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March 15, 2012 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 3B

Battle o the mac
his week, it's all about mac. If I had to describe the
mac & cheese - the bowl in one word, I would offer
classic combo that for "warm." The heartening South-
decades has served as a staple west seasonings, beautiful,
for childhood summertime deep-orange cheese sauce and
lunches, subdued earth-tone ingredients
"fend for transport me back home, next
yourself to the fireplace, where I sit, eat
night" din- and watch snow fall through
ners and the picture window. The first
broke college few bites are exquisite and truly
students' powerful, but the flavors soon
pantries collide, lose momentum and fall
everywhere. NATHAN flat. Again, this dish is too salty.
It's cheap, WOOD The tomatoes are still colder and
easy, deli- sparser than I would like, and the
cious and starchy kidney beans are really
ingeniously engineered. Think overabundant. The cheddar-jack
about it: What better way to cheese sauce is tasty, but spooned
deliver copious amounts of on too stingily to satisfy my
creamy, cheesy goodness than requirement for such an essen-
with hollow pasta that lends tial ingredient. Moreover, I see
itself to being stuffed with and the absence of an authentically
totally enveloped in sauce? I'll Mexican cheese, like Manchego,
give you a hint: There isn't a bet- as a missed opportunity to really
ter way. make this dish something spe-
Given my maybe all-too- cial.
obvious love of cheese and
carbs, I nearly had a coronary
when I heard Noodles & Com- -Noodles resunp
pany's grown-up mac is back by revs
popular demand. Bacon, mac & a classic.
cheeseburger; chili mac; truffle
mac with baby portabellas; and
the standard Wisconsin mac
& cheese sound like foolproof In second place, we have
ways to get through a week jam- the everyday Wisconsin mac &
packed with impossible mid- cheese, a pleasingly good mac
terms. Notebook in hand, I take it by any standard. For starters, a
upon myself to bust into Noodles base of thickened heavy cream
and pit their dishes against one and cheddar cheese sauce is
another in a battle of the mac. spooned into the bottom of a
May the best pasta win. shallow bowl. A ladle of per-
Coming in last is the sur- fectly al dente elbow noodles
prisingly awful bacon, mac & made from amber durum wheat
cheeseburger. Though it sounds is layered in next, followed by a
good in theory, the execution small handful of mild Monterey
is embarrassing in reality. The and cheddar-jack cheeses. You
meat, which one would think is are obligated to stir the pasta
crucially important to a cheese- yourself, allowing your mouth
burger mac, is nearly nonexis- time to water in anticipation as
tent in the dish - that is, unless the shredded cheese becomes
you order a few expensive meat- stringy, melting right before
balls on top. And despite their your eyes. Each bite tastes like
price, the beef is tough, reheated mac & cheese should, the way
and how I imagine overcooked, it did before the advent of pro-
freezer-burnt breakfast sausage cessed cheeses, ila Velveeta.
would taste. Chunks of cold The dish is uncomplicated,
Roma tomato cool the dish to a hearty, warm and rich. No need
displeasinglukewarm tempera- to bother with protein add-ons
ture, and the bacon crumbles here; just savor the simplicity.
are chewier than dehydrated And the winner is ... truffle
jerky, ensuring my next visit to mac! For those of you wondering
the dentist will be an expen- what a truffle is, it's a glorified
sive one. Each bite proves to be mushroom common in haute
oversalted, and the cheddar-jack cuisine that can sell for up to
cheese sauce does little to save $100,000 per pound (but usually
the dish. For a more sincere ode closer to $1,000 to $2,500 per
to the cheeseburger, I would pound). Noodles economically
have also liked to see a teaspoon sneaks the ingredient into this
of dill-pickle relish and some fancy-pants dish by infusing
caramelized onion mixed in. But its classic cheese sauce with
alas, the scallions dressing the some white truffle-oil, which
mac will have to suffice as my is then added to a hearty cup of
only consolation. macaroni, thickly sliced baby
Taking the bronze is the portabella mushrooms, nutty
bacon, mac & cheeseburger's Parmesan cheese and homemade
slightly superior cousin: chili See MAC BATTLE, Page 45

Loving, hating on the Bard

Like in the salons of 17th
and 18th century France,
this weekly installment
will feature two Daily Arts
writers discussing the finer
points of arts mediums
from at least 10 years ago.
Shall I compare thee to 1998's
other BestPicture nominees?
Thou art trite and utterly
Weinstein's bribes did shake the
Academy's fickle temperament,
For what else could explain
Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar?
That's all loosely paraphrased
from the Bard himself - loosely
to the point when it's no longer
really poetry. But then again, nei-
ther is "Shakespeare in Love," no
matter how many flowery roman-
tic clichs its characters spew in
cloyingly delivered Early Modern
In case you can't decipher the
pillaged sonnet in the article's
lead, here's some background.
"Shakespeare in Love" - part
of a slew of overrated Best Pic-
ture winners that includes over-
sentimental saccharine such
as "Crash," "Titanic" and "The
King's Speech" - took home
seven trophies at the 1998 Oscars,
including, as previously stated,
dubiously awarded honors for
Best Picture and Best Actress.
The film's producer, the notori-
ous Harvey Weinstein, famously
spent millions giving the movie
a last-minute advertising push,
which somehow enabled the film
to sneak by Steven Spielberg's
timeless and powerful "Saving
Private Ryan" for the top spot.
The spending drive also managed
to sneak a weakly mustachioed
Paltrow past Cate Blanchett's
regal (literally!) performance in
"Elizabeth" and a hackneyed,
ironically unoriginal script past
the diabolically plotted "Truman
But the film isn't just bad
because of the hardware it man-
aged to undeservedly win. It also
happens to be a really bad movie.
Swordfights are "West Side
Story"-esque, in the sense that
they evoke a universal "nobody
actually fights like that" reac-
tion. There's a Ben Affleck char-
acter also, who, for all intents and
purposes, is just Affleck phon-
ing in a cringe-worthy "British"
accent. And those are just a few
small, technical things that suck.
There's also the acting, which
is universally overexaggerated
and hamfisted with the small

"We think we're the shit."
exception of Judi Dench's Queen
Elizabeth, whose massive screen
presence is pitifully underuti-
lized. The script, full of not only
the aforementioned romantic cli-
ches but also cheap, unbelievably
serendipitous coincidence, could
have used a rewrite, or five, or a
But none of these compare to
the utter derision reserved for.
Joseph Fiennes's William Shake-
speare. Fiennes plays Shake-
speare as an immature dolt in
love with his own voice, a high
school student who thinks over-
emphasized line delivery means
the greatest performance ever.
This only emphasizes the easy-
to-hate elements of the script's
take on Shakespeare, an unstable,
wildly irresponsible man-child.
This man-child is supposedly the
romantic lightning rod, who fans
of the film defend to this day, but
somehow they forget that he's a
philanderer who we see patron-
izing prostitutes. The entire plot
involves him using his honeyed
tongue to seduce Paltrow's vir-
gin (again, literally!) character.
Today, that'd be called creepy and
In the end, it's not artificially
generated hype or meaningless
trophies that determine a film's
legacy, but how the public looks
at it and its cast and crew years
after its release. "Saving Pri-
vate Ryan" continues to be cited
years later as a true masterpiece,
while "Shakespeare in Love" has
faded into obscurity. While his
older brother went on to transfix
audiences in "In Bruges," "The
Constant Gardener" and "Harry
Potter," Fiennes's last leading
role was as a cop on the ABC
drama "FiashForward," which
slowly hemorrhaged viewers
until the network finally deliv-

ered the coup de grace. Paltrow
has, as "30 Rock" derisively put it,
"gone country," famously record-
ing the most whitewashed Cee-
Lo cover ever performed. And
Affleck? He's back now, and if you
haven't seen "The Town," go see
it. But immediately after "Shake-
speare"? Well, one word: "Gigli."
Advantage: Spielberg.
It's hard not to have a soft spot
for "movie" movies. Films that are
unashamedly, one could argue,
the platonic ideal of the artistic
platform: good fun. These are the
movies filled to the brim with vil-
lains menacing dames, infinitely
quotable dialogue, recognizable
faces, comedy, tragedy, love,
heartbreak and swashbuckling
fights - films that make it onto
the everyman's favorite movie
list. After all, people don't love
"Casablanca" because it captures
the gritty realism of German-
occupied Morocco, or "The Prin-
cess Bride" because it accurately
delves into the morality of killing
the man who killed your father.
We love those films because they
teach us that art can be fun. Even
when it's sad, or dark, or cheesy,
art (especially film) can be full
of a life that makes you want to
jump up and kiss someone.
Speaking of kissing, consider
"Shakespeare in Love," the tale
of how the story of theater and
literature's most famous lovers
came to be. The movie offers us
a profoundly watchable glimpse
into a "fake" (but isn't it fun to
believe it could be true?) slice of
the life of William Shakespeare,
played with an almost uncontain-
able artistic energy by Joseph
Fiennes. An example of this fer-

vor shows up when Shakespeare
finishes a play and declares, "God
I'm good!" It's this exasperated
cockiness that makes the charac-
ter so electric, so likeable.
He is also a sort of rogue, using
his heavenly gift with words to
pilfer to pockets of theater own-
ers looking for banal comedies
and pop the corsets of the sultry
muses who warm his bed. But
because this is a "movie" movie,
his promiscuous ways cannot
continue, and he soon finds true
love in the form of Viola, played
by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Paltrow won an Oscar for this
performance, perhaps deserv-
edly. It's hard to argue against
her charm and her almost angelic
belief in the power of theater.
Also, the few moments of serious-
ness she does provide (namely,
her readings of Shakespeare's
work) are sure to produce shud-
dering and possibly tears.
The two do not stand alone
though, as the cast is full of famil-
iar faces: Ben Affleck appropri-
ately hamming it up, Colin Firth
scheming for love in all the wrong
places, Tom Wilkinson as the
producer who realizes the art is
more important than the money,
and of course Dame Judi Dench,
regal and commanding as Queen
"Shakespeare in Love" won't
give you any new insight into the
world. You're unlikely to learn
some deep, dark secret of human-
ity, and you certainly won't finish
it feeling depressed. It's not that
sort of movie. It's the sort that
makes you believe in those tales
of star-crossed lovers, that makes
you want to write poetry (it will
be bad, but who cares?), thatquite
simply makes you full of feeling.
And that's why I adore it.

From Page 1B
this and working with people who
manage the networks so we can
allow certain protocols to occur."
The student perspective is also
one that DMC staff find particu-
larly important. Instead of push-
ing decisions through a crowded
bureaucracy, they actively seek
out student input as they build
new initiatives to further improve
the experience.
"We are really close to the
ground in the sense that we want
to know what students are inter-
ested in and what they want to
do," Fessahazion said. "(The
building process) is not driven
from some administrator some-
where saying this is the kind of
stuff we should do. We talk to
people who say, 'it would be awe-
some if I could do this,' and if we
can do it, we make it happen."
Nor is the facility's develop-
ment process driven purely by
engineeringstudents. Through an
atypical arrangement, all Univer-
sity students can and do use the
facilities on a regular basis.
"Because (the DMC is) part of
the library, arts students have
access to these facilities," said
Ted Hall, advanced visualiza-
tion specialist at the Duderstadt
Center. "Other universities would
have similar facilities, but rarely
would arts students have access
to them."

es that move with the technical
zeitgeist aren't enough. As tech-
nology progresses and new media
development filters into class-
rooms and onto students' iPads,
keeping up with trends requires
an attitude that promotes coop-
"We're trying to make the IT
environment support the act of
collaboration," Atkins said. "It's
the collaboration, both on campus
and across the world, that moves
us to action."
Added Soloway: "When I was
at Yale, talking to colleagues was
forbidden ... but here at Michigan,
it's all about people working with
each other."
While Atkins and Soloway
aren't the only members of the
University who think Michigan's
large community inspires inno-
vation through communication
and teamwork, there's no denying
that widespread new-mediaavail-
ability will permanently alter the
learning environment inside and
outside the classroom.
"More and more of our learn-
ing experiences are not just
classroom based, they involve
producing tangible objects,"
Atkins said.
With learning becoming more
about doing and experimenting,
the University's cyber-infrastruc-
ture has to support the technical
demands of students and classes.
This infrastructure supports
computing, wireless networking
and the University's mobile ser-

that we have bigger collections
of data and new, powerful ways
of extracting knowledge from the
database," Atkins said. "Our goal
is to figure out how to harness all
that ... to help the Michigan com-
munity carry out our mission of
learning, discovery and social
engagement more effectively."
But improving infrastructure
and supporting new innovation
is not simply about replacing old
machines. With an increasing
demand for storage capability,
higher-bandwidth networks and
IT support for staff, the Univer-
sity has had to devise an IT-ser-
vicing program called NextGen
The program is essentially a
strategy the University uses to
find and eliminate redundant,
sub-par machines campus-wide
and develop ways of sharing
information over mobile services.
Atkins hopes that these infra-
structural changes will help the
University continue to foster
research and innovation.
"As culture and technology
platform evolves in Michigan, it
will reinforce the conditions for
innovation and leadership," he
Others see larger, more long-
term implications for the Uni-
versity and higher education as
a whole. Duderstadt sees today's
new-media mainstays as compo-
nents that continue to virtualize
higher education, citing Wikipe-
dia, Google and artificial intelli-
gence as the triumvirate behind
it all.
"Wikipedia has the capacity to
build communities of people try-
ing to learn things," Duderstadt
said. "Google is just a term now

for 'all knowledge is digitized and
available.' (Artificial intelligence)
is the increasing use of analyt-
ics that can scroll through this
huge amount of knowledge ... and
extract information."
Together, Duderstadt believes
that this combination can even-
tually fulfill the same role as
modern universities. "(Wikipe-
dia) is the learning community;
(Google is) knowledge, like the
library of Alexandria times bil-
lions; and (artificial intelligence)
is the capacity to authenticate
knowledge and certify learning,"
Duderstadt explained. "This is a
university ... I think that's your
The facilities and the students
must conjoin
But not everybody looks at the
University's future with the same
amount of optimism. University
professor John Holland, known as
the father of genetic algorithms,
believes that recent growth in
class sizes and the depersonali-
zation of education has compro-
mised the University's affinity for
research and innovation.
"The University has become
more and more a factory," he said.
"It's about how efficient we are at
cranking out students, and that
goes partly against the notion of
And despite attempts at adding
to available facilities and rein-
vesting in new technology, Hol-
land also sees some limits in the
overall vision of the University.
"You're not going to be doing
any long-range stuff unless it has
something that you can deliver
in less than three years. Funding

for anything longer keeps getting
cut," Holland said.
But large incoming classes
and decreased state funding
hasn't stopped the University
from investing in technology and
improving facilities available to
students. For the 'U,' providing
and building a cutting-edge tech-
nological platform is a work-in-
For the DMC, for example,
funding has been plentiful. In
order to improve access to tech-
nology, the University spends
upward of $20,000 dollars for
software packages, including pro-
grams needed to run the record-
ing studios and 3-D labs. On top of
that, the technology is constantly
being updated to correlate with
the current media environment.
"We just remodeled two of our
audio studios, which cost about
$800,000 ... they're some of the
best recording facilities in North
America," said John Williams,
director of the Duderstadt Center.
Ample money is also available
to indulge student curiosity and
facilitate their experimentation
with new, powerful and obscure
"You have an idea ... we will
work with you and help your
vision come to life" Fessahazion
said. "Within what resources we
have, we'll buy the package, and
you can play with it, use it and
develop your project."
This leads to a technical eco-
system in constant flux, as updat-
ed additions are integrated.
"Every year, the infrastruc-
ture gets better ... they have new,
unbelievable resources. We keep
investing in the future," Soloway
said. "Is Michigan up to the chal-

lenge of change? I think it is."
Added Atkins: "Building infra-
structure is not something you do
once, it's an organic process. We
have put together a new organi-
zational structure and new policy
that will keep that organic pro-
cess going."
With all these available
resources, it's up to students to
take the initiative and use the
services the University has put
at their disposal. Facilities like
the DMC offer millions of dollars
worth of equipment free of charge
to anyone who wants to use it.
And since the DMC first opened,
it has attracted people from all
fields who come to the facility to
bringtheir bold new ideas to life.
"A cardiologist ... used the
(recording) studio to determine
whether or not you could hear the
blood flow in the veins to deter-
mine if there was a lower-cost
way to do early detection of arte-
rial chlorosis," Williams said.
Art & Design senior Danielle
Battaglia envisioned the universe
for her senior design project; she
didn't want to model the universe
using plastic, she didn't want to
draw it out - she wanted to walk
through the idea in her head.
"I wanted to model the uni-
verse. I did a lot of research on it
because I was curious about black
holes," Battaglia said. "I kind of
said that the Big Bang could be at
the center of the black hole. I told
my professor I was interested in
this, and she pointed me to the
DMC (Virtual Reality Lab)."
Added Atkins: "For students,
there's an unlimited amount of
opportunity, but you have to take
the initiative to find out and pur-
sue it."

Academia online "Technology today is social,
collaborative and ... increasingly
In today's rapidly chang- mobile, with a whole host of Inter
ing technological environment, net appliances that people carry
futuristic new facilities and class- with them. Cloud services mean

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