UCSB’s Weekly Student-Run Newspaper
Volume 8, Issue 17 | April 9-15, 2014
@tblucsb / thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu
Lil B ‘blessed’ The Hub April 9 with his own blend of repeating beats and nonsensical rhymes.
The Isla Vista community is reeling after a Deltopia celebration that ended violently.
Professors from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics gathered to promote their work.
A&E / 6
Photo / 4
Sci &Tech / 7
IV BEAT REPORT
LOOKING THROUGH THE TEAR GAS AT DELTOPIA 2014
AS BEAT REPORT AS Senate Discusses Increased Isla Vista Surveillance, Approves AS Restructure
Photo by Diane Ng | Staff Photographer
Alex Choate, the External Vice President of Statewide affairs, updates Senate on the University of California Student Association during her weekly report on Wednesday, March 30. by Kelsey Knorp AS BEAT REPORTER
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer Police officers form a line and march down Camino Pescadero during Deltopia Saturday, April 5.
by Giuseppe Ricapito IV Beat Reporter The daytime bacchanal of Deltopia, held on Saturday, April 5, drew an estimated 15,000 students to the streets of Isla Vista but erupted into full-scale civil unrest by nightfall. With 130 total arrests, 190 citations issued, and 50 people transported to hospitals throughout the day (but no reported deaths), the events of Deltopia 2014 have spurred a national dialogue on the culture and character of Isla Vista. At about 11 p.m. Saturday night, as the fervor of the student riot was reaching its peak, a few individuals ventured into the no man’s land between the battalion of officers and the seething students. One unidentified youth, his face almost completely covered in the mist of tear gas and billowing smoke, stood motionless facing the officers, recalling the iconic, passive resistance of Tiananmen Square. But there were no tanks to be seen moving around the lone figure. The law enforcement officers, closing rank and forming a tight line along Del Playa, had only riot control weapons as a response. Certain individuals—undeterred by the threat of violence—had been attempting to intervene in the clash throughout the night. Sasha Ramsay, a Cal State Long Beach first-year business marketing major, stood alone in the street dressed in a University of California, Santa Barbara pullover, appealing for a cooling of vitriol between both factions. Eventually restrained and removed by friends, she languished at the top edge of the crowd, under the street sign at the corner of Del Playa Drive and Camino Pescadero. Visibly shaken by the continual crackling of rubber bullets peppering the wooden rail fence behind her, she explained why she ventured out. “Cause this isn’t right,” Ramsay said. “I don’t understand why people are fighting.” Though the riot came as a surprise to many, the officers had been previously prepared for it as a contingency. An informational “Know Your Rights” discussion about Deltopia with Sheriff Mark Signa, held on Tuesday, April 1, foreshadowed the incidence of civil unrest. “If it got to the point where Deltopia was totally out of control with a riot, then all the officers would pull out and then they would start to do the skirmish lines,” Signa said. “We would have to clear the streets. But that’s extreme–extreme.” But long before the tumultuous civil unrest, this year’s Deltopia began just like its predecessors—copious amounts of alcohol and thousands of students flooding the streets. The daytime
was marked by warm weather, and even without the rumbling beat of DJs lining Del Playa, there was the unmistakable presence of unbridled enthusiasm. The motley crowd of UCSB students, SBCC students, and out of town guests was decked out in beach gear—bikinis, board shorts, and even some celebratory costumes. There was little doubt that that all involved had seriously committed to a day of partying. However, this year’s Deltopia had not developed without some measure of controversy. According to a preliminary statistical news release, 130 law enforcement personnel were assigned to Deltopia—an increase from last year—to match rising initial estimates (20,000-25,000) people) of potential attendees. Sheriff Signa explained that the towering video cameras, installed on Del Playa and the UC campus, were a result of the recent sexual assaults and stabbings that had occurred in Isla Vista. “There’s increased concern about what’s going on Del Playa,” Signa said. “The goal [of the cameras] was to put them up for Deltopia and see if they’re an effective tool or not.” The camera footage—presumably the most complete recording of the riot—will undoubtedly play an essential role in an ongoing investigation of Deltopia criminal activity. In addition, the application of Santa Barbara County’s Outdoor Festival Ordinance 6-70 was a concern for many residents in the days leading up to the event. Defining a festival as a musical gathering which draws more than 500 people within earshot, Signa explained that officers had the option of confiscating equipment or charging with a misdemeanor any individual that violated the regulation. The festival ordinance was fully enforced throughout the day, resulting in broken-up house parties with attendees vacated onto the streets. “We don’t have final data, but preliminary information indicates that at least 60 percent of the arrests and citations issued were to individuals from out of the area,” said SB Sheriff Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover. Though information is still being compiled and analyzed, the preliminary statistical news release indicates that 62 people arrested or cited claimed “a school affiliation”; “16 said they were from UCSB, 10 from Santa Barbara City College and 36 said they attended school outside of Santa Barbara County.” Sixty-four arrests were made for drunkenness in public, and “of the citations, 100 were for minor in possession and 68 for open container.” Eleven citations were also issued for violations of the County Festival Ordinance, and two for overcrowded balconies. UCSB students also received emergency alert notifications on Saturday concerning two episodes of assault with a deadly
See DELTOPIA | Page 2
SANTA BARBARA METROPOLITAN TRANSIT DISTRICT ANNOUNCES UPCOMING CHANGES
by Elisa Lee
niversity of California, Santa Barbara students and Santa Barbara residents attended the Public Transit Forum on Thursday, April 3, in Isla Vista Theater 2 in order to weigh in on possible service changes proposed by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) as well as to suggest improvements to the transit system overall. Sherrie Fisher and George Amoon of the MTD management team led the meeting. Potential service changes, which are expected to take effect Aug. 25, 2014, include adding one additional bus for lines 1, 2, 16, and 37 in order to decrease the number of missed and late trips. They also planned to add five minutes to the last five trips made by the Line 37. The MTD Board also stated that they might eliminate Line 22, which travels through the Old Mission and Botanic Garden, in December 2014 as a result of low ridership. In addition, they spoke of potentially rerouting Line 15x out of Isla Vista to only along El Colegio due to scheduling issues caused by a significant increase in people getting on and off; this would mean that people would have to walk an additional five minutes from Abrego Road to El Colegio. The MTD managers acknowledged that these potential changes would not greatly affect UCSB students specifically and proceeded to announce the changes that would. “In August of 2015, there will be additional service added to
the line 24 and the line 12x,” Fisher, general manager of the Santa Barbara MTD, said. She also said that service would be extended until 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, in August 2016 the MTD will implement a new line, Line 38, which, according to Fisher, “will go from the Camino Real Marketplace to the corner of Storke and Hollister, which will also have Santa Catalina and San Joaquin, and then over to North Hall and back.” This line will run Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. This new line will be created to cater to the potential 1,000 new students that will reside in new housing project San Joaquin, which is still under review and expected to be built in two to three years. The Santa Barbara MTD also announced the forthcoming bigger buses, referred to as articulated buses, in August 2014, just in time for the start of the Santa Barbara City College school year. The articulated buses will be 60 rather than 40 feet long. The hope is that this change will prevent students and transit riders from being uncomfortably crammed into buses. Fisher also addressed the MTD transit-service reduction scare that threatened transit commuters in the summer of 2013, in which Santa Barbara residents faced the threat of a 30 percent reduction in transit services. Fisher said that Santa Barbara MTD was fortunately able to gain enough federal funding, in part due to the activism of UCSB and SBCC students as well as Santa Barbara residents, eradicating the possibility of reduced services.
Associated Students Senate passed legislation finalizing portions of the organization-wide restructure and received updates on controversial campus issues at its meeting on Wednesday, April 2. External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA) Alex Moore touched on a couple of these issues in his weekly report to the Senate, including the recently implemented surveillance cameras and security measures in place during Deltopia the first weekend of the quarter. The cameras, located both on the University of California, Santa Barbara property as well as at various intersections on Del Playa Drive, were installed at the request of the UCSB administration, which is funding their use. According to Moore, the main priority of Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) is to have access to the camera feeds during Deltopia, after which point the administration aims to leave the cameras in place until university housing move-outs at the end of the school year. There have been claims that the feeds will only be accessed after a criminal incident has taken place, but Moore expressed skepticism that this would remain the case in the future. Though he has talked to multiple IVFP officers, he noted that the department seemed unable to provide a unified message on the issue of the cameras. “The way they were put up was really not transparent,” Moore said. “For something that affects the community, the community had no say, no heads up; there’s been no PR or attempt to explain what’s going on or why they’re there, how long (they will be) there or the process of monitoring them. All these things that should have been part of a community discussion just didn’t exist.” An unnamed student has filed a public records request for all documentation pertaining to the university’s contract with CamGuard, the supplier of the surveillance equipment. The administration’s response and whether or not it chooses to release the files will be informative, Moore said. Student Advocate General Chief of Staff Bailey Loverin attended Wednesday’s meeting to address the recent backlash she has received from publications such as the New Republic and the Los Angeles Times regarding “A Resolution to Mandate Warnings for Triggering Content in Academic Settings,” passed by the Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Loverin played a primary role in writing and endorsing the resolution, which encourages a policy of required warnings on class syllabi for any course content that could trigger symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in afflicted students. Having been approved by AS Senate, the resolution will be voted on by Academic Senate in the near future. Opponents of trigger warnings have voiced concerns about the censorship of university professors, which Loverin insisted are based in misinformation and a misunderstanding of the legislation’s goals. She clarified that she wishes to encourage empowerment rather than sheltering, and that even if students with PTSD choose to avoid content that may trigger their symptoms, it would not necessarily mean they would be exempt from such content on, for instance, an exam. Loverin also addressed comparisons of UCSB to Oberlin College made by several recent articles. She differentiated between the two situations by explaining that while Oberlin’s aims have been to eliminate controversial class content altogether, she simply wishes to give vulnerable students a choice ahead of time as to whether they think it is best they be exposed to it. “I really support seeing [this content],” Loverin said. “I want to be challenged. I want to be offended. I want to get angry and passionate in classes. I expect to feel these things.” One new piece of legislation passed that evening was “A Resolution in Support of Re-envisioning the Isla Vista Master Plan,” which calls for a new official plan to be made for Isla Vista development. The old Master Plan, which accounted for development through 2007 and was never officially approved by the California Coastal Commission, is considered by some senators to be outdated and not necessarily considerate of all parties concerned with Isla Vista, such as non-student residents and longstanding business owners. “The Master Plan seems a bit outdated, and it didn’t take all the different stakeholders of Isla Vista into account,” said Off-Campus Sen. Jimmy Villarreal, one of the resolution’s authors. “This resolution is just asking to kind of reconcile that.”
For information about the AS Senate’s discussion of the Associated Students restructure bill, read the full article on our website.
TBL | April 9-15, 2014
STUDENTS REACT TO DELTOPIA 2014 It’s a shame that my grade will never get to experience what Deltopia used to be about, and yet we still have to contend with the negative repercussions on our reoutation as a university. – Paige Kingston, first-year biology major
As if being a literature major didn’t devalue my degree enough... – Mathew Javidi, fourth-year CCS literature major
It was a drunken, idiotic mass of children. – Camilo Ochoa, fourth-year Chican@ studies major
Turn down for tear gas.
– Kelsey Calehuff, third-year biology major
Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative Takes a Stand Against Sexual Violence by Alex Albarran-Ayala STAFF WRITER After the recent incidents of sexual violence, members of the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative (SBSHC) held an event on Friday, Apr. 4, called Steps Against Sexual Violence. The event consisted of three phases: a night walk starting in Little Acorn Park, followed by a vigil and a “rally for respect.” At 8 p.m., a group of students gathered to begin a 20 to 30 minute walk, which first headed to Del Playa Drive and then finished at St. Michael’s University Church. This group consisted of 30 to 40 students, said Sara Kathib, third-year anthropology and history double major and SBSHC member. Before the walk, however, members of the SBSHC began to give out pre-made signs to those present at the park. According to event-goer Melissa Sival, fourth-year global studies major and member of Sigma Kappa Chi, some of the signs read, “Drunk ? Consent” and “If you see something, say something.” Because this was a night walk,
event attendees would sometimes raise their signs higher up in the air for passersby to see. “Some people had asked, ‘what do those signs say?’ or they were just wondering what exactly we were doing, and some [attendees] would just respond ‘oh, we’re rallying for respect,’” Sival said. After arriving at St. Michael’s, attendees took part in a short vigil. First, the vigil was led and introduced by Reverend Nicole Janelle, who then performed a ritual, based on a moment of silent for the victims of sexual violence. Then Olivia Happel, a St. Michael’s helper and graduate student at Pacifica Graduate Institute, gave a blessing and then an anointment with oil to those who wished to be anointed. Finally, helper and UCSB student Charmaine Bennett gave the closing player. With the vigil finished, Janelle prompted attendees to “engage with one another or yourself over art” at a small station, where new signs were. The most common read “Stop Sexual Violence.” Actively displaying signs, just as in the night walk, the attendees
headed over to Embarcadero Hall plaza for the final stage of the event. At Embarcadero Hall, music was played, snacks were given, and so this proffered an opportunity for attendees to mingle with peers and friends. This stage of the event ended early, as not many public comments were said and students had begun leaving early. Brian Granger, an SBSHC member and sixth-year UCSB graduate student in theater and dance, was the main organizer of the Steps Against Social Violence. Most of the event helpers were SBSHC members. In addition, within SBSHC, the Patti Newman house was the most represented house at the event. According to Granger, Newman house’s theme is community service. “We called this event Steps Against Social Violence because even though some people in the community might criticize it by saying that it’s a small gesture…the point is that it’s a step,” Granger said. “It’s one step, two steps that kind of add up, and every effort is exactly that, it’s an effort, and it’s better than not doing anything.”
Students and Residents Volunteer for Post-Deltopia Cleanup by Allyson Werner STAFF WRITER The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District Adopt-A-Block program hosted a post-Deltopia cleanup on Sunday, April 6, from 12 to 2 p.m. University of California, Santa Barbara students and Isla Vista residents volunteered to pick up trash after Deltopia party-goers and rioters littered the streets with broken bottles, cans, and red cups during Saturday’s festivities. Isla Vista’s unusually dense population results in a large amount of street waste that inevitably pollutes the community, oceans, and
beaches. Adopt-A-Block encourages community members to volunteer for regular cleanups to prevent detrimental pollution. Rodney Gould, the IVRPD General Manager, was happy with Sunday’s turn out. “It went great,” he said. “By Saturday we had 157 confirmed volunteers, [and] we actually had over 300 show up. A lot of it is organizations–sororities, environmental studies groups–and we have groups that come on a year-round basis and do cleanups once a week.” Gould explained that Isla Vista is a difficult community to keep clean. “In most communities you could
have a street sign that says no parking Wednesday between 9 a.m. and noon, and street cleaners could come and clean the streets,” Gould said. “But we can’t do that in Isla Vista. There is no place for the cars to go.” Like many other environmental organizations, the IVRPD is strapped for cash. “For the last several years, [Adopt-A-Block] has been funded by the Goleta Sanitary District,” said Gould. “[But] it is becoming difficult for them to carry that burden alone. A long time ago it was funded by the university, by the county, and by the Goleta Sanitary District, but
then when the economy collapsed the university and the county had to get out of it.” UCSB students made up the majority of volunteers. “I chose to volunteer because I woke up sickened as to what happened to our community,” said Nick McKeon, a fourth-year global studies major and San Rafael Hall Resident Assistant. “I decided I could do all that I could, and the cleanup seemed to be a good start. I invited the building I RA in, and was surprised as to how many people showed up.” Unlike Gould, McKeon was not thrilled with the turn out.
–DELTOPIA weapon—one involving a knife, and another cited as “bottle and feet.” “Two people were transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and the event is under investigation,” Hoover said. Hoover also noted that an armed robbery occurred outside a liquor store. “A victim was approached upon leaving the liquor store by a suspect who demanded the individual’s property and brandished what appeared to be a handgun,” Hoover said. “Witnesses saw what was happening and yelled for help. The suspect ran off, and was apprehended and arrested. No firearm was located.” The festivity of the day had, by nightfall, erupted into mayhem,
“Considering how many students we have at our school, there could have been more people present,” he said. “I really wish people would take more action. Multiple people stood from their balconies and thanked us. As amazing as that was to hear, the best thank you would have been to get up and also take action.” The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District encourages UCSB students to volunteer. Groups and individuals are welcome to volunteer weekly, monthly, or during special cleanup events. To volunteer, contact Adopt-A-Block supervisor Adam Porté at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continued from page 1 sparking a chain reaction of events that led into what the Sherriff ’s news release described as “a major disturbance, emergency situation.” According to the preliminary statistical news release compiled by Hoover, at least 17 arrests came from the ensuing riot. Those arrested during the civil unrest were charged with “participating in an unlawful assembly and refusing to disperse, both misdemeanors.” At around 9:30 p.m., a UCSB police officer “received a significant head injury” in the 6700 block of Del Playa after being struck with a “backpack that contained large bottles of alcohol” by 17-year-old Desmond Louis Edwards from Los Angeles. Edwards is being prosecuted “as an
adult on charges of assaulting and resisting a police officer and numerous additional charges.” During the course of the arrest, a gathering crowd surrounded the officers, and some threw “rocks, bricks and bottles” at law enforcement personnel. Officers soon declared “an unlawful assembly,” ordered students to vacate the area by choice or force, and shut down Del Playa to foot and vehicle traffic. Though Hoover indicated that it took time for officers to effectively clear the streets, many students who lived on Del Playa in the riot zone were blocked from returning to their homes. Hoover reinforced that, throughout the entirety of Deltopia and the riot, the primary concern of law en-
DELTOPIA 2014 BREAKDOWN UCSB students and visitors from across the state gathered on the streets of Isla Vista for Deltopia. Here’s how the numbers add up:
The Forty-four weekend people were saw more than taken to the 15,000 people hospital in the streets *According to Noozhawk
ARRESTS & CITATIONS: “Approximately 36 arrests and 88 citations, including 26 for drunk in public, 47 for minor in possession of alcohol, and 22 open containers.”*
TBL 2013-2014 STAFF Executive Managing Editor | Cheyenne Johnson Executive Content Editor | Parisa Mirzadegan Copy Editor | Camila Martinez-Granata News Editor | Lily Cain Features Editor | Katana Dumont Opinions Editor | Anjali Shastry Arts & Entertainment Editor | Deanna Kim Science & Technology Editor | Matt Mersel Photography Editor | Magali Gauthier Senior Layout Editor | Haley Paul
Senior Layout Editor | Robert Wojtkiewicz Layout Editor | Beth Askins Layout Editor | Morey Spellman Multimedia Editor | Brenda Ramirez Isla Vista Beat Reporter | Giuseppe Ricapito Associated Students Beat Reporter | Kelsey Knorp Promotion Director | Audrey Ronningen Advertising Director | Marissa Perez Staff Adviser | Monica Lopez
Writers this issue: Giuseppe Ricapito, Julia Frazer, Kelsey Knorp, Bailee Abell, Sam Goldman, Julian Levy, Elisa Lee, AlexAlbarran-Ayala, Allyson Werner, Coleman Gray, Devin Martrns-Olzman, Mimi Liu, Travis Taborek, Maddy Kirsch
Photographers this issue: Lorenzo Basilio, John Clow, Benjamin Hurst, Diane Ng, Ivy Kuo, Margarita Baliyan
forcement was the protection of student safety and local property. “The suggestion that the police or the Sheriff ’s Office caused this to happen…it’s ludicrous,” she said. There were more isolated incidents reported throughout Isla Vista on Camino Del Sur and Sabado Tarde, but by 11 p.m., a crowd of many hundreds had taken full occupation of the street near the corner of Del Playa and Camino Pescadero. Officers from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties were summoned for assistance at the site of the civil unrest, bringing the total police presence to almost 190 individuals, according to the preliminary statistical news release. A small number of youths continued to pelt officers with objects— glass bottles and aluminum cans were the most frequently used—while a few rocks were also thrown. Under the flashing white beam of a helicopter illuminating the crowd from overhead, the crowd conducted chants of “USA,” the Gaucho mantra of “Ole, Ole,” and “Fuck the Police.” At the riotous climax of the scene, incompatible appeals resonated through the air—some students were rebelliously urging for an all-out charge on the officers, while others pleaded for the students to disperse. A group of rioters charged a MarBorg dumpster through the crowd, knocking a girl to the floor and nearly trampling her under the weight of the unit. After the girl was safely removed from the scene, the individuals were able to advance slowly on the officers using the dumpster as
a barricade. Law enforcement personal responded with repeated barrages of tear gas, flash bombs and rubber bullets, and as the hours passed, they slowly advanced up Camino Pescadero. The tear gas seemed to be the most effective tool in their arsenal of crowd dispersal: as the canisters hit the concrete and the air filled with fog, most of the crowd covered their faces and stampeded in retreat. Students afflicted by the chemical agent could be seen choking and wheezing, tears and mucus streaming down their faces. A small number of the powerfully affected vomited into the road and behind parked cars. The rubber bullets often ricocheted off vehicles, trees, and the buildings lining Camino Pescadero. Though the officers seemed to focus shots of rubber pellets and foamtipped projectiles on groups of rioters advancing toward their line of control, bystanders in the crowd were caught in the crossfire. Those hit often winced or yelled out painfully when struck, and some retreated to the outskirts of the crowd to nurture bloody wounds.
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TBL | April 9-15, 2014
‘Life of the Party’ Encourages Living it Up in the Right Ways by Julia Frazer STAFF WRITER The laid-back, fun atmosphere of University of California, Santa Barbara and Isla Vista has become a key facet of our partyschool image, for both good and bad. Living it up in Isla Vista can at times be risky; luckily, here is a student group dedicated to ensuring that we stay safe while partying and enjoying all that Isla Vista has to offer. Life of the Party, a student-based organization that promotes safe partying and drinking habits, is not an alcohol and drug abstention program. “We’re not going out and telling people what they should and shouldn’t do,” said Life of the Party intern Kaylee Rabjon, a fourth-year psychology major. ”We’re about prevention, safety, and outreach. We want to help students understand the best choices they can make.” The majority of students at UCSB have seen the Just Call 911 yellow key tags at events and on campus. Part of UCSB Life of the Party’s outreach is a Just Call 911 campaign, urging students to “just call 911” if they suspect someone of having alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. The Just Call 911 yellow key tags even give students discounts and free food at a handful of local businesses, such as Woodstock’s and Giovanni’s. This past year the team of Life of the Party interns has expanded. A group of eight devoted interns does marketing and outreach for a variety of campaigns to increase awareness and safety at UCSB. The group began as an attempt to address alcohol and drug-related incidents for students by students. “The idea was that we had education and outreach being done at a professional level from out counselors, educators, and paraprofessionals, but we did not have a ‘student voice,’” said Lacey Johnson, a counselor in the Alcohol & Drug Program. The student group is steadily increasing in popularity and impact across campus. “Our events are growing,” said fourth-year communication major and Life of the Party intern Jason Vego. “We have bigger, more mainstream events that are filling up faster.” Recently, Life of the Party put on a dodgeball tournament that had between 150 and 200 students in attendance. “We do educational tabling and encourage students to get in contact with professional staff and advertise what we have going on here [at UCSB], whether it’s tobacco cessation or media-
Photo by Ivy Kuo | Staff Photographer Life of the Party interns (from left to right): Nikole Burg, Kaylee Rabjohn, Jason Vego, Diana Valle, Camille Marti, Alex Specktor. tion,” said intern Nikole Burg, fourth-year communication and sociology double major. “A lot of what we do is putting a student face on the Alcohol and Drug Program and make it more approachable.” Burg is aware that many students are wary of the services offered on campus, and encourages students to talk to peer interns. In light of spring’s popular celebration Deltopia, Life of the Party has been partnering with a few other student organizations such as Health and Wellness to focus on its STRIVE campaign: Students Taking Responsibility in Isla Vista Everyday. “We’ve been using that campaign to encourage safety surrounding all aspects of Deltopia, from safety at the cliffs to responsibility of your own actions, to caution with friends,” said Burg. In contrast to their involvement with Halloween, Life of
the Party has taken a bit of a back seat in regard to Deltopia. Burg emphasizes the University’s implementation of its own regulations, and encourages students to get involved with the Adopt-A-Block cleanup. Life of the Party has also put together a festival safety campaign. As many UCSB students will be attending music festivals in the near future, Life of the Party’s campaign emphasizes harm reduction. Different topics related to festival safety include planning, popular drugs at festivals, and post-festival comedowns. Peer intern Camille Marti, fourth-year communication and psychology double major, encourages students to attend volunteer meetings, which are held every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of Embarcadero. All levels of experience are encouraged.
New UCSB Experimental Theater Company Showcases Self Expression by Bailee Abell STAFF WRITER “You don’t need to be a theatre major to be a part of this company,” reads the Mask and Beaker Experimental Theater Company (MAB) Facebook page. MAB is a group that strives to promote self expression and an inclusive environment for people from diverse backgrounds to grow creatively. Nabra Nelson, along with Sophia Brackenridge, approached members of various departments on campus when starting MAB during the fall 2013 quarter. “I wanted to give more opportunities to students. [It provides] my own and others’ ideas a space for discussion as well as getting up on our feet,” said Nelson, a third-year theater major. “I am very drawn to experimental theater because it allows for anything to happen,” she continued. “One of the reasons why I like it so much relates to why I enjoy modern art–you’re not really sure what it is…it’s thought-provoking. Like mod-
ern art, it starts with collaboration and discussion, and thinking outside the box.” Nelson is also the stage manager and producer of “Stuffed!,” MAB’s first and most recent show. Written by University of California, Santa Barbara alumni Ian Paul Messersmith and Eric Marcus Higinbotham, “Stuffed!” incorporates social commentary and comedic expression to bring various issues to light in a non-intense way. The show premiered on Saturday, April 5, at 2 p.m., with additional shows that evening at 8 p.m. and the following day at 2 p.m. “’Stuffed!’ is not about one thing. It’s a very, very short attention span comedy that carries social commentary much in the same frame as South Park, but not explicitly so [satirical],” said Alec Killoran, a third-year English major. Killoran became involved with MAB soon after its founding in the fall. He was later cast in “Stuffed!” and began rehearsal in early January. Having little experience with theater (“My last show was in the 6th grade”), Killoran was surprised when he found out he had made the case, and discovered a
newfound love for experimental theater. “It’s incredibly fast-paced and very strange…a scene will happen, and the audience will have just seen that scene, but the moment they start thinking about it, a new scene will begin. It does not let you contemplate what is going on [during the show],” said Killoran. Both Nelson and Messersmith describe “Stuffed!” in a similar manner, saying that its namesake is derived from the idea that after eating a huge meal, you think, “Wow, I’m stuffed!”. “I hope that they walk away with a different perspective,” said Messersmith. ”[We are using] the power of humor through theater to bring about social and political change.” In addition to “Stuffed!,” Messersmith is also working on another show, entitled “Into the Headlights,” set to premier toward the end of spring quarter. MAB welcomes people from all walks of life, from English majors like Killoran to engineers and politicians. The group will be holding workshops throughout the rest of spring quarter. Find them on Facebook for more information.
Freelance Journalist Sasha Abramsky Sheds Light on Impoverished America Photo by Ivy Kuo | Staff Photographer Sasha Abramsky delivers a captivating speech about America’s horrifying conditions of poverty. by Bailee Abell STAFF WRITER When Americans think of poverty, they commonly picture famished children in third world countries, living on the streets and scavenging for food. Many people don’t realize that poverty exists in America itself. The name “Land of the Free” is only so accurate, and it is often forgotten that millions of impoverished Americans are not free to succeed on their own, let alone with the help of others. On Thursday, April 3, as part of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s “The Value of Care” series, freelance journalist Sasha Abramsky spoke about his latest book, “The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives.” Abramsky– an acclaimed author whose writings have appeared in The New Yorker online, Rolling Stone, and The Atlantic, among other publications–is
currently a part-time lecturer in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. As he opened his talk, Abramsky recalled the story of Mary Vasquez, a cancer survivor who was working for Wal-Mart at the time. Though she was only 67, Vasquez looked to be “about 85 or 90” due to her “haggard, sunken face,” according to Abramsky. Vasquez made less than $1,800 each month. “She represented to me the face of the new working poor…each year more insecure than the year before,” said Abramsky. Abramsky’s retelling of his encounter with Vasquez’s story conveyed to the audience his view toward impoverished America; put simply, it is wrong and we should do something about it. To emphasize this, he illustrated something he dubbed “The Great Risk Shift”: the poorer one is, the greater one is at risk of poverty.
“This country that has built itself on a story of social mobility and self-reinvention [is less] socially mobile than any other nation,” said Abramsky. “It is more likely in the U.S. for people born in poverty to die in poverty than in any other first world democracy.” Unfortunately, low-income families are not always the ones at fault for their misfortune. Low minimum-wage standards and an “inadequate” government response contribute, as do employers who encourage their workers to rely on government programs, such as food stamps and Medicare, rather than raising their hourly wages. Some people view socioeconomic status as something that is always determined by oneself; they think that if you are poor, you are doing something wrong–and there is nothing anyone can do to help you. If these attitudes are adopted, then the poverty level in the U.S.
will stay the same, or even increase. As Abramsky stated, we as a society establish chronic, daily insecurity in which people do not have the selfconfidence to try to achieve a better life for themselves, and settle for low-paying jobs rather than seeking higher education. As a result, according to Abramsky, there is a “small world of ‘haves,’ an even greater world of ‘have nots,’ and, in the middle, a shrinking middle class.” Layered within his merciful opinions toward poor America was an even deeper cynicism aimed at the insensitivities of the upper class, or the “haves.” Despite their high incomes, the wealthy do not typically show a desire to help those less fortunate than themselves, and the evidence of a large income gap becomes more apparent. “What we are seeing is a story of unleashed inequality at a level that we haven’t seen in four–or even five–generations in this economy,”
said Abramsky. In California alone, 9 million people live at or below the poverty line; nearly half of them are eligible for food stamps, and millions are lacking access to affordable health care. Abramsky describes this poverty as a scandal rather than a tragedy, as he believes much of it is attributed to the government’s poor policy choices. To combat this poverty, Abramsky suggests that more attention to be focused on it, in addition to building empathy by humanizing poverty itself. Focus not on the 25 percent of all children that are impoverished; rather, consider your neighbor’s son, your student, or your coworker’s children who will go to bed hungry tonight. “You have the imagination to recognize what…opportunities can mean and what realized dreams can mean to yourself and your communities,” said Abramsky.
DELTOP Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Photo by John Clow | Staff Photographer
Photo by John Clow | Staff Photographer
Photo by Margarita Baliyan | Staff Photographer
Many residents enjoyed relaxing high above ground during Deltopia.
This yearâ€™s which drew party-goe streets, also more attent previous ye of the nigh However, th proceede throughou spring day walked the DP, played their lawns, the hoardes rooft
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Automobiles struggled to pass through the streets of Isla Vista during Deltopia.
TBL | April 9-15, 2014
PIA 2014 Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
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Rioters retaliated against the police on Camino Pescadero last Saturday.
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Photos by Benjamin Hurst | Staff Photographer
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Student volunteers clean the streets of Isla Vista the morning after Deltopia.
6| ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TBL | April 9-15, 2014
Santa Barbara Shows Off Local Music at SOhO by Coleman Gray STAFF WRITER The lucky few guests in attendance at SOhO Restaurant and Music Venue on Thursday, April 3, were treated to a night of music that showcased three exciting, up-and-coming Santa Barbara bands, each occupying a different level of increasing development and prominence. Performing in this intimate State Street event was Isla Vista’s own Sun Daes; the unsigned, folk-inspired band ERLAND; and the enigmatic indie-rock band Ghost Tiger, celebrating the release of their latest EP. But this night was not just about these three bands, but was also about celebrating the local Santa Barbara music scene, which was so aptly described by ERLAND frontman as being “extremely underrated, but f—ing exciting.” Opening up the celebration was the Sun Daes, who have been gracing IV backyards and garages with their vibrant surf rock. For those who haven’t heard the Sun Daes perform (and even if you think you haven’t, you probably have)–think of a band perfectly suited to Isla Vista. Okay, do you have it? Well yeah, that’s about what they are: high-raised guitars, low slung bass, and the kind of devil-may-care temperament that can only stem from performing in the relaxed, forgiving, and welcoming Santa Barbara atmosphere. But despite the venue change, these four floppy-haired, eclectically dressed college kids (Max Goldenstein, Gabe Poissant, JD Severino, and Jared Payzant) seemed as at home on the SOhO stage as they do in a rowdy neighbor’s backyard, and their loosey-goosey style of loud surf rock translated well to the non-college student population. Their performance served as an introduction, not just for the event but also to the general public. Following Sun Daes was the more matured, folk-esque ERLAND, who have yet to
be signed to a major record label but gave the growing crowd a great taste of their expansive take on the folk singer-songwriter style. Featuring a few raucous guitar riffs accompanying their more classical, naked folk style, the Santa Barbara foursome demonstrated an intriguing and unique take on the resurgent folk genre. Their cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” served as a perfect example of this sentiment. Beginning with the classic “one man and his guitar” style, frontman Erland Wanberg sang in the acoustic, raw style of the original. But when the chorus broke, a loud, electric, yet tight, rock backing came with it. In this, their most successful song of the night, ERLAND managed to bridge the gap between the acoustic New York Folk Club Dylan, to the electric Bob of 1965 Newport. In doing so, ERLAND announced that they have greater aspirations than being another one of the Mumford & Sons clones who have sprouted out of sound holes across the country in recent years. Finishing the night was the elaborate rock band Ghost Tiger, who was promoting the release of its latest single, “Birdfeeder.” This five-part indie band, which produces a sound that sounds like it stems from more categories than you could count on just one hand, exhibits a composed and interesting take on its genre with a blend of Bluegrass roots, harmonies, and polarizing vocals in a bigger and more modern sound than one would expect. This band, the most established of the three, was previously named Santa Barbara’s Best New Area Band by The Independent and is well on its way to playing its way out of our local scene. And if “Birdfeeder” is any indication, it will happen quite soon. In a night all about local talent, Santa Barbara whole-heartedly delivered, and the bands who performed this night at SOhO showed just how thriving this hidden gem of a musical community is.
Erland Wanberg’s, lead singer of Erland, brought a fun energy to SOHO on Thursday, April 1.
Photos by Madison King | Staff Photographer
Ghost Tiger performs at SOHO.
Spike and Mike’s Classical Festival of Animation by Coleman Gray STAFF WRITER Spike and Mike’s Classical Festival of Animation played at University of California, Santa Barbara’s own Campbell Hall on Friday, April 4, as part of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures’ student appreciation events. In this night of cartoons, animated short films were shown free of charge for all students with a school ID, although the event was also open to the general public for a small fee. Arts & Lectures provides the surrounding community with a wide range of events, but this event was a particularly special one. While the phrase “fun for all ages” gets thrown around and is far too often a lie, this sentiment remained true for the festival, which entertained the diverse crowd with an even more diverse collection of 21 short films. Many of the films in this series were much more mature than what one would normally expect, far from Saturday morning cartoons.
Some dealt with topics such as religious persecution, environmental issues, and addiction. But alongside these themes was an emphasis on the classical cartoon comedy tropes, including bodily functions, wacky sound effects, and slapstick. Featured this night were some of Festival Directors Craig “Spike” Decker’s and Mike Gribble’s favorite Animation Fest shorts from the past decade, which included a few Oscarnominated shorts, viral videos, and a brilliant animated music video. The crowd was laughing and interested throughout the night, but a few particular cartoons stood out above the rest. Two of the crowd favorites were the flash-created, computer desktop battles of the two-part film “Animation vs. Animator.” This animation took a 21st century approach by having the self-reflexive cartoon character battle its own creator, going viral shortly after its initial premiere at the 2007 version of this festival. Another favorite of those in attendance was the Oscar-
nominated French short “Oktapodi,” which featured a story of love and escaping murder in the beautiful coastline of Mykonos, except with computer generated octopi serving as the main characters. While those were excellent examples of new school animation, my personal favorites were the stop-motion papercraft short “The Seed” and the 1930s cartoon-inspired classically animated music video of the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ blues song “Ghost of Stephen Foster.” However, every short was worthy of praise, and those shown demonstrated just how adaptable and creative the medium of animated short films truly is. This event is just the most recent incarnation of Spike and Mike’s Classical Animation Fest, now nearing its 30th year in existence. The festival sparked the careers of such visionaries as John Lasseter, Matt Stone & Trey Parker, Nick Park, Mike Judge, and UCSB alumnus Don Hertzfeldt. And without this festival we would not have the brilliant works
The d o G d Base ’ s e s s e ‘Bl UCSB Photo by Margarita Baliyan | Staff Photographer by Julian Levy STAFF WRITER Lil B is what happens when the defunct Bay Area Hyphy movement is exhumed, reanimated, and “swagged out” with no concern for the public’s well being. Rapper Lil B, also known as The BasedGod, came to University of California, Santa Barbara’s The Hub on Friday, April 4. The show, put on by Associated Students Program Board, was free for all UCSB students. Lil B delivered a performance punctuated with absurdity, monotony, and a very minimal musical ability. The doors opened at 7 p.m., and the long line reflected an undeserved hype for the Bay Area rapper. There was a notable increase in the The Hub’s security, indicating an expectation for rowdiness on the eve of Deltopia weekend, but there were no major incidents. Three arrests were made early on in the show
for public drunkenness, but Sergeant Robert Romero later commented that “the crowd was pretty cooperative and mellow,” and according to second-year biology major and CSO Ryan Vincent, the show was “a little over-staffed.” The Hub wasn’t initially planned to be the venue for Lil B, however; according to ASPB Publicity Coordinator Jena Pruitt, “this was meant to be a big welcome back show in Storke Plaza but the school said no.” Fortunately for those blessed with an unimpaired hearing ability, Lil B’s music was contained inside the UCen, mitigating the number of people subjected to the experience. The Hub filled up quickly as DJ Kuro opened up the show with a strong set, featuring a mixed bag of “swag,” old school Snoop Dogg, and trap, and eventually transitioning into EDM–all with a bass so heavy that it seemed to threaten the structural integrity of the venue. The crowd responded well to Kuro’s efforts to
Lil B performs at the Hub on Friday, April 9. maintain an excited atmosphere, although Lil B proved to be incapable of matching the musical ability of his opening act. At 8:45 p.m., Lil B walked on stage, bouncing about like his life depended on it, and offered up to the energized crowd one of the most incredulous lines of the night: “I’m Lil B. I’m walking history.” The audience was then treated to the musical stylings of a distorted, bass-heavy beat and haphazard flow of “Don’t Go Outside,” one of his classics. With lyrics like “I’m off to LA with my niggas / I’m off in LA fucking bitches,” it’s easy to see why he chose to start his set with it. However, Lil B seemed to have forgotten a good portion of his lyrics and instead chose to fill in the majority of the gaps by shouting nonsense, a technique he wasn’t shy in utilizing throughout the show. Lil B boasts a catalogue of over 1,500 songs, but any differentiation between the tracks is nominal, as The BasedGod’s style of repeating
that these filmmakers have since created, including “Toy Story,” “South Park,” “Wallace & Gromit,” “Beavis and Butthead,” and “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” Started in 1977, this festival has toured across the country and delivered alternative, independent, and otherwise unknown short films to welcoming college campuses, with our own UCSB campus being just the latest pit stop in its tour. While this may only be a short stop in a nationwide tour for those involved in the festival, for our community, this event offered local residents an opportunity to see art and art forms they otherwise might not have been able to. In this way, the UCSB Arts & Lectures Series provides the local gold coast with something that nothing else does: an altruistic, artistic showcase for international talent. Although this particularly enjoyable event has come to pass, there are still many upcoming events that are free or discounted for UCSB students, and also open to the general public to enjoy. a single line ad nauseum, off-tempo, and over crudely monotonous beats tends to wear on the senses beyond any tolerability. But despite the lacking of any kind of genuine musicality, Lil B displayed an incomparable talent for punctuating the end of each song with whatever absurd, fragmentary thought he held at the time. One example from near the end of the show was when Lil B shouted “keep that love in your heart”–an unusual choice of phrasing considering it preceded a “swagged” out remix of Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor.” The crowd’s enthusiasm didn’t waver much as the performance moved forward: hands were raised, “woo”s were shouted, and a select few individuals demonstrated their ability to dance mostly on beat. But as Lil B seemed more content with screaming “yeah” and “swag” rather than actually rapping, it would be difficult to attribute the crowd’s enjoyment to his efforts, but rather in spite of them. By 9 p.m., the vibrations of the bass-heavy music caused two large speakers to topple over, nearly injuring those nearest the stage, but the accident created a brief respite for those in attendance to realize how horrible everything was. Yet the epiphany was unfortunately shortlived, and Lil B resumed his activities. There was also an incident of vomiting in the crowd; according to second-year biology major Jessica Bills, a girl was “washing her hair in the bathroom. Someone puked on her…” One of the few musically capable events of the show was near the end of the night, when Lil B performed his hit song “Wonton Soup,” which lit the crowd on fire. This fact could be attributed to the crowd chanting the song’s lyrics: “hopped up in my car (swag) then I drop my roof / wet like wonton soup. That’s just how I do (swag),” which undoubtedly served to anchor Lil B in reality just long enough to perform the entirety of the song. This state of lucidity quickly vanished, however, when one of the most bizarre events to ever transpire at a concert occurred: Bob Dylan’s “Catch the Wind” was played while The BasedGod shouted “swag” at irregular intervals, proving without a doubt that the music of Bob Dylan is not improved by the addition of a hype-man. To be “based” is to lack concern for other people’s opinion, and with that in mind, it is clear that Lil B is certainly The BasedGod. We can only hope that he develops a pang of self consciousness before his next show.
SCIENCE & TECH| 7
TBL | April 9-15, 2014
Café KITP: Eat, THINK, and Be Merry!
Photo by Madison King | Staff Photographer Lowell Miller, local Santa Barbara resident, poses a question about scientist Matteo Contiello’s astrophysical research. by Devin Martens-Olzman STAFF WRITER The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) held their first discussion–dubbed Café KITP–on Wednesday, April 2, to promote science through a modern cultural lens. The event was held at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on State Street, and is planned to take place every two months. The event is meant to reach out to the people who are less familiar with the advancements of science, and plans to delve into modern science’s newest and most profound discoveries in new,
interactive ways. Last week’s Café KITP centered on the topic of stars and astronomy. The lead lecturer was Matteo Cantiello, an astrophysicist at KITP with a particular interest in the relationship between the theory of music and the stars above us. He began by explaining a few common facts about stars, such as the fact that they are powered by nuclear fusion, which turns lighter elements into heavier ones. This process, which heats our entire solar system, is one million times more efficient than burning fossil fuels. After the Big Bang, only light elements (such as hydrogen and lithium) were formed. In the early stages of the universe,
only stars formed heavier elements like carbon, a basic building block of life on Earth. When stars subsequently die, Cantiello explains, some of them will release their content into the space. For this reason, Cantiello says, “Stars are the building blocks of the universe.” Caniello also related stars to the strings on a guitar in a very unique way. When a guitar string is plucked freely, that is, without a finger holding it down, it vibrates with a “resonant frequency,” which is called the “first harmonic.” The sound differs depending on factors such as the material and length of the string. Similarly–but on a much more complex scale–stars have their own “resonant frequency” where oscillations will travel throughout the star. Their “oscillation modes,” as defined by Cantiello, are very complicated but can be “inscribed” into light waves that travel to Earth, which ultimately gives scientists like Cantiello the ability to see what is inside distant stars. Cantiello went on to describe the planet-finding satellite Kepler, which was launched in 2009. The purpose of the satellite is to find earth-like planets in the universe. Astoundingly, scientists working with Kepler recently estimated that on average, there is a planet orbiting every star in the Milky Way galaxy. Even more amazing is the notion that 20 percent of those planets are in the so-called “habitable zone,” meaning they are an appropriate distance away from the sun to feasibly contain liquid water and are about the same size as Earth. Considering that there are around 100 billion galaxies in the universe, the existence of planets that harbor life seems more and more probable. With this fascinating statistic, Matteo turned the talk to questions from the audience. One member of the crowd asked, “What is the relationship between science and religion, and do you think there can be both?” After a pause, Matteo replied, “I think that, above all, the scientific method must not be impaired. There are things we do not, as scientists, know, and some choose to insert God there, which is okay, but the science itself cannot be changed.” The evening was capped with the audience being invited to sing a song containing an allusion to the stars. Prizes were given out to those brave enough to stand up and sing. The next Café KITP will be held in two months, and the topic can be seen at www.kitp.ucsb.edu/outreach/cafe–kitp.
Society of Undergraduate Biologists Organizes Professor-Student Meet-and-Greet by Mimi Liu STAFF WRITER The Society of Undergraduate Biologists (SUB) hosted their biggest event thus far, the Spring Professor-Student Luncheon, on Friday, April 4, at Corwin Pavilion. “Do you want to get to know your Biology professors outside of the lecture hall and office hours?” the email invitation from SUB asked. About a dozen professors from the MCDB and EEMB departments attended this two-hour event, as well as close to 50 undergraduates. “We want to make you feel like more than just a name and a perm number,” Professor Kathy Foltz said. “At one point, all of us have had the same questions you have–and someone helped guide us.” Foltz, a member of the MCDB department, has been active in reaching out to and mentoring undergraduates. Her research involves studying the mechanisms controlling fertilization in marine invertebrates. “It’s always helpful to know who’s in your classes,” Marissa Perry, the programming chair of SUB says. “The Society of Undergraduate Biologists is useful for networking, and provides a support group for students.” Classes can contain up to hundreds of students, and it is often difficult to receive personalized attention in classes or to get to know professors outside of classes. “Biology is one of the biggest departments on campus, and it’s growing every year,” Abby Barry, the secretary of SUB said. “In my core classes, I often didn’t know how to reach out to other students.” Last spring, two friends and biology majors – Jessie Wong, and Kristina Gard, decided to take steps towards fixing this problem. “There was no biology club on campus,” Jessie Wong, co-chair of SUB says. “We just wanted a biology club where we could all meet and discuss classes, study together, and help each other out.” SUB is currently the only official biology club on campus. It had been established previously but had expired until Wong and
Gard decided to revive it. “We wanted to turn the biology department into a community,” Barry said. “We want to get to where students and faculty both know who we are, and what SUB is about.” Earlier this year, SUB hosted several events, such as Freshman Welcome Week and an informative speaker event presented by Foltz about medical and graduate schools. The group plans to make the Spring Luncheon a bi-annual event, according to Barry.
“SUB usually holds meetings Wednesday at 8 p.m.,” Barry said. “We either plan upcoming events, watch and discuss TED talks, or host speakers.” For more information regarding the Society of Undergraduate Biologists, students can like their Facebook page or join the Facebook group. Future events will also be publicized through the Biology Department’s regular emails. The Society of Undergraduate Biologists can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Lorenzo Basilio | Staff Photographer
Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Professor Ruth Finkelstein shares her experiences during the SUB Meet and Greet last Friday, April 4.
It’s always helpful to know who’s in your classes. The Society of Undergraduate Biologists is useful for networking, and provides a support group for students. -Marissa Perry, programming chair of SUB
Virtual Reality Headsets: Gaining a New Perspective on the Video Game Industry by Travis Taborek STAFF WRITER Any long-time gamer could tell you that an essential part of any game is its ability to immerse the player. Video games differ from other forms of art in that they are necessarily interactive experiences. The hallmark of a truly great game or the redeeming factor of an otherwise mediocre one lies in its capacity to fully engage the player and provide them with the necessary atmosphere and investment of being an active part of a story and environment, one in which their actions further the progression of the plot or otherwise have an impact on the fictional world they temporarily inhabit. Under these parameters it may initially seem obvious that the future of gaming platforms lies in the development of virtual reality consoles, yet it was not long ago that the concept was generally regarded as nothing more than either a far-off pipe dream or a running joke synonymous with frustrated ambition and failure (see Nintendo’s failed Virtual Boy console). The long-established stigma against previous attempts of simulating virtual reality as being gimmicky, nausea-inducing, or otherwise non-functional has done little to deter a legion of entrepreneurs, inventors, programmers, engineers, and game developers who have stood up to meet the challenge over the last couple years. The virtual gaming system that has garnered the most media attention and is generally regarded as the most likely candidate for ushering in a new era of gaming is known as the Oculus Rift.
Developed by the Irvine-based company Oculus VR, the Oculus Rift was initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign that gained over $2.1 million to start with in 2012. Although the headset is not intended to be available for consumer purchase until later this year, Oculus VR has sold over 60,000 developer kits worldwide, according to Tech Crunch, which has resulted in a library of over 200 games compatible with the device. These titles range from ports of already popular titles such as “Team Fortress 2” to novel experiences such as “Guillotine Simulator,” which runs the player through the experience of a public execution. The device is primarily intended to be used for PC gaming, and an improved version of the developer kit prototype, dubbed DK2 on Oculus VR’s main webpage, is set for release on July of this year. Lido Giovacchini, a third-year game design major at California State University at Monterey Bay, attended the annual Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco late last March, where he had the opportunity to participate in a two-game demonstration of the Oculus Rift. Giovacchini’s first experience with the device, a dog-fighting simulation that takes place in the universe of EVE Online, situates the player in a cockpit as they fight enemy ships. “My first thought was whoa!” said Giovacchini, when relating his first impressions, “you put on the headset and suddenly you are completely immersed.” His immediate impressions did not continue to be completely favorable, however. As he continued playing EVE Valkyrie, he noted having difficulty with the interface and targeting system, which he described as being occasionally overwhelming.
Oculus VR has not been without its share of negative press, however, due to Facebook’s announcement in late March that it intended to acquire the company with an offer of $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, according to The Escapist. The buyout provoked the public outcry of Oculus VR’s fan base, especially the original Kickstarter funders, who felt their contributions had been rendered pointless. The Oculus is not without its competition either. During this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, Sony Entertainment announced their own take on the virtual reality headset, under the working title of Project Morpheus, for the PlayStation 4, complete with working prototypes available for demonstration. Morpheus offers a comparable experience to that of Oculus Rift with a few notable deviations. According to the Verge, Project Morpheus’ field of vision is slightly smaller, offering 90 degrees of mobility compared to the Rift’s 100, and they both offer roughly the same axis rotation. They both offer the same resolution; however, Oculus has the advantage of utilizing OLED for a sharper image compared to Morpheus’ LED. Modern virtual reality systems for consumer use, being a fledgling industry, do not as of yet offer serious contenders for market distribution. However, alternatives do exist, such as the Infiniteye, which offers an impressive 210-degree field of vision. Another product still in beta testing is the Avegant Glyph, a multi-media home theater headset that uses a virtual retinal display to project images directly onto the eyes. As the industry takes shape, the current line of systems stands to change the way we see games as an interactive medium.
TBL | April 9-15, 2014
OFFENSE IN PROGRESSIVE SATIRE:
Why #CancelColbert is Misguided by Sam Goldman STAFF WRITER Few comedians today are as reliably apt at satire as Stephen Colbert. Over the past couple weeks, however, considerable outrage has been directed at Colbert for a segment on “The Colbert Report” in which he satirizes NFL owner Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation—a presumed attempt by Snyder to soften his image given his unwavering support for his team’s racist name. Colbert’s intent was to highlight how ignorant and insensitive Snyder is by introducing his own fictional organization—the “Ching-Chong DingDong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” When Comedy Central, without Colbert’s permission, published an out-ofcontext tweet under his name that included the satirical foundation, the hashtag #CancelColbert spread like wildfire throughout Twitter and parts of the news media. Oxford Dictionary defines satire as “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” Anyone at all familiar with the show understands that Colbert’s segment kept true to this definition.
Despite well over 1,000 episodes of incisive, spot-on satire, the sudden negative reaction that was summed up in the hashtag demands the full termination of the show based on an out-of-context tweet promoting three minutes of controversial material. The primary argument, expressed by the main reaction’s founder, activist Suey Park, is that Colbert is effectively perpetuating offensive stereotypes and the notion that Asian people are an acceptable butt to jokes. While he does use an offensive name, the simple perpetuation of which would clearly be objectionable, Colbert, in fact, uses it for deeper, constructive purposes that leave the #CancelColbert argument rather one-dimensional. As any Colbert fan and, indeed, anyone familiar with sarcasm, can tell, the controversial segment was meant to broaden people’s awareness of the stupidity of racial insensitivity as promoted by Dan Snyder. By introducing a more blatantly insensitive foundation and then drawing parallels, Colbert demonstrated how deplorable more subtle racial insensitivity like Snyder’s is, which can ultimately promote a more respectful and conscientious society. Rather than trying to take advantage of what many misguided opponents perceive as a green light to
Illustration by Amanda Excell | Staff Illustrator joke indiscriminately about race, he was bringing awareness and the potential for constructive dialogue to a widespread issue that is often unfairly brushed aside in American society. For satirists like Stephen Colbert to get their progressive messages through, viewers must inevitably see potentially offensive material. But for those who understand the nature and value of satire–including the show’s more youthful, educated target audience–there should be no concern about further internalizing and promoting insensitive stereotypes. For these people, the offending name is not in and of itself funny, but the way it helps take Snyder and show his asininity by extending his work to a more extreme level. Without some sort of objec-
tionable component in his segment, Colbert would not have been able to draw the parallels that illustrated his point so well; satirizing any particularly touchy subject inevitably involves pushing the limits of acceptability a bit further in order to make clear the point the satire’s trying to make. For many people, the satire contained within shows like “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” are the only methods of exposing and demonstrating the importance of these kinds of issues. Simply being told that issues are important and directly stating why they matter do not always drive the point home as emphatically as seeing the objectionable practices satirized, especially when one cannot relate well with what’s being lampooned.
This allows satire to reach out intellectually to a greater audience and in turn promote–consciously or subconsciously–a more tolerant and progressive society. People may also be more receptive to opening their minds more when able to do so in this kind of casual environment as opposed to being candidly told. Though he can sometimes wade pretty close to the boundaries of decency, we should appreciate, rather than object to, Stephen Colbert’s efforts to beneficially change our collective and individual mindsets. As the heart of “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show”’s target audience, college students should remain receptive and analytical to the satirical messages we’re presented with and apply the constructive messages to our own lives.
Forget Equal Representation — Creationists Have No Place In Cosmos
by Maddy Kirsch If all of cosmic time, from the Big Bang to the present moment, were condensed and scaled to one calendar year, humans would not diverge from chimpanzees until 8:10 p.m. on Dec. 31. Christopher Columbus would not arrive in America until one second before midnight. A hundred thousand years ago, when humans lived in small hunter-gatherer groups, there were no such things as golden retrievers or terriers. There were only wolves, which our ancestors molded via artificial selection into every utilitarian and heart-meltingly adorable type of dog we know today. When you look at the night sky, you are actually seeing the stars as they were deep in the past, because it takes many light years for their light to reach our earthling eyes. These are only a sampling of the mindblowing and perspective-changing concepts explored on Fox’s remake of the beloved 1980s science series “Cosmos,” hosted by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. But as mind-blowing and perspective-changing as these ideas may seem, they are nonetheless founded in meticulous research, based on principles of empiricism and parsimony. They have withstood the scrutiny required by the scientific method–a rigorous frame-
Illustration by Hector Lizarraga | Staff Illustrator
work for reasoning and problem solving that has single-handedly fueled humanity’s rapid technological advancement for the past two centuries–and gained membership to an elite club of the best-supported ideas. Why would it ever be in our interest for a science show to teach ideas that cannot withstand testing? It stands to reason that many people were embittered to hear that various religious groups are demanding that “Cosmos” present a discussion of creationism alongside its discussion of evolution, and that still, in 2014, the American public is willing to acknowledge such demands. Religion does not play by the same rules as science, and therefore should never be presented as such. It is not worth entertaining for a second the possibility that creationism could be supported by empirical evidence. Trees exist today that are older than some young earth creationists claim the entire
planet is. Evolution passes the the scientific method. Creationism fails. Bottom line. That does not necessarily mean that religion is obstructive and obsolete in the 21st century. The problem is that we insist on presenting scientific theory and religious doctrine to the public as if they are somehow competitors on the same playing field and only one can win. We have created a political rhetoric of creationism vs. evolution that is incredibly misleading. In reality, science and religion exist within two entirely different frameworks of thought. Science is based on unyielding skepticism; religion is based on unyielding faith. Creationism collapses under skepticism. Likewise, scientific theories could never be based on faith. At present, the media is obsessed with pitting science and religion against each other and telling Americans they must pick
a side. The creationist groups’ demands to be included in “Cosmos” come only two months after a debate between Bill Nye (the science guy) and Ken Ham, founder of the Creationist Museum in Kentucky, collected over 2.7 million views on Youtube. This type of showdown only exacerbates the problem, sending us a message that science and religion cannot coexist and that the future belongs to either one or the other. Instead, we should encourage people to think about religion differently than how they think about science. Religion operates on spirituality, emotion, and tradition–all of which are hallmarks of the human experience and will not be eradicated any time soon. Science requires that we use only our analytical capabilities as a means to understand the world. We need to raise citizens who are able to switch between the two frameworks of thought, and who see the value in both.