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I remember an era — albeit barely — in which superhero movies used to be the spectacle. This was a time when even the most iconic titans like Batman or Iron Man would very seldom (if ever) make their way to the silver screen. At the theater, suffering through uncomfortably itchy and deformed seating was the price to pay to bear witness to the spectacle. Today, in light of the upcoming release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” I realize that this reality around superhero films hardly seems to hold true anymore. The superhero genre –– Marvel in particular –– has, in large part, been devalued by the rate at which the films are released.
“[It] is about connecting with the world and our friends. It’s where stories are made and legends created.” This is a quote from the September/October 2015 issue of the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal. With its emphasis on camaraderie, outdoor enthusiasm, and lifelong memories, the description could easily apply to the Dartmouth experience. But it’s not; the quote is from a hunting publication. Fellowship is one of the main motivations for hunting. Environmental philosopher Gary Varner claims that there are three main reasons for — and thus types of — hunting: subsistence, therapeutic (killing one species to protect an ecosystem), and sport. However, certain hunting practices cannot be explained by either animal or environmental ethics; sport and trophy hunting are neither ethical nor practical.
7:54 p.m.: My race would start at eight. It was time to take off my bulky Garmin GPS watch, which I wear everywhere: it tracks the distance and pace of my runs, the number of steps I take each day, how restful my never-quite-eight-hours-of-sleep are. The model I had before this one even tracked my heart rate continuously through an optical sensor beneath the watch face. The model I have now ditched the optical sensor for a goofy Tron-esque chest strap that is not only more accurate in terms of heart rate, but also measures “cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.” You know, all those things nobody really needs but that Garmin added to make this model seem better than the last.
It’s a powerful image: 18-year-old Emma González, standing resolutely at a podium, teardrops streaming down her face. She wears her hair closely cropped to her head and has small silver ball earrings adorning her ears. Over a white March for Our Lives t-shirt, she wears an olive green bomber jacket emblazoned with iron-on patches and pins displaying slogans such as “I Will Vote” and “We Call BS.” Combined, it makes for a modern, militant look — González is, after all, a general of sorts in the war against gun violence.
For decades, the National Rifle Association has advanced a slippery-slope argument. Give an inch on gun policy, the rhetoric goes, and gun control advocates will take a mile. In 1994, then-NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre termed waiting periods on gun purchases “just one more step in the march toward national disarmament.” The NRA similarly denounces most firearm regulation as part of a broader plan to eliminate Second Amendment rights. That argument is both deceptive and untrue. Far from a conspiracy to seize Americans’ guns, sensible gun restrictions are a widely-supported public safety measure.
Something is rotten in the state of American politics. On both left and right, an old idea is making its way back into vogue. On the right, nationalist and quasi-fascistic politics, the old school us-versus-them thinking that once came neatly packaged in black-and-red armbands over Hugo Boss-designed uniforms worn by goose-stepping soldiers, are back. On the left, socialism, Marxism and associated dogmas are coming back, all with talk of empowerment rather than of gulags and concentration camps. But all of this is essentially one idea: collectivism.
Little in life frustrates me — an ever-proud humanities major — more than the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. It’s hard to place exactly why that is, but I learned early on in life that the path of the scientist was hardly one that I wanted to follow. Sure, I played the game in high school: I padded my college applications with a myriad of AP and Honors STEM courses in the hopes of coming across as more accomplished and well-rounded to college admissions committees. But being able to succeed in a field and actually enjoying the subject matter are vastly different ideas. It’s safe to say that post-high school, I was elated to be finished with what I considered to be naught but tedious means to an end.
Data breaches are not a novelty. They’ve existed ever since humans first started recording data and are an inherent risk of storing information. However, the rise of the digital age has made data breaches much easier to execute. Theoretically, an individual on the opposite side of the world could infiltrate any company’s database, siphon the data of millions of people with some nifty lines of code and sell it, all through a few clicks. Since 2005, there have been over 8,000 data breaches made public, with over ten billion records breached. The recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal at first seems like it should be just another unfortunate statistic, but its implications are foreboding for the future of digital privacy.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote poetry as if it were life or death, and for him it was. He was a sickly man who wrote poetry of astounding power, but one of his ideas has particular relevance to life at Dartmouth.
Before writing for The Dartmouth, I was an opinion columnist for The Authored Ascension, my high school’s online-only newspaper. Though I lacked the authority to influence much, I had a clear vision for the paper’s direction. Up until that point, most written pieces were school-specific. News of homecoming events, sports match-ups and the like were the predominant topics for most writers. Few ventured out to tackle national hot-button issues. As a 16-year-old newly equipped with a driver’s license and many opinions, I planned on changing that.
Almost two years ago, a Scottish man named Mark Meechan made and posted a video of his girlfriend’s pug raising its paw in a Nazi salute while he recited hateful and anti-Semitic phrases. Like many, I found his antics offensive.
Dartmouth is more difficult than it used to be, and it isn’t because of the professors or the changing student body. Rather, changes to Dartmouth’s Advanced Placement course acceptance policy that were implemented for the Class of 2018 began to truly manifest themselves last year, as the Class of 2017 graduated and the Class of 2018 stepped into their positions for extracurricular and academic activities.
I’m going to be honest: I didn’t apply to any colleges in the South not due to a dearth of high-caliber institutions, but because of the labels I had heard about the region. The South is often portrayed as ultra-conservative, uber-religious and relatively poor. Even if I were in an urban area and the college campus were a diverse and inclusive place, I feared the implied racism and sexism that might surface if I were to step off campus or venture out of the city. As a West Coast native, I don’t know a lot about Southern culture. For too long, I’ve relied on stereotypes I had heard from others or seen in movies and other media to form an overall negative and foreign image of the region.
When you think of a typical economics major, who comes to mind? One of the predominant stereotypes is the “econ bro.” A glance around an economics classroom during my Dimensions experience last spring provided evidence of a gender imbalance in the major, a suspicion that was reinforced while taking economics courses my freshman fall and winter. Economics is Dartmouth’s most popular undergraduate major. As the gender gap in economics fails to shrink in graduate education and in the workplace, it needs to be addressed at its roots.
From their experience during exams or competitions, students are used to the pressure of the clock. Yet the U.S. national debt clock brings pressure to an entirely new level. Those who observe it are immediately drawn to the $20 trillion figure on the top left. Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff estimated that the U.S. government had unfunded liabilities worth close to $210 trillion. Fiscal sustainability is not a complicated concept — it is a term that describes whether or not the government is capable of maintaining its policies and programs without risking insolvency or defaulting on its promises. With programs such as Social Security and Medicare driving costs higher, change is imperative.
Despite the myriad problems and the issues I have come to see and experience over my years at Dartmouth, my academic experiences and time spent with faculty have been the highlight of my time in Hanover. The one-on-one interactions, engagement and emphasis on undergraduate teaching Dartmouth offers are features of the academic experience that I will miss. In particular, my experiences with Dartmouth’s history department and its faculty have been the most consistently eye-opening and intellectually stimulating part of my Dartmouth career. The history classes, foreign study opportunities, research and faculty engagement I have partaken in have all, in one way or another, had a significant impact on both my personal and professional development as well as the evolution of my intellectual and social concerns. A critical and subversive worldview — which revolves around a concern for inequity and emphases on complicating, contesting or interrogating existing paradigms and ways of thinking — that history professors at Dartmouth have instilled in me will continue to shape my life long after I graduate in the spring.
It was 9 a.m. on June 27, 2016 when I woke and sat up, the texture of the sidewalk pavement imprinted deeply into my cheek. I checked the time, straightened my tie and glanced toward the front of the line I had been in for four hours. I was outside the Supreme Court on the day the decision for the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, which concerned a Texas law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and raised the standards of abortion clinics to that of ambulatory surgical centers, was set to be announced. At the base of the court steps were two sign-wielding groups, ready to assume their role as supporter or protester depending on the holding.
“To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun,” proclaimed Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. In an endgame situation like the one LaPierre describes, it could be that the only way to protect people would be through the use of a firearm, especially if faced with someone that also has a firearm. But the issue with LaPierre’s logic lies in the fact that he accepts that such a situation would occur instead of doing everything in his power to stop it.
Will this time be different? One would hope that the senseless mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would move America to action. But of course, this is a nation that saw 20 first-grade students gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School and did nothing. Even as the survivors of the shooting speak out in favor of gun control, the Florida House of Representatives refused to pass a ban on assault rifles. Yet this debate can be resolved without extreme measures on either side. Reasonable, widely-supported gun regulations can limit the chance of another mass shooting.
When thinking about where to go for college, I was drawn to America because of the much-vaunted liberal arts education. I did not know what I wanted to study, so a school like Dartmouth seemed a natural choice. Three and a half years later, I’ve learned a little about a lot of things and wish I knew more about connections between fields of knowledge.