march 6, 2014
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Katie Canales The Battalion
Students flock to Austin’s sprawling music-fest
he “Live Music Capital of the World” will live up to its name Friday through March 14 with its 28th annual South by Southwest music festival. Approximately 400 bands will be scattered throughout downtown Austin performing in every nook and cranny, day in and day out. Claudia Meza, sophomore political science major, said SXSW is a good way for students to spend spring break. “I love that it’s a week long and it’s in the center of downtown, and it’s not just a music festival but it’s a film festival,” Meza said. “Whenever you want to get away from the music scene, just go to one of the films and it’s so cool,
I just love it. Then you can just walk around and people are so weird. You get to go and it’s really free and you just walk around on the streets and all the bands are playing in the middle of the street.” Austin is not only known for its SXSW festival, but also for its annual Austin City Limits music festival held each fall in Zilker Park. While ACL is centralized, SXSW is spread out through the city. “ACL is just one big patch of grass,” said Julianna Boswell, junior international business major. “And then SXSW, I mean, it’s everywhere. It’s See SXSW on page 3
William Guerra — THE BATTALION
Aggies make NFL case at A&M pro day Tyler Stafford The Battalion
n estimated 100 scouts and NFL personnel were on hand at the McFerrin Athletic Center on Wednesday to scout 12 players from the Texas A&M football team at the 2014 Texas A&M Pro Day. Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans attended the pro day in support of their teammates, but did not participate in any drills after performing at the NFL Combine Feb. 24. Head coach Kevin Sumlin said having high-caliber prospects like Manziel, Evans and Jake Matthews at the pro day increased visibility for the other nine participants. “I think a lot of guys that are here today obviously are benefitting from the exposure,” Sumlin said. “Just because you didn’t go to the combine there’s been a lot
of stories that have come out of pro day.” Manziel will have his own open tryout on March 27, when he will throw to many of the receivers who were at Wednesday’s pro day. Matthews performed some lineman drills for scouts, but did not participate in any of the official drills. Matthews met with both the St. Louis Rams, who have the No. 2 overall pick, and the Cleveland Browns, who have the No. 4 pick. A standout Wednesday was 6-foot-3, 241-pound linebacker Nate Askew. Askew converted to linebacker last season after spending his entire football career as a wide receiver. Askew said he feels his speed is what sets him apart from the other linebacker prospects in the draft, which showed with his 4.45-second time in the
On page 2
NCAA committee votes down 10-second rule
Jenna Rabel — THE BATTALION
Receiver-turned-linebacker Nate Askew, who measured in
See Pro day on page 4 Wednesday at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds, runs a 4.45-second 40.
‘King and Nation’ waxes philosophical about band origin
A&M inches closer to open online courses
Student rockers flirt with music scene, balance studies
Homer Segovia The Battalion
Victoria Rivas The Battalion
Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION
King and Nation is a self-described indie garage rock band out of College Station made of A&M students. “I’d been reading a lot of Keirkegaard and the existentialists and watching a lot of videos of Dave Grohl and Ace Enders,” Gonzales said. “They talked about how music was something worth pursuing with your whole heart and soul and I told myself that if the opportunity presented itself, I’d chase after it with everything I had.” When he met Miller, Brinkman and Davis, it was only a week and a half un-
What are you giving up for Lent?
heir style can range from upbeat, get-up-anddance songs to more low-key tunes. Self-described as “indie garage rock,” King and Nation produces a unique sound right out of College Station. The group originally consisted of three Aggie students — Frank Miller, Sam Brinkman and Austin Davis. After attending several of their performances, Aaron Gonzales, Class of 2013, approached the band and joined as a drummer in September 2013. Gonzales was set to graduate in December 2013 and had a job offer, but was unsure about his decision to take the offer. Gonzales said he had received the offer before meeting the band.
til they had their next show in Austin. “I learned the songs and we just clicked,” Gonzales said. “A week later I decided to change my entire life around.” Gonzales took the job, but dedicates much of his time to King and Nation. He said the decision to pursue music is worth it, regardless of the outcome. See King on page 3
exas A&M University has taken the next step toward offering Massive Open Online Courses to students and individuals around the world. The courses would be free to anyone with an Internet connection and could be offered as soon as September 2015. If finalized, Texas A&M will offer MOOCs through edX, an online platform run by MIT and Harvard University that allows students to register for and virtually attend classes offered by universities around the world. A&M will be the third university in Texas to offer MOOCs through edX, joining the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University. Walter Daugherity, senior lecturer in Texas A&M’s department of computer science and engineering and MOOC committee member, said the University is poised to begin the development of actual courses. “The provost has just approved a recommendation from a selection committee that A&M join edX,” Daugherity said. “[There may be] a pilot over the next spring or summer and then have [the courses] ready for the general public by September 2015.” Daugherity said MOOCs would serve to See MOOC on page 4
The 12-member NCAA Football Rules Committee voted unanimously Wednesday against a proposal that would require a 10-second delay before offenses could snap the football. The decision came after a three-month debate between traditionalpaced coaches and up-tempo offensive coaches. The proposal was voted down due to a lack of evidence that up-tempo offenses put players at risk.
A&M falls to Mizzou on road After sloppy play by both teams, Mizzou was able to complete a comeback victory over the Aggies, 57-56.
inside sports | 4 Spring practice Aggie veterans says youth continue to impress in fourth practice.
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What are you giving up for Lent?
Julia McDonald and Tyllen Bicakcic say part of why their interfaith relationship works is because they communicate.
Jenna Rabel — THE BATTALION
Diversified beliefs converge in interfaith relationships Crossing religious boundaries brings challenges, benefits Erum Salam The Battalion
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yllen Bicakcic is a Muslim. Julia McDonald is a Christian. Together they represent just one of the interfaith student couples on campus. McDonald, sophomore psychology major, said difficulties arise when they have to explain their relationship to others. “It isn’t a factor to us, but whenever people question us, it’s the hardest thing,” McDonald said. McDonald said people are often judgmental and have already made up their minds when it comes to her relationship with Bicakcic. “They don’t judge us as a couple,” McDonald said. “They don’t think we’re going to work out because we’re different religions.” Bicakcic, freshman physics major, said both his and McDonald’s families have opposing ideas on religion and love, making it challenging at times for the couple. “It’s not really between each other, but between older generations in your family,” Bicakcic said. “It’s kind of hard seeing how the family relates to that and get used to that and your religious beliefs for both sides.” Bicakcic recounted one particular incident when the father of an acquaintance taking pictures for their senior prom started to question Bicakcic’s religion and his relationship with McDonald. “He started asking me about my religion because he heard where I was from, and after a while of talking that’s when he started criticizing my religion and criticizing my relationship with Julia and Julia’s family just stood by and watched this happening and didn’t help me,” Bicakcic said. Bicakcic said the man’s criticisms only served to strengthen his relationship with McDonald. “He started saying things like, ‘You’d kill any of us if you had the chance right now,’ and he said that my whole religion was just a cult,” Bicakcic said. “It was things you’d normally never hear, especially from someone you had just met. But even though it was difficult, it made our relationship stronger because we got over it together and learned not to listen to all the ignorant people in the world.” Bicakcic said incidents such as this tend to be rare, as people today appear to be more open to the idea of an interfaith re-
lationship. “I think it’s gotten to the point in our generation, people don’t look on it as negatively as before,” Bicakcic said. “I don’t think we’re viewed that differently from a common relationship nowadays. We’ve evolved as a culture and it’s more common to see an interfaith relationship.” Robert Mackin, sociology professor, said intermarriage between individuals of different religious traditions has become much more acceptable in American society over the last century. Mackin said 25-30 percent of marriages in 1910 were between spouses of different religious traditions, such as Catholicism and main-line Protestantism. In 1990, he said the figure was more than 50 percent. When it comes to marriage, Rev. Paul Hoemann of the University Lutheran Chapel said an interfaith relationship can add additional struggles to an already difficult situation, but that a healthy, thriving relationship is possible. “I think it’s always good when one Christian finds another Christian as their life mate because marriage is hard enough without the challenge of having two different faiths in the marriage, and therefore, often, two different ways of viewing life or prioritizing one’s life,” Hoemann said. McDonald said even though their religious beliefs are not identical, she and Bicakcic have a shared outlook on life. “When you grow up one way and everyone grows up the same way, it’s nice to have someone raised a whole different way, but believe the same things as you,” McDonald said. “It’s a nice dynamic.” McDonald said their relationship works because of good communication. “We talk about everything,” McDonald said. “I guess a main reason religion doesn’t matter or that we’re brought up differently is because we have the same morals and values and we’re so alike and we have the same aspirations. We believe the same, we think the same. Why does it matter what label you put on it?” Taking a glance at the larger picture, Mackin said he speculates that the present trends of increasing tolerance will continue into the future. “Social scientists are not very good at predicting the future. That being said, I think the trend toward increasing tolerance of intermarriage will likely continue for some time,” Mackin said. “However, it is worthwhile noting that a substantial number of people would still prefer to find a spouse from their religious tradition. This is likely to continue as well.”
I’m giving up cursing, because you shouldn’t be doing it, and I probably do it a lot more than I should. Adam Horton, freshman general studies major
“I’m going to try to pray a little more in the mornings instead of giving something up.” Emily Cavazos, sophomore biology major
I’m trying to give up Netflix. We’ll see how that goes. Beau Couverette, freshman biology major
“I thought it would be good to give up bread products, just because I enjoy it and it’s also healthy to give up that stuff.” Abigail Martinez, senior urban planning major Photo feature by Jenna Rabel — THE BATTALION
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â€œThe choice was mine to stay,â€? Gonzalez said. â€œIf it doesnâ€™t work out, I canâ€™t complain because I made the choice and it was worth the shot.â€? The bandâ€™s name was based on some of Danish philosopher SĂ¸ren Kierkegaardâ€™s writings, whom Gonzalez studied. â€œKierkegaardâ€™s idea was the choices that you make as a person make the person who you become,â€? Gonzalez said. â€œYou can either base them off of God, your family and community or yourself. So the â€˜King and Nationâ€™ is like the two competing ideals in your life, either yourself or God, or the community that you surround yourself with. Itâ€™s all about how you create yourself.â€? The bandâ€™s drummer, Travis Knight, senior humanities major, joined in January 2014 when Gonzalez moved to guitar. Brinkman, guitarist and sophomore psychology major, said the band in its present form has a cohesive and dynamic mentality. â€œThe first time we all got together and played, we just looked at each other and thought, â€˜Wow, this sounds really good,â€™â€? Brinkman said. Miller, lead singer and junior English major, said
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as students the members are keen on balancing time. The band practices every week at a scheduled time for four hours and before every show. Miller said the group would like to make it big and plans to record a five-song EP to have out in May titled â€œSpaces.â€? â€œWe are hoping to make it,â€? Miller said. â€œWeâ€™re not trying to be rock stars, but if that works out then thatâ€™s fine with me.â€? Gonzalez said the band will record a demo this weekend in Fort Worth, where they also have a show Sunday. He said touring for the band would be a dream. â€œWe talk about wanting to tour all the time,â€? Gonzalez said. â€œIf we could do it full time right now, weâ€™d all jump at the opportunity.â€? The band writes and performs many of its own original songs, with Miller writing most of the lyrics. He said many of the songs are based on his experiences and those of the band members. Davis, bassist and sophomore business major, said some songs have more spontaneous origins. â€œWe also have a few songs where we kind of throw random words together,â€? Davis said. â€œWeâ€™ll be like, â€˜Letâ€™s try to make a song where everybody thinks weâ€™re trying to be really deep, but it is just nonsense.â€™â€?
SXSW Continued from page 1
all around Austin, from North Austin, where I live, to small little bands and coffee shops to way down on Sixth Street, the bigger bands, the bigger headliners. Itâ€™s just not as structured as ACL. And I like it more because you can find those underground things that arenâ€™t as publicized and they have these little hidden treasures.â€? When it comes to encountering a fellow Aggie in the capital, it occurs more frequently than one might expect, Boswell said. â€œ[Aggies are] everywhere,â€? Boswell said. â€œLiterally everywhere. Youâ€™ll just see the [Aggie] shirt or a hat and youâ€™re just like, â€˜Oh hey, whatâ€™s upâ€™. Itâ€™s kind of crazy. Especially in Austin, thereâ€™s still a good amount.â€? Zach Dunn, junior computer science major, said it was astonishing how often he ran into his fellow Texas A&M students while attending ACL in October. â€œThe student body president of my freshman year was there,â€? Dunn said. â€œHe was a couple of rows in front of us. Tons of Aggie flags, a lot of people from [MSC] Hospitality, a lot of the other FLOS. I saw their staffs and all that sort of stuff.â€? The streets of downtown will be closed off to allow for the masses of
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bands and music lovers to pour into the city. Dunn said with so much activity, festival-goers will have to be creative with how they make their way into downtown. â€œItâ€™s kind of sporadic,â€? Dunn said. â€œThereâ€™s something going on every single second, but the concerts are all spread out. You have to have some other way of getting downtown because thereâ€™s not going to be parking at all.â€? Dunn said itâ€™s best to arrive at one of the venues hours ahead of time to gain entry and get a good spot. â€œWhen The Strokes played, which I think was two or three years ago, it was filled up so bad that they had to close people off because people were climbing over the gates to just jump in there,â€? Dunn said. â€œYou just have to show up early.â€? Boswell said a good way to track the times and places of the bandsâ€™ shows is to follow the venues on social media. â€œThey put all their events and their news and the names of the bands and everything and you just go to the link and RSVP and thatâ€™s how you get in,â€? Boswell said. â€œAnd thatâ€™s what I usually do, thatâ€™s from my Facebook. Usually my Instagram will tell me when theyâ€™re playing.â€? Boswell said although itâ€™s good to plan ahead with certain aspects of the festival, the real enjoyment comes with having an empty schedule.
â€œYou just kind of have to go with the flow â€” have that mentality,â€? Boswell said. â€œBecause if you really try to plan out your day, youâ€™re not going to succeed. You just go with it.â€? Dunn, who will be a volunteer for the film portion of the festival, said not only do people of all ages comprise the festival attendees, but the festival staff as well. Dunn said heâ€™s looking forward to his time as a festival volunteer because of the friendliness that Austinites consistently offer. â€œThe people are nice, honestly, the people are really attractive, which is really good, for the most part,â€? Dunn said. â€œThereâ€™s just like, this sense of everyoneâ€™s really, really freaking happy, which is nice. Basically I listen to music all the time and it gets me really pumped up. Especially being there in a group of all these people is really cool.â€? Meza said an important characteristic of music festivals in general, not just SXSW, is their ability to bring happiness to their attendees. â€œI am such a music junkie,â€? Meza said. â€œMusic is my life. I donâ€™t know how to explain it. Theyâ€™re just so great and you have so much fun and you get to meet different people who all share the same things that you like and everyoneâ€™s really friendly and in their zone and enjoying it. Everyoneâ€™s happy at music festivals.â€?
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3/5/14 10:19 PM
page 4 thursday 3.6.2014
A&M mops up TSU, 6-0
Aggies improve to 9-4 with home win Wednesday Tyler Stafford The Battalion
he No. 25 Texas A&M baseball team wasted no time Wednesday at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, scoring five runs in the first two innings of its 6-0 victory over Texas Southern (5-9). “I was really proud of our pitching and we played great defense behind our guys,” Childress said. “We came out and scored early and were very professional in our approach tonight.” Sophomore left-handed pitcher Matt Kent said the early lead allowed him to be comfortable on the mound. “It makes it a lot easier to perform,” Kent said. “You can make some more mistakes, you can be a little more risky with some of your pitch calls. With a lead it makes it a lot easier on myself and on the
defense because they know they can play loose as well.” A&M loaded the bases in the fourth inning after back-to-back singles from Krey Bratsen and Cole Lankford followed by a two-out full-count walk drawn by sophomore third baseman Hunter Melton. Logan Nottebrok then drew a fourpitch walk to bring Bratsen home — earning him his team-leading 13th RBI on the season. The Aggies made the most of their opportunities — posting a .357 (5-17) batting average as a team and scoring every run Wednesday with two outs. Four Aggie pitchers — Kent, Corey Ray, Rex Hill and Mark Ecker — stranded all of the TSU base runners, which went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. A&M (9-4) continues its sixgame homestand at 6:35 p.m. Friday for its first of a three-game series against Louisiana Tech. For the full story, visit thebatt.com
Heran Guan — THE BATTALION
Junior first baseman Cole Lankford helped propel A&M to a five-run lead with a secondinning double that cleared the bases.
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Young talent impresses veterans as spring practice continues Sean Lester The Battalion
ours after former Texas A&M players occupied the McFerrin Athletic Center Wednesday to showcase their talents for NFL scouts, the Aggie football team took to the facility for day four of spring football practices. While Johnny Manziel was in attendance for the beginning of practice, focus shifted to the young A&M players looking to replace Manziel and the other players participating in Wednesday morning’s pro day. “The thing that excites me the most is these young guys, they’re balling out,” said senior receiver Malcome Kennedy. “I feel like we’re further ahead than we were this time last year. These guys, they freak me out.” Despite the departure of Mike Evans, Derel Walker and Travis Labhart, who accounted for 171 catches in 2013, Kennedy said he was excited about the potential of newcomers like receiver Speedy Noil. “For him to be a high school receiver — and coach Beaty
HOLD ONTO A PIECE OF AGGIELAND.
Pro day Continued from page 1
40-yard dash — tied for the fastest time of the day. “I’ll play wherever — I’m that much of an athlete,” Askew said. “You can put me wherever and I’ll pick it up. I’ve been doing it my whole life.” Askew said the help of current and former teammates prepared him for moving to the next level. “Sean Porter has been a big
talks about it a lot — he already possesses a lot of the skills that college receivers have,” Kennedy said. “As far as fundamental stuff, getting in and out of breaks, Speedy’s far along. He’s pretty much a beast, man.” The A&M defensive line has been working with early enrollee Zaycoven Henderson, who has impressed junior defensive lineman Julien Obioha. “That guy is very, very strong. He has meat and potatoes,” Obioha said. “Henderson is a strong guy. Strong, fast, athletic — whatever is good about a D-lineman, Henderson has right now. He has all the talent in the world and if he keeps this ambition up he can do whatever he wants in football.” Obioha said the youth of last year’s defense has turned to experience despite the absence of injured freshmen Jay Arnold and Daeshon Hall, who both turned into starters by the end of last season. “Last year we had a lot of young kids and now we have a lot of experienced kids,” Obioha said. “I see a lot more
intensity right now. A lot of guys are playing with their hair on fire so everyone is flying around right now.” When Arnold and Hall are able to return, the Aggies will be closer to welcoming defensive recruits like Myles Garrett who can offer the defense immediate depth, Obioha said. “When you think about a two-deep or three-deep you think about playing maybe 35 plays and you can come off 100 percent and not be tired,” Obioha said. While Kennedy considered entering his name into the NFL Draft this year, he opted to stay on campus due to his optimism for this year’s team. Now, he and Obioha find themselves in leadership roles among their peers. “I just think this spring is going to help me get better at my game and become more of a leader,” Obioha said. “We have a lot of freshmen who can come in and play if somebody can come in and lead them. I’m hoping to be that leader.”
inspiration to me throughout not only today, but the whole season,” Askew said. “I kind of call him and ask for a lot of things because he played the same position as I did, so I called him on a week-in, week-out basis to pick his brain.” Defensive back Tony Hurd Jr. met with various teams, but was unable to participate due to injury. “I’ve been doing therapy,” Hurd said. “After the bowl game, I had surgery on my shoulder — I had a
torn rotator cuff. My agent told me to get it cleaned up, so right now I’m just in the process of doing therapy and getting my shoulder back to 100 percent for training camp.” Ben Malena finished last season with 551 rushing yards, second-most on the team. He also cranked out 22 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press — just five shy of team-leader Kirby Ennis — and clocked a 4.54 second 40-yard dash.
MOOC Continued from page 1
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increase Texas A&M’s visibility and would allow the University to offer unique, quality courses to anyone in the world. “If there’s a course that A&M offers online to anybody in the world that is a really good version of the course for that subject, then that will attract people’s attention,” Daugherity said. “One example: professor Marlan Scully is the world’s leading expert on quantum optics, so if A&M and professor Scully decided to put a MOOC course up on quantum optics, then that might be the only MOOC in the world on that subject or one of a very small number from a leading expert in the world.” For all their promise, MOOCs do have several disadvantages. Low course completion and cost are often cited by critics of MOOCs, but Daugherity said recent technological advancements have made MOOCs more attractive financially. “Twenty years ago, or even 10 years ago, it would be difficult to afford the equipment and the internet bandwidth to support 10,000 simultaneous logins, as students who tried to register online 10 years ago can attest,” Daugherity said. “That’s now feasible [today] at an affordable price.”
University of Texas professor Margaret Myers teaches the MOOC “Linear Algebra — Foundations and Frontiers,” one of nine offered by UT this semester. She said the audience of her MOOC turned out to be much different from the anticipated audience. Most of the people involved already had undergraduate degrees, and 60 percent were over 45 years old, a far cry from the original target population of college and high school students. Though many enrollees do not complete the MOOC, Myers said many people sign up just to see what the course is about. “It’s like going to the library and picking up a book,” Myers said. “You don’t necessarily read it from the front cover to the back cover, you might just glance through it just to see what’s in it and not really have the intent of reading the entire book.” Senior civil engineering major David Florence said a limiting factor of MOOCs could be their lack of human interaction. “It sounds like a good idea overall but I don’t believe that provides enough human interaction,” Florence said. “I can see it applying to something like history or English or something that you’re expecting to be reading intensive, but if it were to be a technical course like mathematics or computer science, I don’t foresee it being a very effective program.”
3/5/14 10:17 PM
Published on Mar 6, 2014