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‘Assassin’s Creed: Revelations’ necessary, worth wait
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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Issue 67 I N D E P E N D E N T
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Vol. 118 S T U D E N T
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Speaker addresses realities of sweat shops Nike, adidas among apparel companies accused of subjecting workers to bad conditions Victoria Wright Staff Writer Buying a new pair of Jordans before the holidays just became less appealing. The Central Programming Council Issues Committee hosted the event “Behind the Swoosh” Wednesday evening in the UC Auditorium. About 250 people gathered to hear activist Jim Keady speak about the unequal economic and human rights practices Nike uses in sweat shops overseas. “This is a trans-national corporate empire,” Keady, a former Division-1 athlete, coach and professional athlete, said. “They exercise imperialist values that run completely counter to the values of democracy.” During the presentation, Keady explained his undercover experience working in a Nike sweatshop in Indonesia after being forced to resign from a coaching deal at St. John’s University because he refused to endorse Nike products. During his time there, he witnessed workers suffering verbal and physical abuse and the hardships of making $1.25 a day. Keady described one account of a worker who was punished by sun drenching, where workers are taken outside during the hottest period of the day and are forced to bake in the sun. Keady said this struggle is not targeting Nike exclusively as the main culprit of abusing overseas workers. “I utilize Nike as a case study to look at a range of different issues,” Keady said. “Labor issues, corporate policies towards how they treat their workers, the environment — they can be applied to 90 to 95 percent of the companies that make clothes and shoes, even adidas.” Currently, Nike has the largest global market share in the athletic footwear industry, holding 31 percent of total share; adidas comes in second, holding 16 percent of total share. Shoes from these com-
panies cost about $16.25 to produce, but sell at a price of about $220. Nike grossed about $19 billion in 2009, with $14 billion of profits stemming from their footwear. Ben Davidson, senior in business administration, believes access to information plays a huge role in the discrepancy between low wages of sweatshop workers and the high profits of Nike. “It does seem like there are a lot of inequalities and injustice in the system,” Davidson said. “When you look at the profits that they are enjoying as a company next to the minuscule wages they’re paying, I can see a cause and a reason for reform.” Davidson also added that “corporate muscle,” or the practice of intimidating employees, adds to the prevention of labor unions and any real changes among employees. Keady said creating a fair-trade Nike is possible. About $300 million is needed to pay workers fairly and could easily be accomplished by cutting their marketing cost. Keady explained the 3-percent cut would pay endorsed athletes, such as Lebron James, about $97 million instead of $100 million. Keady added that college students have the ability to make an impact on Nike’s practices, as students between the ages of 12-22 spend about $425 billion collectively on clothing and footwear products from companies such as Nike. However, positive action in fighting against inequalities of Nike has proved effective. A group called “United Students Against Sweatshops” helped 1,800 workers from two Nike factories in Indonesia receive $1.5 million in severance pay. “Companies want them — they court them,” Keady said. “We’re more than consumers. As Americans, we’re also citizens and we have to be active civic participants and engage these companies in ways to create the change we want to see.”
Tara Sripunvoraskul • The Daily Beacon
Jim Keady speaks with the audience during a lecture on the business practices of Nike in the UC Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Keady gave students a first-person account of the economic and human rights issues that are common in overseas sweat shops operated by the internationally-known company.
Speaker discusses Japan disaster Rob Davis Staff Writer
Hannah Cather • The Daily Beacon
Alakazam, The Human Knot, perches on top of a post in preparation for the final act of his show in the UC Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 18. The entertainer mixed in bits of twisted comedy with his traditional, although somewhat unsettling, contortion act.
Students, faculty and the public were on hand this week for UT’s Science Forum featuring Dr. Larry Townsend. Townsend spoke at the weekly forum on the impact of the destruction of the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the impact it has had on the regulatory practices in the United States. “On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. local time, there was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake,” Townsend said. “This was the fifth largest earthquake in the recorded history of the world and the largest earthquake in recorded history of Japan.” The earthquake was so large, it caused Japan to move about 10 feet closer to the United States and sent waves up to 10 kilometers inland. Fukushima Daiichi was designed to withstand an 8.0- to 8.2-magnitude earthquake and a 19-foot tsunami. In the area where the Fukushima plant was located, the waves generated by the earthquake were approximately 47-49 feet high. “There were seven waves that hit the power plant,” Townsend said. “The first wave was stopped by the sea wall, the second wave breached the sea wall. After that, things got really interesting.” After the sea wall was crushed by the tsunami waves, the water rushed up and around the four reactor buildings. “After the magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred, all the reactors were essentially shut down,” Townsend said. “The chain reaction stopped, but the reactor power doesn’t completely shut down. The power coasts down.” Because of the tsunami, the steam generators that powered the coasting cool down shut off, leaving only battery power to help it cool down. “What we have now is a complete station blackout,” Townsend said. “There is no power in the station.” The only thing officials had to rely on were
the features, such as submerged spent fuel, to protect the power plant from a complete meltdown. Eventually, steam was vented from the reactor buildings to relieve some of the pressure from the buildings. There was hydrogen mixed in with the steam and the four buildings blew up their upper 25 percent. Because of the explosion, the spent fuel was exposed to the air, and populations within 30 miles of the plant were evacuated. “The radiation released from Fukushima were about 10 percent of what was released from Chernobyl,” Townsend said. “The exposure at Chernobyl was 9-10 times greater than what was delivered here.” Few of the residents were evacuated, and there was virtually no contamination of any streams around the area. What happened to the Larry Townsend Fukushima Daiichi caused the United States to examine what could happen to their nuclear power plants in the case of a natural disaster. “The people that operate plants are now required to reevaluate and upgrade as necessary,” Townsend said. Essentially, the owners are to go back, examine what their earthquake and tsunami ratings are and determine whether or not they should upgrade these to higher levels. Another aspect that was examined was what happens when the plant is experiencing a blackout. Now, there are reserve power generators some distance away that will solely give energy to the power plant in order to move steam and help the spent fuel stay under the cooling water. Although the U.S. has imposed these improvements, some feel that there are other aspects they could examine. “I think that most of (Townsend’s) points are great, like the suggestion to extend regulations in case of something severe,” Matt Price, junior in mechanical engineering, said. “The waste is also clearly an issue; but this is also a problem in other power plants. Kingston, Tenn. can attest to coal plant waste also being very destructive.”
2 • The Daily Beacon
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Matthew DeMaria • The Daily Beacon
Members of the UT Dance Team perform before tip-off of the game against Carson-Newman on Thursday, Nov. 3.
1963 — John F. Kennedy asassinated John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas' Parkland Hospital. He was 46. Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States at 2:39 p.m. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband's blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington. The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that Monday, hundreds of
thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy's body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave. Lee Harvey Oswald, born in New Orleans in 1939, joined the U.S. Marines in 1956. He was discharged in 1959 and nine days later left for the Soviet Union, where he tried unsuccessfully to become a citizen. He worked in Minsk and married a Soviet woman and in 1962 was allowed to return to the United States with his wife and infant daughter. In early 1963, he bought a .38 revolver and rifle with a telescopic sight by mail order, and on April 10 in Dallas he allegedly shot at and missed former U.S. Army general Edwin Walker, a figure known for his extreme right-wing views. Later that month, Oswald went to New Orleans and founded a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organization. In September 1963, he went to Mexico City, where investigators allege that he attempted to secure a visa to travel to Cuba or return to the USSR. In October, he returned to Dallas and took a job at the Texas School Book Depository Building. — This Day in History is courtesy of History.com.
Saturday, Nov. 19 1:30 a.m. — Student reported that a male subject was breaking into a vehicle in the White Avenue parking garage. Upon the officer’s arrival, the suspect hopped over the side railing of the first level in an escape attempt. The officer captured the suspect on Clinch Avenue. 5:40 a.m. — While overseeing the towing of an illegally parked vehicle, an officer found a multicolored glass pipe and a black metal grinder on the center console. 6:48 p.m. — Subject arrested for public intoxication at Gate 11 of Neyland Stadium. The individual was attempting to enter the UT football game without a ticket. Sunday, Nov. 20 1:49 p.m. — Bicycle reported stolen from the front of South Carrick Hall. The incident is believed to have occurred between Nov. 6 and Nov. 20. Compiled from a media log provided to the Daily Beacon by the University of Tennessee Police Department. All persons arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. People with names similar or identical to those listed may not be those identified in reports.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Daily Beacon • 3
Gallatin plant fined for explosion President, Congress pass meth bill The Associated Press NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An investigation into a May explosion and fire that killed three workers at a Gallatin metal powders factory found that a hydrogen gas leak came from a pipe that was not normally meant to be pressurized. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an $80,000 fine to the Hoeganaes Corp. for 23 serious violations. The plant was fined $49,200 just a week before the May 27 accident for violations related to flash fires in January and March that left two workers dead and a third injured. According to the TOSHA report released Monday, workers heard a gas leak and called maintenance to investigate. The gas pipes were located in a trough under metal floor plates. To get to the leak, workers attached chains to one of the plates and raised it with a forklift. Two employees who had just entered the building reported running back out upon seeing a fireball coming toward them. They then saw “the fireball go past the doorway and then they saw a dust cloud in the building that obscured their vision.” A federal investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has found that the hydrogen explosion knocked lose iron dust that had accumulated throughout the building. That dust then ignited, creating a flash fire. The Safety Board also blamed the two accidents earlier this year on the accumulation of combustible metal dust.
TOSHA investigators probing the May accident found the trough below the floor contained pipes supplying hydrogen and nitrogen as well as a vent pipe that was routed through the roof and into the atmosphere. “The vent pipe was not intended to carry any pressure, except during the purging of the furnaces,” the report states. But that is the pipe that was leaking hydrogen. The report found “the most likely reason that the pipe was pressurized was that venting valves were mistakenly opened to purge a furnace and never closed.” The vent pipe also was “in a severely corroded condition.” While the report found that “combustible dust did play a role in the fire spreading to other areas of the plant, including a maintenance cart that was parked about 20 feet from the hydrogen fire” and contributed to the burns of some of the employees, TOSHA did not cite the company for violations related to the dust. That’s because several of the violations from the January and March accidents refer to the dust accumulation and that citation is still open while Hoeganaes contests it. The company has until Dec. 23 to correct the violations. In a statement last week, the company said it is developing what it called “an industry leading powder metal dust management system” at the recommendation of outside experts who undertook a comprehensive safety review of the plant. Hoeganaes also says it is upgrading the electrical systems, replacing the gas and air supply system and upgrading “gas management and hydrogen detection systems.”
Matthew DeMaria • The Daily Beacon
Tiffany Baker prepares to crush a shot past two Mississippi State blockers during a match in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, Nov. 6. The Lady Vols will face Kentucky in their last home game and final match of the regular season, on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Associated Press ST. LOUIS — The war on methamphetamine has gotten some support from Congress — millions of dollars to clean up the toxic waste generated by clandestine meth labs. President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging appropriations bill Friday that included the restoration of $12.5 million for meth lab cleanup. “It’s an awesome thing,” said Tommy Farmer, state meth task force coordinator for Tennessee, the state that led the nation in the number of meth labs in 2010. “It keeps us in the fight so we can combat these things.” The measure restores funding lost in February, when federal meth lab cleanup money through the Community Oriented Policing Services program ran out, and was not renewed. The program provided $19.2 million for meth lab cleanup in 2010. That was devastating for some areas of the country hit hard by meth. An Associated Press investigation in August found that without federal cleanup money, many local police and sheriff’s departments were far less likely to seek out meth labs they couldn’t afford to clean up. The AP investigation found that the number of labs seized dropped sharply in states that relied heavily on federal funding for cleanup: Down 32 percent through mid-year in Tennessee, 33 percent in Arkansas, 35 percent in Michigan and 62 percent in Alabama. Experts in those states said it wasn’t because meth use was on the decline. Without federal
money, the burden for cleanup fell to the city or county where the meth lab was found, and in an era of dwindling local revenues, agencies simply couldn’t afford the cleanup. Police weren’t turning a blind eye to meth, but stopped sending agents undercover, conducting door-to-door investigations and setting up stakeouts aimed at catching meth-makers, experts said. “The words I used were they were less proactive,” Farmer said. Lawmakers from both parties lauded the restoration of the cleanup money. U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a St. Louis Democrat, said meth abuse “destroys communities, tearing families apart and devastating our environment-with every pound of meth producing five to six pounds of toxic waste.” He said he advocates a response to meth abuse that “leverages federal, state, and local resources to tackle all aspects of the problem, from research, education, and prevention to law enforcement, treatment and remediation.” A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., said restoration of the meth cleanup money was a “positive” from the appropriations bill, even as DesJarlais opposed the spending measure overall. “The congressman understands how serious of an issue meth production is in the state of Tennessee and remains committed to ensuring that law enforcement is provided with the necessary resources to safely and efficiently dispose of meth labs,”
said Robert Jameson, a spokesman for DesJarlais. Cleaning up meth labs is expensive, even the small “shakeand-bake” labs that are little more than a 2-liter soda bottle filled with the toxic ingredients. Because meth is made using a volatile mix of ingredients such as battery acid, drain cleaner and ammonia, only crews with specialized training are allowed to handle the materials found in labs. The waste and debris cannot be dumped in a regular landfill, only in specially approved waste sites. As a result, typical cost of remediating a single lab is $2,500 to $5,000. Some states, like Missouri and Kentucky, have developed their own lab cleanup programs, making them far less dependent upon federal money. Those states have placed containers in various locations and train local police on cleanup. But many other states rely on the COPS money, which requires a federally approved crew to come in for the cleanup, usually from out of state, with the travel time driving up the cost. Many states that previously relied on COPS funding are developing their own container systems, including Michigan and Tennessee, which began its program this summer. Arkansas also is looking at a container program. Farmer said that while the $12.5 million falls short of the $19.2 million for last year, the improved efficiencies of container programs should allow for local police to again get aggressive with meth enforcement.
4 • The Daily Beacon
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
GuestColumn Marx, Wall Street, 99 percent: Part One Across the United States and other countries around the world, as reported by many news organizations, including the BBC (BBC 2011), protest movements are gathering around financial districts to voice discontent with the growing inequality of the world economy. They call themselves the 99 percent, arguing that it is the 1 percent of the population who control the financial markets, and in turn, the majority of the wealth. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO 2011), income tripled for the richest 1 percent between 1997 and 2007 and only increased by 18 percent for the poorest 20 percent. Additionally, in the years preceding the financial crisis, between 20052007, the top 20 percent of the population earned more than the entire bottom 80 percent combined. A great deal of statistics, but the general theme is that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing. And the feeling in the protest camps is that it is the 1 percent who have created the de-regulations that not only allow them to make even greater profit, while others do not share the same growth, but also prevent any government action from preventing it. In general, those who earn the most not only control the financial markets by owning the banks and the stock exchange, but also have enough political sway to ensure that the regulations that prevent corrupt or scrupulous practices are removed. In the middle of the 19th century, Karl Marx described a process of capitalization with the central theme being economy equals politics. His theories described how, as mass industrialization brought on the mass production of material goods, this in turn
would allow those at the top of the financial ladder to prosper. However, in order to maximize profits in a system where competition is key, then, this financial “bourgeoisie” will not only cut costs and wages but also use political power to achieve this end. His theory of Marxism described the evolution of this model to the point where the working class could no longer afford to purchase the material goods being produced and, as such, realizing that the only way to achieve financial equality is to regain political equality, they would therefore revolt against the system. Therefore, capitalism would sow the seeds of its own destruction. Many people confuse this idea of Marxism with that of communism, yet Marx argued that they are indeed separate entities. Marxism is the theory that capitalism has inherent faults that will in the end produce its own destruction. Communism is the end process whereby society has become so equal that there is no longer the necessity for a State to exist. The Stalinist-era and resulting so-called Communist governments, such as the Soviet Union or Mao’s Chinese republic, were indeed not Communist at all. They were merely socialist regimes attempting to force the process of revolution by dissent. In fact their common theme of centralized government with massive control over the population was exactly what Marx argued against. In his theory, revolution would not need to be forced, it would organically come about as a natural progression from the dissent produced by this capitalist inequality. — Jamie Greig is a junior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCRAMBLED EGGS • Alex Cline
THE GREAT MASH-UP • Liz Newnam
Columns of The Daily Beacon are reflections of the individual columnist, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or its editorial staff.
Dwell on positives during Thanksgiving C ampbel l’s Co r n e r by
Seth Campbell We’ve all been in a situation where everything goes terribly wrong. Some of us, including me, find ourselves in these positions rather frequently. There are times, usually revolving around my finals, where it seems that I can’t do much right. It just so happens that when all this school-related heat begins to pick up, the weather is cooling down. And when our Tennessee weather begins to get crisp, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Since I began my college education countless years ago, Thanksgiving has constantly been paired with stress. This isn’t the type of stress where I have no idea what present I’m going to get my girlfriend or sister, but rather the stress of two final papers along with two cumulative finals. Ideally, Thanksgiving would be a time where I can relax with my family while enjoying turkey and the resurgence of the Detroit Lions. Sadly, we all know life is far from ideal. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am preparing myself for the onslaught of stress. As a matter of fact, it seems that the stress has already crept in and made itself comfortable. Even with the walls closing in and finals fast approaching, it’s direly important to find the positive elements of life and really hammer them home. When examining life, it doesn’t take long to discover there’s a ton to be thankful for. Though many of us stress about these dreaded finals, it’s better than the alternative of not being enrolled in any classes here at UT. The news is constantly buzzing about increased tuition and class shortages, yet I am still enrolled and making my way through, though rather slowly. So technically, I am thankful for my finals — as odd as that sounds.
On a larger scale, we all have to be somewhat pleased with our country. For all the political debate happening, we still live in the United States of America. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you still live in a great country with countless opportunities. We all know these opportunities can be difficult to obtain, but with hard work and determination, opportunities and greatness can be achieved. One of the largest debates our country has is electing a president every four years. We argue and bicker whether to elect a Democrat or a Republican and in all honesty, there’s usually not much a difference between the two. If that’s one of the largest and most important decisions we must make, we’re doing pretty well. Our fellow human beings in other countries have much more dire situations they encounter on a daily basis. Somalia constantly deals with drought, famine, AIDS, pirating and terrorism. This East African country also lacks anything that slightly represents a legitimate government. Examining a country like Somalia for 10 minutes leads me to have a greater appreciation for Tennessee and the United States. In the midst of the turmoil it’s extremely easy to forget some of our blessings. For instance, serving tables isn’t the most rewarding job one can think of, yet being able to generate some income during my time in college is something I am thankful for. And while school and particularly finals do take a toll on my sanity, my position could be much worse. It’s just mind-settling to know that even with all the stress and chaos that comes with everyday life, we can take a day and give thanks. There’s plenty of positivity in the world; it’s just about focusing in and emphasizing the positive elements rather than the stressful and irritating parts of life. With this cliché holiday-themed column in mind, I hope everyone finds what makes them happy and enjoys Thanksgiving. — Seth Campbell is a senior in history. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Our Thanksgiving holiday originated from the European and American Indian celebrations of the harvests and became a symbol of the birth of our country. In the present we equate the day with an abundance of food spread around the table and the chaos of having the entire family over for a day of binging, football and tradition. Although we always hear that it is a day of remembrance and of giving thanks, it takes effort to take the time to remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving. This day is dedicated so Americans can appreciate our pleasures and modern day conveniences, and, most importantly, so we can reflect on the good things in our lives. Being thankful for what we have often goes astray throughout the course of the year. The assignments and drama that occur during a typical college student’s day can be exhausting. There is never a spare moment in the day for students to take the time to reflect on what they are most thankful for in life. So, this holiday should serve as an oasis for the stressed-out college student. First of all, we get a break to relax and rejuvenate before we hibernate in the library the following week in preparation for final exams. Hopefully, we will use it as a time to reflect upon all the positives in our lives. Sometimes it seems that people do not truly understand the meaning of giving thanks. Sure, we say thanks for our families and our blessed lives. But are we truly grateful? Do we understand the impact of which we could so easily lose the things we love most? If people learn how to truly be thankful for everything in their lives, they will find that it will be easier to cherish them every day. Learning to strive to become more grateful
creates the ability to give more wholeheartedly. We should ask ourselves: is giving to the ones we love most and to those less fortunate not what this holiday is all about? When we really think about what we are thankful for, sometimes it is the small things that are overlooked. Even though they may seem trivial, those moments and people could be the things that should be cherished most. Now is the time to look back at the memories and relish in everything given to you. Yet, another thing one should be giving thanks for is the future. Looking forward to what is to come is healthy and exciting. It seems that during Thanksgiving, we are always giving thanks for what was in the past. It can be an opportunity for departure from bad and entering into good. While reflecting on positive memories is healthy, choosing to dwell on those moments will not be productive. With only a month left before the new year starts, now is the time to find merit in new beginnings and new challenges. Entering adulthood is a time to learn from our past and plan to shape our future. Although Thanksgiving’s purpose is to eat and spend time with family and other loved ones, it is truly dedicated to be a day for remembering all that we are thankful for. As Americans, we are blessed to have this lifestyle, and remember those who don’t live with the benefits of an American society, which we often take for granted on a daily basis. Feeling grateful is not always easy, but finding a way to open our hearts to seeing the blessings and try to tolerate the nuisances more patiently can enable us to start looking forward to expecting exciting adventures ahead on our paths and dream up goals never imagined. Thanksgiving can be an important holiday to observe, reflect and give thanks that will prepare the college student toward developing their own lives with a true vision and knowledge that will help to perpetuate a cycle of giving, receiving and appreciation. — Samantha Trueheart is a sophomore in communications. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Daily Beacon • 5
New ‘Creed’ installment brings much to table Jake Lane Arts & Culture Editor Few game series have taken as unexpected a trajectory as Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed line. Introduced as a standalone game with a sequential sequel, it appeared a trilogy was in the works. Instead, the developer released a mid-series trilogy tying together the lives of Altair Ibn La’Had and Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the series’ two tertiary protagonists, with a third numbered title to be released next November to coincide with the game’s 2012 chronology. Now step back and ask yourself: Was it necessary to make three games as a character when he essentially acts as a puppet for the game’s true protagonist, in this case Altair and Ezio’s descendant Desmond Miles. Halfway through 2010’s “Brotherhood,” the answer was a resolute “no.” The revenge plot against the Borgia family which Ezio undertakes in “Assassin’s Creed II” could have ended in that game, but Ubisoft instead took an entry with a relatively sparse storyline to introduce new mini-games and a prototype multiplayer unlike any released to date. While that game redeemed itself in the end, “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations,” which was released on Nov. 15, seemed at first to be like kicking a dead horse up a broken hill. Granted the pendulous cliffhanger at the end of “Brotherhood,” many of the series’ fans rabidly awaited resolution and the “revelations” promised in the title. Of the former, an ostensible answer is given roughly five minutes into the game. The latter comes some 20 hours later, depending on your level of retentive completionism. The game’s necessity to exist, however, depends on your commitment to the series. Over four core entries, the series has sketched the intersection of three lives in roughly 500-year intervals, with extensively researched and deftly delivered worlds, whose detail offers a level of immersion rare in games set in the confines of actual world history. Over the trilogy capped by “Revelations,” a sandbox experience and style of play unparalleled by similar series such as “Grand Theft Auto” has emerged and given Ubisoft’s chagrin with the stunted development of current consoles, perhaps only offers a taste of coming developments in the series. “Revelations,” then, is a necessary closer for two chapters of the Assassin’s Creed story and a bridge to the end of the original projected trilogy. As with most of the games, the action ends in medias res, with another year of conspiracy theories and halfbaked, foredrawn conclusions to follow. The game succeeds in all respects, and though it merely continues stories introduced by earlier games with relatively little “playing catch-up” exposition for new players, “Revelations” is probably the best game of the series to date in terms of controls and mechanics, as well as narrative strategy. For four years, players have trawled memory space in the Animus, a machine devel-
oped by Knights Templar shadow group Abstergo Industries to tap into the exploits of ancestors locked in the human genome. While the first game offered a linear, repetitive play-style, it offered the tightest story prior to “Revelations.” “Assassin’s Creed II” and “Brotherhood” turned the player’s proclivities towards stealth and range of kills into nuanced advantages, especially in the latter’s multiplayer. “Revelations” delivers the most complex weapons system of the series, adding bomb crafting to the mix, as well as a storyline in which for the first time in series history players probe the mind and history of Desmond Miles. The Desmond memories play in first person and bear a resemblance to Valve’s “Portal” games, trading that series’ signature transitory gateways for flat geometrical planes and inclines as a way to traverse wild data streams which form complex death traps. Moreover, the game offers somewhat conclusive answers to the identity and nature of Desmond’s predecessor at Abstergo, known previously as Subject 16. The intrinsic connection between Altair and Ezio also becomes apparent in an interlaced climax both poignant and appropriately esoteric given the game world’s loose definition of reality apparent in the titular Creed: “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” The multiplayer comes as a production model of the “Brotherhood” test model, itself a sleeper hit. Through a new series of game types and some old favorites, players utilized a class and persona system to build classes, not unlike in the Call of Duty line. While “Brotherhood” offered a system of level unlocks like the Modern Warfare series, “Revelations” adds a “Black Ops” twist wherein not only do abilities require a level unlock, but also must be purchased using points acquired through online play. This is not to say the multiplayer experience is in anyway derivative. Chalk it up to an evolution across the board introduced by Call of Duty, but even the game’s prestige system offers more incentive than Call of Duty. Abstergo dossiers a new feature in “Revelations,” offer incentive for fans skeptical of online play to participate and level through the game to find more secrets from the unfolding story. While it is far from the guns-blazing fare of “Modern Warfare 3” and “Battlefield 3” which dominate the multiplayer field at the moment, “Assassin’s Creed” may have a potential cottage industry in the stealth and strategy hunting games offered in “Revelations.” Though it exists as a transitional game and bears the stigma of necessity for fans keeping score at home in the ongoing war between the Assassin Brotherhood and Templars, one should not discount the solid gameplay and stellar storytelling offered in this new entry in the Assassin’s Creed canon. Remember these numbers: 43 39 19 N 75 27 42 W. See you there next November.
• Image courtesy of ubi.com
NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD • Will Shortz ACROSS
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6 • The Daily Beacon
New ‘Dota’ game more user friendly Chris Flowers Staff Writer After six straight hours of playing the closed beta for Valve’s (creators of “Half-life”) “Dota 2,” I came away with my wrist cramping but my faith in the project bolstered. The diehard “Dota” fans needn’t worry. “Dota 2” is “Dota” with matchmaking and stat tracking, exactly what the diehard fans wanted. The biggest challenge for this game won’t be pleasing the fanboys, but attracting a new set of players to a competitive multiplayer game with a sharp learning curve and competition that has had an eight-year head start. The roots of Valve’s “Dota 2” go back to 2003 when the map-maker Eul created a custom map for Blizzard’s “Warcraft 3” called “Defense of the Ancients.” Blizzard releases a free world editor with their real time strategy games so fans can create their own maps and game-types. “Defense of the Ancients” pits two teams of five players against each other in a race to destroy the opposing team’s base. Each player takes control of a single unit known as a hero. Heroes gain gold and experience by killing opposing players and computer-controlled invaders that stream across the map. Leveling up allows the player to unlock and upgrade the hero’s four special abilities. These can range from speeding up the hero’s basic attack to launching a giant meat hook which pulls enemies into the clutches of a morbidly obese zombie. Gold is used to purchase items from the stores scattered around the map. At the most basic level, items are used to increase things such as your health, mana, damage or movement speed, but the more expensive items often have unique effects and useable spells. The item system is notoriously convoluted; items must be combined using recipes, and some items are only available in the “secret shop” found in the forest. Take for example the item “Sange and Yasha.” To create this item you must first purchase a Belt of Giant Strength, Ogre Axe and the Sange Recipe Scroll to form Sange. Next you buy a Blade of Alacrity, Boots of Elvenskin and the Yasha Recipe Scroll to form Yasha. Now you have “Sange” and “Yasha,” but you must purchase the “Sange and Yasha Recipe Scroll” before you have “Sange and Yasha.” Currently there are 123 items and 104 heroes in “Dota,” and knowing what your opponent is capable of based on their hero and items is crucial for success. The learning curve is steep and the community isn’t known for its understanding toward inexperienced players. Valve is seeking to soften the initial learning curve in
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
“Dota 2” and has placed a big emphasis on assisting newbies in the learning process. Each character has a set of basic recommended items on the front page of the store along with some guidance on when to buy them. Although not yet implemented in the beta, one of the main tabs in the option menu is “learn,” where Valve will offer tutorials. Players also have the option to watch live “Dota 2” matches at any time from within the game, which even feature support for live commentators. This is not only a great teaching tool for newcomers, but it also gives “Dota 2” a serious edge over other competitive online games, such as “Starcraft” and “League of Legends.” Tournament matches can be broadcast in the in-game engine rather than a lowerquality video stream, and Valve can advertise the matches in the news tab. Valve showed its support of the competitive scene three months ago when it held a “Dota 2” tournament featuring the world’s best “Dota” teams with a gaudy grand prize of $1 million. The tournament was the first time the game was shown to the public, and Valve’s decision to debut the game in such a manner is a first for the industry. The fact that Valve held a tournament for its game by inviting the best teams from the first game should illustrate just how close this game sticks to the original. “Dota 2” is essentially “Dota” on a new engine with some very nice window dressings. The map is the same, the items are the same and the heroes are the same, save for a few minor tweaks here and there. The only change gameplay-wise is the ability to purchase items while in the field and pick them up when you return to base. Since a portion of a player’s gold is lost upon death, allowing purchases anywhere on the map means that items will be purchased as soon as they can be afforded to reduce potential lost gold. The lack of change to the game is by no means a complaint, but playing almost exactly the same game I played for years in “Warcraft 3” as a Valve release feels somewhat strange. It seems even stranger when you consider that Blizzard announced that it is also making a “Dota” game called “Blizzard Dota” to be released in the upcoming Starcraft Marketplace. Blizzard will be completely revamping the game that was born in their world editor with new settings, new heroes and a new gameplay style that seeks to speed up the games and simplify the learning curve. Even though all Valve seems to really be doing is taking a community project and turning it into a retail product, I can’t be that incensed because “Dota” turned into a fullfledged modern game is all I really want from a new “Dota.”
• Image courtesy of Valve Software
Hugh Grant accuses tabloid of hacking The Associated Press LONDON — Actor Hugh Grant told a London courtroom Monday about the dark side of celebrity life, describing mysterious break-ins, leaked medical details and hacked voice mails — and laying blame on the entire tabloid press, not just the now-shuttered News of the World. Grant’s testimony to a judge-led media ethics inquiry capped a tough day for Britain’s beleaguered press. Earlier, the parents of a murdered schoolgirl whose phone was targeted by the tabloid described how the hacking had given them false hope that their daughter was still alive. Grant said he believes his phone was hacked by Britain’s Mail on Sunday tabloid — the first time he has implicated a newspaper not owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the wrongdoing. The actor said a 2007 story about his romantic life in the paper, owned by Murdoch rival Associated Newspapers Ltd., could only have been obtained through eavesdropping on his voice mails. He said he could not think of any other way the newspaper could have obtained the story alleging that his romance with Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of his conversations with a “plummy voiced” woman the paper identified as a film studio executive. Grant said there was no such woman, but he did receive voice messages from the assistant of a movie producer friend. “She would leave charming, joking messages ... and she had a voice that can only be described as ‘plummy’,” he said. Grant sued the newspaper for libel and won. Challenged about whether he had hard evidence, Grant acknowledged he was speculating. “But ... I’d love to hear what the Daily Mail or the Sunday Mail’s explanation of what that source was if it wasn’t phone hacking,” he said. The Mail on Sunday said in a statement said that it “utterly refutes” Grant’s suggestion it had hacked his phone and described his comments as “smears.” Over two and a half hours of testimony, Grant — by turns charming and censorious — described years of tabloid pursuit that began after his breakthrough hit, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” in 1994. Incidents included a mysterious breakin at his apartment during which nothing was stolen. Descriptions of the apartment later appeared in a tabloid newspaper. He also said an article published earlier this year in The Sun and Daily Express about his visit to a hospital emergency room was “a gross intrusion of my privacy.” “I think no one would expect their medical records
to be made public or to be appropriated by newspapers for commercial profit,” he said. “That is fundamental to our British sense of decency.” And he said paparazzi had hounded Tinglan Hong, the mother of Grant’s baby daughter, despite the actor’s efforts to keep his paternity secret. He said he did not attend the baby’s birth in late September, but the next day, “I couldn’t resist a quick visit.” “There seems to have been a leak from the hospital,” Grant said. “They even knew the fake name she had checked into the hospital under.” Grant had initially refused to confirm the baby was his, but earlier this month released a statement acknowledging it. He told the inquiry that the statement — intended in part to rebuff claims he had “jilted” Hong, with whom he remains friendly — had been composed during a phone call with his publicist while he was on a film set in Germany. “It was not ideal circumstances,” Grant said. “I was dressed as a cannibal at the time.” Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry into media ethics in response to an evolving scandal over phone hacking in Britain. Murdoch shut down the discredited News of the World tabloid in July after evidence emerged that it had routinely eavesdropped on the voice mails of public figures, celebrities and even crime victims in its search for scoops. The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to the way the media in Britain are regulated. Grant, who has become an outspoken campaigner against press intrusion, called for a media code of ethics and tougher regulation. “There has been a section of our press that has been allowed to become toxic over the past 20 or 30 years,” he said, urging Britain to find the courage to stand up to tabloid “bullies.” Grant is one of a string of high-profile witnesses, including actress Sienna Miller and author J.K. Rowling, who will testify about how they were followed, photographed, entrapped and harassed by journalists from Britain’s tabloids, which collectively sell millions of copies a day. The first witnesses Monday were the parents of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, whose mobile phone voice mails were hacked after she disappeared in 2002. Her mother told the inquiry that she believed her missing 13 year old was still alive once she reached the girl’s previously full voice mailbox. Sally Dowler said when she could finally leave a message on Milly’s voice mail weeks after the girl disappeared, she shouted: “She’s picked up the voice mails! ... She’s alive!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Daily Beacon • 7
Vols focusing on Wildcats, not bowl game Matt Dixon Sports Editor Tennessee and Kentucky fans don’t need any reminding that the Volunteers have a winning streak over the Wildcats that spans more than a quarter-century. But when UT (5-6, 1-6 SEC) travels to the Commonwealth state for the regular-season finale of both teams, the Vols’ 26-game winning streak, the longest in the country, won’t mean a thing, said Derek Dooley. “I know a lot of people are going to want to try to change the focus away from Kentucky and to other things like streaks and bowls and all that,” Dooley said. “But it’s so important that our team takes the same approach they did last week, and then they take the approach during the game that they did against Vanderbilt because, like every SEC game, it’s going to be hard. It’s on the road. They played Georgia to the wire (19-10, last Saturday) and it’s their last home game.” Last week, the Vols won their last home game of the season, a 27-21 overtime victory over in-state rival Vanderbilt. The win over the Commodores kept UT’s bowl hopes alive, and a win over the Wildcats (4-7, 16) would ensure postseason play for the Vols. “You don’t really play to go to a bowl,” Dooley said. “You play to beat the team you are playing. It’s important to understand what is out there to motivate you a little bit. When it gets tough, you have to be able to show a little grit and the ability to persevere when it gets tough.” It’s been a tough season for UT with key losses and injures to many of the team’s best players, including sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray, who returned last week from a broken right thumb on his throwing hand and provided a spark UT desperately needed. UK coach Joker Phillips believes the Vols’ record isn’t a true indicator of what kind of team UT is. “If you look at Tennessee’s losses, they’ve lost to No. 1 (LSU), No. 2 (Alabama), No. 3 (Arkansas), No. 13 (Georgia), No. 14 (South Carolina) and then-No. 16 (Florida),” Phillips said. “So still a good team.” Like many SEC contests, Phillips believes the game will come down to which team has more success on the ground and avoids turnovers, something the Wildcats didn’t do in UT’s 24-10 victory in Knoxville
last season. “The thing it comes down to is who can run the ball, who can protect the ball,” Phillips said. “Last year, we didn’t protect the ball. We had our opportunities. We let the ball get away from us a couple of times. In the end, it doesn’t give you a chance to win big games, especially on the road.” Success running the ball hasn’t been either team’s strong suit this year, especially for the Vols. Senior tailback Tauren Poole, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, has just 661 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season. But last week against Vanderbilt, Poole had one of his best games of the year, running for a season-high 107 yards and a touchdown. “I’m going to attack this week of practice just like I did last week,” Poole said. “I took last week of practice like I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want Kentucky to be my last game as a Volunteer.” With Bray’s thumb still not at 100 percent, UT used the pistol formation, with Bray taking snaps in the backfield and not under center against the Commodores, and the result was a better running game. UT is expected to do much of the same on Saturday against Kentucky, which Poole prefers opposed to a traditional formation. “It allows me to be more patient,” Poole said. “It allows me to see the holes a lot faster and that’s exactly what happened.” Defensively, the Vols face a Kentucky offense that has struggled all season, averaging just 16.4 points and only 263.6 yards of offense per game. UT linebacker Curt Maggitt, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week after his performance against Vanderbilt, understands what’s at stake for the Vols. “I know this game has a lot on the line,” Maggitt said. “I’m ready to put it all on the line for the players next to me and the seniors.” Despite UT being a favorite by odds makers for the first time all year in an SEC game, the task of extending its winning streak over the Wildcats as well as extending its season an extra game won’t be an easy one. “We’ve got a big challenge and we’ll see if we can George Richardson • The Daily Beacon live up to it,” Dooley said. “If we can, people will be feeling pretty good. If we can’t, it’ll be kind of a disap- Tyler Bray avoids a sack during a game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Nov. 19. Just like last season, the Vols go into the final game of the season against pointing end.” Kickoff is at 12:21 p.m. and the game will be tele- Kentucky looking for a win to become bowl eligible. vised on the SEC Network.
8 • The Daily Beacon
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Blue Devils wear down Vols, 77-67 The Associated Press
FIRST PLACE: 46-14
SECOND PLACE: 45-15
Matt Dixon Sports Editor Tennessee 27 - Kentucky 10 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 34- Arkansas 20
Preston Peeden Managing Ed. Tennessee 24 - Kentucky 14 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 24- Arkansas 17
3 4 5 5
THIRD PLACE: 44-16 Brent Harkins Ad Sales Tennessee 27 - Kentucky 0 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 24 - Arkansas 28
FOURTH PLACE: 43-17 Will Abrams Copy Editor Tennessee 31 - Kentucky 14 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 31 - Arkansas 28
FIFTH PLACE: 41-19 Robbie Hargett Chief Copy Editor Tennessee 28 - Kentucky 17 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 28 - Arkansas 17
FIFTH PLACE: 41-19 Clay Seal Asst. Sports Editor Tennessee 35 - Kentucky 10 Alabama - Auburn South Carolina - Clemson Georgia - Georgia Tech LSU 45- Arkansas 31
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Austin Rivers scored 18 points, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly had 17 each, and No. 6 Duke pulled away in the second half to beat Tennessee 77-67 in the first round of the Maui Invitational on Monday. Duke (5-0) improved to 13-0 all-time in Maui, allowing Tennessee to stay close well into the second half before wearing the young Volunteers down with its deep and versatile lineup. Mason Plumlee had 13 rebounds and Andre Dawkins added 10 points for the Blue Devils, who move on to Tuesday’s semifinals against No. 15 Michigan, which knocked off No. 8 Memphis. Tennessee (2-1) is in rebuilding mode after the NCAA fiasco with coach Bruce Pearl, but still managed to keep up with Duke for a while. The Vols just couldn’t make shots at the rim early or from the perimeter the whole game, missing all eight of their 3-point attempts. Jeronne Maymon led Tennessee
with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Blue Devils have been the kings of the Maui, winning titles in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2007. Coach Mike Krzyzewski called this year’s team his most inexperienced group headed into Maui after losing its top three scorers from last season: ACC player of the year Nolan Smith, 2010 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The Blue Devils are young but talented, with a heralded class of five freshman headed by Rivers, the consensus top recruit in the nation and son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Duke has already been through a string of tough opening games, beating Belmont, Presbyterian, Michigan State and Davidson. The win over the Spartans, last Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, gave Krzyzewski his 903rd win, passing his mentor and former coach Bobby Knight for most alltime in men’s Division I. The Blue Devils kept rolling against Tennessee behind Rivers.
The freshman was out of control at times in the first half, making just 1 of 5 shots from inside the arc. He was good outside the 3-point line, though, hitting 3 of 4, including a pair late in the half that put the Blue Devils up 3933. Rivers started to hit a few shots inside the arc in the second half and dropped in another 3 as the Blue Devils stretched a 2-point lead midway through the half up to 13. While Duke always seems to have talented to new players, about the only thing the same at Tennessee are those bright orange uniforms. The Vols are under new direction this season after Cuonzo Martin replaced Bruce Pearl, who was fired in March after admitting that he lied to NCAA investigators. Tennessee lost forward Tobias Harris and guard Scotty Hopson to the NBA draft, four other seniors who saw regular playing time and will rely on five new scholarship players — not to mention new offensive and defensive schemes.
Lady Vols wins share of SEC title David Cobb Staff Writer The objective was simple for the No. 14 UT volleyball squad this weekend: Beat Arkansas and LSU and secure a share of the SEC crown. They completed the objective, but the mission is not over. The Lady Vols defeated the Razorbacks 25-21, 25-17, 25-21 on Friday night. On Sunday they performed in a similar fashion as they swept LSU, the SEC’s western division leader (25-19, 25-18, 25-15). With the victories the team improved to 26-3 (18-1 SEC) and 12-0 at home. “We take each game one step at a time,” sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Robinson said after the victory on Sunday. “LSU was just one more game. One more game in our way of getting what we want.” What the Lady Vols want is an SEC championship. And they can achieve that goal with a victory over rival Kentucky on Wednesday. “Our eyes are on an outright (championship),” UT coach Rob Patrick said. “When we went into the locker room it wasn’t some big celebration.” After falling to the Wildcats in a five-set
thriller on Oct. 12, the Lady Vols have rolled off 11 consecutive victories to set up Wednesday night’s 7 p.m. rematch at Thompson-Boling Arena. “We’re going to enjoy this tonight, and then tomorrow morning we’re going to get on Kentucky,” Patrick said. “This team, they just want to win. Whether the conference title is on the line or not, they want to win.” Robinson led the team with 31 kills over the weekend. She chimed in with a similar perspective about the season finale against the Wildcats. “I’m so excited,” Robinson said. “I can’t wait to get payback. Tomorrow when we wake up, our eyes are on Kentucky. “We want to win the SEC outright.” Robinson’s emergence as a leader is one reason why Patrick believes his team has been able to maintain its success this season. “Kelsey (Robinson) is our team,” Patrick said. “She makes us go. Our team’s eyes are on her. She is somebody that has a huge impact on our team.” As the Lady Vols team captain, Robinson leads the SEC in both kills and service aces. She was honored as the
National Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association earlier this season. “I’ve come from programs where I’ve had to have that role so I’m kind of used to it,” Robinson said. “I love that pressure situation. I love knowing the ball is coming to me. I kind of take on that role and I have great support with all of my teammates. They make it really easy for me to be able to do that.” For Robinson the expectations don’t stop with just an SEC title. “Coming into the season we really wanted to win the SEC and go far in the tournament,” Robinson said. “To go to the final four or all the way was our ultimate goal.” Like Robinson, Patrick believes his team’s capabilities reach beyond just the SEC title. “They’re competing for a higher seed in the NCAA tournament. We want to get as high of a seed as we can so that we can have a better chance of going further in the tournament.” The NCAA tournament field will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 27 with tournament play getting under way on Dec. 1.