Sports: With help from the Sooners, the Big 12 is making a case for being the best basketball conference this season. (Page 4) The University of Oklahoma’s independent student voice since 1916
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$49.4 million cut from budget Cuts to state budget cause concern for future of universities in Okla. EMMA SULLIVAN, Campus Reporter
While Gov. Mary Fallin’s new state budget proposal includes tax cuts for citizens, it deals a hefty blow to higher education in the state. The new proposal would reduce Oklahoma’s top individual income tax rate by .25 percent but this also means a decrease in appropriations to a number of state agencies, according to the proposal. For higher education in Oklahoma, this means a loss of $49.4 million in appropriations, the largest for any area of government, according to the proposal.
“... it will make it more and more difficult to maintain the quality of the university without impacting costs for students and their families.”
impacting costs for students and their families,” Boren said in an email. This budget has only been proposed, and it is still possible for changes to be made in the coming weeks. “We will work very hard with the legislature to modify the proposal,” Boren said. OU PRESIDENT DAVID BOREN Boren said he hopes the available funds will increase after In fiscal year 2014, the state appropriations were the State Board of Equalization meets Feb. 18. If the amount $988,549,007. The proposal indicates an almost 5 percent increases, Boren plans to work with Fallin and the legislature to allocate those funds to higher education. decrease in funds, to $939,121,557, in fiscal year 2015. These cuts would have a significant impact on all public universities, OU President David Boren said. “Having to absorb roughly $12 million more in cuts and Emma Sullivan, email@example.com uncompensated fixed costs, it will make it more and more difficult to maintain the quality of the university without
Sooners endure freezing weather Disappointed students proceed with caution to regularly scheduled classes MATT WOODS, Campus Reporter, @matopher
TONY RAGLE/THE DAILY
Pre-occupational senior Morgan Mason hops over a puddle on the way to class Tuesday afternoon. Students all over campus made their way through slushy snow and chilly temperatures after receiving an email that classes were not cancelled for the day.
fter Sunday’s snowfall, the chances of ice and snow remain minimal until Thursday or Friday, dashing some students’ hopes of a break from class. Forecasts indicate very cold air and up to an inch of possible snowfall on Thursday with some trace accumulation predicted for Friday, said John Pike, National Weather Service employee. “Thursday and Friday are going to be the times roads get kind of slick,” Pike said. Toward the week’s end, forecasts predict frigid nights ahead with temperatures dipping into the single digits and only warming to highs around freezing by Saturday, Pike said. Although OU’s Norman campus delayed opening until 10:30 a.m. Monday morning because of icy weather, students resumed classes on Tuesday without incident, trudging across the South Oval while braving near-freezing SEE SNOW PAGE 2
‘Serious’ game serves as education tool
Students seek reform at OU
OU communications instructor develops games that teach lessons SHAIDA TABRIZI, Campus Reporter, @ShaidaBee
Serious video games may seem like an oxymoron, but for OU’s Norah Dunbar they’re anything but contradictory. Dunbar, a professor in the department of communications, has spent the last few years working with a team to develop the “serious” games “MACBETH” and “MACBETH 2,” which have nothing to do with a murderous king in Scotland. MACBETH, which stands for Mitigating Analyst Cognitive Bias by Eliminating Task Heuristics, was designed as a training tool that reduces cognitive biases in the player, Dunbar said. The game tests for confirmation bias, fundamental attribution error, bias blind spot, anchoring bias, projection bias and representativeness bias, she said. The game has been successful not only in effectively teaching the player a lesson, but also in making sure the lesson is remembered, she said. Because of its educational nature, MACBETH is categorized as a serious game vs. an entertainment game, like Grand Theft Auto. Think of it as a really fun sort of homework, Dunbar said. SEE TECHNOLOGY PAGE 2
Students discuss change of policies AMBER FRIEND Campus Reporter @amberthefriend
Tuesday afternoons, Gregg Garn, dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and David Ray, dean of the Honors College, hold a unique reading group. Unlike most of the Honors College informal reading groups, this group is headed by two university deans and gathers a mix of students from the College of Education and Honors Colleges to study books that delve into the center of educational systems. Intrigued by the conversations arising in these groups, the two deans collaborated to create the Educational Innovation
L&A: Sooners gather to gaze at the cosmos Wednesdays, courtesy of OU Astronomy. (Page 5)
Society, or EIS, a more selective group dedicated to exploring ideas to improve education. In spring 2013, while Ray and Garn were searching for a way to expand the intellectual discussions about education prompted in their reading groups, David Postic, first year law graduate student, offered them a proposition along similar lines: a student-based think tank for education reform. “The idea behind it is that once we, as students, go out into the world, education will affect us all in some way … and a major university needs to be teaching everyone about education and about all the side effects of education,” Postic said. Thinking the idea would resonate well with the eduCALEB SMUTZER/THE DAILY cation and honors students Dean Gregg Garn discusses a text with his and Dean David Ray’s they were searching for, the reading group Tuesday evening. This reading group is the third group SEE NEW IDEAS PAGE 2
that Garn and Ray have run together, and these groups are part of what inspired the Education Innovation Society.
Opinion: Paperless tickets might be a good thing, but we would still like the option for paper ones. (Page 3)
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Technology: Game reduces confirmation bias in players by 21 percent Continued from page 1 The game has been successful competitively as well. It won the 2013 Best Serious Game in the business category as well as the 2013 Best Game Special Emphasis Adaptive Force Award, judged by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, at the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge out of over 50 submitted serious games by commercial businesses, Dunbar said. The game has also helped change biases about biases. There were some who told Dunbar her game wouldn’t work because biases are a part of human nature and therefore impossible to undo. MACBETH proved them wrong, reducing confirmation bias alone by 21 percent, Dunbar said. Her team has published two papers already and was just accepted for a presentation at the Persuasive Technology Conference in Italy, Dunbar said. T h e f i r s t i t e ra t i o n o f MACBETH was funded by
a $10.7 million grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity with the goal of mitigating biases in intelligence analysts, according to Daily archives. The team began work on the second version of MACBETH on another contract with the agency. But funding for that project was cut as a part of federal budget sequestration, Dunbar said. By the time those cuts were made, the team was about 90 percent done with the project, Dunbar said. Developers completed the project with funding from the OU office of the Vice President for Research as part of their Defense, Security and Intelligence, or DSI, Research Program. Though words like “defense” and “security” might seem to suggest a narrow field of research in the fields of science and engineering to a covert group of researchers with high security clearances, DSI includes a broad range of projects from energy generation to human behavior, according to the
Caleb Smutzer/The Daily
Norah Dunbar, communications professor, poses for a photo at her desk Tuesday afternoon in the Two Partner’s Place. Dunbar recently finished work on her video game, Macbeth, with funding from the U.S. Military.
office’s website. Robert Palmer, associate vice president for research, commented on the variety within fields of research at OU, including Dunbar’s
MACBETH. “She’s doing some really interesting things along the lines of DSI, especially on the intelligence side,” said Palmer.
Losing government funding has one benefit : the rights to market the game in fields other than intelligence, Dunbar said. Kelvin Droegemeier, vice
president for research, said the office of the vice president for research is now looking for more ways to support Dunbar’s work. Since MACBETH did so well in reducing confirmation bias, Dunbar thinks the training would help doctors avoid biases that overlook symptoms that don’t fit into a patient’s existing diagnosis. It would just take a small tweak in the game script, perhaps putting the player in an epidemic instead of espionage scenario. The bias training in MACBETH is also related to Dunbar’s work in developing training for deception detection. Its focus is teaching people to use correct cues instead of relying on biases or myths, Dunbar said. People in fields like law enforcement, intelligence and the military are hungry for proper training, Dunbar said. Teaching it in a game gives you a lot of cool things you can’t do in a workshop or an instructional video. Shaida Tabrizi email@example.com
snow: OU maintains New ideas: Selective commitee makes change regular precedure on Continued from page 1 bleak, slushy Tuesday Continued from page 1 temperatures and wind chills. “I was hoping for a call [to cancel classes], but it didn’t happen,” University College freshman Rachel Newsom said. Marked by wind outdoors and slushy halls indoors, Newsom described her freezing walk from Couch Center to class in Nielsen Hall as miserable. After a weekend relaxing in bed, Newsom was disappointed when she learned class wasn’t canceled Tuesday morning. “I’m hoping we’ll get a snow day — at least one,” Newsom said. Despite grumbling from many students grappling with the shiver-inducing elements, Tripp Lopez, entrepreneurship and film production senior, said he wasn’t especially disappointed by Tuesday’s normal class schedule since he could attend two of his favorite classes. “I was kind of anticipating [the weather]. It’s really not that bad. I don’t mind,” Lopez said. Lopez took advantage of the weekend snowfall to jump into a snowball fight with academic leadership organization Loveworks, playing with middle-schoolers and getting pelted by snowballs in the name of community bonding. “I was glad I had classes today, but at the same time, I love snow,” Lopez said. Matt Woods, firstname.lastname@example.org
deans used the idea to found the Educational Innovation Society. The society is made up of 12 selected student fellows from either the College of Education or the Honors College, all of which received a $500 scholarship from the selection committee, according to the organization’s flier. Ray and Garn are also highly involved. The society is focused on discussing educational reform primarily at OU. “[We wanted to] get students in the College of Education and the Honors College together to get a really rich mix of ideas about how we can make education better,” Garn said. The society collected applications until mid-September. Along with a teacher recommendation letter and general information, the application asked students to explain what educational aspects they wanted to change at the university and discuss during meetings, said Wes Herron, petroleum engineering junior and society member. Herron wanted to modify the university’s math programs to incorporate more relevant ideas that would carry on to later classes. T h e s o c i e t y m e e t s at 10:00 a.m the first Friday of each month in Oklahoma Memorial Union’s Heritage Room to have brunch and
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discuss ideas, according to the flier. After brunch, students present their topics of interest and the group begins, Herron said. At the most recent meeting, the discussion was so engaging that the group actually stayed an hour past their scheduled time, Garn and Ray said. So far, the Educational
Innovation Society has discussed topics such as psychology research, sexual harassment and technology on campus, Herron said. Garn said his two main goals for the group are collaboration between different kinds of people who care about education and empowering students to realize they can improve the education system.
Ray’s goal is similar: to get motivated students to inspire unmotivated students to impact the education system. “ We’ve g o t a l o t o f hard-working kids, and I think their example may be the thing that lights the fuse,” he said. Amber Friend email@example.com
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Local coffee shops for global change Norman coffee shops make sacrifices to make life better for all citizens of the world Matt Woods •
From the beginning, activism and artisan coffee went hand-in-hand for Mariposa Coffee Roastery. Since 2009, the coffee shop has turned loving coffee into loving others, donating proceeds from their fledgling coffee venture to several causes, including Haiti earthquake relief and anti-human trafficking initiatives. Then in 2012, as Amyie Kao watched her husband, Daniel Kao, tinker underneath their kitchen sink to finely tune their brewing water, a stray question percolated in her mind, irreversibly changing the coming months for Mariposa: Do coffee growers have access to clean water too? The married roastery co-founders assumed that coffee plantation laborers in Africa, who consistently win awards for the beans they harvest, have access to drinkable water. But what if they didn’t? Driven by social justice and a growing realization of the world water crisis, the Kaos shifted their business’ eager philanthropic strategy toward relationship-focused partnerships to transform communities. Today, Mariposa seeks to connect Norman locals to important issues through passion-infused coffee and give life to world-changing ideas by starting conversations. “We don’t have all the answers,” Amyie Kao said. “We have a strong conviction about water.” To answer her nagging, sink-side question, Amyie Kao started digging into research about the world water crisis and found an
overlap between maps of economic water scarcity and coffee growing regions. She reached out to Water4, a clean water organization in Oklahoma City, to find answers. Water4 relayed the disappointing situation of a community in the Nyaruguru district of Rwanda, known for receiving the Cup of Excellence award that has been described by Amyie Kao as “the Olympics of coffee.” Not only did coffee laborers there, who pick miles of coffee for a half-dollar, lack access to drinkable water, but those same workers also might not survive until their hand-picked, artisan beans are brewed in the U.S., Amyie Kao said. In light of the stark reality faced by water-deprived villages, the Kaos felt compostable to-go cups and tinkering under the sink didn’t seem to do enough to genuinely value the sweating, dying Rwandans picking coffee over 8,000 miles away. Partnering with Water4, Mariposa’s new mission was to construct a high-altitude well for three water-deprived villages in Nyaruguru. But for a mom-and-pop craft coffee business, roasting beans with a makeshift setup assembled from a barbecue grill and a rotisserie kit and using YouTube directions only a few dozen months before, the well’s $3,500 price tag posed no small barrier. After roasting with Mariposa for a year, anthropology senior Connor Garbe can testify to the Kao’s commitment to the well project and their own mission statement: giving back to communities. “It’s cool too, because they’re so small,” Garbe said. “Because it’s a small, local
Chris Michie/The daily
Second Wind offers students and other patrons a place to study, converse and relax. Second Wind is a not for profit coffee house located on campus corner.
business, sometimes it hurts, and they take a hit to give, but they do it.” Despite challenges, the roastery raised enough cash to complete the Rwandan well by Sept. 2013. When TEDxOU rolled around last month, Amyie Kao took center stage to spread awareness about the world water crisis and, hopefully, plant seeds for tomorrow’s powerful ideas. “I think the more you talk about [social justice issues] — somebody out there is going to do something huge,” Amyie Kao said. “There’s only so much we can do. Maybe some student has a world-changing idea that’s waiting to be brought into the light.” Community coffee shops act as incubators for great ideas and often as platforms for independent art and havens for big-thinking conversations, Garbe said.
OTHER SHOPS GIVE BACK When he isn’t in school or roasting at Mariposa, Garbe serves as a barista in a Norman coffeehouse, Gray Owl at 223 E. Gray St., where local artists display their work in a fundamentally different venue from the professional galleries across the block. In Garbe’s two years behind the counter, he’s witnessed many students come in marked by a curiosity and passion to change the world.
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Paperless is the golden ticket Our View: The Oklahoma Board of Regents has
approved a plan to look into paperless tickets for sporting events, and we think that’s great as long as we still have the option of printing or picking up our paper tickets.
When it comes to receiving and using tickets at sporting events, OU students have it pretty easy. We have a print-at-home option for all men’s basketball games and all football games, other than the Red River Rivalry and bowl games. Unlike other universities (we’re looking at you, Texas A&M), you will never see lines of OU fans camping outside the stadium to pick up their tickets. So when we saw that the Oklahoma Board of Regents apThe Our View proved a plan to explore a paperis the majority less ticket option at OU, we were opinion of a bit surprised. Sure, it would be The Daily’s eight-member neat to be able to whip out our editorial board smartphones to be scanned at the stadium or arena instead of carrying around pieces of paper, but it shouldn’t become the only way to obtain tickets. Sooners have already proved it doesn’t have to be that difficult to distribute student tickets for sporting events. As such, we believe there is no reason not to offer yet another convenient option to OU fans — as long as we can still pick up our pretty hard copies when we want. Some devoted fans make a point of picking up hard copies of every single football ticket, making elaborate scrapbooks or wall decorations out of those little rectangles of paper. We wouldn’t want to take away that opportunity from our crafty Sooners. We all know what happens when you try to mess too much with Oklahoma tradition — just look at the apocalyptic reactions to the new, goldtrimmed uniforms our football players wore in last season’s Red River Rivalry game.
Chris James/The Daily
The Sooner offense lines up against the Longhorns on Oct. 12 when Texas hosted the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Oklahoma Board of Regents recently approved a plan to explore a paperless ticket option for sporting events at OU.
However, if paperless ticketing became our only option, it would be quite difficult to resell student tickets. Under our current system, it is wonderfully easy to sell student football tickets to others, including non-students. We would be disappointed if paperless tickets mean that we can no longer sell tickets to our non-OU friends to show them what a real football school looks like. That being said, paperless tickets would be an environmentally responsible option for the more tech-savvy OU fans among us. Although our diehard Sooner grandmas might not take advantage of a paperless ticket option, we sure would appreciate not having to deal with the hassle of printing out tickets before the games.
Not only would paperless tickets save us on printing costs, but it would also be a logical technological step for OU. Our university prides itself on its abundance of technology, including multiple Apple Distinguished Program Awards. We all know that our phones are basically attached to our bodies, so we’re a lot less likely to forget our sacred iPhones than a nondescript piece of paper. We support paperless ticketing as long as it is just another option and not the only way to obtain passage to OU sporting events.
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OU helps make Big 12 nation best
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ig 12 play is halfway over for the Sooners, and a few upsets have made the conference one of the toughest in the nation. Oklahoma was projected to finish fifth in the league, tied with Kansas State and behind Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State. But through nine games, OU sits in third, behind Kansas and Texas. The Sooners and Longhorns have helped make the Big 12 one of the most competitive leagues, challenging the Big Ten and ACC for basketball supremacy. Entering conference play, it was clear that the Big 12 would be a hard league for any team to get out of unbeaten, even for favorites Kansas and Oklahoma State. In out-of-conference play, Big 12 teams are 102-26, the best in college basketball. But the leagueâ€™s depth has been on display since Big 12 play began in early January. Teams projected to finish lower in the standings have catapulted themselves to the top, with unexpected wins against favored opponents. OU was able to pick up wins against Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma State. All teams projected to finish ahead of the Sooners. Texas has done some work of its own, winning its last six conference games â€” including wins against Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor â€” after losing its first two. Even West Virginia, projected to finish seventh, has
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Forward sophomore Ryan Spangler scores in last monthâ€™s game against OSU. The menâ€™s basketball team is scheduled to play West Virginia tonight.
won some key games and now sits in fifth. Outside of Kansas, the Big 12 has given way to Texas and Oklahoma. Baylor is the only team this season to have truly fallen off the wagon. Both Iowa State and Kansas State are just a game behind OU in the standings, and OSU has time to make a late run. The Sooners have put themselves in good position heading into the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, but with the conference as strong as it is, OU canâ€™t coast into the postseason. While some of the early favorites have struggled â€” they still have the skill to win on any given night â€” as shown by Iowa State in its rematch win over the Sooners in Ames on Saturday. OU still has home matchups against Kansas State and Baylor that will be crucial in the final standings, despite those teams not having as much success.
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Oklahoma could potentially win the conference by winning out, but it still has two tough road games against wild crowds at Kansas and Oklahoma State, as well as a home matchup against the scorching Longhorns. But in this conference, no win is guaranteed. ESPN Bracketology has six Big 12 teams making the
NCAA tournament. By the end of the month, the Sooners could find themselves back near their projected standing. But for now, theyâ€™ve put themselves in position to compete with the nationâ€™s best. Ryan Gerbosi is a journalism senior.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- You should involve yourself in physical activities that will help you get into shape. You will also find time to catch up on overdue correspondence.
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PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) -- Improve your surroundings. Invest in items that will add to your comfort. Use your skills to gain respect and recognition. Invest in yourself in order to excel. ARIES (March 21-April 19) -- You can outtalk and outsmart anyone who challenges you. Present your ideas and concerns before you agree to take on a job or responsibility. Get whatever agreement you make in writing. TAURUS (April 20-May 20) -- Your best efforts will be appreciated and lead to greater opportunity. Follow the direction that is best suited to your talents and skills. Keep your private affairs to yourself. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) -- Rise to the occasion. Put your energy to good use. Take the extra step if it will help you finish what you start. Your versatility and quick action will attract an interesting someone. CANCER (June 21-July 22) -- Confusion or uncertainty must not be what stands between you and a decision
that can alter your future. Evaluate your position and make a move. Avoid excessive individuals. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) -- Get ready for action and take on responsibility. Your leadership ability may be challenged, but in the end you will come out on top. Show enthusiasm if you want to attract attention. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) -- Deal with personal business that has the potential to influence your financial future. An older friend or relative is likely to challenge one of your decisions. Patience will be required. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) -- Travel for business or pleasure will lead to information and the ability to make a good decision. Donâ€™t share the information that you discover until you feel you are in a strong position. SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) -- Do whatever it takes to secure money matters and pending legal affairs. Lending or borrowing will lead to trust issues. Listen carefully to whatâ€™s being offered and respond accordingly. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) -- Mix business with pleasure, network, share ideas and -most of all -- build good relationships. An adventure or business trip will grab your attention and offer new possibilities. Jump into action. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) -- Get down to business and smooth out any wrinkles in a presentation you want to make. Attention to detail will make the difference between success and failure. Avoid joint ventures.
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ACROSS 1 Syllables sung while skipping 6 Like the dry season 10 Tailorâ€™s meeting place? 14 Hulk of pro wrestling 15 Comedian Carvey 16 One-time Canadian major leaguer 17 Any obsolete item 20 Wax-winged flier of myth 21 Against the rules 22 Address for a gentlewoman 25 Ernest, in â€œFrom Here to Eternityâ€? 26 Road Runnerâ€™s remark 30 Aid a felon 32 Bug 35 Feeling of hatred 41 It may be opened at a party 43 Surpassed 44 Make more efficient 45 Word with â€œheavenâ€? 47 Winter hazard 48 Book with legends 53 Upper-story room 56 â€œBorn Freeâ€? beast
58 Portion of a mountain range 63 Hit film of 1985 66 Russian range or river 67 Reference books? 68 Hindu attire 69 Man or boy 70 It may lead to a conclusion 71 Cast off from the body DOWN 1 Bangkok citizen 2 Campus mil. grp. 3 Turkish honorific 4 Secluded habitat 5 Per ___ (yearly) 6 Fuss 7 U.K. mil. branch 8 By deadline 9 Willie Wonkaâ€™s creator 10 Art photo shade 11 Right on the money 12 Orbital extreme 13 It may be below a crest 18 Org. founded by Juliette Gordon Low 19 Diminutive seasonal helper
23 Statistics and such 24 Inactive 26 Type of lettuce 27 A great lake 28 Flubs 29 Brad of Hollywood 31 Like a Granny Smith apple 33 â€œLa,â€? at La Scala 34 Tallies 36 Prefix with â€œclassicâ€? or â€œnatalâ€? 37 Stoic and alcohol endings 38 Certainly not nice 39 â€œRender therefore ___ Caesar ...â€? 40 Hobo concoction 42 Golf stroke 46 Resurrection Day
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Talks inspire thought at OU Assistant L&A Editor
majors, people with a good sense of humor. This talk is not for: Frat stars.
David Ray speak will not be surprised in the least that his talk was by far the most interesting and relatable of all the talks I saw. His straightforward, no bullshit attitude towards life and education especially was refreshing and hilarious. He made no attempt to hide his worry about America’s current education system, yet was by far the most eloquent of the speakers. I think Ray’s talk is most easily summed up by this quote, “Everyone in the nation must work harder, students must work harder, read more.” This talk is for: Anyone attending a university or concerned about education. This talk is not for : Nihilists.
2. Mathew Burch: This was my second favorite talk for many reasons. Burch started Urban Agrarian, a Luke Reynolds local food retailer and firstname.lastname@example.org utor that is focused on environmental sustainability and went to the TEDxOU putting good things into your event last Friday, body instead of processed Jan. 31 in Meacham foods. Burch is ambitious auditorium, and for the and passionate and gave a most part, it was everyvery interesting speech highthing it’s chalked up to be. lighting details of local food From the moment you distribution while making it receive your nametag to relatable to everyone. the moment the handThis talk is for: some barista pours you a Environmental sustainability delicious cup of (FREE!) majors, people with gardens. Mariposa coffee, you This talk is not for: People know you’re going to have who own slaughterhouses. a pleasant time. The event is divid3. David Ray: Anyone Luke Reynolds is a ed up into four different who has heard honors Dean University College freshman. sections with four speakers in each section, and although I was only able to stay until after lunch and listen to eight speakers, I still feel that I received the full effect of the program. There were three specific talks that stood out to me. I have to preface this and say that all of the talks were incredible— these bennett hall/the daily three just really drove the Students Josiah Irvin, Emily Warner, Taylor Gronlund and Annie nail home:
Sarah Pitts/The Daily
A student adjusts a small telescope on the roof of the OU observatory Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Star Parties bring cosmos to students Sooners gather to gaze at stars Sarah Pitts L&A Reporter @s_spitts
Every Wednesday night, students climb the black exterior staircase of the observatory building towards a white dome and carefully positioned telescopes to gaze at stars, planets and galaxies with guidance from enthusiastic OU Star Party hosts. On Jan. 29, the OU Star Party witnessed the recent supernova and many students attended to witness the explosion. The only way students can get to the roof of the observatory building is to climb the staircase on the west side of the observatory building, which is visible from Asp. “When you look through a telescope, you see those things with your own eyes,” said OU Star Party host and graduate student Jeremy Lusk. “Photons of light from a distant star travel across billions of miles of empty space, filter down through the atmosphere of Earth, bounce around a few mirrors in the telescope and end their journey at the back of your eyeball.” Lusk is currently a graduate student in the physics and astronomy department. On the week of Jan. 22, a white dwarf star exploded in the M82 galaxy about 12 million light years away, which is fairly close in cosmic terms according to Lusk. The white dwarf explosion is unique because the star exploded due to pushing beyond its mass limit. “Pack on enough mass and boom — the entire white dwarf explodes, outshining the billions of stars that make up its host galaxy,” said Lusk. The explosion will be visible for two to three weeks, said physics and astronomy graduate student Malia Jenks. However, the week of Jan. 29 was the only time the OU telescope would be able to capture the supernova. A typical night at the OU Star Party could include observing planets, binary stars and galaxies. “We try to aim our telescopes at the most impressive objects visible — clusters of stars so dense it looks like someone spilled salt on the night sky, giant planets like Jupiter and their attendant moons, immense clouds of dust and gas like the Orion nebula, and faint, distant galaxies like M82 and Andromeda,” Lusk said. Some classes even offer extra credit for attending the OU Star Party, said Grant Martin, sophomore accounting major. Martin attended the star party to get extra credit for his life and the universe class.
When you look through a telescope, you see those things with your own eyes.” Jeremy lusk, graduate student
How e ve r, a f te r att e n d ing the star party he said he would want to go back again. “Every Wednesday, you get the chance to observe something different, and often times, you might find that you want to go just because what’s on the schedule at the observatory’s website has a cool name, and you’re curious to see what it might look like, so
each and every time will be a different experience,” Martin said. The meeting times change throughout the year and there may be cancellations due to weathe r, b u t a l l i n f o r mat i o n can be found on the club website at obser vator y. ou.edu/Welcome.html or by following their Twitter @ OUStarParty, Lusk said. “There are lots of individuals who have never looked through a telescope before — who have never seen some of the awe-inspiring things that are hanging above our heads every night,” Lusk said. “Getting to show people those wondrous sights and hearing their reactions is extremely gratifying.” Sarah Pitts email@example.com
1. Philip Dow: Dow was the first talk of the event and needless to say, his lecture assured me that I was making the right move to be sitting in Meachum instead of in class that Friday. His talk covered life and discussed how humans are not all that different from the binary code used in computing. He gave just the right amount of philosophy with enough humor to keep you smiling. This talk is for: Computer science
Delsignore discuss their reactions to the presentations of TEDxOU’s session one talks.
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• Wednesday, February 5, 2014
the Chance to Nominate an OU Professor, Staff Member or Student for a $20,000 prize! All undergraduate, graduate and professional students as well as full-time faculty and staff members on OU’s Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa campuses are eligible to be nominated for the $20,000 Otis Sullivant Award. Only members of the OU community are eligible to be considered for the prize. The award is funded by a $500,000 endowment established by Edith Kinney Gaylord of Oklahoma City shortly before her death in 2001. It is named in honor of the late Otis Sullivant, the chief political writer for the Daily Oklahoman who for 40 years was one of the state’s most influential journalists. Nominees should exhibit intuitiveness, instant comprehension and empathy, be observant and interpret from their experience. The benefit to society and the broader community, which comes from the nominee’s insight, also will be considered. Nominees for the Sullivant Award may be made by calling Sherry Evans at the President’s Office at 325-3916, writing to her at the Office of the President, 660 Parrington Oval, Room 110, Norman, OK 73019-3073, or by picking up forms at the President’s Office. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo
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Published on Feb 5, 2014