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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Dems challenge redistricting case By Rachel Fettig The Daily Cardinal
Grace Liu/Cardinal file photo
Gov. Scott Walker opponents rally at Capitol Square Nov. 19 to support the recall drive organized by United Wisconsin.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced Monday it will intervene in a Republican lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to require recall elections for members of the state legislature to be held under new districts. Every 10 years, the state redraws Wisconsin legislative and congressional maps to account for population changes according to the census. The Republican-controlled legislature passed the redistricting law over the summer, but some argue the new district lines unfairly favor Republican senators by making districts less competitive. “It is interesting to me that the new lines have drawn Fort Atkinson out of Scott Fitzgerald’s district,” said Lori Compas, treasurer of the Committee to Recall Scott Fitzgerald. “I happen to live in Fort Atkinson, and I am the one who initiated the recall effort against Scott Fitzgerald.” The Government Accountability Board, the state agency that oversees elections,
decided the new districts would not apply to elections until November 2012. Therefore, any potential recall election that would take place before the date would be conducted via the old districts. A Republican group represented by Michael Best & Friedrich filed a lawsuit Nov. 21 arguing the new districts are constitutional. Michael Best & Friedrich is representing two claims—one
The Daily Cardinal
Un i t e d Wi s c o n s i n announced Monday they have collected over 300,000 signatures after two weeks of circulating petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker. “This is an amazing accomplishment, and we need you to keep this grassroots movement going—we have a long way to go before Walker is out of office,” United Wisconsin said in an e-mail to supporters.
“The collection pace will slow as it expands to more disparate areas and groups of voters and [as] the weather becomes less pleasant.” Barry Burden professor Department of Political Science
Petitioners will prompt a recall election if they gather more than 540,208 signatures, 25 percent of the number of voters in the 2010 gubernatorial election, by Jan. 17.
Political science professor Barry Burden said it is easiest to get signatures at the beginning of the drive because the “most eager signers will quickly add their names.” “The collection pace will slow as it expands to more disparate areas and groups of voters and [as] the weather becomes less pleasant,” Burden said in an e-mail. But United Wisconsin spokesperson Erik Kirkstein said they believe they can get at least 600,000 to 700,000 signatures. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, a similar petition drive in Ohio this spring, which prompted a referendum vote on their own collective bargaining legislation, gained around 215,000 in the first month, a number that United Wisconsin has far surpassed in two weeks. Some Republicans say they believe organizers will collect enough votes to hold the recall but are confident Walker would win a general election.
recall page 3
lawsuit page 3 Republicans are challenging a decision that recall elections occuring before November 2012 would be conducted in old districts. There are currently four Republican senators who could face recall elections.
Graphic by natasha soglin
300k sign to recall Walker By Mckenna Kohlenberg
that argues the new redistricting plan is “constitutionally valid” and another challenging the GAB decision that a potential recall election would be conducted in the old districts “superseded” by the new law, according to Eric McLeod, an attorney for the firm. The law firm had given the state legislature legal advice when
The Onion holds contest at UW
Mark Kauzlarich/the daily cardinal
ASM Legislative Affairs Chair Hannah Somers said UW System students will choose three topics to lobby this spring.
Students to lobby at Capitol The student government Legislative Affairs Committee discussed student issues Monday they would like to present at a UW System student “lobby day” at the Capitol. Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Chair Hannah Somers said the United Council of UW Students will select three issues to discuss with legislators this spring at the lobby day. One issue the committee decided to present to the council would ask the state to refrain from punishing
individuals who seek medical attention because of illegal actions, such as an underage student who goes to the hospital after drinking too much. “I think that there are a lot of arguments we could make, and I think we could probably convince a couple people to at least introduce a bill,” committee member Sam Seering said. “It would definitely catch people’s attention.” Committee members also said it was important to address
lobby page 3
UW-Madison students have the opportunity to win a dinner with the editor in chief of The Onion by submitting stories to a writing contest hosted by the popular satire newspaper, which was founded by two UW-Madison alumni. Students can submit stories through Wednesday at 4 p.m., of which three will be selected as winners to have dinner with current Editor in Chief Joe Garden and former Editor in Chief Carol Kolb Monday, Dec. 5. Contestants can e-mail stories, which must be 300 words or less, to DLS@union.wisc.edu with “Onion Contest Submission” in the subject line. Following the dinner, Garden and Kolb will give a free lecture called “An Evening with The Onion” in the Memorial Union Theater at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Distinguished Lecture Series. UW-Madison students, faculty, staff and Union members with a valid university or Wisconsin Union ID can receive tickets for the lecture at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box. Remaining tickets will be made available to the public Thursday.
“…the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”
page two I might be becoming a creeper tODAY: mostly cloudy hi 37º / lo 24º
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
wednesDAY: sunny hi 43º / lo 30º
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For the record A story Monday mistakenly said women in Wisconsin can obtain “webcam abortions” in Wisconsin but currently they cannot.
Elliot Ignasiak ignastrodamous
f there is one thing you don’t want to be in college it’s a creeper. I can’t think of any other word that is so stigmatizing for a male. Self-absorbed, nerdy, vane, boring, disrespectful, neurotic, immature; these are all labels one can recover from. But once you are a “creeper,” you are damned. Your chances of getting a girl here in Madison are no better than those of the homeless man outside of Walgreens selling all of his copies of Street Pulse magazine. I’ve been called all of the above adjectives before, yet it has never been a significant hindrance to my dating life. However, I’ve never dated a girl who thought I was creepy, which is why I’m worried that some of my recent behavior is bordering on creeper status. Of course, it’s not. I can see how my behavior could be construed as such, but really I’m no creeper. The normal creeper is pathetic, needy and oblivious to signs of disinterest from women. They lack the selfawareness needed to realize maybe she’s not returning my calls or texts because… well,
maybe she doesn’t like me. But me, I’m too cool to be creepy. I’m just persistent. Sure, she hasn’t returned my last three calls and takes over a day to politely respond to texts. But unlike the normal creeper who barrages girls with three unreturned phone calls and five texts in a 24-hour period, I like to spread it out over the course of a month or two—making it seem like I lead a busy, decadent life with no hints of creeperism. Such a technique greatly reduces one’s chances of seeming needy or creepy. However, if used improperly, this technique may just unnecessarily prolong the period of optimistic yet lonely solitude awaiting a romance that will never be. Thanks to my last girlfriend I’ve learned that sometimes it pays to be persistent. When we first met she said she would never date someone like me. Fast forward three months later: We were a full-blown couple complete with annoying public displays of affection and names for future children. My experience has taught me that sometimes if a girl doesn’t return your calls or texts, she might just be really busy with work and school, struggling to end a past relationship, or just so enthralled in writing love poems about your shapely legs
that she forgot to pay her phone bill. All of these are extremely realistic possibilities and in no way mean she is disinterested. I think other creepers lack this astute awareness of the female psyche which I possess.
Persistence worked last time, but what if this time it’s just creepy?
Although, I suppose it’s also possible that the trait I posses more so than the average creeper goes by a different name—delusion. This thought is bothersome, but how can one really know if he is a creeper? Persistence worked last time, but what if this time it’s just creepy? Every time I start to get discouraged I have to remind myself, (whether they know it or not) girls like persistence bordering on creepiness. How else would one explain the Police’s stalker anthem “Every Breath You Take” becoming a staple at weddings? If
John Cusack can win the girl by waking her up early in the morning with a boom box blaring a shitty Peter Gabriel song, I think there is a little more leeway before I become a fullblown creeper. Regardless of whether or not I’m a creeper, I cannot take full responsibility for my behavior with the ladies. The problem is that girls today encourage creepiness because they are terrible at giving forthright rejections. Long gone are the days of drinks to the face, menacing brothers with shotguns or even just “sorry, not interested.” All of this has been replaced with Facebook posts reading “Yeah Tim, we totally should hang out… but I’m like so busy right now… so why don’t we just make some really vague plans for the extremely distant future. In the mean time you can keep commenting on how hot I look in my pictures.” Me? I need a harsh rejection because any type of response that doesn’t explicitly state “please never contact me again” will be turned into a confession of love by my delusions of grandeur. So please, if my persistence is annoying just tell me to fuck off. Otherwise be forewarned—I’m just going to keep on creepin’ on. Unsure of whether you’re a creeper, delusional or somewhere in between? Expound your concerns to Elliot at email@example.com.
Donning my Christmas sweater early this year Rebecca Alt cntrl+alt+delete
will admit that I am a tad off my rocker when it comes to the holiday season. I start jammin’ to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Legends album way before I’ve indulged in four different pies, turkey, stuffing and an abundance of potatoes on turkey day ( ’round abouts Sept. 16 to be exact). Insane? Maybe. But for me, nothing can cheer me up like hearing Frank sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as I huff and puff my way up Bascom. However, I simply do not understand why I have to save all of the other absolutely magnificent aspects of Christmas for Dec. 1. Costco and Target sure as hell didn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to put out giant Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman figurines for your front yard. (In fact, Costco unleashed their Christmas décor in September and Target followed suit in October. And yes, I did meander through their Christmas aisles immediately after spotting the dazzling lights.) Each time I overhear someone bitch about some festive chum hanging up Christmas lights and an innocent little wreath before Thanksgiving, I swear a knife pierces my heart. Rather than openly bemoan their cynical disposition, I mutter “Scrooge” under my breath and remind myself that they will most cer-
tainly be getting coal in their stocking this year. In light of the month of November ending and my intense desire to put on one of my (many) ugly Christmas sweaters and spread holiday cheer to all those I meet, I am now going to try to sway all of you Grinches into accepting— possibly even enjoying—my holly jolly spirit long before I carve my turkey.
Reasons not to wait until Dec. 1: Tempting Treats
Picture this: You’re walking up the stairwell to my apartment. The familiar scent of incense mixed with ganja and cigarette smoke is seeping out from under my neighbor’s door when suddenly, you catch a hint of a surprisingly delectable aroma. You open my door and BAM. I have a fresh batch of peanut butter blossoms and pumpkin gingerbread cookies cooling on the counter. Now tell me, are you really going to be upset if the date is Nov. 1 rather than Dec. 1 when I so graciously offer these scrumptious treats?
What if on top of tempting you with festive cookies, I decide to brew up some piping hot cups of hot cocoa, complete with five mini marshmallows and a hint of peppermint extract? Can you really resist the sweet smell of mint and chocolate, arguably one of the best flavor pairings ever concocted, simply because it’s
Nov. 9, not Dec. 9?
Rather than waste my scant funds on ceiling lights, why not plug in some magical red and white lights and light a few pumpkin-spice candles while we snuggle up with our cups of cocoa and cookies to watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part Two?” Not only will my apartment somehow manage to smell even better than it did before, but I’m telling you the ambience the lights create will literally (said in the voice of Chris Traeger in Parks & Rec) make my living room about as enchanted as Hogwarts. Now tell me Mr. Grinch, are you going to dispel this captivating scene by unplugging my lights and blowing out my candles because it’s Nov. 17?
But for me, nothing can cheer me up like hearing Frank sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as I huff and puff my way up Bascom. Festive Swag
And last (but certainly not least), will my wearing an absurdly oversized Christmas sweater with an enormous Christmas
tree complete with jingle bells, bows and shoulder pads really offend you if it’s Nov. 24 instead of Christmas Eve? What if I pair it with a foxy turtleneck adorned with wreaths, gold stars and Christmas trees? How about if I’m donning a Christmas brooch in the shape of a red bow on the collar and green jingle bell earrings? I promise to refrain from putting on the elf or Santa hat I own, but come on. You can’t tell me that won’t spur a little chuckle out of you, even if it’s followed by “you’ll be walking on the other side of the street today.” I promise to reserve my Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra jam sessions for my solitary walks to class. But damnit, ’tis the season to be jolly, and if I invite you over to split a bottle Cedar Creak Winery’s Christmas Wine with me, you best not reject me just because it ain’t Dec. 1. And if there happens to be a batch of peppermint fudge, you sure as shit better eat at least four pieces. Besides, I am dying to put my completely irrational and unnecessary purchases from Target to good use, namely my Christmas wine glasses, coffee mugs, Santa plates and cups, and assorted cookie cutters. So wipe that angry look off your face, put on a Christmas vest and have yourself a merry fuckin’ little Christmas. Interested in splitting a bottle of Christmas wine and donning an ugly Christmas vest with Rebecca to celebrate this holiday season? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and bring a batch of peppermint bark while you’re at it.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3
Brief courthouse lockdown follows threat Authorities locked down the Dane County Courthouse Monday after an alarming text message
suggested a woman was being held at gunpoint within the building. The Dane County
Courtesy of Wisconsin Court System
The Dane County Courthouse was put on lockdown Monday after a woman within the building received a threatening text.
Communications Center was first notified of the situation around noon. “An alarm inside the courthouse was activated and Dane County Bailiffs, whom are all sworn Sheriff’s deputies, responded immediately,” Elise Schaffer, spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement. “The exterior doors of the courthouse were secured and a courthouse-wide lockdown was instituted.” It was later determined that the husband of the person who received the message had sent her a photo of him holding a gun to his own head. He was not in the courthouse, but at his home in Madison. Madison Police were sent to the residence and arrested the suspect, Schaffer said.
Woman allegedly stabbed man in chest Thanksgiving Day A man’s visit to the residence of a female acquaintance Thanksgiving afternoon ended abruptly after his host stabbed him multiple times with a knife. The 23-year-old woman gave the 57-year-old man
numerous non-life-threatening injuries, according to the police statement. The nature of the incident, which took place in an apartment on the 400 block of W. Johnson Street, is disputed. The Madison man claimed the
knife attack was unprovoked, while the woman told authorities she acted in self-defense. The man received several puncture wounds on his torso and numerous cuts to the face. The case is still under investigation.
recall from page 1
petitions began circulating. Burden also said he was unsure if Walker would survive a recall. “A lot depends on who his opponent is and how the state economy looks,” Burden said. The recall efforts also include Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican senators.
The Committee to Recall Scott Fitzgerald, which needs 16,7000 signatures to prompt a recall election, announced on Twitter Monday they have 5,350 signatures thus far. The groups organizing to recall the three other senators need to collect a comparable amount of signatures.
“The more time goes on, the more facts we have on our side … the lower the budget deficit gets and the more our reforms get a chance to work,” College Republicans Spokesperson Jeff Snow said at a rally held for Walker supporters the first day
Recall Gov. Scott Walker signatures
Graphic by natasha Soglin
lawsuit from page 1 creating the new district maps. “We are aligned in interest with the legislature, in that we are seeking decision from the court that the legislative map adopted by the legislature is valid,” McLeod said. But the DPW said they would intervene in the lawsuit
lobby from page 1 making higher education more accessible with legislators. The committee discussed advocating raising the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant, a publicly funded need-based aid program, as tuition increases. “It’s a more specific pro-
because they see it as an effort to stifle the recall drive of four Republican state senators. Groups file to intervene in legal cases if they argue the case affects their interests. If the court grants DPW the intervention, they would be permitted to defend their argument as a third-party in front of the court before they
make a decision. “Republicans are right to fear the democratic tool of recall. It shows their true conviction that … they would try to change the rules and engage in frivolous lawsuits that amount to little more than power grabs,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in a statement.
posal on a clear cut issue than the problem of college being unaffordable for a lot of people in Wisconsin,” committee member Beth Huang said. “It’s more solution-based rather than problem-based.” Also related to college affordability, the committee said students could ask leg-
islators to implement a statewide “work/study program” that would allow students who need financial aid access to work to help pay for college. Huang said she thinks the program would appeal to the conservative governor and members of the state legislature. —Anna Duffin
We’re sexy, and we know it.
Mark Kauzlarich/the daily cardinal
SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart said the Campus Services Process would ensure student services are provided in light of budget cuts.
Bylaw would alter funding of services By David Klein The Daily Cardinal
The Student Services Finance Committee approved a bylaw that would change how student services are funded Monday. The Campus Services Process, formerly the Campus Services Fund, would distribute contracts to student groups that would allow them to provide student services. The bylaw would allow student groups to “bid on” services to provide to students. Some SSFC members were concerned the bylaw would not allow groups receiving contracts to continue to be supported by the General Student Services Fund. “Fundamentally, student groups shouldn’t have to lose their GSSF status to become a part of this process,” said Rep. Tia Nowack. “I think the GSSF process right now is complicated enough.” SSFC members amended the Campus Services Process so providing services through the CSP would not harm groups’ funding eligibility.
SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart said the bylaw would ensure student services are still offered in light of budget cuts. “With the cuts the university is facing, this is one way we can ensure that services provided on this campus stay provided by this campus,” Neibart said. The legislation will now go through Student Council for final approval. Also at the meeting, SSFC approved the Wisconsin Student Lobby’s budget of over $44,000. SSFC members asked if the group was expecting to return a significant amount of its funding as it did last year. WSL Finance Director Brandon Williams estimated that most of the returns were from salaries. “The reduced staff we have in place now are more committed to their individual positions than before,” Williams said. SSFC gave the group less money than requested for advertising and salaried positions, despite the group lowering its total staff from eight to five members.
Gas station thief arrested at gunpoint Police arrested a man who robbed an East Washington Avenue gas station Monday afternoon, a Madison Police Department lieutenant reported. The suspect, 18-year-old John Hoffman, reportedly entered the East Washington Shell Station around 5:30 p.m., pointed a gun at an employee and “demanded all the money.” After receiving the cash, Hoffman fled toward the nearby Best Western hotel, where a Shell Station employee followed him and reported his description and whereabouts to the Madison Police Department.
An MPD officer, three deputies and an Oregon police officer “who just happened to be in the neighborhood” brought the suspect into custody at gunpoint without further incident. The officers recovered a loaded gun, along with the stolen money. Police charged Hoffman with armed robbery and seconddegree reckless endangerment. Three people were in the gas station when the incident occurred, and the area was “very busy” with vehicle and pedestrian traffic, according to a police statement from Lt. Mary Lou Ricksecker.
featuresscience Hiding in a UW basement, huge magnets 4
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
These are not the magnets your mom used to hang your homework on the refrigerator
By Lauren Michael The Daily cardinal
When wondering what goes on in the basement of UW-Madison’s science buildings, a few possibilities come to mind: Discarded lab gear? Experiments gone awry? A professors-only fight club? In the Biochemistry Addition building, what’s lurking down below turns out to be highly beneficial to research across the country and to the university’s research reputation. It also makes use of some of the largest magnets in the world. Most UW-Madison students are probably unaware of the multimillion-dollar resource housed in the lowest floors of Biochemistry. However, the National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM) is a vital component of local and national science. Data collected at NMRFAM has been used to understand molecules important to many biological processes and diseases. In 2008, the facility even helped to resolve a worldwide contamination of the blood anticoagulant, heparin, that affected nearly 1000 people in the United States alone, according to the Food and Drug Administration. NMRFAM was established at UW-Madison in 1985 and is fully
funded by a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. It now houses 11 machines used by researchers in 24 states and four other countries. More than 80 researchers on the UW-Madison campus alone have used the facility in the last year. The technique is known as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and requires extremely strong magnets. So how does it work? You’re probably familiar with magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, which is derived from NMR. Scientists and doctors just took the ‘nuclear’ out of the MRI title to avoid undo fears of nuclear radiation. Actually, neither technique uses radiation at all. Instead, NMR talks to the nuclei of atoms using radio waves. When molecules are placed in a strong magnetic field, each atom’s nucleus aligns with the magnetic field. When aligned nuclei are hit with a radio wave, they emit a new radio signal back. “It’s as if each atom in a molecule has become a unique radio station,” explains Dr. Larry Clos, II, research associate at NMRFAM. By listening to the radio stations broadcast by every atom, NMR scientists can determine details of molecular structure. For MRI scans, this informa-
Balloons, gravity and runaway helium By Lee Bishop the daily cardinal
Did you ever wonder what happens to helium-filled balloons when you let them go? Well, as they fly up into the sky the atmospheric pressure drops, so the balloons grow larger. Eventually they pop, releasing their helium and falling back to Earth. But what happens to all the helium? It keeps on rising and never stops! Helium atoms are so light that Earth’s gravity can’t hold them, so they float away into space. This is why earth, compared to the rest of the solar system, has a miniscule amount of helium. Helium is the second-most abundant element on Jupiter and Saturn—planets over 100 times as massive as Earth. In fact, they have enough mass that their gravity keeps the helium from being blown away by solar winds. But this creates quite a quandary when you want to open up the next helium balloon to breathe it in and make your voice sound funny. Isn’t that helium and laughter-filled exhale precious if the helium will float away never to return? As luck would have it, your own planet has solved this problem quite well.
Earth is a veritable helium factory, so exhale freely! If you paid attention in middle school science class you probably remember that matter can never be created or destroyed. So, you’re probably wondering how our own planet can produce helium atoms. Never fear, though. Earth is not violating the laws of nature. It is actually producing helium atoms as a by-product of the nuclear breakdown of radioactive uranium and thorium atoms that have been in the earth’s crust ever since its formation. When these unstable atoms decompose, they spit out tiny, fast-moving things called alpha particles. These speedy particles bounce around, heating up the Earth as they slow down. Eventually they grab electrons and become the helium atoms we know and love. These helium atoms collect in Earth’s crust and are pumped out of the ground with oil and natural gas. Remember this the next time you stroll down the street with a helium-filled balloon: Those are newborn helium atoms in your balloon, resting along their voyage from the centers of radioactive atoms, to pockets in Earth’s crust, to your balloon and finally off into outer space.
annie e/the daily cardinal
tion is used to construct an image of tissues and organs. However, the details of molecular structure revealed by NMR require much stronger magnets than those in MRI machines. Most MRI magnets are as strong 0.2 to 1.5 tesla—a tesla is a unit of magnetic strength named for scientist Nikola Tesla in the 1960s. The NMR magnets at NMRFAM are as strong as 21 tesla, equal to about 4200 refrigerator magnets or 680,000 times the magnetic field of earth. So how are such strong magnetic fields generated? Magnets in NMR machines are made of metals that become superconducting magnets when cooled to extremely low temperatures. A thermos-like design and cryogenic liquids keeps the temperature of each NMR magnet at only four degrees above absolute zero (that’s -452 degrees Fahrenheit). The machines at the UW-Madison facility, in combination with many smaller NMR machines scattered about UW science labs, have secured the university’s standing as an internationally ranked site for NMR resources and research. The facility certainly serves as a significant contributor to UW-Madison’s reputation as a major research university.
Multiple UW-Madison labs have built strong reputations for specializing in NMR methods. These labs draw significant funding, international collaborations and top scientific minds to the university. Perhaps best of all, NMRFAM’s reputation and its benefits to UW-Madison are achieved without any expense to the university itself. In fact, 40
percent of the grant that funds NMRFAM goes directly to university resources. The remaining funds and user fees cover personnel and operating costs. There are a variety of resources like NMRFAM concealed in the science buildings of the UW-Madison campus. Most students will never realize how much the quality of their degrees benefits from these facilities.
Photo courtesy Dr. Larry Clos, II
NMRFAM’s largest supermagnet machine, at 21 tesla, looks like a spaceship and can fill a two-story room.
UW computer models weather patterns By Aaron Schumacher the daily cardinal
If a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, will a hurricane destroy Florida? If a satellite sees clouds in Nevada, will it mean rain for crops or mud slides down mountains? Questions like these need a computer with real muscle, run by the best people, and that’s what UW-Madison now has. The S4 supercomputer built on campus this year is now fully operational and the most powerful resource of its kind at the university’s disposal. It’s working to fully incorporate data from satellites in models of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere—data that could help improve our understanding and forecasting of these complex systems. Just how powerful is the new supercomputer? Well, it’s gotten harder to make computer processors faster, so engineers are placing more than one computer brain or “core” on each chip. Even your iPhone has two cores that work together to send text messages as quickly as possible. A new iMac has four cores on its single chip, for blazing fast Facebook rendering. The processors in the new supercomputer at UW-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) each have 12 cores per chip, while a typical desktop has only one. There are four of these chips in each unit. Oh, and there are a whopping 64 of these units working together in the S4, keeping track of a multitude of data and grid points over the Earth’s surface. In terms of RAM, the working memory of any computer, the S4’s processing units alone have over 2,000
times what you’d find in an iMac. This speedy behemoth fills up five ceiling-high racks in the 1225 Dayton St. building. There are 26 more computers serving as the collective hard disk, providing a total of 456 terabytes in storage space. To fund the construction of the S4 supercomputer, the SSEC received a grant of $1 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier this year. This decision was made in favor of UW-Madison largely because computer engineers on campus have the special skills to create
such extreme computing systems. The S4 supercomputer project extends a collaboration between the NOAA and UW-Madison’s SSEC. NOAA researchers, including many at UW-Madison, use the supercomputer for important computationally complex tasks. The S4 supercomputer is a powerful new resource on campus. Its availability to researchers will help advance atmospheric and oceanic modeling techniques for national applications and will expand the capabilities of UW-Madison researchers working on many other projects.
Ask Mr. Scientist Dear Mr. Scientist, How is it that I can wear shorts when it is 65 degrees outside, but water that’s 65 degrees feels freezing cold? —Julian G. Everything including water, air and your skin, is made up of molecules that are always moving around, vibrating and bumping into things. Your skin is about 98 degrees, so skin molecules have more energy than air or water molecules that are only 65 degrees. When one of these colder molecules bumps into your skin, energy is transferred to the colder molecule causing your skin to be a little bit cooler and the material that touched you to be a little bit warmer. Since water is more dense than air, more water molecules continually bump into your skin, stealing more energy and making you feeling colder.
Dear Mr. Scientist, Is it true that no two snowflakes are exactly alike? —Nick M. All snowflakes start out in the clouds as simple hexagonal prisms. Once in a while, snowflakes reach the ground as this basic shape, so finding two identical snowflakes of this kind is possible. When snowflakes start to grow, however, they rapidly distinguish themselves from one another. It is estimated that a snowflake has over 10 quintillion water molecules that can be arranged in nearly an infinite number of ways. While some snowflakes may look similar, it is close to impossible for two snowflakes to be exactly the same. Mr. Scientist is Michael Leitch. If you have a question you want him to answer, e-mail it to science@ dailycardinal.com.
opinion New Internet bills punish everyone dailycardinal.com
Matt beaty opinion columnist
owever much it pains me to say it, I am too dependent on the Internet. I use Google and JSTOR to research papers and articles. When I miss my TV shows, I quickly rush online to see if Hulu has them. I use Facebook to keep in contact with my friend in the Army and my brother in Colorado. So when two current bills in Congress would allow the government to censor the Internet, I can’t help but feel like parts of my life, however small or large, are in jeopardy.
The way these bills are written makes it all too possible for the federal government to have draconian control over the Internet. The Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate are not new bills; they were introduced in October and May respectively. But they refuse to die in legisla-
tive spirit or in a sub-committee, though the Protect IP Act is currently on hold thanks to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Aimed at addressing illegal distribution of copyrighted material on the Internet, if passed, the bills would give the federal government the ability to apply Domain Name System blocking, or DNS blocking, to web sites. A site could be blocked for distributing copyrighted material or even linking to or mentioning sites that provide the illegal services, even if they are present without the site’s knowledge. I am not an online piracy advocate, and I believe the issue of online piracy should be addressed to protect artists and intellectual property rights. (In fact, with sites like Pandora and Spotify, I would argue that corporations and artists are working toward solutions that eliminate the desire to pirate music in the first place.) However, the way these bills are written makes it all too possible for the federal government to have draconian control over the Internet. These bills are similar to the way China controls its citizens’ Internet use. These bills do not only threaten sites that knowingly distribute illegal goods. The most objectionable provision of acts could shut down sites that
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Annie E and Dylan Moriarty/the daily cardinal
have too many links to illicit sites, whether those links were put up by the site owner or by visitors. This places an undue burden on site owners to check all of the links their users post.
The bills threaten to destroy the interconnectedness that defines the world wide web.
It also gives an opportunity for malicious acts, like spamming a forum or comment section with bad links. By setting up these strict conditions, the bills threaten to destroy the interconnectedness that defines the world wide web. SOPA is considered the worst of the bills because it allows the government to hold more sites
liable for infringements. For example, if Google or Yahoo workers fail to catch new pirating web sites more quickly than their search algorithms find them, the companies could be held responsible and punished. Who is to say how soon they must catch and delete these sites? What implications does this have for new sites that wish to spread the vast wealth of knowledge to the world? The answer is unclear, and that is perhaps the scariest part of the two bills. In all honesty, the government is just trying to do what it is allowed to do according to Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution by “securing for a limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” But in usual fashion, the government is overstepping its bounds. If it wishes to shut down piracy sites, it should do just that. It may be more time-consuming and complex, but it punishes the correct people. By going after search engines and social sites as well, it punishes everyone, even people who are not involved in any piracy at all. If anything good comes from the bills, it will be a call-to-arms for Internet users to become politically active. Most people would agree stealing is wrong, and if it becomes a widespread occurrence, there is nothing to expect besides a strong crackdown. When stealing becomes
too prevalent at convenience stores, store owners start locking up their valuable products. It is only reasonable for artists and distribution companies to ask the government to help them out. It may be time for people to (gasp) stop stealing off the Internet. If they don’t, either the government will crack down or companies will begin slowing down their production. Neither option is preferable.
If anything good comes from the bills, hopefully it will be a call-to-arms for Internet users to become politically active.
By going after not only piracy sites but those that happen to link to them, the government is attacking this issue in an overly punitive way. Internet users who have never pirated or have stopped pirating, can be punished for the actions of others. With strong corporate interest and bipartisan support, there is a good chance these bills will be passed in some form. We can only hope that some provisions change to protect copyrights, as well as all the progress Internet has made up to now. Matt Beaty is a junior majoring in mathematics and computer science. Please send all feedback to email@example.com.
Current anti-piracy bills Stop Online Piracy Act - H.R. 3216
Introduced by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. • • •
Gives the attorney general the ability to order sites to shut down if they have illegal content or links to illegally distributed copyrighted content Makes Internet sites responsible for content posted by users Increases penalties for Internet-related intellectual property infringements
Protect IP Act - S. 968
Introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. • • •
Currently on legislative hold by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Could force Internet providers, search engines and sites like Facebook to block sites that contain content that infringes on intellectual property Could require sites to take action before they are given a chance to appear in court
Sources: thomas.gov, opencongress.org
arts Occupy needs to change its tune 6
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Alex Seraphin song of the seraph
s Occupy Wall Street threatens to ignite a powerful left-leaning cultural movement in the United States, I have to wonder if music can play or should play an important role. American music and radical leftist politics share a long and fruitful history. No one may be more aware of this history than the union sympathizers so gallantly entrenched in the polite folk and gospel traditions that claim Pete Seeger and Josh White among their originators. Eight months after the budget repair bill passed, a core group of admirable loonies still gathers at the Capitol every day at noon to sing schmaltzy protest ballads like “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land Is Our Land.” Of course, these tunes have immense historical value. They have been with the American progressive movement through the Civil Rights era and conjure up memories of the all but forgotten glory of the New Left of the 1960s. Jesus Christ, I hate these tunes. I’m about the last person on earth who would be labeled antihistorical (history major and Hank Williams fan since 2008.) But have you heard these songs lately? What am I thinking? You live in Madison. Of course you have, and I am so sorry. Frankly, these songs aren’t very
good. Their tunes are leaden and hopelessly unfashionable. “We Shall Overcome” is a Civil Rights spiritual and stinks of white appropriation in the hands of anybody not dealing with an existentially threatening, socially repressive regime of terror. Get real, guys. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is tough, but it ain’t the Jim Crow South. Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Our Land” is about as hokey as it gets, and I cringe every time Tom Morello (The Nightwatchman, formerly of Rage Against the Machine) suggests that it must one day become our American national anthem. And let me tell you, I’ve seen a couple of his shows. The poor guy can’t shut up about the whole anthem swap nonsense. Not coincidentally, Morello exemplifies some of the worst aesthetic tendencies of the modern American left. A Marxist/Maoist, Morello seeks to emulate the union-song heroes. In recent years, he has taken to dressing like the “black Johnny Cash,” mistakenly associating the highly moralistic but apolitical Cash with his own antiquated communist ideology. He writes slogans like “Whatever It Takes” on his acoustic guitar in reference to Guthrie’s guitar-gracing trademark “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Most embarrassingly, he wears a cap inscribed with the logo of the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical trade unionist organization last politically relevant in the 1920s. I participated in the Capitol protests last spring. Though my engagement was limited to few hours a week, I had the pleasure
Mark kauzlarich/cardinal FILE PHOTO
Protesters at the state Capitol in spring of 2011 brought plenty of passion to the dome, but for a truly effective fusion of politics and music, progressive artists will need to step up their game. of viewing a number of inspiring scenes. I fondly remember the uncanny organization, the distribution of free food, and an awe-inspiring and deeply moving soprano saxophone solo from a Madison street musician. One day, a man was attempting to lead the musical celebrations that raged quite continuously in the central rotunda. He was overweight, dressed in an all black button-down and carryied a megaphone in one hand. He yelled, “This one is for all you Pete Seeger fans out there!” Never mind that most of the college-age kids present have never even heard of Pete Seeger. (He arranged the modern version of “We Shall Overcome” and might
have tried to cut the power on Bob Dylan when that shifty rapscallion went electric.) I’ll never forget his voice; it reminded me of one of those bad kiddo sitcoms my little cousin used to watch on the Disney Channel when I babysat. It occurred to me that this man, like Tom Morello, was playing dress-up. He had adopted the aesthetic but not the authenticity or the spirit. This man had seen the glorious protest tradition on some PBS special and was attempting to recreate it. The tendency to rely on its old aesthetics infects the modern left. This misguided hero worshipping nullifies the free thought and forward momentum that once made the progres-
sive movement so powerful. We live in a time quite different from the 1920s, 1960s or 1990s. When artists or activists neglect to honestly engage with our present situation, everyone loses. And while I would never suggest that we abandon our sense of history or tradition, I would feel justified in demanding that the Occupy movement and the artists that support it take a look around and acknowledge the truth of our situation in their music. No playing dress-up. We are faced with nothing short of reality, and the stakes have never been higher. Have questions or comments for Alex? E-mail them to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A side-by-side look at two prominent Oscar contenders Payne drama has a bid at Oscars
‘The Artist’ a film worth talking about
Filmmaker Alexander Payne has proven himself a seasoned veteran at tip toeing the line between comedy and tragedy. Whereas most Hollywood dramedies often fall victim to excessively syrupy third acts, Payne’s films—from the senior-citizen roadflick “About Schmidt” to the coming-ofmiddle-age tale “Sideways”—are as melancholy and telling of the human condition as they are bleakly hilarious. His newest, “The Descendants,” is yet another solid dramedy that will surely see its share of awards recognition come Oscar season. Adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings’ 2008 novel, “The Descendants” follows the life of Matt King (George Clooney) —a rich Hawaiian lawyer whose life has gone completely to pieces. His wife is in a coma due to a horrific jet skiing accident. As a result, both of his daughters are acting up in school and getting into all sorts of trouble. This turmoil is happening right as King is about to sell his family’s pristine Kauai’i acreage (an heirloom passed on through multiple generations of the King clan) to land developers. If you’re a Clooney fan, then “The Descendants” is a definite must-see. Payne has a penchant for bringing out the very best in his leading men (Jack Nicholson in “Schmidt,” Matthew Broderick in “Election”), and Clooney’s comic timing is flawless. While Clooney supplies many of the movie’s laughs with impeccable deadpan delivery, his character’s despair also radiates from the screen. King is a sharply realized personality defined by his nuance and human inconsistency; it’s a hell of a role that will very likely win the versatile Clooney his first ever Academy
Chances are, you’ve probably never seen anything quite like French director Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist.” That’s because it is a silent movie shot entirely in black and white. Yes, you read that correctly. The subtitled black-and-white film was released in 2011. Even the picture quality is grainy. Although its premise may seem a little off-putting to the average 21st-Century moviegoer, “The Artist” is actually a refreshing take on an antiquated mode of filmmaking. The titular artist is George Valentin (the dashing Jean Dujardin, in a role that won Best Actor at Cannes this year), a Hollywood golden boy who was at the top of his game during the Roaring Twenties. With the advent of the talkies, he is desperately struggling to come to terms with his rapidly fading stardom. Adding insult to injury, his young love interest Peppy Miller (the gorgeous Bérénice Bejo displaying an on-screen elegance that would have made Bette Davis envious) is meeting newfound success as a rising starlet. Hazanavicus’ work here is equal parts homage and parody. The admiration he has for the silent film era strongly resonates throughout the picture, and he embraces many of the format’s conventions. At the same time, however, the filmmaker is winking at the audience in regard to how ridiculous such clichés are. There’s plenty of cheesy romance, dance numbers, a cute little dog that’s always doing tricks and an obscene amount of camera mugging—what would a silent film be
Award for acting. As is the case with all of Payne’s work, the screenplay calls for a number of very colorful characters, each with their own fleshed-out idiosyncrasies. The supporting cast does an excellent job; of particular note is Shailene Woodley’s breakout part as Clooney’s trash-talking teen daughter. Woodley showcases some serious chops and there is no question that she has a bright future in Hollywood. The film also features juicy bit performances from veteran actor Robert Forster and former teen star Matthew Lillard. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Lillard can actually pull off a character that isn’t some derivative Shaggy (of the wretched “Scooby-Doo” film remakes). Unfortunately, a couple of significant faults prevent The Descendants from reaching the same level of quality as Payne’s previous efforts. While the film generally does a commendable job of handling the dramatic without venturing into mushy territory, there are some scenes towards the end that are overly emotional and annoyingly didactic. The movie’s most glaring drawback, however, comes from a conclusion that feels flown-in and predictable. If you’re expecting the Payne from “The Descendants” to be vintage, then you will likely be disappointed. The film is Payne’s most commercial, audience-friendly effort to date. Even though “The Descendants” isn’t perfect, the thoughtful screenplay and top-notch acting secure its standing as one of the best films of 2011. Grade: B+ Matt Honig/the daily cardinal
without that melodramatic hogging of the frame? It all adds up to a light-hearted, breezy film-going experience. A crowd pleaser through and through (there was a loud applause and even some frenzied cheering at the end credits), one can see why “The Artist” is receiving heaps of acclaim from cinephiles worldwide. But is it the masterpiece that so many critics are proclaiming? Absolutely not. Though the film is bristling with energy, at over 100 minutes it feels just a tad too long and dragged out. That being said, the sheer uniqueness of “The Artist” means that it will surely be eaten up by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when it’s time to roll out the red carpet. While there is no denying that Hazanavicius’ remarkable creative prowess is on display throughout the film, “The Artist” is, essentially, an unusually polished piece of fluff. Its fluffiness is not necessarily a negative. “The Artist” is light holiday film fare that the whole family can indulge in, but grandma and grandpa will likely enjoy it the most for it’s old-fashioned syle. If you’re in the mood for a lively, tinsel town throwback, then be sure to put this one at the top of your list. Grade: B matt honig /the daily cardinal
Keep reading The Daily Cardinal Arts page for more awesome coverage of Oscar contenders as the year comes to a close or check us out online at dailycardinal.com.
It says so on her birth certificate: Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 • 7
Realizing the Holiday Season is nigh
By Caitlin Kirihara email@example.com
© Puzzles by Pappocom
By Dylan Moriarty EatinCake@gmail.com
Solution, tips and computer program available at www.sudoku.com.
Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9.
By Steven Wishau firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s Crossword Puzzle
Answer key available at www.dailycardinal.com
REJECTED REMAKES ACROSS 1 Crime scene barrier 5 Reclusive Garbo 10 Partner of 6-Down 14 More than bad 15 A noble gas 16 Perform some pressing work? 17 Bad title choice for a Lucas remake? 20 Prefix for “season” or “tend” 21 Add to the pot 22 Used the phone 23 Castaway’s home 25 Mall unit 27 Patella’s joint 29 Bill with a pyramid 30 “Rumble in the Jungle” fighter 33 Military training group 36 Curl up with a good book 38 Sermon response 39 Bad title choice for a Sinise remake? 42 Algerian port 43 Not cluttered 44 Dump emanations 45 Plaything 46 Overhead trains 47 Pinch pennies 49 Mine entrances 51 Jimmy’s predecessor as president
5 Makes butter 5 58 Land on the Caspian 60 “Mamma ___!” (Broadway musical) 61 Bad title choice for an Anthony Quinn remake? 64 ___-ran (loser) 65 Sharp-eyed bird 66 Fairy-tale heavy 67 What a frightened horse may do 68 Fencing tools? 69 Office bigwig DOWN 1 Adagio, allegro, moderato, etc. 2 Says assuredly 3 Computer-screen dot 4 Bulldog booster 5 It’s big in Latin America 6 Go on and on 7 Borders 8 Rocky hill 9 Powerful snake 10 Annie Oakley’s firearm 11 Nutmeg skin 12 Cast a ballot 13 Geraint’s spouse 18 Type of meat or laughter 19 Cab charge 24 “Rubber Capital of the World”
26 Glass-clinkers’ proposals 28 Author Hemingway 30 Firing-range rounds 31 Lounge lizard’s look 32 Stopovers for the road-weary 33 Crotchety old-timer 34 Spherical hairstyle 35 Heavy, low cart 37 In-flight announcement 38 Calculating reptile? 40 New face on base 41 Recitation of prayers 46 Novelist Ferber 48 Some colorful marbles 49 Garden spot 50 Prolonged battle 52 Southwest sidekick 53 Whopper tellers 54 Hamlet and Ophelia, e.g. 55 Pre-Communist Russian ruler 56 Flag location, on a golf course 57 Heavenly bear 59 Get one’s goat 62 Prefix for “hazard” 63 Certain tennis shot
By Nick Kryshak email@example.com
Washington and the Bear
By Patrick Remington firstname.lastname@example.org
By Derek Sandberg email@example.com
Tuesday November 29, 2011 DailyCardinal.com/Sports
Badgers ready for title game rematch By Michael Tews The Daily Cardinal
After capturing the inaugural Leaders Division title Saturday, the Wisconsin football team (6-2 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) is preparing to take on rival Michigan State (7-1, 10-2) for the Big Ten Championship in a highly anticipated rematch. In the Badgers’ previous matchup against the Spartans, the Badgers’ aspirations for a national title run were essentially erased in a game filled with unforeseen calamities culminating with senior wide receiver Keith Nichol miraculously catching senior quarterback Kirk Cousin’s desperation heave for the game-winning touchdown. The juicy prospect of revenge has been making students salivate for this rematch, but revenge has not been emphasized in the locker room. “I haven’t really heard that out of my kids, and I get why people say that but I don’t think that’s existed,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “I don’t really get
Last time they met... Badger fans likely haven’t forgotten the last time Wisconsin and Michigan State faced each other. National Title hopes ruined Then-No. 4 Wisconsin was rolling at 6-0 and hoping for a shot at the title game before it went to Spartan Stadium and lost 37-31 to thenNo. 16 Michigan State on a last-second hail-mary pass.
into the revenge thing. I just don’t understand the point.” Instead, the Badgers are focused on winning a championship and establishing themselves as one of the flagship programs of the Big Ten next to Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. “When the whole conference realignments came in I knew they wanted to separate those four big boys just because of history, tradition and national titles,” Bielema said. “Over the last three years, nobody in our conference has won as many games as Wisconsin. I feel Wisconsin and MSU are the two best teams in the conference this year, and I’m glad that worked out.” The opportunity to play in the Big Ten Championship game and possibly go to the Rose Bowl is why senior quarterback Russell Wilson came to Wisconsin “The reason why I came here is I want to be a part of something great and special,” Wilson said. “I knew if I came here we would have an opportunity to excel and possibly have a chance to play in the Big Ten championship and go to the Rose Bowl.” In order to solidify these aspirations, however, the Badgers know they have to make use of every opportunity they have against the staunch, aggressive defense of the Spartans. “We have to take advantage of all the opportunities we can get,” Bielema said. “They are obviously a very good defense, and the one thing that stands out to me is they have key guys at each tier and that allows them to play consistent.” In addition, the Badgers have emphasized consistency and maintaining focus as their primary endeavors this week in practice. “Right now we are the only team in the country in the top five in both scoring defense and
scoring offense,” Bielema said. “That doesn’t just happen, and it’s what we talk about every day. I think its an indication of a team that plays well together.” In preparation for one of the biggest games of his collegiate career, Wilson is going to treat it as just another regular season game and continue to put high standards upon himself. “I go through film and grade myself,” Wilson said. “I think about first technique and second I just trace back to the actual emotion of that particular play. I think about how well we were doing and If I could have changed anything that happened. The mental aspect has to be there on every single play and I think I have done extremely well with that this year.” Fortunately for the Badgers, they will not have to deal with the raucous crowd of Spartan Stadium but will play at a neutral site in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Field, where 2,000 Badger student tickets sold out in eight minutes. “We get to play in a pro stadium so that’s always awesome and being indoors,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be pretty loud in there and that’s the fun part.” Wilson has uplifted his teammates and the success of the season has made him an icon not just for college students but also children. Yes, Wilson is playing for his school and his teammates but knows the impact he makes off the field is just as important. “I realize how blessed I am every day just to be able to walk, just to be able to throw the football, to be able to do different things,” Wilson said. “There are a lot who look up to me and a lot of kids who want to wear 16 jerseys and play on the football field, and I want them to know im thinking about them and praying for them. It’s better than playing the games. It’s something special.”
Mark Kauzlarich/the daily cardinal
The opportunity to play in big games is part of the reason why Russell Wilson made the decision to come to Wisconsin.
Ball, Wilson among 17 UW players named All-Big Ten Wisconsin football’s dynamic offsensive duo of junior running back Montee Ball and senior quarterback Russell Wilson were honored by the Big Ten as the best at their positions and were among 17 Badgers named All-Big Ten, when the conference announced its postseason awards Monday. Ball scored a Big Ten record 34 touchdowns this season and earned the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year Award. Ball was also a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first-team by both the coaches and the media. Wilson—who is on pace to shatter the NCAA pass efficiency record— won the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year Award and was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Senior offensive linemen Josh Oglesby and Kevin Zeitler were
Mark Kauzlarich/the daily cardinal
Montee Ball was named the Big Ten Running Back of the Year. consensus picks to the first-team, while junior Peter Konz was named first-team by the media. On defense, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland was a consensus first-team selection, while junior Mike Taylor was a first-team media selection. By Ryan Evans / The Daily Cardinal
Breaking down this weekend’s potential for BCS chaos Max Sternberg
o more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings.” This was taken directly from the BCS’ own explanation of its system. Think about this clause; seriously think about it. Should this even be necessary? Doesn’t the mere fact that this has to be included and that we sit one upset away from it becoming reality put into perspective the stupidity of the entire system? Yes, if LSU loses to Georgia in Saturday night’s SEC Championship game, then we
will likely face a situation in which LSU maintains a top-2 position, facing Alabama in the BCS Championship game. But the reality is that we don’t need this to happen in order to face a situation in which controversy will ensue. Assuming LSU wins, the situation is fairly simple. Does Alabama get in as No. 2 despite losing at home to LSU? Probably. This is totally unfair considering the weakness of the SEC beyond LSU, ‘Bama and Arkansas (now completely out of the picture, I hope) but likely to happen given the fact that perception is reality when it comes to BCS standings and—the perception is that the SEC is king. In reality, Oklahoma State should go if it beats Oklahoma and win the Big 12. Oklahoma State would have one loss, on the road, right after a devastating tragedy hit the school. More importantly, it would have won the other top conference in FBS.
Two one-loss teams. Two conference champions. The two best conferences. It should be simple. But then again, Montee Ball should be the unanimous winner of the Heisman Trophy and yet Trent Richardson of Alabama is going to run away with that crown as well.
College football fans should be rooting for Georgia to give us a chance to see potential chaos come to fruition.
Now let’s say that LSU gets upset. The likely situation is that LSU and Alabama stay at No. 1 and No. 2. The SEC would then have found the sole exception to the two-team cap on a conference’s BCS representation and likely would bump a worthy
Boise State (that beat Georgia, in Atlanta), Michigan or potentially even Stanford out of the running. But if common sense prevails and Oklahoma State gets its chance, then what happens? Well, either Alabama or LSU would be left not only out of the BCS Championship but out of the BCS altogether. If LSU stays in the top two, at least you can argue that it beat Alabama, played the tougher schedule and won the division. But likely the move would be made by LSU as Alabama sits on the sidelines at No. 2 and is unlikely to move back considering, in BCS history, all five teams to sit out the final week while ranked in the top two have held their ground. In that case, Alabama would go to the national championship game and LSU would go to the Capital One Bowl. All this while LSU beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, played non-conference games against Oregon
and at West Virginia, and won the SEC West outright, but they would be headed to Orlando. Any way that you roll the dice, the situation that this weekend presents spells controversy. The BCS just invites it each and every year. But while controversy is to be expected, that last situation, one that if you really think about things, is fairly likely, spells absolute disaster for the BCS. College football fans should be rooting for Georgia to give us a chance to see potential chaos come to fruition. Only when the rules get in the way of a beloved SEC power will the BCS powers that be get things right. Georgia will never go to a playoff unless its has to and if either LSU or Alabama is left out of the BCS altogether. That might just be the situation that gets the ball rolling. Are you rooting for the BCS to be in shambles after this weekend? E-mail Max at firstname.lastname@example.org.