How the economy saved Christmas

With the downturn in the economy, the holiday shopping season may seem daunting and nearly impossible to complete. Yet, I think you’ll find that even with the increasingly tight money situation and the Christmas and Hanukkah shopping difficulties caused by the economy, the quality of your holidays will increase exponentially.

Sustainability means progress

In early September, Portland State was awarded $25 million, the largest grant in PSU history, to promote sustainability. Yet, can this grant compete with the “campus sustainability leader,” Oregon State? I think it can. PSU defines sustainability as “meeting the economic, social and environmental needs of the present without compromising the similar needs of future generations.” So, hopefully, with this impressive grant, PSU will be able to prove that its motto, “Let knowledge serve the city,” is totally correct. With this grant, we cannot only be located in one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the country, but we can be a part of it.

Money can’t buy change

Around the world, there are countries striving to become world powers. Yet how many world powers do we know that have strict limitations on the fundamental ability of someone to go to college? Not many. Currently, Saudi Arabia is among those few countries. Despite their obvious setbacks, Saudi Arabia is planning on opening the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which will be home to one of the world’s largest supercomputers.

Big Brother is watching you

George Orwell’s 1984 has many concepts and jargon that have transferred over into popular culture, such as the show Big Brother, for example. We may joke about it, but for some reason our society is beginning to look more like the satirical model. We have been gradually letting go of our liberties for, as our government would say, the safety of our nation. Now even our city has taken one more step toward having a real-life Big Brother watch over our shoulder. The Portland Police Department is testing new cars with cameras to monitor car activity throughout the city. Everyone’s activity.

Copyright control gone awry

In October 2007, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis in Duluth, Minn. passed on a $222,000 fine to Jammie Thomas for sharing 24 songs on Kazaa. Last month, however, the judgment was overturned and a call for appeal was initiated. Why did it take the judge an entire year to decide that the judgment was out of hand? Because copyright control, especially when it comes to music, has gone totally out of control. According to Billboard, Jammie Thomas had made 1,702 songs available for free download, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) pursued only 24 of those songs. It’s no secret that file sharing without permission is illegal and punishable. Most of us saw Napster go down in its blaze of glory.

Double jeopardy

Is justice achieved if a person is to be punished for the rest of their life for a crime that they’ve already been punished for? Of course it’s not.

Political waste

Who would you rather watch a football game with: Barack Obama or John McCain? Who would make a better schoolteacher for your children? These are just a sample of some of the ridiculous polls that are circulating about our presidential candidates. With the election just five weeks away, these kinds of absurd polls are distracting us from the most important question: Who will make the best president? At a time when we should be using polls to evaluate who would make the better leader of our country, the Internet and news sources have been overtaken by political garbage. Would you have one of your football buddies be president of the free world? Not many of us would.

Fighting the book budget

The first year of college brings many new surprises. Between roommates, unusual professors and campus food, you would think that the shock ends there; that is, until you see your first term textbook bill.

Education first, sports second

In this past month, Vikings head football coach Jerry Glanville has been getting a lot of flak for choosing to suspend at least eight scholarships belonging to his football players. Yet it doesn’t seem fair to judge him so harshly without knowing exactly what happened to these students or Glanville’s true reasons for canceling the scholarships.

Virtually learning

Most colleges offer many systems to help students who either live too far away or just simply have a hard time making it to campus. They go by many names, such as distance learning, online classes and now the virtual classroom. But what if we could take not just some, but all of our classes online? Here in the Portland area, Reynolds High School is offering the option starting next fall. If such a system moved to universities, it could be disastrous.