FEBRUARY 24 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
The Arab world was dealt yet anothershock on Sunday, when Omar al-Bashir,President of Sudan, announced his im-pending retirement. “He has no will to bepresident again,” Rabie Abdelati, a seniorgovernment spokesman, told Reuters.For anyone familiar with Bashir’s sto-ry, the announcement would have seemedimpossible before revolt rocked the Arabworld. Since winning power in a bloodlesscoup in 1989, Bashir has ruled Sudan withan iron fist. He is the only sitting head of state to be indicted by the InternationalCriminal Courtfor his perpetration of the ongoing genocide in Darfurand isvilified by the US for hosting Al Qaeda inthe 1990s. Human rights violations, cor-ruption, and large-scale neglect have beenprominent characteristics of the Bashirregime.As the region is exploding with callsfor justice and democracy, Bashir’s moveis seen as a direct response to the flux. Un-convincingly, however, the President de-nies any correlation. The same spokesmanthat announced Bashir’s decision affirmedthat its timing had “nothing, nothing atall” to do with the wave of revolutionsweeping the regionwhich inspired asmall series of protests in Sudan. “InEgypt, there was a gap between the rulers
iPHONE A PRIEST
Bad news for overscheduled Catholics: itturns out it isn’t possible to absolve yoursins at the touch of a touch-screen. In re-sponse to the overwhelming popularity of the recently released “Confession: A Ro-man Catholic App,” an iPhone applicationdesigned to aid Catholics with the sacra-ment of confession, the Vatican found itnecessary to issue a clarification on thenature of absolution. Although there wasunderstandably some confusion, the factof the matter is that the iPhone cannot for-give sins.The Confession App, released thisDecember by Little iApps, is designed for“those who frequent the sacrament andthose who wish to return,” said developerPatrick Leinen in a recent press release.The app aims to guide Catholics throughthe stresses of the Rite of Penance, allfor the bargain price of $1.99. Though ithas yet to reach Angry Birds’s status, theapp has been highly successful, currentlyranking in the top ten of iTunes’s Lifestyleapps.The Confession App features a cus-tom examination of conscience. Userssign in (logs of sin are password-protectedof course) and are asked to enter their age,sex
and vocation. The app then takes youstep-by-step through the Ten Command-ments, providing questions designed tocatch
transgressions that may otherwisehave been overlooked. Prompts vary ac-cording to user profile. A teenage girl isasked to consider the question, “Do I nottreat my body or other people’s bodieswith purity and respect?” under the SixthCommandment, while a middle-aged mar-ried man reads “Have I been guilty of mas-turbation?”Users can place a check mark nextto standard offenses (lying, not pray-ing, practicing superstitious activities) orchoose to type in their own custom sins.Once this stage of confession has beencompleted, the app offers seven acts of contrition to choose from. However,the
quoted Father FedericoLombardi reminding Catholics that “it isessential to understand that the sacramentof penance requires a personal dialoguebetween the penitent and the confessorin order for absolution to be given. Thiscannot be replaced by a computer appli-cation.” So, fear not clergymen: while acomputer takeover by Watson and Co.may seem increasingly imminent, thechurch is determined to remain a place of solace and job security.–
WEEK IN REVIEW
by Malcolm Burnley, Emily Gogolak,and Erica Schwiegershausen
In the aftermath of Ken Jennings’s defeaton Jeopardy to Watson, IBM’s supercom-puter, Hasbro has introduced its own“computer overlord” into its signaturebrand, Monopoly. This fall, slap downfifty bucks and you’ll get Monopoly Live,an updated version of the classic boardgame, complete with a ten-inch computertower at the center of the game board.Powered by 4 AA batteries, it threatens todisplace, obliterate, and “make obsolete”all we love about Monopoly game-play:the multi-colored fake money, launderingthat multi-colored fake money under thetable, under-the-table deal-making withGrandma, fixing dice throws, and flat-outdisobedience of the rulebook. In Monop-oly Live, the infrared tower keeps a digitalbalance of each player’s funds, produceselectronic dice throws, and speaks voicecommands to ensure rules are adhered to.Citing a 9 percent drop in 2010 salesof old-fashioned board games, Hasbro istrying to appeal to a new generation of adolescents, hoping the game will meshwith their chronic addictions of physicalinactivity, energy drinks, and Xbox.Unfortunately, as a result of the com-puter tower, Monopoly Live willdeprive players from acquiring im-portant life lessons instilled throughthe classic version of the game. In arecent
New York Times
article, MaryFlanagan, Professor of Digital Hu-manities at Dartmouth University,and Joey Lee, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education at Teach-ers College at Columbia’s Teacher’sCollege, reviewed Monopoly Live’swisdom, and deemed it essentiallyworthless. Flanagan claims the new-est iteration is “less and less aboutfinancial awareness” while Lee be-lieves it is a shame to eliminate cheat-ing, which is better than the “blindadherence to following orders,” builtinto Hasbro’s newest creation.What happened to those char-acter-building board games that re-ally made you work? Nobody ran thegauntlet in Hungry Hungry Hipposwithout working up a good lather orleaving without a palm blister. Thenagain, maybe Hasbro is on to some-thing. Had the government devel-oped Monopoly Live’s technologyfour decades ago to run our real-lifebanks, railroads, and derivative realestate markets, we probably couldhave avoided half-a-dozen bailoutsand trillions in debt. But it’s a lotmore fun to roll the dice right? Comeon, double sixes!
and the people, but not in our country,”Mr. Rabie said. “In Sudan,” he continued,“[the leaders] live with the people.” MostSudanese would beg to differ. And mostare now questioning Bashir’s real motives.As Al-Tayeb Zein al-Abideen, a politi-cal science professor at the University of Khartoum, told the
New York Times
, “In theArab world, we have become accustomedto rulers staying in power until they die.”That Bashir himself did not make the an-nouncement is considered highly suspect,and many question if he seriously intendsto abdicate power. The news could simplybe a tool to pacify a nation in protest, tofeign a move toward democracy, and topretend to care for a people who feel for-gotten and abused by their government.What will happen now remains un-clear. In 2010, Bashir took the last roundof electionswhich outside observersdeemed illegitimatein a landslide. Thenext elections are scheduled for 2015,but some think that the opposition mayforce Bashir from office before the officialchange of guard. This could throw Sudaninto the same all-out chaos of its Arabneighbors, setting the stage for anotherextraordinary outcome in a region wherethe only guarantee is the unpredictable.
SO LONG MR. PRESIDENT?TECHED-OUT MONOPOLY MAN