Introducing Nuclear Power

By LORD HILTON OF BANKSIDE

Nature Vol. 262: July 15, 1976   

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PHYSICIST AND AUTHOR WALTER PATTERSON’S book is written in two parts. The first is excellent; I have never read a better simple explanation of the theory and practice of nuclear reactors and their ancillary plants. I am, however, less enthusiastic about the second part of the book, dealing with the hazards of nuclear power. It seems to me that, in his anxiety to make a case which is real, Patterson may be guilty of lack of balance.

A few of his statements throw some doubt on his accounts of nuclear power shortcomings. He brings up the October 1957 Windscale Fire, the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain’s history, and alludes in a paragraph “the dramatic gesture of pouring away milk” by British citizens due to radioactive poisoning. I find this incident to be romanticized; I had left the UK Atomic Energy Authority at the time of the incident and knew nothing of any discussions that took place but it seems to me that companies would have to be foolish to sell milk and lay themselves open to the unfounded accusation of selling radioactive products. His italic paragraphs about the Enrico Fermi fast reactor and mention of the “China syndrome” are hardly a fair argument against the fast reactors which are being designed today and which use a ceramic and not a metallic fuel.

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A schematic representation of the “China syndrome”, a hypothetical sequence of events following the meltdown of a nuclear reactor, in which the core melts through its containment structure and deep into the earth.
Adapted from Higgins News Network
The book does not emphasize the world’s real need for nuclear power. The rate of usage of nonrenewable natural resources does not increase ex­ponentially to a sharp peak and sud­denly fall away to nothing; it conforms to a wave-shaped curve so that at some point in time growth becomes steadily slower until a peak is reached. Thereafter, growth becomes negative (that is, the rate of usage diminishes). It is highly improbable that renewable energy resources (wave power, solar energy and wind power) can make up the deficit of the shift from fossil fuels alone; without the help of nuclear power, it is almost certain that standards of living will fall.

Nuclear power does give rise to some hazards but nothing in this world is absolutely safe. Nuclear power plants can be made as safe or safer than very many other industrial plants provided that engineers are not over-ambitious in extrapolating either the design para­meters or the size of the construction programs. With these reservations, I would sooner accept the hazards of nuclear power than the risk of an energy famine.

The first part of Walter Patterson’s book is an outstandingly good intro­duction to nuclear power for the in­telligent non-expert. As a reminder of their responsibilities, Part 2 should be compulsory reading for those men who have responsibilities in the nuclear power industry; but its lack of balance may give a wrong impression to the lay-reader.


 

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Lord Hinton of Bankside is Deputy Chairman of the Electricity Supply Research Council and was formerly Managing Director (Industrial Group) of the UKAEA and Chairman of the UK Central Electricity Generating Board.

 

@1976 Nature Publishing Group

This article is a re-mediation of the original article published in Nature. The original can be found here: 262237b0

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Affirmative Action: A Moral Injustice

According to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics, the percentage of whites currently unemployed was significantly lower in comparison to other races such as Hispanics or African Americans (5). This is evidence that reform is needed in America to help expedite the progress of minorities in America to be up to par with white citizens, who currently hold the majority of high positions in both the private and public sectors. Affirmative Action has been a major controversy in America since it was enacted in 1960 by President Lyndon Johnson in the midst of the civil rights movement. Because of affirmative action, minorities receive many benefits to help level the competition experienced in the job promotions process, the job application process, and the college admission process. Many argue that affirmative action is an essential requirement in America today to assure that minorities are compensated for the centuries of discrimination they experienced during America’s racially prejudiced and sexist history. Although one cannot forget this period in time, according to today’s business ethics, affirmative action is not morally acceptable.

First off, ethics is the philosophy that deals with how to properly act to ensure decent morals. . According to Michael Josephson, a graduate of UCLA and founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, business ethics are a set of ethics and codes that business and organizations follow. By following business ethics, an organization ensures that it is efficient as possible, preserves the rights of employees and students, maximizes profits, withholds responsibilities promised to shareholders, and ensures a positive public image (Josephson). Any business looking to become successful has a standard of business ethics that it uses and follows on all levels of business. A businesses set of ethics that it bases its company after is comparable to that of a constitution that a country decides to base its self of off. The planned set of ethics and codes is the law of the “land” in accordance to all business decisions. Once a set of codes and standards are enacted, it is the businesses responsibility to follow through with them.

Business ethics require an ability to see from different perspectives. A business must determine of how their decisions can affect their economic output, employees, public image, and every other aspect of the business world. By taking all of these variables into account, a business is ensured to make the best decision possible for the organization. For example, an oil company looking to utilize new drilling techniques should first determine how these new techniques will affect the environment. Stakeholders are the main concern of an organization, being the main reason for most business decisions (Josephson). According to Dr. Marjaana Kopperi, graduate of the University of Helsinki, stakeholders are the competitors, suppliers, employees, customers, the community, and the government that a business deals with on a regular basis. These stakeholders directly affect or are directly affected by the corporations decisions and success. By tending to the stakeholders’ notions, a business can ensure maximized profits while also ensuring that their way of business practice is ethical. Kopperi explains how business ethics have changed in recent decades, due to an influx of globalization. Businesses today must not only think about how their decisions affect surrounding communities, but also the global market. As more nations develop and more companies embrace globalization, business ethics become more widespread ideals.

Essentially, there are three different parts in association with business ethics. These include personal, professional, and corporate (Josephson). Personal or often referred to as micro, deals with the ethics of what essentially is best for the CEO or highest positioned individual in an organization. Professional deals with what is morally best for the stakeholders and shareholders in the company. Lastly, corporate is involved with the organization’s market, essentially the global market in most cases. The most important factor in business is to prepare for every possible consequence (Josephson). Before committing to a solution or idea, it is important to first deeply evaluate it, gathering all the facts and determining the impact the decision will have on stakeholders and shareholders. Also, it is important for an institution to go through the several options and alternate routes when it comes to making important decisions. A company must have a decisive leader that adequately weighs the pros and cons of every possible solution. Following these ethics will ultimately guarantee a business has created a moral, fair, and productive institution.

According to business ethics, affirmative action is not morally acceptable because it prevents an organization from attaining the most deserving employees. Because the use of affirmative action ensures that minorities are benefited more than whites, a minority with lesser capability has a better chance of receiving a scholarship, job, or admittance to a college than a white individual who has proven they are more capable of providing more to an organization. According to Anita Allen,  an African-American professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduate of Harvard Law School, affirmative action has been known to exclude many deserving white students from attending their dream college (256). After Allen graduated high school, she applied to New College of Florida and surprisingly was admitted despite her lackluster test scores. Allen recognizes that because she was admitted, there was a white individual who did not get admitted, even though their grades were better and they were more qualified to attend (256). Since a person of lesser value can be admitted into an institution solely based on race, the institution as a whole can consequently suffer. A  less capable individual can be expected to cause more trouble than a more capable individual, therefore leading to a less efficient organization. According to Milton Friedman, economist and longtime professor at the University of Chicago, “the social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits” (qtd. in Kopperi). It is ethical of a business to ensure it never turns down the most capable individuals, as it will interfere with profits and productivity.

Another obstacle that affirmative action can create is tension in the workplace. If employees or students believe that a hire or admittance was made solely based on race, a strain can be created amongst the stakeholders in a business. Employees will begin to believe that effort and ability to complete essential tasks have no leverage when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. If employees are not working as hard as they are capable of, then essentially a business is not as productive as it can or should be. Affirmative action can also cause minority workers to feel a sense of inferiority to their white associates because they have been given an advantage due to their race. According to Mark Farrell of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, affirmative action can lead to “debilitating doubt” which causes fellow employees or students to look at minority employees or students as a product “of a policy and not a merit” (33). If minorities are led to believe they are just a product of affirmative action, they will start to consider that their work is not held to the usual standard that most other workers are, leading to less worry and effort over how well their labor is done.

In reference of business ethics, affirmative action is not morally acceptable because it is not fair or just. This is because undeserving individuals are receiving positions or admittance. In the business world, the best man for the job is the deserving heir of the position. In affirmative action, there is a smaller chance of this happening. Affirmative action is used today to help lessen the gap between minorities and whites. According to Leo Groarke, a professor at the University of Windsor, minorities are given an unfair advantage over whites (207-8). Groarke explains that affirmative action is implemented in today’s society because of the centuries of oppression that minorities experienced (207). It was not until recent decades that the majority of the oppression halted and America was turned into a more fair and just society. Today, young minorities are still given the advantages even though they did not experience the oppression that their ancestors had once experienced. This is an unfair advantage. Business ethics imply that all stakeholders should be given the same opportunities (Josephson). Because affirmative action is still in place, the business world is left unfair as many minorities wrongly benefit from it.

Whites also experience another disadvantage. Because of the actions of their ancestors against minorities, many whites must suffer the consequences. Whites face a critical disadvantage when it comes to being accepted into a position or university. Even if they have proven they are the best individual  for the job, a minority can be given the position over them. Andrew Valls, a political science professor at Oregon State University, argues that it is not morally acceptable if another person must be penalized because of something their ethnic ancestors did (302-3). This is referring to today’s white population being disadvantaged for the decades of social injustice against minorities that their ancestors took part in. Affirmative action based solely on race is unacceptable and unfair. This gives an unjust advantage to specific races in what should be a “free” job market, where positions are open to the most deserving individuals. Groarke also argues that affirmative action requires young whites to give compensation for their ancestor’s deeds (303). Whites today are being wrongly punished as they are being forced to give up their benefits even though they were not the cause of the disparities that minorities are now faced with.

Some critics might argue that according to business ethics, affirmative action is morally acceptable because minorities as a whole are well-deserving of benefits such as affirmative action. They conclude that it is only fair for minorities to be given advantages to help reconcile the bad karma created from slavery, segregation, and discrimination that many minorities have experienced in their lifetime. This is not true though, due to affirmative action causing an unequal business world for employees and students. Putting emphasis on one’s race instead of one’s ability creates an unjust atmosphere. Business ethics stress the importance of equal opportunities among employers and students. It is the businesses main priority to put productivity and quality first. If race is seen as more important than ability, then an organization sacrifices both productivity and quality while also proceeding with unfair practices that ultimately hinders an organizations success. It is only morally acceptable to abandon the dated ideals of affirmative action, as they go against the standards of business ethics.

If an organization or university is looking to produce at the highest level possible, it is only sensible to discontinue the use of affirmative action and other race-based policies. As disgusting and horrid the use of racial discrimination and its by-products were, implementing policies that promote “an eye for an eye” does not fit into an efficient business plan. Affirmative action is not a moral policy in reference to business ethics. It is not the business worlds responsibility to ensure fairness in the world, but it is their responsibility to constantly push the envelope of proficiency and create a competitive market. All affirmative action does is halt this process and cause controversies. If the government wants to ensure that minorities receive the same opportunities as whites receive, policies involving primary education and wealth disparities should be enacted. By dealing with the problem at its root, there is a greater chance of solving it.

 

Works Cited

Allen, Anita L. “Was I Entitled or Should I Apologize? Affirmative Action Going Forward.” Journal of Ethics: An International Philosophical Review 15.3 (2011): 256. Philosopher’s Index. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. “Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2012.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Farrel, Mark. “Unintended Consequences: Affirmative Action’s Impact on Higher Education.” Hilo.Hawaii.edu. University of Hawaii at Hilo. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

Groarke, Leo, 1953-. “Affirmative Action As A Form Of Restitution.” Journal Of Business Ethics 9.(1990): 207-8. Business Abstracts with Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Josephson, Michael. “Components of an Ethical Decision: Commitment, Consciousness, and Competency.” Business Ethics and Leadership. Josephson Institute, 3 Dec. 2010. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

Kopperi, Marjaana. “EJBO – Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies.”EJBO – Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies. EJBO, 12 Nov. 2007. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

Valls, Andrew. “The Libertarian Case For Affirmative Action.” Social Theory And Practice: An International And Interdisciplinary Journal Of Social Philosophy 25.2 (1999): 302-3. Philosopher’s Index. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

 

Vegan Diets: The Unhealthy Truth

According to Anjali Sareen of The Huffington Post, the number of vegetarians in America have “doubled in three years” accounting for 2.5 percent of the population. Veganism is a trendy choice of diet today as more and more celebrities and athletes promote the lifestyle to the average American. Many turn to veganism to become healthier individuals or to prove that humans can live healthily without the need to consume animals and animal by-products. The diet consists of completely avoiding the consumption of  meats and foods that come from animal by-products. A vegan diet incorporates mainly vegetables, fruits, and soy based products such as tofu. Although the vast majority of individuals see vegan diets as one of the healthiest diets today, this is truly not so. Vegan diets are unhealthy diets.

An unhealthy diet is a diet that causes abnormalities or unnatural differences in an individual’s body. These abnormalities can differ from nutritional deficiencies to anemia and cancer. The diet is directly responsible for heightened to diseases and strokes.

Vegan diets are an example of an unhealthy diet because of the high sodium that many of the vegetarian foods on the market contain. The plant-based faux-meats that the overwhelming majority of vegans consume have very high amounts of sodium; much higher than authentic meat. These imitation meats are usually the most convenient foods for vegans, as they are typically frozen and can be prepared very quickly. The majority of super markets now feature some sort of aisle dedicated towards imitation meats to appeal to the ever-growing vegan population. According to Michelle Kerns, graduate of UC Davis and columnist for SFGate, soy burgers contain approximately four hundred milligrams of sodium which is twenty-seven percent of the daily recommended allowance. This is problematic to many as roughly ninety percent of Americans consume more sodium than they should (Kerns).

Having a high-sodium diet such as a vegan diet can lead to many troubling health conditions. Many severe conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease derive from too much salt in one’s diet. Japan has a comparable diet to those of vegans, as they eat mainly rice, soy based foods, and do not consume a substantial amount of beef as it is harder to raise cattle on the island. Having one of the highest salt intakes in the world, Japan’s main medical issues are high blood pressure and strokes (Moyer). As veganism is a fairly new phenomenon in America, many do not realize the dangers of its high sodium diet, but can learn from comparable diets such as the Japanese.

Often categorized as a super-food, soy is a major staple of a vegan’s diet as it contains some of the proteins that they miss out on due to lack of meat consumption. Soy however, has been linked towards directly causing change in hormonal balance and cognitive performance. According to Professor Michael Lokuruka, a senior lecturer in food science at Egerton University, soy contains isoflavones which is a weak form of estrogen that can have drug-like effects on one’s body. Approximately one hundred grams of soy contains the same amount of estrogen as one birth control pill (10).

A diet consisting of a significant amount of soy can alter hormonal, causing infertility in both men and women (Lokuruka 11). According to a study conducted in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, a weekly high-intake of tofu can have a negative impact on the elderly, causing a higher risk in dementia and a poorer cognitive functioning performance. Being a soy-based food product, estrogen is also prevalent in tofu which has been linked towards causing “worse cognitive function and increased risk for dementia in the elderly” (Xu, Xiao, Rahardjo, and Hogervost 5).

In addition to these side effects of a vegan diet, there are many deficiencies that are caused due to the lack of consumption of meat and dairy that the body yearns for. According to Chris Kresser, a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and practitioner of integrated medicine, without a regular intake of meat, fish, and dairy products, nutrients such as calcium, iron, omega-3 acids, vitamin A, D, B12, calcium and zinc. Kresser indicates that to get the same amount of calcium that is present in an eight ounce glass of milk, one would have to consume sixteen servings of spinach. Consuming that amount of spinach to attain a standard quantity of calcium is not realistic. The same goes for iron, where studies have shown that a vegan diet can reduce iron absorption in the body by a staggering eighty-five percent. This just goes to show how vegan diets are insufficient in many of the nutrients the body needs to flourish.

The side effects of malnourishment in such vital nutrients that vegan diets do not provide can be detrimental to the body. According to a study conducted in Poland, deficiency in vitamin B-12 can lead to “ataxia, psychoses, paresthesia, disorientation, dementia, [and] mood or motor disturbances” (Madry, Lisowska, Greboweic, and Walkowiak 2). Research also shows that with a heightened consumption of soy isoflavones comes a heightened risk of breast cancer. Many breast cancer survivors are directed to stay away from soy consumption, as it may cause an imbalance in their fragile body sytstem (Lukuraka 11).

Getting to Know the 2017 NBA draft: Freshman Edition

As an undergraduate student at an NCAA university and collegiate basketball fan many fans and I are anxiously awaiting the 2017 NBA draft coming up on June 22nd, 2017. Although these prospects have declared for the draft they still have the opportunity until the NBA combine in May to withdraw and return to their respective colleges. The draft engages many basketball fans from all around the world, but many fans lack knowledge on who these individuals are. These young men are making tremendous strides at only 19 or 20 years old. Not only, are these some of the top ten recruits for this years’ NBA draft, but they only completed their freshman collegiate basketball seasons. I remember after my freshman year of college I could barely make my way around campus and these young men are on their way to be potential millionaires. These profiles will feature five of the top ten NBA prospects key attributes and their journey to the NBA draft.

1. Markelle Fultz, University of Washington

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Markelle Fultz from Marlboro, Maryland is currently the number one prospect for the NBA draft. He completed his freshman basketball season at the University of Washington Huskies where he played point guard and averaged 23 points per game. Although Fultz was in college for only eight months he had an astounding work ethic that was noticed by not only his peers, but his coaches and professors. He remains very humble around his family and friends and is very close in his faith. He is projected to be drafted to the Boston Celtics.

2. Josh Jackson, University of Kansas

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Josh Jackson played for the Kansas Jayhawks for only his freshman season. He is from Detroit, Michigan and played as a 6’8 small forward and shooting guard for the Jayhawks. Jackson averaged 16.3 points per game and is projected to be number two drafted to the Phoenix Suns. Recently, he has signed with a former NBA player B.J. Armstrong to be his agent of Wasserman Media Group. This renowned sports marketing and talent agency represents NBA players such as Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. It is safe to say Jackson is surrounded by some elite players by signing with this organization.

3. Lonzo Ball, University of California, Los Angeles

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Lonzo Ball competed his first season at with the UCLA Brains as a point guard. Ball is from Anaheim, California and is currently projected to be drafted to the LA Lakers where he can remain close to home with his family. On average Lonzo had 14.6 points per game and played about 35 minutes per game. His father LaVar Ball has been engaging in podcasts and radio talks speaking on behalf of Lonzo that could affect his chances to stay in LA or limit his draft process in the NBA. Recently, ESPN has reported that the Lakers are “enamored” with Ball and think he would be a great asset for their team.

4. De’Aaron Fox, University of Kentucky

Arkansas v Kentucky

De’Aaron Fox from Houston, Texas played for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. If you are a college basketball fan everyone knows how well directed this program is under Coach John Calipari. He has one of the highest winning records in college basketball and the highest in his conference, Southeastern Conference (SEC). Many of the athletes from the Kentucky program spend one to two seasons at Kentucky and achieve great accomplishments in the NBA. For example, Devin Booker and Karl Anthony Towns drafted last June 2016 were both first-round picks and continue to be assets to their NBA teams. As Fox enters the draft he has expectations placed on him as a Wildcat. This season, De’Aaron Fox averaged 16.7 points per game as a freshman guard and helped lead his team to win the SEC Tournament, but his jump shot is hindering his ranking as point guard against his competitors Fultz and Ball. Although they did not make it as far as they wanted in NCAA March Madness tournament he believes they gave it their all and these will be his brothers for life as he stated in a post-game video.

5. Jarrett Allen, University of Texas at Austin

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Jarrett Allen born and raised in Round Rock, Texas completed his freshman season at the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns. He is known as one of the “Fro Bros,” along with his Longhorn and USA teammate James Banks by many fans. Allen at 6’11 played as the Center this season and used his height to bring depth to team. Although the Horns did not do as well as they wanted under the leadership of Coach Shaka Smart, Allen stood out amongst his teammates. He averaged 13.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is projected number 10 on the 2017 Mock Draft to the Sacramento Kings. Even though the season was not outstanding Allen has potential to grow and develop as he makes his way to the NBA following in the steps of former Longhorn, Kevin Durant who declared after his freshman year at UT.

These five prospects are following the footsteps of other NBA athletes, such as Anthony Davis or Kyrie Irving who completed a year in college known as the “one and done.” Although these freshmen have experienced very little in their collegiate they have the potential for the NBA. It is still very early to tell if their positions in the draft are set but we will find out on May 16th when the NBA draft is set. All five of these top NBA prospects will continue to develop and make their mark as they prepare for the draft in June.

Note: I have decided to write this article because I want to give a younger perspective on the NBA draft as a female writer. The Bleacher Report features primarily an older male viewpoint and I think it is important to receive all perspectives in an event that is viewed by millions.

Works Cited

Bedore, Gary. (2017, April 17). 2017 NBA Draft: KU’s Josh Jackson signs with an agent, to enter NBA Draft. Kansas City Star. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article145017264.html

King, Jason. (2017, March 1). Markelle Fultz Is the Big Man on Campus 2.0: Inside the Making of a Superstar. Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2695333-markelle-fultz-is-the-big-man-on-campus-20-inside-the-making-of-a-superstar.

Mazlish, J.Z. (2017, March 28). De’Aaron Fox is a jump shot away from being the NBA’s next great point guard. SBNation. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from http://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/28/15077256/deaaron-fox-kentucky-basketball-highlights-nba-draft-ucla

Wasserman, Jonathan. (2017, April 24). NBA Mock Draft After the Declaration Deadline. Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2704883-nba-mock-draft-after-the-declaration-deadline

Ward, Ryan. (2017, April 24). 2017 NBA Draft: LaVar Ball’s Antics Reportedly Not Impacting Lonzo Ball’s Draft Stock. Lakers Nation. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from http://www.lakersnation.com/2017-nba-draft-lavar-balls-antics-reportedly-not-impacting-lonzo-balls-draft-stock/2017/04/24/

Falling for a Fad Diet

Losing weight. It’s what every celebrity accomplishes so easily, what every other woman dreams of, and what every trashy tabloid profits off of. From a very young age, we are all programmed to think that there is only one acceptable type of body

tabloid weight loss
Collage of tabloid weight loss headlines

but a thousand ways to acquire this body. Magazines and publications trash the idea of “fad diets,” but turn right around and encourage the best juice cleanse Gwyneth Paltrow is doing these days.

What is a fad diet?

A fad diet is exactly what it says it is. It’s specific (often outrageous, drastic, or flat out dangerous) diet or eating routine that comes around, makes waves for a bit, and eventually fades in popularity. In the meantime, news of weight loss success spreads like wildfire. The thirst for a lower body fat percentage can’t be quenched fast enough, and motivation skyrockets. Humans are inherently impatient. We crave instant success almost as much as we crave cheeseburgers. So what’s the problem with a fad diet? If it’s fast, efficient, and effective, what’s the big deal?

When we witness it firsthand, the weight loss success of our peers is often too tempting to stay away from. Momentarily, logic is taken over by a spike in motivation and inspiration. The results are right there in front of you! Last spring, my friend began a program called Ideal Protein. This program is focused on a drastic reduction of carbohydrates, and an increase in protein

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Advertisement for Ideal Protein

consumption. At first, I was skeptical. The body needs carbohydrates; they’re not all bad. Obviously everyone could cut down on their sugar intake, but how much is too much? Yet, Ideal Protein coaches are trained to counteract this skepticism. They present the science: This drastic diet change puts the body into a metabolic state referred to as “ketosis.” After the body no longer has enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, the body transitions into this ketogenic state. This metabolic process converts fat stores into ketones, which the body uses for energy instead. Then, the weight falls off. Easy, right? No more pasta, no more bread, no more sugar, period. Losing weight is finally made easy – no carbs, just protein

ideal protein energyand healthy fats. The program makes money through pre-packaged foods that serve as a replacement for food items that are typically carb-heavy, such as chips, pancakes mixes, soups, shake mixes, jello, etc. Every week, the customer purchases 3 foods for every day of the week. The foods usually come out to around $100/week on average. However, the cost is outweighed by the results: 2-3 pounds lost per week is typical. My friend lost 20 pounds in two months.

So of course, I was in. I had never successfully lost weight in my life. I tried eating healthy and exercising religiously, but the slow (or non-apparent) results always left me discouraged until I tried all over again a few months later. It was a neverending cycle, and I was fed up. I always looked down at fad diets with a hefty dose of incredulity, but seeing my friend drop over 10% of her weight in such a short period of time changed my perspective completely.

Before I started the diet, I was so fed up with my appearance. I had reached a tipping point. I would do absolutely anything to lose weight, but I was also impatient. I wanted something that worked efficiently, and quickly. I was that typical “before” picture. Unhappy and clearly trying to make the best of a bad situation.

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First week of diet / Week of weight loss goal achieved

So, the first week of the diet was difficult, but my motivation was higher than it had ever been, so it went by quickly. All I had to do was tell myself that sticking to the diet now would pay off later.

And it did.

I lost 50 pounds over the span of 6 months. This wasn’t an unhealthy rate (sticking right at about 2 pounds/week), but my habits became severely unhealthy. I refused any carbohydrates that came my way, even at social gatherings or university events. Countless times I sat around my friends and drank water as they indulged in free pizza

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The good ‘ol porch of Posse East, where beer is too plentiful

or sandwiches. The only time I ever allowed myself to cheat was at parties, where 3 drinks (without any carbs in my system to soak up the alcohol) put me on the floor. One particularly bad night after a successful week on the diet, I couldn’t even finish one pitcher of Amber Ale before I was blacked out. This wasn’t a facet of a hidden problem or addiction to alcohol. The truth was, I was depriving my body of nutrients that resulted in dangerous situations.

I lost 20% of my body weight that semester. While it seemed like the happiest time of my life, I later realized that watching the number on the scale fall lower and lower became an addictionscale itself. It was the best feeling, but I started to realize it was dangerous. After I reached my goal of 50 pounds in December and decided to quit the diet, I immediately gained water weight from consuming carbs again. My body didn’t know how to react to the introduction of an entire food group that I had cut out for so long. I binged on all of the foods I hadn’t touched for 6 months. The overwhelming plethora of choices available to me made it almost impossible to make responsible, healthy decisions.

Luckily, I didn’t gain the 50 pounds back. I’m working on making healthier decisions overall, but since Ideal Protein, my entire relationship with food has changed–mentally and physically.

The issue with strict diets that cut out specific food groups, or even solid food itself (like a juice cleanse) is that our bodies were not made to live solely on protein, fat, or carbohydrates individually. Taking away certain food groups or drastically restricting food intake changes our metabolism. The human species has survived through famine and droughts. Our bodies have evolved to keep us alive through malnutrition, meaning

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“Why ‘Diets’ Don’t Work & How to Avoid Starvation Mode” by Dr. Axe

our bodies can and will adapt to a starvation trigger. An article in the Washington Post outlines an interview with Traci Mann, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied eating habits, self-control, and dieting for over 20 years. Mann describes how neurological, hormonal, and metabolic changes encompass the 3 major biological factors that affect our bodies while losing weight. “When you are dieting, you actually become more likely to notice food. Basically your brain becomes overly responsive to food, and especially to tasty looking food. But you don’t just notice it — it actually begins to look more appetizing and tempting. It has increased reward value. So the thing you’re trying to resist becomes harder to resist. So already, if you think about it, it’s not fair,” Mann explains as she describes the neurological aspect of dieting. She goes on to describe how hormones that control hunger and fullness are affected by changes in food intake. Thus, in the long run, diets only make us hungrier as we lose the ability to feel full. Lastly, the metabolism slows down as the body adjusts to use calories more efficiently. “Which sounds like a good thing, and would be good thing if you’re starving to death. But it isn’t a good thing if you’re trying to lose weight, because when your body finds a way to run itself on fewer calories there tends to be more leftover, and those get stored as fat, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen,” she says to finalize the biological issues of dieting.

However, the biggest issue within the diet/health community is shaming. Constantly, psychologists, dietitians, and nutritionists go back and forth about the right way to lose weight and be healthy. The problem is that the community making an effort to get healthy suffers the most when one side constantly shames the other. Ketosis, for example, is a metabolic process proven to treat seizure disorders as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Yet, drastic changes in food intake can still be toxic for mental as well as physical health. Now, the most necessary action to be taken is creating an open dialogue for fad diets without faulty motivations like making money (like diet programs Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem) or acquiring a specific body that is deemed essential for happiness (as persuaded by tabloids and media).

Sources:

https://washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/05/04/why-diets-dont-actually-work-according-to-a-researcher-who-has-studied-them-for-decades/?utm_term=.f7b7f23c469f


This long-form piece would be best for Women’s Health. Psychology Today would also possibly be a good venue, but Women’s Health would be best in my opinion since it does include a personal vignette within the article. Women’s Health has a fairly good reputation of promoting healthy lifestyles and not promoting fad diets, although, as this piece describes, it’s easy to fall victim to it. Although men also suffer from body image issues, I feel that women are targeted in tabloids and media, so I feel like this piece is directed more towards a female-identifying audience. I also think that it could be placed in a younger publication like Cosmopolitan or Teen Vogue, where it could portray some of the issues with fad dieting, especially from a college-age point of view. 

“Our Ambition”: Fearless Journalists Who Should be Feared by Misogynists and Respected by the Masses

image of a woman at the head of a table in a board meeting

Lately it’s become evident that while men and women consciously believe themselves to be equal, there’s a cognitive dissonance between one’s conscious beliefs and one’s subconscious actions in our society. The unequal treatment is obvious to women, but to most men it isn’t, and it needs to be called out despite whatever intentions were present. Who’s better to call out misogyny than the very people who have to experience it every day?

Woman at the head of a board meeting asking the men around her, "What do you say, gentlemen - ready for some girltalk?"
‘What do you say, gentlemen – ready for some girltalk?’

Misogyny is described as the dislike of, contempt for, or the ingrained prejudice against women. In most cultures throughout history, women have been seen as the lesser sex as compared to men, who usually had more rights of self than women did. As women were seen as less or below their male counterparts, they were often subjected to belittling and/or patronizing behavior that usually cornered them into stereotypes. Even women themselves were conditioned to believe these stereotypes and became perpetrators in harassing their own gender.

Of course, over the years this behavior has become less and less the norm, and both men and women have come to see themselves as equal to each other in mostly every way. However, as misogyny has been a part of our culture and our very lives for a long time, the “less-ness” of women has been ingrained into too many mindsets and though we may believe we’re equal, many still subconsciously believe otherwise, and it’s going to take constant calling-out to change that.

Many women have taken up that mantle over the years. It formally began with the suffrage movement and evolved as it continued on to present-day, with feminists of all genders pointing out the blatant misogynistic acts committed by people who often don’t realize what they’re doing. Those who do know what they’re doing are all the more subjected to a more fiery and passionate response from the feminist masses. Many institutions in our culture appropriate this ingrained misogyny and help continue this ridiculous mindset despite efforts to curtail this problem, and its only with the continued fight against them by feminists that help spread the awareness about how awful that mindset is.

It’s simply a matter of respect, at this point. Women and men are inherently created equal, and as such women should be afforded the same respect as men in all aspects of life, including but not limited to the workplace, their body standards, and more. To not receive the same kind of respect men save for men is both insulting and empowering – insulting in that we, as women, aren’t seen as equal to men, and empowering in that women are coming together to band against this ingrained misogyny.

The media is a great place for people to voice their opinions and call out people for theirs. It’s also a great place to identify misogyny at work and slam people for those views. Many female writers are coming out of the woodworks to be a voice in the mass media to criticize the misogyny still present in our society, targeting any problematic behavior they find in our culture and in our government. These women also support and promote female empowerment in their articles to fight against the idea that women would never amount to much of anything (a bold-faced lie misogynists want you to believe).

However, a lot of these women don’t get the credit they should for doing what they do. I myself hadn’t heard of some of these women before, which is insane because all of these journalists are outspoken about these issues and haven’t been getting any notoriety for it.

Promoting female empowerment in an otherwise male-centric medium is difficult work, but journalist Jia Tolentino seems to be doing just fine. Tolentino is a contributing staff writer for the New Yorker and was previously an editor for Jezebel. Many of her articles focus on American culture and trends, however she does have a few that pertain to politics and more heavy-hitting topics like the recent Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment scandal that ended with the well-known anchor fired from Fox.

One of her articles published New Yorker articles, “The Infantilizing Ways We Talk About Women’s Ambition”, is both a supportive and critical piece of the way female ambition is handled in our culture today. Often, when a woman’s ambition is discussed, there’s feminine elements attributed to age-old beliefs of femaimage of the hashtag "EmbraceAmbition"le success tied in with said ambition. Tolentino brings up a few examples of this by using recent model spreads to discuss the hypocrisy behind the “ambitious woman”, one in particular an Equinox campaign that depicted a “model in a restaurant, wearing expensive formalwear and breastfeeding twins”. Tolentino also describes the Tory Burch Foundation as having a cause that felt “beside the point” as Burch’s “Embrace Ambition” campaign was self-described as “apolitical and that Burch pointed out she had “a lot of Republican friends”, which did nothing to further the campaign itself other than try to make it a flimsy device for gender unity.

The point being made here in Tolentino’s argument is that the ambitious woman shouldn’t have to be a mother or appeal to a controversial political party in order to be classified as “ambitious”. Many men are single or childless and are still considered ambitious, yet when a woman is in the workplace, she’s often not considered positively unless she is hard-working with children and/or a husband. Apparently that’s the only way women can be believed to be ambitious because surely all women want to have children or be married while they’re focusing on their career. Please note the sarcasm in that last sentence.

See my point, though? Women should be able to be ambitious without having either of those things, just like men. That’s what Tolentino’s advocating for in her article. She’s also arguing that Burch’s comments about wanting to remain “apolitical” and “having a lot of Republican friends” goes against the very campaign Burch made because it’s assuming that Republicans don’t want gender equality and that any Republican woman isn’t ambitious because of it. The “apolitical” comment also makes it seem like Burch is appealing to the Republican party to keep away controversy, when controversy is exactly what’s necessary to make a movement in gender equality. It also puts the campaign on shaky ground without a clear standing point.

Another article of Tolentino’s, “Mike Pence’s Marriage and the Beliefs that Keep Women from Power”, calls out the ridiculous notion that women are inherently sexual objects who cannot be trusted alone with a married man. Tolentino takes a logical approach to the controversy but still calls out the sheer audacity of such an ingrained mindset, as often people who advocate for it take the stance that the man is simply being loyal to his wife. She points out the number one question of the people against Vice President Pence’s stance by asking, “How could you rule out meals with a person of the opposite gender over the course of an entire career?” Tolentino goes on to say that it “speaks [of] an incredible level of inequity in the workplace” as “no successful woman could ever abide by the same rule”.

image of Mike Pence and his wife waving at a crowd
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen

It’s true, though. In order to be successful, women have to go to greater lengths and endure this kind of ridiculousness in order to be considered half as important as a man in an equal position. A woman has to be alone with a man, with men, because that’s part of her job and if she isn’t alone with one, she can’t do her job correctly. And yet, men can be alone with men and still be afforded the same courtesy as women who work as hard as they do without ever having to be alone with a woman. Why is that?

Journalist Emma Gray also has the same questions. Emma Gray is the Executive Women’s Editor at the Huffington Post and many of her articles focus on sensitive women’s topics and misogyny in the workplace. Recently, her articles have gained publicity due to her fiery responses to the 2016 presidential election and the rampant sexism present in the now two most powerful men in American government. Like Tolentino, Gray also had an opinion on Vice President Pence’s stance on being alone with a woman.

In her article “Why It Matters that Mike Pence won’t have Dinner with a Woman Who isn’t His Wife”, Gray argues that his stance is reminiscent of an older time where evangelical pastor Billy Graham, in the Modesto Manifesto, called for “each man…to never be alone with a woman other than his wife… Graham…pledged not to eat, travel or meet with another woman other than [his wife] unless other people were present”. Though it’s testament to Vice President Pence’s dedication to his wife, his actions are also disrespectful to women who are trying to be the best they can be at their chosen profession. According to Gray, it’s also disrespectful that “any interaction not under the watchful eye of a spouse would inevitably lead to infidelity. In this worldview, men have no self-control, and women are either temptresses or guardians of virtue.”

Essentially, that worldview promotes the thought that women only want to succeed in their careers by utilizing every advantage they have to get them there, including their bodies. It demeans women to sexual objects. Is that right? No!

Journalist Lindy West connects women depicted as sexual objects to general body image in her article “I’m not going to answer the same question about being fat anymore.” Posted on the Guardian, the article discusses how fat-shaming has become a prominent issue in society and that society’s body standards for the average woman makes fat-shaming all the more difficult. West explains in her article that on a YouTube video she posted of her eating a cookie, a large portion of the comments on her video are men calling her fat and telling her to commit suicide because “she [was a] disgusting pig”. Many of the comments comment on her looks and how unappealing she is. West is awed that her “cookie video has become a vessel into which a certain contingent of angry, lonely men can pour all of their fury at women who fail or refuse to please them sexually.” Because men aren’t used to seeing healthy, fat women in media, they take out their frustrations by not seeing the society driven “thin must mean beautiful” woman and shame West (and other women like her) into hating who they are.

purple image of female silhouettes with "International Women's Day" written at the top
Women of all shapes and sizes should be respected for who they are

Being female shouldn’t dictate the kinds of opportunities available to women in the workplace, and it definitely shouldn’t be dictated by the kinds of expectations our patriarchal society has deemed women should act or be like. These kinds of acts may not be as explicitly prominent anymore, but they are still present deep in our subconscious and the only way to get rid of them is to address the issue head on.

The ingrained misogyny present in our society needs to be called out, and these three women are only a few of the many journalists who call it out for what it is, when it happens. In order for women to be both consciously and subconsciously seen as equal to their male counterparts, these instances of misogyny need to be dealt with and made public so society can become more aware of how wrong it is.

These three journalists are just a few of a much larger movement that has set out to call out internalized misogyny and provide different perspectives as to why misogyny is so problematic. If these women were able to reach a larger audience over a multitude of platforms, then this movement would be able to spread more rapidly and expand the knowledge that gender equality is necessary for a more united society.

Painting Clouds: Writing Even Though You’re Hot Garbage

average

A friend of mine said this to me about two years ago:

“Don’t you think the clouds look painted?”

I guess the pretentious, cliché response I should have now, remembering this, is “I’ve never looked at clouds the same way since” – or whatever else makes me seem obnoxious and unbearable. Still, I mean, he wasn’t wrong. Look at a cloud today, just a few shades of grey someone blended and smeared on the sky, maybe some warm colors behind it – if the sun thinks you’re lucky enough.

Now, my friend who said this is far from being a nature enthusiast, philosopher, or writer of any kind. He’s my college-dropout friend, now delivering pizzas, who once made a fake bomb threat in middle school just to get out for the day. He still takes a bit of pride in being able to relocate over a thousand people, but he shouldn’t have told people it was him. I hear military school is, believe it or not, quite unpleasant. It may not seem like I have the best people for friends, but regardless, the next thing he said really caught my interest. Evidently, he’d remarked on the clouds every day on the bus taking him to a fourth-grade classroom, having other kids roll their eyes at him because what he said was un-profound and didn’t come with pictures.

Okay, but kids are wrong. Kids are awful. That quote belongs in a book somewhere so someone can lie beneath a tree, read it, and stop reading when they come by those few words, glance back to reread them, and look at the sky so they can never think about clouds the same way again.

mayarudolph

I’m rambling (pretentiously) by now, but there’s a point to all of this. Let’s say you can’t write. You’re uninspired, you’re scum, you’ve been staring at a blank page or paragraphs with filler words while the painted clouds were blown away somewhere. Maybe you just put down a book and now know just how untalented you really are. Well, here’s the thing. You can say something just as profound as anyone. “The clouds are painted” – anyone could have said it. People have these random thoughts fluttering by – so don’t let them go. Never let a meaningful thought pass you by just so it can fall off into the recesses of your mind, wither, and die with all the other garbage your stream of consciousness puts out.

That’s a stressful proposition – I know, but this is the only time I’ll be giving any concrete advise so hear me out. Good ideas spawn from attentiveness, awareness of the things you or others say that are worth rethinking. Write those things. If you notice them, note them. Then, later, once you’ve grabbed a bagel or whatever and you’re finally ready to confront your disgusting former self, rethink those thinks. Maybe it wasn’t so good, just another thought to embarrass yourself over – but let’s say otherwise. So, you have this thought – maybe you’ve even nicely reworded it to get that dank aesthetic. Think more on that think, ask questions about it, center your work around it – and with those new thinks you’ve thought, rethink them until you have a piece that fourth graders might wrongly roll their eyes over.

prettygood

One thing though, just one little tidbit: do keep in mind that writing tends to need a bit of cohesiveness and probably some coherence – so short, amazingly-inspiring quotes won’t cut it. But – and maybe this is just a personal, inconceivable belief of mine – I think anyone who cares enough to gather and regather their best of thoughts and ideas can string together something worth reading, something other people will want to think about.

In a way, I’m saying anyone, people far and wide, talented or otherwise, can write – but not really – because not everyone wants to write. A fair share of people, white-collared or swamp-drenched, don’t much care for the work. Monsters with egos for rent, they manage to sit at a desk and go about their day, scribbling off a page or two of nonsense, adding adjectives so one word fills the next line and the page looks a centimeter longer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but these people can’t write… at all. And when people see them, they create some sort of fantasy world where people shelving stacks of pages by the hour somehow means you know how to hold a pen.

I want to move into another point: writing is everywhere – and people stress over writing – everywhere. Advertisements, magazine titles – it’s all writing. Imagine having to come up with those few words that make up a title that’ll appear on, let’s say, Vogue. You’d be more than a little stressed – because you’d be writing about something your job depends on, something you care about.

Here’s an example I think you’ll find a touch more relatable. Let’s take a look at those little pieces of nothing that drool from people’s mouths onto the internet.

jomny

This tweet… is more than nothing. It’s a lot. So much, actually, that oodles of peoples have sent their favorite alien something he inspired out of them.

come home

This is just one of many sent to Jonny – and the tweet itself is just one of many literary artworks thrown into the cosmos. Also, if you think the stretch between those 140-character stains on the internet and, I don’t know what you’d call it – “serious writing” – is so great, you should maybe keep in mind the fact that Jonny has a book coming in June, “Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too”. 

If writing isn’t easy, it’s because you care about what you’re writing. I guess I just hope that by coming to terms with the ubiquity of writing, and by somehow believing that someone working at a Domino’s can write something just as profound as Whitman or Woolf, people might just have a bit more confidence in their no-good, very-bad ideas.

we began

Death Cup: When Greek Life Went DIY

 

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Prince Daddy and The Hyena

 

When I first arrived in front of the Zeta Psi Fraternity house in the decidedly vanilla West Campus neighborhood of Austin, I was surprised. Though I had spent countless hours there with friends in previous semesters, chugging away cheap beer and biding my time on the spacious porch, the house now resembled something more immediate and tantalizing—strung up lights, a makeshift stage, a haphazardly charming poster proclaiming the day’s event, Camp West Campus SXSW Showcase.
Four months in the making and culminating in an 18-hour concert, 21 bands and roughly 1000 people filled a fraternity house for one of the most memorable experiences of SXSW.

An Austin historical landmark, the plantation-style home rests on old bones. Though the large painted greek letters in the front lawn proclaimed it kin to the countless other houses that dot West Campus, Zeta Psi’s age and storied past whip an air of unconventional charm within the traditional and oft-derided bastion of primarily Anglo-Saxon collegiate tradition. The house residents and brothers carry this air with them—a multicultural patchwork of various backgrounds and majors. Bernie Sanders stickers are stuck to the walls next to Keystone Light signs and a Dali print hangs in an upstairs room, keeping a watchful eye over a dirty bong.

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The Zeta Psi House

 

Possibly due to the gleeful surrealism for SXSW or a mutual bond over music and cheap beer, I was able to put on a punk concert at a fraternity house in the heart of West Campus with the help of my friends and the enthusiasm of the bands that played. The music of South by Southwest has evolved over time from a grassroots celebration of new and noteworthy musicians to a something approximating a Millennial Ayn Rand’s raunchy fantasy. Though this massive and loosely connected festival gets overrun with press and media attention at every Capital One or Schlotzsky’s-sponsored event, the backbone of SXSW is still confined to smaller, more makeshift events. As more cutting edge music shifts toward a do-it-yourself approach in the face of rampant corporate sponsorship (see essentially every college rock group of the 1980’s), UT students tend to flock to their friends’ living rooms and co-op basements to see their favorite band perform a short, sweaty, and often unforgettable set. Or, in this case, a fraternity house.

Prior to the day of the show, the well-worn house was buzzing with activity. Plywood was hastily hauled in to construct the stage, the PA system and backline were lugged by a tired pickup truck unsure of its own capabilities. Hushed, frenetic conversations were held when last minute thoughts spiked into the forefront of the organizers’ minds. Between the looming fear of Fire Marshals, impending threats of sound ordinances, and the ever-present question of who the hell would even show up to a frat house to see a punk show and why did we even do this, it was soon apparent that there was much to act upon but little left actually worth discussing– at some point, it seems that all one can do it hope, cross fingers, and rely on downtown Austin to become the tech-savvy clusterfuck that it is known to be and divert all of the attention away.Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 1.00.01 PM

As the day before Camp West Campus wore on, things slowly fell into place, much like some day-drunk puzzle. Kegs were delivered, nails were hammered in, I chain-smoked. As the lights were plugged in and the sun power-walked toward the next hemisphere, the house seemed transformed into something approaching unequivocally Interesting status, for better or worse. Sweating and with the witching hour approaching, our comfort-colored subjects scattered away from their clubhouse, eager for the next morning. This is not to say that all involved knew what expect–minus a few self-aware individuals in line with the scene– the briskly shouted adieus of “it’ll be lit” can still be heard swirling around Lake Ladybird to this day.

The next day began early and loudly. At 10 am, many of the more musically-inclined brothers arrived to prepare for door times and the first band loading in. At around noon, Meach Pango, began to play. As they filled the house with exuberant music, warm bodies began to trickle in, somewhat bemused expressions on their face. This was not particularly the crowd that would normally find themselves in the proverbial belly of the beast, much less on one of the busiest days of SXSW. If you had closed your eyes, however, the sounds vibrating around the vicinity of the address conjured up images of 17434485_1775632369117420_8970939993670587461_osweaty basements rather than spacious homes– cathartic, angst-filled, and brimming with a community. A diverse lineup was paramount to the viability of the event, and the organizers succeeded, bringing sounds made by LGBT, queer, and non-binary musicians to take the main stage of a southern frat house. Around 3 pm, the crowd really began to roll in to hear the music. The knowing, ironic smirk of many of the patrons faded into smiles and shared nods of genuine enjoyment. Camp West Campus was in full swing.

Around 7 pm, the main acts took the stage. Kissisippi, Oso Oso, Prince Daddy and the Hyena, Mom Jeans., and Heat, one after another after another. Bodies crammed into one another inside the small living room. Outside, on the front lawn, beer was languorously sipped while cigarettes were smoked.  Beer pong was being played, a team of drunken fraternity brothers up against a team of equally drunk cooperative members. Possibly due to the unmistakable heaviness of THC-laden air inflating the house or the day drunk-now-evening drunk carefree attitude of those present, there was a semi-tangible feeling of experience present in the air. This was a weird event, sure, but it was also incredible. The bands sounded amazing, each one better than the last. During Mom Jeans’ set, brave souls were crowd surfing the small room as people slammed into one another, all hastily choreographed to the joyous cacophony of jangly guitars and angst-ridden lyrics.

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Mom Jeans.

 

Just as ingrained in the storied history of UT as the desire to stay DIY is the culture of Greek life. In recent years, Greek life at UT and around the country has been the subject of much debate, to say the least. Derided by many as either the fledgling remnant of a racist and misogynistic America or upheld as the gold standard by which the quintessential college experience has to be compared to, Greek life in Austin has always had some sort of clash with the more liberal, inclusive populace. However, this is not to say that SXSW, Greek life, and DIY culture perpetually occupy separate spheres. Sometimes, things come together. On the balmy March day, many of the people filled inside the house soaked in a gut punch of a feeling– a form of nostalgia for the present, almost. Every moment is heightened, each conversation is affirming and immediate. Each song provided the parameters of an experience meant to be savored, indulged in. There was some sense of community formed in the 14-hour long showcase between everyone present before the buses took us back to work, or school, or home, or somewhere else where a moment like this couldn’t happen.  Camp West Campus was closing down for the season but had delivered more than one could have hoped.

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DISCLAIMER: The author was not an active member in this, or any, Greek Letter social organization at the time of writing this or when the events took place. However, he has had past associations with the Zeta Psi fraternity. This article and its author do not condone any actions of greek life as a whole or of any system that works to artificially impose a hierarchy of elitist, racist, sexist, or otherwise intolerant behavior upon a community that supports it.

A Longhorn’s Guide to Austin

 

It’s Friday afternoon and you’re wondering where the weekend will take you. You look down at your phone, and a friend says “let’s get lunch and see a concert this tonight!” All of your friends are in, but when you check your bank account, you know you can’t afford to go. Never fear—here’s a list of fun things to do in Austin when your pockets are empty. Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time!

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The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a hiking trail that winds 7 miles through the green hills of Austin. The greenbelt is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon with friends. When planning our day we used this guide to help us choose between the various access points. My favorite is the Spyglass access point, which is conveniently located across the street from Taco Deli and a corner store full of snacks. Pack waters, a speaker for music, hats, towels, and spend the day hiking and swimming! There are countless places to swim in the green belt- you can even start at the trail head and float the whole thing- but it’s best to swim a few days after it rains so it’s deep enough to swim everywhere. At the Spyglass entrance, walk down and take a left at the creek and you will find a beautiful rock to jump off of; walk down and take a right at the creek and you will see a rope swing! Needless to say there are many opportunities to spend no money and have a great day at the Greenbelt.

Dance Across Texas’ Dance and Poker Nights

Invite your friends to a free poker and two step dance night courtesy of Dance Across Texas. The poker tournament begins at 7:15 and is free to play. There is a $100 cash prize so you might be able to buy your friends some drinks if you are lucky! Free line dance lessons begin at 8:30 so don’t forget your cowboy boots. Check their website and Facebook page for details about upcoming events. Dance Across Texas also hosts College Night on Thursdays. Bring your student ID and enjoy free entry, discounted drinks, and lots of two-stepping with your friends.

Mount Bonnell

The best sunset view in town is from the highest point in Austin, Mount Bonnell. Drive north down Guadalupe St. and take a left on 35th to avoid traffic, and you’ll arrive at 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, where you can hike and enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Lake Austin. I recommend getting there at least an hour before sunset so you can find a good spot to sit and beat the crowd that will arrive just as the sun is starting to go down. I recommend bringing a blanket, a speaker for music, snacks and drinks so you can spend a few hours enjoying the view. Mount Bonnell is a great place to read and tan during the day, just make sure to lock your car and bring your valuables up the stone stairs (which are a great work out!). Mount Bonnell is dog friendly and a great free photo-op.

 Follow @whenwherewhataustin on Instagram

whenwherewhataustin announces free or discounted events at restaurants, bars, music venues, and much more around Austin. Recently my friends and I spent a great night watching a free screening of Dazed and Confused because I saw it posted on the app. Last week the Instagram account announced a free wine tasting at Italic downtown. The account also posts about events with big DJs that often offer free liquor and drinks. Follow @whenwherewhataustin to be updated on the latest free events around Austin, and check the account frequently so you won’t miss a free activity for you and your friends.

The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton is a wonderful museum on campus with a beautiful permanent collection of art that has recently doubled in size. The new renovations highlight the Blanton’s vast collection, including art of the Ancient and Spanish Americans and Native American art. The Blanton also features rotations of collections from around the world. Just bring your UT student ID and get in for free! Last fall, I saw a very cool Andy Warhol exhibit (for free) that I had been waiting months to see. Check the Blanton’s website to see what exhibitions are on display and for how long.

 Lake Austin

Campus is ten minutes from beautiful Lake Austin, where you can spend a nice day relaxing on the boat. It’s important to have a local friend to show you around, and lots of kids from Austin have access to boats. You don’t need to spend any money to have a great day- just enjoy the sun and refreshing lake water. If you don’t have a friend from Austin and you constantly find yourself without money, get a job on the lake! Executive Water Sports runs a wake boarding summer camp, and counselors are in charge of driving the boats. This will boost your bank account, and you’ll be able to take your friends on the lake!

Zilker Park

Friends wanting to brunch but you don’t have money? Suggest a picnic at Zilker Park—not only will you get to enjoy the the vast green space and sunshine, there are dogs everywhere! Pack a blanket, snacks, and some water, and you’ll be sure to make a few canine friends while you’re there. Parking is available on Stratford Drive, but on busy weekends, check out the map for more options.

During the summer Blues on the Green hosts free concerts at Zilker Park. Check the website for the schedule (to be released soon), which has previously featured acts such as Gary Clark Jr., Los Lonely Boys, and Wild Child. To secure a good spot, I recommend getting there an hour before the concert starts, but if you arrive late, the views of the stage and crowd from the top of the hill are great too. Blues on the Green is a great, free way to spend a summer night with friends.

Around Christmas time, Zilker glows as the Trail of Lights winds around the park. In the middle of the trail of bright lights is a giant 155-ft tall Christmas Tree, and the tree lighting ceremony features food and live music. The Trail of Lights begins closing its gates around 10 p.m. so I would recommend going around 9 p.m to avoid the crowds. As you can see, Zilker has an abundance of free activities to entertain when pockets are empty.

Other ideas…

Graffiti Park

Gregory Gym

Yoga on Whole Foods rooftop plaza

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Sports meets fashion: Dwyane Wade

There’s no doubt Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade is one of the best dressed players in the NBA. Whether it’s an outfit for game day or an ensemble for the red carpet, Wade is always dressed to impress.

Growing up in Chicago, Wade always loved watching his dad dress up on Fridays for work.

“At 18 years old, all I knew is that I liked watching my dad dress up on Fridays to go to work to drive around and deliver boxes,” Wade said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I admired it. I knew that I liked to dress. I wanted to dress one day when I got some money, that’s what I always said.”

But as a teenager, Wade never imagined he would be as prominent in the fashion world as he is today. Over the past few years, Wade has partnered with Tie Bar and Stance socks to create his own collections, but his biggest fashion moment came this April when he launched a collaborative collection at Saks Fifth Avenue called DSquared2 X Dwyane Wade. Wade collaborated with fashion designers and twins Dean and Dan Caten. The Catens are the masterminds behind DSquared2, an up-scale brand known all around the world. Wade describes the collaboration as a “sport-luxe” collection with a broad range of clothes, including simple white jeans and eye-catching, patterned tuxedo jackets.

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Dwyane Wade poses with Dean and Dan Caten at the launch of their DSquared2 X Dwyane Wade collection at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Wade is a star on the basketball court, but he’s not shy about blending his two passions — basketball and fashion. Wade has a section on his personal website dedicated to fashion. On his site, it details fashion events Wade has participated in and all of the collaborations he has done with designers, brands and stores. Wade is also aware of the difference between style and fashion. Anyone can throw on a nice suit, but not everyone has a great sense of style.

Here’s a quote from the “style” page of his website:

“A gentlemen values style, not fashion. Fashion comes and goes. Style is forever. A gentleman is always a trendsetter, not a follower. Wade has been known to be a risk taker with his style, but that is simply another example of how he has every intension to be true to himself. As another gentleman, Oscar De La Renta, has said, ‘Fashion is about dressing in what is fashionable. Style is about being true to yourself.’”

Wade has upped his style since meeting his stylist Calyann Barnett at Kanye West’s birthday party four years ago. Wade has started to take more risks with his outfits since working with Barnett, but he’s faced some obstacles as a basketball player trying to become prominent in the fashion world.

“Everything that I did I wore it,” Wade told Sports Illustrated. “I took chances. And taking chances with being an athlete, whether it was colors or tightness of my clothes, there was a lot of critique going back and forth. Because a lot of people who cover athletes, there’s a certain imagine in their mind how a basketball player is supposed to dress, act, talk, walk. And when you get outside of that norm, it becomes shocking. But for me, it was just what I wanted to do. And I’ve always been the type of person, if I want to do something I’m going to do it. I don’t really care about what others think too much. The biggest thing was doing what I wanted to do, understanding there was going to be backlash but I was pushing the wall down for others to come behind and do the same thing.”

Wade also takes pride in helping young kids discover their passions. In March, he hosted an event in Chicago for kids who are interested in pursuing a future in fashion. Wade brought in five panelists from the fashion industry to talk to students as a part of his Spotlight On initiative.

Since many other athletes in the NBA are interested in fashion, Wade likes to compete with them for the best outfits. He looks at LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and others to see what they’re wearing. He enjoys the friendly competition.

Want to dress like Dwyane Wade? Shop his look from New York Fashion Week 2016:

Jacket: Rochambeau Shorts: Rochambeau Hat: Hat Country Shoes: Kenneth Cole

Seen Around Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week - Day 4
Dwyane Wade stands with his wife, Gabrielle Union, at a New York Fashion Week event in 2016.