Volume 83. Issue 7

Page 1



(pp. 3) Ambassador to United Nations, Bob Rae, interrupted during speech at GSIPA by peace activists

(pp. 3) Ford government to invest in for-profit clinics in hopes of reducing surgery backlog


(pp. 4) The Super Bowl: The Show, the Sport, and the Music

(pp. 5) Action-packed and extravagant: RRR (2022) is an Academy Award nominee


(pp. 6) Gee-Gees unable to complete the comeback in Capital Hoops Classic loss

(pp. 7) Gees outmatched in Capital Hoops Classic


(pp. 8) Williams: The problem with basic instinct

(pp. 9) Ready, Set, Hack


(pp. 10) Seeing the world with TikTok brain (pp. 10) Having children is not a woman’s moral imperative

(pp. 11) GRWM to unpack the obsession with GRWM videos



Jasmine McKnight

Hailey Otten

Managing Editor

Sanjida Rashid

Graphic Designer

Kai Holub


Bardia Boomer



Social Media Manager

Noah Bailey

News Editor

Desirée Nikfardjam

Arts Editor

Victoria Drybrough

Sports Editor

Brandon Adibe

ScienceS & Tech Editor

Emma Williams

Features Editor

Bridget Coady

Opinions Editor

Matthew McConkey

Staff Writer

Grace Kim-Shin

News Associate

Yannick Mutombo

TheFulcrumFB instafulcrum The Fulcrum The_Fulcrum 2 thefulcrum.ca

Ambassador to United Nations, Bob Rae, interrupted during speech at GSIPA by peace activists

Activists protest during Bob Rae’s speech at U of O

On Jan. 23, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSIPA) at the University of Ottawa celebrated its 15th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the University hosted a talk by Bob Rae, the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations. The Honourable Bob Rae’s speech was entitled “Walking the Talk: The Pragmatic Pursuit of Principle.”

The talk was interrupted by several peace activists who, while bring-

ing attention to different international policy issues, condemned the ambassador for calling Canada’s foreign policy “principled.”

The activists who disrupted the speech included Tamara Lorincz, Yves Engler, and Dimitri Lascaris.

Lorincz is a PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, who was awarded the Rotary International World Peace Fellowship and is currently on the international board of Global Network Against Nucle-

ar Power and Weapons in Space. She condemned Canada for its lacking diplomatic engagement with regard to ending Russia’s war in Ukraine. During her interruption she called for Bob Rae to use his mediation skills and diplomatic position to augment Canada’s role in ending the war.

Yves Engler is a Canadian author and activist whose most recent book, entitled Stand on Guard for Whom, was the first to explore Canadian military history from the perspectives of its victims. Engler exposed Canada’s voting patterns at the UN

during Ambassador Rae’s tenure. Engler accused Rae of voting against the resolution condemning neo-Nazism, the resolution of the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and the resolution more just economic global order.

The third interruption of Bob Rae’s speech was declared by Dimitri Lascaris, a Canadian lawyer, journalist and activist who reprimanded Canada’s support of Israel, a state whose human rights violations of Palestinian people are well documented.

In a blog post,

Lascaris explained that these interruptions do not “… constitute an exhaustive list of Canada’s radical departures from “principled” foreign policy. It takes a special kind of mendacity to pursue the policies of the Canadian government and then claim with a straight face to be “principled” in international affairs.”

Rae’s talk provided many insights into foreign policy issues, Canada’s role at the UN, and the agendas of peace activists in Canada. The full talk can be found on the GSIPA website.

Ford government to invest in for-profit clinics in hopes of reducing surgery backlog

“This is a move towards privatization which is going to really harm disabled people.”

On Jan. 11, Doug Ford announced a threestep plan that will increase the capacity of for-profit clinics to perform operations for cataracts, knee and hip replacements, and more — all in hopes of reducing the existing strain on Ontario’s healthcare system.

Under the first step of the new plan, clinics in Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Windsor will perform 14,000 additional cataract surgeries each year, to reduce the current waitlist by 25 per cent.

The second step will see private clinics undertaking more MRI and CT scans, as well as “non-urgent,” “low-risk,” and “minimally invasive” procedures including colonoscopies and endoscopies.

By 2024, the

third and final step will expand hip and knee replacement surgeries at for-profit clinics.

Since it was announced, the plan has received criticism from health care professionals, politicians and disability activists.

Leader of the New Democratic Party Jagmeet Singh warned that outsourcing these procedures could divert already scarce resources from publicly-funded hospitals, such as nurses and anesthesiologists.

In addition, Disability Awareness Consultant Andrew Gurza tweeted that the Ontario government’s new plan could create additional barriers for Ontarians living with disabilities.

“This is a move towards privatization which is going to really harm disabled people. Most of us that are living on social assistance in

Ontario are living on less than 700 or 800 [dollars] a month,” said Gurza, in an interview with the Fulcrum.

Moreover, Gurza mentioned concerns with respect to the accessibility of these private facilities.

“Most public clinics are not accessible. So I fail to see how private clinics will be accessible unless they consult disabled community members. There are things like lifts, and there are things like attendant care on site, I think, that we shouldn’t be outsourcing to private clinics. We should be trying to fix the public sector.”

In a statement to the Fulcrum, Carly Fox, Communications and Partnerships Director of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and International Chair of the Council for Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), said the

Ford government’s plan will “undeniably exacerbate the healthcare barriers both disabled and non-disabled students currently face.”

“With many disabling conditions and illnesses requiring frequent medical visits and treatments, disabled students are facing the same issues as the general public (think GP/nurse shortages and ER wait times) at disproportionate and lethal levels, with multiple marginalized groups harmed even more.”

While Ford’s plan is a direct response to the lengthening of hospital waitlists due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more attention should be brought to the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 and how this correlates to the procedures that would be outsourced to private clinics, according to Fox.

“It’s important

to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a mass-disabling event as more people self-identify as a result of long covid, covid complications, and new conditions or illnesses caused by viral infection. As a result, more people are seeking more intensive medical care and medical diagnoses — which often require MRI and CT scans and other diagnostic procedures that are explicitly targeted by Ford’s privatization plan.”

During the Jan. 30 Question Period at the House of Commons, Jagmeet Singh called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enforce the Canada Health Act (CHA) against Ontario’s plan to increase the use of for-profit clinics.

Sydney Grenier Yannick Mutombo


The Super Bowl: the show, the sport, and the music

Super Bowl LVII is taking place next week — why is it a cultural behemoth?

pected performance.

Football is the quintessential American sport. The spirit of the game is amalgamated through the glitz, excitement, and thrill of the yearly Super Bowl championship.

Every year, millions of Americans watch the game, the highest

The NFL has been able to attract non-football fans across North America and internationally to tune into the Super Bowl in the name of the game. But how did it become such a huge cultural phenomenon?

First, you can’t talk about the Super Bowl without talking about the million dollar adver-

get. On top of that, what brings people together just as much as sports? Music. Initially, the Super Bowl halftime show had Duke Ellington jazz or marching bands playing the Temptations. It all changed when Michael Jackson got on the NFL stage in 1993 and iconically froze for the first 90 sec-

viewership being in 2015 with 114.44 million people tuning in. Superstars like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lady Gaga have all performed at the game’s halftime show, making it a major event in pop culture. This year’s headliner is Rihanna, an announcement which has created lots of buzz after Apple Music released their promotional video for her ex-

tisements it features. It’s the only time that people actually enjoy watching advertisements because they tend to be creative, funny, and culturally relevant as many of them feature high profile celebrities. These large corporations have found a way to make advertisements truly entertaining, epitomizing consumerism culture — it’s as American as it can

onds of his performance before breaking out into his classic moonwalk dances and singing his best hits like “Billie Jean” and “Heal the World,” ultimately getting viewership to skyrocket.

Since then, other widely revered pop stars have performed for the jersey-filled stadiums and transformed the significance of this football

spectacle. For artists, performing at the halftime show became affirmation of their cultural relevance to the times and the headliners never fail to put on unforgettable performances. In 2017, Lady Gaga shocked the crowd as she jumped off the roof before her set, and in 2015, Katy Perry made a remarkable pop culture moment with her performance that included an off-beat dance from “Left Shark.”

The shock value of these performances are what keep viewership so high and they unite Americans in their love for both sports and pop culture. The Super Bowl is not just about the athletic glory of American football stars, but also the glamour of the greatest American idols.

The football game is still the main attraction as viewers excitedly watch elite athletes showing off their finesse in the sport. However, Super Bowl Sunday is undoubtedly more than just a game. It’s an intelligently marketed event with musical and consumerist theatrics and it’s a celebration of America’s persistent cultural soft power.

Regardless, it will never fail to keep us waiting in anticipation each year for the next spectacle.

ARTS EDITOR Grace Kim-Shin Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta was the site of Super Bowl LIII. Photo: Christopher Alvarenga/Unsplash.

Action-packed and extravagant: RRR (2022) is an Academy Award nominee

Movie with the highest opening day earned by an Indian production, now part of the Oscars conversation

The 2022 Indian Telugu-language film, RRR (abbreviation for ‘Rise Roar Revolt’), is a threehour, larger-than-life production that took South Asian audiences by storm upon its release, and in the year following, has garnered global recognition.

mission to free her. When the Governor’s wife is informed that an assailant is pursuing them, she enlists Raju, an Indian Imperial Police officer and secret anti-Raj freedom fighter, to kill him.

Bheem and Raju accidentally meet (under their respective aliases) and become good friends, unaware of their opposing goals. The two must

became the first Asian film to win the Golden Globe for ‘Best Original Song’.

On January 24, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the nominees for the 2023 Academy Awards, which included a nod to RRR in the ‘Best Original Song’ category for the musical number, “Naatu Naatu”.

In recent years,

not choose it as their official entry, however, there was some speculation that the film could’ve earned a ‘Best Picture’ nomination. While it didn’t happen, the speculation has proved RRR is worthy of being considered one of the — if not the — best films of 2022.

The hype surrounding the film demonstrates the quality that South Asian media has to offer, even if it does not adhere to the Western standards that ceremonies like the Oscars typically reward. The types of films that are honoured by the Academy tend to share certain characteristics. Often termed “Oscar-bait,” dramas, period pieces, social-issue films, and biopics have won the most Oscars, while action, fantasy, thrillers, sci-fi, and foreign films are the least awarded movies.

this film are precisely the qualities that make it so likable, and viewers can’t help but have fun watching.

The scene that the film has become known for is the musical sequence “Naatu Naatu” (Dance Dance), where the main characters challenge colonialism via the most energetic dance battle you’ll ever see (which includes an interesting sequence involving suspenders).

The film includes other impressive musical numbers, such as “Dosti” (Friends), where the leads fittingly become friends, and “Komuram Bheemudo,” a rousing song that helps Bheem survive a harsh beating.

The film recently made history as the first Indian film to be nominated in the ‘Best Original Song’ category at the Academy Awards, a nomination that has been met by fans with both excitement at the recognition and outrage that it didn’t receive more.

Regardless of the film’s many deserved accolades, it is a true joy to watch and a definite mustsee.

The film is set in 1920s India, during the rule of the British Raj, and follows two separate storylines that merge into one epic tale. When the British Governor and his wife brutally kidnap a young girl from her tribe and force her into a life of servitude, the tribe’s protector, Bheem, creates an alias and embarks on a

decide how to free their country from the grasp of colonial rulers without betraying one another.

Assigning this film to just one genre is a futile task. Every minute of the three-hour runtime is packed with supercharged action sequences, tear-jerking emotional scenes, and lively musical numbers. Action, drama, romance, fantasy — you’ll get them all and more in RRR.

Recently, RRR has been making movie history as it has received several of the most prestigious Western nominations and awards, a rarity for Indian films despite the country being the largest producer of films in the world. In 2022, it was named one of the ‘Top Films’ by the National Review Board, won two Critic’s Choice Awards, and

the Academy has garnered a reputation for excluding BIPOC filmmakers from the awards and ignoring the achievements of non-American productions. Some fans viewed the nomination as a sign of progress in this regard, but others felt that the film was snubbed in other categories because it deserved recognition for its technical proficiency, special effects, acting, and directing.

The film was ineligible for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category because India did

RRR’s strength lies in its grandiose, overthe-top style. Horrifyingly brutal action scenes include Raju single-handedly fighting an entire army, while Bheem wrestles a tiger and unleashes a truckload of animals to battle the British army.

Among the more fantastical scenes are Bheem and Raju jumping off a bridge and through fire to save a young boy, and Bheem throwing a motorcycle as a weapon. These descriptions may sound impractical, and while the film does require some suspension of disbelief, it never feels forced or frustrating. The audacity and outlandishness of

The film is rife with impressive visual storytelling as the filmmakers make good use of costumes, makeup, set design, colours, and special effects to make it a visually stunning masterpiece.

No matter what the scene demands, director S.S Rajamouli, doesn’t do subtle. He instead opts for extravagant, striking, and brash filmmaking that directly challenges the values of Western film critics and viewers alike, creating a true once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.

Regardless of whether or not the film secures any wins at the 2023 Academy Awards, RRR will undoubtedly remain the best film of the year in my books.

Erin Peter “Naatu Naatu” dance sequence for which the film got its Oscar nomination. Image: RRR/DVV Entertainment. The Fulcrum is hiring a Videographer
To apply, visit www.thefulcrum.ca/were-hiring or email the Editors-in-Chief at editor@thefulcrum.ca

Gee-Gees unable to complete the comeback in Capital Hoops Classic loss

Otoo lead the Gee-Gees with 22 points on the board

guard, Aiden Warnholtz, put in a jumper.

Friday night gave Gee-Gees and Ravens fans quite the thriller.

The 2023 Capital Hoops Classic 8 P.M. game matched up two U Sports men’s basketball titans in the University of Ottawa (14-3), and their crosstown rivals the Carleton Ravens (13-4).

TD Place was packed with fans from both sides of the Rideau Canal, and tensions were high as the teams met for the first time this season.

The Gee-Gees were quick to open up scoring as Kevin Otoo

As you’d expect any big game to be, it was tight; it was back and forth; and it was intense.

Cole Newton was the first player to have a shot fall from behind the arch, but Warnholtz wasted no time when responding, making it 13-9 for the bad guys.

Otoo was given a wide open three-point opportunity and did not waste, bringing the game within one.

The Ravens were unable to make use of their next posession, throwing the ball away and letting Newton drop

control to start things off. Elliot Bailey and Warnholtz combined for 10 consecutive points to take the lead 23-17.

Otoo put up his second three-pointer in attempt to shift the momentum. For a moment, it worked. The Gees brought it back to a one point game, and Ravens called a timeout with 4:48 left before half-time.

“I just try to play my role and do what I do best… When I start to score my teammates feed off my energy,” Otoo said. Again, the game turned into exactly what you’d expect, a physical back and forth matchup.

Connor Vreeken and Warnholtz went to work, building a 48-39 point lead for Carleton.

The U of O struggled to close the gap as nothing seemed to fall their way: unlucky bounces off the rim, a lack of offensive rebounds, and an unfortunate Grant Shephard block. The Gees were down 42-50 with ten more minutes to work with.

Because the fourth quarter always has to be outrageously exciting, Vreeken hit a shot from the three-point line, and a group of Gee-Gees in Stajic, Otoo, Newton and Guillaume Pepin followed suit.

jic hammering another three-pointer. Unfortunately, the Gees were struggling to finish from inside the arch, and it was costing them possessions.

On the other hand, everything seemed to be falling for the Ravens. The Gees took a timeout with 67-61 on the scoreboard.

Coming out of the timeout, you might expect some magic to happen. Instead, we saw the Gee-Gees miss five shots without a single Carleton defensive rebound. Otoo put up the final attempt before clock winded down, the buzzer went, and the Carleton section

snuck in the paint to meet a perfect pass from Josh Inkumsah.

Carleton struggled to get past the big men wearing garnet and grey, until veteran point

another three ball over their heads.

By the end of the quarter, the Gees had earned themselves a 1713 lead.

In the second, Carleton took complete

Of course, the Gee-Gees and Ravens love drama; and closed out the quarter at 32-31 in favour of the Gees.

For the most part, the third quarter belonged to the Ravens.

Within minutes, the Gees were back in the game.

57-54 for the Ravens. 5:41 to go.

The U of O attempted to chip away at the Carleton lead, Sta-

erupted in celebration.

Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin spoke about the Gees shooting.

“My philosophy is that if you’re open and your feet are set then

thefulcrum.ca SPORTS
Jasmine McKnight Guillaume Pepin lays the ball in. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum.

those are the shots you have to take no matter what, but I think what gets lost in the sauce a little bit is that we’re also not converting from two,” Derouin said.

The finished the game with 22-73 on field goal attempts and 10-36 on three-point attempts.

With the 67-61 Gee-Gees loss, both them and the Ravens move to

14-4, matching Lakehead and Brock from the OUA Central.

The OUA is absolutely wild right now, with various teams still within reach of the top spot.

Gees outmatched in Capital Hoops Classic

Carleton earned a 10 game win streak by defeating the U of O

TD Place played host to the second-ranked Carleton Ravens and the eighth-ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees for the sixteenth iteration of Capital Hoops.

For the second game in a row, the Gees were without star Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu, who averages 16 points per game.

The game started as a track meet, with the tempo being set at a high pace early. Natsuki

Szczokin opened the scoring with a three. Those would be her first of eight points in the opening frame.

Later in the quarter, the Ravens’ smothering defence helped Carleton overtake the Gees’ early lead, putting them up 15-11 at the end of the first.

The Gees were

one for eight from beyond the arc in the first quarter, which stifled their overall scoring.

At the start of the second quarter, the Gees hit two straight threes out of the break, one from Nadine Katumbayi and the next from Oksana Gouchie-Provenche. The GeeGees hit one more three, forcing the Carleton coach to call a timeout.

It was evident the Ravens’ full-court press was causing trouble for the Gees guards, forcing multiple possessions where Gees could not set their offence, let alone get a clean shot off.

Meanwhile, the Ravens were heating up on offence as they went up 28-20. Katumbayi would end the scoring drought with another three.

But Carleton still took the lead at half by a score of 34-25. The Gees shot only 26.7% from the field; however, shooting 57.1% from three kept

them in the game. The real difference was rebounding, though. The Gees allowed

The Gees have four games left on the regular season schedule and they have the opportunity to knock down Queen’s on Sunday.

The U of O and Carleton will meet again

on Feb. 15 at Ravens Nest to finish up the regular season.

ten offensive rebounds in the first half alone, which afforded the Ravens many second-chance points.

Starting off the second half, Katumbayi

hit another triple. Bringing her total three-pointers hit to three on the evening.

During the third,

down 32-47 late in the third quarter.

The Gees did outscore the Ravens 20-

Kali Pocrnic took a crazy heat check from far beyond the arc, prompting the Gee-Gees to talk it over. It was not looking good, with the U of O

19 in the quarter, which meant they went into the last quarter down 45-53. The fourth quarter was a battle all the way through. Dorcas Buisa was draped all over Szczokin for the duration of the quarter. Szczokin managed to find a way to get free and sink a three to bring the Gees within three part way through.

Carleton’s Jacqueline Urban fouled out down the stretch with two and a half minutes remaining.

After an unsportsmanlike foul from Carleton, Nadine shot two free throws, bringing the deficit to six once more. But that’s as close as the Gee-Gees would get as Ravens went on to take it 66-60 after a hard-fought game from both teams.

Brandon Adibe Natsuki Szczokin drives into the paint. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum. Carleton Women’s Basketball win their tenth Capital Hoops. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum.


Williams: The problem with basic instinct


For a long time, scientists have looked at incredible animal behaviours, like spiders spinning a web, a mother lifting a car to save her child, dogs herding sheep, etc., and used the term instinct as something that an animal seems to do without being taught — something it just knows. It comes up in nature documentaries, textbooks, and even in some of my biology classes, but how does instinct actually work? Is it genetic or learned? And how can anything just know something from birth?

One American researcher from the University of Iowa can’t stand the term, and essentially finds it an insult to science. Mark Blumberg dislikes the use of this word so much he wrote a book about it, titled Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior. Thanks to Blumberg, I now have a deeper understanding of the longstanding, heated disagreement over the concept, and if you stick around long enough, maybe you will too.

The herding instinct

Let’s begin with Katy (a Bordie-collie mix), who has a peculiar habit of nipping at the heels and rumps of Blumberg’s other canine family members (two bichons). She’s also been caught stalking and chasing the others. According to Blumberg, these behaviours broadly fall under the herding category and serve as the jumping-off point and an interesting line of thinking that suggests this behaviour stems from a long

lineage of previous hunting and herding dogs and wolves.

As it turns out, determining what an instinct is and where it comes from is proving to be difficult considering the amount of literature that uses misleading definitions.

Now consider author Vergil Holland of Herding Dogs: Progressive Training. He says, “Herding instinct refers to the desire of the dog to do something with the stock,” and that “natural ability is an extension of instinct.” However, Blumberg argues that this definition leaves unclear the precise relationship between natural ability and trainability, since a dog’s herding ability can just as easily be shaped by the handler (trainer) and the dog’s willingness to be trained.

Along the same vein is Farmer’s Dog by John Holmes, which details his belief that the herding instinct is unrelated to intelligence, and that “what intelligence the dog has may be completely over-ruled by an abnormally strong instinct.” He even goes as far as to explain that the situation of a dog stubbornly insisting on performing a behaviour is the result of “the instinct [telling] it to do so.”

In some herding dog clubs, there exists an official “herding instinct certified” designation, which involves a series of tests relating to the dog’s approach to herding, their eye or concentration level, bark, power, grouping strategy, etc. Interestingly, recognized herding experts state that a dog who tests well may prove to be a poor herder and vice ver-



According to Blumberg, the herding instinct is not a stable canine characteristic — and I have to agree. Thus raising the question of what the herding tests actually reveal about individual dogs. Given the uncertainty, is it possible that instinct is just a shorthand to skirt complex issues? If so, no phrase, no matter how convenient, should be allowed to distract us from the complexity of the behaviour it denotes.

If the herding instinct truly is more complex than we think, it’s important to satisfy the numerous components of herding behaviour that, evidently, some breeds exhibit readily and others do not. Perhaps we can turn to Raymon Coppinger and Richard Scheider, dog behavioural researchers, to accurately describe the connection between genetics and genealogy, and to help us understand the developmental origins of instincts.

They’ve been quoted to have used the following metaphor: “one might imagine an inherited tape-recording with all the canine motor patterns

programmed on that tape: search, locomote, attach and suck would be on the early portion of that tape, while submission and food begging are part of the juvenile section, followed by eye, stalk, chase, grab.”

Again, this raises questions about whether or not behaviour is genetically programmed, and if breed-specific dog behaviours are truly akin to playing a tape.

Let’s take a look at one final book, The Animal Mind by James and Carol Gould. The authors describe innate behaviour as being based on inborn neural circuits. “These circuits are responsible for data processing, decision making, and orchestrating responses in the absence of previous experience. The knowledge encoded by this genetically specified writing is commonly called instinct.”

Similarly, cognition can be “an innate — passive knowledge encoded in an animal’s genes and used as instructions for wiring a nervous system to generate particular inborn abilities and specialization.”

But isn’t that just a little bit boring?

“Behaviours are inborn, programmed in the genes, prewired…preordained.”

Snore! I mean, where’s the developmental biology perspective in all this? Turns out, a group of scientists about 50 years ago already had this entire conversation, and basically landed on the concept of epigenesis to help tie everything together in a nice, tidy bow.

What is epigenesis or epigenetics?

Much like basic instinct, it’s a bit complicated, and the definition changes depending on who you ask — Nessa Carey, in a YouTube video from the Royal Institution, brings up some interesting examples of epigenetic phenomena, such as the case of inbred mice. If you were to inbreed mice (inbreed to the point of having the same genome) and keep them under identical laboratory conditions interestingly, you’d find that the mice are not identical. They will vary in things like body weight.

And if you consider us humans, we all start from one cell and end up as roughly 50 trillion cells. What’s fascinat-

8 thefulcrum.ca
Emma Williams Elephant goes to school Kai Holub/Fulcrum.

ing about all these cells is that genetically, they’re not all that different from one another (with the exception of a small percentage — there are always exceptions in biology). So, our cells have exactly the same DNA code, yet skin cells are different from liver cells and brain cells are different from muscle

cells. Going back to Blumberg, he describes epigenesis as the view “that anatomical, physiological, and behavioural features arise developmentally from the continuous and inextricable interrelations between genes and the environment in which genes are


COVID-19 managed to complicate (ruin) a lot of things for students not only education-wise, but also in the fun events department. With the University of Ottawa returning with in-person activities, Hack the Hill event coordinators saw an opportunity to revive an experience described as “a right of passage for engineering students.” Said right of passage offers students a

According to Wikipedia, the name is a combination of “hack” and “marathon”; however, in our case, “hack” can be interpreted as “exploratory programming,” which somehow still manages to sound like hacking. Nonetheless, it’s a challenge-based competition centred around a project that needs to be completed by the end of the 36-hour period. In addition, there are typically networking opportunities, workshops to build new skills, social activities, and

embedded. It does not merely entail both nature and nurture are important but rather that the dichotomy itself is meaningless, tantamount to arguing about whether hurricanes are more wind than water.”

(A really satisfying collection of definitions comes from a

number of scientists in an interview series by Science Magazine.)

But, if genes can be influenced by their environment, what does this say about basic instinct?

According to Blumberg, all experiences, starting from the chemical environment of the first embryonic cell to the so-

cial environment in which the organism develops and lives, are essential for the journey from fertilized egg to fully-realized organism. Perhaps basic instinct is too simplistic after all, and to view the natural world through the lens of design would be a disservice to biological complexity.

of events known as the “hacker series,” which had the goal of generating interest in the hackathon itself but also acting as an opportunity for students to network and learn about different areas of computer science and computer engineering, all in preparation for the main event, which is set to take place between March third and fifth.

“[Hack the Hill] is hosted by two schools, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. Meaning, we’re a citywide hackathon, since the City of Ottawa has a really big population of students interested in these kinds of events. We really loved the idea of bringing all students from the Ottawa region together for this event,” added De Silva.

What to expect at a Hack the Hill?

basis instead of of a formal interview style,” added Saleh.

On the main “hacking” event, Chen said, “It’s very similar to a traditional hackathon, where it’s a 36-hour event where people create a project from scratch and by the end of the 36 hours, they will pitch their project to a panel of judges. Based off the judging from all of the projects, winners will be selected for each of the categories that we have.”

hackathon experience, the Fulcrum asked the event organizers to draw upon their own previous hackathon experiences.

For Li, “it was more than just coding. It was also [about] meeting new friends, hackers, and people who have similar interests. Being able to socialize and network with [everyone] was a huge advantage back when I attended my first hackathon.”

chance to network, build new skills, and meet new friends, all while being a little (incredibly) sleep deprived.

The Fulcrum spoke with event directors Ming Ye Chen, Steven Li, Disala De Silva and Pavly Saleh to discuss what students should expect at this year’s much anticipated Hackathon.

What is a Hackathon?

Contrary to what the name implies, there’s actually very little hacking involved in a Hackathon.


The kicker is at the end when teams are awarded prizes following the 36-hour time frame.

Hack the Hill organizers were keen to keep the prizes a secret, keeping us in suspense a little longer.

What is Hack the Hill?

De Silva explained that Hack the Hill has big plans to expand the boundaries of what a traditional hackathon entails. Part of that plan involved hosting a series

In terms of the actual weekend-long event, Saleh elaborated on what students can expect, “we plan to have the typical workshops which introduce coding and the basics to beginners, but also specialized ones, which include hardware. We want there to be social events as well like game nights where students can network with each other.”

“We’re also hosting a career fair that spans two days where our sponsors are going to be able to network with the participants and connect with them on a more informal

The three categories include web development, hardware, and game development. Hackers will be able to select one of these categories and compete within it for a prize. Judges won’t be as focused on how technical the project is, but rather on the creativity behind the idea being implemented with technology. Treat this as a learning experience which welcomes all skill levels.

The packing list

Much like summer camp, there’s the all-important packing list, which according to Li and Saleh, will be sent out via email to all hackathon attendees. When asked for a short version of the list, notably the word “deodorant” came first, quickly followed by, “basic toiletries, change of clothes, and a sleeping bag.”

The experience

In order to paint a better picture of the

Chen added, “A memory I [will always] have is about project submission, where there is often a set deadline to submit and we’ll all be scrambling to the last minute. Within that period, it’s very stressful and looking back once we’ve submitted, we realized the humour in how everything plays out in such a short time.”

For more information on Hack the Hill visit their website here.

Emma Williams Hack the Hill Logo Anjaliya Sonnilal/Provided.



Even if you delete TikTok from your phone, you won’t be able to escape the model of content that TikTok has ushered into the entertainment world. The short 15-second to three-minute videos are mind-numbingly addictive, and can now be found on other social media platforms through Instagram’s reels and Youtube’s shorts features.

This type of content will glue you to your phone for hours on end, capitalizing off short attention spans. TikTok’s algorithm personalizes your feed so that the content you see is directly related to your own interests, as identified by the app. It doesn’t require you to seek out your own interests — the app’s advanced algorithms finds it for you.

Nevertheless, the popularity of this content style isn’t surprising given its profitable model for both social media companies and entertainment services. By keeping

content short and sweet, advertisement companies are able to promote more products with higher levels of engagement than they were previously.

But what does this mean about the way we engage with the world around us?

Initially, I thought the criticism of social media platforms like TikTok was just a moral panic — not unlike previous generations’ criticism of television for supposedly damaging human brains. However, TikTok content is unlike any other media because of how fast the content is produced, personalized, and viewed by users.

What’s the point of watching a politician’s entire speech when TikTok offers a short clip that slices it into 10-second fragments over a funny sound?

Likewise, instead of watching a 30-minute T.V. show, it’s more entertaining to watch 30 one-minute clips on Instagram reels, where we know each video will be aligned to our specific interests, due to the algo-

rithm. As we deviate towards quick and easily consumable content, our experience of the world seems to become a bunch of fragments which are absent of any nuance. We search for entertainment that immediately entertains us, and we begin valuing the quantity of content over its quality. And with our constant engagement with the algorithm, we let ourselves consume only what we think is comfortable. We essentially lose the ability to engage with content

Having children is not a woman’s moral imperative


When J.D Vance labelled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other democrat politicians as “childless cat ladies,” I was reminded of how terrified I was of the negative connotations associated with being unmarried and childless.

Vance’s description reminded me that having children has never just been a personal


which we might not particularly like; content which often widens our perspective of the world. When our minds are accustomed to engaging with short content, it becomes difficult to remain interested in longform media like books, journals, or even movies. This long-form media often elaborates on subject matter and gives consumers the space to think more critically about what they are consuming. There is a peace of mind that comes with slowing down our media consumption.

Although platforms like TikTok can be used for social good because of their ability to transmit messages quickly, we need to be careful about how much we use it and how it defines our worldly perspective. If we only see the world through short bites of content in algorithms that only confirm what we already know, we can lose our ability to critically think and see the world how it really is.

decision — it’s a political one, too. Being child-free comes with stigma and shame, weaponized because it challenges the notion that a woman’s role inherently involves child-rearing.

Like many women, having children seemed like something that would naturally happen in my life, rather than it being a choice I would eventually make. However, as I got older, I began to have conversations with

other millennial and Gen Z women — many of whom shared the sentiment that they had no desire to become mothers. It eventually hit me: I had a choice of whether or not to pursue motherhood. There are hidden social pressures which made me forget that having children was not my moral imperative. As work and education opportunities continue to become increasingly available for women,

much of the world is starting to recognize that women have much to offer outside of the domestic sphere. Fertility rates are declining, and more women are choosing not to have children. And while some traditionalists may fear these trends as a reflection of the breakdown of the nuclear family, this points to the increased freedom of choice for many women worldwide. People frequently claim that we have

achieved gender equality in countries, granting women formal access to legal and political freedoms. However, we forget that most oppressive systems don’t go away — they persist through oppressive social norms and unpaid labour.

Parenthood is oftentimes more stressful for women, as they tend to take on more chores than their partners in heterosexual couples, even when both partners par-

10 thefulcrum.ca
Grace Kim-Shin Grace Kim-Shin Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash.

ticipate in the workforce. Furthermore, women also take on more cognitive labour; that is, they are expected to do more planning, managing emotional conflicts, and caring for their children than their male partners. This type of labour is diffi-

cult to measure because it is psychological in nature. Nevertheless, the negative impact on women is clear, as mothers typically end up more stressed than fathers during childcare. Considering how women might have to make disproportionate

sacrifices for both their children and partner, is it really fair to shame women for opting out of motherhood? Not just that, but not all women naturally want children. We stigmatize menopause and those who are unable to conceive because we reduce

GRWM to unpack the obsession with GRWM videos


“Hey guys, get ready with me while I update you on my life!”

Does that line sound vaguely familiar to you? If you’re on TikTok, there’s a strong chance that it does.

These stem from a growing genre aptly named “Get Ready With Me” (GRWM). Popularized from the beauty community and skincare side of the app, GRWM’s show an influencer going through their daily skincare, makeup, or morning routine while they talk about themselves. This is often done while showcasing some of their favourite or newly bought products, which they use throughout the video.

If you search GRWM on TikTok, you will find millions of these videos, with some of them receiving millions of likes. However, these videos seem so mundane — so why are they popular?

The first piece of understanding this trend

is to note that this is not a new thing. There has always been some version of an influencer filming themselves and taking viewers through their day. This became really popular on YouTube during the early 2010’s. Vlogging and story time YouTubers seemed to grow hand in hand, with influencers like Tana Mongeau, Gabbie Hanna, and others at the forefront of the trend. Videos about daily makeup routines, de-cluttering, and just general life vlogs began to flood the YouTube recommended page. Another important aspect of these videos came from the rapid growth of the online beauty community — this introduced a consumeristic appeal. Massive “haul” videos and reviews became popular, leading to the growth of beauty influencers like James Charles. These influencers would review makeup on a consistent basis, leading to huge amounts of inventory, which they would eventually use for other types of content (often de-cluttering and best or worst

a woman’s contribution to the world with an argument of biological essentialism — that our natural and moral purpose is to reproduce.

While raising a family can be fulfilling to many people, women can seek fulfillment from their work, their communities, and generally a life that doesn’t include children. For many women, deciding to be childfree means prioritizing their happiness and well-being before sacrificing themselves to the hardships of parenthood. The idea that a woman’s happiness ultimately lies in having children implies that we are naturally inclined to find joy in taking care of others. Although this can be true for some,

it is also untrue for others, and these social norms often restrict our freedoms. Instead of shaming women for choosing to be childfree, why don’t we redirect our energy into making parenthood a more fair experience for everyone? Men need to reconsider their learned roles in the domestic sphere, and as a society, we need to continue addressing the psychological and physical needs of mothers everywhere. So whether or not you want children of your own, let’s stop dictating when a woman should have children, or whether she even should in the first place.

product videos).

This trend eventually made its way to Instagram, where short-form versions of these videos flourished, indicating that there is a demand for short-form vlogs. Shortly after, TikTok came along; the peak of short-form video content. Although dances, thirst traps, and other trends ruled the platform initially — GRWM’s eventually came to claim their own little corner.

GRWM’s are an interesting mesh of both the short-form content and product reviews that were so popular on Youtube. Instead of watching a 10-minute video of someone reviewing makeup while updating on their life, it can be done in one minute. You can get the punchy stories of Karens taking over the workplace while also getting advice on what eye cream you need to get rid of your under-eye circles. What more do you need when you’re scrolling?

There is also a parasocial relationship created with these TikTok

influencers. Unlike celebrities, these influences could be your friend; thus, there is an idea that viewers can trust what they say — especially if these influencers overshare some of their life details.

During COVID-19, there was a boom in e-commerce. Everyone was buying online, and the skincare and haircare industries benefitted greatly from this. This focus on the beauty world combined with everyone’s desire to improve skin health led to a sudden rise of skincare content on TikTok. And these skincare videos presented themselves in the form of GRWM videos.

So what does this mean for the future of GRWM videos?

Right now, we’re seeing a trend on de-influencing — pushing back against the consumerist interest in these videos. Despite this, I don’t think these videos will be going anywhere anytime soon. For one reason or another, we are drawn to these influencers. We want to learn more about them, what they do, and how they look the way they do. Add to this our collective fascination with getting the newest thing, and you have a trend that will outlast whatever platform it finds itself on next.

Siena Domaradzki-Kim Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash. Image: Amy Shamblen/Unsplash.


Di’s Heartbreak playlist

Tunes to cry to

This can be a hard time of year to be single. Whether or not the wounds of a breakup are fresh, heartbreak tends to flare up for lots of us around Valentine’s Day.

If you are in need of a playlist to weep to, I humbly suggest that you consider these 25 songs (in no particular order) to get your heartbreak playlist started:

1. Not Around — Ritt Momney

2. Jealous — Labrinth

3. Two Slow Dancers — Mitski

4. man — quinnie

5. The Night We Met — Lord Huron

6. Love is a Game — Adele

7. Love is a Losing Game — Amy Winehouse

8. Shampoo Bottles — Peach Pit

9. Chelsea Hotel #2 — Leonard Cohen

10. Only Ones Who Know — Arctic Monkeys

11. I’ll Haunt You — Tennis

12. baddreams — boylife

13. Cry Me a River — Dinah Washington

14. Liability — Lorde

15. Someone You Loved — Lewis Capaldi

16. fragment — sadeyes

17. cellophane — FKA twigs

18. It’s Over — Cat Burns

19. Dancing on My Own — Karen Elson

20. Broken-Hearted Girl — Beyoncé

21. Lonely — Noah Cyrus

22. Scott Street — Phoebe Bridgers

23. Learning to Live Without You — Hajaj

24. Lose You to Love me — Selena Gomez

25. I Don’t Wanna be Okay Without You — Charlie Burg

Having good background music is an essential part of processing a breakup. If none of these suggestions suit your tastes, I wish you luck on your independent search for sad music.

For further reading, the Fulcrum has lots of articles with some great insights on the aftermath of breakups, from the positives of being broken up with to my own advice about maintaining friendships with exes

12 thefulcrum.ca
Graphic Designer Kai Holub multimedia@thefulcrum.ca



President & Continuity Rep

Kalki Nagaratnam

Vice-President & Staff Rep

Brendan Keane

Chair & Community Rep

Sam Coulavin


The Fulcrum would like to thank

Sydney Grenier

Erin Peter

Siena Domaradzki-Kim

for their contributions to this issue.



Jasmine McKnight

Hailey Otten editor@thefulcrum.ca


Sanjida Rashid



Kai Holub



Bardia Boomer photographer@thefulcrum.ca


Claire Liu

Student Rep

Amit Shanbhoug

Fulcrum Alumnus

Emma Godmere

Staff Rep

Keelan Buck

Community Rep

Mark Asfar

Student Rep

Erik Chin

Executive Director

Ludvica Boota


Noah Bailey social@thefulcrum.ca


Desirée Nikfardjam news.editor@thefulcrum.ca


Victoria Drybrough arts@thefulcrum.ca


Brandon Adibe



Emma Williams



Bridget Coady features@thefulcrum.ca


Matthew McConkey opinions@thefulcrum.ca


Grace Kim-Shin staff.writer@thefulcrum.ca


Yannick Mutombo associate.news@thefulcrum.ca