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The Oredigger Issue 07 - October 17, 2007

The Oredigger Issue 07 - October 17, 2007

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Published by The Oredigger
The Oredigger Volume 88, Issue 7
The Oredigger Volume 88, Issue 7

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The Voice of the Colorado School of Mines, a Superior Education in Applied Science and Engineering
Volume 88, Issue 7October 17, 2007
News - 2Features - 3Editorials - 6Sports - 7Fools Gold - 8
 
Green Campus Movement
Environmental Concerns Around College Campuses
Tim Weilert
Staff Writer 
Environmental issues havebecome a major concern in theUnited States, especially amongstits institutions of higher educa-tion. Practically speaking, thefuture leaders and thinkersof the world as a whole arebeing trained in said uni-versities and colleges. InJune 2007, over 200 uni-versity presidents pledgedto make their campuses“carbon neutral.” Someuniversities have tak-en large steps in whathas officially becomeknown as the “GreenCampus Initiative.”Local univer-sities ColoradoCollege, in Colora-do Springs, and theUniversity of ColoradoBoulder have recentlyexpanded their environ-mental programs, follow-ing the national trends.
CSM, from an ofcial stand
-point, has taken environmen-tal issues seriously. Severalgroups on campus have beenresearching the school’s involve-ment in the “green” movement.During the Fall 2007 semester,students from the McBride HonorsProgram, as a part of a Cultural Anthropology course, have beenanalyzing whether CSM is becom-ing part of the “Green Campus”trend, or if more improvementsare needed to merit such a clas-sification*. Jojo La, a McBridestudent, found that many studentsare not aware of recycling andenvironmental programs. Herpersonal research and opinionssuggest that students would bemore likely to conserve throughrecycling, alternative transporta-tion, and other actions, if morewas done on a campus-widelevel to promote such programs. The campus recycling pro-gram, operated by EnvironmentalHealth & Safety, began 16 yearsago and reported that over 40tons of various materials wererecycled on campus last year.Recycling functions in two ways:to divert recyclable materialsfrom landfills and to capturewaste that contains hazardousmaterials. For those living in theresidence halls, boxes for paperrecycling are available. #1 and #2plastics, glass, cardboard, andnewspapers and other materialsmay be recycled in the containerlocated on the north side of Brad-ford Hall. The Student Center,Weaver Towers, Student Recre-ation Center and Mines Park havesimilar recycling opportunities.Gayle Elliott, EHS staff mem-ber and manager of the re-cycling program, offers thesepractical tips for conserving:-Think before throwing itemsin the trash and before throw-ing them in recycling bins. A lotof man hours – which meanstaxpayer and tuition money –can be wasted in separatingitems placed in the wrong bins.-Think before you buy. Check product packaging and make surethe packaging can be recycledbefore you make a purchase. According to Elliott, otherpractical applications of “go-ing green” may include:-Walking/Biking. Not onlywill you burn calories, butyou’ll cut down on gasolineconsumption and emissions.-Familiarize yourself with thevarious programs already available.Mines may enter the “GreenCampus” movement if studentsbecome personally involved inrecycling and conservation pro-grams. Additionally, CSM adminis-tration may need to focus on mini-mizing trash volume by purchasingbiodegradable products and low-ering consumption. Mines has setgoals and written mission state-ments regarding the environment.*Participants in the McBridestudy will present the results of theirstudies through a poster sessionon December 5, from 6 to 9 p.m.in Ballroom A in the student center.
StudentLoans -
The 
 
piral 
Explosion in High-PricedStudent Loans Sow Seeds of Trouble for U.S. Economic Growth
Marcy Gordon
Associated Press
 The near doubling in the cost of a college degree the past decadehas produced an explosion in high-priced student loans that couldhaunt the U.S. economy for years.While scholarship, grant moneyand government-backed studentloans – whose interest rates arecapped – have taken up someof the slack, many families andindividual students have turnedto private loans, which carry feesand interest rates that are oftenvariable and up to 20 percent.Many in the next generation of workers will be so debt-burdenedthey will have to delay home pur-chases, limit vacations, even eatout less to pay loans off on time.Kristin Cole, 30, who gradu-ated from Michigan State Uni-versity’s law school and livesin Grand Rapids, Mich., owes$150,000 in private and govern-ment-backed student loans. Hermonthly payment of $660, whichconsumes a quarter of her take-home pay, is scheduled to jump to$800 in a year or so, confrontingher with stark financial choices.“I could never buy a house. Ican’t travel; I can’t do anything,”she said. “I feel like a prisoner.” A legal aid worker, Cole saidshe may need to get a job at alaw firm, “doing something thatI’m not real dedicated to, just forthe sake of being able to live.”Parents are still the primarysource of funds for many stu-dents, but the dynamics wereradically altered in recent yearsas tuition costs soared andsources of readily available andmore costly private financingmade higher education seem-ingly available to anyone will-ing to sign a loan application.Students with no credit historyand no relatives to co-sign loans (orco-signing parents with tarnishedcredit) were willing to bet thathigh-priced loans were a trade-off for a shot at the American dream.But high-paying jobs are prov-ing elusive for many graduates.“This is literally a new formof indenture ... something thatevery American parent shouldbe scared of,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executivedirector of the American As-sociation of Collegiate Regis-trars and Admissions Officers.More than $17 billion in privatestudent loans were issued lastyear, up from $4 billion a year in2001. Outstanding student bor-rowing jumped from $38 billion in1995 to $85 billion last year, ac-cording to experts and lawmakers.Rocketing tuition fees madeborrowing that much more appeal-ing. Consumer prices on averagerose less than 29 percent over thepast 10 years while tuition, fees,and room and board at four-yearpublic colleges and universitiessoared 79 percent to $12,796 ayear and 65 percent to $30,367a year at private institutions, ac-cording to the College Board.
See “LoanS” pg 2
Nobel Prizes Announced
Peace Award to Former Vice President Al Gore
Melinda Bartel
Staff Writer 
 The winners of the six No-bel Prizes were announced lastweek. The prizes are annuallyawarded in the areas of Medi-cine, Physics, Chemistry, Liter-ature, Peace, and Economics. The 2007 Nobel Prize in Medi-cine was awarded to Marrio Capec-chi, Sir Martin Evans, and OliverSmithies, “for their discoveriesof principles for introducing spe-cific gene modifications in miceby the use of embryonic stemcells.” Essentially, they discov-ered a way to manipulate mousegenes that could lead to majormedical advancements in treatinggenetic disorders. Each doctor isreceiving 1/3 of the prize, accord-ing to the Nobel Prize website. The Physics Prize was awardedto Albert Fert of France and PeterGrunberg of Germany “for the dis-covery of Giant Magnetoresistance.”In layman’s terms, they discovered away in which computers can storedata on “ever-shrinking” hard disks. The winner of the ChemistryPrize was Gerhard Ertl of Ger-many, “for his studies of chemicalprocesses on solid surfaces.” Hisresearch has opened up the hid-den world of surface chemistryfor investigation. His contributionwill help answer the question of why the ozone layer is thinning. The Nobel Prize in Literature wasgiven to Doris Less-ing, a novelist fromthe United King-dom. The Swed-ish Academy saidshe was, “the epi-cist of the femaleexperience, whowith skepticism,fire and visionarypower has subject-ed a divided civ-ilization to scrutiny.” The Nobel Peace Prize wasawarded this year to Al Gore and theIntergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC). They were giventhis honor “for their efforts to buildup and disseminate greater knowl-edge about man-made climatechange, and to lay the foundationsfor the measures that are need-ed to counteract such change,”stated the Nobel Prize website.
 And nally, the Economics Prize
was awarded to Leonid Hurwicz,Eric Maskin, and Roger Myerson,all from the United States. To-gether, they “laid the foundations of mechanism design theory,” accord-ing to the NobelPrize website. The NobelPrizes werefirst awardedin 1901. Theeconomicsprize was cre-ated in 1969. The prizes arenamed after thefamous Swed-ish chemist, Alfred Nobel, theman who invented dynamite. Hedictated in his will that he wantedworld recognitions in several ar-eas. The award ceremony willoccur in Stockholm, Sweden andOslo, Norway on December 10,the anniversary of Nobel’s death.
 “...Al Gore awarded ‘for...
eforts to build up and dis
-seminate greater knowl-
edge about man-made
climate change...’” 
Z  C  H   M  N    /   O  R  E  D  I  G  G  E  R  
 
October 17, 2007
N
ews
Page 2
CUBA- For the rst timesince handing over his con
-
trol of Cuba, Fidel Castromade a live television ap
-
pearance wherein he held adiscussion with Venezuelanpresident Hugo Chavez. After Fidel Castro sufferedserious illness and requiredan operation, Raul Castrotook power of the countryin place of his ailing brother.UNITED STATES- MarionJones admitted to usingsteroids before competingin the 2000 Olympic Games.Because of her confession,Jones will be stripped of allof the records and awardswon after September 2000.Jones was also bannedfrom the sport of Track andField for a minimum of twoyears. She announced herretirement the same day. VATICAN CITY- PopeBenedict XVI spoke outagainst the capture of twoCatholic priests in Iraq lastweek during his weeklyblessing of the pilgrims toSt. Peter’s Square in Rome.Reports have said that thearmed men ambushed thetwo priests and declareda ransom on their lives.JAPAN- After an earth
-
quake rocked northern Ja
-
pan at the beginning of lastweek, a nuclear plant re
-
ported that a small amountof radioactive material hadbeen leaked. Officials de
-
nied that the leakage was ahealth concern to locals. Thespill of materials has raisedconcerns about the safetyof Japanese nuclear plantsand potential for catastrophicresults should the nationsuffer a devastating quake.GERMANY- Germany’slower parliament voted earlylast week to deploy 3,000more troops to Iraq. Citi
-
zens in the country haveexpressed scorn for thisdecision, and polls have pre
-
viously shown that the Ger
-
man public does not supportinvolvement in the Iraqi war.
Emily Trudell,
Staff Writer 
Road trippin' to
Jackson Hole:
 


 
Sowriders Fes X
 Jackson Hole
Exorbitant Student Loans Worry Experts
Scholarship and grant moneyhave increased, yet for almost 15years, the maximum available perperson in government-guaranteedstudent loans, which by law can’tcharge rates above 6.8 percent,has remained at $23,000 total forfour years. That’s less than half theaverage four-year tuition, room andboard of $51,000 at public collegesand $121,000 at private institutions.Sallie Mae, formally known asSLM Corp., has been on the winningside of the loan bonanza. Its portfolioof 10 million customers includes $25billion in private and $128 billionin government-backed educationloans. However, private-equity inves
-
tors who had offered $25 billion tobuy the company backed out lastweek, citing credit market weaknessand a new law cutting billions of dol
-
lars in subsidies to student lenders.Citigroup Inc., Bank of AmericaCorp., JPMorgan Chase & Co.,Wells Fargo & Co., Wachovia Corp.and Regions Financial Corp. arealso big players in the private stu
-
dent loan business. And therehas been an explosion in special
-
ized student loan lenders, such asEduCap, Nelnet Inc., NextStudentInc., Student Loan Corp., CollegeLoan Corp., CIT Group Inc. andEducation Finance Partners Inc. The question is whether everyonewho borrowed will be able to repay.Experts don’t track default rates onprivate student loans, but many pre
-
dict sharp increases in years to come.Dr. Paul-Henry Zottola, a 35-year-old periodontist in Rocky Hill, Conn.,faces paying $1,600 a month on hisstudent loan on top of a $2,300 mort
-
gage payment and $1,500 on theloan he took out to start his practice.His credit record remains solidbut he owes more than $300,000in student loans as he and his wife,Heather, an elementary school ad
-
ministrator, raise two young children.“It would be very easy to feelcrushed by it,” Zottola said inan interview. “All my income forthe next 10 years is spoken for.”Meanwhile, complaints aboutmarketing of private loans ‚Äî like adspromising to approve loans worth$50,000 in just minutes ‚Äî are on therise. The complaints have made theirway to lawmakers, who see a needto regulate the highly protable anddiverse group of companies and theloans they make to college students.In August, the Senate BankingCommittee approved a bill thatwould mandate clearer disclosure of rates and terms on private studentloans. The bill also would require a30-day comparison shopping periodafter loan approval, during which timethe offer terms could not be altered.New York Attorney General An
-
drew Cuomo said many graduateswho borrowed owe as much if notmore than most homeowners oweon mortgages. Unlike mortgageswith clear consumer disclosure re
-
quirements ‚Äî even from nonbank lenders, private lending is “the WildWest of the student loan industry,”he said in a telephone interview.Critics say what happened in themortgage market could happen inthe student loan market. Cuomo,who conducted a nationwide inves
-
tigation, said the parallels betweenthe two markets are “provocative.”Demand for bundled studentloans sold to institutional inves
-
tors worldwide fueled lending tostudents. The market for privatestudent loan-backed securities leapt76 percent last year, to $16.6 billion,from $9.4 billion in 2005, accord
-
ing to Moody’s Investors Service. The student loan-backed se
-
curities market has yet to suf 
-
fer noticeable effects of a globalcredit squeeze that was triggeredthis summer by a mortgage melt
-
down of borrowers with risky credit.“Once the economy starts toslow, you’re going to see a largeincrease of these people in bank 
-
ruptcy court,” said Robert Manning,a professor at Rochester Institute of  Technology who has written aboutcollege students and credit cards. A 2005 change to bankruptcylaw puts private student loans onpar with child support and alimonypayments: Lenders can garnishwages if someone doesn’t pay.Cuomo’s probe revealed what hecalls an “appalling pattern of favorit
-
ism” for student lenders that pro
-
vided kickbacks, revenue-sharingplans and trips to college administra
-
tors in exchange for recommendedlender status. Other critics allegewidespread corrupt arrangementspropelled a student loan boom.Lenders deny such charges,arguing that industry growth re
-
sulted from surging educationcosts and that higher interestrates are justified for unsecuredloans to borrowers with blem
-
ished or insufcient credit records.“Lenders take 100 percent of therepayment risk on exible private-education loans made to peoplewith limited credit histories, on whichthey will not get repaid for severalyears,” Barry Goulding, a Sallie Maeofcial, told Congress last spring.New regulations could dry upaccess to education nancing, heand other industry executives argue.Some experts are skeptical, predictingwaves of student loan delinquenciesand defaults on what is outstanding.“Should private student loanssuffer the same sort of failure as(subprime) mortgages, as studentsgraduate or drop out and findthemselves unable to pay, we willdo serious damage not only to thelives of many students but also tothe economic and social fabric of our country that depends on col
-
lege graduates for its strength,”said Luke Swarthout at the U.S.Public Interest Research Group.
Continued from pg 1
 
Page 3
F
eatures
October 17, 2007
Oil has made us billions andfuelled our economic stability, butoil has also become the bane of our existence. For some, it is acurse that has caused povertyand corruption, but for others itis an essential source of untoldwealth and power. But as the gapbetween rich and poor countriescontinues to expand, it is clearthat intellectual capital and tech-nology rule the world, and thatnatural resources such as oil, gold,and diamonds are no longer theprimary determinants of wealth.Surprisingly, nations with fewnatural resources demonstrategreater economic growth ratesthan OPEC countries. Japan’seconomic growth, driven by tech-nological superiority, outpacesthat of Saudi Arabia; South Koreais growing faster than oil-rich Ni-geria; and Taiwan’s economy hasmoved well beyond that of oil-rich Venezuela. The United States andNorway are also rich in oil, yet theirstaggering economicgrowth comes fromintellectual capital.In reality, it is notmoney but intellec-tual capital that drivesprosperity. More im-portant, perhaps, isthe reality that pov-erty is driven and sus-tained by a lack of intellectual capital. The intimaterelationship between intellectualcapital and economic growth isas old as humanity itself, and iswell illustrated by this parablefrom ancient Babylon (modern-day
Technology Widens Rich-Poor Gap
Philip Emeagwali
Guest Columnist
Iraq). A man asked his children:“If you had a choice betweenthe clay of wisdom or a bag of gold, which would you choose?”“The bag of gold, the bag of gold” the naïve children cried,not realizing that wisdom hadthe potential to earn them manymore bags of gold in the future.Seven thousand years later,Iraq — the cradle of civilization —has its own private bag of gold as itsits perched atop the world’s thirdlargest oil reserves. Meanwhile,Israel, tucked away inthe hostile terrain of a barren desert, hasthe clay of wisdom— the weightlesswealth of intellec-tual capital embod-ied in the collectivemind of its people. The striking eco-nomic gap that per-sists between richand poor nations hasincreased sevenfoldover the past cen-tury to what is nowan all-time high. The accumula-tion of intellectual capital by richnations has helped broaden thisgap because it has enabled themto control technology and collecthidden taxes from less affluentnations. For instance, Nigeria paysa 40-percent “royalty” tax on itspetroleum revenues to foreign oilcompanies that are ripping out itsfamily jewels — the huge store of 
wealth in its oilelds. These oilelds
started forming when prehistoric,dog-sized humans — our commonancestor with the apes — walked African grasslands on four legs.It’s a shocking reality, but thedeep oil reserves laid down byMother Nature millions of yearsago and nurtured through themillennia in Africa havebeen whittledaway withindecades. And,for the dubi-ous privilegeof surrender-ing its naturalresources for-ever, Nigeria isrequired to payhalf its petro-leum revenuein the form of “royalties” tothe rich kidson the globalblock, the Unit-ed States andthe Nether-lands. That oil-
eld has been
exchangedfor a bowlof porridge,and the black gold that should serve the un-derserved in Nigeria is helpingwealthy Westerners get wealthier. Today, half the world’s popula-tion — three billion people — liveon an average of $500 a year. In
   C   O   U   R   T   E   S   Y   P   H   I   L   I   P   E   M   E   A   G   W   A   L   I
 Approximately 2,100 of theundergraduate and graduate stu-dents at Mines have student loans. The amounts of these loans varysignificantly for each individual,but the average student accu-mulates an estimated total debtof $17,500 before graduation. Any student wishing to take
out a federal loan must rst ll out
the Free Application for FederalStudent Aid (FAFSA). After that,there are several different typesof loans available for students atMines. The most popular studentloan is the Federal Stafford Loan. There are two types, subsidizedand unsubsidized. The subsidizedloan is awarded entirely based onneed, and there is no interest whilethe students are in school becausethe federal government pays it.On the other hand, an unsub-sidized loan is not need-based,and the student is responsiblefor the interest. During school(and the grace period), the inter-est rate for the Federal Staffordloan is 6.54%. During repayment,however, the rate increases to7.22%. (These Interest Rates wereeffective on July 1 of this year and
Melinda Bartel
Staff Writer 
will remain until June 30, 2008). Another popular loan is theParent Loan for UndergraduateStudents (PLUS). It is a non-needloan, but it is credit-based, whichmeans that the parent must passa credit check before the loan isgranted. The Federal PLUS loaninterest rate is currently 8.02%.Finally, select students qual-ify for the Perkins Loan, whichis a need-based award. Thesefunds are limited, and given ona first come, first serve basis.In addition to federal loans,students also have the option of taking out a private loan. This does
not require lling out the FAFSA.
Private loans (also called optionalloans) are credit-based and oftenrequire a co-signer. This is lesspopular among students becausethe interest rates are usually sig-
nicantly higher. However, the ben
-
et is that they have higher annual
loan limits. A private loan can bea good choice for a student whoneeds to borrow larger amountsof money for the school year.CSM recommends lending from ASAP/Union Bank and Trust Com-pany, CitiBank, and College Invest.For more information on taking out a
loan at Mines, visit: http://www.naid.
mines.edu/CO_loan_advisor.html.
Student LoansWeigh on Mines
 
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contrast, Bill Gates earns $500every second. By controlling tech-nology and taxing computer users,Gates has become wealthier thaneach of the 70 poorest nations on
earth and using his nancial might
has conquered more territory thanGenghis Khan, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great combined.While Bill Gates is the newmillennium’s Prince of Technol-ogy, he is by no
means the rst
to have takenon the huge po-tential offeredby the realm of technology. TheRomans usedroads and mili-tary technologyto expand theirempire. And,for centuries,Britain ruled aquarter of theEarth due to its unparalleled abilityto command maritime technologyand conquer the Seven Seas.Britain undoubtedly established
itself as the world’s rst superpow
-er through its rapid and ruthlesscolonial expansion program. TheBritish raised the Union Jack overCanada and Australia, India and
Hong Kong, Egypt and Kenya, and
countless other countries — eventhe United States. The Union Jack cast its shadow in every globaltime zone, giving rise to the saying,“The sun never sets on the Brit-ish Empire,” a fact that was coldcomfort to the colonized nations.In the same way, the UnitedStates has embraced its techno-logical supremacy, both offensivelyand defensively, to build its ownglobal empire without a physicalpresence in any of its “colonies.” The sole remaining superpoweris at the forefront of every majortechnological advancement, whichit has used to become deeplyembedded in three-quarters of theglobe. The US has accomplished avirtual economic colonization man-ifesting its presence throughoutthe globe by harnessing the powerof technologyand capitaliz-ing on its clayof wisdom. Africa’s in-ability to real-ize its potentialand embracetechnologyhas left it atthe mercy of the West. Thetime has comefor Africa toseize the dayand resist the efforts of Americaand others to leave their imprintand plunder its natural resources.Numerous examples through-out history support the idea thattechnology can be used as a toolof oppression. And there’s littledoubt that America’s technologicaladvancement has allowed it to ex-ploit natural resources around theworld. This is particularly evident in Africa, where the US is exploiting
oilelds beneath the pristine rain
-forest — and being rewarded witha 40-percent tax at the expenseof the African people. This lendscredence to history’s assertionthat those who control technologyoppress those who do not, even-
tually enslaving them and, nally,
wielding power around the globe.
 
 Excerpted from a keynote speech delivered by Philip Emeagwali in Tucson, Arizona on September 29, 2007.The entire transcript is posted at emeagwali.com. Nigerian-born Philip Emeagwali won the 1989 Gordon Bell  Prize, the Nobel Prize of supercomputing. He has been ex-tolled as “one of the great minds of the Information Age” and  as “the Bill Gates of Africa” by former US president Bill Clinton.
 “The United States has em-braced its technological su-
premacy, both oensivelyand defensively, to build its
own global empire withouta physical presence in anyof its ‘colonies.’” 

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