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IKEDA

GANDHI KING

@ USC

Scandals on Capitol Cartoons of Muhammad Hill Test Republicans; Divide Civilizations Reveal Corporate In- "The perpetuation of these images, in fluence on US Politics defiance of Muslim outrage, was carried “The ongoing investigations and the tarnished images of a number of Republican candidates could affect this year’s mid-term elections.”

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out under the pretence of freedom of speech, but in the international community, should this freedom rein over respecting others religious beliefs?"

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Got Flu? H5N1: the Next Pandemic “Dr. Shigeru Omi, was one of the first to notify the world about the social and economic implications of a flu pandemic.”

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Letter from the Editor Confessions of a Senior Excerpt from The New Human Revolution, Vol. 15 DAISAKU IKEDA Scandals on Capitol Hill Test Republicans; Reveal Corporate Influence on US Politics JENNIFER NUMAGAMI Cartoons of Muhammad Divide Civilizations NEHA SHARMA Apollo’s Ground Artist of the Month: Olivea Shure Gandhi King Ikeda at USC WANDILE MKHUSILE Got Flu? H5N1: the Next Pandemic LILI CASTILLA Fine and Dandy Like Sour Candy On the Art of Dying ELIZABETH KURITA Gorgonzola Cheese Something in the Skies! CHESTER ONG rhombicosidodecahedron MONICA KAWAI


Confessions of a Senior By Emily Frausto

tory, and some days I am actually able to steer the gushing water in the direction I’d hoped.

My dream is to spend my life strengthening the American public schools for the sake of creating a more peaceful future. Imagine if each child received a great education; what a strong step towards lasting peace that would be, even if just in America. I have heart-warming ideas of education that gives children a sense of self, a confidence in their ability to A tribe of fourteen kindergarteners has entered my life and, enact positive change. But, for me, theory is easy and practice for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, their presence calms me. Not because they are calm – oh no, nothing of the is difficult. sort – but their problems are immediate and pure and in the This work with children is hard for me, but because they are end all they want is a smile, a high five, or a, “good job!” my passion, this difficulty excites me. I am ready to apply my knowledge and begin realizing my dreams; I am ready to act, After all my training with books in the classroom, I had almost forgotten how valuable something as simple as patience ready to graduate. with sincerity can be. Each interaction I have with “my kids” These children are my link to life after graduation, they fill in is a chance to have a tiny little victory – or defeat. the crevice that once lay a few moments after commencement and remind me of my true path, the one that views My arsenal of a spotless transcript, lovely GRE scores, and teachers who think I’m dandy is useless against their five-year SUA as a beginning, not an end. -old powers. They are like a raging river. Some days they drown me, some days they give me a wild ride into new terri- And, “Yes, we can play sharks and minnows.”■ “Miss Eh-muh-leeeee...,” with a voice half whiney and half sweet as honey: “Can we play sharks and minnows?” “Gavin isn’t letting me play with him.” “Will you tie my shoes?” “I have to go potty.”

Excerpt from The New Human Revolution V. 15 By Daisaku Ikeda

The next event was the unveiling of two bronze statues in front of the campus main building. Shin’ichi had donated them to the university as a symbol of its educational spirit.

after difficulty as we resolutely carry out our personal mission that we are able to polish ourselves and bring true meaning to our lives. Shin’ichi wanted his beloved Soka University students to understand this important point.

The bronze on the left, meanwhile, depicted a young printer gazing into the distance, as if looking toward the future. An angel stood As the students and others looked on, the white cloths covering the over him as well, wings spread and blowing a trumpet. The pedestal statues were removed, revealing two magnificent bronze sculptures of this bronze was inscribed with the words: “For what purpose that stood about 4 meters (13 feet) in height without their pedestals. should one cultivate wisdom? May you always ask yourself this French sculptor Alexandre Falguiere had created them. The bronze question!” on the right was of a bearded blacksmith sitting down, an angel Academic study and achievements are not mere tools for personal with its arm lifted high flying behind him. The blacksmith’s gaze advancement. They should be utilized in the pursuit of happiness was sharp, as if burning with a fierce intensity. On the pedestal were engraved Shin’ichi’s words: “Only labor and devotion to one’s for others, and university study should be devoted to serving and contributing to the lives of those unable to pursue advanced learnmission give life its worth.” ing themselves. This was particularly true of Soka University, which came into being through the sincere donations of ordinary people. In contemporary society, there is a tendency to place the highest For this reason, Shin’ichi felt it was all the more important that its value on being comfortable and at ease, but Shin’ichi believed this way of thinking was actually the cause of suffering. Avoiding strug- students never forget the real purpose of learning. gle and living a life of self-indulgence may seem enjoyable for a time, but it only weakens our spirits and leads to our defeat. There is no joy without suffering, nor can we forge our character without hardship and challenge. It is only through overcoming difficulty

Editor’s note: The New Human Revolution, Vol. 15 is a novelized history of Soka University’s founding in Japan. Daisaku Ikeda represents himself as the character Shin’ichi Yamamoto.■

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Scandals on Capitol Hill Test Republicans; Reveal Corporate Influence on U.S. Politics By Jennifer Numagami

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ecent investigations into scandals on Capitol Hill could affect the upcoming November 2006 mid-term congressional elections, possibly upsetting the current Republican majority. Moreover, the revelations offer a glimpse into corporate influence on government and call into question whether government is beholden to corporations or to the people. On January 3, 2006, conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff accepted a plea bargain in his trial involving the defraudment of Indian tribe clients, agreeing to cooperate in ongoing investigations of government corruption. According to C-Span, more members of the Bush Administration and up to 60 members of Congress could be implicated. Already, several of Abramoff’s friends in Congress are under investigation or waiting trial. One of Abramoff’s closest friends, Congressman Tom DeLay (R-Texas), is additionally facing trial for crimes, some of which do not involve Abramoff directly. These coinciding developments paint a portrait of what Congressional Democrats have called a “culture of corruption” endemic among Congressional Republicans. The current climate on Capitol Hill appears to contradict Republican promises made during the Republican or Gingrich Revolution of 1994, when Republicans seized control of Congress. After Republicans became the majority party in both houses of Congress, ending over 40 years of Democratic rule except for a short period under the Reagan administration, DeLay helped write the Republican “Contract with America” to declare a commitment to “restore accountability to Congress [and] to end its cycle of scandal and disgrace.” A decade later, it seems that, on the contrary, the Republican leadership finds itself entrenched in scandals, many of which stem from corporate influence. As soon as Republicans took control of Congress in the mid-1990s, efforts were made to strengthen political connections to corporate lobbyists. In 1995, DeLay and Republican strategist Grover Norquist created the K Street Project. K Street refers to a street in Washington, D.C. known for its powerful lobbying firms. The K Street Project is an attempt to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republican ex-Congressmen, in what is called the “revolving-door” policy of hiring past government officials. After the Republican take-over of Congress, it seemed favorable to hire government officials from the majority party. K Street is also known for promoting the relations between large corporations and Republican leadership to the point that business has been able to rewrite government regulations pertaining to their industries. In addition, corporations were able influence government by donating to political action committees (PACs). For example, DeLay formed the Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (ARMPAC) in order to maintain a Republican majority in the 2000 elections. Interestingly, Enron hosted ARMPAC’s first fundraising event and its executives reportedly donated generously to ARMPAC. DeLay also formed the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (TRMPAC) in 2001 while campaigning for a GOP-controlled state legislature in the 2002 mid-term elections. Indictments were made against DeLay by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle on September 28, 2005, because TRMPAC allegedly illegally funneled over $600,000 worth of corporate donations, mostly from credit card industries, into Republican State Representative campaigns. Texas law states that donations from corporations can only fund administrative purposes, not specific political candidacies. Due to pressure from within his party, DeLay permanently stepped down from the position of House Majority Whip. This prompted some to worry about the future cohesiveness of the Republican Party, as DeLay, nicknamed “the Hammer,” had earned himself the reputation of enforcing party discipline. DeLay would deny dissenting Republicans committee assignments and campaign money and would unseat them by sponsoring opponents in primary elections, according to the American Prospect. (continued on page 7)

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CARTOONS OF MUHAMMAD DIVIDE CIVILIZATIONS By Neha Sharma

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n September of 2005, Danish newspaper Jyllands-posten, published the sacred Islamic figure, Muhammad, in a series of 12 rather disrespectful satirical cartoons. In response, many Islamic groups violently protested against this act, causing the 44 deaths and a further division between Islam and the West. The Muhammad cartoons were republished in other newspapers in the US, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Hungary, Greenland, Bulgaria, Portugal and Jordan. The perpetuation of these images, in defiance of Muslim outrage, was carried out under the pretence of freedom of speech, but in the international community, should this freedom rein over respecting others religious beliefs? The central cartoon depicted Muhammad in a police line-up of turbanwearing figures with a witness saying, “I don’t know which one he is.” Another comic showed Muhammad with a ticking bomb coming out of his turban. Muhammad stands on a cloud in one of the cartoons, holding back a line of suicide bombers attempting to get into heaven, with the caption stating, “Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins,” referring to a supposed Islamic belief that a martyr who dies in Jihad will receive 72 virgins in heaven. CBC News reports that this is not the first time that public disrespect of Muhammad has caused a violent response from Muslims. In 2002, riots in Nigeria killed over 200 people after a newspaper commented that Muhammad might have chosen his bride from Miss World contestants. In response to the cartoons, Danish Muslims traveled around the Middle East calling for a united protest. Demonstrations began in Pakistan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Malaysia, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya. In February, a popular Iranian newspaper requested submission of Holocaust cartoons, to test the reaction of the west. Italian government minister Roberto Calderoli fueled the fire by making a television appearance wearing a T-shirt displaying the controversial cartoons. For employee safety, the Danish embassy has been closed in many countries and tens of thousands of Muslims have been involved in protests, some violent others peaceful. Regarding the situation, Adjunct Professor Majid Tehranian states, “To insult people’s sanctity of religion is not freedom. Freedom of expression comes with a sense of responsibility. A newspaper has a responsibility to protect the sentimental values of the people…. Out of the four levels of communication, respect, dialogue, compassion and love, respect is the first step. Two people cannot have any peaceful communication if they do not respect each other”. The Danish newspaper claims that it is common for Norwegian newspapers to publish cartoons of religious figures, including Christ, and they did not expect such a strong reaction from the Muslim community. However, according to the Islamic law Islam, any imagery of Prophet Muhammad is unacceptable. This conflict shows that communication and understanding between Islam and the west must be strengthened to avoid insult and violence. If creating a relationship of understanding was valued as much as freedom of speech, perhaps Tehranian’s first level of communication – respect – could develop. ■

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A In March, two even digits become my mark. Along a quarter century’s creating, There is a making of Something wonderful—

making

Olivea’s works will be on display until mid-April in the Game Room.

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Artist of the Month: Olivea Shure

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Gandhi King Ikeda at USC By Wandile Mkhulise

former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. The prize was awarded to him on January 26th, 2006 at Morehouse College in Atlanta where Dr. Carter is the Dean of the Martin Luther King International Chapel. In honoring Mr. Tutu the GKI recognized the achievements of a man who led South Africa through a peaceful struggle against apartheid and extended his non-violent efforts to the promote peace in the rest of the world.

The University of Southern California (USC) will host the Gandhi King Ikeda (GKI) Community Peace Builders exhibition from the 21st to the 29th of March 2006. The exhibit, which honors the peace-building achievements Daisaku Ikeda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a first for USC. The exhibition will be accompanied by an academic symposium on Carter explains that the exhibit was created “with the hope that the 21st of March and a special award ceremony on the 24th. by examining the lives of these great figures, viewers will find Dean Lawrence E. Carter of Morehouse College will also be in these lofty ideals and principles within the grasp of their own attendance as a special guest speaker. daily existence.” The exhibition contains panels that show Gandhi, King and Ikeda’s respective nonviolence movements, acDr. Carter commissioned the Gandhi King Ikeda Community complishments, and contributions to world peace. ApproxiPeace Builders award in 1999 to perpetuate the legacy of peace mately 350,000 people have viewed the exhibition in 21 counexpounded during the lifetimes of Gandhi, King and Ikeda by tries since its launch in April 2001. st honoring people who work to build peace in the 21 century. Past recipients of the annual GKI Community Builders Prize The Gandhi, King, Ikeda exhibition will be hosted in USC’s include Dr. Michael Nobel, Nelson Mandela and Prince El HasTopping Student Center. For more information on the exhibisan bin Talal of Jordan. The most recent recipient of the prize is tion, email Daniel Nagashima (’05) at nagashim@usc.edu.■

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By Lili Castilla

Got Flu? H5N1: The Next Pandemic

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In the last century, the world faced three pandemics: in 1918, 1957, and 1968. The “Spanish influenza” of 1918 n March 9, 2006 the World Health Organi- was the deadliest, killing 50 million people worldwide in zation (WHO) reported that the highly less than a year. This pandemic surfaced around the end pathogenic H5N1, or bird flu, had spread to more than of World War I, causing more casualties than the war itself. 30 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, killing 97 of 176 infected since 2003. In addi- In 2003, the Division of Molecular Pathology of the tion, several news agencies reported that more than 200 Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, million birds have been killed or died from the disease D.C. reconstructed the 1918 influenza virus, or H1N1, since the 1997 outbreaks in Hong Kong. Although the from a sample of lung tissue from a dead soldier. This number of human deaths is low in comparison to the was done to study its lethal nature and create new vac36,000 who die annually from seasonal human flu, cines with the hope of fighting future pandemics, such WHO officials warn that no bird flu virus has infected as the current H5N1 strain. and killed as many humans as H5N1. Currently, the world alert is at Phase 3, meaning that it is an epidemic – Estimating the possible extent of a H5N1 pandemic can affecting local or national areas – however, it is only a not be done with certainty. The WHO guesses fatalities matter of time until the WHO gives the alert of a pan- would range around 7 million in the event of a pandemic, however, Michael Osterholm, director of the demic, Phase 4 – displaying global consequences. Center for Infectious Disease, estimated the number of The influenza virus has been classified into three types: deaths between 180 and 360 million. Although this guess A, B, and C. Type A affects wild birds which are the seems extreme, Osterholm derived this estimate by commain carriers of the virus. Types B and C usually affect paring the population data from 1918 to that of today. only humans and are responsible for most of the flu He presented this information at the Woodrow Wilson epidemics. However, the current H5N1 derives from International Center for Scholars in 2005, where he discussed group A and infects people who are in direct contact the costs and consequences of an avian influenza outbreak. with poultry. When facing this real threat, populations need to prepare, not The WHO’s Regional Director of the Western Pacific panic. Dr. Lee Jong-Wok, the WHO Director-General, states Region, Dr. Shigeru Omi, was one of the first to notify that there are three main steps to fulfill a successful preparedness the world about the social and economic implications of plan. Countries must first report the H5N1 virus in birds and a flu pandemic. According to Dr. Omi, one of the main take the necessary measures to stop the outbreaks by killing or reasons why humans are becoming infected by animal vaccinating the animals and compensating poultry owners for disease is the increasing demand for animal meat in the their losses to encourage cooperation with such policy. Second, last 20 years. In Asia, this demand has pushed chicken every country must be prepared to treat people who are infected. farmers to raise their production, usually occurring in Finally, countries must have the capacity to examine and share virus samples from infected people in order to determine if it has unsanitary conditions. mutated in any way. In the words of Dr. Jong-Wok, “We must use this time nature is giving us to prepare.”■


(Continuation of Scandals on Capitol Hill...) Just four days before DeLay stepped down as House Majority Whip on January 3, 2006, Delay’s close friend, Abramoff, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion related to the defrauding of Native American tribes operating casinos. With tribal sovereignty, Native American tribes are allowed to operate casinos, called tribal gaming, in states where casinos are otherwise illegal. Abramoff agreed to testify in ongoing related investigations involving members of congress to whom he was a lobbyist, sending shockwaves throughout Capitol Hill. Abramoff exerted a considerable influence on Capitol Hill through using laundered money, illegally bribing politicians and making improper campaign donations. According to Campaign Finance Law, Congressmen cannot directly accept “gifts,” such as dinners or trip expenses, from lobbyists. However, a number of congressmen reportedly accepted such gifts from Abramoff. An ABC News article titled “DeLay’s Lavish Island Getaway” describes a trip Abramoff organized for DeLay to the U.S. territory of Saipan in 1997. The powerful lobbyist bribed DeLay into using his position as House Majority Whip to make sure legislation that would ban sex shops and sweatshops in Saipan would not reach the House Floor. An article in the Daily Camera describes how both DeLay and Abramoff created organizations and charities as a cover up to allow unlimited donations from corporations. The DeLay Foundation for Kids has helped foster children for 18 years, but it also provided a way for corporations to “give unlimited and undisclosed funds” to DeLay. Abramoff similarly created his own front, the Capital Athletic Charity, ostensibly to collect “money [for] innercity kids,” but which instead ended up funding a school to train Israeli snipers to kill Palestinians in the West Bank.

www.usatoday.com

Given the extent of scandals within the Republican party, President George W. Bush’s involvement is also under scrutiny. Time magazine recently released a photo with Abramoff and President Bush together, but the President denies any relationship with Abramoff. According to a January 5, 2006, Washington Post article, Abramoff contributed over $100,000 to Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, earning him the title of Bush Pioneer, yet Bush has done away with only $6,000. Most Congressmen have frantically tried to dump all Abramoffreceived money to charities in order to distance themselves from the disgraced lobbyist. The investigations into the numerous scandals within the Republican party, including its top echelons of leadership, has put the majority party on the defensive. Although Abramoff’s personal contributions were given entirely to Republicans and conservative purposes, Republicans seized upon the knowledge that Abramoff’s tribal clients gave both to Democrats and Republicans. Taking cues from Congressional Republicans’ talking points, the press has been portraying Abramoff as part of a bipartisan scandal, but looking at the actual numbers seems to suggest otherwise. According to a study commissioned by the American Prospect, Abramoff’s clients gave Republicans twice as much as they gave Democrats. While Republicans have been obliged to call for “campaign finance law reform,” Democrats are speaking of a “Republican culture of corruption” that dates back to the Gingrich Revolution of 1994.

www.cnn.com

Pictures of Jack Abramoff (top) and Tom DeLay (bottom)

The ongoing investigations and the tarnished images of a number of Republican candidates could affect this year’s mid-term elections. Moreover, a pervasive “culture of corruption” highlights how corporations are lining the pockets of government politicians. Will politicians enact laws that protect the environment or improve social conditions if they are bribed by polluting industries or if they benefit from greater tax cuts to the rich? Perhaps we need a shift to a new “Contract with America,” a contract that values the power of the people rather than the money of corporations. ▪

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kind of tell what will happen in the future by how much it’s happened in the past. Right before Warwick says this, however, King I have an idea. Let’s put up a giant calendar with numbers indicat- Henry says: O god, that one might read the book of fate, ing how many days are left in the school year. Then we can pull off And see the revolution of the times one number each day so everyone knows exactly how much time […] O, if this were seen, they have left to accomplish what they need to do before it’s too The happiest youth […] late. Would shut the book, and sit him down and die (46-57) Perfect. I have a sense of my own mortality. What did I do yester- This is to say if I knew what would happen tomorrow I might as well give up. So with the combination of the two I get something day? I watched the Olympics for nine hours even if it meant watching the same bobsled competition twice or thrice. Some days like…I can guess what kind of person I’ll be tomorrow based on I feel like the “graduation countdown” is F-ing with me, or I’m just today and yesterday, but how lovely it is that I have no idea exactly what the future holds. Otherwise, knowing precisely what’s to follosing it when three days pass in the time between lunch and dinlow would be depressing like that Bill Murray movie. ner.

“On The Art of Dying”

I know these Elvin creatures who created this calendar made it from a good place in their hearts. What they don’t know is that for people like myself, self-loathing/lazy, it reminds me of the inexorable march of time that counts down to my own death. Perhaps this seems a little too dark, especially when these feelings derive from brightly painted construction paper.

For each day that has deceased, I await a new day. I guess my incorporation of something smarty like Shakespeare is just a way of legitimizing what you might know already. Even if I have a crap day, I can look back and draw upon whatever significance possible.

You can have some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. I mean really low; depression is a powerful thing. There’s nothing wrong with you if you experience it. I’ve seriously considered leavHere are some (superficial) signs leading to death: being tired, sleepy, difficult to arouse; slurred speech, easily confused, nonsensi- ing this school because of my sadness, and I wouldn’t be surprised cal or difficult to understand. That’s me! Maybe I should pick up a if any of you have felt the same thing. Just know the literal and metaphoric clouds will pass, seasons change and that feeling like copy of Ars Moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) and strategize. Or I you want to stay in your room forever goes away, too. It’s pretty could try not to liken graduation to the Black Death. Let’s find exciting not knowing what will happen and I guess the graduation literary inspiration elsewhere. countdown isn’t so bad after all, even though the constant reminder is a bit of a sting. In “Henry IV” by Shakespeare, Warwick says: ------------------------------------------------------There is a history in all men’s lives I would like to correct myself. My previous article in the February 2006 issue Figuring the nature of the times deceased; of The Pearl, I made several mistakes. “Rhythimission” should be Rhythmis[…] a man may prophesy, sion, “nock”: knock, “desert”: dessert, á la: à la. I want to admit when I’m With a near aim (III.i.80-83) wrong, and boy was I wrong because I actually love the DESSERT man.■ Here’s my interpretation of this (how embarrassing if I’m wrong): “Deceased” here means what’s passed by; in everyone’s life you can

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SOMETHING IN THE SKIES (Cue The X-Files theme song)

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’m taking a bit of a departure from the standard tech topics to describe something that happened to me on the night of February 20, 2006. I was standing alone about 9 parking spaces away from the Barnes & Noble book store. I got out of my car at approximately 8:20PM when I looked up and saw something flying in the sky above Barnes. It had about 4 to 6 lights which moved in a circular motion. I was about to shrug it off as an airplane or possible helicopter until I saw it hover in one place and dart to the left, then right, unlike any earthly vehicle. I later shrugged it off as some kids playing with a remote control toy. The next day, I briefly mentioned it to a friend of mine. It turns out that she had seen it too, along with 2 of her friends. My curiosity was growing. I wondered if anyone else had seen it or reported it on any UFO databases online. Apparently someone had seen 2 of these flying objects only a few days before my sighting on Feb. 12 and caught it on video using his cellular phone. Here is the URL for the incident report and video footage of the flying object: http://www.hbccufo.org/modules.php? name=News&file=article&sid=3768 Upon further investigation, I found out that more SUA students had repeatedly witnessed this same flying object in the past few months. Some people reported it around the local elementary school, the nearby soccer field, and behind the town center. When I was a small child, I was traumatized by shows like Sightings or Unsolved Mysteries that depicted tales of being paralyzed in your bed while aliens come into your room, abduct you, and conduct horrifying experiment on you. This led to a later obsession with ufology, cryptozoology, and general interest in the unexplained. I began reading every book related to UFOs and extraterrestrials. I know what you’re thinking; I must have turned into some gullible slack jawed yokel who thinks every light in the sky is a UFO. The truth is that this strange obsession turned me more into a skeptic than anything. In my teen years, I had the biggest crush on Special Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files who was known to be the skeptic, while her partner, Fox Mulder, was the shinyeyed believer with the poster in his office that said “I Want To Believe”. Over the years, I learned that the majority of UFOs reported in the past were actually misinterpreted airplanes, planets and stars, and even birds. This is where I started to piece together the 9


EMILY FRAUSTO (EDITOR IN CHIEF); MICHAEL STRAND (MANAGING EDITOR); ANDREW REKER, GIULIANA SCHROEDER (CO-HEADS OF LAYOUT); ING TANG (LAYOUT TEAM); JULIE YOSHIMACHI (GRAPHIC ARTIST); KAREN CASTILLA ROCA (BUSINESS MANAGER); MITSUKO IKEDA (STRATEGIC PLANNING COORDINATOR); KRISTI GOLDEN (STRATEGIC PLANNING ADVISOR); CHELSEA NAKABAYASHI (STAFF ADVISOR); ARMANDO DUBON, SAEED FAKHRI-RAVARI, SAM MORALES, DERRICK SPRINGER, PAMELA STOYKA, GEOFF WESTROPP (TECHNICAL SUPPORT)

The Pearl strives to emulate slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s efforts to bring out the human side of every story. Following his courageous model, The Pearl opens channels of communication in an endeavour to articulately and respectfully express differing opinions. The contributors to The Pearl report on issues of concern for the campus, the local community and the globe, aiming to unify the campus toward the realization of the mission of Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo.

clues like the world’s greatest detective (I’m talking about Batman of course), and started noticing similarities in the reports. The object was often seen at night with 4 flashing lights and appeared fairly close to the ground. I started watching the camera phone video and began wondering how I could explain this object. In all reports, there is either a field or a park near the UFO sighting, and many of the witnesses claimed that it could have been a UFO toy of some sort, due to the small size and distance of the craft. Although I’ve never heard of a radio controlled toy being that elaborate, I did a little bit of research on RC UFO toys. Apparently there was an RC UFO released last year called the X-UFO that won the Innovation 2005 Award for Technology. When comparing night videos of the toy, with the reports along with my own encounter, I found a match. This toy had 4 lights that would revolve slowly and maneuver similarly to the UFO that many people have witnessed. I dug deeper into this mystery and found this in the Aliso Viejo police blotter: SATURDAY, NOV. 26

Citizen assist, Aliso Creek Road/Pacific Park Drive, 8:09 p.m. A male was flying a remote-control UFO that accidentally landed on the roof of a business. The male said he talked to several shop owners who had access to the roof and asked for their help, but they would not allow him because they thought he was crazy. In the end, it just turned out to be some hooligans having fun with their expensive toys. With a little skepticism, Google search, and a little too much free time, anyone can be a detective.■

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March 2006 Issue