Having received his undergraduate degree in history just last spring, and continued his studies as a graduate history student, one might ask Antonio Rondinaro why he takes photography classes. “I think it’s a little bit more than a hobby to me, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. However, I could never draw, ceramics required too much patience and space, so photography was my next best bet,” says Antonio.
He started off with a disposable camera from CVS, moved on to a point-and-shoot camera and eventually to a bulky DSLR camera. Once he learned about film and darkroom photography, Antonio says “it snowballed from there.”
When asked about the inspiration behind his work, Antonio said “Well, it’s a pretty big world out there and there’s just a lot to see. I try to photograph that world through my vision and share it with other people.” Exploring different kinds of photography such as long exposures or street photography has peaked Antonio’s interest throughout the years.
In his Photo one class, he dealt with motion photography by photographing someone riding their motorcycle. In Photo two, he wondered about applying street photography to individuals in libraries. Pictured are Antonio’s favorite images from both classes.
Currently in his Photo three class, Antonio is working on a project of people in space. “Not astronauts or anything like that,” he laughs by correcting himself. His core idea behind the photographs is showcasing his non-verbal disability which affects his spatial reasoning.
He wants to be able to explore new concepts, photograph what he sees and then share it with his audience. Antonio hopes his final collection comes together in a collage full of different landscapes and portraits captivating his vision.
Good news for fans of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!” Diego Luna will be reprising his role as Cassian in an upcoming live action series on Disney’s new streaming service. This comes following a wave of announcements pertaining to Star Wars projects on the service like “The Mandalorian,” “The Resistance,” and “The Clone Wars.”
Rogue One bridges the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy by telling the story about how the rebel spies retrieved the plans to the empire’s superweapon, the Death Star. Considered by many to be one of Disney’s best contributions to the canon, “Rogue One” is beloved by many and features many memorable characters, like Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor.
That being said, Disney’s more recent ventures into the canon have seen less success and have felt too deconstructive (The Last Jedi) or derivative (Solo). Is expanding on a very self contained and well-told story, a good idea? We still don’t have any other concrete information on the series, but it is safe to assume that it was born from positive fan reactions to “Rogue One.”
Many people consider “The Empire Strikes Back” to be their personal favorite movie in the series. However, “The Last Jedi” is believed to have relied too heavily on recapturing that same movie magic and that is why it floundered. Could an attempt to recapture the spirit of “Rogue One” cause this series to feel uninspired? It is possible that after all the negative feedback received from the last two installments has resulted in Disney relying on what has worked already to rebuild good faith in the brand and expand for future storytelling.
Personally, I look forward to this series as I thoroughly enjoyed “Rogue One.” And I hope they can tell another new story in the canon while retaining that child-like magic I got to experience when I was a fresh fan of the series. I also hope for more incredible Darth Vader scenes, because trust me when I say, having a director known for monster movies like Godzilla direct Vader the same way he directs a terrible mythical monster is pure childish delight, it really is.
Regardless of the form this new series takes, it is reassuring that Disney seems to be receptive and responding to what fans have resonated with within their contributions to the canon since their acquisition, and makes me excited for the future.
All throughout history, humans have been fascinated by cats. References to large, predatory felines such as the lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and many more can be found in myths, legends and art from all over the ancient world. These animals are adaptable and capable hunters, who have found ways to thrive everywhere from the cloud forests of South America, to the Indian Mangrove swamp, and everywhere in between.
Cats, by their very nature are notoriously elusive and difficult to study, but recent improvements in camera and tracking technologies have allowed researches unprecedented access to information about species rarely seen by human eyes, and the BBC Nature miniseries, “Super Cats” brings this new information straight to your living room.
Episode two of the series, “Cats in Every Corner,” is particularly interesting; it highlights a black-footed cat called Gyra. Gyra weighs only two pounds, but each night she can travel up to 20 miles searching for food. This is more than any of the other so called “small cats”- a category which includes species such as the Canadian lynx, the caracal, or the Chinese desert cat. The black-footed cat is an amazing hunter who successfully catches their prey 60 percent of the time! For comparison, a lion hunting alone will be successful about 17-19 percent of the time, or 30 percent if they hunt in pairs.
Black-footed cats are the smallest cats on the continent of Africa where they make their home in the arid deserts of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Some scientists speculate that they may be the smallest of all feline species, but are reluctant to say for sure while so many of the small cats remain poorly studied. Perfectly adapted for life in the desert, they have earned a reputation as a “vampire cat” because they do not to seek out sources of water. Instead, they are able to obtain all their liquid requirements via the bodily fluids of their prey.
If you are interested in learning more about the 36 species of wild cats, tune into “Super Cats,” available for streaming on PBS.com.
Nowadays, facts come at you fast. News cycles and timelines are on overdrive. Fake news is common place. Clusterfackt is an ongoing series that asks readers to question everything. Think of it as an exercise in critical thinking. Each week readers will be given a giant clusterfackt of scientific findings meant to replicate the dizzying news loops that dominate our lives. However, there’s a catch. One statement within the clusterfackt is entirely false. Identify the falsehood and win a prize by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t repeat anything you read here without doing your research!
In last week’s issue we cited a totally real study from Gordon Pennycook and David Rand which demonstrated that an ability to think analytically as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test could predict the susceptibility of subjects to fake news. The CRT is designed to measure the ability of respondents to overcome “gut” reactions and come to the correct answer.
The test was created by psychologist Shane Frederick, according to whom there are two systems of cognitive activity. System one is short shrifted and instinctual while system two is conscious and deliberate. The CRT presents three questions meant to provoke an incorrect response from system one that will then activate the deeper thinking of system two, that is, if respondents are able to recognize the error of their initial response.
At the end of last week’s issue we left readers to ponder the three questions from the original CRT. As promised, here are the answers, including the reasoning behind each solution:
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? The response from system one might be that the ball costs 10 cents. Ideally, system two would then be activated and might analyze the problem as such: The ball costs X and the bat costs $1 more than X. So we have bat + ball = X + (X + 1) = 1.1 because together they cost $1.10. This means X= X+(X+1) = 1.1. Therefore, 2X= X+1 = 0.1, which makes X equivalent to 0.05. This means the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05.
If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? The “gut” reaction might be that it will take 100 minutes. However, if it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, then it takes 1 machine 5 minutes to make 1 widget (each machine is making a widget in 5 minutes). If we have 100 machines working together, then each can make a widget in 5 minutes. So there will be 100 widgets in 5 minutes.
In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? At first, respondents might be tempted by the quick thinking of system two and say it will take 24 days for half of the lake to be covered by the patch. However, read more carefully, the question stipulates that every day forward the patch doubles in size. So every day backwards means the patch is halved. So on day 47 the lake is half full and on day 48 it doubles once more, covering the entire surface of the lake.
If you answered one or even all of the questions incorrectly you are not alone. In a survey of 3,428 people an astonishing 33 percent missed all three questions while 83 percent missed at least one of the questions. Even very educated people made mistakes. Only 48 percent of MIT students sampled were able to answer all the questions correctly. While the CRT is not a measure of an individual’s intelligence quotient, correct answers on the CRT have been found to correlate with higher IQ.
Now that our readers have had a bit of practice perhaps they will find the falsehood hiding in this week’s issue. As promised, somewhere during this article I have once again lied and given readers some bad information to root out. Was it that “totally real” study from Pennycook and Rand? Qualifying markers in speech often precede a lie to make it more believable, but in all fairness this is not a definitive hallmark of dishonesty. Maybe it was the part about Shane Frederick- is that even a real person? Are these the actual questions from the CRT? Does the CRT actually exist?
Any one of these things could be absolutely made up. Which begs the question, why are you still reading this series? Why trust or entertain an admitted liar? In the last month alone I’ve told readers that forensic otologists have theorized that Sir Isaac Newton suffered an inner ear imbalance, a lifelong condition which led to his discovery and study of gravity in 1492; that menacing pygmy clowns made Egyptian pharaoh Phak Tes-Falsiti laugh to death in 2500 BCE while the Ancient Roman senate kept a stock fool known as “stupidus” who took part in the assassination of Julius Caesar- mistaking it for a practical joke; that the mathematical model designed to test the viability of common conspiracies failed when attempting to calculate the probability of lizard people running a vast globalist government because there was not enough data on the secret-keeping abilities of reptilian life forms; and last week I provided an incorrect date for the midterm elections not once, but twice. Forensic otologists, Pharoah Phak Tes-Falsiti, nefarious lizard people- all of these statements were absolute rubbish. Roman theatre did have a stock character known as “stupidus”, but there were no clowns present during the assassination of Caesar.
Sometimes, falsehoods are just more convincing when they include a tinge of truth. Normally, Dwight Myers does our fact checking section but he was unavailable this week because he doesn’t exist. Next week, we’ll explore why it is that humans have an inherent desire to fool others and to be fooled themselves. Why do we engage in fantasy and what purpose does it serve?
If everyone was to start doing small things every day to improve the environment, the world would be a healthier place. There is a growing problem with pollution in the environment and more specifically, oceans. But how big is this problem?
The effects that plastic pollution alone has had on ecosystems and food chains in the ocean is astronomical. Seabirds across the globe are being discovered with plastic in their digestive systems, as they mistake the plastic for food on the ocean’s surface. Plastic has been found the digestive tract of not just birds, but in animals ranging from whales to sea turtles and even small crustaceans. Filter feeding animals such as Baleen whales, that use their large mouths to sift through plankton and krill, ingest plastic by mistake as well. In serious cases, ingestion of plastic can kill these animals.
According to an environmental research letter by Albert A Koelmans, 99.8 percent of plastic that has landed in the oceans since the 1950s has settled below the surface of the ocean. Since then it has accumulated to 8.5 million tons annually––that is a lot of plastic to be hanging out on the ocean floor.
This is unsettling.
Plastic, while being a main contributor, is not the only issue that is reducing populations and damaging marine life. Another problem is fishing nets being abandoned in the sea causing animals such as birds, sea turtles and even whales to get caught in them while they are swimming.
According to The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), an estimated 640,000 metric tons of fishing gear are left in the oceans each year. This includes 25,000 nets that are recorded lost or discarded every year.
Although there are non-profit organizations and businesses out there responsible for working to remove debris in the ocean, they can not fulfill this alone. There are things that everyone can do at home to reduce the amount of plastic build-up in not only the ocean, but all ecosystems both land and sea. These underlying factors of pollution can all be reduced if there was a focus on worldwide sustainability.
As for what the average person can do from their own home, there are countless things that people do throughout their day that they don’t even think about.
The easiest things to do to preserve the environment are as follows: Reduce, reuse, recycle! Reduce your intake of plastic, get a reusable water bottle so there is never a need to buy copious amounts of plastic bottles. When shopping at the market, think about it, ask yourself if the supermarket has paper bags rather than plastic? If so, jackpot. The less plastic we use, the less plastic that mistakenly ends up where it does not belong. If you live near the coast, like us Rhode Islanders, an important way to contribute is to go to local beach cleanups, or donate to these groups and organizations. As far as fishing gear goes, clean up after yourself. The most obvious solution is do not discard fishing gear and nets into the ocean when they are no longer used. Discard them the proper way, by finding local places near you that work to recycle fishing nets, or distribute them to places that do. A little can go a long way.
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is becoming an increasingly popular substance due to the medical purposes it serves. The effects of CBD can range anywhere from alleviating everyday anxieties to being a potential combatant of cancer.
CBD oil is an extract from the cannabis plant, but unlike the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most prevalent chemical in cannabis that is produced when smoking marijuana, it does not get you psychologically high. CBD has been shown to have the same medicinal properties as marijuana, but since this substance does not get you high, it is legal in all 50 states.
There are no laws stating that CBD cannot be used by the general population due to it being fairly new to the market.
According to HealthLine.com, the health benefits of cannabidiol vary but include: relieving chronic pain, reducing anxiety and depression, diminishing acne and preventing seizures. CBD interacts with your reward centered neurotransmitters as well as more complex areas of your brain to reduce anxiety in most users.
Along with this myriad of health benefits, studies also show that CBD oil has anti-tumor effects and could also be beneficial to heart health.
CBD oil can be taken in the forms of oils, pills, edibles, drinks and vape juices.
It can be found in local smoke shops and some online retailers. Although it is becoming increasingly prevalent, cannabidiol is not as well known, as the golden oil is often stigmatized by its cousin, THC.
As a result, it is either associated with the substance or left unknown by many. Organizations such as Project CBD have a mission to educate nationally about the medical uses of cannabidiol due to the great success that has been seen with it thus far in the medical field.
These archived articles are from the November 27 and December 4 issues of The Anchor.
In 1968, the only forum in which you could publicly argue with another person was the editorial section of a newspaper. Imagine if your petty Facebook arguments were printed out for everyone to see, and archived––this is exactly what it was like. And the evidence is in the Fall 1968 issues of The Anchor.
There were not one, but two ongoing arguments within the editorials. The other pair of articles that make up an argument (not the articles shown here) were really just a professor’s rebuttal to a previous editorial, in which he calls “most” people on campus “inconsiderate slobs.”
Professors calling students “inconsiderate slobs” may be funny in retrospect, but the articles I decided to take a look at this week were maybe more relevant. It provides for us a snapshot in time to see how much has really changed in 50 years. Specifically, women’s rights.
For the RIC community (P. Blodgett was a visitor to RIC), the Blodgett article elicited a collection of witty, borderline-offensive editorials. In a different editorial, author Paul Dulude responded, “Another reference made concerning a ‘hick barn dance’ leaves me wordless… judging by your letter, you seem to be the authority on the subject so I will refrain from further comment.” Another (and perhaps less offensive) response from Donald Puretz tells Blodgett that her opinion, like his own, is irrelevant, since what women wear is “irrelevant to this educational process.”
It seems as if the RIC community was pretty progressive on letting women wear pants. For context, a few years earlier, the policy to allow women to wear Bermuda shorts was adopted.
It’s interesting to follow in the archives what the “hot button” topic of the day was. It’s weird to think, however, that just 50 years ago, women wearing pants on campus was one of these “hot button” topics.
Often enough, a college is tasked with the duty of saying thank you and farewell to a retiring member of its community. On Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, Rhode Island College (RIC) did just that, expressing gratitude and goodbyes to a longtime member of the RIC community, The Unity Center director, Antoinette Gomes. Gomes was given the high honor of being a recipient of the Presidential Medal, given by RIC’s own President Frank Sanchez.
The event was held in the Amica Lounge at Alex and Ani Hall, and it was full of people celebrating Gomes’ service and dedication to RIC.
Antoinette Gomes announced her forthcoming retirement at the end of Spring semester this year.
Gomes has been a presence in the RIC community over the span of 30 years. Her resume boasts many positions in Student Life. Gomes began her career at RIC serving as an Upward Bound program counselor in 1987. She was also the Student Support Services Counselor for the Preparatory Enrollment Program. Later, she was the Interim Director of Student Life, which culminated in her appointment as the Unity Center Director in 2010. She has worn many hats here at RIC, and she takes pride in it. “I am most proud of the support that I have offered to some of the most vulnerable students in higher education. They are often the first in their families to attend college; they often have meager financial resources; some have been in state custody in some way or another; some are genderqueer. They are black and brown and white. They are a bunch of other stuff, like determined, sensitive, deserving, intelligent, awake, aware, valuable,” she said.
During her time at RIC, she has cultivated conversations on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. When asked of what fuels her to do this work she says “I didn’t really choose this work; this work chose me. I think part of that is just circumstantial. I’m born a woman in America, I am born a black woman in America and born into a family who valued education. It became clear to me really early in my life, that some folks had advantages and privileges that gave them a leg up in life, that other folks didn’t and I was one of those other folks. I feel passionate about equity.”
At the start of the ceremony, Anna Cano Morales, the Associate Vice President Community Equity and Diversity at RIC welcomed attendees. Chris Susi, RIC’s LGBTQIA Office Coordinator was a student on the search committee for Gomes’ position 10 years ago. Susi addressed the crowd, saying, “In her decades on this campus… her characteristics have driven her work to make RIC and the world a better place every day.”
After Susi’s speech came a student staff testimonial from an eloquently weepy Emelia Orellana, ’20, who started off her speech with “if I start crying, I truly apologize.” She cried. Then the entire room joined her in tears as she recounted “When I first walked into The Unity Center…I had no idea that I had walked into the office of a woman that was going to change my life… There are so many hearts that have been touched in the same way, and a lot of these hearts are in this room today.”
Indeed, there were. Past Unity Center alums and current students filled the room and kept it lively cheering and snapping their fingers whenever someone said something in praise of Gomes. Orellana then introduced a tribute video in which students, past and present, recorded emotional messages of gratitude to the honoree of the evening.
President Sanchez took to the podium to award Gomes the Presidential Medal. Sanchez “I can’t think of a more deserving recipient to honor with the Presidential Medal.” Sanchez reminded the audience, “Over the last couple of years, we have selectively given out the Presidential Medal for a very specific purpose. It’s to recognize and acknowledge excellence through impact. What Antoinette has done, has allowed us to build the foundation for these critical conversations about community, about people coming together, in a time I think is more important than ever.”
Antoinette Gomes is only the third person to receive the Presidential Medal under President Sanchez. Former RIC Vice President of Academic Affairs Ron Pitt, who was in attendance, and Jane Williams, the former Dean of the School of Nursing are the two other recipients of the medal.
Antoinette Gomes’ accolades expand on the aforementioned milestones. President Sanchez made sure the audience was aware that her service to RIC was undeniable. The plaque that cemented her medal listed every accomplishment Gomes achieved at RIC. Sanchez recognized her long service as standing chair of the Dialogue and Diversity Committee from 2010-2017, and how she founded The Unity Center Foundation, a fund to help students in need. Every finite success Gomes conquered was listed, and the crowd cheered for each one.
With the Presidential Medal still fresh on her neck, Gomes remarked “I really can’t tell you how good it feels for the recognition of how important and valuable this work is here on our campus…I’m not really a person who needs public display to validate my passion and effort on behalf of equity, inclusion in higher education.”
Gomes shared her vision for The Unity Center and RIC, “Our commitment is to promote a campus climate that is supportive, and welcoming, and safe for everybody. And by ‘our’ commitment, I mean all of us…Everybody is accountable for the custody of this campus.”
Gomes assured the audience that the new Unity Center director is not just filling her shoes. “The point is not to have somebody that can fill my shoes, my shoes are worn and we need a new pair. We need a new pair that will take this leadership on a new pathway.”
The 2018 United States midterms elections commenced last Tuesday, and marked one of the most expensive, highest voter turnout rated elections in American history.
According to OpenSecrets.com, the Democrats and Republicans raised over $1.5 billion for their house congressional candidates’ races and $964 million for the Senate races. Texas progressive Democratic Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke, alone raised over $70 million for his race against conservative Republican Senator Ted Cruz who has served as Senator from Texas since 2013.
According to exit polls from NBC News, Fox News and CN, the primary issues that constituents voted for were as follows: immigration, healthcare, the economy, and approval or disapproval for President Trump.
The big story coming out of Tuesday night was that the Democratic Party had taken a majority control of the House of Representatives. Every one of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives was up for election on Nov 6. As of Friday, Nov. 9, the Democrats have gained 30 seats.
Some congressional districts that flipped parties this election were Texas 7, Texas 32, Pennsylvania 17, New York 19 and New York 11. The Democrats previously held the minority in the House with 193 representatives to the GOP’s (Grand Old Party) 235. Now the Democratic Party holds the majority with at least 226 representatives to the Republicans’ 200+ (at least 13 races are still too close to call).
These elections produced historic results. Sharice Davids won Kansas’ 3rd congressional district, the former MMA fighter will be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress. Rashida Tlaib from Michigan’s 13th district and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota’s 5th district were elected and will serve as the first ever Muslim women in congress.
However, their wins have both been marred by accusations of antisemitism by several members of different Jewish communities across America. Tlaib’s endorsement by J Street (a Jewish-American PAC for peace in the middle-east) was withdrawn earlier this year stating “We cannot endorse candidates who conclude that they can no longer publicly express unequivocal support for a two-state solution and other core principles to which our organization is dedicated.” Tlaib supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement which has also been accused of antisemitism by numerous groups across the world. Steve King was re-elected to Iowa’s 4th district, but King has been accused by the Washington Post and the Anti-Defamation League of antisemitism as well.
The 116th U.S. Congress marks the first congress since 2011 in which Democrats had majority.
While the Democratic Party made strong gains in the House, the Republicans’ lead in the senate was only widened. The Republicans now have at least 51 seats in the Senate to the Democrats’ 46.
The Arizona race between Kyrsten Senima and Martha McSally has been tightly contested, as it has still not been called, but Senima seems to be in the lead according to AZCentral.com. The Florida race between incumbent Senator Bill Nelson and former Florida (FL) Governor Rick Scott has also not been called, as an unspecified number of ballots in Broward County and Palm Beach County had still not been counted by the end of election night.
FL Senator Marco Rubio told the media that he believes something suspicious is going on, stating on Twitter that “ Last early votes had to be counted by Sunday and submitted by Tuesday, that’s the law.” He also stated his concern that Broward County election official Brenda Snipes refused to say how many votes had yet to be counted.
Snipes has a history of controversy. According to the Sun-Sentinal in 2004, she had to send over 50 thousand ballots to absentee voters despite claiming that they had already been sent out. In 2016, a federal judge ruled that she had violated election law by destroying ballots too early that were in relation to a lawsuit against her at the time. Rubio said of the situation “Here we are, 72 hours from the end of voting, 5 days from the end of early voting, and we still have massive vote counts going on, apparently, in Palm Beach and Broward counties. To this point there’s been no public disclosure of how many votes are in their possession and how many do we have to count. It’s an outrage.”
Despite the controversies, the big questions are clear. Republicans kept the Senate, the Democrats took the House, and Americans are just as politically divided as they were in the 2016 election.
The latest tragedy amid the American mass-shooting epidemic happened at a country dance club and bar in Thousand Oaks, California this past Thursday night. The suspected gunman, identified as Ian David Long, opened fire on the crowd with a legally purchased Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun modified with an illegal extended magazine that changed the round capacity from 10 to 26. The rampage took the lives of 12 people and wounded 18 more.
Among the victims was Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus, who gave his life defending the patrons as one of the first responders to the attack. The gunman was found dead in a back room of the venue by way of gunshot. It is suspected that he killed himself with the aforementioned handgun.
Long was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and had run-ins with law enforcement officials in the past. After investigating a disturbance at his home where he was acting irrationally and aggressively, mental health officials cleared him and deemed that he did not require counseling or other services. He was then residing with his mother who called the police after his breakdown.
According to local sources, he used to frequent the Borderline Bar and Grill, the site where the calamity occured.
Less than 24 hours after the attack, thousands of local residents raised their hands at a candlelight vigil dedicated to the victims and their families. There were over 2,000 attendees at the Borderline Bar and Grill, all singing “Amazing Grace” as religious and community leaders consoled the mourning masses. Mayor Rob McCoy described it as, “The first step in a long healing process.”
Among the attendees were survivors of the Las Vegas shooting, one of whom was Dani Merrill who said, “It’s hard to sleep after these things…You just don’t know how to feel.” A second vigil was held the night after.
President Trump extended his condolences to the people of Thousand Oaks in a tweet that read, “Great bravery shown by police…God bless all the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to law enforcement.”
In the wake of this tragedy, several of the victims’ family members have spoken out for change. Susan-Schmidt Orfanos, the mother of a Las Vegas shooting survivor and later Borderline shooting victim called out for stricter gun control exclaiming, “I don’t want anymore prayers, I want gun control, no more guns.”