4A -Monday, February 25, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Dropping science (funding)
Sequestration could seriously hurt University research
n March 1, the University stands to lose nearly $40 mil-
lion in federal research funding if Congress and the White
House fail to defer the automatic cuts imposed by upcom-
ing sequestration that sheds $2 trillion in spending over 10 years. The
across-the-board cuts were planned in 2011 as an incentive to reach a
deal and were delayed until 2012. As a result, research funding faces a
$12-billion reduction as part of larger budget cuts. Emblematic of ever-
shrinking research funding on both state and national levels, these
cuts diminish the budget for a critical source of innovation. Cutting
funding for research runs counter to goals set by the President and
should be a government priority.
(Between men and women) there is far less agreement
for ambiguous behaviors that could be considered
either as signs of mere friendship or as signaling
deeper sexual interest:'
Researchers from the University wrote in a recently published article, "Was that Cheating? Perceptions Vary by
Sex, Attachment Anxiety and Behavior." Subjects ranked sitting in someone's lap as more adulterous than going
out to dinner, but less unfaithful than forming deep emotional bonds.
The tools o tyrants
When compared against the $1.27 billion
invested in research at the University this
past year, $795 million of which was from the
federal government, $40 million may seem
insignificant. Much of the research that uni-
versities engage in is basic research - the
basics from which innovation springs.
Federally funded scientific research has
given us everything from better medical
treatments to higher-yielding crops to glob-
al positioning satellites. Recognizing the
importance of scientific research, President
Obama declared in his State of the Union that,
"Now is not the time to gut these job-creating
investments in science and innovation. Now
is the time to reach a level of research and
development not seen since the height of the
Research not only gives the economy a
boost through better technology, but also
advances the education ofresearchers, college
students and the public at large. Stipulations
of public disclosure and public engagement
for funding coming from the government are
rarely required by private investors.
Furthermore, the cultural impact of scien-
tific research can be just as important as the
economic side. Though Obama claimed that
every dollar invested in the Human Genome
Project returned $140 to the economy, he failed
to account for the existential benefits that come
with knowing what really makes up a person.
Since their respective inceptions, universi-
ties have been bastions of scientific research
and federally funded science has sought to
explore frontiers that were not addressed in
the market for research and development.
The two have benefited each other and, in
doing so, have bettered the citizens of this
country and the world. A commitment to con-
tinued scientific excellence is essential to a
After 50 years of policies
that have turned the
Middle East against us
ians and giving
support to the
nation of Israel J
- we somehowJBRENNAN
still don't get BRENNAN
it. Even in our
9/11, in which we've lost thousands
of soldiers in pointless wars and
become economically unstable
along the way - we've refused
to read the writing on the wall.
Instead, we cover our ears, shut
our eyes and shout, "I'm not listen-
ing!" at the top of our lungs.
Over the past two weeks, we've
witnessed the first filibuster against
Secretary of Defense nominee
Chuck Hagel. At the same time John
Brennan, President Barack Obama's
pick for head of the CIA, continues
skirting questions surrounding the
legality of killing civilians without
due process, brought on by drone
strikes in the region.
Hagel has been criticized for his
views on Israel as well as his will-
ingness to directly negotiate with
Hamas and Iran. Though Hagel's
suggestion to reach out diplomati-
cally and discontinue unquestion-
ing worship of Israel is a fresh take
on failed foreign policy, Republi-
cans refuse to support him.
The GOP is not alone in continu-
ing America's failed foreign policy.
The Obama administration has car-
ried out countless assassinations
in the past four years - some on
American soil. John Brennan, chief
counterterrorism advisor to the
president, refuses to answer wheth-
er or not United States citizens can
be targeted by drone strikes. Per-
haps even more troubling is the
fact that rather than engaging in a
meaningful debate about the pos-
sible negative repercussions of
drones, such as their propensity for
collateral damage, we're instead
discussing the president's authority
to decide an individual's fate.
Our foreign policy has repeatedly
led to our demise as a nation. After
9/11, Osama bin Laden released vid-
eos directly citing the actions of the
U.S. - supporting Israel, bombing
Iraq and stationing troops in Saudi
Arabia - as motivation for the ter-
rorist attacks. I won't sit here and
defend a terrorist who killed inno-
cent civilians, but I certainly won't
pretend the United States hasn't
done the same thing.
Our foreign policy is broken. We
wage endless wars, destroy the lives
of countless innocent civilians and
breed hatred for our country. Rather
than taking steps to spread peace,
we proliferate violence and death.
Drone strikes and unwavering sup-
port for Israel are just a minor rea-
son so many people want to destroy
us. It isn't our freedom, it isn't our
wealth - it's our foreign policy.
Even a Democratic president - a
man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
and who we believed would lead us
to peace - has continued America's
trend as a war-hungry nation. Dur-
ingthe Vietnam War, Martin Luther
King Jr. once famously called Amer-
ica "the greatest purveyor of vio-
lence in the world today." If King
were alive right now, he would prob-
ably saythe same thing.
We can't forget
that our goal is
peace, not just
When I voted for president this
year, I felt ashamed. I knew that vot-
ing for anyone other than Obama
would essentially be a vote for Rom-
ney - a man running counter to the
nation's best interests. So instead I
voted for Obama and havefelt noth-
ing but regret since. My vote was for
a man who authorizes drone strikes
that kill civilians, for a man who has
expanded our military and, worst
of all, for a man who now refuses to
examine the legality of killing civil-
ians on U.S. citizens.
Republicans and Democrats are
both to blame for countless acts
of death and destruction through-
out the world. Maybe one party is
more at fault than the other, but it
doesn't matter. What matters is the
present and what we can do about
things now. We can stop ourselves
from killing more people, and we
can stop ourselves from inciting
more violence. What we must keep
in mind is that our goal is not vic-
tory - it's peace.
- James Brennan can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
PAUL SCHREIBER I
(Don't) do the Harlem Shake
Campus Corner: Viruses, bacteria, microbes - oh my! Do
--the you know what germs are lurking in your dorm hall's bath-
rooms? Grab some hand sanitizer and check out Kat's blog
podium to find out more about the bacteria hiding all over campus.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
Last week, a group of University of Michi-
gan students crowded the Diag and the Refer-
ence Room in the Hatcher Graduate Library
to add to a collection of recent viral videos
inspired by "Harlem Shake," a track by Baau-
er. Like many of the other clips, the Univer-
sity's take on it starts off with a single person
so eloquently thrusting his crotch in Wolver-
ine apparel until Baauer's beat drops, when a
mass of students appear clad in neon jump-
suits, boas, rainbow socks, masks, my great
aunt's faux-fur collection from the 80s or
nothing at all. For the next 30 seconds, every-
one in the frame is gyrating and dry humping
the ground, air and each other so vigorously
that I'm concerned that bath salts and Four
Loko are a thing again. Of course, the video
has blown up in an "I'm Shmacked" fashion,
with close to 85,000 hits since Feb. 16.
What confuses me the most about the
popularity of these fad clips is that they don't
in any way feature the real Harlem Shake,
a dance with a long history that originated
in Harlem in the early 1980s. It was first
referred to as the "albee," named after Har-
lem resident Al B, creator of the dance.
It wasn't called the Harlem Shake until its
popularity grew outside of the Harlem com-
munity. The dance gained mainstream recog-
nition in the early 2000s. Blah blah blah - I
know you don't care. What I'm trying to say
is these videos completely and unabashedly
disregard the Harlem Shake and its rich cul-
Perhaps I'm being a tad overzealous.
Couldn't these videos just be a way to reinter-
pret old traditions and create something new?
Isn't that what creative process and exchange is
all about? A survey of the video says no.
These videos don't have an inch of creativ-
ity in the first place. They're unoriginal dupli-
cates of a bunch of bored kids with cameras
making absolute fools of themselves.
But even if it has nothing to do with the
original dance, aren't these videos just harm-
less fun? Think again. Far from harmless,
they're offensive and belittling. Bottom line,
the Harlem Shake phenomena is appropria-
tion without proper recognition of a dance
that has been culturally significant to Harlem
for 30 years.
Who am I, really, a Midwestern white boy
to flaunt my almost obsessive opinion about
a dance that I only think I could do after five
shots from a place that I've only visited. To
that I say you should watch SchleppFilms'
video, a compilation of street interviews of
Harlemites' reactions to a variety of Harlem
Shake videos. Apart from the astonished, con-
fused and offended jaw drops, headshakes and
eye rolls, community members had a lot to say
about this recent fad, including:
"It's an absolute mockery of what it was
because there's actually a sense of uh, rhythm
that goes along with it."
"It's actually an art form, a dance art form,
that doesn't have the respect that it should
And my absolute favorite: "Y'all need to
stop that shit."
What's really disappointing to me is that
members of the University of Michigan have
- albeit unknowingly - openly and proudly
insulted not just a dance, but also a vibrant,
lively, diverse community. We need to stop
and think about the implications of what we
do when we need a fun distraction because
we're uninterested, hungover and don't want
to do what we're actually here to do - to
respect and appreciate a plethora of diverse
cultural expressions. It's time to find a new
hobby, Michigan. Next time just plug in some
G. Dep, watch Harlem's reaction and learn the
real Harlem shake.
Paul Schreiber is an LSA senior.
OMAR MAHMOOD N
This Labor Day weekend found
me in New York at my mother's
cousin's wedding. I came away with
some new snippets of family history
that appeal wonderfully to a roman-
tic like me - particularly one of a
great-great uncle, or so I suppose
is his relation. He came to America
in 1904 and ended up studying in
Ann Arbor. Then he rose in ranks at
General Motors, and later he went
back home to India.
I've been told that he came to
Ann Arbor to see the world. The
world happens to be a 40-minute
drive from West Bloomfield and the
halls of Detroit Country Day School
- places far more diverse than the
Diag. With apologies to marketers,
that whole "diversity" line doesn't
work anymore because, well, the
world is quickly becoming the world.
My mother was born in Pakistan.
I hadn't been there for years until
I visited again last summer for a
wedding. The groom's brother, a
cousin of mine, took his whole day
to show us around Karachi, the
nation's largest city. His tour unfor-
tunately confirmed my ill judgment
of Pakistani pop culture. Today,
Pakistani culture is simply a shame-
less attempt to be American. He
took us to a mall where the national
language of Urdu was effectively
banned. He showed us a Texas-
shades of beige
themed restaurant where you had to
act rowdy and throw peanut husks
on the floor to prove how Texan you
were. I think I was supposed to have
been impressed by how open and
forward Pakistan is.
Even my parents don't seem to
understand. I always beg my father
not to answer my Urdu with Eng-
lish. I don't do it because I need to
know Urdu - just watch any Bolly-
wood movie and you'll know what
I mean. I want to be the man that
tradition would have made me if
globalization hadn't gotten in the
way. So I brought two pairs of shal-
war kurtas to my dorm to wear to
the Union for Friday prayer. It was
a matter of concern for my friends,
who wondered why I was trying so
hard to be Pakistani. But my long,
flowing, salmon-pink shirt didn't
stand out as much as it would have
in that Karachi mall.
I went to Ghana two summers
ago with Unite for Sight, a blind-
ness-prevention NGO. There, any-
one who's anyone speaks English,
and there was no real need to speak
the native Twi. Still I learned it,
and I impressed upon the' locals
that an obruni who would only
be with them for some days had
learned their tongue, and that their
language was a treasure to hold.
Here, we celebrate diversity in
good American spirit. Yet we don't
consider that the more we "cele-
brate" diversity, the more we lose it.
Indian student organizations walk
around with shirts bearing words,
in English, that look like Deva-
nagari but are only mimicries of
those soon-to-be lost letters. Rus-
sell Peters once joked, "300 hun-
dred years from now ... everybody's
gonna be beige." I defer to Russell
and mourn, too, at words that her-
ald a global language called English
that sounds like a computer manu-
al, a far cry from the rustic echoes
on England's greenest hills.
The world moves too fast to hold
the yoke of modernity, to ever beget
again the beautiful traditions that
evolved and ripened over ages of
natural change and migration. So,
in three hundred years when we
are this inevitable hodgepodge of
beige, will anyone ever feel the
thrill of hearing a tongue wholly
new, a people read only in books?
Will ever another man have a jour-
ney like my great-great uncle? No.
So your hopeless sentimentalist
resigns and lies down, and closes
his eyes to the melody of a band
of qawwals, singing the poetry of
Amir Khusro, the Sufi saint, and
only then can he be true for a while.
Omar Mahmood is an LSA freshman.
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