What we’re reading

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This past week, President Obama addressed the buzz about the Ebola virus in his weekly address entitled “What You Need to Know about Ebola” by saying that, “we can’t give in to hysteria or fear.” In the past few weeks, we’ve heard arguments for travel bans and other actions seeking to curb the spread of this virus to the United States. In Nate Silver’s “Why An Ebola Flight Ban Wouldn’t Work,” he maps out what a flight ban to West Africa would look like and why it would be ineffective.

On the topic of public health, have you ever thought about public wifi being a public health hazard? According to Mauritis Martijn, we might want to be more cautious when using a public Wi-Fi server. If you’re curious how a hacker can learn intimate details about strangers using public wifi or, like us, are terrified by the prospect of having some stranger looking at the last five things you googled, give “What we give away when we log on to a public Wi-Fi network” a read.

Another way to take care of yourself is to learn some serious hangover cures from some of the most famous heavy drinkers. Did you know that Zelda Fitzgerald’s hangover cure was to go for a morning swim? Or that Brenda Frazier would take a bottle of Coca-Cola, shake it, and then mix it with cold milk?

In education, two particular articles generated a great deal of discussion this week. The first being David Edwards’ “American Schools Are Training Kids for A World That Doesn’t Exist” which discusses what Edwards feels must change in our education system. He argues that we will have to shift from teaching students to “learn and then do” to a different framework that stresses discovery and adapting to an ever-changing world.

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RI marijuana decriminalization law in effect

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In 2012, Rhode Island passed a law to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. This law is currently in effect as of April 1, 2013. This is not an April Fools joke, but rather an effort that Senator Joshua Miller, D-representing Cranston, and state Representative Jay Edwards, D–representing Tiverton and Portsmouth, have been working to pass for the past five years. A first-time offender who possesses one ounce or less of marijuana will now see a $150 civil fine, and no jail time.  An individual who is charged with possession three times in 18 months, however, must pay the original $500 civil fine, and will most likely spend a year in jail.

The implications are huge. The law hopes to debunk the “forbidden fruit” nature of the drug, which is why many young adults may find it so appealing in the first place. Perhaps more importantly, a portion of the money collected from fines will now go towards drug treatment and education programs. Now that possession is no longer criminal, it is hoped that people can seek proper treatment rather than becoming lost in the criminal justice system. This will save the state a great deal of money down the road by relying more on prevention and less on incarceration.

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Incognito man is watching you

Stalking Period

Incognito man is watching youBecause I’m a Banner demigod, I have absolutely no classes on Friday (yeah, that’s right, be jealous). But rather than sleep in or nurse a hangover, I decided to take the ultimate shopping trip: find a random person, go with them to class, repeat.

Here are the field notes, observations, and petty rants of shopping period.

9-9:50: ECON0110, Principles of Economics

8:59: Oh, freshmen. They’re still eagerly introducing themselves. Hi Carol and Jack! I remember doing that a year ago way back when. Now I bolt for the nearest spot open next to someone I vaguely know.

9:02: First thing the professor asks: “Who wasn’t here Wednesday?” She’s onto me.

9:04: Content of computer screens in the third row: MS Word, MS Word, MS Word, Spotify, Facebook, MS Word, Stickies, Gmail.

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