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February 26, 2010 issue

February 26, 2010 issue

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Published by: The Brown Daily Herald on Feb 26, 2010
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www.browndailherald.com195 Anell Street, Providence, Rhode Islandherald@browndailherald.com
Alum’s plAy opening
Crtains p on “Dead
Man’s Cellphone” by Sarah
Rhl ’97 MFA’01
Arts, 4
The regulATor
A RISD senior desined a
device to end all devices
(on standb)
News, 2
goT AbsoluTism?
Emily Breslin ’10 takes
on the moral relativists atniversities
Opinions, 7
        i        n        s        i        d        e
the Brown
vol. cxlv, no. 21 |
Friday, February 26, 2010
| Serving the community daily since 1891
P.      
by KrisTinA KlArA
Civil unions give same-sex couples
“only hal a loa” because they are
still denied many ederal rights and
the title o marriage, Occidental Col-
lege proessor and LGBT advocate
Ron Buckmire told a nearly empty Salomon 101 Thursday night.
 About 20 people gathered to
hear a panel o advocates or the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community discuss race,sexuality, religion and same-sex
marriage. Roger Williams School
o Law Proessor Courtney Cahill,
 Washington Consulting Groupadvocate Reverend Jamie Wash-ington and Buckmire comprised
the panel. The panel discussion centeredaround Caliornia’s Proposition 8, which declared, “Only a marriage
between a man and a woman is valid
or recognized in Caliornia.” Sup-
w  ,  j   
by sArA luxenberg
iPhone users have hundreds o thou-
sands o choices at their ngertips,
and now some Brown developers are
getting in on the game. Through the
 App Store, iPhone and iPod touch
owners can download apps — extra eatures that users can download to
their Apple phones — that pertain
to every aspect o their lives. The
possibilities, however, don’t stop at the users. Through the app market, Apple
has opened up opportunities or independent sotware developers:a chance to make a prot, a new medium or development and the
opportunity to compete with huge
companies to make the next hit app.Several games, an automatic volumeadjuster and a pregnancy test all got 
their genesis rom Brown students
 who have already experienced the
rewards and challenges o enteringthis growing market.
A tv
Creating an app is not a simple
process, as new developers must amiliarize themselves with both
 Apple’s programming language and
the compilers that contain the numer-
ous les o code.
Developers must work exclusive-
ly in Objective-C, a programming
language developed by Apple that 
is “dierent rom what’s taught” in
computer science classes at Brown,
said developer Eshan Mitra ’12, a 
Herald cartoonist.
Eric Stix ’12, who created his rst 
app just over a year ago, described
the language as a “Java-C hybrid.”
He added that knowing both Java and C beore writing his rst app
“was a big help” in learning to codein Objective-C.
“When I started making apps,the iPhone had only been out or maybe a year or two,” said Ethan
Richman ’13. “There were not that 
many resources online” or using
Objective-C and handling error mes-
sages and other problems, he said.
 While today there are many tutorials
online, “there’s still a lot o trial and
error” in the coding process, Rich-
man said.
Developers are responsible or 
coding everything that users will see.
“You have to program your app and
create all the content or it, whether 
it be images, sounds or textual con-tent,” said Paul Kerneld ’12.
“With the iPhone, it is specically a challenge to make sure you can t 
everything you want in the pretty 
small amount o screen space,” Kern-
eld added.
New developers must also reg-
ister with Apple. This registration
has a $100 price tag and gives the
developer all o the sotware needed
to create an app, including a way totest applications, Kerneld said.
Ctca vw
Once a developer has created
an app, it can’t hit the marketplace
 just yet. The program must also be
approved by the App Store Review 
 Team — a process that can be a seri-
ous hurdle.
“The approval process is pretty 
notorious or being opaque,” Kern-eld said. “They oten don’t providemuch inormation about what goeson behind the scenes.”
Stix attempted to make an app
that recreated the iPod shufe on
the iPhone, but he said it was de-
nied by Apple early in the develop-ment process or copying an Apple
product, even though it was going
to be produced “exclusively or their 
devices,” he said.
“When you sign up to be an apps
developer,” the company’s agreement 
“basically says Apple’s allowed to ac-
cept or reject whatever they want,”Stix added.Richman also ran into problems
 with the review team. Ater creating
an inormation-based app that includ-
ed a questionnaire to help determine
i the user might be pregnant, Rich-
man also created a humorous, vulgar 
 version o the same questionnaire.
“I got a call rom Apple when they 
 were reviewing,” he said. “This guy 
 was giving me a hard time or havinglittle stick gures” refecting varyinglevels o sexual promiscuity, he said.
Richman added that he was orced
C.   b 
by sydney ember And niColeFriedmAn
Faced with the task o urther re-ducing the University’s projectedbudget decit by $30 million, the
Corporation will convene this week-end to nalize plans to balance next 
scal year’s operating budget and
discuss the University’s academic
Brown’s highest governing body 
 will receive the University Resourc-
es Committee’s recommendations
— which include the Organizational
Review Committee’s proposed solu-
tions accounting or $14 million o 
the total reduction goal — and Presi-
dent Ruth Simmons’ recommenda-
tions or next scal year’s budget,
tuition and other ees, including
increased investment in nancial
aid, said Russell Carey ’91 MA’06,
senior vice president or Corpora-
tion aairs and governance.
Discussion o signicant capitalprojects is also on the Corporation’s
 weekend agenda, he said.
 The goal o this weekend’s sum-
mit is to “balance the budgets anddeal with the decits,” Carey said,adding that the University expects
to come away rom the weekend
 with a more solidied plan to ur-
ther reduce the budget decit.
Part o the Corporation’s deci-
sion will involve analysis o the 14
ORC subcommittees’ recommenda-
tions or reducing the budget and in-
creasing the University’s eciency,
Carey said. The ORC recommen-dations were outlined in a report 
released Feb. 2 and include stream-
lining University administration andcutting operating costs rom various
stt at t Tat stt
A Brown stdent wasrobbed at npoint atapproximatel 7:41 p.m.on Tesda, accordin toan e-mail sent to membersof the Brown commnitThrsda.The victim had ottenot of his car behind hisTransit Street residencewhen the sspect plledot a handn and toldthe victim to hand over hismone, accordin to thepolice report. The sspect,a black or Hispanic malein his earl 20s, escapedon foot with the victim’sBlackBerr and cash afterattemptin to steal thevictim’s car, the policereport said.The victim wasnharmed.
 — Claire Peracchio
F f    Cb C
by CorinA ChAse
 The 13th annual Providence FrenchFilm Festival opened Thursday with
a screening o “Flandres (Flan-
ders)”, directed by Bruno Dumont,
ollowed by Andre Techine’s “La 
lle du RER (The girl on the train).”
 The estival this year will consist o 
18 dierent lms, which are all “a little bit on the edge,” said Senior 
Lecturer in French Studies Shoggy 
 The Department o French
Studies, along with numerous ac-ulty, graduate and undergraduate volunteers, organized the estival, which is co-sponsored by the De-
partment o Modern Culture andMedia. The estival runs through
March 7 at the Cable Car Cinema.
 Though several ilms ocus on
“changing states” and “changing
status,” Waryn said, this year’s es-tival aims to showcase the great va-riety o lms produced in the Fran-cophone world. Youenn Kervennic,
a lecturer in French studies, saidthe organizers wanted to present 
an “eclectic” mix o lms.
 The Department o FrenchStudies incorporates the ilms,
 which are screened in French with
English subtitles, into many o its
courses, encouraging or requiringFrench students to attend some o 
the screenings. Waryn explained
that the estival was designed to
complement the activities o the de-
partment. Both Waryn and Kerven-
nic said they hope the estival will
help to dispel some myths about 
French cinema — or example, that 
French lms are always serious and
usually conusing.
 The organizers o this year’s
estival began working almost im-
mediately ater last year’s nished,
 Waryn said. They looked at lms
that did well in 2009, returned to
lms they previously could not 
show and got ideas rom several
other ilm estivals, eventually 
accumulating a wish list o titles.
Nick Sinnott-Armstron / Herald
Occidental Collee professor Ron Bckmire participated in a panel onCalifornia’s Proposition 8 in Salomon 101 Thrsda niht.
continued on
continued on
continued on
ArTs & CulTureFeATure
continued on
George Miller, President Claire Kiely, Vice President Katie Koh, Treasurer Chaz Kelsh, Secretary  The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serv-ing the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once duringCommencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The BrownDaily Herald, Inc. Single copy ree or each member o the community.
please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Oces are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail herald@browndailyherald.com. World Wide Web: http://www.browndailyherald.com.Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily.Copyright 2010 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.
etoal pho: 401.351.3372 | bu pho: 401.351.3260
the Brown
“Or lives are bein converted into electronic appliances.”
 — RISD stdent Conor Klein, inventor of the Otlet Relator
ISD   - 
by JonAThAn Chou
Bloodsucking leeches have always
had a bad reputation, but now there’s
a new leech that doesn’t suck.Conor Klein, a senior majoring
in urniture design at the Rhode
Island School o Design, built theOutlet Regulator, a leech-inspired
gadget that disconnects appliances
 when ully charged.
Klein said the purpose o theRegulator, which he constructed
last semester, was two-old: to bring
attention to energy overconsump-
tion and to revive the physicality o 
electronic appliances. According
to the U.S. Department o Energy,
standby devices — appliances that 
passively remain plugged into a 
power source — account or 5 to
10 percent o household electricity consumption. By creating an outlet 
that can disconnect appliances soon
ater they have reached their ull
battery capacity, these numbers would drop signiicantly, Klein
said.“Our lives are being converted
into electronic appliances,” Klein
said. Because the number o appli-
ances that have a standby button is
increasing, the need or a device like
this is also growing, he added.
Klein built the contraption in
his class on biomimicry, a design
discipline that ocuses on using
behaviors and structures rom na-
ture to inspire practical appliances.Because he is a unctional designer,
Klein ocused on the behavioral
characteristics o a leech, instead
o on its structural or physical char-
acteristics. The entire idea stemmed rom
research that Klein read on para-
sitic leeches and how they draw 
nutrients rom hosts, he said. In this
case, electronic appliances such as
coee makers with standby buttons
are like leeches because they draw electricity rom their parent outlets,
 which are like leeches’ hosts. But 
unlike leeches, electronic appli-
ances do not know when to “stop
sucking energy,” Klein said, which
is where the Regulator comes in.
 The gadget saves energy by simply disconnecting the device when it is
let on standby, he said.
Charging appliances connect to an outlet via the Regulator. A 
cord physically detaches rom the
Regulator’s main component whena countdown timer runs its course,Klein said, adding that the act that 
the cord physically disconnects is
 just as important as the invention’s
unction. “Physicality is disappear-
ing,” he said. By having the device’s
parts separate, the user can be cer-
tain that the appliance is working.
 Andrew Mau, a 2009 RISD grad-
uate who was Klein’s sophomore
studio teaching assistant, noted
Klein’s strong work ethic and dili-gence.
“Conor generally knows what 
he wants to accomplish and accom-
plishes it,” Mau said.
Mau, who was present at the
nal critique or the Regulator, said
the most important aspect o the
Regulator was not that it was con-serving energy, but instead that it served as a “physical reminder” o energy overconsumption.
So ar, the Regulator has ap-
peared on over 50 blogs. Klein saidhe has received corporate inquiries
about the Regulator but declined
to say which companies have con-tacted him.
“I didn’t realize it’d get this much
attention,” Klein said.
Cortes of Conor Klein
RISD stdent Conor Klein created the Otlet Relator, a contraptionthat atomaticall ejects appliances when fll chared.
porters o the proposition spent 
about $40 million on their campaign
to galvanize support or the amend-
ment, Buckmire said, and LGBT rights activists spent $43 millionto discourage the proposition. It 
passed with a 57 percent majority in November 2008.
 About 70 percent o Arican- American voters voted to pass
Proposition 8, Buckmire said. “This
oppositional ramework leaves out people who happen to be members
o both groups,” said Buckmire,
 who called himsel a “black gay.”“Black LGBT people were mar-
ginalized by both aspects o their 
identity,” he said.
Cahill discussed the media’s pre-
sentation o Proposition 8, saying it 
portrayed the proposition’s success
as “some combination o Mormon
money and racial homophobia.”From her “YouTube research,”Cahill did not nd rhetoric criti-
cizing homosexuals in the media,
she said. Instead, the proposition was portrayed as preserving “theright o the people to dene mar-
riage as they see t,” she said. But 
Cahill said she also questioned whether or not this excuse was
 just masking “disgust or gays” andpresenting a more “constitutionally 
permissible” excuse or passing the
 Washington provided somebackground on the interplay o 
racial and religious identity in thegay marriage issue. “We have his-torically had gays and lesbians be
 white” and not aliated with any 
religion, he said. “That dynamic isstill alive and well today.” The moderator’s rst question
or the panel was, “What do you
see as the best way to go orward
now?” Buckmire answered, sayingthat the same-sex marriage issue is
not “winnable unless there is major-
ity support or marriage equality.”He said that most states allow or 
civil unions, which provide many o 
the rights that a marriage licensecarries.But still, one class can get mar-
ried and one can only get a civilunion, he said. “We’ve done that beore,” he said, “and it’s called
separate but not equal.”
Cahill added that even though
civil unions provide many o thesame opportunities as marriageor homosexual couples, several
ederal rights are missing.
“I can’t get to the word ‘mar-riage,’ ” Washington said o his
discussions with people opposing
same-sex marriage. “I’m nding
that what’s under marriage is God’s
approval,” he said, summarizingthe sentiments o those against same-sex marriage as, “I I say 
that I approve your marriage, I’msaying that God is approving your 
relationship the way he approves
my relationship.”“See me as human,” Washing-
ton said in response. “See my re-lationship as human and as valid
as yours.”Cahill suggested that the issue
o same-sex marriage should beresolved legislatively, not by thecourts. Lending a legal perspec-
tive, she said, “We have to keep this
conversation going ... and it has tobe multitextural.” Advocates have “put too muchreliance on the courts to solve the
issue,” she said, adding that “we’vegiven it over to the courts and don’t 
really have it ourselves.”
 A student rom the audience
asked about how to educate chil-
dren about homosexuality without parents thinking their children will
become gay.“Every social change issue hashad to have its res,” Washington
said. “I we think we’ll move thisalong without that, we are sorely 
Buck said that intolerance — in-
cluding the assumption that learn-
ing about homosexuality will make
people gay — is due to a lack o 
education. “What i everyone was
gay? Well, we’d all dress better,”
he said. “But it’s not going to hap-
pen,” he added, emphasizing that 
homosexuality is not learned. The panel ended by reminding
the audience that the issue will
only be solved i it is talked about.
People need to get “under the is-
sue” and try to understand each
other, Washington said.
P    f  ‘’
continued from
“Me, a collee kid, I can make an app and sell itto 50 million people.”
— Eric Stix ’12
to change the rating on his app rom
all-ages to 17-or-older.
 The review team does not only 
reject apps it deems inappropriate.
It also makes sure that submitted
apps work properly.
“I a button’s not working, they’ll
call you up and tell you,” Stix said.
“When I’ve needed to change some-
thing, they’ve been very helpul.”
T t cat
Once the review team accepts a 
program, they put it in the App Store
on iTunes. Which apps users choose,
though, depends on advertising, thequality o the app, the prestige o the
developer — and pure luck.
 There are currently more than130,000 apps in the store. As a re-
sult, “a lot o the content immedi-ately sinks to the bottom, which
also makes it pretty tough to get a 
oothold in the market without luck
or an advertising budget,” Kerneld
“I’ve seen some great games that 
have never seen the light o day,”
Stix said.
Large companies such as EA Games are major players in the
apps market, and oten buy up brand
name games such as Scrabble and Tetris to sell in app orm, Stix said.
“Solo developers are inherently at a disadvantage because they can’t pay 
or advertising,” he added.
 Apple will sometimes use the
apps o independent developers intheir ads, which can greatly boost 
the app’s popularity, Stix said.
Richman’s original pregnancy 
test app was eatured in the iPhone
 App Directory, which proles “the
270 most interesting apps,” Rich-
man said.
His app, “Dr. Amy’s Am I Preg-
nant Quiz,” is currently 55th on the
store’s top 100 Healthcare and Fit-
ness apps list, but “when it was rst released, it climbed pretty quickly”to the top spot on the category list.Richman created the quiz to turn a pregnancy inormation Web site —askdramy.com — into an app.
 The competition is stiest or 
game creators, as games comprisethe greatest portion o the market.
“I you get on the top 100 games,
 you’re airly golden,” Stix said. “As
soon as you get to that point, there’s
a snowball eect.”
Stix, Kerneld and Mitra have all
created games in the app market,
and Richman said he hopes to make
a game in the uture.
Richman said his Dr. Amy’sprogram, in its peak at the top o 
the healthcare and tness list, wasdownloaded more than 1,000 timesper day.
Even without the benet o adver-
tising, an app can be successul just because it creates a buzz.
“You need to have a signicant vi-
ral component in your app,” Richman
said. “There needs to be something
that makes people talk about it.”
da a ct
Developers can reap huge prots
rom successul apps, choosing to
charge a ee or downloading the
program initially or to rake in rev-
enue rom advertisements contained
 within a ree app.
Richman uses the latter tech-
nique, creating ree apps and then
relying on advertising revenue to
prot rom app creation. His next 
project involves another inormation-
based app or a dierent company 
regarding clinical trials.“There are millions and millions
o iPhone users, a whole range o 
demographics,” he said. “It’s a great 
idea or a lot o companies” to get 
their inormation out through the
apps market, so there is a large de-mand or developers, he added.
Mitra, Kerneld and Stix all
choose to charge a ee on the app it-sel as opposed to placing ads withinit. Apple takes a 30 percent cut o all
pay-per-app revenues.Mitra’s app, ConqWord, is a 99-cent, two-player word game that in- volves trying to take over dierent 
parts o a board o letters by orming
Kerneld’s app, which he cre-
ated with Evan Wallace ’12, is also a  word game. For 99 cents, users can
download the ast-paced Wordtastic,
 which combines elements o Tetrisand Boggle.
Stix created a successul game
called Kitty Kannon — which
reached the top ve on the gameschart — and an app that automati-cally adjusts song volume to elimi-
nate volume discrepancies between
songs. He now seeks to perect anold classic — Snake.
“There are about 30 copies o 
Snake already or the iPhone,” he
said, but users nd the apple-eatingsnakes in these versions too easy or 
dicult to control. His app will utilize
a better control method, Stix said.
A ct
 While prot may be a main mo-
tivator or many developers, it is
not the sole reason or entering themarket.
“Essentially it’s a gold rushright now,” Kerneld said. “Someapps make a whole lot o money,
but there’s a lot o competition, so
 we were mostly doing it or un and
 just to get something out there with
our name on it.”
“They started this amazing
trend,” Stix said. “Me, a college kid,
I can make an app and sell it to 50million people.”
 This “app culture” also brings up
questions about “to what extent therelationship between producer and
consumer is changing,” said Wendy 
Chun, associate proessor o modern
culture and media studies.
 Apple has moved the spotlight to
the developers, and while the com-
puting Goliath still calls the shots,
Stix said, “it opened up a whole new 
opportunity or so many people.”“I you’re an independent devel-
oper, you can take big risks,” Stix
said, which brings the possibility o 
big prots. “It’s an added element 
o creativity that maybe didn’t exist beore.” The act that “The Moron Test,”“I Am T-Pain” and “Knie Dancing”
are all on the 100 Top Grossing Apps
list speaks or itsel.areas o the University.
 This weekend’s meeting is
the second meeting specically 
dedicated to determining the ol-
lowing scal year’s budget sinceSimmons announced a $740 mil-
lion decline in the University’sendowment in January 2009.
During last February’s meeting,the Corporation set a goal to re-
duce the University’s projected
operating budget by $95 million
over the next our years. The Uni-
 versity set a goal o reducing theprojected budget by $35 millionduring the scal year beginninglast July.
Due to the scope o the pro-
posed reductions or the next s-
cal year, the Corporation — which
also meets annually in May and
October — will spend more timethis weekend meeting as a grouprather than in individual commit-
tees, Carey said.
 This weekend’s meeting will
be a “modied retreat,” Carey said, adding that the February 
meeting is more ocused becauseit includes only current members
o the Corporation.Members o the Corporation
 will convene collectively on Fri-
day morning and split into com-
mittees — including those onadvancement, academic aairs
and budget and nance — in theaternoon beore reconvening at 
a dinner at night. (Committees
charged with discussing acili-
ties and design, Alpert Medical
School, investment and auditingmet on Thursday.) The commit-tees will then come together on
Saturday to nalize next year’s
budget, Carey said.
 The dinner on Friday evening
 will include student leaders, ac-
ulty and sta, as well as members
o the Brown community who
served on the ORC committees
and the URC, he said. Though
these dinners sometimes are de-
 voted to eting specic projects
or donations, Carey said Friday’s
dinner will be “more o a socialevent” to allow members o the
Corporation to “interact with
members o the community.”
Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95
P’98 will also make a presentationon behal o the Academic Priori-
ties Committee, Carey said. The Corporation committees
may also discuss the proposal
or a new school o engineering
and possible plans or campus
improvements, he said.
 Though the general points
o discussion or this weekend’s
meeting are set, the governing
body’s nal decisions relating to
the budget and other areas are
dicult to anticipate, said Marisa 
Quinn, vice president or public
aairs and University relations.
“People think the Corpora-
tion is more predictable than it 
is,” she said. “But they’re a re-ally lively, engaged group, and
things change.”
C b 
continued from
S- P    b   
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