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

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

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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

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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.

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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

365 Things Austin‘s calendar of daily activities

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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.

 

 

 

 

Are “Super Teams” Ruining the NBA?

Let’s be honest. Does anyone seriously believe that Golden State won’t make it to the NBA finals this year? How many people out there truly think that the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t join them for a rematch of 2016? Sure, Boston managed to snag the number one seed in the East this season, but LeBron James has headlined the championship series every year since 2011. Those are pretty stiff odds to bet against.

My point is the NBA playoffs have become boring and predictable. Rare is the story of the underdog or the rise of a dark horse. The same names and the same teams plow through the field to play the same names and the same teams year after year. And why is this happening? We can sum it up in two words.

Super Teams.

It’s become practically common place in the NBA. Superstars from around the league ditch their lackluster teams in order to ally with their fellow superstars, forming teams stacked with big names and bigger contracts in order to have a better shot of winning it all in June.

More so than other professional sports, basketball is one that necessitates serious star power to win a championship. With the game on the line in the dwindling seconds of the fourth quarter, you need someone to give the ball to. That is just a fact. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Late game heroics and unlikely buzzer beaters are what fans live and die for. However, Super Teams narrow the playoff field down to only a handful of teams that genuinely have a shot at winning. Not only does this suck the intrigue out of the Playoffs, but it also negatively affects fans and damages the idealistic notion that teams should develop homegrown talent in the draft.

Since the beginning of unrestricted free agency in 1988, NBA players not under contract have been able to sign with any franchise that had the cap space to accommodate them. Super Teams aren’t anything new. In the 90’s we saw the dominance of Michael Jorden, who was assisted by Scottie Pippen, as the Chicago Bulls won three consecutive championships on two separate occasions. Likewise, the Los Angeles Lakers won three of their own consecutive Championships from 2000 to 2002. They were headed by the superstar team up of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

However, I want to focus on the more recent examples of Super Teams and the effect they have on the modern NBA.

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Miami Heat throw “Welcome Party” for LeBron James in 2010

LeBron James shocked the country in 2010 when he left his hometown team, deciding to “take [his] talents to South Beach” in order to team up with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade on the Miami Heat. Although their Super Star team up failed in its first year when the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 finals, Miami bounced back to win it all in the next two seasons. Nevertheless, James returned to Cleveland just four seasons after he left to form another Super Team with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. There, he added another ring to his collection.

James’ hand might be a little heavier right now if it weren’t for the emergence of the league’s newest megastar: Steph Curry. Taking the world by storm with his soft shooting touch and adorable daughter, Curry rivals James for the title of best basketball player on the planet.

And it’s no surprise that other NBA stars would want to be a part of that.

I’m talking to you, Kevin Durant. In the most shocking development of the 2016 offseason, the OKC superstar left his team to join Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State.

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Image found on the @NBAMemes Twitter Account

Cruising to a league best 67-15 Win-Loss record, the Golden State Warriors dominated the NBA, as expected. They are the clear cut favorites to win the Championship this year. If they do, Kevin Durant will get his first ring.

That elusive ring stands as the reason Durant left the Thunder after playing for them since being drafted in 2008. He made his shocking announcement on The Player’s Tribune, a site that publishes first person narratives from professional athletes across various sports leagues. After acknowledging the difficulty of his decision, he made the reasoning behind it clear:

“The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth.”

Being offered a two-year 54.3 million dollar deal with Golden State probably helped persuade him as well. After signing the contract, Durant was making an additional 6 million per year compared to his 2015-16 salary with the Thunder.

Kevin Durant is an example of a sports athlete doing what is best for him. And that’s fine. But what about what is best for the sport? What about what’s best for the fans? After their superstar’s departure, Oklahoma City was left in a mixture of grief and outrage. Many took to twitter to express their betrayal. In extreme cases, some fans went as far as to burn their old Kevin Durant jerseys.

Do athletes have a moral responsibility to remain loyal to their fans? Although some folks were off burning jerseys and cursing Durant’s name on social media, we can only assume that there were just as many, if not more, who were devastated by the departure of their hero. Meanwhile, OKC’s second star player and Durant’s former partner in crime remained in Oklahoma City despite his option to jump ship as well. While Durant was off pursuing a NBA title with Golden State, Russel Westbrook was left as the unquestioned top player on the Thunder. Despite putting up MVP numbers throughout the season, Westbrook’s team simply did not have the supporting cast necessary to be postseason contenders. They lost in a 5 game series to James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

With another post season failure, Oklahoma City fans are left wondering what’s next. Will a title ever be brought home to their city? Unfortunately for them, that prospect seems further away than ever.

Should Durant have exercised loyalty and remained on the Thunder? Oklahoma City fans would say yes. People like me who hate the idea of Super Teams would say yes. If the Thunder still had the dynamic duo of Durant and Westbrook, they would have been in championship contention again this year. But Durant said no. Right or wrong, he got impatient and left the team that drafted him.

The opposite argument is that NBA players shouldn’t be beholden to things like team loyalty. They should do what is best for themselves and their career without worrying about accommodating fans.

Personally, I believe that players should have a sense of loyalty to the organizations that built them and the fans that rooted for them. And a lot of athletes do.

However, the fact remains that Super Teams exist and they royally mess up the rest of the NBA. Both the Western and Eastern conferences have become so top heavy that the 8th seed in each conference was grabbed by teams with .500 records. Both Cleveland and Golden State cruised through their first round series with four game sweeps. The second round features a couple of more interesting match ups, but there are very few guesses about which two teams will make it to the Finals.

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Cleveland fans pack out the Quicken Loans Arena for the Playoffs

Some aspects of the playoffs will proceed as usual. Fans will still pack out arenas wearing the same color to cheer on their teams. Big names will still draw big ratings. The team that wins the Championship in June will still be moved to tears. To the elite group of players and fans that genuinely have a shot at victory, I’m sure the Playoffs will be just as shiny and interesting as ever. However, to the casual viewer or the fan of a lower-class team, the post season is sorely lacking. All we can do now is disinterestedly watch the Super Teams dominate and pray for an unlikely upset.

That, and cross our fingers James Harden doesn’t decide he wants to play for Golden State too.


Sources:

  1. “Land Of Basketball.com.” NBA Championships: Year by Year Champions. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017. <http://www.landofbasketball.com/championships/year_by_year.htm>.
  2. “Standings.” Nba.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2017. <http://www.nba.com/standings>.
  3. Durant, Kevin. “My Next Chapter | By Kevin Durant.” The Players Tribune. The Players’ Tribune, Inc., 04 July 2016. Web. 04 May 2017. .” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”><https://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-durant-nba-free-agency-announcement/>.
  4. Spotrac.com. “Kevin Durant.” Spotrac.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017. <http://www.spotrac.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/kevin-durant-2717/>.

Esports and Competitive Gaming: Who Will Conquer the Media Industry First?

     Sports are the world’s pastime, one of the most participated and spectated types of events in society. Due to its popularity sports have also developed one of the biggest markets as well. This market has allowed for businesses to be founded not only in merchandise, but in journalism and debate as well. The sports media industry is highly developed with educated and enthusiastic personalities able to inform and entertain the audience, the most prominent example being ESPN. For younger generations a new pastime is on the rise, and the sports industry is taking notice.

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       Competitive gaming, commonly known as “esports”, has been popular to a niche audience since the late 90’s, but due to technological advances they have gained a large mainstream audience since 2013. Streaming platforms such as Twitch have made esports more accessible due to the ease of broadcasting online, and with this growth in accessibility came a growth in popularity. In 2013 it was estimated that 71.5 million people watch esports worldwide, this popularity has allowed an industry to form of many leagues and teams with players in several different games paid in salaries and sponsorships. Twitch has been the major broadcaster of these events, but traditional sports media has seen the potential in the market and have pushed into the eSports seen. ESPN has broadcasted Dota 2’s The International and the Street Fighter finals of both the Evolution Championship Series, the biggest fighting game tournament in the world, and Capcom Cup, Street Fighter’s championship. TBS has also created an esports league for television that began with Counterstrike and is now branching out to Street Fighter. Traditional sports teams have also moved into the esports industry with teams being invested in such as Team Liquid being invested in by numerous sports teams owners, NRG eSports being invested in by Shaq, and Echo Fox being owned founded by Rick Fox. Sports media in the day to day journalism has been somewhat lacking.


     ESPN has opened its own subsection ESPN Esports, however the content does not rival the content produced for regular sports. A more impressive attempt has been made by Yahoo, in Yahoo esports, who have hired previously successful and known community figures to create content for them. My proposal is that we expand on this market to create an online website that will focus to create content on education and debate in the quality of ESPN’s talk shows and broadcasted it on the website using Twitch. This easily feasible, the production costs are not high as the needs are just a studio with workers and talent. This could be paid for through advertising with many of the tech and gaming brands trying to sell their products to gamers such as HyperX. The different game communities already have their popular figureheads, and all it need is to get them in a studio and argue with each other.on several aspects such as game balance, bracket predictions, etc.Several companies have shown the prospect of esports through their broadcast and investing and it would be perfect to corner this market early and become as important to esports as ESPN is to sports.

      To create a successful network it is imperative that you know what content is good and what is bad which can be widely different for the form of coverage, live and analysis. Good live coverage must entertain, excite and intrigue the audience, and one of the best examples in recent Esports was the coverage of LI Joe in top 8 of Evolution 2016.

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     This coverage capitalized on the two major storylines converging,  LI Joe being the only American in top 8 and his father who dropped everything and flew to support his son as soon as he heard. The commentators focused on these storylines because it gave the audience someone to root for and invest in even if you were not a fan of the game. Camerawork was pivotal in this as well, with an iconic moment of father and son in the same position when LI Joe is pushed into a corner and almost eliminated. The coverage was so well done that although the level of gameplay increased after LI Joe was eliminated, a lot of intrigue had died because of the end of the storylines.

     On the other end of spectrum good analytical coverage, which often occurs before or after a match where analysts will give their predictions on who will win and why or how someone just won and why, must be informative, easy to understand and coherent. The best example of that right now would be the analyst desk on ELeague.

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     These segments often emulate shows like ESPN’s First Take or the NBA Halftime with Charles Barkley. Many different opinions are heard on players strength and weaknesses with just enough humor coming out from their own admitted biases. You see analyst Zhi, in the ridiculous but awesome Bruce Lee shirt, right off the bat admit he is biased on Xian, however then supplements his claims with Xian’s previous world championship, recent win, and use of obscure characters to validate his position. This kind of analysis is both informative and entertaining for the viewers.

     Analysts can also inform the audience with prepared videos attempting to inform and improve viewers and players of the game. A recent example is again, ELeague with “Getting Technical”.

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     These segments are very important for Esports because there are a wide array of games that are vastly different than each other, and unlike sports these games are not taught to us at a young age so we are less familiar with them. Learning about the mechanics of the game is not only important for someone trying to enter the game, but also viewers so that have a more complete understanding of what they are watching. Just as if someone does not understand how downs work in Football they might not understand the decision making for each play, if someone does not understand V-reversal in Street Fighter V, as explained in the video, they might not understand the player’s actions.

     Creating a network with quality content as shown above would be allow a company, such as Bleacher Report, to widen their audience, due to Esports continued expansion, and specifically an audience they might not have reached before. A company investing in this media platform could grow to be as large as ESPN, their largest competitor, if they corner the market early, just as they are able to do now. If Bleacher Report wants to overtake the sports media industry, their best first step would be to create this media network.