Carrie Robinson

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Carrie Robinson is a junior anthropology major and economics minor from Dublin, Ohio.

"Traffic lights" by Vit Brunner is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

We all hate getting tickets, but would you rather argue your case face to face with a police officer, or receive a letter in the mail weeks after the infraction?

For years, many cities have relied on red light and speed cameras to enforce traffic laws and automatically send out fines to rule breakers. However, recently some cities are questioning the ethics involved. While integrating these cameras is not illegal, some citizens and lawmakers alike fear their usage serves as more of a hidden tax than a safety measure.

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"US Secret Service" by Andre Gustavo Stumpf is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

Though it is still early in President Donald Trump’s term, the Secret Service seems to be getting more media attention than usual lately. The Secret Service always works diligently to protect the President’s family, but the Trumps have provided an extra challenge. For starters, President Trump has a large family – five children – and some of his adult children already have their own children who also require Secret Service protection. According to NBC, President Trump’s intention to regularly visit the First Lady and their son, Barron, at their New York City home also requires additional staffers to travel and secure both locations. Even before taking office, taxpayers were paying more than $2 million per day to ensure the safety of the Trump family, and that number is only expected to rise throughout his term in office. This could be a major problem, because, although protective needs are rising, the Secret Service budget is not.

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"Technology For Life (Cryonics)" by Hawaiian Sea via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Cryogenics, also known as cryonics, is a form of preservation involving the storing and preservation of a body at very low temperatures in hopes of one day reviving and repairing the body. Although to date no humans have been revived after freezing, some scientists think they are coming closer to making revivement though cryogenics a real possibility. Recent reports of a terminally ill British teen being frozen upon her death have brought cryogenics and the ethical debates surrounding the topic back into the news.

"Safety Pin" by LadyDragonflyCC is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

In the wake of the recent, controversial presidential election, many Americans are sporting safety pins as a form of silent protest. Inspired by a similar safety pin (#SafetyPin) movement in the post-Brexit United Kingdom, the safety pins are meant to symbolize their solidarity with American immigrants (and anyone else) who may be fearful of their future during Donald Trump’s time in office. While there is no dispute that the safety pin wearers usually mean well, many critics say that one small display of support is not enough.

"Sinpyong Lake, North Korea" by yeowatzup is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

On November 4th, it was reported that two Australian men caused quite a stir in North Korea. Morgan Ruig and Evan Shay were already in China on a polo trip when they found out about the North Korean Golf Championships and decided to enter the competition. Though the pair did not explicitly claim to be members of the Australian team, they did not correct the North Koreans who assumed as much. While most are finding the men’s antics entertaining, others are concerned about their underlying mocking the North Korean people and government.

"Massey hall, toronto, April 18, 1980" by Jean-Luc Ourlin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Wikipedia)

Bob Dylan has won countless music awards throughout his career, but his most recent award – a Nobel Prize in Literature – has left many confused. The debate boils down to what can be considered “literature.” Webster’s Dictionary defines literature as “written works (such as poems, plays, and novels) that are considered to be very good and to have lasting importance.” Although Dylan’s poems were performed musically, the actual lyrics seem to meet this definition. However, many still debate both the eligibility of Dylan’s work, as well as the reasoning behind awarding him over up-and-coming writers.

"Knott's Scary Farm 2014" by Ricky Brigante via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween theme park, Scary Farm, has recently closed its Buena Park, California attraction, Fear VR, in response to criticism. The ride was originally called Fear VR 5150,  the number corresponding to a California police code regarding involuntary detainment of individuals with mental disorders. The 5150 was dropped from the name before the ride’s opening in response to concerned mental health advocates in an attempt to create further distance between the supposed mental health connection. However, the original connection to code 5150 leads some to speculate that Knott’s Berry Farm did in fact intend a relationship between the ride and mental health, at least at first.

"Cell Culture in a tiny Petri dish" by kaibara87 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Wikipedia)

The idea of meat grown in a laboratory is not a new one. Winston Churchill even shared this vision as far back as 1931, saying “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or the wing, by growing these parts separately in a suitable medium.” As Churchill predicted, in recent years this once far-fetched vision has turned into an imminent reality. Lab-grown meat is created through the process of collecting cells from a live or recently killed animal and replicating the cells in a scientific setting. The current technology is similar to “cutting off a salamander’s tail and letting it grow back.”

"Coachella times" by sputnik mi amor is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

The prevalence of drug usage at many music festivals is not a secret, but how should we care for those who choose to take them? Recent drug-related deaths at music festivals around the world have sparked a call to action. But instead of banning drugs altogether, one Australian doctor suggests drug testing to promote safer usage among festival-goers. The process would involve festival attendees visiting an on-site laboratory to submit a sample of the drug they plan on taking. Workers would take 20-45 minutes to test the ingredients in the drugs and then pass along the information to the customer.  Those who choose to take drugs will then know exactly what they are putting into their bodies. Similar testing techniques are already being implemented at select music festivals in parts of Europe and North America.