"Juno over Jupiter" by Kevin Gill is Licensed under CC-SA 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Late on July 4th, NASA tweeted that their space probe, Juno, successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit after five years and 1.7 billion miles of travel. Juno is the first spacecraft to reach Jupiter since Galileo in 1995. The probe broke multiple records during its journey, including fastest man-made object at 165,000 miles per hour, and farthest solar-powered spacecraft from Earth. Juno more than broke the 492-million-mile record held by the Rosetta mission.

Photo by Larry Ligget for the DePauw University Photo Gallery

Orange is the New Black came to life last night as Piper Kerman joined students and faculty in Kresge Auditorium for the first Ubben Lecture of the semester. Kerman got personal quickly, discussing not only her journey through the prison system, but also the specific ethical dilemmas she encountered and witnessed throughout her sentence.  Kerman served thirteen months in prison (from 2004-2005) for money laundering- a crime that she committed once in 1993 while romantically involved with a woman who dealt narcotics internationally.  Shortly after carrying drug money across international borders, Kerman realized she had crossed a line and ended the relationship. She returned to the states, got a stable job, and dissociated herself from the life she had been living with her former partner. Five years later, she was indicted and sentenced to fifteen months in federal prison at Danbury Correctional Facility. The title of her memoir is not only catchy but also meaningful. Orange is the New Black is a reference to fashion trends, but the underlining message is true and sincere. Her title highlights the fact that women make up the largest rising prison population. In the past 30 years, the number of women in prison has increased by 800%.

Image by senior Prindle intern Cheney Hagerup.

Is it ever alright to take elements of a culture that is not your own and apply it to yourself? Be that in music, fashion, food, or events – is it ever okay to take those elements and incorporate them into your life? Should you be allowed to wear clothing influenced by foreign customs, use other culture’s musical traditions, or cook food from a culture that is not your own? What is the difference between appreciating a culture and appropriating it? When is cultural appropriation permissible – or is it ever?