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November 04, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-04

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4A - Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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





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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Bringing home the batteries
Snyder should travel overseas to attract investors
ollowing the landslide election of Republican Rick Snyder
as Michigan's new governor on Tuesday, it seems that few
people will be sad to see Gov. Jennifer Granholm leave
office. Granholm's governorship was plagued with economic
downturn and drastic budget cuts. But the current governor has
started a few projects that the governor-elect should continue.
Yesterday, Granholm left Michigan for Seoul, South Korea as
part of an investment mission to bring foreign chemical and bat-
tery companies to Michigan. Snyder should pursue international
investment opportunities similar to Granholm's while also seek-
ing out other, diverse types of business.

...got their ass handed to them.

How to be ironic

Granholm left for South Korea yesterday
for three days to promote international
investments in Michigan. According to a
Nov. 1 press release from the governor's
office, Granholm will meet with three dif-
ferent companies involved in the manu-
facturing of technologically advanced
batteries. Granholm said in a statement
that bringing these industries to the state
will help to establish Michigan as a new
center for battery and electric powered
vehicles. Since 2004, Granholm has made
a total of 12 trips abroad in an attempt to
bring more overseas investments to the
state. According to the governor's office,
these trips have collectively brought near-
ly $2 billion into the state.
Michigan has infrastructure and
resources left over from the peak of the
automotive industry that currently aren't
being utilized. There are empty plants sur-
rounding the Detroit area, for example,
that could easily be retrofitted to manufac-
ture electric vehicles, advanced batteries,
solar panels and wind turbines. And if new
businesses settle down in Michigan, these
ready-made factories can be staffed with
already-trained manufacturing workers,
creating jobs the state desperately needs.
We've seen it happen: according to the gov-
ernor's office, Granholm's mission to draw
investors to the state has already created
or retained nearly 20,000 jobs. And one of
the companies that Granholm intends to
meet with in Seoul is expected to employ

400 workers at a Holland lithium-ion bat-
tery plant by 2012.
These technologically-advanced and
environmentally friendly lithium-ion bat-
teries will also help to encourage Michi-
gan's automotive industry to shift its focus
to producing more vehicles that run on
alternative energy. With the components
needed for these vehicles easily acces-
sible and therefore less expensive, Mich-
igan-based automotive companies have a
financial incentive to move forward with
manufacturing greener vehicles.
While manufacturing can't be the sole
source of economic prosperity in Michi-
gan as it has been in the past, it's an inte-
gral part of creating a diverse economy.
Governor-elect Rick Snyder has extensive
experience as a businessman and inves-
tor. This experience should be valuable as
Snyder takes on the challenge of reviving
Michigan's economy. When Snyder takes
office, he should utilize his business expe-
rience and follow Granholm's example to
continue attracting international compa-
nies to Michigan.
Granholm has made an effort to seek
out successful companies and encouraged
them to bring their ideas to the Midwest.
Her work has started to lay the ground-
work for an innovative, diverse economy.
But the job will not be complete by Janu-
ary, when Granholm leaves office. Snyder
needs to make ita priority to draw interna-
tional investors to Michigan.

ut of all the questions I receive
from readers, the most com-
mon one is, "Can you please
stop writing col-
umns?" These read-
ers, of course, are
being ironic.
It's perhaps the
best word that
sums up our gen-
eration, other than
But what exactly
is irony? And how WILL
does one go about
being ironic? These GRUNDLER
can be difficult
questions for many
students, despite the prevalence of
irony in modern-day art, media, litera-
ture and liberals.
Understanding irony is essential to
making friends, dominating conver-
sations, being elitist, wooing poten-
tial mates, insulting people, watching
reality TV and a whole lot of other
activities that we students practice. It
has revolutionized the field of sociol-
ogy and probably lots of other fields,
too. In short, as the saying goes, if you
don't know irony then you don't know
a zebra from a horse that has stripes
spray-painted on it.
The good news is that irony is not
too difficult to learn. One of the key
skills is saying one thing and mean-
ing another. This is termed verbal
irony and it's practically indispensi-
ble when it comes to being funny and
For instance, imagine you've just
finished a romantic candlelit dinner
and your date says, "I had a wonder-
ful time." Should you simply say, "Me
too"? If you wish tobe unremarkable
and boring, go ahead. But a better idea
would be to say, "Me too, and you look
really beautiful in low lighting such
as that provided by these candles."
You're saying your date is beautiful
but you actually mean your date is
ugly, which is flirty and fun, because

you don't really mean that. Otherwise
you wouldn't be dating, obviously.
You're being ironic. Get it?
Another form of irony is situational
irony, which occurs when there is a dis-
parity between what is expected and
what actually happens. A famous case
of situational irony occurred in the
American Civil War, when Union Army
general John Sedgwick chastised his
troops for flinching during a shootout.
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this
distance!" he declared. Well, you know
what happened next: the damn Con-
federates somehow managed to shoot
the Union elephant, even though it was
hidingbehind atree.
No, I'm sorry. They actually shot
Sedgwick below the eye and killed
him. This was quite unexpected and
ironic, and the Union soldiers all had
a good laugh. Now, obviously you can't
do situational ironylikeyou canverbal
irony, but you can recognize it. The
trick is always pointing it out when it
occurs, which makes you seem awful-
ly intelligent. For example, if you are
taking a class on religion and the
topic of sexual abuse by religious offi-
cials comes up in discussion, you can
chuckle and say, "Oh, the irony! Situ-
ational, of course. Who would have
thought?" Many of your fellow stu-
dents, not to mention your GSI, will be
impressed with your knowledge of the
specific type of irony.
Perhaps the most amusing form
of irony you can try is feigned igno-
rance, or Socratic irony. Thousands of
years ago, the philosopher Socrates
would pretend to be stupid during
discussions to draw out the illogic in
his opponent's argument. Tragically,
as you will remember, he eventually
went too far and ate poison hemlock
on purpose to prove god-knows-
what, but his contributions to irony
are still revered today. Basically,
you act rather dumb to tease, amuse,
anger or expose the prejudices of a
fellow human being before getting
punched in the mouth.

Here is a hypothetical conversa-
tion between two students, with Ned
employing Socratic irony:
Ethel: "Republicans are taking
over the House, Ned!"
Ned: "What? When? Do we have
enough food?"
Ethel: "The House of Representa-
tives, Ned."
Ned: "Oh! With guns?"
Ethel: "I hate you, Ned."
(Note how Ned makes Ethel express
her deep-seated, irrational hatred.)
The word that
sums up our
Oh no; I'm almost out of room and
I've completely forgotten about post-
modernism. okay, real quick: irony and
postmodernism go hand in hand and
it's important to use the term "post-
modern" in as many conversations as
you can, usually with the structure,
"In our postmodern society, however, I
think the concept of X is Y, don't you?"
Y is almost always something negative.
For instance, if someone were to ask
you about art, you would say, "I think
in our postmodern society, the concept
of artis rather artificial, don't you?"
Anyway, I hope this article cleared
up most people's questions about
irony. At this point in our country's
history, we all need a solid grasp of
it, and while there are those who say
that irony is, in essence, cynical, pro-
found negativity that rejects objec-
tive morality and causes the death
of sincerity, remember that they are
probably justbeingironic.
- Will Grundler is an assistant
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at wgru@umich.edu.


Pass Youth PROMISE Act

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer than 300 words
and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. All submissions become property
of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Salvation through equations

It is well established that delinquent behav-
ior is a precipitant of several social and cogni-
tive factors. Instead of facing this fact, the U.S.
Congress continues to support punishment-
driven law enforcement policy in order to
appear "tough on crime." In keeping criminals
off the streets, citizens are given the impres-
sion of reduced crime while our country now
has the highest average incarceration rate in
the world.
You may ask: Who are these offenders? The
answer is that they are primarily the most vul-
nerable of our population - kids in their late
teens and early 20s. Studies have shown that
these young adults generally lack strong sup-
port from conventional adult institutions, like
family or work. Further enveloped by poverty,
racial disparity and our present culture of
punishment, these children find themselves in
what the Children's Defense Fund describes as
a "cradle-to-prison pipeline." No matter how
much we franchise the harsh prosecution of
crime, unless we address the underlying root
cause of criminal activity, we are letting the
actual crime go unpunished.
In Richmond, Virginia, the pilot program
Gang Reduction and Intervention spent $2.5
million in a collaborative effort with the fed-
eral, state and local partners to focus on a
target community. In two years, the city saw
major crimes in that community decline by
43 percent. Homicides fell from 19 to 2. This
program is an example of an evidence-based
strategy. That is, a program that has been
experimentally proven to reduce crime rates in
youth. Though the Richmond example speaks
for itself, it's worth reiterating how prevention
programs can dramatically change the course
of this cradle-to-prison paradigm.
This is what a bipartisan bill called Youth
PROMISE (Prison Reduction through Oppor-
tunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support,
and Education) Act (H.R. 1064/S. 435), intends
to do. The Youth PROMISE Act would provide
support for youth organizations to create a

PROMISE advisory panel. This panel would
highlight specific areas of need for prevention
programs and work with vital support systems
within communities, including parents, com-
munity members, faith-based organizations
and law enforcement. Together, these groups
will evaluate the needs of a specific commu-
nity and implement evidence-based prevention
and intervention strategies, like early child-
hood education, mentoring, mental health and
job training. The bill provides accountability
for these programs through regular reports
to federal and local government and frequent
reviews of current research on societal needs
and youth crime statistics.
The bill is presently in the U.S. House of
Representatives and has come under attack
because it expands federal oversight of state
criminal policy and increases the national
deficit. Though the bill requires $1.6 billion
in funding, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who
authored the bill, suggests that the cost pales
in comparison to how much is already spent on
punishing young criminals.
In Los Angeles County, it costs $140,000
a year to keep a minor in juvenile hall. The
numbers are equally daunting for Michigan.
In 2009, Michigan spent $34,000 per inmate
while the national average was a little less
than $29,000 per inmate. And while Michigan
residents pay for an incarceration rate that is 5
percent greater than the national average, our
crime rates remain unchanged. It's because
of these policies that we're made to lock our
children in prison for the most formative years
of their lives. Michigan deserves law enforce-
ment policies that work.
Let's create policies that take our kids out of
prisons and put them into schools and the job
market. Let us target the root cause of crime,
instead of placing it out of sight. Please contact
your representatives in Congress to ensure the
protection of our youth and communities.
Jasleen Singh is a Social Work graduate student.

truggling to understand the
mechanics of an equation,
how it works and when to use
it, is nothing new
to University stu-
dents - particu-
larly engineering
students. Quite
often I've found
myself study-
ing late into the
night, groggily
sorting out Greek
letters,. integrals JOE
and derivatives,
because - as most SUGIYAMA
engineers know
- the best way to
master these con-
cepts is practice, practice, practice.
In spite of the dread soa often
associated with applying equations,
I've come to terms with the fact that
they're needed to describe the natu-
ral and man-made world. Without
Newton's laws or Einstein's famous
energy equation, the science commu-
nity and society as a whole would be
up a creek without a paddle. Though
Newton lived nearly 280 years ago,
his equations are still a critical part
of how we describe our world and
a new breakthrough by University
researchers may have the same last-
ing effect.
Recently, University Professor of
Electrical Engineering Steve Forest
and his team of researchers devel-
oped an equation capable of describ-
ing the electrical current and voltage
properties of organic semiconduc-
tors. This would allow organic mate-
rials to potentially be used for solar
cells and high-efficiency lighting.
According to an Oct. 20 University
of Michigan News Service article,
Forest said that "the field of organic
semiconductor research is still in its
infancy" and it's not possible to make

"complicated circuits with them yet."
But this newborn equation has the
potential to reshape our world in the
same way that Newton did.
What makes this equation so
exciting is that it allows scientists to
understand "the relationship of cur-
rent to voltage at junctions of organic
semiconductors." Organic - mean-
ing carbon-based - semiconductors
are typically large and complex in
their chemical make-up. This poses
some serious problems for research-
ers trying to use organic polymers in
applications that require knowledge
of how electrical current flows in the
material. Being able to describe the
electrical properties of an organic
semiconductor makes it possible for
researchers to explore how carbon-
based materials could be used in a
variety of applications - most nota-
bly, solar panels.
solar panels is that the polymers used
have a relatively low efficiency rating
of about 13 percent. This means that
of all the solar energy hitting the area
of the panel, only about 13 percent can
be transformed into usable electricity.
Forest's equation opens up the field of
organic materials for researchers to
boost the power output and efficiency
ratings of solar panels.
This higher efficiency rating
would make solar panels a more
attractive alternative energy option
for both commercial and personal
use. If these new organic polymers
could raise the total energy output of
a solar panel by just a few percent, the
fiscal incentives of installing these
panels become more and more entic-
ing. Currently, DTE - the energy
company that supplies power to many
people in the state - has a program
where they help to install solar pan-
els onto homes. The energy gener-
ated by the panels is then fed directly

into the electrical grid - essentially
"charging" the grid.
The electrical bill for a home with
these solar panels reflects the differ-
ence between the power the home uses
and the power its solar panels gener-
ate, which greatly reduces overall cost.
The idea of making homes and busi-
nesses energy self-sufficient is exciting
for homeowners and environmentalist
alike. It could even result in a refund
check from DTE - that is, if the power
generatedby the home is more than the
amount of power used.
New math is
solving the
energy crisis.
Right now, we're using fossil fuels
at an unsustainable rate and we're at
risk of running out sometime in the
next 200 years. The University has
often found itself seeking an answer
to this global problem through both
education and research. The Univer-
sity's effort to raise awareness of the
problems and solutions of the energy
crisis we are currently facing, as well
as the advancements of University
researchers, is deserving of praise.
We have come to realize that the
key to energy of the future is green.
The development of Forest's equation
is one of the many ways the Univer-
sity is attacking this issue head on. If
we're able to lead the charge in devel-
oping energy efficient solar panels,
then University researchers, students
and the state as a whole will benefit.
- Joe Sugiyama can be reached
at jmsugi@umich.edu.


Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Laura Veith

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