• Friday, June 8, 2012
• Friday, June 8, 2012
Gazette Composing & Gazette Advertising
Volume 106,Issue 2www.westerngazette.ca
Managing EditorThe Gazette is owned and published by theUniversity Students’ Council.
Editorials are decided by a majority o the editorial boardand are written by a member o the editorial board but arenot necessarily the expressed opinion o each editorialboard member. All other opinions are strictly those o theauthor and do not necessarily refect the opinions o theUSC,The Gazette,its editors or sta.To submit a letter,go to westerngazette.ca and click on“Contact.”All articles,letters,photographs,graphics,illustrationsand cartoons published in The Gazette,both in thenewspaper and online versions,are the property o TheGazette. By submitting any such material to The Gazetteor publication,you grant to The Gazette a non-exclusive,world-wide,royalty-ree,irrevocable license to publishsuch material in perpetuity in any media,including but notlimited to,The Gazette‘s hard copy and online archives.
Alex CarmonaJesica HurstCam SmithAaron Zaltzman
Arts & Life
Sumedha AryaBrent HolmesKevin Hurren
Richard RaycratJason Sinuko Ryan Stern
Andrei CalinescuRitchie ShamCameron Wilson
Naira AhmedMike Laine
Christopher MiszczakLiwei Zhou
Gazette Staff 2012-2013
Greg Colgan,Megan Devlin,Kevin Estakhri,ConnorHill,Elton Hobson,Kelly Hobson,KatherineHorodnyk,Sarah Mai Chitty,Victoria Marroccoli,Megan McPhaden,Megan Puterman,Chen Rao,Pat Robinson,Taylor Rodrigues,Nathan TeBokkel,Amy Wang,Hillete Warner,Kate Wilkinson,UsmanZahid,Mason ZimmerIan Greaves,ManagerMaja Anjoli-BilicStephanie WilliamsDiana Watson
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The time has nally come to sit downand address the ascination the mod-ern world has developed with cats. Pic-tures and videos o these silly elinesdoing anything you can imagine, romsleeping to ghting bears, are fooding the Internet. In act, I would be lying i I said that I didn’t bring my cat into my room or inspiration while writing thisarticle.I guess the heart o the issue here isthat I’m bothered by the act nations with such power devote so much timeto creating and consuming cat-relatedcontent, and are enamoured by ador-able quirky cats. However, I can’t say I’mnot happy to be living in a time whenI can reap massive amounts o enjoy-ment rom sitting in my room and view-ing countless cats and kittens online.This ascination with cats hasreached such a high level that cats now even have their own language, a rag-mented debauchery o English called“lolcat.” This language, while initially adorable, becomes not only tiresome,but extremely grating ater prolongedexposure. Pictures o cats are ruined with poor lolcat dialogue, which turnsa unny picture into nothing more thanan eyesore. What does this eline-driven en-thrallment say about out society as a whole? Are we needlessly distracting ourselves rom more important issuesin the world, or are we merely placating ourselves by watching an interesting,intelligent animal? Are we just insane?I reality television is any indicator o what people in our culture enjoy, then we spend our time seeking out enter-tainment no matter what the cost. So why do we like cats so much?First o all, cats are unpredictable.They have the ability to be cute, cou-rageous, or gross—all o which are en-tertaining. Because o a cat’s ability tostimulate the senses, videos are ableto create a situation where the viewernever knows in which way they will bestimulated. A cute kitten could hack up a ur ball at any moment, changing the entire tone o the video and creat-ing a new level o engagement with theviewer.The cold, lieless eyes o a cat helphide such a surprise until the exact mo-ment it is revealed. An identical viralvideo with a dog would hold less o animpact, as there is always the possibil-ity the dog was trained to do something wacky. Because cats are more dicultto train, we are more likely to take theirrandom antics at ace value.Cats are also widely known by thegeneral populace. Most people havemet a cat at some point during theirlives, and can relate to their actions.I’m sure some undomesticated animalscan be just as wacky, but a viewer willnever reap the same enjoyment roman animal such as a polar bear, as they know deep down that viewing such aspectacle in real lie would be highly dangerous.Lastly, cats come in many shapesand sizes, helping them ll out thegenre. Kittens act dierently thanull-grown cats, and the video couldbe based solely on the size o the catat hand. There is so much variety tochoose rom that the “lolcat” genre has just lled out. Whether or not the ethical ramica-tions o residing at home watching vid-eos o cats are too great, cat videos areable to meet the entertainment needso Western society, and continue to doso with low prices and easy access.
Cat got your mouse?
Ater the recent murder and dismemberment o ChineseConcordia University student Lin Jun, China’s concernabout the saety o Canada has grown. As a result, the Chi-nese Embassy in Ottawa cautioned those travelling or liv-ing in Canada to boost their personal security. Many inChina believe Luka Magnotta’s murder o Jun was racially motivated. The crime added uel to the already-burning re created last April ater the murder o York University student Liu Qian. While China’s concerns may be warranted, it’s impor-tant to remember that such crimes are uncommon. A largepart o the worry is because the victims were students whomade large investments in Canada, and its institutions, ortheir uture.Media tends to sensationalize stories o this scaleand, as a result, may leave people more worried thanthey should be. While the public needs to know aboutthese crimes, coverage overkill oten instigates unneces-sary concern. Yes, i this were happening to Canadianssomewhere else, you’d hear us too, but Chinese citizensshouldn’t necessarily eel targeted.Deaths or unjust causes happen elsewhere and gainless attention. But this truth doesn’t stop concerns romoverseas, and subsequently has Canadian universities worried about their international appeal. Schools like Western have made a signicant nancial eort to attractstudents rom around the world. But will Jun’s and Qian’smurders taint Canada’s image orever?Canadian schools are highly regarded, and thesecrimes probably aren’t enough to stop most people romstudying, or even travelling here. Schools should insteadocus on making international students eel at home. So-cial isolation and lack o cultural integration may add toeelings o uneasiness o being abroad, and mitigating those eelings should be a top priority i schools want toattract more worldly students. While worry in this situation is warranted, the reality is, Canada is still sae. There is no more risk o danger herethan in other countries. Canadian post-secondary schoolsmay be worried about their reputation on the global stage,but it probably won’t be a cause or concern or too long.
—Gazette Editorial Board
Canada stillsafe forstudents
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When his grandmother passedaway rom Alzheimer’s disease in2009, Nelson Dellis began studying memory—ocusing his researchon how memory works and wayshe could improve his own. Ateronly three years o research, prac-tice and competing, the 28-year-old mountain climber has wonboth the 2011 and 2012 USA Mem-ory Championships, and hopes toshow the world that anyone canimprove their memory with a littletime and practice.“Memory has nothing to do with natural talent. People claimto have photographic memories,but in actuality, that doesn’t exist,”Dellis says. “Memory is something that can be trained—just like youcan train to run a marathon, youcan train to memorize quickly andmore eciently.”Dellis has been competing inthe USA Memory Championshipsince 2009, but ever since he lostin the nals in 2010, he has intensi-ed his training regimen. Althoughhe has been training daily or thepast ew years, he never expectedto take his memory this ar.“I would spend three to vehours per day training—memoriz-ing cards, numbers, names, wordsand poetry every single day,” hesays.Tracy Alloway, assistant pro-essor at the University o NorthFlorida and author o
Training Your Brain for Dummies
, explainsthis type o memorization is pos-sible or everyone, but requiresimprovement in our working memory.“I think a conductor is a niceimage to reer to when thinking about working memory, because we do know the ront o the brain,or the prerontal cortex, is working the hardest when we are doing anactivity involving working mem-ory,” she explains. “This conduc-tor works with other parts o thebrain to bring inormation romour long-term memory to the cur-rent moment.” According to Alloway, researchhas shown a direct correlationbetween improvement in work-ing memory and improvement ingrades.“Working memory is a muchbetter predictor o college-levelsuccess compared to SAT scores,or example,” she says. “Work-ing memory is your potential tolearn—it’s how you can actually use the knowledge that you have.”Students who spend their timeonly memorizing acts and de-nitions may not necessarily beable to put the inormation to-gether when writing a short an-swer or essay. However, Tony Dot-tino, ounder o the USA Memory Championship, still argues thesetypes o exercises should be intro-duced to high schools and univer-sities everywhere, as they are help-ul skills to have in any situation.“The work I’ve done in localhigh schools—teaching these kidsmemorization techniques—hashelped them improve in academicperormance,” Dottino says. “Re-tention and organization o inor-mation helps improve test scores.”So what are some techniquesstudents can use to help boosttheir memory beore an exam? Al-loway recommends ocusing onsleep, diet and exercise.“I highly recommend not study-ing the night beore an exam andgiving your brain a rest by getting a good sleep,” she advises. “Thekinds o oods you eat can alsohave a great eect on your mem-ory—a breakast ull o blueber-ries and coee, or example, hasshown to boost memorization inthe moment.” As ar as mental exercises go,Dellis recommends visualizing theinormation you are studying.“Try to turn whatever you’rememorizing into pictures—makethem weird, violent, sexual orunny,” he says. “It turns out ourbrains are better at remembering pictures like these, rather than ab-stract inormation like numbers,dates and names.”“But most importantly, pay at-tention,” Dellis urges. “You’d besurprised how ar just paying at-tention and devoting yoursel to atopic will take you.”
It’s risky, exciting and so popularthat in 2011 the
added it to their ocial vocabu-lary—sexting. This cellular ore-play doesn’t come without its dan-gers, but Quimby, a new iPhoneapplication, may help to mitigatethe risks o sending naughty pic-tures and text messages.“The original [idea] camerom watching gol coverage o Tiger Woods post-scandal,” saysHeather Burns, ounder o Qui-mby. “Over the months there weremore and more incidents on thenews o people’s private conver-sations nding their way into thepublic—whether it be the News o the World hacking, or a celebrity photo getting leaked. It just elt like we really needed a more privatemessaging tool.”Quimby is a messaging appli-cation that gives users the abil-ity to set a sel-destruct timer ontheir chats or photos, allowing the sender to control how long the content stays on the receiver’sphone. Once the content destroysitsel, it’s gone rom everywhere—including the server. Quimby de-velopers are continuing to work onthe application to ensure the mostsecure experience as possible, which means overcoming loop-holes like screen captures.“Currently, Apple won’t allow you to block screen captures,”Burns explains. “[However], wehave ensured that your name,username, et cetera are neverlinked to the inormation yousent. So i someone were to screencapture, it would be content only,and they could never prove who itcame rom.” While the easiest way to elimi-nate all risks would be withhold-ing inappropriate texts, that isn’talways the most obvious optionsays Tony*, a second-year healthsciences student.“In the moment it seems sexy,spontaneous and un,” says Tony, who has had negative experi-ences with sexting. “With thesetexts you’re trying to set a mood,build excitement—the problemcomes when the other person getsso caught up in the moment they don’t remember to delete the pic-tures. I I had more control overthe deletion o what I sent, I couldhave avoided a lot o embarrassing conversations.”Though the application hasound a market with sexters, Qui-mby can be used or other pur-poses and can secure other sen-sitive inormation. According toBurns, the application’s namends its origins in a much more in-nocent source.“It’s actually named ater Chie Quimby rom
Hesigned all o his notes, ‘This mes-sage will sel destruct.’”
*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.
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For moresummer mixes visit westerngazette.ca/arts
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