Opinion

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San Jose Mercury Editorial Staff
MCT Campus

Creepy doesn’t begin to describe Facebook’s 2012 psychological experiment on 700,000 of its unwitting users. Any attempt to manipulate the emotional state of consumers is unconscionable. It reflects poorly on the entire tech community, confirming privacy activists’ worst fears. This public relations disaster, coming on the heels of the NSA spying revelations, reasserts the pressing need for Silicon Valley to produce an online users’ bill of rights. The alternative is an inevitable downward spiral of confidence in tech companies and their products. Could government regulation be far behind? Social media and software companies have been hiding behind user agreements to excuse blatant invasions of privacy. Facebook’s data use agreement is nearly as long as the Book of Revelations and about as comprehensible. To sum it up: In the event of anything short of an apocalypse, Facebook is covered. And if anyone out there claims to carefully read all the terms and conditions for a web site before clicking “Accept” to join it _ get out the salt shaker. The basis for an online bill of rights must be full transparency. Social media users should not have to go through a 8,000 words of legalese to know what they’re agreeing to. It would help to have a shorthand summary of a user agreement in plain language. If something jumps out at users, they can read the whole thing. The Federal Trade Commission should look at requiring this, along the lines of the Food and Drug Administration labels that summarize the ingredients of food products. The summary should include who will have access to a user’s data and how it can be used. Are photographs shared? Are locations tracked? Are online purchases recorded? Are lists of acquaintances compiled? Are political or religious affiliations shared? Are online searches tracked? These are all yes or no answers. Details can be a click away. At a minimum, users should have access to an annual report of the material being collected and what individuals or businesses have purchased any personal information. They should be able to opt out of having their personal data sold for any purpose. Companies such as Facebook and Google contribute enormously to Silicon Valley’s economy, creating services used by hundreds of millions of people a day. They’ve made billions by mining the data they collect from those users and selling it to companies that profit further from it. Good for them. But they owe their customers basic honesty. And they shouldn’t play mind games with the people from whom they profit. The European Union is ahead of the United States in protecting personal information. Brazil passed an Internet bill of rights in April limiting the data that online companies can collect from users. Silicon Valley should take the initiative to offer Americans the same protections. If it doesn’t, the industry’s reputation will continue to unravel. And companies won’t be able to blame NSA snoops for it.

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The Arbiter

Do you generally read through your terms and conditions before agreeing to them on social media?

“No. Most of what is written seems like common sense.  I don’t need to be told what is and what is not appropriate to do or unnecessary.” – Haley Meyers, senior, anthropology major

“Not usually.  The jargon they use can be confusing, which lends itself to encouraging people not to read them in the first place.” – Brianna Oswald, junior, social work major

“I skim through them sometimes.  I just pick out key words about pictures and stuff that is personal.  It’s mostly a lack of time.” – Kyle Hansen, auto body alumni

“I don’t ever read them.  I always just click the checkbox and say ‘yes, I’ve read these.’  I just don’t want to deal with it.” – Justin Dodd, freshman, undeclared

“On Facebook I do, but on anything else I don’t.  Since the Facebook messenger app, I’ve been a bit more suspicious.” Jeanie McElroy, junior, radiologic sciences major

 

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Question: Have you thought about the gun bill since returning to campus?

Charlie Muraski, senior elementary education major

“Yes because a teacher brought it up. [We] were talking about things that were uncomfortable to talk about.”

 

Sydney Trumbo, sophomore radiology major

“No, I haven’t, not since last semester.”

 

Blake Lyman, freshman music education major

“Not really. It’s come up in conversations but it’s not a pressing thought on my mind.”

 

Anthony Taylor, freshman music and business major

“We haven’t talked about it much. It was brought up in class once and that was it.”

 

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Are you excited to be going to Boise State this Year? Why or Why not?

Heather Corisis- Junior, major: Psychology with a minor in family studies.

-”Yes, I’m excited to see my friends.”

Dominic Christianson- Junior, major: criminal justice.

-”Yes, I’m ready for football season, to see my friends and for all the other exciting stuff that goes on here.”

Makayla Jarvey- Sophomore, major: per-radiologic sciences.

- “This is my first year at Boise State but I’m excited to be here, it’s a beautiful campus. I really like all my professors so far and have met a lot of nice people.”

Brian Rust- Freshman transfer, major: Athletic training.

- “I’m excited to get out of California, It’s a lot cleaner here and the people are really nice.”

Lucus Ebben- freshman, criminal justice

- “Yes, I get residency. Just being back in school after being out 10 years (is exciting).”

Anna Zigray- freshman, biology major with a minor in mathematics hoping to go into research.

- “I fell in love with the campus when I came here.”

Jamie Butler- freshman, kinisiology

- “Yes, I’ve been coming here for years and I love it, it’s not to big not too small. I’m excited to be on my own and experience college life.”

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Judging by recent lawsuits, Boise State claims veto power over students’ freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the Second Amendment. I attended the Dick Heller Second Amendment rally, May 16th. I thought that the heavy police and security coverage were intimidating. There were three to five police and security people guarding the front door, a cluster of three in the SUB, and one guarding each entrance to the SUB— even one stationed way out at the crosswalk of University and Lincoln!

Who wants to run a gauntlet of a half-dozen cops just to go to a meeting? Who called the heavy heat? Boise State administrators. Why? Because a group of students had invited a pro-Second Amendment speaker.  This ‘risky’ fellow was Dick Heller.  Mr. Heller has appeared before the US Supreme Court. And, they invited “Pro-Gun Republican” candidates for Idaho Attorney General, Governor, Secretary of State, and several legislative districts.

Boise State took down the student announcement of the approved rally. It’s like Boise State didn’t want anyone to attend. Then, before the event occurred Boise State charged the student group $465 in security fines. The student organizers passed the hat to help pay the pre-event fine (I gave $10). In summary:

    1. Boise State required an act of Idaho legislature to overturn their veto of Second Amendment rights.
    2. Boise State is being sued over their attempt to veto pro-life free speech.
    3. Boise State is being sued over their attempt to veto freedom of assembly.

What’s the next right Boise State wants to veto? It should instead foster a marketplace of ideas.

Editor’s Note: Since submission of this letter, Boise State University has said they will rescind the fee placed on the group for bringing a guns right advocate to speak on campus.

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

It’s hard to imagine living in a world of intolerence, where jobs and housing only go to straight, white people and individuals are bullied because of whom they choose
to date. 

In many examples throughout history, minorities have been oppressed by the majority, while the laws that govern allow the behavior to continue.

The most recent example of this in American history, is the events which took place in the South. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, de jure and de facto segregation kept African Americans from sitting at the same lunch counter or drinking from the same water fountain as white people. De jure refers to laws set by the local or national government, while de facto segregation refers more to common practices by people. 

This type of segregation has gone away though, right? Wrong.

 Many gay and transgender Idahoans are denied basic human rights, which many take for granted. These individuals experience discrimination with employment, housing, education, business and public service.  

This is appalling, as a community Boise State students shouldn’t tolerate this injustice.

 “A lot of my friends have been affected by it (discrimination),” said Amber Stiles, a sophomore at Boise State studying entrepreneurial management. “One of my friends actually lost his job because of it.”

Unfortunately, some cases are even more severe.

In a recent sentencing of participants involved with the Add the Words protests in February, two mothers took the witness stand. Both of their children were gay, both were bullied and both took their own lives.

Julie Zicha, mother of one of these children, also helps run a nonprofit organization devoted to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

“Every moment we wait we risk losing more kids,” she said.

According to Zicha, who lost her son when he was 19, these crimes stem from hatred and intolerance.

For now, gay and transgender marriage is still banned in Idaho pending an appeal by the state, which will take place in September. On May 13, the ban was overturned but the ruling held due to a request to hold the ruling until an appeal could be made by both Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

“I think it’s critical to take an orderly approach to this case and avoid the confusion that has occurred in other states,” Wasden said in a USA Today article May 20. “Now I can focus fully on my responsibility and obligation of defending the choice Idaho voters made to define marriage eight years ago.”

Same-sex marriage may be prohibited in Idaho but these individuals are still human. They should be afforded the same  rights and protections   as everyone else; the quickest way to do this is by helping to Add the Words.

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@IsabelLCorona

It’s your first day of college. You don’t know anyone there or in the whole state for that matter. Suddenly, you have that, “Oh crap, what was I thinking” moment.

Although I initially had this feeling when I moved from California to attend Boise State, over the last four years I developed a deep love for Boise and my fellow Broncos. I know this connection wouldn’t run so deep, however, if I hadn’t spent three of my four years living on campus.

As a freshman, I lived in the boonies, otherwise known as Towers Hall. What could be seen as isolation was in fact the perfect environment to foster friendships.

Although living on campus is generally more expensive than living in an off-campus apartment or with your parents, it is definitely worth it. Sophomore health science studies major Lisa Francis said the communal environment of Driscoll Hall allowed her to make more friends than she would have by simply going to class.

“If it’s financially possible, I would definitely suggest it. Not only for getting involved and connected, but also for the independence,” Francis said. “You live with your parents for 18 years, it’s a very unique and good experience to live with a bunch of people that are different than you.”

Philip Storm, resident director of Towers Hall, said student services tries to make campus services as available as possible to all students, but it’s generally easier for students who live on campus to be involved.

“It’s just an awesome opportunity where you have that support system right here, where as students who aren’t living on campus have to search out a little bit more and make that initial contact,” Storm said.

Francis said she felt more connected than her friends who lived off campus.

“I know that I had a lot of people I met later through classes that expressed disappointment because they would go to school and go home from school, just seeing the people that they had already known. That was not the case for me,” Francis said. “It enabled me to go on more adventures.”

Storm said another advantage for students who live on campus is that they tend to have higher GPAs than their counterparts.

What more could you want out of your college experience than good friendships and respectable grades?

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

They call it a selfie. For some, it’s an act of narcissism, a definitive mark of the “Me Me Me” Generation. For others, it’s a work of art, an atlas for the future, or a moment of great and joyous honor. A selfie, therefore, is perhaps not something to shame, but rather something to celebrate.

The demonization of the selfie suggests societal refusal to view anything with the implication of narcissism as more than that. To see a selfie as a self-portrait, then, would be nothing short of a desecration of art.

Try explaining this to Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, to Rembrandt, who hosts a whole myriad of self-portraits, and to Robert Cornelius, to whom we owe the ability to take color photos.

Instead of brush strokes, we chose aperture, the amount of light let in through the camera lens. They selected color schemes; we choose filters. Angle, depth, height, all factors chosen by the creator of the image regardless of the century in which the image was created.

It is possible, then, that selfies are capable of the same beauty and brilliance as the world’s most heralded pieces, collected together not in museums, but on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where the weathering of time will have no affect on the image itself.

Selfies, unlike paint on canvas, are easier to produce in a shorter amount of time, making them much more abundant.  So instead of marking on moment in time, selfies evolve in to an atlas of a life, a series of maps routing the adventures of the subject of the photograph.

Isn’t it incredible that one picture has the potential to inspire hundreds of thousands of other human beings, to excite these people for the days to come, to tell innumerable stories of the adventures to be undertaken, and, eventually, to document an entire lifetime in tangible, accessible way?

A selfie can tell the story of a young student becoming the first of his family to graduate from college. It can be the tale of a professor, lecturing to a grand hall of eager young minds. It marks birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, celebrations, Hail Maries and hallelujahs.

These images record moments, moments that belong exclusively to the photographer. A selfie is a documentation of the moment of the subject experienced by that person alone, detailing what it was to be in entirely in that moment.

It is a mark in history.

But as soon as a selfie is cast off as generational practice of egotism, the viewer deprives him or herself of the ability to see potential, beauty, or good in that photograph. It digresses into the inescapable pit of social trends, lying to rest next to T9 texting on Nokia brick phones, hot pink velour sweat suits, and MySpace.

It is finally important to remember that a selfie does not belong to one person or to a group of people. Its reach – an therefore its influence – is vast.

On a sweltering afternoon at a primary school in Jamaica, after hours of mixing cement, applying coats of fresh paint, and defending your territory against potentially poisonous eight legged fiends, a swell of children rush from the two-roomed school house like a wave crashing against the shore across the street.

They reach you in an instant, entangling their hands in your hair and their laughter echoing across the yard in which they play. They reach for your phone, for your camera. They pose for photographs, learn the motion of the shutter, and begin to take selfies.

Are these children, narcissists, bathing themselves in the glow of selfishness?

Some expressions convey joy with smiles stretching across international borders. Others are ponderous, perhaps attempting to make sense of the stranger staring back at them.

We do the same with our selfies, scouring every aspect of our reflected image, attempting to understand the faces reflected by the screens of our cell phones.

The image we ultimately post is the one that we feel best interprets our experiences with that moment.

I see myself as a creator, an artist, an intellectual, an adventurer, a dreamer. But it doesn’t mean anything for me to tell you. So instead, let me show you.

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Question: Is living on campus beneficial to students?

 

Connor Mccoy-Michelson

A: I believe it gives you good connections within the college community but can be very distracting at times, especially if your roommates are noise.

Thomas Warner

A: I feel it’s good for your first year in order to sort of acclimate you to the (college) environment, so far I’d say it’s been beneficial to me.

Micah Urizar

A: I think it’s nice because we have our own dining facility and I don’t have to commute so far to get to class.

Tori Haeve

A: I think so, my sister did it last year and was able to meet a lot of great people and get involved.

Jared Rade

A: I feel like it helps people establish social relationships, it gives them more real world opportunities to deal with conflict management with the people they have to see every day.

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Being a male, I’m not inclined to voice my opinion on the matter of pro-life vs. pro-choice.  It’s not a decision I will ever have to make, so I believe my feelings on the matter are irrelevant.  The issue I’d like to discuss is the lack of civility within the debate itself.  How can you claim to be performing an act of love for an unborn child when you can’t even respect a person standing directly in front of you?

Time and time again, I’ve witnessed someone be bullied and persecuted for their stance on the subject.  I understand it is a passionate topic and people display that passion in their own ways, but it’s not a decision that anyone makes lightly.  Whether someone decides to keep a child or not, it is a big life decision, one that should never be met with the hate and visceral I’ve witnessed in previous debates. People standing on the outside feel the need to tell a woman that a critical life decision automatically labels her as a monster and a murderer.  Tell me again how this is supposed to be an act of love and compassion?

I will both commend and condemn the actions of the demonstrators I witnessed in the quad last week.  I was offer their material, politely declined, and not another word was said.  This particular individual decided to respect my viewpoints and I respect her all the more for it.  However, I did not approve of the use of aborted fetus images in trying to bring their point across.

Shock and disgust are often an effective persuasion technique, but the whole argument behind the pro-life movement is that these fetus are humans and thus deserve to be treated as such.  I have to say, what I saw in those pictures were not humans.  The horrible, disfigured images did nothing more than turn my stomach; nothing I saw affected my opinion on the matter.

I’d just like to see a little bit of respect brought back into the equation.  This decision is one that no woman should ever take lightly, but people on both sides of the debate need to respect that decision, as it is one that she alone has to bare.  If you feel the need to try and persuade her toward your feelings or beliefs, remember that the woman you’re talking too is a human being as well.  As such, she deserves every bit of love and respect that you reserve for your friends, family, and the ones you are trying to protect.

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

It’s almost a mocking but true statement about the lack of things to do in Boise Idaho that the Spring Fling is attended and taken seriously.

Let’s just hope that Cash Cash forgets their entire music career pre-Overtime EP. I don’t know if students could endure the awkward unbalanced rhythm and sloppiness of anything from Take it to the Floor. Unless I was mistaken when filling out college applications and failed to realize this institution was actually a high end middle school, I would prefer if the bands that my tuition is used to fund don’t that uses the phrase “You did what you did, then you hid/And now I never see you hangin’ around, hangin around”. Looks like someone discovered rhymezone.

Armada ID is fantastic. They’re talented, exciting, inspiring, and drop dead sexy. Student Involvement probably thinks so too, seeing as this is the second Saturday in a row they’ll perform at Boise State for Boise State Students. That’s okay though, who wants to experience new things anyway?

Ah yes, let us not forget Jupiter Holiday, not that we could seeing as they so recently played in Boise during Treefort (Hey if you still have the App you can preview them: Convenient). Mind you, there is nothing wrong with repetition of music. When I first heard Misanthropic Drunken Loser by Days n Daze I listened to it so many times that any exaggerated number would be too little; however, the band should be good if Boise State students should succumb to their “music” again. Perhaps Student Involvement is fretting about the participation of students past their midlife crisis. Spring Fling has gone on far too long discrimination against the older generation; those kids with their rap, and technological romance! Why else would they possibly feel the need to include a band that seems to have crawled out of a time machine straight from a decade before CDs grunge and the advent of internet memes. On the bright side it will be fun to watch people trying to figure out how to dance to this (Hint: If you want a preview just watch videos of people at Phish concerts).

After I learned there was a successful kickstarter for Ecclectic Approach’s pancakes music video I was convinced that there was some deeper meaning to Ecclectic Approach’s music. I was wrong. Their music is unoriginal, weak, lacking in any sort of flavor, and tacky. I’m just assuming that before they make a song they a compile a list of the hashtages that 12 year olds use on twitter and force them into a song while somehow butchering the English language more. #ijustwanttobecool #Ijustwanttohavefun #plantopartyallnight

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Eunice Macias

Pychology

Freshman

 

I haven’t heard anything about it, no.

 

Rick Anderson

 

 

I am not incredibly sure what’s going. I really try to stay away from that stuff.

 

Michael Wolf

Mechanical engineering

Sophomore

 

I know there are couple local people. It’s different than the usual. I’m kind of excited it’s more of an all-day thing than just a night thing.

Paige Puccinelli

Communication

Senior

I’ve never really heard of most of the people … I think it will be fun. It’s a free concert so people shouldn’t really complain. You might as well grab a ticket and go.

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Sexism is not dead.

It permeates American culture, infecting the minds of the young, old, male and female. Songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” –which essentially encourages date rape–constantly play on mainstream radio and in night clubs across the country. These types of dehumanizing images abound in pop culture. A universal understanding and practice of feminism is vital in order for change to take place.

The problem remains that many people don’t fully understand the ideals of feminism.

“We’re all bra-burning, man-hating, just raging, angry at the system, lesbians,” said Courtney Boyce, vice president of the Gender Studies Club at Boise State, about people’s perception of feminists. “It’s really changed a lot, but I think the connotation developed in the 90s, like with Rush Limbaugh coming out and saying ‘feminazi.’”

Although some feminists may fall into these stereotypes, most simply want equality for all. 

“I do like [feminist expert] Bell Hooks’ definition, which says that feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression. It think that’s pretty all-encompassing and something that all feminists have in common,” Hansen said.

Current struggles facing feminism

With the emphasis that feminism stands for equality for all individuals, a recent push sprouted up to reclassify feminism as humanism.

A danger of glossing over issues presents itself when the name is changed.

Dr. Reshmi Mukherjee, professor at Boise State, said changing the name to feminism would inadvertently lead to its disappearance. While feminists adhere to the same ideals and objectives as humanists, they also try for different ones as well.

“Humanism is going to benefit having feminism under its umbrella, but feminism is going to lose out on some of the ideals,” Mukherjee said.

Feminism itself continues to change, developing into a more inclusive philosophy.

Many feminists strive for the rights of transgender (trans) individuals, particularly in the workplace. Inclusivity remains the major goal of feminism, but the conversation often excludes trans individuals.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists believe that since trans individuals weren’t socialized as women from the beginning, they don’t and never will fully understand the female struggle.

As Boyce said, not including trans individuals in the conversation only perpetuates the oppression.

Policy may change in some instances, but that doesn’t always denote actual change. This means the way people feel about women and how they treat them sometimes stays the same despite legislative and philosophical progression on some fronts.

While women receive more college degrees, they typically make 5 percent less than their male counterparts their first year out of college and 12 percent less after 10 years working the same exact jobs, according to the Center for American Progress.

“We have this system where we’re able to make things look good on the surface, like, ‘Wow women are getting degrees!’ But it’s still really shitty,” Hansen said.

 Not a man hater’s club

“One of the biggest misconceptions, like everyone has heard this, is that feminists hate men,” Hansen said.

Most feminists actually want men to align with them in order to promote equality for all and to demonstrate the issue’s importance. It adds more poignancy to the mission of feminism if men take a stand against sexist practices such as unequal pay.

“Feminists believe that once we get past that gendered notion of what a woman should talk about or what a man should talk about, what should be personal and public, until we resolve these issues, we cannot move forward,” Mukherjee said.

In addition to fighting for equal treatment of both genders, feminism looks at issues that effect men.

“Feminism does examine men’s issues a lot, but it does understand that there is that hierarchy in place,” Hansen said.

Rape culture

The Women’s Center at Marshall University describes rape culture as, “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.”

Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

 It ultimately comes down to education and helping to educate others.

“If we have gender sensitization in every unit, not only in schools or universities, but the workplace as well, feminism wouldn’t be such a dirty word,” Mukherjee said.

Although recently brought to the spotlight and dissected, there remains much to do in terms of remedying the deplorable culture of rape that exists. What needs to be done now is continued encouragement of education and understanding.

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Question: What is your perception of America’s involvement in what is going on in the Middle East?

Fawn Cooper, junior special education major

“I haven’t kept up on it lately; I don’t necessarily agree with what we are doing there but like I said I haven’t kept up on it so I don’t know what the current situation is over there.”

Keaton Beattie, sophomore liberal arts major

“I’m not really up-to-date on what’s going on in the Middle East so I think what we’re doing is good and that it’s nice we’re trying to help other people out and stuff, but I think there’s a limit to how much we should be involved in everything; I think it’s good what we’re doing.”

Tanner Cliff, freshman psychology major

“I’m not really too well-informed on it so I don’t really have a solid perception on it I think it’s not really necessary for us to be over there, but we’re over there.”

Thomas Wright, freshman business/marketing major

“I don’t actually think we should be over there; we should just pull everyone out and let them deal with what they need to do because they should be able to do it by themselves; we shouldn’t involve ourselves in everything everyone else is doing.”

Kim Gailey, freshman chemistry and English major

“I honestly think that we should lessen our involvement over there because we stick our nose in like everything and I just feel like we’ve been over there long enough and I feel like we should bring our troops home.”

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Society today is obsessed with social media. Its all about posting on Instagram. Whether it’s #throbackthursday or #selfiesunday, its never ending. Instagram has become such a big part of all of our lives that it is hard to realize how obsessed the world has become.

 

The big question is who do people present themselves to be on Instagram? A hipster who drinks a lot of coffee? A health nut who meal preps every week? Or a selfie Queen/King? How people portray themselves on social media is how the world sees them. Or is it how they want people to portray them?

 

Lets be real here for a second, everyone has stalked someone on Instagram. A model, an athlete, some random person. Everyone does it. Instagram doesn’t seem like it can impact peoples perceptions of other people, but it does. All those tiny images add up and create the person that other people get to see.

 

Instagram itself is a performance. It’s possible to be whomever. There is also the ability to self edit before posting. People edit their photos to only show the best, and rarely show the negative parts of life through Instagram.

 

“People want to put their best face forward, they want to be portray their best self and show everyone the positive aspects of their life”, said Kasey Pennington a junior communication major.

 

Everyone always says “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The typical instagram has upwards of one hundred photos. The pictures could be saying something completely different than what was intended.

 

When scrolling through Instagram the lives of friends and family are openly displayed. But sometimes the pictures being viewed can be deceiving. The beautiful girl that always post selfies all the time may actually be really insecure. The boy who post picture of him partying all the time may actually be one of the smartest people in his class. The view the world sees of people on Instagram isn’t always the whole story.

 

Who you are on social media isn’t always the “real you”. However it does play a huge roll in what other people think. Mixing the person one actually is, with who one wants to be seen as on social media is a hard mixture to obtain. The “real you” is the person that everyone should be seeing on Instagram.

 

 

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks, Monday, November 7, 2011 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on tax credits included in the American Jobs Act and new executive actions that will help get veterans back to work. PHOTO COURTESY MCT CAMPUS WIRE SERVICE

For someone who already holds a relative distaste towards the American government, it may not have been the best decision for me to read the book, “Boomerang! How Our Covert Wars have Created Enemies across the Middle East and Brought Terror to America,” by Mark Zepezauer.

In this book Zepezauer provides an in-depth, crash course history lesson in America’s policies in the Middle East from as far back as the mid-19th century up until 2003, when the book was published.

Though it’s obvious in the introduction and afterword that Zepezauer holds a bias (we should stop causing destruction and turmoil in foreign nations), the body of the book is merely facts, laid out clearly and plainly.

What I learned from reading this book is something that I have already perceived as true, but was never sure of the extent to which these actions stretched. Throughout American history our government has funded, ignited, and armed a slew of hot-headed rulers (most of which are far from shy about their inhumane practices), coups, revolutions, and civil wars. It’s pretty ironic, coming from a country that so valiantly fought for their freedom from a dominant foreign power, that we have no problem whatsoever exerting as much money and military personnel as possible to maintain our influence as the dominant super power in other nations.

What inspires our prolific leaders to execute such powerful and patriotic acts? A strong component in the equation is none other but oil, our greatest friend. The Middle East is pretty full of it and whoever controls the oil keeps the power, and who are we, as the world’s greatest super power, to let anyone else carry the burden of keeping watch over these precious oil deposits?

Another facet of the puzzle is our favorite foe, Russia, formerly the Soviet Union. It’s only obvious that our nation must plot conspiracies and fund wars to make sure that Russia never equates to our power and influence, isn’t it? The nations that we tear apart in the process, the lives that we destroy, are a measly price for world power.

As Zepezauer takes the reader from nation to nation, things begin to get a bit repetitive. The CIA held secret meetings with this government or leader, they funded this war, supplied these weapons to these people, turned their backs after their interests looked elsewhere, imposed sanctions which left hundreds of thousands of children and families without healthcare, energy, and water.

The most disturbing part throughout all of this is the reactions of western officials.

A 1979 State Department memo wrote, “The United States’ larger interest would be served by the demise of the Taraki-Amin regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan,” (Zepezauer, 2003).

It’s clear that our government holds zero interest in the respect of humanity or any human life outside of our own borders. How can people let the notion of a nation overpower the value of our own existence?

Finishing this book left me wondering – what is our nation doing now? Have our policies in the Middle East changed?

In a New York Times article, Warily, Jordan assists rebels in Syrian war, published on April 10, 2014, Ben Hubbard wrote on the situation in Syria. Hubbard mentioned what the Obama administration is doing to help.

“In fact, many rebels say they believe that the Obama administration is giving just enough to keep the rebel cause alive, but not enough to actually help it win, as part of a dark strategy aimed at prolonging the war,” Hubbard wrote.

This sounds eerily familiar to the practices discussed in Zepezauer’s book.

I find it very possible that our nation hasn’t changed their ways. Next time you think about turmoil in the Middle East, think about how those nations got that way, think about which super powers got their hands dirty in those countries and what were their true intentions?

I highly suggest any and all to read Boomerang!, it could change your view of living in “the greatest country on earth.”

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CODY FINNEY/THE ARBITER

I had FOMO (fear of missing out). Some would say I still suffer from the FOMO. I’d say I am a recovering from the FOMO.

I remember creating my Facebook profile during my senior year of high school. It was taking over Myspace and we’d all rush home, just to sit and stare at the screen. But that was how we communicated, through statuses, messages, and comments.

Looking back, I would spend hours sitting at my computer, waiting for my Facebook feed to update, hoping someone would post something interesting just so I could be the first person to “like” it. You were always cool if you got the first “like.”

If I had gone out and done something with friends that weekend, I’d be on Facebook for hours the next day, waiting for pictures to be posted so I could relive the fun we’d had.

When I upgraded to an iPhone and downloaded the Facebook app, it made it easy to check my profile wherever I was. It was so convenient I would check it in the middle of the night, sometimes more than once.

One day, seven years later, I had an epiphany: Why do I care what every one else is doing at every moment of the day? Why do I spend hours on end staring at a computer screen, waiting for it to update with useless information?

I began to realize how much of my life was consumed by social media.

Do you really care what so and so from high school is doing with their life? Do you honestly care so much about their lives that you’re willing to waste hours of your own life away as to not miss out on their exciting news?

When you use your phone to take pictures or videos of that awesome concert, are you really enjoying it? Are you missing out on the actual event because you’re too busy recording the show as to relive it later? Yes, it’s cool to be able to share media with friends (or “friends”) who couldn’t be there, but you aren’t there for them; you’re there for you and the experience.

It has been about four months since I’ve deleted my Facebook account. Sure, there are days where I get the urge to reactivate my profile to see whose gotten engaged, whose pregnant, and if that jerk from high school still had the body of a Greek God, or if karma had finally caught up to him and his beer belly was hard to conceal under his too-small wife beater tank. But I’ve resisted, and it feels great. I think this is what it feels like when a smoker finally quits: free of toxins.

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Imagine a scenario where your car breaks down and you don’t have the money to fix it. You live out in the suburbs and regularly commute downtown to attend classes and are now forced to find another way to get around.

Suddenly you remember that Boise has a public transit system called ValleyRide prompting  you to hop online to see if you can take the bus to school. Boise State includes a bus pass with your school ID so maybe going without a car won’t be so bad.

Your optimistic attitude soon turns sour when you realize most buses run only once an hour with services ending by 7 p.m. each weeknight, making it impossible for you to take public transit home after staying late in the library or after an evening class.

Boise’s public transit system is lacking for a handful of reasons, but most boil down to one factor: money.

Public transit in Ada County is funded partially by the federal government and mostly by the city of Boise itself forcing ValleyRide to compete with other city budget essentials like the police and fire departments.

With a national and state economy that has seen better days, it is unlikely that city officials will begin expanding bus routes and hours anytime soon. Without extra cash to spread around, ValleyRide will stay as it is.

But why is everyone driving their own cars to work and school anyway? Why don’t more people opt to build a rail system and expand bus operations?

The answer may lie with the policies of a former American president.  When Dwight D. Eisenhower occupied the White House  in the 1950’s, he fostered the creation of  the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, or the freeways system as most call it now.

This system linked states with roadways that could also be used to quickly mobilize military forces to any part of the U.S. during a time when invasion from the Soviet Union was seen as a serious threat.

While a freeway system may have given military leaders some peace of mind on the home front, it forced American citizens to purchase automobiles to get around, creating a culture where cars became the main mode of transportation.

Keep in mind, this was during a period of booming economic growth and plentiful, cheap gasoline so most Americans probably didn’t blink an eye. Now we live in an age of economic stagnation and high gasoline prices.

Many Idahoans are already struggling to stay afloat in dark economic times, so why should we carry on with transportation policies that place extreme burdens on those who can’t afford to drive?

This isn’t the 1950’s anymore, we aren’t locked in a cold war with Soviet Russia and last time I checked, gas sits at $3.50 a gallon. It’s time for Idahoans and Americans in general to push legislators to build practical mass public transportation systems.

It’s important to recognize that the system is broken. Times have changed and we need to adapt or get left in the dust.

 

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Q. What do you think you would miss out on if you gave up your social media accounts?

 

Christa Christiansen, kineseology major

“Probably being able to communicate with other students who I go to school with and I  don’t know their phone number. But mostly just keeping up with friends and family.”

 

Hank Davis, computer science major

“News updates, I like to see what’s going on like around campus

 

Cody Wetherelt, linguistics major

“All the little things my friends do back home and the things that are happening on campus like with my other friends.”

 

Sophie Eckert, English major

“Probably talking to my friends that live in different countries.”

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

As my years at Boise State add up, and graduation steadily draws closer (yes, it really is getting closer), I have seen a trend that concerns me as a rather involved student here at Boise State. The more my peers and I start to think about what to do after graduation, the more I hear concerns that graduating from Boise State will impact people negatively in the application pool.

I’ve heard this from multiple students, whether it be that they don’t feel prepared for a graduate program, or that they don’t feel like their resume is strong enough to get them the kind of job they want post-graduation.

And here’s the thing. I’m tired of people bagging on BSU. I have no concerns about getting in to law school for this reason: Admissions committees look at more than grades and test scores. Every post-Boise State option I have looked in to makes me feel as though they want to hire and admit well-rounded people.

Debbie Kaylor, Boise State Career Center Director stressed the importance of having more than a degree on your resume.

“A degree is not enough,” Kaylor said. “That piece of paper is not enough.”

And she tells students the same thing.

“If you’re coming in here as a senior, you’re too late.” Kaylor said. “It’s the out of the classroom activities that matter to employers and grad schools. Coming out of Boise State doesn’t look bad on applications.”

In a nutshell: College is more than going to class. If you haven’t spent your college career building a resume and trying to make yourself someone that employers want to hire and admissions committees want to admit… Well, that’s not BSU’s fault.

There are posters all over campus trying to get students to get involved. From running for an ASBSU office to attending a networking event to getting help with career options, there are so many ways to get involved and expand your resume! And if you aren’t doing those things to make yourself stand out in application pools, that is on you, not Boise State.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. BSU can give you every opportunity to make yourself a well-rounded applicant, but nobody is going to hold your hand and guide you through it unless you reach out and ask for the help you need.

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Naomi Aguirre – Marketing

“Yeah, I think so. I don’t have reason to think otherwise I guess, so that’s why I wouldn’t say no.”

Estaban Galn- Political Science

“You get what you put into it. You can skate by in classes and not read your texts fully and just google all assignments through and you’ll probably walk out with a decent B and pass and feel like you paid for nothing. But if you engage yourself in your education and you actually spend the time doing the readings and then the supplemental material, which professors do give, and then come to class prepared and not afraid to have a discussion, you’ll probably have the same quality education that you would get anywhere in the United States.”

Ivana Mullner – Linguistics

“I think I’m definitely getting a quality education. I’ve found that the professors are extremely wiling to work with you and point you the right direction if you only put in all the effort and that they are extremely engaged and want the best for their students. So I’ve had a lot of opportunities presented to me.”

Richard Martinez – Environmental Studies

“I think that I am getting a pretty good education. I think that my major is very interdisciplinary so there is a lot of  different courses I have been taking for the major, but overall I would say that yeah, I am very happy with what I am doing. I mean, the pricing and everything like parking, there’s little things at any university that’s kind of a pain in the ass, but overall with the education, I think i’m doing just fine. I enjoy it.

Ashley Martinez – Visual Arts

“I think that I am getting a good, quality education here, but there are just certain things like the way the art department is treated here is kind of bullshit, and you can put that in The Arbiter. It’s just certain things like that, but that’s beside the question. I do feel that I’m getting a quality education and I’m glad I’m going to college.”

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I think it’s time  we all grow up a little.

 No longer are we bound by the chains of the high school education system, obsessed and solely driven by GPAs and test scores. You have nothing left to prove, so make the most of your time in college and get out of the classroom!

I came into Boise State this past fall expecting to finally be enlightened, to have the opportunity to actually learn something instead of just regurgitating “knowledge” on a scantron.

Instead, I was met with the cruel realization that college is just like high school.

Boise State is a wonderful school with wonderful faculty, but I still have seen the same thing I went through in high school: let’s give out pointless busy work, testing the students to see who can accomplish it with the least amount of effort.

Many of us just glide along through college, simply attending class, expecting our work in the classroom alone will secure a job waiting for us upon graduation.

Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that. A degree is not job training or experience, it is only a paper that shows we’re willing to work.

I’m making the most out of my college experience by choosing put the majority of my time energy into endeavors out of the constricting walls of a classroom.

Instead of spending countless hours studying and working on class work, it would benefit us all if we escaped the classroom and got out into the real world, where things matter.

Our quest for knowledge is not gained inside of a classroom. It is gained by becoming involved in organizations.

I, like many, saw high school as a waste of time, so when faced with the choice of how to experience college, involve yourself!

Get out into the community and make connections! We are all better off involving ourselves with some of Boise State’s over 200 organizations and taking on leadership roles.

The opportunity is ours for the taking! Making grades and getting that degree still matters, but get out of the classroom!

The real world is not a room with four walls and a professor lecturing you; it is a place where those who are successful are the ones that get out into an unfamiliar environment and attack every opportunity they see.

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

Courtesy: Alexa Valladolid

If you ask a thousand people for a dollar in Boise, it turns out you make $1,000 after just asking a few hundred. After reaching my goal I had a commitment to honor. I took a seat beside five other brave souls and prepared to lose my locks. I hadn’t planned on it, but there I was bald again. The clippers stopped and I ran my hand over my head; I had forgotten how soft buzzed hair feels.

I decided to shave my head the first time after witnessing my classmates participate in the first event for St. Baldrick’s, which is a charity organization that raises donations for childhood cancer research. Instead of walking or running, participants volunteered to shave their heads in order to fundraise. Crazy right? The volunteers had different reasons for joining. The head of the program, Aubrie Gribble, decided to bring the event to campus after learning every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. Like my friend Nicole did, I stopped thinking about the hair and started thinking about the people. I didn’t have a personal connection to cancer, but I knew that didn’t mean I couldn’t be an advocate. I started talking to friends with a mission to prove that bald is beautiful. That March, over $10,000 was raised for the cause and I became bald buddies with 40 other people.

Fast forward to this March, and anyone near the SUB Thursday and Friday afternoon heard my plea.

“Hi, my name is Alexa and if I raise $1,000 I will shave my head and all of the proceeds will go to childhood cancer research. So I would like to invite you to donate a dollar if you could,” I said.

I figured if I asked a thousand people for a dollar I would reach my goal. Through volunteering with the event again I realized that I didn’t have a reason not to shave my head. I’m fortunate enough to be able to choose whether or not I cut my hair, but others don’t have that option. I went to every table, stopped groups of students, and talked to professors I knew. The response was overwhelming. I chatted with a few people outside an office and all of the sudden I hear, “Did someone say St. Baldrick’s?” and a lady runs from the back room with a $20 in her hand. One person forced me to stay put while she ran to an ATM machine, some dug in pockets for all change they had, and others just raised dollar bills after hearing me talk to their neighbor. I was humbled by the generosity. I did receive many no’s, but all were respectful and still wished me luck.

More people started hearing about my goal and words and donations spread quickly. As soon as I only needed $30 it was like the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and people were just throwing cash at me. Not actually throwing, but close enough. It was a pretty humbling experience.

During the event we had some rain, but we didn’t let that stop us from shaving 46 heads. We started with stories of the battle cancer had in the lives of loved ones. Tears were shed, but hugs went all around. Today as I walk around campus, not only do I stand with my 45 fellow shavees, but we stand in solidarity with those fighting cancer. I believe that one of the greatest powers of a human is to support the cause of another and want to thank all of the people contributed, whether it was donations or time.

We are still trying to reach our goal of $15,000 and would like to invite anyone willing, to donate $1. Donations can be given by going to  Stbaldricks.org and searching for BSU housing. Just as $1 can make a difference, one person can make a difference. If you see any shaved heads around campus, ask us why we are bald and we will be happy to tell you about the people we support.

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Arbiter Graphic

“What do you think of people hooking up through online mobile apps like Tinder?”

 

Student Voices Ben Focht Devin Ferrell
Ben Focht, Freshman, Civil Engineer “I think its kind of ridiculous ‘cause I don’t think any strong relationship will come out of it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Voices Haley Kennedy Devin Ferrell_5
Haley Kennedy, Junior, English secondary education “I don’t believe in mobile dating apps…its kind of creepy”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Voices Drea Burton Devin Ferrell
Drea Burton, Freshman, Psychology “I think its kind of scary because you don’t know the person.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Voices Eli Luna Devin Ferrell_2
Eli Luna, Sophomore, Microbiology “I think if you have hobbies in common and stuff like that I think it’s a great site, as far as dating I’m not sure about that.”

 

 

 

 

 

Student Voices Josh Marr Devin Ferrell_3
Josh Marr, Senior, English “There’s a part of me that is skeptical of technology having this mediating presence between human beings, there’s another part of me that says if no one is getting hurt than have all of the anonymous sex you want.”

 

 

 

 

 

Student Voices Sarah Beardsley Devin Ferrell_4
Sarah Beardsley, Freshman, Nutrition and Dietetics “I think it’s just a glorified booty call.”