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INSIGHT U N R I N S I G H T. CO M

[ THE UNIVERSIT Y OF NEVADA, RENO’S STUDENT MAGAZINE]

GOOGLE + THE LIFESTYLE

FACEBOOK PRIVACY

+

ENVIROMENTAL LITERATURE

+

FIND THE PERFECT FIT FOR YOUR JEANS (WITH A MACHINE)

NOVEMBER 2010 VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 3

FIRST COPY FREE SECOND COPY $3.50


Contents

NOVEMBER 2010

4 - 5 | EDITOR LETTER & BEHIND INSIGHT 6 | UNRinsight.com 7 | MONTH BY MONTH: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 8-9 | PACK PROFILE 10-13 | THE RIGHT PAIR

New technology is available that will completely change the way you shop. The machine will calculate your measurements and sizes in the store at the touch of a button.

14-15 | BUY RIGHT

A one-stop guide to determining what computer fits your needs and price range.

THE GOOGLE CAMPUS IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF PHOTO BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ

2 | Insight | November 2010


THE GOOGLE LIFESTYLE | 16-17 Some members of Insight staff took an excursion to the Google Campus in Mountain View, CA.

FACEBOOK: How private is it? | 18-21

Insight asked students how personal they get online - and how much they look into the personal lives of others.

QUAKING NEW GROUND| 22-23 UNR’s large scale structures lab recieved a $12.2 million grant allowing them to make tremendous efforts in earthquake safety, potentially benefiting the entire nation.

EVERLASTING FOOTPRINT| 24-27 Environmental literature is a major that combines a love of nature and activism which is flourishing on the Nevada campus.

WEB: Create an effective online presence| 28-29 A beginner’s guide to web design helps novice designers enhance their online presence and avoid classic rookie mistakes such as yellow backgrounds and animation overload.

IN HINDSIGHT | 30-31

2010 November | Insight | 3


LETTER { } EDITOR FROM THE

U N R I NSI G H T.CO M

[THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO’S STUDENT MAGAZINE]

E

mbrace technology. Don’t be that guy that refuses to learn anything technologically new because you will never succeed. The whole, “I’m not a computer guy” excuse will not fly. And please don’t worry that behemoth databases in foreign cities know more about you than your boyfriend does. Even if it did bother you, there’s nothing you can do. The Energizer bunny that is technology will trample you and your typewriter in one swift pink fuzzy step. It infringes on privacy in sometimes very scary ways. No information is safe from detection, as sad as that is. There are valiant efforts to instill some order in this virtual state of nature, but in the end the corporation will win. And if we’re honest, we want them to win. This world is not bad though, and I’m not one to complain about the luxuriousness of our lives. My mantra is to accept what we cannot control. Cultural norms change the way societies respond to information released online, it just happens that the U.S. is fairly reticent. For example, some countries view Google’s Street View as disproportionally invasive. The Czech Republic recently banned the extension of the service. German officials, responding to citizen outcry, worked with top-level Google executives to decide how to protect the privacy of the country’s citizens. Do the rights of media change when the audience compounds to millions of people? In this era of fear of too much technology, the good can get overlooked. iPhone apps can save lives, as was the case in the Haiti earthquake. Cell phone cameras can replace scientific equipment that can cost thousands of dollars. Computer geeks will inherit the world. And really, who cares if my mom keeps tabs on my Facebook event invitations?

Katie Goodwin Editor-in-Chief COVER PHOTO BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ Katie Goodwin - Editor in Chief editor@unrinsight.com

Jessie Gray - Assistant Multimedia Editor jessie@unrinsight.com

Jay Brissenden - Online Managing Editor jay@unrinsight.com

Rachel Wright - Story Editor rachel@unrinsight.com

Sam DiSalvo - Print Managing Editor sam@unrinsight.com

Tara Verderosa - Story Editor tara@unrinsight.com

Geoff Roseborough - Design Editor geoff@unrinsight.com

Jazzmine Hudson - Publicity Director jazzmine@unrinsight.com

Sebastian Diaz - Photo Editor sebastian@unrinsight.com

Nikki Grey - Web Story Editor nikki@unrinsight.com

Courtney Spangler - Web Photo Editor courtney@unrinsight.com

Lucas Combos- Staff Writer lucas@unrinsight.com

Derek Jordan - Webmaster webmaster@unrinsight.com

Brooke Barlow Contributors: Scott Barnett, Jess Ghisletta, Chelsea Houston, April Joy, Cody Liska, Danielle Maddock, Vicki Tam, Amy Vigen, Charlie

Michael Gjurich - Multimedia Editor mgjurich@unrinsight.com

4 | Insight | November 2010

Woodman Corrections to October 2010 issue: In “Pie in the Night Sky” and in the contributors section, writer Samantha Pfisterer’s last name was incorrectly spelled Phisterer. The photo attributed to Courtney Spangler on the “Table of Contents” should have been attributed to Jess Ghisletta. Insight Magazine apologizes for its errors. If you have found a mistake or misprint, please contact the editor at editor@unrinsight.com.

The opinions expressed in this publication and its associated Web site are not necessarily those of the University of Nevada, Reno or the student body.

www.unrinsight.com


CODY LISKA

Writer

TARA VERDEROSA

Story Editor

When I came to the University of Nevada, Reno, I didn’t know much about myself. Freshman year began and the only thing I could identify myself by was my stenographer’s pad and a wardrobe rife with plaid and argyle. While both journalism and argyle-print sweater vests are still an important part of my existence, they are no longer the only things that define me. Prior to college, I knew nothing of my future love for teaching, never expected to become so passionate about traveling, and certainly had never appreciated a good glass of Cabernet. But since those early days of 100-level classes and awkward dorm room experiences, I’ve discovered a bit more about myself. I have a deep appreciation for anything artistic – though my most accomplished pieces include a paint-by-number and unsatisfactory stick figure. I feel strangely at home teaching in a classroom and playing Jenga with my third grade students. I enjoy a Broadway show ten times more than any film and would give up a number of my own limbs to move to London, and stay there. Tara wrote “Quaking New Ground” on page 22.

BEHIND [insight]

My obituary will probably never read like I want it to; unless, I write it: Cody Liska: Writer, son, brother, husband. Remembered by friends and family as “kind of a dick, but still pretty cool,” Cody is survived by son Rube, daughter Roxanne and smokin’ fine wife Carrie. Cody clocked out in the sweetest way imaginable. Knowing the end was near, he injected himself with a potent neurotoxin. His body was stuffed into an oversized cannon and shot across the Cook Inlet at low-tide. More than 400 onlookers helplessly watched as his lifeless body soared through the air, only to plunk down at the lip of a shallow tide pool. Cody majored in journalism at the University of Nevada Reno. He enjoyed watching movies, reading, writing and snowboarding. Cody wrote “Everlasting Footprint” on page 24.

2010 November | Insight | 5


UNR

INSIGHT. C O M

Weekly Blogs:

This Band is Ugly

Monday

Wolf Bites: Jill Gooch’s easy recipes for students.

Concept Albums: Because Opera is Too Foreign

Tuesday

This Band is Ugly: Charlie Woodman’s take on music.

WORDS BY CHARLIE WOODMAN

Wednesday

Aesthetically Fabulous: Rachel Cochrane’s fashion blog.

Thursday

The Reluctant Slut: Caitlin Thomas’ sex blog. Infinite Ammo: Zach Broadhead knows video games.

Friday

The Political Machine: Eric Thornley follows politics.

Saturday

Hollywood Briss: Jay Brissenden reviews movies.

Sunday

Shimmers Through The Static: Lucas Combos reviews television.

There’s even more:

+ Photo galleries + Features and profiles + Music & movie reviews + Videos + Interactive graphics + Podcasts JOIN THE TEAM! Interested in writing, photography or multimedia? Insight meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cantina Del Lobo in the Joe Crowley Student Union. For more information contact Jay Brissenden at jay@unrinsight.com. 6 | Insight | November 2010

Self embarrassment time: I remember Green Day’s American Idiot from freshman year of high school. It was everywhere, and while it sounds pretty mediocre ear blisteringly bad in retrospect it did do something important: it introduced a few of us to the idea of the concept album. Many of you all may not know what that means, so I figured I’d talk about it for this week’s article. A concept album, in its most basic form, is an album about something (being vague = responsible journalism). I usually categorize them into two groups: albums telling a story or albums focusing on different aspects of one central idea or theme.

Narrative Concept Albums:

This’d be the kind of album Green Day wrote. However, unlike American Idiot, albums with narratives can be pretty good. From what I understand, the narrative album usually has the story written first, with characters, plot threads and events eventually being woven into each song. If done well, the listener can hear a story when they listen to the full album. If done really well, the listener can hear a story with more subtext after repeated listenings. I especially enjoy these types of albums because we get a fuller, richer look at the songwriters instead of a bunch of unrelated songs detailing different events like in a regular album – here we get a complete picture. Narrative albums can be fascinating, but there are a few problems I have with them. Firstly, they usually require you to listen through the album, all in one sitting, focusing entirely on the lyrics in order to get a feel for the story. To read the rest of this blog, go to www.unrinsight.com.


Cell Phone War—Apple vs. Android

Apple’s iPhone faces competition like never before. While Blackberry’s RIM operating system has historically been the main competing force, another operating system offers new challenges. Google’s Android operating system has skyrocketed in popularity, activating more than Cell Phone Operating 200,000 devices each day. The race is tightenSystem Share of 2010 ing though, as Apple is activating approximately 230,000 devices each day. The competition is not friendly on either side, with insults, jabs and outright lies about opposing systems. In the midst of this fierce war, what will become of the Blackberry or the recently released Windows 7 phone? ADHD Genetic Link Scientists at Cardiff University have linked genetic differences with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD in the study were more likely to have small segments of missing or duplicated DNA than other children. In the U.S., 7.8 percent of children have been diagnosed with the condition according to a 2003 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Percent of Share

M

Month by Month: Science & Technology

Source: Reports from the Nielson Company

Sushi Controversy A sushi restaurant in Sacramento, Calif, has agreed to stop serving a dish that PETA contends inflicts pain on the animal. The “dancing prawn” dish at Nishiki Sushi was prepared by bathing the live shrimp in cold sake before removing the tail. The shimp was then served live and moving. The restaurant recommended to diners to squirt lemon to make them “dance”. Complaints from customers to the animal rights group prompted the request, which the restaurant swiftly abided.

Phones Double as Spectrometers A chemistry professor at the University of Illinois has developed software to turn virtually any camera phone into a spectrometer by using a combination of the camera, an LED and a few other cheap tools. The total cost is less than $3 compared to thousands of dollars for a standard laboratory spectrometer. Spectrometers are used in physical and biological sciences to identify and quantify materials. Hookups Can Succeed A sociologist has determined that hookups that lead to relationships are just as successful and happy as relationships in which the couple waited to have sex, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Iowa. The study determined the level of happiness based on questions regarding the amount of love, the future of the relationship, the intimacy satisfaction and how the participants would be affected by the relationship ending. —Staff Reports

2010 November | Insight | 7


PACK PROFILE WORDS BY LUCUS COMBOS PHOTOS BY APRIL JOY

Catie Gegen

I

t’s not every day that an undergraduate student has the chance to work for one of the world’s largest multinational corporations—and one with an office less than 10 miles from campus. But Reno is home to Microsoft Licensing, GP, which hired 14 paid interns this year from the University of Nevada, Reno for nine-month terms. Among that crop of interns is Catie Gegen, a 22-yearold journalism major with an emphasis in advertising.

G

egen, a self-described “supersenior,” will have completed seven semesters when she graduates in May 2011. She began at UNR in 2006, but left for a year and a half to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Upon her return to Reno, Gegen applied for the MSLI internship, which was the beginning of an extensive procedure. First, a standard application was open for about a month. Then, the applicants were required to complete an online “escreen” featuring a considerable amount of questions. Whoever made it through the e-screens received interviews. “It was a long process,” Gegen says. “I applied in March and didn’t find out that I got it until late June.” Gegen originally chose Microsoft Licensing for an internship because she 8 | Insight | November 2010

wanted to “go big.” “Microsoft is obviously a big name, so I figured that they could probably offer a really great internship,” Gegen says. “Once I looked into it, and talked to some of the previous interns, it was confirmed.” Gegen’s background of a journalism major and business minor has assisted with her tasks at MSLI. Interns’ responsibilities vary throughout the company according to their major and how they fit with the teams. Gegen’s department is the Americas Operation Center, where her current project is building a PowerPoint presentation to sum up what the different business groups do. “I like learning about new things,” Gegen says. “My journalism background has helped me, and I’ve learned to write a few corporate communications that have gone out site-wide. Just being able to

write well is a really important skill that’s necessary in the corporate world.” Outside of their job responsibilities, company amenities include pool tables, break rooms with Xbox kiosks, employee morale events and free drinks and coffee. The latter seems to be an especially popular practice, with over 87,000 free drinks consumed throughout all of Microsoft daily. The Reno facility is the main branch of MSLI, ahead of locations in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Fargo, N.D. Reno processes half of Microsoft’s annual revenue, a figure of nearly $30 billion. A large chunk comes from licensing bulk purchases from companies like HP or Dell. MSLI initially moved to its Reno location on Neil Road in 1997, and has since expanded into additional neighboring buildings. Inside, the buildings have a modern feel, with shiny new tiles and furnished with leather


including bike purchases and gym passes. The interns also hope to get the new Windows-based phone for free when it’s released. Gegen also points to management methods as being especially helpful. “No one is micromanaged here,” Gegen says. “They send you in a direction, and you just go with it.” Gegen’s professional goals still aim toward advertising, but her time at MSLI has altered the specifics. While she has always wanted to work in an ad agency, Gegen is open to the possibility of working with the marketing arm of Microsoft. “I’m just passionate about advertising and marketing,” Gegen says. “I definitely want to do something with it.” Gegen, whose interests include fashion, the outdoors, reading and learning new things, finishes her internship in March. That initial love of learning new

things may just be what brought her to MSLI in the first place. “I never thought I’d be working in the technology field,” Gegen says. “I think being open is extremely important. Being open to new things and new opportunities is huge.” As for technology, Gegen cites Microsoft’s Outlook and OneNote among her favorites. She uses Outlook for e-mailing and to coordinate her schedules with colleagues. OneNote helps her to keep an tabbed, electronic notebook that she constantly refers to. “Where would we be if we didn’t have Word, PowerPoint and Excel? This would be a different world,” Gegen says.

UNR

chairs in the lobby. Posters for Windows 7 and their Bing search engine adorn the storefront glass, while local awards fill a large glass case. Voted the best place to work in Reno since 2008, Gegen cites funding as one of the primary contributors to a good working environment. “They have a lot of money to do things,” Gegen says. “Before this, I was a preschool teacher, and there was no money at all. So, coming to a place where they have a lot of money, allowing us to have company picnics and events, they really, truly care about their employees. I’m just amazed at how much they spend on our welfare.” In addition to the other on-site offerings, MSLI has a “Stay Fit” program which will reimburse employees up to $400 for anything fitness related,

INSIGHT. C O M

Visit us online to hear Catie talk about her internship.

2010 November | Insight | 9


THE RIGHT PAIR WORDS BY AMY VIGEN PHOTOS BY JESS GHISLETTA

W

e all know what shopping for a good pair of jeans entails—trying on pair after pair in hopes that at least one out of the 20 we’ve tried on will actually fit. Thanks to modern technology, though, that struggle may be soon coming to an end. The My Best Fit body scanner aims to make clothes shopping easier by measuring a person’s entire body and giving a print-out of that person’s various clothing sizes, eliminating the need to try on several different pairs to find the right size. The free scanner was created by Unique Solutions in 2002, and they launched the first My Best Fit body scanner in The King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania during September of this year. The product allows customers to step into the scanner for 10 to 15 seconds and wait for his or her measurements to be recorded. Unique Solutions’s Director of Marketing Elizabeth Thomas says that the scanner helps shoppers know exactly what size to pull off the rack and what style will fit the best. “It’s the only 3-D body scanner where customers don’t have to take their clothes off to e measured, and it’s unique in that y,” Thomas says.

10 | Insight | November 2010


T

he My Best Fit scanner contains a “vertical wand” with 196 small antennas that send and receive low power radio waves. In the time the scanner takes to measure a person’s body, the radio waves send and receive signals that reflect off the body from these wands. When the wand is done rotating, the My Best Fit scanner has recorded more than 200,000 points of measurement all over a person’s body. The scanner’s software then compares a customer’s body measurements to sizing specifications of clothing brands. It takes into account certain features of jeans such as leg shape, design and placement of pockets, and the rise and cut of the jeans that will look best on a shopper’s body. According to Unique Solutions, tests have shown that the scanner has reduced returns and increased sales by more than 20 percent thus far. The My Best Fit body scanner is currently located in stores such as Paige Premium Denim, Silver Jeans Co., DKNY Jeans, St. John’s Bay, Eddie Bauer, and Lane Bryant. Thomas says that these are the only brands with the body scanner currently available for customers to search and shop, but in the future many more brands will be available. The scanners will soon be in stores such as Seven For All Mankind, Arizona and Cold Water Creek. “Ultimately, people will be able to search for their favorite brands, but of trying on pair after pair of jeans, and right now there is only a limited numhates how frustrating it gets. ber of brands customers can search.” “With the body scanners, you would Thomas says. know exactly what you were looking When informed about the My Best for,” Phelps says. “You could just grab Fit body scanner, many shoppers say the size you need and go.” that they would use Because there are “With the body scan- no universal sizes in it if it were available in Reno. ners, you would know clothing, customers Cassie Phelps, a exactly what you were struggle to find the frequent shopper correct sizes when and former Dillard’s looking for. You could they shop at different employee, says that just grab the size you stores. Add that to she always has to go the fact that there are need and go.” through the process so many variations in

sizes throughout each different store, making finding the right size nearly impossible. Thus, it’s necessary for customers to try on more than one fit or style. “I’m a size four at American Eagle but I’m a two at Old Navy, so I always grab a two and a four everywhere I go, or just a bunch of different sizes,” Phelps says. Danielle Bennett, a frequent shopper at stores such as BCBG and Dillard’s, says that the scanner would save her time when shopping and would not require continuous trips to the fitting room. 2010 November | Insight | 11


“I would use the scanner,” Bennett, an education major at UNR, says. “It would save me hours, and I hate trying things on.” Paul Holmes, a shopper at Guess and Banana Republic stores, says that he would try the body scanner for jean sizes if it were available, but only at high-end retail stores. “If I’m going to be spending a lot of money on a pair of jeans, I want to

12 | Insight | November 2010

make sure that they actually fit well,” Holmes says. Adding to the confusion of finding the correct size, many retail stores use European sizes (26, 27, 28, etc.) rather than American sizes (2, 4, 6 or 5, 7, 9), which makes finding the correct jean size even harder since many customers are not familiar with European sizes. “I have absolutely no idea how European sizes work or how they convert

to American sizes,” Nina Eshelman, a shopper at Aéropostale, says. With the My Best Fit body scanner, customers could shop at stores that use these European sizes and not have to worry about being clueless about what size they would wear. Although many shoppers agree that the body scanner will help save time and energy by eliminating the process of trying on stacks of clothes in different sizes, some think that the scanner is too good to be true. “People still crave human reaction and interaction when shopping.,” Casey Doyal, a shopper with several years of retail experience, says. “A machine can’t give that.” Doyal says that the body scanner would take away the human contact that is often necessary in the process of shopping, and that some customers like hearing an opinion from a different person about whether or not an item looks good on them. Many others enjoy hearing encouraging words when trying on an item that they may not regularly wear or be seen in. “One downfall of the body scanner is that it cannot offer detailed opinions or encouraging words,” Doyal says. Because she spent years working in retail, Doyal adds that she wouldn’t find it necessary to use the body scanner as anything more than a simple guideline for what size she would need. “I have my own intuition on what I can and can’t wear,” Doyal says. “So I would rely on my own intuition when shopping rather than what the scanner told me.” Several shoppers also mentioned that the scanner might suggest a style that will fit well on their body, but the shopper may not like that exact style. Doyal says that the body scanner would be a waste of time in that instance. Shopper Kelly Garis agrees that a size match doesn’t mean a style match. “I don’t try on clothes just to see if they fit,” Garis, a community health science major at UNR, says. “I try them on to see if they look good. So if I really liked a shirt I would use it but if I wasn’t sure, then I wouldn’t.”


Know Your

SIZE

Most retail stores offer size charts that detail measurements by inches. This helps spare the trouble of guessing when shopping online. Find out what size in women’s jeans you wear at Aeropostale, Gap, American Eagle and Forever 21 stores based on waist and hip measurements in inches.

it would give them a starting point on what to wear,” Doyal says.

UNR

Whether or not the My Best Fit body scanner is beneficial to everyone, Doyal says that the body scanner would definitely help those who do not have a defined sense of style, or are unsure of what items to piece together into a functioning outfit. “For people who have no fashion sense,

INSIGHT. C O M

Find out how your measurements differ at stores in our interactive graphic online.

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2010 November | Insight | 13


Which computer is the one for you? WORDS BY VICKI TAM PHOTOS BY SCOTT BARNETT ILLUSTRATION BY CHELSEA HOUSTON

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efore considering buying a computer, one should consider what they will use it for, and what its capabilities need to be in order to achieve that goal. Although computers were once solely a work necessity, they can be used now in anything from business-oriented work, to multimedia editing, and intense gaming. A computer has eight major components: computer case (which holds the inside components together), power supply, motherboard, core processing unit (CPU) or processor, hard drive, random access memory (RAM), video card, and CD and DVD drives. Each of these components should be considered when purchasing a computer, in order to determine the best quality and necessity for the individual buyer. General and professional businessoriented work: Surfing the net, but also getting homework done. An ideal laptop for this user would be something similar to the 13-inch Apple Macbook featured in the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Bookstore at the Joe Crowley Student Union, according to Philip Cooney, the ASUN Bookstore computer department sales supervisor. This particular Apple Macbook is priced between $899 and $949 with the opportunity for students to save up to $50 if they buy from the bookstore. It features a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 14 | Insight | November 2010

gigabytes of RAM and a 250 gigabytes hard drive. Usually any Macintosh or Windows based machine or power-downed Netbook laptop will also be able to do the job of basic word processing and Internet browsing functions. The Dell Latitude E6410 14.1” laptop has a similar starting price at $960, but with a Dell price of $699, saving a total of $261. On Dell’s website, it gives the option for buyers an option to customize their products. Depending on what features the buyer wants, the price may go up especially if he or she wants to upgrade certain specs of the laptop. The majority of the computers featured in the ASUN Bookstore run on a Macintosh operating system with at least 4 gigabytes of RAM. “That will do word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, web access (or) Internet access, any type of things,” Cooney says. The price range for a large amount of low-end laptops such as Netbooks and most Windows-based machines is between $200 and $600. According to Cooney, Apple computers may cost an additional 5 to 10 percent more than Windows-based computers because Apple provides users with already configured programs, such as Safari web browser, iTunes, Photo Booth, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand. “(For) general work, a PC would be better,” international business major

Philip Nguyen says. “It’s cheaper for businesses to buy PCs. I think most of the Microsoft Office programs – a lot of them will work for Macs as well – but I think they’re just more, generally, better suited for a Windows environment. Most professionals (are) probably more used to PCs than a Mac. It’s not just for media, but a lot of media professionals would prefer Macs (regarding) media-editing.” Netbooks are inexpensive, lightweight laptops that are roughly the size of a small textbook between 8 to 12 inches. “As far as most students’ needs, I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to say that a Netbook would meet a lot of people’s needs in terms of web-browsing,” Brendon Branigin, an employee at the @One says. “The main down side to Netbooks are just the smaller screen and the smaller keyboard. (It) isn’t really designed to be used for extended periods, so if you’re writing a five-page paper on the Netbook, it’s going to really suck because you’re constantly scrolling up and down on the small screen, but you can plug an external keyboard and a external monitor into it no problem.” A basic laptop may have a two-core processor with a processing speed of less than 2 GHz. A desktop may have up to a four-core processor. Most basic laptops will have between 2 and 4 gigabytes of RAM. Cooney says 2 gigabytes of RAM is enough to run Microsoft Office, Internet browsers, and simple games like Solitaire simultane-


ously. For programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Studio or Final Cut Pro, the user should consider upgrading the RAM. A laptop can have up to 8 gigabytes of RAM and a desktop can have up to 16 gigabytes of RAM. “You can put more RAM into a desktop if you’re doing a lot of digital video and you’re doing it all the time,” Cooney says. “For the biggest majority – 90 to 95 percent-- they don’t need more than 4 gigabytes of RAM.” For basic uses, the video or graphic component is not something to worry about unless the user is either playing online games, such as World of Warcraft, or creating multimedia. A graphic card enhances the graphics in online games and work performance for multimedia uses.

Macs are actually good.” For creating multimedia, it is highly recommended to upgrade the 4 gigabyte of RAM to its possible max of 8 gigabytes on laptops. Desktops can be upgraded to 16 gigabytes of RAM. “Four gigabytes of RAM is better than two when you’re talking about doing larger or more complex programs or having more programs open at one time,” Cooney says. “The reason that you need more memory is because you want to do more things at one time.” Working with digital media, it is also recommended to upgrade the graphics card from a general graphics card, as it will enhance the quality of the images and video graphics.

Multimedia creating and editing: making a digital sandwich for own satisfactions.

Most hardcore gamers build their own computers from online sources or computer specialty stores, which many of them prefer over purchasing an already-built computer. Gamers have the option of choosing their components to enhance their gaming experience. This most likely includes picking the fastest processor, upgrading the computer’s RAM as high as it will go, and incorporating the highest quality video card. Often times, a desktop will most likely be best for gaming verses a laptop with limited space for many components. A gaming laptop may also be more expensive than a gaming desktop. “When you’re talking about doing gaming, if you want to go with a laptop, the price immediately goes up,” Cooney says. “If you’re really a heavyduty gamer, my recommendation would go with a desktop. You’ll be able to run that really effectively and have a really good experience.” Many brands have their own gaming line, but the most popular known gaming line is Dell’s Alienware. “You can save a lot of money by just building your own, and it’ll perform just the same,” Branigin says. “Essentially, nowadays, the hardware is the same.”

With many qualities of a computer for general work, a multimedia creator will want to have more RAM and a higher quality video card his or her laptop. Programs such as Final Cut Pro will not run on Windows machines because it is designed for Macintosh computers, and programs such as Job Access With Speech (JAWS) for legally blind users are only designed for Windows-based machines. Even if these operating systems cannot run certain programs, they do have programs that are equivalent to Final Cut Pro and JAWS. Windows machines have Premiere and Aftereffects, and Macs have a program similar to JAWS called Voiceover. An ideal laptop for multimedia users would be any of the Apple MacBook Pros, Cooney says. The bookstore features two 13-inch and three 15-inch Macintosh machines. “(If ) you work for (an) animation company (or doing 3-D work, video editing), your computer will actually look more like a gaming computer in many ways,” Nguyen says. “You’re going to want a much faster processor, much more RAM, (and) better graphic card. … If you’re working with media, then

Get it at the ASUN Bookstore

$949 | Macbook

2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor 2 GB of RAM 250 GB hard drive NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphic card

$1099-$1399 | Macbook Pro 13”

2.4-2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor 4 GB of RAM 250 or 320 GB hard drive SD card slot NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics card

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Get it at Dell | delluniversity.com $699 | Dell Latitude E6410 14.1” Laptop 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3-370M Duel Core processor 1 GB of RAM Intel HD Graphics with ExpressCard 160 GB 5400rpm hard drive

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2.4 GHz Intel Core i5-520M processor GDDR5 ATI Radoen Mobility HD 5870 video card 4 GB Dual Channel Memory (RAM) 250 GB 7200RPM SATA0II hard drive Slot-load dual layer DVD burner Wireless 1520 802.11n half mini-card

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2.53 GHz Intel Core i5-460M processor 4 GB Shared Duel Channel DDR3 RAM 500 GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 video card Reads and writes DVDs and CDs

2010 November | Insight | 15


The e l y t s Life WORDS BY GEOFF ROSEBOROUGH PHOTOS BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ

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f there’s any reason to work for Google, besides the innumerable ways they help people stay organized and informed, it would have to be how well the company treats its employees. A walk through the Google campus in Mountain View, CA, is enough to prove that. 16 | Insight | November 2010


UNR graduate, STERLING TAYLOR, started work at Google last August.

decorations that contribute to the company’s fun nature. Nerf guns and board games sit in many of the lobbies, extravagant statues of donuts and eclairs decorate the lawns, and a model T-Rex stands guard in the This T-rex guards the quad. quad at the Googleplex. Along with all of this, Google also lot at UNR helped prepare him for a aims to be sustainGoogle job, his leadership experience as ability driven. They scatter bicycles a resident assistant for dorms is part of (themed after Google’s colors of red, what helped him gain the job. green and yellow) throughout the cam“Leadership is always a valuable asset pus for any employee to use to reach the to have,” Taylor says about getting the twenty buildings on site. Google also job, as well as his ability to adapt and provides shuttles and a fleet of hybrid apply new or unknown concepts. “Anyvehicles to assist employees with travel one considering a job at Google should to and from work. An immense 9,212 possess advanced problem solving skills solar panels help power the campus and and be able to adapt to a constant provide a charging station for those changing environment.” needing to plug their car in. After starting work in Information Taylor graduated last year Systems last August at Google, Taylor with a degree in Informasaid he feels the company takes a really tion Systems from UNR and gained a full-time job at decentralized approach. Every Friday, the campus holds a large meeting which Google. He says he applied allows employees to communicate online, and that Google was directly with executives and really get a very quick with the applicafeel for what’s going on with Google. tion process. After making Taylor said that Google wants people it through an initial phone to be doing what they enjoy to do. Their interview, Taylor survived solution to this is called “20 percent four grueling interviews in time,” which allows employees to spend one day, which he says were a portion of their work week in another all harder than any exam in department of the company if they college. wish. Google will even allow its employ“I felt like an idiot, actuees to work at a different location in the ally,” Taylor says. “They just world. If Taylor wanted to go work in know so much.” Japan a few weeks, he could do so easily, With a company as he says. innovative and forwardHe will visit UNR this November to pushing as Google, Taylor says people know right away talk about the program with students. whether they are cut out for the job or not. “I’m lucky to have graduated with a full-time job Visit our online photo gallery of images from with Google,” Taylor says. Insight’s trip to Google. Though he says not a

UNR

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he campus in Mountain View provides 19 cafes and multiple kitchens in every building—an effort they call the “150 feet rule.” The plentiful food stops offer wholesome and nutritious meals to all employees for free. The Nourish Cafe, for example, makes all its food from scratch using food grown on site. “I have a hard time buying food on the weekends,” says Sterling Taylor, 22, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno and Google employee. “It’s so bad compared to what I eat here.” The Mountain View campus also offers its employees four gyms, a heated swimming pool, a doctor, a dentist, a masseuse, and a place to get a haircut— all available on campus so employees can get errands taken care of during and at work. But while Google is one of the most successful businesses in the world, the employees don’t let work get in the way of fun and playfulness. Google’s headquarters are rife with statues, toys and other eye-popping

INSIGHT. C O M 2010 November | Insight | 17


Facebook:

how private is it?

WORDS BY SAM DISALVO PHOTOS BY COURTNEY SPANGLER

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ith the rising popularity of social networking sites, it has become substantially easier to catch up on the daily occurrences of everyone you know, everyone you have ever known and everyone you wish you knew. Details such as a kindergarten girlfriend’s complicated relationship status, a neighbor’s opinion of “Little People, Big World,” or a promiscuous mother’s photos of last weekend’s escapades are all available at one’s fingertips. Although possessing the same appeal as watching a train wreck, this is not entirely what Facebook’s users hoped for. Recently, there has been a lot of controversy over Facebook’s privacy settings, particularly loopholes that have been used to release user information without their consent. 18 | Insight | November 2010

Privacy violation concerns first arose with the use of Facebook Beacon in 2007, wvhich was three years after the initial launch of the social networking site. The system collected data from external websites (such as eBay, CollegeHumor and Travelocity) to create targeted advertisements appearing on a particular person’s Facebook homepage. Certain external websites’ activities would appear in the news feed, becoming visible to all friends of a Facebook user. This system resulted in MoveOn. org creating a Facebook group whose members drafted a petition demanding Facebook receive explicit consent from its users before publishing any personal information on the site. Facebook created a setting that allowed users to opt out of Beacon, but Computer Associates security researcher Stefan Berteau soon found this system to be flawed.

According to his blog on CA Technologies, his activity on a particular website showed up on the news feed whether or not he selected the opt out button on a dialog box asking if he wanted his activities published. Berteau found it most peculiar that his activities were published whether or not he was logged into Facebook at the time. Berteau brought this to the attention of Facebook’s privacy department, but they reassured him as long as he was logged out of Facebook, his activity would not recorded. Obviously, this was not true. A class action lawsuit was filed against Facebook and its Beacon associated advertisers, resulting in the end of Facebook Beacon. According to public record, Facebook was required to donate $9.5 million to the nonprofit Privacy Foundation to ensure online privacy.


Facebook now explains on their privacy guide that they will never release personal information to advertisers. Advertisers can still receive anonymous demographic reports, though, allowing ads to be launched at a particular group. Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing search engine have collaborated to personalize a person’s online searching. When Facebook users search for something on Bing, such as a product or restaurant, friends who have liked that particular item on Facebook will show up alongside search results. Students say that although these advertising techniques do take in demographic information and interest-related information, it is not considered a substantial violation of privacy. “It is somewhat odd that they can use your information to pinpoint which ads would most likely get to you,” 20-year-old jounalism major Binh Cao says. “Ultimately, though, it is a good thing. Advertising is easy to ignore if you want to ignore it. At least the ads that do appear aren’t completely random, such as online dating or denture glue.” Women studies major Emily Bennett agrees that this advertising method is not harmful to users as long as it is not used unethically. “I think (it’s) okay as long as they don’t put up ads marketing cigarettes to young teenagers or something,” 20-year-old Bennett says. “It’s just a good strategy for the advertising companies.” In December of 2009, a new privacy policy was erected, forcing those who previously had their friends list private to become public without their consent. The option to revert it to private was removed, and all photos of all users were public for a short

time following this new policy as well. One’s name, city and networks were considered public information without the option of privacy. Almost 6,000 words in length, Facebook’s current privacy policy has been accused of being daunting and difficult to maneuver for the average user. There are more than 170 privacy options. Some of these are preselected packages of options that make one’s information available to everyone, friends only or friends of friends. Another package is the “recommended” setting, which serves as advice to the Facebook user who doesn’t wish to spend as much time going through and customizing each setting. In this package, a user’s profile information is split between the three aforementioned groups and predetermined by Facebook developers.

Groups can be made to determine who sees particular wall posts, even excluding certain friends of a user under the customize option. Cao says he pays close attention to his privacy settings to hide details from people he is not friends with. “I know some people on here that are my family, co-workers or teachers,” Cao says. “I have some albums of me and drinking and what not. Although I don’t really mind people knowing that I do, I would rather have them add me as a friend before so I know who I am letting access my information.” Other students say that if a person isn’t willing to share certain information with people, they should not put that information on a Facebook profile. “I think privacy settings are all just superfluous,” 21-one-year-old English major John Helgerson says. “People won’t see what you don’t put on there, so just don’t put on there what you don’t want people to see. Simple as that.” Twenty-year-old Aaron Benedetti agrees that college students may not adjust their privacy settings because it will change the way they’re used to communicating. “I think college students, more than other groups, may be less inclined to care about privacy on networks like Facebook,” English and political science dual major Benedetti says. “If this is how college-age people communicate, controlling privacy can inhibit that.” When people leave their Facebook profiles fairly open to everyone, the phenomenon of “Facebook stalking” takes place, where those who are not friends with an individual may choose to look at his or her pictures, bio and anything else visible. Most students 2010 November | Insight | 19


believe this to be fairly harmless, since the person who displayed the information allegedly doesn’t mind it being seen. “I believe that’s practically what Facebook is for,” Cao says. “Generally, most Facebook users understand the concept that if you post anything online, your online presence grows. It’s just a matter of how big they allow their footprint to be.” Nineteen-year-old English major Camila Bell describes herself as “the ultimate Facebook creep.” “I take every advantage I can to lurk away at people I don’t want to be friends with, but still want to see what they’re saying and doing,” Bell says. Bell adds just because she may enjoy lurking people’s profiles does not mean she thinks college students should not keep an eye on their privacy settings to protect themselves. “I know plenty of people who have felt the backlash of not taking advantage of privacy settings, even for things they thought were appropriate or not a big deal,” Bell says. Benedetti adds that, should Facebook consider becoming more strict on security settings, it may be a good thing for creepers and non-creepers alike. “If creeping is just idle entertainment, I’m sure Facebookers could find something else to do,” Benedetti says. “Tightening privacy settings would tighten my (own) privacy settings. It would make me feel a little bit better about Facebook in the first place. I feel a little better about putting a piece of my identity online when I can control exactly who sees what part of it. ” Privacy settings along with other reasons have caused users to cut ties with Facebook—or at least attempt to. Neuroscience major Ally Jaeger thought she had deleted her Facebook, but realized she hadn’t fully deleted it, but deactivated it, leaving much of her information intact. “This freaked me out because what I thought was gone simply popped right back up: photos, information and all,” 20 | Insight | November 2010

18-year-old Jaeger says. “To me, this is not okay. This should be an option, not an automatic system.” If one wants to permanently delete an account, it becomes a complicated process in finding this option. Though the ability to deactivate an account (making a profile inaccessible to any other users, but keeping profile information intact in the case of reactivation) is available on the first page of the account settings, the option to delete one’s account can only be found by scrolling to the bottom and looking for the option on the far right labeled “help.” After arriving at this screen, the user must search “delete my account,” in which case the user is asked if he is sure about this decision before stating the account will be deactivated for 14 days before being permanently deleted. During this two week period, the user has the option of reactivating their account. Facebook is working to keep privacy settings suited for the majority of its users’ needs. Facebook has also tried to alleviate the problem of hacking by adding some key features. One of which is “one-time passwords,” where users on a computer in a public place can text “otp” to 32665 and Facebook will text them a password which will expire in 20 minutes. In order to use this, a person must have a mobile number stored in their Facebook information. This eliminates

the possibility of person being able to steal a person’s password on a public computer. Another new security feature includes being able to check one’s account settings to see if the account is logged in anywhere else, such as a public computer or someone else’s computer. Facebook has also introduced security questions, which allows Facebook employers to help users who have lost access to their account for one reason or another. Although controversy about the social networking site has arisen, it seems it’s not going away anytime soon. Facebook has over 500 million users with more than 70 percent of them being from outside of the United States. Even if Facebook can see that people like “Man vs. Food” and market to them triple-patty hamburgers topped with four pounds of fries, the technology to contact almost anyone—with or without their consent—is irresistible to this generation.


2010 November | Insight | 21


Quaking New Ground WORDS BY TARA VERDEROSA PHOTOS BY SEBASTIAN DIAZ

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he Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research, founded in 1984, is no stranger to attention. It’s state-of-the-art technology and high quality research has heads turning around the country to see what the University of Nevada, Reno might shake up with their next discovery. The Large-Scale Structures Laboratory, which serves as part of the Center, has been the star of the show. During the past year, professor and director of the Center Ian Buckle appeared on Fox News to explain the magnitude of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and followed with news of the lab being awarded a $12.2 million grant to more than double its facilities. Within the next year, the Center expects to develop a corporate research agreement with Chile to study earthquakes there. “Chile uses the same building codes 22 | Insight | November 2010

as we do,” Buckle says. “This is knowledge that will help us. The country has major quakes every 25 years – some that are similar to the types we have in the North West, such as Oregon, Washington and the provinces.” Chilean earthquakes are often long in duration and damaging because of the arrangement of plates underneath the country. The plates underneath Oregon and Washington are similarly structured, meaning they could experience earthquakes of the same degree, Buckle says. Once an agreement is reached, universities in Chile would provide data about the earthquakes they are having, and what damage it is doing to their buildings, which would presumably be similar to what would happen to the U.S.’s buildings since we have the same codes. UNR researchers would then aim to recreate the tremors and quakes of

the same magnitude and duration. Once this is achieved, researchers can then aim to build structures that can better withstand the quakes by creating models and placing them on the shake tables for testing. UNR’s lab specializes in releasing information about seismic safety, specifically on highways and bridges, and currently holds four shake tables, making UNR the only institution in the nation to have as many tables of their size. Through studies like these, UNR has published more than 160 technical reports and has been featured in numerous other publications that have brought attention to UNR’s lab. In the past 10 years, the facility earned $38.5 million in research grants and contracts – allowing it to support itself financially. UNR was one of five institutions awarded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Insti-


tute of Standards and Technology Construction Grants Program. The $18 million project also received funds from the Department of Energy. The first phase of construction for an initial 23,000-squarefoot project will begin in October. The construction, which is expected to be complete in 2013, will extend to Evans Street and exceed 30,000 square feet when complete. The lab’s new research space will create the possibility of extra experiments that require large-scale models of buildings, and other projects that are not currently possible. “Our four shake tables occupy every square inch of the lab,” Buckle says. “When the extension opens, we’re going to move the tables into the new buildings and the current building will test individual pieces and columns of buildings.” Among pieces currently being tested and tried in the lab are columns and connectors of the bridges. “I research innovative ways to create bridge columns,” Sarirah Motares, a graduate student in the program, says. “It’s important because different materials can improve the response a bridge has to earthquakes. Currently, researchers are working to develop and test a curved bridge – something that is vital in the field, many students said. “Our objective is to develop seismic guidelines for constructing curved bridges,” Eric Monzon, a student pursuing his p.h.D. in civil and environmental engineering, says. “It’s important because we want design guidelines for these bridges. Right now there is little information on how to design them. This will help make these types of bridges more safe during an earthquake.” The initiative is led by Buckle, who is known to be very hands on and

involved in the program. While on Fox News, Buckle demonstrated the use of shake tables in UNR’s laboratory, showing how research on seismic safety can make a difference in safety codes and building in areas that are in high risk of an earthquake. “We demonstrated why the buildings in Haiti were so fragile,” Buckle says. “We made a wall with cement blocks stacked on top of each other – the same that is done in Haiti. When we turned on the shake table, they just collapsed. The purpose was to show the fragile construction. We then put up a wall with U.S. standards and it didn’t fall.” Through experiments like this, Buckle says states and countries can create more proactive ways to handle an earthquake. “Our ultimate aim is to change so

we have safer buildings, schools and homes,” Buckle says. “And with the tables, we don’t have to wait until the next big earthquake to see if something is built safely. We can find out this afternoon.” But in order to do this, the center needs to continue receiving the support and recognition it’s currently getting. “It’s a competition,” Buckle says. “Research is for national attention. There are many great schools which we compete with. This [grant] award, and coverage of the Haiti and Chilean earthquakes, raises our reputation to compete with big-name schools. When our competitiveness increases, we continue to increase our program.”

2010 November | Insight | 23


24 | Insight | November 2010


Everlasting Footprint

Environmental literature changes the way students approach activism. WORDS BY CODY LISKA PHOTOS BY DANIELLE MADDOCK

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umanity consumes. From the groceries people buy to the movies they watch, anything seen fit is devoured. The catch is, this won’t last forever. Earth has an expiration date and people contribute to it everyday. That date may be distant, but its relevance is very present. An eco-friendly courtesy like recycling is just a drop in the bucket: Separating aluminum cans from plastic sandwich bags isn’t going to save the polar bears or keep the grass growing. However, apocalyptic sermons of fire and brimstone aren’t exactly encouraging either. They may scare up some awareness, but they don’t have the benefit of mass appeal. “We need to explore human nature, attitudes, values and communication,” Scott Slovic, professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, says. “It’s about exploring alternatives.”

2010 November | Insight | 25


Awareness has the potential to motivate preservation. UNR has taken heed to this idea by instituting the literature and environment (L&E) program. The program is a landmark; As of now, it is the first of its kind. However, Slovic hopes it will encourage other universities to start similar programs. “I don’t want UNR to corner the market,” Slovic says. “I want to inspire other people to move in a similar direction.” Slovic’s appearance is telling. His feet are bare and his shorts and shirt are of an earthy hue. Soft-spoken and deliberate, he picks his words wisely. “I don’t think we will ever solve the environmental crisis,” Slovic says. “We will live with it forever.” Slovic is not admitting defeat; he’s

26 | Insight | November 2010

acknowledging truth. As long as people remain indifferent about the effects they have on the earth, there will always be environmental issues to grapple with. “Most people in the United States are probably so indifferent to the impact of their lifestyles on the planet that they—or we—do not even seek a kind of compromise,” Slovic says. “We simply do as we please and hope implicitly that nothing will interfere with our comforts.” Change comes when environmental issues are acted on. Slovic’s house and amenities reflect an eco-conscious action. Grass is not native to a dusty, arid community, so desert gravel substitutes the prototypical front lawn. Inside, the temperature relies on geothermal heat—temperature derived from the earth. Before the water makes its way out of the kitchen faucet, it is filtered through a geothermal process. The windows facing the backyard open up to a desert oasis. Apple and pecan trees, blueberry bushes and vegetable plants are fed through a slowdrip, underground watering system. All of this contributes to a Feng Shui Slovic calls “bringing the outside inside.” The idea is to move toward a more selfsustaining lifestyle. However, Slovic is quick to acknowledge his reliance on industrialization. “It would be hypocritical to not acknowledge our dependence on industrialization,” Slovic says. “If we take it for granted, though, we cannot look at things

that have helped or the things that are problematic. We cannot progress.” Environmental literature brings the idea of nature home. The hope is that if the environment can be personalized, people may once again feel an uncompromising affinity toward it.

The Literature The environmental issue is not only regional and national, it’s global. “Whether you live in the valley or the city, you live on the planet,” Slovic says. Environmental literature is as much about teaching as it is about learning. Every year the L&E program hosts a series of colloquiums. These lectures serve as a medium for students to share thoughts and ideas. “These events expose L&E students and faculty to prominent scholars from afar,” Slovic says. This year, an English teacher and author from the University of Cape Town, South Africa Julia Martin was a notable guest. “We are doing something in literature that could influence (the environment),” Martin says. L&E students and faculty influence eco-conscience behavior through the Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (ISLE) journal. The ISLE is a collection of environmental writings that inspire reflection and stimulate discussion. “(The contributors to the ISLE) are people motivated by beautiful words, animals, politics, social justice,” Slovic says. “They are people that are mindful of their contribution to the environment.” Articles within the ISLE can range anywhere from a personal narrative to a bookish critique. The purpose for this diversity is not to provoke conflict, but to inspire debate. “(The ISLE) is not just an academic discussion,” Slovic says. “It’s meant to stir a broader conversation.” The resulting conversation is a response to the negligence of contemporary society. People want; people need. And the line that separates the


two grows thinner everyday. Nature is constantly changing. Winter gives way to spring; summer gives way to fall. This transition is organic. Humankind’s overall effect on the earth is not. “It’s so easy to be ostrich-like and look away,” Slovic says. “(Environmental literature) inspires people to engage.”

The Future

Environmental literature is meant to shift people’s feelings about nature. Since nature is not exclusive to any one person, neither is environmental literature. It is an umbrella term that spans across the curriculum. “It’s important to look at all disciplines for metaphors, terms and ideas,” Slovic

says. “The issues of the world are too complicated to fit into one discipline.” Sciences explain why certain phenomena occur in nature. Environmental literature helps people conceptualize those explanations. This is not a new concept. In fact, the idea of environmental literature is rooted in the coupling of science and personal narrative. Stories about the environment are what Slovic calls “historically ubiquitous.” Its origins move onward from the cave etchings of our heavyfooted ancestors. “Europeans wrote stories about the ‘New World,’” Slovic says. “(Before that), American Indians told stories.”

In the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau inspired the Transcendentalist movement. Among other things, the movement proved that a natural lifestyle wasn’t just for the birds. It was for anyone who wished to rid themselves of a man-made society. Although environmental literature doesn’t exactly advocate Gandhi-like minimalism, it does urge people to be more environmentally aware. “(Environmental literature can be) any approach to literature that privileges the representation of nature,” literature and environment Ph.D. student Kyle Bladow says. 2010 November | Insight | 27


Web:

WORDS BY DEREK JORDAN

Creating an effective online presence.

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he number one way to promote yourself or your company in this age is to have your own website. Almost everyone turns to the web when looking for information, so it is important to be well represented. In this article, you will find tips on not only how to start your own website, but also how to make one that looks professional. The number one way to promote yourself or your company in this age is to have your own website. Almost everyone turns to the web when looking for information, so it is important to be well represented. In this article, you will find tips on not only how to start your own website, but also how to make one that looks professional. Every website needs two things before it can be born: a domain name (eg: unrinsight. com) and server space to host your website’s files on. Both of these can be obtained from services such as GoDaddy or Bluehost. Domain registration costs about $12 a year, and server hosting costs anywhere from $50 to $200 a year. It’s a good idea to register your domain and host your site through the same company. Also, make sure the host you choose offers PHP (a server language) and MySQL (for databases) if you want to use a content management system. To connect to your website to make updates, you will also need a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client like FileZilla or Fetch. Your host will provide instructions for how to con28 | Insight | November 2010

nect to your FTP server. Once you have a domain and host, you can start building your website. Thanks to advancing web technology, you no longer need to know HTML or other web languages to create an awesome website. Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal have made it possible for anyone to manage their own website. CMS software allows users to add content to their site in a visual editor reminiscent of Microsoft Word, allowing

for easy formatting of content. One of the biggest advantages to using a CMS is that they are extremely customizable. CMS sites support themes for your website, making it possible to redesign your entire site with a few clicks of the mouse. There are thousands of themes available for CMS sites, and most are free. CMS sites also offer tons of plugins that allow you to integrate your site with social networks, create contact forms, add multimedia, block spam, and much more. Like themes, most plugins are also free.


WordPress is currently the most popular CMS for people starting their own website. Originally started as a simple blogging site, WordPress has evolved to fit the needs of many different types of websites, from portfolio sites to online magazines to solar companies. Web hosts offer customer support and can help you set up your blog. Also, step-by-step instructions can be found on the WordPress site. Note that http://www.wordpress.com/ is a separate website that will setup and host a wordpress blog for you for free, but you won’t be able to use many of the features available in the full, downloaded version. The .com version is intended to be used as a blog, like Tumblr or LiveJournal, and won’t give you your own website. Although you do not need to learn coding languages to run your website, it can certainly help. Because CMS sites are still an emerging technology, they are not

perfect. Sometimes you will find that you amount of graphics and animations want to change a part of your site, but your you are planning on using in your site. CMS does not offer a way to do it. If you Although graphics and animation can know some HTML, however, you can sim- be used to make your site look good, ply code whatever it is you want to change using too many of either can drag by yourself. If you want to learn HTML, down your page load time. If you force there’s a tutorial available at W3 Schools people to wait too long, they will just (http://www.w3schools.com/html). give up and move on. Also, too many When it comes to designing your images can distract the user and make site, there are a couple simple guidethe site seem cluttered. lines to follow. First off, nobody likes It is also important to think about obnoxiously colored backgrounds. inter-site navigation. Every single page Bright colors like yellow should be on your site should have some kind of avoided on your site because they are menu bar. A good menu lists the differdifficult to read on a computer screen. ent sections of your site, and provides Also, make sure the font color you are a link back to the home page. You also using is easy to read: dark backgrounds need to make sure the content you ofshould have light colored text and light fer is updated frequently. People should backgrounds should have darker text. be able to see something new on your You should use a font size of at least 14 site at least every couple of days if you or the text will be too hard to read. want them to keep coming back. You also have to consider the Content management systems like wordpress allow anyone to effectively create a webpage. Go Daddy is a popular domanin and hosting company. Screenshots from wordpress.org and godaddy.com

2010 November | Insight | 29


In Hindsight

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WORDS BY KATIE GOODWIN

Getchell Library

he empty building remains. Once a bustling center of knowledge occupied with students late into the evening, now it is a ghostly skeleton of what it used to be. It is the Getchell Library, and it closed in the summer of 2008 when the new Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center opened. More senior students remember it for study groups and the eerie corridors that held the University of Nevada, Reno’s book collection.

The obvious question is unanswered—why not use the building? It’s big, centrally located and empty. “There’s the asbestos issue,” says Steven Zink, vice president of information technologies and the dean of libraries. A proposed solution for the building is to use it as an aggregate of advisement and tutoring resources, says Zink. According to a proposal submitted in June from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, Getchell Library is still an unfunded project with a fairly low priority of being retrofitted in the 2011 fiscal year. The estimated cost is $11.58 million with at least $10.58 million being the responsibility of the state. The likelihood of the projected being completed in this current economy is unlikely, Zink says. The library’s history is colorful. When it opened in 1962, it replaced what was formerly the Clark Library, which now is home to University administration. The cost was $2.8 million (about $20.3 million today) and was three times larger than the previous library. One thousand students from various Greek organizations and the dorms organized to transport the 80,000 volumes of books on foot, saving the University more than $2,000. Students on average carried 15 books per trip and were rewarded with tickets to a dance. 30 | Insight | November 2010

The building is named after Noble Getchell, a state senator and mining czar of Nevada. Friends with a former UNR president, Minard Stout, Getchell was fond of the institution and maintained a strong allegiance to Stout. Stout had his own problems. An article from Time Magazine published in 1957 charged him as the public figure who “has managed to kick up the worst academic row in the state’s history”. He was determined by the state legislature to be guilty of intimidating faculty and interfering the freedom to express opinions regarding the university’s policies. In 1956, when 300 students protested his administration with effigies and signs declaring “Out with Stout”, six students were expelled with no hearing. Public outcry led to the reinstatement of these students. Eventually, the Board of Regents responded to disapproval with Stout by asking for his resignation. He did so in 1958, but not without consequence to the Univeristy. Getchell, in support of Stout’s position, had earlier bequeathed in his will $1.5 million to the University. In immediate response to the ousting of his friend, Getchell retracted the gift. Stout later recounted that Getchell stood by his decision, despite the decision to name the library in his honor, saying, “Damn fools, they’re not going to get that money!”


Clockwise from top left: (1) Getchell Library upon opening in 1962. (2-3) The Clark Library was converted to the building for administration after the opening of Getchell. (4) Getchell Library was three times larger than the Clark library. Photos courtesy of the 1962 and 1963 Artemisia yearbooks. 2010 November | Insight | 31


SEBASTIAN DIAZ

This publication is made possible by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno.

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November 2010 Insight Magazine