Poli Sci for the Average Guy: Philippines & Filibusters

polisciWe realize that national and international political events play a crucial role in our education and dialogue here at Georgetown. We also realize how terrifying it can be when someone talks about a current political issue and you have no idea what that person is saying. That’s wherePoliSci for the Average Guy comes in.

PoliSci for the Average Guy is a recurring post that keeps you easily and entertainingly informed of the political issues that have most recently been making headlines. With help from PoliSci, you’ll be a little less stressed and a little more informed about today’s serious political topics and will be able to dive into the discussion yourself.

This past week has been filled with newsworthy stories, from a historic natural disaster in the Philippines to controversial political change in the United States. For your fill of what’s been happening, please read on.

On Nov. 7, a disastrous typhoon hit the Philippines, an island nation nuzzled in the waters off Southeast Asia. A typhoon is any tropical storm that takes place near the Indian or western Pacific Oceans. However, the typhoon that struck the Philippines on Nov. 7 – Typhoon Haiyan – was not just any tropical storm.

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The “super-typhoon” Haiyan put 25 million Filipinos in harm’s way with winds that averaged 315 miles per hour. According to CNN, “Haiyan was probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history.” The storm’s path of destruction encompassed two-thirds of the Philippines with its extensive clouds. Moreover, the category 5 strength natural disaster hit at a particularly inopportune time: Only one week before Haiyan wreaked havoc on the Philippines, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation, killing 222 people and displacing 350,000 people.

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Typhoon Haiyan took the lives of over 4,000 people and displaced 4.4 million others, taking an unprecedented toll in the Philippines. Of those who survived, approximately 5 million workers have lost their livelihoods either temporarily or permanently. Luckily, economic impacts of the disaster will be minimal because the affected regions account for only a small proportion of Filipino GDP. Nonetheless, Danilo Israel, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Developmental Studies commented, “The loss in human lives, the loss of bio-diversity, the destruction of heritage sites, the loss of relationships — it’s difficult to put a value on these intangibles, which can sometimes have a big impact on economic growth.”

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If you’d like to support the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, click here.

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Meanwhile, as the world seems to unite through the tragic losses in the Philippines, the United States government is divided again, this time over filibusters.

On Nov. 21, the United States Senate voted 52-48, with all Republicans and 3 Democrats voting against, to terminate the use of filibustering on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court. A filibuster is a type of debate procedure that is used to delay or prevent a vote on a proposal. It’s like politicians doing a funny dance – or, in actuality, making a long speech – at the front of the room to distract their colleagues from what they were supposed to vote on. However, the dance often lasts far too long and creates inefficient decision-making.

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The Democrats, who led this historic change in procedure, argued that the need to change the rules was prompted by Republicans’ abusing their right to filibuster and unnecessarily delaying or blocking several Obama appointees. Meanwhile, Republicans argue that our “founding fathers” allowed for filibusters for a reason, a reason that sounded something like this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that politicians were created unequal – some will do things quickly and others will just keep talking.” I kid, but I hope you’re catching my drift.

Now, after the recent vote, only a simple majority (50% + 1) of senators is needed to confirm federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments. (This is opposed to the 60% +1 supermajority that was previously required.) Therefore, the appointment process has become more direct.

Although this change seems like a blip in the timeline of American politics, it sends a message that the formerly “unchangeable” rules of politics are becoming changeable. Is nothing permanent in politics? More to come in my next installment of Poli Sci.

Images: Google

The Evolution of Your Coffee Addiction

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Here we are in the last week of finals, and whether you’re camped out on Lau 2 with our awesome study playlist or hiding in a breakout room in Hariri, you’ve likely got a cup of coffee with you. You may think to yourself, at what point did I become so dependent on caffeine? Well, 4E is here to take you down memory lane. Here it is, the evolution of your coffee addiction.

Phase One: Rejection Remember those days when you didn’t like the taste of coffee? You had probably tried a few sips of your parent’s morning cup of joe and immediately cringed at the not-yet-acquired taste. You were likely in middle school or high school and didn’t quite yet have the need for the caffeine. You “loved the smell but hated the taste”. How soon that will change…

Phase Two: Compromise This phase involved you trying out drinks such as the “Skinny Vanilla Latte” or “Caramel Double Chocolate Foamy Candy Delight with a little coffee in it”. This was kind of a compromise for you to get a little caffeine while avoiding the coffee taste. Plus you were in high school so it made you feel cool to get these complicated sounding drinks at Starbucks after class.

Phase Three: Testing the Waters After being a few months deep into the compromise phase, you start feeling a slight need for that buzz that has kept you going through the day. You slowly shift into coffee as opposed to lattes, adding a couple of sugars and a good amount of cream. The taste doesn’t seem to bother you anymore and you even invest in a travel mug so that you can get a refill discount.

Phase Four: Wading Into the Deep End You have now come to associate mornings with that warm cup of coffee between your hands, and you feel naked if you’re walking to class without a full mug. You now use minimal amounts of cream and sugar and drink more than two cups a day. The taste has grown on you and you have come to enjoy it.

Phase FiveNeed You need coffee. You just do. Don’t deny it. You get headaches when you go too long without it and you can’t seem to focus correctly in your morning class without a medium coffee in you. And hey, that’s okay, you’re not the only one. You’ve graduated from coffee to Red Eyes (coffee with a shot of espresso) and your tolerance for caffeine has increased.

Phase Six: Addiction Welcome to the dark (roast) side.

Photo: Alexander Brown/The Hoya

Simply Science: Frizzy Hair

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I see right through you all, Hoyas. You all seem so happy about the recent change in weather: the warmth, the birds, the flowers. We have flocked to the “Healy Beach” (an apparently taboo term) , to the esplanade, and to that unnamed patio in between Regents and Hariri (ideas?). But, we cannot ignore the inevitable calamity that approaches: frizzy hair.

Hair connoisseur and fellow Hoya Emily Schuster (COL ’13), who reportedly washes her hair EVERY day, said, “My hair doesn’t get ‘curly-hair frizzy’, but it slowly elevates…” “Like a lion’s mane,” adds Kyra Adams (SFS ’16), another hair enthusiast.

You can sense the frizzy-hair-induced-terror in their words.

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Patrick Ewing isn’t concerned about frizziness…

No matter what type of frizzy we experience, we still beg the question: WHY? Why are we cursed with such a horrid first world problem? Most of us realize that frizziness is somehow related to humidity; in fact, you can even construct a hygrometer with hair (Here’s a link to the definition of hygrometer). But here’s some more info.

Bundles of long keratin strands are a huge part of hair’s composition. Two different chemical bonds are formed between these strands: disulfide bonds and hydrogen bonds. Disulfide bonds are permanent, and are unaffected by humidity. Hydrogen bonds, on the other hand, are weak and very susceptible to the polar properties of other hydrogen.

Have you ever noticed that if you let your hair dry in a weird shape after a shower it can stay that way? The water actually breaks the hydrogen bonds in you’re hair, and they are reformed when your hair dries. These newly formed bonds can preserve the form of your hair when it dries.

A similar thing happens with humidity. There’s more water in the air, which means there’s more hydrogen. This messes with the bonds in your hair, causing you’re hair to go crazy. So not only do you have chemistry to blame for the delayed Cherry Blossom blooming, but for frizzy hair too. But don’t hate on chemistry; the same science is responsible for Burnett’s and baked goods.

Yet again, we see first-hand why Patrick Ewing is a brilliant man—he’s frizzy hair free.

Photo: USAToday.net

Source: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com

Simply Science is a reoccurring post that aims to make recent scientific discoveries accessible and applicable to the Georgetown student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Stretch: How to Make it to the End of the Year Alive

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Time is a phenomenon I don’t understand. How is it already April? Easter just happened? Jesus already rose from the dead again? I suppose some would say we’re in the final stretch of the school year – again, how?

It’s a great time of year though – the weather becomes nice; for a small fee, GUGs will cure your hangover; you don’t need to wear a jacket anymore, which is great if you lost yours; and a productive day involves waking up and making it to the lawn. Below are some tips so you can get the most out of the next five weeks.

1. Get caught up on work now (like, this week) You’ll love yourself later. If you can be caught up on everything and not hundreds of pages behind in reading come the last week of April, you will be a happy camper. Guaranteed  More time for activities. More time to be outside. More time to do nothing and just enjoy being a college student. This is why your teachers give you syllabi.

2. “Georgetown Finals Schedule Spring 2013” Figure out exactly when your finals are and when your papers are due. It makes more a lot less hellish of a week if you know exactly when everything is due.

3. Invest in some tie dye and a cooler Just trying to help improve your overall quality of life.

4. Actually attend class As much as you’d like to be sleeping in or enjoying the weather, class time is more valuable now then ever. Maximize on those participation points and soak in the extra information. If you struggle to pay attention in lecture, record them while you’re there and re-listen to them on your own time.

5. Go somewhere cool one of the next few weekends Hiking? Fishing? Canoeing? Camping? Chick-fil-a? Everyone needs to burn off some stress

6. Take a chill pill It’s spring semester. Go outside and be a young person. Stop spending so much time in the library – it will always be there but your youth will not. You can’t be productive if your shoulders are up to your ears and your jaw is clenched. You’ll make it. We believe in you.

Top Five ‘Secret’ Study Places

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We’re reaching that time of the semester where that abominable wave of midterms begins. While we can all agree that this can be a very dreadful time for us Hoyas, we can at least agree that there are a few factors we can use to get us through these dark times: sleep (or not), Red Bull, sticky notes and a reliable study place. No, I’m not talking about Lau or Regents: I’m talking about “super-secret” study places where you can actually find seats.

New South Piano Rooms Head over to the couple of piano rooms provided in New South toward the Riverside Lounge. Four walls, a piano and a table will surround you. Internet connection is scarce. However, if Internet is not required for your studying, then it’s perfect. (Yeah, that’s right, Facebookers: can’t avoid your work now!) I suggest only going there in the late hours of 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. because these rooms are highly demanded by people who actually need the pianos!

Leo’s Though not exactly a secret, try heading over to Leo’s from around 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll find that, while there aren’t many food options, there aren’t many people around, and it’s a great place to study and take snack breaks. Do take caution in trying to study during rush hours (i.e. dinner time and peak lunch time), for you will get absolutely nothing done and people will stare at you for being a loner at the dining hall. But have confidence! No shame in eating alone.

ICC At almost any time of the day, ICC has many open classrooms. Walk around the halls for a bit and find an empty classroom. To avoid getting kicked out or having to leave because of a class, try going in the evening. If you can secure a class, you have a whole room to yourself! Not to mention, you have a chalkboard (with chalk) to write out vocabulary or equations.

Law School Library Plan to take a shuttle to the GU Law Center library. It’s about a 15-minute ride, but it’s worth it! It might be best to plan a whole day or afternoon around this so that you can make the most of your trip. What are the benefits? Well, first off, you’ll meet a refreshing environment away from Main Campus, and you’ll get the chance to study in a far more lavish and prettier library than Lau! Also, the ride through D.C. is quite scenic.

Your Dorm Haha, just kidding. But actually, your dorm can be a great place to study if you use it correctly. A lot of us spend most of our days out of our dorms, and it can sometimes be nice to just do your work in your own space. Plan a day where your roommate might be busy, get in your PJs and just get some work done. Of course, if you do this too often, you’ll get marginal returns of productivity, so use this study setting sparingly.

Well, that’s about it. If you have any cooler secret study places, let us know! Or maybe just keep it your little secret. Good luck studying, Hoyas!

Survivor: My First All-Nighter

Well good morning Hoyas! Or, if you’re like me, you’re wondering why it’s so bright out when the night still hasn’t ended. Yes, I have survived my first all-nighter (read as: I’m a freshman taking only 14 credits) but trust me…it wasn’t pretty. I’m going to allow you to re-live my experience and learn from my mistakes, the first of which was waiting to write this paper until last night…or…this morning? I don’t know, I’m sleepy and confused. Hopefully you’ll find this either informative, amusing, or reminiscent of your first all-nighter. Regardless, this is going to be pretty shambly.

12:05am Get out of rehearsal and head to Lau 2, sit with a friend.

Clearly these are mistakes 1 and 2. As much as you try to delude yourself, Lau 2 is not a productive place and friends are poopfaces who distract you.

1:20am Very little has been done, but now I am ravenously hungry. I go to Midnight to get a bagel but am told that they are out of ALL KINDS OF BAGELS. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. Proceed to cry.

Mistake number 3 is made, but not by me. By all other bagel consumers: why did you take all my bagels. Why? Why would you do this to me.

1:35am Research Grubhub delivery places, contemplate options, be indecisive. Then get convinced that we should make a caffeine run to Midnight then go to Vittles for snacks. But we have to hurry because “Vittles closes at 2”!

1:47am While waiting for our drinks, I run into my lovely deputy editor, Kate Wellde who works at Vittles. I go over to her, intending to ask her to text the person with the last Vittles shift of the day to ask them to stay open for just 5 more minutes. Kate apologetically tells me that Vittles closes at 1 every day…

Mistake number 4= not knowing the hours of Corp locations. Even Kate Wellde couldn’t cushion this blow. Deep sigh…

2:00am Go to Hariri to study anyhow and order pizza from Grubhub to be delivered to the Hotel lobby because my stomach is growling more than a wild Zigoon with no attack moves.

Best decision of the night. It got there in 16 minutes. Delicious. Worth it.

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