University of California, Santa Barbara || Volume XIII, Issue IX || Dec. 5, 2018 || BottomLineUCSB.com
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
SCIENCE & TECH
DOG THERAPY DAY PHOTOSTORY
Photo by Paul Ruiz | Staff Photographer
MultiCultural Center (MCC) Open Mic Night
Proposed Title IX Changes Raise UCOP Concerns
The MCC held its quarterly open mic night last Thursday, Nov. 29, inviting the community to “Speak Your Truths.”
Earlier this month, UCOP issued a statement against the proposed Title IX changes, stating it would undo years of effort to protect survivors of sexual assault.
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
2 | NEWS
HOPE 805 Promotes Mental Wellness and Community in the Wake of Natural Disasters Reactions
This past weekend the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire to date, was officially contained, but the emotional aftermath remains. From families directly impacted by this year’s wildfires to those still recovering from fires past, news of these disasters can trigger harrowing, if not distressing, reminders that hit close to home for communities like Santa Barbara. Next month marks the oneyear anniversary of the Thomas Fire that swept through Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, followed shortly after by the debris flows that hit Montecito on Jan. 9 earlier this year. This, coupled with the pervasive news of recent and neighboring fires, makes for a tough holiday season, to say the very least. To help community members get through the holidays and finals season, The Bottom Line spoke with California HOPE 805, a local disaster recovery organization, to understand the types of emotional impact, the recovery process, and the community resiliency that follow natural disasters.
Holidays Intensify Post-Disaster Stress “Holidays
stressful time for many people to begin with,” said Michelle Drum, one of two team leaders at HOPE 805. “But because the Thomas Fire started on Dec. 5 of last year ... the holidays intensify the [sense of ] loss for lots of people.” The holidays, according to Drum, take a heavy emotional toll for several reasons: the chilly winter weather, earlier dark skies, and the festivities that implicate a time of family, friends, and holiday cheer. HOPE 805 is reaching out to local communities to teach others about mood fluctuations that may arise from these circumstances. In response to the Thomas Fire and its subsequent debris flows, Santa Barbara county received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) back in March to establish HOPE 805. The organization provides counseling, outreach, and education to direct others towards already existing resources available locally. One of these resources is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA, in collaboration with the American Red Cross, created a guide to help individuals understand common post-disaster holiday reactions, such as feeling physically and mentally drained or overwhelmed by daily activities, and feeling sad or lonely amid the holiday cheer. These reactions, however,
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vary from person to person and surface at various points in time.
Post-Disaster Responses Vary, But All are Valid “No matter what you’re going through, it’s all normal. It’s all valid. Every reaction you have is completely okay for you to have,” said HOPE 805 crisis counselor Jatzibe Sandoval when she presented the phases of disaster in a comprehensive training manual to the Isla Vista Community Service District Board earlier this month. The Phases of Disasters manual outlines the progression of community responses — from the emotional highs to the emotional lows — after a disaster occurs. Beginning at the predisaster phase and ending with a reconstruction phase, reactions span from feelings of guilt and panic to community bonding and concern for others. The lowest emotional point is the disillusionment phase which includes triggering events like the smell of smoke or news of a neighboring fire and the anniversary of the event. While hearing about the phases can be upsetting, Drum strongly believes in the need to educate the community on these reactions, so others know they are not alone. “This isn’t what one indi-
vidual goes through, it’s what the entire community goes through,” Drum said. “These reactions that the community are having are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.” She hopes that community members and students affected by these disasters set aside some time for themselves.
Take Time for Self-Care SAMHSA suggests that during these stressful times, people should get enough rest and eat healthy by maintaining a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. Additionally, Drum encourages students experiencing postdisaster reactions on top of exam stress to prioritize mindfulness. Staying connected with the community is another way to calm oneself. In other words, reaching out to people and staying informed about the happenings in and around the community may help relieve some of the stress experienced this season. “The anniversary is coming up. It’s going to be a time for remembering, but also a difficult time,” Sandoval said. “Be gentle and patient with yourselves.”
ALONDRA SIERRA Isla Vista Beat Reporter
No matter what you’re going through, it’s all normal. it’s all valid. Every reaction you have is completely okay for you to have. - Jatzibe Sandoval, HOPE 805 Crisis Counselor
To learn about post-disaster recovery resources, contact California HOPE 805 at (805) 845-2973. To stay prepared, register for emergency alerts at readysbc.org.
Opinions expressed in TBL do not necessarily represent those of the staff or UCSB. All submissions, questions or comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor-in-Chief | Alex Yam
Features Editor | Victoria Penate
Multimedia Beat | Dominick Ojeda
Web Editor | Docean Park
Managing Editor | Mable Truong
Arts & Entertainment Editor | Addison Morris
Photo Editor | Juan Gonzalez
Layout Editor | Natalie Dye
Executive Content Editor| Lauren Marnel
Science & Tech Editor | Hannah Maerowitz
Campus Beat Reporter | Minh Hua
PAGES: 4, 5, 6
Opinions Editor | Jessica Gang
Isla Vista Beat Reporter | Alondra Sierra
Layout Editor | Chrissy Cho
Senior Copy Editor | Spencer Wu
Video Editor | Fabiola Esqueda
National Beat Reporter | Jacob Wong
Co-News Editor | Arturo Samaniego
Advertising Director | Tanya Gosselin
Copy Editor | Sheila Tran
Layout Editor | Vivianna Shields
Co-News Editor | Annette Ding
Marketing Director | Erica Kaplan
Copy Editor | McKinsey FIdellow
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
3 | NEWS
Illustration by Mable Truong | Managing Editor
UC Voices Concern Over Proposed Changes To Title IX Policies JACOB WONG National Beat Reporter In a press release issued earlier this month, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) voiced concerns regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed Title IX rule changes for cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment. In the statement, UC Interim Systemwide Title IX Coordinator Suzanne Taylor claimed the changes would undo years of efforts that the UC and other universities had already taken to protect survivors of sexual assault. Upon the release of the proposed rule changes on Nov. 16, Department of Education officials maintained that the changes were intended to provide clarity and due process for all parties involved in cases of sexual assault and harassment. The main provisions of the changes to Title IX include a categorical definition for sexual harassment, requirements that schools “respond meaningfully to every known report of sexual harassment and investigate every formal complaint,” and guidelines
for how schools should conduct sexual assault investigations. The investigation guidelines place a heavy emphasis on due process and protections for both parties. The new regulations maintain a presumption of innocence throughout the grievance process, the right for both parties to appeal if a school offers one, and the right to cross-examination. “Far too many students have been forced to go to court to ensure their rights are protected because the Department has not set out legally binding rules that hold schools accountable for responding to allegations of sexual harassment in a supportive, fair manner,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By following proper legal procedures and receiving input on our proposed rule, we will ultimately have a final regulation that ensures that Title IX protects all students.” Such talk of presumed innocence and fair hearings coincides with a growing national debate over the nature of sexual assault cases and how to properly handle them from a litigation standpoint.
The question of what it means to consider people accused of sexual assault “innocent until proven guilty” has emerged in a number of recent cases ranging from the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to a recent overturned suspension of a UCSB student accused of sexual assault. While DeVos maintains that the rule changes are about fairness and clarity, critics such as Taylor argue that they place limitations on universities that already have systems in place to address sexual harassment cases. In the UCOP press release, Taylor called the rules “prescriptive,” pointing out the fact that they require universities to hold live hearings rather than allowing them to follow their own investigative models. For example, under current UC policy, the campus’s Title IX Officer can choose to launch an investigation into any sexual harassment case at his or her own discretion. With the new rules, the Department of Education has made it a point to keep campuses from employing this kind of “single-
investigator” model in order to “promote impartial decisions.” The logic here is that having both the accused and the accuser testify in a live hearing would result in a more fair investigative process. Taylor also accused the Department of Education of “narrowing the scope of what constitutes sexual harassment,” contending that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and other universities had already applied and enforced their own definition for decades. The Office for Civil Rights, which is a subset of the US Department of Education, provides the following definition for sexual harassment on its website: “Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Under the DeVos proposal, sexual harassment would be defined as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s
education program or activity.” Lastly, Taylor contended that the changes would greatly restrict the ability of OCR to enforce Title IX protections. She wrote, “In stark contrast to its current enforcement powers, OCR would not require changes to a school’s process unless it determines the school is ‘deliberately indifferent,’ an incredibly high standard. Applying these standards to other areas of OCR’s jurisdiction, if that is ED’s intent, will also undermine important civil rights laws that protect students from racial and disability discrimination.” The Department of Education’s proposed Title IX rule will be open for public comment for 60 days from its Nov. 16 date of publication. To view the Department’s one page summary of the proposed Title IX rule visit https://www2.ed.gov/ about/offices/list/ocr/docs/proposedtitle-ix-regulation-fact-sheet.pdf. To view the proposed rule in its entirety, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/title-ix-nprm.pdf.
4 | FEATURES
Jeh Johnson Discusses National Security and Immigration at Campbell Hall
ARTURO SAMANIEGO Co-News Editor This past Sunday, Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, spoke before an audience at Campbell Hall on issues relating to national security. Johnson served under the Department of Homeland Security, the third-largest department in the U.S government, from Dec. 23, 2013 to Jan. 20, 2017. After opening his talk with humorous anecdotes about not being recognized in public except when mistaken for former president Obama, Johnson touched on what he called the “three principle missions” he focused on during his work: counter terrorism, cyber security, and immigration. “Counter terrorism is the reason I took the job,” Johnson said. “It was the thing that motivated me in protecting the homeland.” According to Johnson, “the
terrorist threat to our country has evolved significantly from terrorist directed attacks to what we now face, terrorist inspired attacks.” Johnson used the September 11 attacks on the United States as an example of a terrorist directed attack. Such attacks involve a terrorist group infiltrating U.S. borders and carrying out a coordinated terrorist operation. “Our government now does a much better job at detecting oversees plots in their earliest stages,” Johnson assured. On the other hand, the Boston Marathon bombing, the 2015 San Bernardino attack, and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting would fall under terrorist inspired attacks, stated Johnson. These types of attacks, he explained, involve individuals who have no direct affiliation with terrorist groups but are inspired to carry out terrorist attacks because of something they saw on the internet or in the media.
“Terrorist inspired attacks are very hard to detect,” Johnson said, noting that the individuals who carry out these attacks often plot and carry them out by themselves. Still, despite the difficulty in detecting these types of attacks, Johnson claims that they can be prevented through law enforcement investigation efforts and community vigilance. Moving on to cyber security, Johnson warned, “The cyber threat to our nation will unfortunately get worse before it gets better,” emphasizing that our cyber defenses need to be improved. Those on the offense in the cyber realm like China, Russia, and Iran are becoming better and more creative in their attacks, he stated. Fake news and the publication of extremist views online were two particular cyber threats Johnson called out as especially harmful to the nation. He warned that fake news and the spread of extremist views on-
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
line were two avenues by which foreign actors,“seek to sow discord by influencing our democracy and elections.” The principle defense Johnson provided against these threats were better self-regulation by internet providers whereby they would call out fake news and extremist views. He also emphasized public scrutiny against fake news and extremist views as important in stamping out those threats. The final topic Johnson touched on in relation to homeland security was immigration. “Immigration in my time in office was the most difficult issue I wrestled with,” Johnson said. Misinformation concerning immigration is a main reason Johnson believes the subject has become such a contentious issue. He pointed out that, despite public perception, undocumented populations have actually decreased. “Illegal immigration on our
southern border is a fraction of what it used to be,” Johnson noted. After citing this fact Johnson added that the demographics of undocumented populations have also shifted from single adults from Mexico to women, children, and families from Central America. In his speech, Johnson advocated for improving surveillance and border security, increasing the number of asylum judges to deal with current cases, and implementing comprehensive immigration reform to allow the current undocumented immigration population to step out of the shadows. Johnson concluded his talk on a hopeful note asserting, “We are indeed a great nation and we will never stop being a great nation.”
5 | FEATURES
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
T H E G R Y D APY DA
During the 10th week of the quarter (the week before finals), UCSB Health & Wellness hosted their first Dog Therapy day of the year in the SRB. They brought in a bunch of loving certified dog therapists from the organization â€œLove on a leashâ€? to help relieve finals week stress and promote positive outlooks and wellness to the Charles just laying back and chillaxing. student body.
Photo opp for Herbie and a fellow UCSB student.
Rosie having a good time with all the students. Photos by Paul Ruiz | Staff Photographer
6 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
MCC Open Mic Night
RAVEEN SIVASHANKER The UCSB MultiCultural Center (MCC) held its quarterly open mic event in Isla Vista last Thursday, Nov. 29, at Biko House. Hosted by William Bissic (aka MC Prototype), aspiring artist and teacher of literature and business, “Speak Your Truths” was a night for open self-expression for anyone wanting to participate. Inherently improvisational and imperfect, the event avoided becoming what it easily could have been, a disjointed, incoherent circus, and instead successfully presented a harmonious set of performances. The imperfections, which in any other context would seem extraneous or inelegant — and perhaps inspired puzzled, quizzical looks, or searches for escape routes — made perfect sense in service of a larger goal. If this sounds almost religiously sincere, that’s because it was. MC Prototype emphasized his desire for the audience to form a community and encouraged anyone to come up to do anything — sing, dance, talk. “If you wanna come up and breathe real hard, you can do that.” From the audience of about 30 (a balanced mix of community members and students), about 10 people signed up to perform. Oscillating between jovial, joking host and spoken-word poet in between performances, MC Prototype’s obvious investment in creating a spontaneous community from this group was
perhaps his most significant contribution to the event. The garage of Biko House (a housing co-op aiming to “maintain a safe space for people of color in a predominantly white community”) perfectly fit the vibe of the event — personal and expressive, even in the case of slight to moderate discomfort. It was a tight fit for the group, and a decent number were forced to stand at the back, outside and looking in. The stage was in fact a modified table; alternatively too close to the ceiling for the tall, too far below the community-mic for the short, and too narrow for the guitarist’s chair. The stumbling and adjusting that preceded each performance eventually began to seem entirely ordi-
n a r y, e v e n necessar y, on a spiritual level , something one would expect to find in a nature documentary. The walls of the garage were themselves evocative, decorated with a collection of miniature announcements, from a to-the-point “Fuck Da Cheeto Tyrant” scrawled in chalk to some slightly more cryptic words, “a beautiful donkey,” written above a delicately drawn donkey head with gentle, blinking eyes. Absurdist art filled most of the gaps. The performances were similarly wide-ranging. Novices nervously prefaced their acts with “I’ve never done this before,” while more seasoned artists, who had already spewed out their thoughts to the wider world, had
more polished (and sometimes self-promoting) introductions. The night’s artistic expression spanned self-written music, prose monologues, and phone-inscribed poetry. The topics ranged from the political to the deeply personal. Somewhere in between lied an enigmatic mathematical proof/poem hybrid that no one understood, and an ode to bread, which everyone did. Inevitably, different members of the audience had different reactions to the performe r s .
Some declarations of identity garnered almost universal approval, while other statements and clumsy stanzas may have inspired invisible eye-rolling. But the “safeness” of this particular space entailed an audience that would at least try to be un-
conditionally supportive, even in the case of disinterest, disagreement, or disapproval. This show was not meant to be a traditional stage reserved for professional artists, but an opening up of the collective discourse to people who otherwise remain disproportionately unheard. By the end of the night people were volunteering to go up to the stage to perform a second time, where earlier some who had
thing that it sensed was meant to be especially poignant. Such behavior is perhaps unfashionably earnest, but this event provides a unique opportunity to learn a lot about other people: Even if one plans not to perform, watching others choose to be so vulnerable can be a special, meaningful experience. This open mic night was the MCC’s last event for fall quarter, but in winter, nearly every day
Photo by Dominick Ojeda | Multimedia Beat Reporter
signed up were reticent when called by the host. The MCC, along with MC Prototype, succeeded in creating a sort of cult, that would smile and snap in communion in response to any-
they will host events thematically similar to this gathering — in exposing unheard voices — as well as a “Speak Your Truths” open mic night again at the end.
7 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Santa Barbara Jazz Society to Host Holiday Party at SOhO Music Club
Image Courtesy of Pixnio LAUREN MARNEL SHORES
Executive Content Editor
For its final concert of 2018, the Santa Barbara Jazz Society (SBJS) will be hosting an annual holiday party and jam session on Dec. 9 at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. This event provides local jazz enthusiasts with the perfect opportunity to start their holiday season off right with a slice of American musical culture. Doors open to the event at 12:30 p.m., with the holiday party lasting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and at only $10 a ticket, the festivity is open to individuals of all ages. Attendees are welcome to sit back and enjoy the show, but all those enthusiastic enough are encouraged to join the show itself. Participants need only their own instruments and voices to join the
open jazz session, accompanied by the jazz club’s own house band as back up. The band consists of Debbie Denke on piano, Kim Collins on bass, and Janes Antunez on drums. Comprised of all local jazz artists, the trio is sure to bring a dynamic presence to SOhO’s warm music venue. The holiday party and jam session comes as part of SBJS’s mission as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving world jazz. As Natalie Wilson, President of the Santa Barbara Jazz Society explained, “keeping jazz alive in SB is important because jazz music is only one of a very few truly American indigenous art forms.” In further support of local jazz, SBJS will also be giving away its yearly music scholarship during the holiday party. Wilson
explained that this scholarship, which has benefited student organizations in the local Santa Barbara area since 2002, is “given to sublimate the budged allowed for the jazz music programs in the high schools which are often cut.” This year, SBJS will be presenting the Santa Barbara High School Jazz Ensemble with a $1,000 check from the Jazz Society’s Scholarship Fund during the holiday party event. As further incentive to attend this holiday party, the venue itself is bound to deliver an open atmosphere with its trendy, city club environment and locally sourced dinner menu. Named after the neighborhood in lower Manhattan, SOhO brings New York ambiance to downtown Santa Barbara, transporting its guests on a city escapade for the
night to indulge in a rich, musical experience. The holiday party will conclude SBJS’s concert series of 2018, celebrating yet another year of monthly Sunday jam sessions at SOhO. Moving into the new year, this wraps up the organization’s 23rd year of connecting local jazz artists and enthusiasts in the community, as well as providing a greater platform for individuals to appreciate this rich genre of music. When asked her hopes for SBJS going into the new year, Wilson stated, “I hope that we can continue to offer the world class music events that we have been able to present to local jazz fans.” With the 2018 year drawing to a close, readers won’t want to miss out on Santa Barbara Jazz
Society’s annual holiday party. The event promises warm entertainment during this chilly winter season, all while supporting local talent. “If you are a jazz lover, I encourage you to attend some of our concerts,” Wilson urged TBL readers. “We offer top notch jazz music at a very nominal cost AND you don’t have to travel to LA or SF. to enjoy it!” Tickets to the show can be purchased ahead of time on SOhO’s website for only $10. Jazz enthusiasts can catch future concerts put on by the Santa Barbara Jazz Society once a month at SOhO in downtown Santa Barbara. Additionally, SBJS has a Facebook page and newsletter where subscribers can receive bimonthly updates about upcoming events.
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
8 | SCIENCE & TECH
Image Courtesy of SB Hacks
Preview: First Annual UCSB Womxn/Hacks to be Hosted this January ANNIE HUANG Staff Writer UCSB will host its first hackathon specifically aimed towards women, Womxn/Hacks, this upcoming January. The event takes place over one weekend and invites female-identifying and nonbinary students of all skill levels and backgrounds to participate. Participants will gain valuable experience, connections, and prizes in a competitive yet supportive environment. Womxn/Hacks, which is verified by the official student hackathon league, Major League Hacking (MLH), will give participating programmers the standard 36 hours to collaborate in teams of two to four people to create projects from scratch. Their products are then judged by industry professionals. Coders with less experience can opt for a different itinerary, participating in workshops led by professionals and graduate students. The beginner friendly options of Womxn/Hacks give women with less coding experience an opportunity to get started in what may otherwise be an intimidating environment. Making the event friendly towards programmers with little
to no experience connects back to the goal of Womxn/Hacks: to empower women and help them build confidence in their technical capabilities in a traditionally maledominant field. According to Sarina Abrishamcar, the lead organizer of Womxn/ Hacks and a third year pharmacology major at UCSB, the goal of this event is to empower women by giving them a venue to channel their passion and potential into creating something alongside other women. To help women address some of the issues in the tech industry that may affect them, Womxn/ Hacks will have workshops focusing on problems, such as harassment and prejudice, that affect women in the tech industry and beyond. These workshops aim to strengthen women’s confidence and teach them what they can do when they are being mistreated. According to Abrishamcar, part of the reason organizers believe this event is so important is because women are losing confidence in their programming skills before they even enter the workplace. “A lot of women [in computer science] rank themselves lower in experience than they actually are,” said Abrishamcar in an interview
with The Bottom Line. “We’re hoping that through this [event], women are able to go into the workplace [empowered] and continue empowering other women throughout their lives.” Although Womxn/Hacks is a new event, it has already gained the support of software development giants like Microsoft and GitHub. The event also has support from the Office of the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor. Most of the prizes at the event will be provided by sponsors, although in an interview, Abrishamcar joked about adding a Nintendo Switch to the reward pool. Even though prizes will be only be given to the best projects, all attendees will receive free merchandise and snacks. Two hundred attendees will be accepted for the event, with a soft cap for different skill levels, so Abrishamcar encourages everyone who is interested to apply as soon as possible, regardless of major or prior experience. Registration ends on Dec. 20 and acceptances will be revealed on Dec. 22. The event takes place in the Student Resource Building from Jan. 25-27, 2019. For more information or to apply, visit womxnhacks.com.
Photo by Annie Huang | Staff Photographer Womxn Hacks: Sarina Abrishamcar (left), founder of UCSB’s AAUW, and Wilhelmina York (right), Vice President of AAUW, two of the minds behind the upcoming Womxn/Hacks.
9 | SCIENCE & TECH
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Las Cumbres Observatory Houses the First Network of Internet-connected Telescopes “We’re using new technology to see the universe in a new way. Any time you can do that, you’re going to find things that people have never seen before.” - Andy Howell, head of the supernova group at LCO HANNAH MAEROWITZ Science & Tech Editor The first network of Internetenabled telescopes is virtually in our backyard, with the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) situated only 2.3 miles away from UCSB’s campus. The Las Cumbres Observatory was founded by Wayne Rosing, who invested money earned in his time at Google and Apple into designing telescopes that could communicate over the Internet with the goal of creating a global network of telescopes. His investment paid off, as the Las Cumbres Observatory has gained recognition for gathering some of the most in depth astronomical data of any observatory. The philosophy of the observatory, which has 21 interconnected telescopes spread out across multiple continents, is to always have at least one telescope in the dark, observing the sky. The Las Cumbres Observatory’s global network of telescopes has given scientists access to both continual and quick astronomical observations. “We’re using new technology to see the universe in a new way. Any time you can do that, you’re going to find things that people have never seen before,” said Andy Howell, the head of the supernova group at LCO and a physics professor at UC Santa Barbara. Howell’s group was involved in collecting detailed data on a recently discovered explosion type called a killanova, which Howell says may be the source of heavy elements like gold and platinum. Since the LCO’s telescopes are located around the world, Howell’s supernova group could see the killanova rise to a peak and then decline, while other astronomers thought the killanova was just declining because they had fewer data points. LCO has also created software that can find killanovae automatically, even when the scientists studying them are asleep. The software has been tested with some human involvement, but according to How-
ell, it will be run with no human involvement for the next observation of a killanova. Howell’s group is currently monitoring over 100 supernovae, using observations gathered from the telescopes to discern which ones are behaving in ways that are unusual or in ways that support or refute existing theories. “We’re observing the fluctuations of brightness that supernovae have and what colors they are,” said Howell. “From this data, we’re able to see that there are lots of explosion types that we have never seen before and begin to understand what happens to stars as they reach the end of their lives.” LCO’s supernova group has found new kinds of supernovae that die out so quickly that they have never been observed by a telescope before. They are also monitoring supernovae that last for many years, with multiple peaks and potentially multiple explosions. The LCO’s unique access to multiple telescopes around the world allows scientists to gather an abundance of data on both fast and prolonged supernovae. LCO’s supernova group has also partnered with UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) to interpret some of their data. Researchers at KITP have developed code that can simulate stars and some types of explosions, which can help LCO researchers get more information on how existing theories in physics support or confound their observations. “Sometimes you find a mystery and sometimes the existing theory is correct. Both are exciting,” said Howell. To learn more about astronomy at LCO, the public can attend its Astronomy on Tap events, which take place the first Wednesday of every month at the Matrix Nightclub and Lounge at 7:30 p.m.
Photos by Hannah Maerowitz | Science & Tech Editor This telescope is a work in progress, currently being built by LCO’s founder, Wayne Rosing.
10 | OPINIONS
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Fracking is Harmful But Maybe Not as Much as You Think RAVEEN SIVASHANKER Recently the fracking controversy has drilled its way to Southern California as the Environmental Defense Center, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental protection in the Santa Barbara area, recently rejoiced after U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez moved to postpone approval on offshore fracking permits along the SoCal coast. Fracking (short for “hydraulic fracturing”) has been promoted by supporters as a safer alternative to traditional fossil fuel extraction. However, it has been criticized by others for its potential damage to the environment. While in general fracking may represent an improvement on the extraction and use of other fossil fuels, it needs to be carefully monitored and regulated to prevent outstanding harm to surrounding areas. Fracking is a process in which humans inject a pressurized water mixture in order to create fractures deep underground. When the pressure is removed, proppants suspended in the fluid (sand, for example) hold the fractures open, and natural gas (or sometimes oil) can flow through. One can imagine how this practice would inspire widespread dismay — the pesky multinational gas corps breaking open the earth’s crust and sucking out its lifeblood, possibly inducing earthquakes and tsunamis and other acts of disaster in the process. The majority of experts on fracking (“experts” meaning academics in energy, environmental policy, geology, etc., as well as those representing interest groups) will agree in some form or another that fracking is not inherently awful, if regulated properly. While it is still a source of disagreement as to whether or not we know enough about the proper regulations and associated risks to
Image Courtesy of Cybergedeon | Public Domain Files
continue safely allowing fracking in the present, in general it is true that it is less harmful, in the aggregate, compared to the extraction and use of other fossil fuels. The primary reason for this conjecture is that natural gas is a relatively safe alternative to other fossil fuels. Natural gas emits half the amount of carbon dioxide as coal, with respect to the energy they produce, and less than all the other commonly used fossil fuels. Even when adjusting for the greenhouse emissions associated with the entire extraction process, the overall fracking and naturalgas-use cycle is much more environmentally friendly than those of
other fossil fuels. Most of the general fears with regards to fracking are related to fracking-induced earthquakes and air and water pollution. The vast majority of human-induced earthquakes are, in fact, caused by wastewater disposal wells — a result of “all oil wells, not just hydraulic fracturing sites” — so this is not a legitimate way to separate out the ills of fracking as abnormal in the smorgasbord of harmful human activities. A more relevant concern is the extent to which drinking water and breathing air is contaminated by fracking operations. According to one study, localized in Penn-
sylvania and New York, methane concentration in water supply was highly correlated with proximity to a fracking location. Though it was not discovered in a high enough concentration to be considered hazardous for ingestion, it was classified as a fire hazard, particularly in enclosed spaces. The Environmental Protection Agency says that it does not have enough information to determine any universal water effects on a national scale — though in certain circumstances it has had an impact. Air pollution is similarly variable across different fracking operations, which, according to the study’s authors, “suggest that
contamination events from unconventional oil and gas development can be monitored, controlled, and reduced.” In particular cases, such as the offshore California permits, fracking can have a more direct impact on a local ecosystem and endangered species — this too, however, is most efficiently evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and is therefore a subject more relevant to federal regulations than for overall deliberation on the acceptability of fracking. The EDC may have been correct in pushing for a delay on the fracking permits, if, as the judge decided, federal agencies had not been allowed to properly assess the impact on the local marine life. Most of these consequences (without even being an exhaustive list of fracking’s consequences) share a general theme: in an absolute sense, fracking is certainly harmful to the environment. It pollutes the air and the water, the burning of natural gas releases a lot of CO2, the operation leaks a decent amount of methane, and it causes some earthquakes. But, compared to the other ways in which humans harm the environment for energy, we can say, based on current evidence, that it is probably not uniquely harmful to the environment, and, if well regulated, might represent a meaningful improvement to the extraction and use of other fossil fuels. As fracking researchers will often say, more fracking research needs to be done for us to determine this to be the case, and also what proper regulations would look like. Whether this is all cause for celebration or anguish depends on your optimism for a carbonfree world, your opinions on Florida, and your feelings toward human extinction.
11 | OPINIONS
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Houses for the Homeless of Santa Barbara HANNAH MAEROWITZ Science & Tech Editor Initially adopted by minimalists, tiny houses are now mainstream. They can be found on Airbnb or seen scattered across cities. Although some people view them as absurdly small or a trend destined to die out, others say that they are affordable, have limited carbon footprints, and that the small living space creates intimacy between those who live in it. Some cities, including Santa Barbara, are moved enough by the positives of tiny houses to consider using them as a governmentsponsored housing option to combat growing homelessness and give low-income individuals the chance to own their own homes. The project, touted by Rob Fredericks, the executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB), aims to create a village of around 40 tiny homes at the junction of Carrillo and Castillo street downtown. The planâ€™s backers (which
include the City of Santa Barbara, Cottage Hospital, and the Santa Barbara Housing Authority) hoped to receive a grant of $6.5 million, but instead the grant application received a recommendation of only $2 million, a third of the requested amount. Â Despite critiques of tiny houses as affordable housing options, any housing option that puts walls between the homeless and the outside world increases the safety of homeless populations drastically, to the point where counterarguments seem to fall flat. A recent report by Crisis, a homeless charity in the UK,Â found that homeless people are especially prone to physical and verbal violence. One in 10 report being urinated on, one in three have experienced a form of physical violence while homeless, and six in 10 report having experienced verbal abuse or harassment. Additionally, more than half of homeless people report that someone has stolen one or more of their belongings while they were
homeless. Adverse health outcomes are also associated with homelessness. Hypothermia, malnutrition, parasitic infections, and degenerative joint diseases are all either associated with, or potentially even result from, being homeless. Uncomfortable sleeping conditions also exacerbate existing medical conditions. A solution to homelessness is clearly needed to provide relief to those experiencing physical or emotional consequences as a result of being forced to live in the streets. Shelters are commonly proposed as a solution; however, shelters have issues of their own and may not be as accessible as many think. Although many cities have homeless shelters that may provide a short-term warm place to sleep, many are crowded or full. People that stay in shelters also eventually have to leave them, generally returning to living in the streets. Additionally, many homeless people suffer from mental illness or other
problems and concentrating them in one crowded area can sometimes create more problems than it solves. There has also been an increase in family homelessness in the United States, which means that shelters may inadvertently expose children to potentially traumatic conditions. Tiny houses are a good solution because they give homeless people access to four walls that decrease their risk of negative health outcomes and abuse. They also give them the chance to attain a larger sense of autonomy, as tiny houses are fairly inexpensive and can be eventually paid off through monthly rent payments. Since many homeless people do not have jobs, mental health services, job training, and case management have been paired with access to tiny houses in cities that have executed plans that are similar to the one Santa Barbara is considering. Los Angeles, a city that launched a pilot tiny house pro-
gram for the homeless, only required tiny house residents to contribute 30 percent of their income and used low-income vouchers to cover the rest of the cost of the tiny house. Building tiny houses to combat homelessness is new territory and may not be as successful as hoped. However, the idea has a lot of potential and is worth trying. Although critics say that tiny living environments create wear and tear on furniture and concentrate low-income or homeless individuals in one area, exacerbating social inequality, these critiques seem to be more intellectually than emotionally moving. Protecting people from violence of all kinds and giving them a shot at independence seem like compelling enough reasons to give tiny houses for the homeless a shot in Santa Barbara. Trying out an idea with potential is better than continuing to debate but do nothing.
Image Courtesy of Free Photo Biz
12 | PHOTO
TBL | Dec. 5, 2018
Photos by Annie Huang | Staff Photographer
UCSB students savor the last moments of autumn fashion trends before Winter Break. Through warm hues of browns, reds, oranges, and yellows, as well as complementary shades of blues and greens, they express the changes in seasons at the end of the year.
First year student Hannah Chua styles her burgundy pinstriped pants with a complementary green corduroy jacket.
Third year student John Makin dresses comfortably in his v-neck sweater and joggers, staying simple without sacrificing style.
First year student Daniel Azimi pairs the classic T-shirt and shorts combo with the timeless white Adidas Superstar shoes.
First year student Katherine Liu stays warm with a mock neck top and long trench coat.
Second year student Brandon Fischer layers on an eye-catching green puffy jacket, staying warm but stylish in this fickle weather.
Dec. 5, 2018 | BottomLineUCSB.com