, but it also prevents
punishing players for making a stupid move. Sorcery, hexes and pyromancies are now rigged in that they may be cast almost instantaneously and deal insane amounts of damage. It seemed though that From Software wanted to make magic viable in PvP, but the end result is that meleeonly builds are almost completely unviable now. Note that these changes are not necessarily bad, just different from the norm of Dark Souls. One last qualm I have with the game is its soundtrack, which is composed by Motoi Sakuraba and Yuka Kitamura, a newcomer to the series. The tracks are all very short, most of which are less than two minutes, and few of them are as memorable. It pains me to say that none of them could match the orchestrated brilliance that was Ornstein and Smough’s theme, much less the beauty of the piano piece “Gwyn, Lord of Cinder,” which remains to this day as one of my favorite boss themes ever. I suspect the sheer amount of bosses in Dark Souls II meant that the composers could not spend as much time as they would like on a single piece. Additionally, it was unfortunate that the soundtrack was not fully orchestrated like its predecessor. Nevertheless, Dark Souls II is still an amazing game. If you liked Demons Souls or Dark Souls at all, you need to buy Dark Souls II. If you’re intrigued by the series but too much of a scrub to play the series, the accessibility of Dark Souls II will ease you into the abyss. And the call of the abyss is still strong, “for the curse of life is the curse of want…and so, you peer into the fog, in hope of answers.” PS. Dark Souls II is currently only on PS3/360, and the current version has graphical hiccups and an average framerate of about 25. You may want to consider the PC version releasing on April 25.
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G.U.Y. by patricia soberano
The Haus of Gaga released Lady Gaga’s latest music video, G.U.Y. An ARTPOP Film, five days prior to the artist’s birthday. It features four songs from her newest album, and it has earned it’s title of film rather than just music video at over 11 minutes long. The over 11 minutes does not include the time it takes one to fully take in and comprehend what was just seen. From the revivals of Jesus Christ, Michael Jackson and Mahatma Gandhi, made possible by featured game Minecraft, the video incorporates everything and anything of social relevance, interest or importance. It embodies her main artistic theme of Greek and Roman gods by featuring the singing head of the god of sexual desire and unrequited love, Himeros. To add to the absolute sensory engulfment, Gaga and her lethal but fabulous team of “Real Housewives” seek revenge from the money thirsty suits who left Gaga for dead as a wounded phoenix in the first few minutes. Lady Gaga is true to form by being predictably unpredictable once again but on a more personal level. The money-thirsty suits are in reality a depiction of her close associates who fought over her money when she was at her worst. Her most vulnerable point occurred at the time of her
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hip surgery and recovery when she was unable to manage herself without help. Her rising as a phoenix from the ashes of their betrayal brings her to the picturesque Hearst Castle (I mean Planet Venus) to find ethereal paradise. This paradise comes after Gaga flushed out the people who were poisoning her life. She was reborn exquisitely and is currently living in a successful artistic revamp period. ARTPOP is Lady Gaga’s assertion of absolute control in her life once again. The artist spreads the message that “ARTPOP could mean anything.” With the elements of the video as a prime example. In celebration of her latest video and her own birthday, Lady Gaga performed at her home venue of Roseland Ballroom in New York City this past Friday. The venue itself helped bring Lady Gaga up from her humble beginnings of singing shows in local clubs in the city. It was the first of the seven shows she is scheduled to perform before the iconic piece of history closes down.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED by evan goldaper
Look, I’m going to be completely honest with you here: I’m not exactly the most impartial critic when it comes to the Muppets. For instance, I can say with complete confidence that I know more about Muppets Tonight supporting character Big Mean Carl than I do about my neighbors, and that’s not about to change anytime soon. So look, just seeing said monster on screens again (not to mention Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, and the other characters even you’ve heard of) is practically enough for me to end the review here and say “Muppets Most Wanted wins ten stars. Go buy eighteen tickets and a Gonzo t-shirt.” But I’ve been writing reviews for long enough to know that’s not how you’re supposed to do things, and Stony Brook Press editor Jodie Mann said that I could make this review as long as I want, so here we go. Muppets Most Wanted is the direct sequel to 2011’s excellent Jason Segel-helmed Muppet reboot, aptlynamed The Muppets. This time, Kermit plans on leading his chaotic ensemble on a tour of Europe, but is hindered by the machinations of the world’s most dangerous criminal, Constantine. Since Constantine just so happens to look almost identical to Kermit, no one realizes that he is now leading the Muppets on a jewel heist and Kermit has been shipped off to a Siberian gulag. If that sounds stupid, you’re absolutely correct. Muppets Most Wanted was, without question, the stupidest movie I have seen in years. Let’s get this out of the way right now: there is absolutely no logical way that any of the Muppets would think Constantine is Kermit, as he continuously flubs their names and speaks with a terrible, stereotypical Russian accent. That’s not the only ridiculous flaw, either. Even I have to admit that the film has its fair share of rough edges, especially when the puppeteers rely on shoddy blue screen effects. But the secret to why Muppets Most Wanted is the funniest movie I’ve seen in a while is because the team behind the film was 100 percent committed to making the stupidest heist movie ever made. I mean this is the sort of movie where the heroes travel to Germany from California by taking a train that goes backwards over Canada and south via Scandinavia. Every single moment leads to some sort of pun, gag, or visual joke, and almost all of them land flawlessly. I found that I was completely willing to suspend my disbelief because it was much more entertaining to laugh along with the Muppets than to criticize them. The Muppet that’s unquestionably the breakout star of the film is Constantine. Performed in an over-the-top fashion by Matt Vogel (the puppeteer behind The Muppets’s
scene stealers Uncle Deadly and 80s Robot), he is a hilarious parody of both every spy movie villain and Kermit the Frog himself. Moreover, the movie’s three lead actors—Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell—are all even more entertaining than I predicted, and the team of puppeteers are as zany as always. At the end of the day, this movie definitely has a high standard to meet from Jason Segel’s 2011 Muppet movie, which was critically-acclaimed and featured the Oscarwinning song “Man or Muppet.” Yes, none of Bret McKenzie’s new tracks are as memorable as that one, but each song the soundtrack is clever, catchy, and none would feel out of place in an episode of Flight of the Conchords. Sure, that earlier film was a heartwarming exploration of the power of nostalgia and what it means to be an adult, while this movie just wants you to laugh at cheesy accents. Muppets Most Wanted is nothing but joke after joke, but these jokes are funnier than any of the ones in that last movie. If you’re in the mood to have your mind expanded, this certainly isn’t the right film for you. If you’re expecting a flawless movie, this isn’t the film for you either. But if you’re in the mood for some good, stupid fun, I can’t recommend this movie enough.
VOL XXXV Issue 11
RAPPERS YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO by kyril kotlovsky
HOPSIN: He has been referred to as the black Eminem, (who he states as one of his biggest influences), due to his gory metaphors, misogynist and self-deprecating lyrics and songs about deep introspection. He skates, wears crazy contacts, and has a label called Funk Volume. Hopsin’s lack of a verbal filter and pure balls-to-the-wall attitude will turn away more sensitive listeners, however there is no denying his work ethic. With several mixtapes under his belt, and the recently released album Knock Madness (his first under a major label), Hopsin’s popularity is on the rise. He gained fame following the success of his single, “Sag My Pants,”— where he attacks a slew of mainstream rappers like Soulja Boy and Lil’ Wayne—as well as his YouTube series, Ill Mind of Hopsin, which features a new single and music video with each installment. Songs to listen to: “The Friends are Knocking,” “Still Got Love For You,” “Nocturnal Rainbows,” “Gimme That Money,” “Tear To Snow,” “Who’s There,” “Hop Is Back” RITTZ: He’s white, fat and raps faster than Busta Rhymes. Rittz is a cat from Atlanta who’s been putting in work for over a decade and is finally getting his shine. His lyrics are incredibly complex and detailed, especially for someone who uses the rapid-fire “chopper” flow. It’s a harmonious blend of southern jargon and east-coast intensity and he comes off sounding like a hybrid of Yelawolf and Kendrick Llamar. Rittz is very active on the underground touring circuit and extremely loyal to his fans, always uploading a pic of the audience from every show. His first album, The Life and Times of Jhonny Valiant, dropped in 2013. It details his struggles with relationships, working odd jobs to make rent and coming up in the rap scene as both a white-boy and a fat dude. There is nothing not to like about Rittz. Songs to listen to: “My Interview,” “Amen,” “F*ck Swag,” “Sober,” “For Real,” “Goin In,” “Switch Lanes,” “Dixxxie Cup.” FREDDIE GIBBS: Not many rappers make it big coming out of Gary, Indiana, but Gibbs in one of them. His new album, Piñata, came out this month and features Gibbs doing what he does best; being diverse. It’s hard to box this dude 16 April 1, 2014
into any one category. One minute he can be a typical traprapper, the next he’s a crooner, but then does a complete 180 and begins to harness his inner Tupac, rapping about the struggles of living in the hood and struggling to stay in the right path. His flow is usually fast, but slow and clear enough where you can hear the power behind his words. Gibbs typically likes to rap over modernized old-school beats, incorporating that early 2000’s feel when G-Unit, JaRule, and Ludacris ruled the scene. He also has a talent for making some pretty infectious hooks, and knows how to ride the beat like a surfboard….surfboard….surfboard. Songs to listen to: “Talkin’ Bout You,” “Playa,” “Bussdown,” “Higher Learning,” “Smoke Away the Pain,” “Krazy,” “Bout It Bout It.” R.A THE RUGGED MAN: If were to look up the definition of hip-hop, R.A’s face would be in the picture next to it. This dude was on a song with Biggie, and I bet you don’t know a single rap fan who even knows who he is. R.A is incredibly passionate about the art of hip-hop, and very outspoken about the crumbling state of the rap game. R.A says that he’s glad to not be as famous as some of these megastars, because he gets to play in a packed club of die-hard fans, get the women, pay the bills, but then walk the streets as a regular person. There’s something to be said about that level of humbleness. He’s one of the original white-rappers, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from all the bass in his voice. He flow is non-stop and choppy, kinda like Eminem, but still manages to come across incredibly smooth and clear. His subject matter ranges from social criticism, his dad’s battle with a terminal illness, and simply showcasing his skills. R.A pays much homage to the old-school rappers, but still manages to sound incredibly modern for a fouty-something year old guy. The song, “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story,” features a nearly two minute long verse from R.A about his father, a decorated war-hero, and is considered one of the best verses of all time. Check out his album, The People’s Champ, which dropped last year. Songs to listen to: “The People’s Champ,” “The Dangerous Three,” “Media Midgets,” “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story,” “Make You Famous.”
CULTURE TECH N9NE: Lets make this clear: Tech should not be on this list. Not because he isn’t an incredible rapper and musician, but because he should already be more well known. Tech has been in the game for 20 years, and finally cracked the Forbes top-20 paid rappers of the year last year. His independent label, Strange Music, has an ever-growing impressive roster of talent, and Tech has never been shy about incorporating styles from other genres of music. In 2013, he released Something Else, an album with a whopping 26 tracks on it and a plethora of features, from Wiz Khalifa, to Tyler the Creator, to T-Pain, to Serj Tankian of System of a Down, (in addition to most of his Strange Music brethren). Tech’s grind is non-stop. You can pretty much guarantee two projects a year from the dude. His flow is usually unbelievably quick and packed with multisyllabic rhymes.
Most of Tech’s beats are somewhat industrialized, and he has no problem straying away from the styles of other rappers. There is no one that sounds quite like Tech, and his unquestioned love for the game bleeds through his songs. He goes hard to better the lives of the artists he signs, and his merchandise and touring hustle are off the charts: (how else do you make $21 million in a year being independent?) Check out Tech N9ne, you’ll discover an unbelievable talent, and a host of other good rappers that he collaborates with. Songs to listen to: “Fragile, So Dope,” “The Rain,” “Fortune Force Field,” “Straight Out The Gate,” “Come Gangsta,” “This Is Me,” “Running Out of Time,” “Bang Out.”
KIMYE ON VOGUE Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have snagged the April cover of Vogue much to the chagrin of everyone in the fashion world. Kimye, AKA the “#WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple” on the cover of the fashion bible is not digesting well with die-hard Vogue fans. Threats of cancelled subscriptions, refusal to buy the magazine and a general disapproval has made Vogue the most talked about magazine in the world. Which is exactly what Anna Wintour, the magazine’s editorin-chief and reigning queen of fashion, wanted. You just got played. Vogue’s past cover girls have been actresses with a pedigree and an Oscar nomination, consistent and boring. Anna Wintour shocked the world by putting Kimye on the cover. If Jennifer Lawrence was on the cover, again, do you really think every single major news outlet would be talking about it? No, not at all. This cover does not secure Kim’s place in the fashion world. While she might be a trendsetter, trends tend to die out while style is forever. Kim is also a bit of a phony. While reading the Kimye cover story is highly entertaining, Kim describes her husband to be as “the most romantic person I’ve ever even heard of.” It’s sad that two such huge cultural influences happen to also be stupid. Tragically, putting these two on the cover was the best business move for the fashion bible. Vogue hasn’t been talked about this much since The Devil Wears Prada came out in 2006. The magazine has been in a bit of a funk. Going through many of the same growing pains as other print publications in this digital age, Vogue hasn’t been aging well. If anything, it’s having a bit of an identity crisis, Kimye on the cover just highlights the magazine’s possible internal issues. Either way it’s Kim and Anna’s world, we just live in it. VOL XXXV Issue 11
THE PULL LIST FLASHBACK by ralph mcgluck
IT’S THE 55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE STONY BROOK PRESS’S COMICS SECTION! HERE’S A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR PAST REVIEWS!
Originally Printed in the September 1986 Edition of the Stony Brook Press Watchmen #1 Alan Moore Dave Gibbons The newest series by beardo Alan Moore and his bro Dave Gibbons begins with the gnarly death of a former superhero that sparks an investigation by the enigmatic vigilante Rorschach. Let’s be real here, Moore is just ripping off a bunch of Charlton comic characters. We geddit, Rorschach is the Question, Night Owl is the Blue Beetle and Ozymandias is Thunderbolt, anyone with half a brain can figure this out. This book is just derivative trash, and by the end, Gibbons gets so lazy that he just lets Moore go on writing in self-indulgent prose, without any pictures at all. This book isn’t even worth following, since I have no doubt it won’t get any less groady. Originally published in the August 1962 edition of the Stony Brook Press Amazing Fantasy #15 Stan Lee Steve Ditko Once again, the hacks at Marvel magazines fail to captivate. In Amazing Fantasy #15, “writer,” Stan Lee, and “artist,” Steve Ditko attempt to introduce readers to “Spider-man.” It’s doubtful that a spider-themed character in such garish garb could 18 April 1, 2014
ever captivate an audience. Peter Parker, the titular Spiderman, is not nearly convincing as a hero. With examples like Superman and Batman to live up to, no one is going to buy that a scrawny pipsqueak with taped glasses could ever beat the bad guys, or even kill a spider without shrieking like a dame. Emotional depth will never be the strong suit of a funny book, and the 12 cent price point is totally unjustifiable for this pile of drivel. Originally published in the March 1966 edition of the Stony Brook Press Fantastic Four #48 Stan Lee Jack Kirby Between Stan Lee’s childish dialogue and Jack Kirby’s narcotic-fueled nightmares of character design, the latest issue of The Fantastic Four continues the trend of low-concept trash that has plagued Marvel Comics since they changed their name from Atlas five years ago. The introduction of a new villain, the planet-devouring Galactus, and his metallic herald, the “Silver Surfer,” (really?) is more ridiculous even than the family of superheroes early adventures facing off against “mole-people.” I’ve been saying it for years, Marvel is doomed if they think this kind of marijuana-cigarette fueled malarkey will keep their business afloat much longer.
THE PULL LIST by sean fischer
All New Ghost Rider #1 Felipe Smith Tradd Moore The latest incarnation of the supernatural hero Ghost Rider attempts to distinguish itself from previous versions, and it’s shaping up to be a worthy addition to the character’s legacy. All New Ghost Rider by writer Felipe Smith and artist Tradd Moore, abandons the expansive open roads of the midwest for the crime ridden streets of East LA. The writing is refreshingly concise, mainly conveying visually the motivations and concerns of the newest vehicle for the Spirit of Vengeance: Robbie Reyes. Beyond Robbie’s use of a muscle-car over the traditional motorcycle, much of the story stays the same: our hero in a desperate situation and when things seem to be at their worst, he’s bonded with the spirit of the rider. Moore’s highly stylized art is fluid and expressive, capturing the fast paced nature of the story while showing a great attention to detail, however the disproportione and off-model figures in the book can be a bit of a turnoff. Thankfully, colorist Val Staples brings some much needed dimension to the artwork, the bright shades of red which contrast the dark backdrop of the city amplifies the energy the book exudes. If the team can keep up at the same pace for the rest of their run, it could easily become one of the most fun books of the year.
Silver Surfer #1 Dan Slott Michael Allred If anything is obvious in the newest ongoing series starring the Silver Surfer, it’s that writer Dan Slott really, really wants to write Doctor Who. The wholly original story revolves around a cosmic traveler haunted by his dark past who attempts to redeem himself by saving lives and righting
wrongs in exotic and fantastical locations throughout the universe, while being accompanied by an perky companion mysteriously tethered to him. The story isn’t so much a homage to the British sci-fi series as it is Slott’s pitch to write for the show. While the storyline itself is fairly clever and flows nicely, the main problem is how Slott attempts to mold the Surfer into a framework that doesn’t fully compliment his character. By making the guilt Norrin Radd feels for being a herald to Galactus his main motivation for the sake of drawing a parallel to Doctor Who, it undermines the years of development the character’s gone through. It only works on a surface level. Mismanagement of the character aside, it’s safe to say Michael Allred suits the book perfectly. His vibrant colors and imaginative designs of the exotic locations the work is set in matches the tone Slott was going for. It goes without saying that if you’re a fan of Doctor Who and the IDW comic adaptations don’t suffice, this is worth picking up, however diehard fans of the character may want to skip this relaunch, if you’re neither wait for the trade to see if the book develops its own voice.
The Sandman: Overture #2 Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III Despite several delays, the second issue of Gaiman’s return to Sandman is upon us, and it proves to be worth the wait. The return of characters like Mad Hettie, Julian and Dream is like getting reacquainted with old friends. In many ways, the familiar feeling of the book is its best asset. Gaiman’s prose and Williams’ layouts are amazing in their own right, making the book live up to the reputation and expectations set by the original series. The fine details in the dialogue and the art, especially the sequences where Dream deals with the other aspects of his being, can be picked apart for ages, or at least until the next issue inevitably comes out months late. Gaiman and Williams are at their best here, and the sum of their efforts results in a book worthy of the Sandman title. VOL XXXV Issue 11
FIFTY SHADES OF CHOKING by patricia soberano
Her eyes rolled back as another wave of pleasure went through her body. His hand around her throat heightened the intensity her body was already enjoying. Her back arched as he took control. Her senses were highly stimulated as the loss of oxygen to her brain brought her to a high. This bodily reaction is called erotic asphyxiation. It is also known as breath play. In absolute simple terms, it is called choking. What motivates a person to administer choking? Psychologically on both sides of the equation, it is about control and dominance. “It’s a bit of control,” said John, an engineering major at Stony Brook University. “A bit of literally taking control of the basic biological functions of another human being and at the same time they make really good faces.” However at the end of the day, choking is a dangerous means of pleasure. It is a potential physical and emotional hazard to a person and their partner. The resident Next Generation chapter at Stony Brook University is the kink club that caters to those interested in learning more about the fetish population. The club stresses the necessity of safety if a person chooses to participate in such an activity. The utilization of choking by a partner’s hand that is spread out is best and safest. Nonverbal safe words for this situation work best. The number of accidental deaths by autoerotic asphyxiation or the action of choking oneself are high enough to make an advisement against it necessary to stress. In terms of mentally, it was not advised for the sexual add on be utilized for one-time sexual partners. One-night stands are not known for aftercare and it is more necessary 20 April 1, 2014
than not in this particular case to receive or administer it. “Don’t do it with someone you don’t trust,” said Dakota Winchester, student at Stony Brook University and speaker for the Next Generation chapter. “To me at least, choking is a super intimate thing because your throat is crushable and I trust you enough to have your hand around my neck.” Above all else, consent is necessary. The blurred lines of dominance and loss of control are not excuses to do anything without both parties willingness to participate. The numbers of people who engage in choking has drastically increased enough to consider this a real trend. Take the present issue of choking then add in the rest of the elements of the dominant and submissive world, a highly sexual and handsome elite businessman with control issues and a modest but sexy college graduating virgin then you have the basic elements of the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. As the world only has little over 11 months to mentally prepare itself for the onscreen depiction of the worldwide bestseller, press for the film has already begun. The film will either make or break the career of the still green young actress, Dakota Johnson. No matter if the film will be receive approval by critics or another piece of cinematic meat to be ripped apart, it will be a renewed excuse for more steamy excitement in the bedroom. The door that separated the vanilla, or traditional, population to that of kinky sexual preferences has been opened wide making choking socially acceptable. It is no longer a hush and blush inducing topic not appropriate for the public eye. Choking has been eaten up by the public’s curiosity and it is here to stay.
YO QUIERO BREAKFAST by tom johnson
It’s a brisk March morning, and you find yourself making the early morning trek home from whatever road skank you spent the night with. About halfway home, your car suddenly breaks down. You go to call for assistance and you realize your cellular telephone is dead, so you decide to hoof it down the road. As you walk along the long and lonesome road, you see a glint of hope in the distance, a sign of civilization.You start to run, your heart beating faster with each passing moment. As you near your destination, the structure comes into focus, and it is revealed that the sign of hope was as it has always been, a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo store. A black and yellow sign hangs in the window, “Breakfast ‘till 11AM” it says. You’ve heard of this before, it held such promise, made you feel hope again, so you venture forth inside, then to the counter to learn more and experience the culinary delights for yourself. The Waffle Taco with sausage, A.M. Crunchwrap with bacon and the sausage and egg burrito are your weapons of choice for this day. As you eagerly await the sad, sad Taco Bell Burrito Artist to shuffle over to the counter with your order, you hear the local townsfolk in their snapbacks comparing their new playing card tattoos in their snapbacks. After a few minutes, your order is finally ready and you dive in. As the first bite of the A.M. Crunchwrap graces your palate, your mind is flooded with memories of eating your grandmother’s homemade breakfast on a warm spring morning. As you come falling hard back to reality, you realize
this is nothing like that. The bacon is fine, really. It’s fast food bacon, but it’s serviceable. The egg is dry and crumbly, like the powdered eggs you’d get at a bad continental breakfast. Only half of it needed to be eaten before it was wrapped back up and thrown to the side. Next up was the steak and egg burrito. This is the highlight of the meal, really. There isn’t much one can say about it other than it’s fine. Just fine. It won’t set the world on fire, but it’ll do. You eye the Waffle Taco like a hunter eyes his prey. What can possibly go wrong? It’s the poster child for the whole concept of breakfast at the T-Bell. However, the whole thing seems incredibly fragile, like a delicate house of cards just begging to fall apart at the drop of a hat. The waffle itself looks and feels incredibly crumbly, but the sausage is firm and dying to lay flat as nature intended, and as such is constantly trying to burst forth from it’s waffle prison. Syrup is all over the place, as well. The whole package is incredibly anxiety inducing, and it falls apart just like your hopes and dreams for what Taco Bell breakfast could be. You dump your leavings in the trash and go out and sit on the curb. Is everything you know a sham? Is this all there is? Is this crazy thing we call life just one big lie, one big joke? You sit on the curb, pondering this, waiting for your mortal coil to finally shed, leaving you as dead as the iPhone in your pocket. fin. VOL XXXV Issue 11
by patricia soberano
Noah is the onscreen visual accompaniment of the Book of Genesis story of Noah and the Ark. It is the story of one man’s (Russell Crowe) calling from the Creator to build an ark to survive through the annihilation of the entire world through a flood sent by the Creator with his family and two of each animal to build a new world. However Darren Aronofsky, the director of the film and also of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, made sure to feature the horrors of the actions of the people the Creator wished to cleanse away. If the film is anything, it is more violent than religious. The screams of terror of those drowning are traumatizing by itself. Graphic images do not occupy the screen every single minute but when they do, there is no holding back. The internal battle of obligation versus family becomes the main theme as the film presses on. Noah is the protagonist of the story however after circumstances change and his level of religiosity becomes the only thing that matters, 22 April 1, 2014
an almost unnatural darkness clouds his judgment enough to be seen as the new antagonist. Jennifer Connelly plays Noah’s wife and is the glue that holds the family together despite Noah’s moments of possible irrationality. Their children, played by Emma Watson, Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman, are cause of chaos by themselves. From inescapable to note sexual desire to a high level of jealousy, the trio was individually another depiction of what human nature means. The ultimate question of what is good and what is just is depicted determined every decision made. Wicked and just are the absolute forces working against each other, however if there is wickedness in all man, then should all be punished? If goodness and wicked characteristics can be seen in one person then should punishment still be the answer or can mercy be acceptable is the question.
BACKSTREET BOYS AND SPICE GIRLS TOUR
by julianne mosher
Everybody, Backstreet (and the Spice Girls) may be back Let’s go back to 1998 for a minute. You’re wearing your snazzy sneakers with the curly neon laces fastening them, an awesome Lisa Frank backpack and probably something with 1960s-esque power flowers on it. If you were obviously really cool, you rocked your brand new compact disc player with a few select CD:, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, P!nk and of course, the Spice Girls. The 90s were a weird time. Fashion was all over the place as was the music. But there was one group that showed all us girls at the time that girl power was where it was at. The Spice Girls were everywhere; on folders, pens, notepads, shirts, lollipops and magazines. You probably had one of their Barbies or the “look like a Spice Girl” hair kit. But while preaching girl power with a sassy peace sign, teenage girls were drooling over five hotties: the Backstreet Boys. Known for being “Larger Than Life,” this pop group was totally playing games with our hearts… Nick, AJ, Brian, Kevin and Howie were on all the covers of Teen Beat and they were the best dancers we had ever seen at the MTV VMA’s. Recently, Brian teased all of us by saying that when the
group reunites for another tour this summer, the British pop “Wannabe” singers were most likely going to join them as headliners. All of us 90s fan girls dreams were finally coming true. Imagine seeing these two together? It would be a pop extravaganza full of catchy tunes and lots of middle-age hip motion. Imagine all the 20 to 30-something year olds drunkenly singing along to “I Want It That Way” or “Spice Up Your Life?” They start singing something off their new reunion album that’s not a 90s pop tune and everyone screams, “NO. WE DON’T WANT THAT. PLAY “AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME!” Imagine the overweight and saddened moms trying to fit into their old 1999 Millennium tour shirts, realizing they went nowhere in life while their elementary school children seem happier than they ever will be. But alas, it was confirmed that the two would not tour anytime soon. Especially by Posh Spice. She seems to kind of hate everyone. VOL XXXV Issue 11
THE BRAIN AND BEYOND: MICHIO KAKU SPEAKS by ian schafer
answer questions from the audience, then met eager fans in the Staller Center’s lobby to sign their copies of his books. Prior to the talk, Dr. Kaku met with members of the student media to answer their questions about his life and work. The interview, condensed for brevity, is printed below. The full transcript is available on SBPress.com
Dr. Michio Kaku, world-renowned physicist, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York, science communicator and television personality told students “the purpose of memory is to help us see the future,” in the Staller Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 26, as part of the Undergraduate Student Government Lecture Series. “That’s what the human brain does best,” Kaku said to the packed-out audience of students and faculty, “predict the future.” Kaku’s lecture focused primarily on concepts which he has covered in his latest book, Physics of the Mind, such as future applications of technology in developing and discovering the latent power of the human brain. He discussed projects which aim to assist those with mental illnesses, such as a “brain pacemaker” which might someday help to instantly jog the memory of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. The memory implantation technology that has recently been tested successfully in mice. “Primates are next,” Kaku said. Kaku also touched on customized gene sequences, telepathy, telekinesis and quantifying and visualizing brain functions, such as dreaming or crafting a lie in real time. After the conclusion of his talk, Kaku took time to 24 April 1, 2014
The Stony Brook Independent: Why did you decide to come speak at Stony Brook, having taught, still teaching, at the prestigious CUNY? Do you expect to get something different from our audience? Michio Kaku: Well, I like to speak at campuses around the world, and I like to interact with young people, because young people—they are the future. Some of my papers are very widely footnoted, and if you look at something called superconformal gravity, it was created by myself and two physicists here at Stony Brook, so I have a strong relationship with the physics department here. But basically, I’ll go where people invite me because I want to try to excite young people to go into science. The Stony Brook Press: In your words, what is the value of science communicators with a level of celebrity, like yourself, Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson? What do you see your role as? Michio Kaku: I’ve interviewed a lot of scientists in my time, and I always ask them: how did it start? What got you on this great voyage? And they always say the same thing. You know, when I was around 10, it was a telescope, a microscope, a visit to the planetarium, something got them going. You want to know somebody who’s done it. You want to pattern your life around somebody because the wheel’s been invented. Why reinvent the wheel? The wheel’s already been invented. And how many role models do we have? Very few. Just turn on the television, count how many scientific role models you have. So at age 10 it starts. We begin to become enamored
CULTURE of science. Then we want to visit planetariums, we want to get a telescope, a microscope, a chemistry kit. Then, we hit 15, and it’s all over. It’s all over. The greatest destroyer of scientists known to science is junior high school. That’s why we need role models, to tell people that science could be exciting. You can get a job doing science, you can pursue your dreams, and it’s not about memorizing things, it’s about learning concepts. The Stony Brook Statesman: You’re known for your role as a theoretical physicist. You’re a popularizer of science, as the title as given, but you’re also a teacher, foremost a lecturer. How would you say your role making science a more popular, more public field interacts with your role of teaching science and making it more open to students? Michio Kaku: Well, there used to be a conflict. A conflict between trying to popularize science, trying to become a professor, and also trying to do research. Now Carl Sagan was one of the first to hit that buzzsaw, and he had some rather negative consequences of that. Even though he was a good scientist, an astronomer and helped with the space program, his name was proposed to be a part of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Sciences is the most prestigious scientific body in the United States, it advises the US Congress. His name came up, and he got shot down. The mathematicians at Yale said he’s just a mere popularizer. The vote was taken, and it was humiliating. He got shot down. But then, several things happened. First, Stephen Hawking became famous, and he’s a research activist scientist. Second, our supercollider got canceled. The vote was taken, and the machine was canceled, and physics, my area of physics, high-energy physics, was set back one generation Stony Brook News: You said a little bit earlier that physics in this country was set back a whole generation, did that play a role in your formulation of what the future’s going to be like? Could the time frame have changed? Michio Kaku: Well, not really, because the way I predict the future is, I cheat. I get a television camera, from BBC, Science Channel, Discovery Channel and interview the people who are inventing the future. For example, back in the mid 90s, I wrote a book called Visions, where I said that we’re going to have the internet in our glasses, and we’re going to have personalized gene sequencing. You can imagine the shock in the scientific community. There were scientists saying you’re crazy, we’re never going to have the internet in our glasses, we barely have them on our PCs. But you see, I talked to the people doing it. I talked to the people who are automating the genomic process, I talked to the people who had blueprints of what glasses would look like if they had the internet in them. Sure enough, now personalized genomes cost $1000 and you can have all your genes on a disk. And Google is coming out with Google Glass sometime later this year
commercially. Stony Brook News: So do people come to you with predictions or do you seek them out actively? Michio Kaku: Actually, I seek them out; I’m sort of like a science junkie – I roam the internet and in my own mind I have a time frame of what is possible and what is not possible. Stony Brook News: I saw you on TV recently, on the “Daily Show,” speaking about being able to download a calculus chapter into your brain. Then I found it really interesting that you’re working with Alzheimer’s patients in trying to download memories. And how does that even work? I can understand being able to download data, but how do download a memory, something so personal and individualized? Michio Kaku: It turns out that it’s easier than we thought. Simple memories, we’ve already done it. If I take a mouse, for example, and I have the mouse trained to sip water, it memorizes that trick. Then I put two electrodes into the hippocampus. So we know the hippocampus is the gateway to memory, so you put two electrodes. Simply tape record what goes on between these two electrodes, and later the mouse forgets. Then you shoot that same memory back into the hippocampus and first try – it remembers. It was duplicated at MIT, where they actually put a false memory into a mouse.
VOL XXXV Issue 11
FACEBOOK BOUGHT OCULUS RIFT AND THAT’S JUST FINE by tom johnson
Last week, Facebook announced it’s purchase of virtual reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion, and as is the usual, much of the Internet erupted in panic. While I may not be the biggest fan of Facebook, I do feel that this acquisition will ultimately be a good thing for Oculus VR as a mainstream product and gaming as a whole. I won’t front, when I first read that Oculus was bought by Facebook, my first reaction was a very loud, very angry “bullshit!” that scared the shit out of my girlfriend and cat. After thinking about it more and more in the days following however, it’s probably not nearly as bad a scenario as the Internet thinks it is. The outrage was to be expected though. People don’t take very kindly to Facebook, and many go to great lengths to avoid it altogether. As with all massive companies, they do some really skeezey stuff, especially when it comes to your personal information. Truth be told though, the internet would have reacted much in the same way if it were bought by any major company, it just happened to be the company that people seem to hate the most. Oculus VR was never going to be able to maintain its 26 April 1, 2014
independence forever. Sure, there are a ton of loyal followers and true believers in that hard sought after indomitable indie spirit that wanted to see Oculus grow into something huge all on it’s own, but those people are fucking delusional. Anyone who knew how this industry worked could look at that initial Kickstarter campaign and know that for Oculus to really succeed, to become a mainstream product and household name, they’d need much more money than any crowdfunding campaign or venture capitalist backers can give them, they’d need to get bought by someone huge. expected that someone to be Facebook. Granted, there are probably only a good five or six companies that could afford to drop $2 million bones on a crazy VR venture, and the alternatives could have been much worse. I mean, really, imagine if Apple, Google or Microsoft were the ones to buy the company, as they’re some of the only ones who could afford to drop that coin. The technology would probably be thrown into some dark corner of their R&D departments and either be incorporated into some other product years down the line or just be shelved. When you really sit down and think about it, something
like Facebook or Amazon makes sense in the grand scheme of things. They’ve got a killer commerce system in place, and more importantly, they know how to reach people. I’d bet good money that when a consumer version of the Rift finally sees a release, Facebook will make damn sure you know about it whenever you use the service. Prior to the buyout, Oculus was a venture capitalistfunded company, and as a result, it was walking a very fine tightrope. All they would have to do is botch one product launch, one massive piece of bad press about VR addiction on the Today Show, one VC investor demanding a quicker return, and the company could go under real quick. Imagine if you will, the grim and probably inevitable news story somewhere down the line wherein someone dies in one of the headsets. That person’s family will undoubtedly lawyer up and sue the crap out of whoever made the unit (be it Oculus, Sony, or whoever else gets into the game.). A small Oculus VR with a paltry $100 million in VC money can’t handle that, but with someone like Facebook behind them, now they can. The purchase also adds a layer of credibility to the legitimacy when presenting it to a mainstream audience. It can be shown as a real piece of innovative technology, and not some fringe piece of novelty gear reserved for arcades in the late 90s and people way into Lawnmower Man, and with the stigma removed, the audience for the product broadens. The Oculus Rift in particular is a piece of technology that, as cliche as it sounds, really needs to be seen firsthand to be believed. With that Facebook money, that technology can get into the hands and eyes of a hell of a lot more people than it ever could have before, and can really help to make or break it.
OPINION There’s still a chance that Facebook can really mess things up if they decide to do something crazy, but what it ultimately comes down to is this: Facebook isn’t changing Oculus’ gameplan. If anything, it’s accelerating the execution and getting it out there. Facebook is providing this once plucky independent startup with stability, and Oculus will still focus on gaming and interactive experiences, and Facebook is interested in the medium’s potential as a communication platform. Honestly, the possibilities are nearly endless, and even games pioneer and Oculus VR CTO John Carmack acknowledges that, tweeting that he has “a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace that we want for VR will be at this scale.” All of this is coming from a true supporter of this whole push to VR. I own an original Oculus Rift DK1 developer kit. I preordered the DK2 the second I was able to and eagerly await its arrival in July. I’ve seen firsthand what Oculus is capable of, and I’ve sank over $500 into it because I believe in the technology and the future of VR. I’ve got a much bigger stake in it than most people complaining on Twitter and (of all places) Facebook, and I’m incredibly optimistic.So just sit down, take a deep breath, maybe get a cup of tea, and calm the fuck down. Everything’s (probably) going to be just fine.
VOL XXXV Issue 11
HOMELESS HOCKEY by kyril kotlovsky
The recent success of Stony Brook Hockey has some players confident about the team’s future but frustrated about the lack of a true home ice rink. “It’s great to have a place to play at all,” says team Captain Wes Hawkins, referring to The Rinx in Hauppauge where the Seawolves play their home games. “It just sucks that we have to pay so much for ice time.” Indeed, despite receiving an annual budget of $95,000, during the season the team is forced to relinquish $1,500 dollars a week for three hour-long practices, as well as $2,500 dollars for weekend home games. Every player on the 32-man roster must also contribute $1,000 for dues, before equipment costs. After paying expenses for travel and hotel accommodations, the team is left with only a fewhundred dollars at best, which Coach Chris Garafalo tries to save for the next year. This season was particularly taxing, as Stony Brook hosted the conference playoffs and had to pay additional fees for occupying ice time. For the second straight year, Stony Brook Hockey won their conference and advanced to the ACHA National Championships as the fifth seed—up from 15 the previous season— ultimately falling short of a national title and losing in the semifinals. Until this recent success, the lack of a rink on campus made it difficult for the team to get recognition and schedule games against higher-quality opponents. “Coach contacted a lot of the top midwestern schools,” says Hawkins. “Even though schedules were already booked, they all said ‘you guys are doing really well, we should do something next year.” If we had a rink, we would definitely be able to schedule more home games, and attract better competition.” The Rinx is a public ice rink that makes its money from public skating sessions, equipment sales and concessions. On average, the team attracts 200 to 300 fans a game, with around 500 per game during the playoffs. The team keeps a majority portion of the $3 student and $5 non-student tickets, which helps alleviate some of the cost. Because of money issues, the lack of available ice-time is a handicap to the team, says Goalie Brendan Jones. “You look at all the top schools that we’re competing against, and they all have rinks on campus. They can practice as much as they want,” Jones says. “I know there are some guys who end class at 8:30, and by the time they get to the
rink and get suited up its like 9:15, and we start watching film at 9,” he adds. At Stony Brook hockey games, most of the fans are from surrounding towns as opposed to students. Both Jones and Hawkins say that the team is appreciative of the support, but that they would like to see more students in the stands. “People always ask what is there to do on the weekends?” says Jones. “It’s no secret that Stony Brook gets dead on the weekends. Having this rink on campus would improve social life and school spirit.” He also added that some of the hockey season occurs during a lull period for sports, with football ending and basketball not yet starting. Estimates say a brand new arena would cost between $10 and $20 million. However, with the unveiling of the renovated sports complex set to open this fall, some members of the team are wondering why the school could not combine basketball and hockey on one floor, which many pro-arenas and some schools do. “It really boils down to money,” says Lyle Gomes, the vice president of finance and chief budget officer at Stony Brook. “There is just simply not enough funding for hockey. Already $20 million has gone into the new arena, and having a mixed-sport facility would be too expensive to maintain.” Matt Larsen, the senior associate director of athletics, also added that the renovations “did not go outside of the existing skin of the old arena.” According to Larsen, installing a rink under these conditions would not be possible. But the team is not convinced. Hawkins says that in the past, former Athletic Director Jim Fiore “laughed at the idea” of bringing hockey to Stony Brook’s campus, and that Administration has been largely unresponsive. Two years ago, the players petitioned the school for a rink and attracted a few thousand signatures, but ultimately the movement lost momentum. They also tried to hire a coach bus to take fans to the game, but Hawkins says that resulted in 20 fans showing up in addition to another 20-something people who were already friends with some of the teammates. “So in reality we paid $800 to have 20 new fans show up to the game,” he says.
VOL XXXV Issue 11
April is Asian/American Heritage Month on Campus and the Events are Non-Stop! If you walk into the Wang A/AC from the main or Staller entrances, see the beautiful SEAS OF BLUE indigo fabric exhibit in front of you, eat at Jasmine, and then leave the same way you came in, you’re missing some of the best stuff! In the lower Zodiac Lobby area are amazing moving art installations, some powered by magnets and ferrofluids. The crowd favorite in BOUNDLESS FANTASY is what at first glance appears to be nothing more than spinning red circles of light on one of the alcove walls, until suddenly it starts changing form. And then you realize it’s changing as the movements of the visitors waving their hands and arms and even legs at it are creating new patterns. Keep walking up into the Sculpture Gallery (called the Theatre Lobby because lack of funding hasn’t meant many sculpture exhibits) to brightly painted yellow walls covered in comic book pages and large cutout characters. The MARVELS AND MONSTERS exhibit shows how Asians were historically portrayed in popular graphic art - from the yellow peril to sexy but venomous man-killers. But the Wang A/AC is not just art. The month starts on 4/2 with HOLI: A FESTIVAL OF COLOR, in Jasmine with food and performances. On 4/2 will also be the film MARIA THE KOREAN BRIDE, and the director will be here too. She symbolically married 50 husbands in 50 states after getting hassled once too often about being single. TEA TALK, a series on teas with tastings across Asia, will conclude with Korea on 4/12. Confucius Institute has also held a year-long free film series. On 4/16 it will be the romantic comedy, ERMA’S WEDDING. Korean Studies has been holding a series of Korean American Literature Talks. On 4/17 it will be
MAIJA RHEE-DEVINE on VALUES AND IDENTITY OF KOREAN AMERICAN WOMEN. BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS: BANG ON JA-PAN, an electric chamber ensemble, will perform 4/18. An all day MARVELS AND MONSTERS SYMPOSIUM on Asian images in graphic work will be on 4/23 in conjunction with the exhibit. And that’s only Wang AA/C. This month most of the major Asian and Asian American clubs have their big events. The mother of them all is CASB’s CHINA NIGHT on 4/19. It sells out in a day and the SAC auditorium is packed. Filled with all sorts of performances, it’s been going on for over 40 years. ASA’s NATIONS OF ASIA SEMIFORMAL will be 4/18. Bengalis Unite annual show, JOY JATRA, will be on 4/6. DDKY, the Korean drumming group, will do their show, ULSOO, on 4/5. The Korean Students Association, KSA, will have K-NIGHT on 4/12. PUSO FEST, the Filipino students annual show, will be on 4/25. TSA, the Taiwanese Student Association, will have its NIGHT MARKET on 4/3. VSA, the Vietnamese Students Association, will teach students how to make summer rolls on 4/10. YUVA, the South Asian singing group, will perform in the first A CAPPELLA NIGHT on 4/15. And last but not least, at Staller Center, the Japanese taiko drummers TAO will perform their show, PHOENIX RISING, on 4/5. Berkner Hall at Brookhaven National Lab will resonate with the sound of pianist DI WU on 4/9. Sorry, missing some club’s events, can’t find dates. We’ll add them when we know. Check out the details for everything above and more by clicking on CALENDAR on AAE-Zine (aaezine.org) or SBU AAE-Zine (aa2sbu.org/aaezine).
IMAGINING THE WANG P . H. Tuan Annual Charles B. Wang Asian/American Center Photography Contest www.aaezine.org/tuan wangphotocontest No entry fees! Cash prizes! Judged by PH Tuan, CB Wang A/AC architect! Dinner with PH Tuan for all contestants!
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