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April 01, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-01

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4 - Tuesday, April1, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University ofMichigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Conscious computng
Ending wasteful computing will take education, incentives
n its fight against global warming, the University has anunusu-
al opponent: its own computers. Although they don't cough
out carbon dioxide like cars, computers are energy-sucking
machines, a problem made worse by the fact that many people keep
them on all day and night. To combat this growing problem, the
University joined the Climate Savers Computing Initiative last year,
a group with a two-fold purpose: to conserve energy and develop
more energy-efficient computers. These are two excellent goals that
will both save the University money and decrease harmful energy
waste. However, many of the best solutions are obvious - they will
just require a lot of advertising and few incentives.

Chill out and let everybody have their say.
We are going to win this election."
-Bill Clinton, in a speech Sunday to California's superdelegates about the divided
Democratic Party, as reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
~ --- --~~
Life's not black and white

While achieving it may not be so easy, the
goal of the CSCI is straightforward. By2010,
the CSCI aims to reduce the University's
computer power consumption by 50 per-
cent. Since nearly half of all the energy used
by computers is wasted as heat, part of the
effort will replace some of campus's 30,000
computers with more energy-efficient,
CSCI-approved models, which may require
cajoling a few companies into manufactur-
ing these models. The other part will focus
on changing simple and preventable waste,
raising awareness about eco-friendly habits
and developing system configuration guide-,
lines, among other reforms. The program
could have big results: If the University
reduces its computer energy consumption
by only 10 percent, it would decrease its
carbon emissions by 6,516,000 lbs. and save
$500,000 each year.
With the exception of efforts to get com-
puter manufacturers to change their ways;
which is a long-overdue kick in the butt,
the University plans seem, well, obvious.
The efforts to reduce excessive power usage
by raising awareness and conserve energy
with new system configurations is so obvi-
ous that it's a bit confusing why it took so
many years and a lofty-sounding title to
spark some action. What the University
needs to do is take the obvious and institu-
tionalize it.
Take, for instance, the most tried and true
energy saver of all time: turning electronics
off. When they aren't in use, computers have
no need to be turned on, and yet on cam-

pus so many of them are left on all hours of
the day. Yale University has experimented
with a system that automatically turns off
its computers, reboots them at night for
updates and shuts them back down again.
This program has saved Yale $40 per com-
puter per year in energy costs, and a study
has shown that the computers could be shut
down without sacrificing maintenance.
Or consider the massive amounts of paper
that is wasted at the University. The solu-
tion: double-sided printing. The University
has long maintained that it hasn't made
duplex printing the default setting on many
printers because it leads to increased paper
jams and more abandoned paper. Sure, mak-
ing doubled-sided printing the default set-
ting might not be right for the high-volume
printers in the Fishbowl, but that doesn't
mean that it wouldn't be right for the small-
er computer labs that dot campus. Regard-
less, many students don't know how to print
double-sided anyway. If the University were
to educate students how to print double-
sided and give them some motivation to do
so - for example, by counting double-sided
pages as 1.5 pages of a student's printing
allocation - many more students would.
They would probably be patient enough to
wait for their pages too.
The University certainly has the right
idea by joining the CSCI. But the initiative
will remain largely symbolic if the Univer-
sity continues crawling its way to greener
computing ideas on campus. It can't afford
to waste one more year.

ome peopletrytosaythatFlorida
isn't really part of "the South."
But having spent seven years in
the swamplands of
Gainesville, where
Confederate flags
fly high and adorn
rearview windows
along the outskirts
of town, I beg to dif-
fer. And trust me,
there were plenty lilt
of remnants of pre-
civil rights move- ARIKIA
ment racism. MILLIKAN
As a multi-racial
girl trying to navi-
gate my way through the awkward
phases of middle and high school, I
was often victimized for my ambigu-
ous appearance. Sometimes, white
kids would make fun of my curly
hair, calling it "nigger hair." If I told.
my white friends, who considered me
one of them because my skin is more
lightcthan dark, that I was mixed, they
would act shocked and patronizingly
try to comfort me. "Well, you don't
act black. I never would have known,"
they would say. Whatever that means.
The racism I experienced wasn't
just directed atme. On countless occa-
sions, I would be sitting among a group
of white peers when the conversation
would turn to the negative qualities
they saw in black people. Because so
many people assumed I was white,
they spoke freely in front of me, mak-
ing racist jokes they assumed I would
find as funny as they did. I didn't. But
I didn't have the courage then to tell
them why.
That's one of the reasons I chose to
apply to the University of Michigan
- I wanted to get as far away from
the racism of the South as possible.
And for the most part, while going to
college here, I didn't see much of it. I

made friends who value me for who I
am and see my differences as beautiful,
not as things I should try to change.
Even on the pseudo-liberal greens
of campus, though, I still encounter
curious peers who innocently ask,
"So ... what are you?" My response
varies, depending on what mood I'm
in. Sometimes I'm "a Scorpio" or "an
American" or "a human being, what
are you?"
"No, no,"theyreply. Silly me, I didn't
understand the question. "Like, what
are you?" Sometimes if I think they're
fishing for the un-white component, I
tell them my dad's from Haiti. Other
times, I break it down for them. My
mom is Ukrainian, Native American
and Scotch-Irish, and my father is
Haitian and Dominican (so African,
French and Spanish). Although the
question is annoying, I shrug it off
because I know some of my friends
don't understand how to talk about
race or are legitimately curious about
my ethnicity. I'm not so patient with
my explanation when I get the sense
that the only reason why someone
is asking is so they can put me in the
"other" group and disregard me. Then
I roll my eyes and walk away.
But it wasn't until last week that I
felt personally objectified on this cam-
pus because of a racist comment. I was
alone in an Angell Hall computer lab
when a black girl came in with a male
friend. I was minding my own business
while they chatted away. I only tuned
into their conversation when I heard
her making fun of him. "Whatever,
you know you've got some white in
you. You know you're mixed," the girl
chided her fair-skinned acquaintance.
"Nuh uh," he responded, offended.
"I'm black, don't dis me like that."
Sometimes, people don't under-
stand that although white people have
usually had the power in society and

black people have fought and continue
to fight for equality, racism isn't uni-
After four years of tolerance and
support at this university, which is
more diverse than people give it cred-
it, I have the courage totake a stand in
situations like this. I interjected into
their conversation and asked if they
thought being mixed was a bad thing.
The girl was instantly embarrassed.
She tried to defend herself, saying she
was "just kidding." But I explained to
her that when you use a characteristic
as an insult, you essentially label that
characteristic as negative and could
offend the people who may have it. It's
in the same vein as calling someone a
faggot in jest.

Seeing the world
with the required


Racism still emerges, even on cam-
pus, when insensitive people think no
one who would care is listening.People
are going to see others how they want
to see them. Sometimes white people
see me as white even though that's
only a part of my identity. But now if
they make racist jokes, I call them out.
It's easier to give people simple labels,
but it just doesn't make sense to look at
everyone as either/or.
If we only look at race in terms
of black and white, we devalue all
the wonderful colors and shades in
Arikia Millikan is a Daily associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at arikia@umich.edu.

The wrongpodium

We're months away from the Opening Cer-
emony, but I think it's safe to say that Beijing
2008 is already the most controversial Olym-
pics in recent memory. Everyone from envi-
ronmentalactivists to Darfur advocacy groups
has a bone to pick with the Chinese govern-
ment, and it seems as if they've all decided to
air their concerns at once.
To be fair, the bones in question are pretty
big ones. Tacit approvalofgenocide, continued
unrest in Tibet and mind-boggling amounts of
air pollution are hardly small matters; rather,
they're issues that the world should pressure
the Olympic host to address. At the same time,
I have to wonder how appropriate of a soap-
box the Olympic Games are and if some of the
recent calls for a boycott are misdirected.
Many of the problems that now occupy the
headlines were still there when the Interna-
tional Olympic Committee first awarded the
games to China in 2001. Tibet, for instance,
has been occupied since 1959, and I wouldn't
be surprised if the Chinese skies were equal-
ly smoggy seven years ago. Expecting the
Olympic Games to prompt a sudden reversal
of decades-old policies ,is - to put it mildly
- incredibly optimistic. Instead, it is impor-
tant to recognize that these games represent
a stage in the process.
At no other time since the end of the Cold
War has China been under such internation-
al scrutiny, and steady results are sure to fol-
low. The case of its environmental problems
is an example, of one such positive change
that the Olympics have already brought.
Despite lingering concerns about its air qual-
ity, China has made a concentrated effort
to tackle this problem, and the effects are
beginning to show.
Calls for a boycott of the 2008 games focus
on legitimate problems that need resolution.
But, there is little reason to believe- that a
boycott would be the right approach. A quick
glance at the history books offers plenty of evi-
dence to suggest otherwise. The 1980 summer
Olympics are the best example. In response to
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United
States and 65 other countries boycotted the
Moscow games. When the dust settled, the
final causality count included the shattered
dreams of hundreds of Olympic hopefuls and
absolutely no change in Soviet policy. Would a
similar boycott turn out any differently here?
The past is hardly encouraging.
Individual protest is another oft-mentioned

possibility. Famed Steven Spielberg recently
resigned from his position as an overseas
artistic advisor to the Games, citing China's
support for the'Sudanese government in the
Darfur conflict. Similar personal decisions
to abstain from the Games are completely
understandable. More problematic, though,
is the chance of athletes protesting during the
Olympic Games themselves, manipulating the
international audience afforded to them.
I agree that the ideal of a noble individual
boldly protesting against perceived injustice
is appealing. Like many Americans, I have
a positive view of the iconic Black Power
salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at
the 1968 Games in Mexico City. On the other
hand, it's easy to forget that this street goes
both ways. This March, Serbian-American
swimmer Milorad Cavic wore a T-shirt read-
ing "Kosovo is Serbia" to the medal stand
at the European Championships in Aquat-
ics. Like Smith and Carlos, Cavic surely felt
justified in his statement on the ex-Serbian
province's recent independence. When I
saw the pictures, I couldn't help but think
of the overwhelmingly Albanian population
in the new republic, livinga day-to-day real-
ity that the Anaheim-born Cavic had never
For the protesting of any of the issues we
disagree with in the West, there are dozens
of other concerns that people from around
the world find equally valid - concerns with
which we may not agree. With that in mind,
the International Olympic Committee's char-
ter makes much sense in banning political
demonstrations at the Games. Although it's
easy to retrospectively sympathize with Smith
and Carlos - or even, for some, with Cavic - a
liberal approach could degenerate the Olym-
pic Games into a carnival of grievances.
Although the Olympics and other interna-
tional sporting events are created around the
ideals of global understanding and unity, the
world we live in is a messy place that hardly
lives up to them. Despite this, the Games have
historically contributed to fostering coop-
eration, understanding and hope for a bet-
ter future. Such a positive event should not
be compromised for political ends, whether
through the boycott of participating nations
or the protests of individual participants.
Harun Buijina is an LSA sophomore and
a member of the Daily's editorial board.

Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh, Milly Dick,
Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Imran Syed,
Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
All about reader comments


urf the comments section at the
bottom of The Michigan Daily's
articles online, and it won't take
you long to find a
potentially offen-
sive message.
In a March 20
article titled "Say-
ing no to Order of
Angell," one reader
just posted the
word "pussy." In
a March 21 article PAUL H.
titled, "Burger P
joint's name, logo JOHNSON
irks LGBT group"
another reader asked others to "grow
a pair." All this led one reader to ask,
what are the Daily's rules when it
comes to website comments?
Unlike many mainstream news-
papers, the Daily has no registration
process before users can post on the
website. People can just enter a name
- it doesn't have to be theirs - and they
can post away.
According to Managing Editor Gabe
Nelson, the Daily has looser standards
for its comments section than main-
stream newspapers. That means that
coarse language isn't banned from
the comments section just like it isn't
banned from the news pages them-
selves. But there are limits.
"When that language becomes gra-
tuitous or attacks another person, or
simply becomes too much," Nelson
said, the newspaper won't allow it.
For example, Nelson said that the
newspaper removed one comment

from the article about the burger res-
taurant after someone posted pho-
tos of a student and made insulting
comments about that student. Nelson
said personal attacks against others
wouldnt be tolerated.
The problem is that the Daily
doesn't have a reliable method to hunt
down offensive posts. "We just don't
have the means to go through the com-
ments," Nelson said. Considering that
some articles get hundreds of com-
ments, many offensive posts slip by
unnoticed. This is a problem the Daily
is trying to fix.
"We're trying to come up with a sys-
tem to review comments," Nelson said.
The Daily's website will be redesigned
this summer, and the newspaper is con-
templating a way for users to easily flag
troublesome comments. There might
even be a simple registration system
before readers can post. The key is not
to make the system too cumbersome to
use, and Nelson said the paper doesn't
plan to create a registration system
that requires users to sign up before
they can read articles
Currently, the main way the Daily
finds out about offensive comment
posts is through reader e-mails. Read-
ers who find a post they find offensive
should e-mail Managing Online Editor
Bridget O'Donnell at odonnell@michi-
gandaily.com, Managing Editor Nel-
son at nelson@michigandaily.com, the
article's writer or myself Someone will
look at the offending post and decide
if it needs to be removed. If one user
of the site repeatedly posts offensive

comments, the Daily has the ability to
block that user's IP address.
But there are no plans to stop allow-
ing comments. It's now standard prac-
tice in the industry to allow them.
Allowing readers to air their opinions
relatively unfiltered is the least a news-
paper can do to make itself more acces-
sible to the public it serves. In fact, one
could argue that comments are long
overdue. Often, if you read the com-
ments, they become a long discussion
online feedback:
an opportunity
and a challenge


between readers about the merits, or
lack thereof, of any particular news
article and eventually veer off-topic
into new subjects altogether. These
comments are substantially different
in character from letters to the editor
and opinion pieces, and they should
remain that way.
When the Daily does redo its web-
site, it should find better ways to track
down offensive posts. Like all news-
papers, the Daily should find ways to
make its readers more engaged with
the product it produces every day.
Paul H. Johnson is the Daily's
public editor. He can be reached
at publiceditor@umich.edu.

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