March 5, 2014
Convention draws record attendees despite questionable odors
During the weekend of March 1, the Rensselaer Science Fiction and Anime Society put on their annual sci-fi and video game convention, Genericon. This marks the 27th Genericon, running back 29 years to 1985 when the event began. The oldest convention of its kind, Genericon features an array of events from traditional card games to concerts and celebrity guests.
This year’s event was able to bring in to highly talented workers within the industry. The event brought celebrity guests Jen Taylor and the dancing team Antipode. Jen Taylor is an American voice actress best known for her voiceovers in countless video games. Her impressive résumé includes Cortana from the Halo games, Zoey from Left 4 Dead, and the Xbox 360 game 1 vs. 100. She has also appeared in multiple films including Inheritance, Taos, and Darkest Days.
Antipode was the other featured guest at this year’s Genericon. Antipode is best known for their original art form called geek belly dancing. Antipode came up with this art form by combining their love of otaku/nerd culture with their passion for belly dancing. The group is made up of four dancers who travel up and down the East Coast performing at multiple conventions.
With a schedule full of sci-fi- and anime-themed events, the average attendee never found themselves bored. A walk through the Darrin Communications Center would allow for any, non-sci-fi fan, to be completely immersed within the event. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of the people and variety of costumes,” said Isabel Johnson ’16. She went on to say how everyone who attended the event completely submerged themselves within the culture of Genericon. One student praised the event stating that without it, he would not have known about all the different aspects of sci-fi. He continued discussing about how much fun he had witnessing the different types of costumes that people were wearing.
The event was packed, with tickets only costing $25 for a regular attendee or $10 for an RPI student. Sci-fi fans came from long and far to converse with likeminded people. Last year, the event was able to bring in over 2,000 people and this year’s event was able to top those numbers and bring in an impressive 2,500 people.
However, the mystical experience was not without its drawbacks. Many students expressed hesitation towards the event, citing the aroma that comes with the occasion. One student stated, “Between the heavy costumes and the energetic atmosphere, the DCC was soon filled with an electric mix of pungent aromas.” The smell of the event seemed to be a constant point that was brought up with another attendee stating that, “It was horrible smelling. No one bathed.” It was stated that it would be hard for one not to experience the rush of smells that were experienced when you entered the DCC. Another conventioneer, who has been to multiple cons, stated that “Compared to other cons, because I have been to a few, the staff is on par with how they should be handling things. The attendees are not always the best, especially young men who have not yet learned how to take care of their hygiene.”
Genericon, being an all-weekend event, has had problems with smell in the past. Organizers of the event stated that 11 bottles of Febreze total and one air freshener per room were purchased in order to combat the smell. However, as a fellow student put it, that budget may not be large enough to control the stench. With problems such as odor, there were many kids who were turned off by the event such as Colan Race ’14 who said he was “very glad [he] was not on campus for Genericon.” When asked about the event, another student went as far to say that Genericon was “an odd personal choice for an individual.” Genericon, being one of the largest student run events at the school, isn’t able to obtain the credit it may deserve and, as many students have reported, may be in part due to the aroma produced by Genericon.
Editor contemplates RPI’s fraternity and sorority life
On Monday, February 24, the Senate held a forum on Greek senators and their relevance to the student body. If I didn’t have another commitment at the time, I would have gone and defended Greek representation too, along with nearly two hundred of my Greek brothers and sisters. When it comes to Greek life, I’m a firm supporter. I pledged a fraternity first semester of my freshman year, and you can bet that I take pride in saying that. I’ve never experienced a organization like this that is so close-knit and holds traditions that are over 150 years old. I know there are social stigmas that surround Greek life; allow me to clear it up and reason you into joining us.
Nearly a third of RPI’s campus is Greek and consequently contributes significantly to student life, whether through charity events or social opportunities. In each of our respective Greek associations, we form bonds that are stronger and tighter than friendships outside the group. People reason that they’ll experience the same if they join clubs or other organizations; it is not the same. While they do offer their own traditions and culture, they are not on the same level as fraternities or sororities. It’s not like I’m going from nothing on this; I’m speaking from being a part of two clubs for nearly two years. The whole system, it’s just different. It’s unique. Through the pledging or candidacy process, people develop, they grow up together during their respective pledging events, and even after they are initiated, the bonds only become stronger. The whole process, it’s surreal.
When I first came to RPI, I had no intention of joining a fraternity. I had it so stuck in my head that the stereotypes were true; why would I associate myself with a crazy organization that had values like those depicted in Animal House? Fortunately, I met the right people that persuaded me otherwise. They were some of the most studious, competent, and amiable people that I’ve ever met; they were just your typical RPI students. And when I found out that they were part of a fraternity, it honestly shocked me. I realized then that people don’t join ideas or organizations, people join people. I enjoyed playing video games with them, playing sports with them, and talking with them. After I realized how much they were like me, I was more willing to embrace the ideals and tradition the organization had to offer me. I decided to join them and be part of this tight group of people who were so like me. I think it’s one of the best choices I’ve made for not just my college career, but also my future.
In joining my fraternity, I’ve never had more fun in my life opening up to people and making memories with my brothers. I wasn’t part of this fraternity stereotype; I was a person in a group of like-minded people, with its own traditions and culture. We hold charity events together, we play intramural sports together, and we live together. The group has matured me and has taught me social skills I wouldn’t have developed otherwise. I know that rush has past, but if you’re not in one right now, you should do some exploring; there’s a fraternity or sorority for everyone. They significantly contribute philanthropically, socially, and culturally to student life, whether through relay runs, goodie sales, or parties. And being a part of that, at least for me, makes me mighty proud.
Simple and pure gameplay shines in unique indie release Nidhogg
A few weeks ago, I was hanging around with some friends, watching reruns of Mythbusters, bored out of my mind, when my friend asked if I wanted to try this new game, Nidhogg. I was interested, not just out of boredom, but the name. Nidhogg? What does that mean? After some research, I learned that Nidhogg, also known as Níðhöggr, is an ancient Norse dragon that gnaws at a root of the World Tree. The prefix of this name in those times meant losing honor and becoming a villain, which I think fits this game quite well.
Nidhogg centers around two players on opposite sides of the screen. They both start with swords, and if either are hit, they instantly die and are respawned after a few seconds. Now you might think, “this is silly, how can you have a fighting game with a one shot kill, and even when you kill them, it does nothing?” Well, it’s simple. The goal is not to kill your opponent, but to get past them and get to the edge of the screen. You can kill, incapacitate, or simply jump over your opponent in order to get past them and win the game.
The game is minimal, and that’s the style it sticks with the whole way. Your character is a pixelated, single-colored, humanoid, same as your opponent. The stages follow a similar style, with simple colors and pixel art graphics. The stages are not as simple as they appear, however. All four stages have their own special theme that allows for interesting obstacles. The mines have conveyer belts that move the characters on them in a single direction, the forest has tall grass that a character can hide in, the clouds have bridges that disintegrate while a character is on them, and the castle stage is the “pure” area with no special additions.
Each zone feels and looks different, and the screen is never boring, with slick background animations, but you never lose your character in the scene with the brightly colored character palette, which makes them stick out well. The only weird choice is that there is a “win screen” the winner receives where they run in front of a stand of people and are then eaten by a giant worm. This is very weird, but doesn’t take away from the aesthetic of the game, which is an old school arcade look.
Nidhogg not only looks like an arcade game but plays like one. The game centers around two buttons and movement controls like an old school arcade cabinet. On the keyboard, four directional buttons like the arrow keys, or a joystick on a controller moves the character. With the up and down directional controls, the character can raise and lower their sword, which not only allows for a stab over or under the opponent’s sword, but also to parry or block certain strategic maneuvers, such as the roll or dive kick. The first action button controls the ability to jump, while the other allows for attacks. If the sword is level to the ground, a stab can be executed using the attack button. But this isn’t the only attack. If the player is ducking by holding the down control and the attack button is used, a sweep kick can be done. Additionally, if the sword is raised completely above the character’s head by holding up and the attack button is pressed, the sword is thrown.
This simple, pure, combat makes the focus of the game strategy. If your opponent’s sword is low, is it worth throwing your sword and losing your only weapon? Can you roll under the opponent’s sword for a stab? Is it possible to get past the enemy and run towards the goal? Every encounter with the opponent requires these questions to be asked, and with three screens to go through in each stage, there can be no argument by the end over who has won.
Nidhogg comes with a single player mode, a two player quick play mode, a multiple player tournament mode, and an online versus mode. The single player game is a simple circuit, where you must defeat enemies of ever increasing difficulty. Two player quick play allows two people to play a single stage of Nidhogg. Tournament mode gives a predetermined amount of players a bracket where two people compete at each point to decide who is the best at Nidhogg. The final mode, online versus, is the only one I’ve had trouble with. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve gotten into a match my character is unresponsive, but I usually can’t get into a match and the game freezes on the matchmaking screen without a way to quit the game unless I end the program. This is disappointing, but since the game isn’t an online focused experience like Call of Duty or Starcraft, I can forgive it.
When I researched the game, I found that Nidhogg had won multiple awards from different groups as an indie game. I was surprised this flew under my radar. I usually try to look out for games like this, and with such a rich gameplay that inspired me to buy it after playing with a friend, it seems strange to not have a strong following. This is something I intend to correct. For those who enjoy a fun, action packed, retro-arcade game, this is certainly for you. For those who enjoy a casual single player experience, you might want to pass, but for the low price of $14.99, it is hard to go wrong.
On the weekend of March 1, the Rensselaer men’s hockey team wrapped up its regular season with games at Brown University on Friday and Yale University on Saturday. Friday night’s game started out slow for both teams, with neither recording a goal in the first two periods of play. But five minutes and 45 seconds into the third period, junior forward Jacob Laliberte started off the scoring with a goal assisted by juniors Curtis Leonard and Matt Neal. Later on, goals by sophomore forward Mark Miller and junior forward Zach Schroeder gave RPI a 3-0 win in Providence, Rhode Island, over an underwhelming Brown squad. This was the first shutout of the year for standout junior net-minder Scott Diebold, whose 856 saves rank first in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
In addition to Diebold’s prowess between the pipes, the Engineers boast three of the top 26 goal scorers in the ECAC: Neal at No. 26 with 10 goals, senior captain Brock Higgs at No. 11 with 14, and outstanding junior forward Ryan Haggerty well ahead of his closest ECAC competitors with 24 (No. 2, Quinnipiac freshman Sam Anas, has 19).
A much tougher challenge against No. 15 ranked Yale took place in New Haven, Connecticut, on Saturday night. For nearly 30 minutes, RPI’s defense withstood the test of Yale’s attack. But nine minutes, 12 seconds into the second period, junior forward Jesse Root scored on Diebold, the first goal he had given up all weekend. The game remained 1-0 throughout the remainder of the second period. But, early in the third, Yale scored its second goal and RPI never recovered, allowing three goals in the final eight minutes of the game. With the loss, the Engineers finished the regular season seventh out of twelve in the ECAC with a conference record of eight wins, nine losses, and five ties.
This weekend, the Engineers will host the tenth seeded Dartmouth, Big Green, for a best-of-three, first round series of the ECAC postseason tournament. These games will be held at the Houston Fieldhouse on Friday, March 5; Saturday, March 6; and, if necessary, Sunday, March 7 at 7 pm.
Previously, RPI thrashed Dartmouth 7-1 at Hanover in November, and again outplayed them 4-2 at home in January. In the first contest, the Engineers poured in the first six goals, including a hat trick from Higgs, before Dartmouth managed to break out of the shutout in the third period. In the second game, after Haggerty notched the first goal of the evening, the Engineers led the rest of the way, matching both of Dartmouth’s goals with one of their own.
With regards to the ECAC tournament as a whole, the Engineers will have to make it through two rounds of best-of-three series in order to advance to the final rounds of the tournament on the third weekend of March. The semifinal and championship rounds of the tournament are held at Lake Placid, New York, site of the historic “Miracle on Ice” game in which the heavily favored Soviet Union hockey team lost to the upstart USA squad in the semifinals of the 1980 Winter Olympics. These upcoming games are vital to the playoff hopes of the Engineers, who most likely need to win their conference tournament to advance to the 16-team NCAA championships in late March and early April.
Rensselaer Union Constitution amendment recommendations approved unanimously
On Monday, the Student Senate met to discuss the potential changes within the Rensselaer Union Constitution and the GM Week Handbook for 2014. During its three-hour meeting, the Senate reviewed any suggested changes to the two documents and voted on their viability. While any changes in the Constitution need to be voted on by the Senate first, the final vote lies within the student body, which needs to approve the document by a majority vote in a valid election.
The first motion made at the meeting was by Independent Council President and Representative Frank Abissi ’15 and involved the dissolution of the Independent Council and the direct election of independent senators from this point on. Abissi stated that the Council has become obsolete now that a majority of the campus is not involved in Greek life, and the Rensselaer Union now serves the purpose of the Independent Council. Furthermore, the independent representatives will only be able to be elected by non-Greek-affiliated voting students. The motion passed with the only change consisting of a slight rewording to reflect historical accuracy.
After the motion to elect independent senators directly, the Senators discussed the Constitution Committee’s proposed amendments to the Union Constitution. The full documents can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/12311. During the discussion, additional motions that were made ranged from correcting simple grammatical errors, to clarifying language so that no future confusion would ensue, to changes that would alter the very structure of student government.
A motion was made by graduate Senator Michael Caiola to keep the Graduate Council election process the same. The motion passed. Senator Gregory Niguidula ’15 then made a motion to alter the number of signatures needed to petition for a referendum to the Senate, as stated in article (13) section (1) of the Constitution. He felt that the current needed number of 20 percent of the student body was too high and suggested changing the language to read “15 percent or 1,000 signatures, whichever is lower.” This motion failed to pass, but a similar motion by Jessica Krajewski ’17 to change the 20 to 15 percent passed. Abissi made various suggestions for changing the language in the Constitution that infringed upon various legal borders, especially those concerning the role of student government in affairs of the Union administration.
Then, a motion was made by senator Christina Gilliland ’15 that would cause the removal of both the independent senators and the Greek senators. This very issue was the reason the Senate had called for a forum with Greek life on February 24 to discuss the implications of the removal of these representatives. Panhellenic Representative Lisa DeCresente ’15 stated that the removal of these four senators will severely reduce the scope of student government and will not allow the body to make the most accurate decisions. Niguidula, the former Rules and Elections committee chair, supported the idea of keeping the Greek and independent senators so long as they were elected directly and transparently. Rubinstein reminded the audience at large that regardless of the outcome of the motion, the senators elected from each class are always available to voice the concerns of any student, regardless of the senator’s various affiliations. DeCresente rebutted that while it is right and natural that the class senators should represent their class as a whole, Greek senators are needed to relay exact details from the Greek community. Furthermore, there are some student who wish to speak through their respective Greek or independent senator rather than their class senator. Kyle Keraga ’15 reminded everyone that having the Greek and independent senator positions was the status quo. With all senators having their thoughts heard, the motion to remove the Greek and independent senators was voted upon. The motion failed with Senators Gilliland and Clinton Mathai ’14 in the affirmative.
A motion was then made by Keraga to amend the Constitution to make it clearer that Greek senators are to be appointed by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association by any method they choose. DeCresente also thought along these lines and reminded the Senate that since Greek life runs off of its own governing body separate from the Union, it reserves the right to determine the method by which it appoints its own representatives to the Senate. After all the discussion ended, the Senate passed the Constitution changes unanimously. The student body will vote on it during GM Week elections.
The discussion then turned to changes in the GM Week Handbook, which lays out the rules for candidates. Current R&E Chair Timothy Breen ’15 states that current changes to the Handbook include a total ban on chalk’s use for propaganda with a similar rule dedicated to the banning of animals. Senate passed the Handbook as well.
The meeting ended with committee reports. The Facilities & Services Committee stated that a snack machine has just been installed on the fourth floor of Folsom Library and a drink machine is soon to come. Gabe Perez ’16, chair of Web Tech Group, stated that after a meeting with Sodexo, new screens are to be expected in the Rathskeller to replace those offline.
Business manager evaluates effects of her transfer in hindsight
Transferring to RPI was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. The idea of starting college all over again—basically re-doing freshman year— scared me so much. However, making the choice to suck up those fears and transfer colleges ended up working out pretty well.
I transferred after my first year for several reasons. The biggest reasons were social and academic. I didn’t fit in with the people, and I wasn’t learning anything more than I had done in high school. Over Winter Break my issues with the college came to the surface, I decided that I needed to make a change. College is supposed to be a fun time, and I was just miserable.
As soon as I started my first semester at RPI, I knew I had made the right decision. Everything was so much better here than my previous college: the student body, academics, and the potential for career opportunities. However, I feel as though I was not adequately prepared for the massive changes that transferring colleges bring. It was hard to get a hang of the norms of RPI. Upperclassmen are expected to know these things, so sometimes I felt out of place in classes and conversations with other students. The biggest problem I had when I started was academics. The work load and difficulty of classes is like nothing I have ever experienced. I think that the faculty that deals with helping transfer students could have done a better job of preparing me for what I was heading into. I know that for freshmen, there are a lot of specialized resources, such as in hall tutoring, catered to them them in adjusting to college life.
In my personal experience, students at RPI haven’t always been the most welcoming at first when I let them know I am a transfer student. The first thing that people always ask me when I say I’m a transfer is, “Where did you transfer from?” Honestly, I know that they’re trying to keep conversation, but as soon as I tell them, I get what I call “the look.” “The look” is one of judgment and usually a little condescension towards me. It’s almost as if I’m not as good as them because I came in as a transfer, not a freshman. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me too much, but every now and then “the look” serves as another reminder that I’m still adjusting to RPI.
These little negatives have been outweighed by the many positives of RPI. Although there is a stigma that students are weird and nerdy, compared with the student body of my previous college, this has been an easily accepted change for me. The people that I have met in my first two semesters have become some of the closest friends that I have ever had. I feel as though RPI has a diverse community, and it’s not difficult to find a niche where you fit in. It’s so easy to get involved on campus, and doing so has made a big difference for me in making the transition to RPI. From my experience, here is my advice to any current transfer student or a future transfer student: be prepared to work harder than you probably did at your previous college; live on campus your first year; take advantage of the freshmen resources, since there aren’t many aimed for transfers; and lastly, devote some of your time to a club or organization on campus (The Poly is always looking for new members, and we’re pretty fun).
Golden age of television presents a thrilling crime drama series starring prominent, award-winning actors
For me, television has always been about finding the next great story, a story that couldn’t fit into the two-to-three hour confines of a film and was just too cinematic to be held back against a page. Shows like Game of Thrones showed me how jaw-dropping television series could be given film-level budgets and production values, and how excellent an adaptation of an epic book series could be given the room to breathe that seasons of television allow. Meanwhile, the likes of Breaking Bad showed me just how powerful the medium could be in the hands of a masterful bard, weaving his vision out of stark cinematography and strong symbolism. And of course, both of these shows, and more, showed me what could happen when brilliant actors were allowed hours of screen time to flex and showcase their superb talent. We are indeed in a golden age of television, and with more and more Hollywood film talent gravitating toward the medium, it would seem that we haven’t seen anything yet. So what happens when you combine some of that Hollywood talent, including a leading man on a warpath effort to redefine his career, with the likes of a relatively unknown novelist and former literature professor, and a fresh director with only two films under his belt? The strongest HBO effort since Game of Thrones, a breakout television hit, and easily the best show currently airing.
True Detective tells two parallel stories: an investigation into a murder with occult underpinnings in 1995, and a modern day consultation with the two detectives who worked that murder.
The two detectives in question are Rustin “Rust” Cohle and Martin “Marty” Hart. Hart and Cohle, no longer working for the police and 10 years estranged from one another, are being separately interviewed as part of a consultation by two detectives investigating a murder similar to the one Cohle and Hart investigated back in 1995. The 1995 story is narrated by each of the two, and involves their hunt for the person responsible for the ritualistic murder of a prostitute named Dora Lange in the backwoods of Louisiana. Saying much beyond this would be a disservice to the show’s dark and intriguing plot.
Much of True Detective’s success lies squarely on the shoulders of Matthew McConaughey. Hot off of what many would say is one of the best Hollywood comebacks in recent memory, McConaughey is the current Hollywood it-man and his hotstreak continues in True Detective, where he brings the intelligent, damaged character of Cohle to life. In a show that could be considered primarily a character study, Cohle represents one of the most downright interesting characters I have had the pleasure to watch. McConaughey immerses himself in the role, perfectly selling Cohle’s pessimistic persona while simultaneously portraying a man struggling with a score of demons with aplomb. Even while waxing Cohle’s existentialist monologues, McConaughey is rapturous; he simply commands the screen in a way that I haven’t seen since Bryan Cranston’s heavily lauded turn as Walter White in Breaking Bad. On top of that, McConaughey essentially plays two roles, as the modern day version of Cohle has seemingly given into some of those demons and is, in some ways, a completely different character. Truly, True Detective is worth watching for his performance alone. It may be too early to name him a Lead Actor Emmy-winner, but he has certainly set the bar incredibly high.
Not to be outshone by his costar is Woody Harrelson in the role of Hart. Harrelson’s character has his own fair share of issues, with his family life constantly in the crosshairs of his own destructive habits. Whereas Cohle at least knows what kind of person he is, Hart is constantly in denial, thinking of himself as a better man than he is. However, there are subtleties in Harrelson’s performance: a look of disgust as he turns around after bragging to some co-workers, constant fiddling with his now-empty ring finger in the modern day scenes, and a powerful id that he is constantly, sometimes visibly, fighting. Even while he makes excuses for so many of his actions, the looks of regret on his face, his body language, and his eyes tell a completely different story, and this all comes down to an incredibly nuanced performance by Harrelson. While McConaughey has the more attention-grabbing lines, Harrelson is indeed quietly brilliant in the role of straight(er) man Hart.
While the show focuses primarily on its two male leads, supporting players do get their occasional moment to shine. Michelle Monaghan, playing Hart’s increasingly agitated wife Maggie, holds her own against the two powerhouse performances from McConaughey and Harrelson. Meanwhile, Alexandra Daddario has a small but significant role as Hart’s mistress, Lisa Tragnetti. Finally, Michael Potts and Tory Kittles conduct themselves well as the modern day detectives interviewing Hart and Cohle, slowly poking and prodding at the protagonists while simultaneously holding their own agenda close to their vests.
McConaughey and Harrelson’s performances would not be nearly as effective if the characters they were cast as were poorly written, and if it’s one thing True Detective has proven to me, it is that is has a truly visionary creator/writer/showrunner in Nic Pizzolatto. A complete unknown, Pizzolatto is a former professor with a number of short stories and one well-reviewed-but-poorly-selling novel. When pitching True Detective to HBO, Pizzolatto grit his teeth and took his chance: he demanded complete creative control as the sole writer and showrunner of the series. I can only imagine that HBO was so impressed with his idea for the show that they quickly capitulated. Besides writing two brilliant lead characters, Pizzolatto has also written a dark, brooding murder mystery that is equal parts creepy and labyrinthine. His writing hearkens to great Fincher films like Se7en and Zodiac, while having its own distinct, creative spin. Watching this show takes me back to my days spent in the crime fiction and mystery sections of my local library, and that is some high praise because I simply cannot remember being this engrossed in a mystery story since back then. When you consider Pizzolatto’s planned anthology format for this show, in which each season has its own set of characters, its own story, and its own location, then you can imagine each season as its own standalone detective novel, with a beginning, middle, and end. That alone could represent a dramatic shift in the way television series are made, and hints that the incredibly high quality of writing seen in this first season could be maintained throughout the life of the show.
While the writing and performances are both brilliant, the trifecta would not be complete without sound direction. Cary Joji Fukunaga provides that in spades. The Louisiana that he brings to life is stark, empty, and, in the words of Cohle, “a fading memory.” Fukunaga’s direction provides the story with a third main character, with his vision of the tale’s location proving as irresistible as the characters and the mystery. Beyond this, there’s just an insane level of consistency from a series that has only one writer and one director, with his visual aesthetic compounding on itself to produce one of the best looking shows I’ve seen recently. Along with the visual and tonal consistency that comes from having a single director, Fukunaga also provides a few technical standouts to solidify his stamp on the show. The main one is a brilliant, six-minute long-take tracking shot in one of the episodes that echoes some of the best work from Alfonso Cuarón. In regards to the show’s look, perhaps much of Fukunaga’s visual aesthetic credit can also be shared with the show’s cinematography, which has proven beautiful time and again. Along with the brooding music, it can be said that True Detective is certainly excellent from a technical production standpoint.
In the end, however, not even this review does the show justice. In an effort to avoid spoilers, it is difficult for me to properly convey the brilliance that is True Detective. Pizzolatto’s writing is excellent, McConaughey and Harrelson are amazing, and Fukunaga’s direction is impeccable. A lot of my reviews focus on these aspects, the “holy trinity” of cinematic quality, if you will. True Detective knocks it out of the park on all fronts, and can stand alongside the best mystery/crime thriller films I have ever seen. And for some reason, so many people I know still haven’t seen it. I mean, with a tagline like “man is the cruelest animal,” how can you not be intrigued? Oh, and also, it’s this good and there are still two episodes left.
Recently, there have been a string of muggings and other crime targeted toward RPI students. This is a concern to The Poly staff, as we don’t want you to be a victim of campus crime. Crime seems to be increasing, and we encourage you to take precautions to defend yourself. Be careful about where you walk late at night, don’t display valuables—better yet, don’t bring them with you unless absolutely necessary. Stay alert, which includes not listening to music on headphones. Public Safety provides free escorts if you don’t feel safe walking somewhere, or you can travel with friends to make yourselves a less likely target. Act like you know where you’re going and what you’re doing, and keep a posture that doesn’t make you appear a victim.
During this last Winter Break, just like every Winter Break, apartments were robbed. Winter Break isn’t the only time when break-ins typically happen, though; break-ins during Spring Break are even more common because people forget to secure their apartments. Last year, among other break-ins, an on-campus student who was around campus for Break surprised a would-be burglar in the student’s residence hall.
This Spring Break, don’t be one of the victims; take precautions ahead of time. Make sure to lock doors and windows on- or off-campus apartment securely. Take your valuables with you. Use timers for your lights to make it seem like someone is home, in case a potential burglar is watching. If you do leave valuables, make sure not to leave them in plain-sight in front of a window.
Though we might not be able to stop people from trying to burglarize or otherwise try to hurt us, we can make ourselves safer by following some simple techniques. Above all though, is to exercise common sense—call public safety as soon as you feel uncomfortable, rather then wait and potentially get mugged. A few minutes could radically change the outcome of a situation. And lastly, remember that their are emergency phone poles placed strategically around campus, so make sure to know their locations.
Stay safe, take precautions, and remember lock up your residences. From all on the Poly staff, have a nice, happy, burglary-free spring break!
Seeing Ron Burgundy on the big screen should definitely happen more than once a year, and this opportunity has arisen thanks to the producers of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with the special one-week-only release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version. Do not miss out on seeing this film; whether it is your first time ever seeing an Anchorman film, you saw the first one and loved it but missed the second film, or even if you did see the original release of the second film. See it as soon as you can, because this new release lives up to its hype as a different film, and, in my opinion, is a better one.
While I did enjoy the original cut of the second film, I found it did not quite live up to the now modern comedy classic to which it is a sequel to. The plot felt like it dragged at times, and it often stepped outside the standard levels of believability as well. Unfortunately, it also struggled to hit well with many of its jokes, appearing slightly stunted and forced throughout. Some parts of the original plot that I found to be particularly bad were thankfully replaced or edited for the rerelease.
I found the new release funnier, truer to the format of the original, and finally just plain more enjoyable. The R-rating serves the film well, as it is able to touch on more mature thoughts while never becoming downright vulgar (although they get pretty damn close). My favorite new addition to the film is the multiple musical numbers which you may very well be singing in your head long after you leave the theater.
The overarching plot of the film remains virtually unchanged, but this is okay because it hadn’t bothered me too much in the original cut. In fact, the overarching plot is brilliant. Consider the hilarity that a figure like Ron Burgundy is behind the modern news media industry. I could never picture an actual news anchor to be as outlandish as him. Going off this, the overall satirical exposé on the news media industry is incredible as well.
Whether it is in the final days of its theatrical run, or when it is eventually released on home media, find some time to see Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version. It is well worth the ride, and if you have the time see both versions and see which you prefer.
When I was first informed about the second release of Anchorman 2, I was a little hesitant to attend. Being such a fan of the first release, I was worried that they would not stay true to the story that the first showing had made so famous. However, deciding to go turned out to be a great decision. In my opinion, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version will go down as one of the funniest movies released this year. Sadly enough, the movie is only released for one week and if you are among the many who are not going to be able to see this one week event, I would highly recommend obtaining a copy of this film as soon as it comes out.
For anyone like me who was a huge fan of the first release, you must not fret; this movie will not let you down. This movie leaves in everything that made the first release such a success while still allowing the overall movie to move to new heights.
The new release adds a whole new dynamic to the already-hit movie. With 80 to 90 percent of movie content changed, it allowed for the writers to completely transform the script of the film while still staying true to the original story. The new release of Anchorman 2 was given an “R” rating, allowing for more mature jokes. This allowed for some truly hilarious crude humor that would leave any of-age attendee leaving the theatre unable to control their laughter.
To conclude, this movie did everything right to produce one of the most hilarious movies possible. From adding musical numbers to giving Brick the chance to act as spider man, it would be hard to find anything the writers could have done differently to make the movie any more hilarious.
Matt Hall, a freshman attackman for the RPI lacrosse team, produced an incredible four goals and one assist in the team’s home opener against Keene State. Hall led his team against Keene State in a 10-6 victory. He shot an impressive 50 percent going four for eight from the field. He also received one ground ball in the season opener.
Hall is looking to be a critical part of the 2014 lacrosse season. In total, Hall has produced five goals and three ground balls. Hall’s scoring proficiency should prove to be a truly monumental asset to the lacrosse team in producing a successful scoring attack for the Engineers.
The Athlete of the Week award is a new feature that will spotlight an in-season athlete who has demonstrated exceptional skill, teamwork, and sportsmanship. The award is selected by the sports staff of The Polytechnic, with input from RPI Athletics and the campus at large. If you have a suggestion for future athletes of the week, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information provided by Public Safety Investigator Terrance Burns
Tuesday, February 25
• Stacwyck Parking Area
Injury: Walk-in at the station to make a report that subject fell at Stacwyck. Medical report filed.
Wednesday, February 26
• Burdett Avenue Residence Hall
Fire alarm: Alarm panel indicated fire alarm in third floor kitchen area. Carbon monoxide detector activation. Alarm was tripped accidentally by a Sodexo employee. System reset per TFD.
Thursday, February 27
• Married Housing
Car accident: Caller reported that vehicle was hit on Tuesday evening. Caller heard it but did not go outside. Caller had the plate number of the striking vehicle. There was damage to the bumper. Actual identity of the striking vehicle could not be determined. Motor vehicle accident report filed.
• Players Lounge
Illness: Caller asked for an escort for friend due to not feeling well. Student was at the Playhouse and had to be carried into the building. Student was semi-alert and in pain. Transported to Samaritan by TFD. DOSO notified.
Friday, February 28
• West Hall
Fire alarm: Johnson Controls showed a fire alarm activation for West Hall 1051. Members of FLS were on scene. Panel did not show where the alarm was, the panel read “red, attic flow dry sprinkler system.” Unknown what the problem was; it may have frozen due to a window being left open. FLS on scene checked the problem.
• Quadrangle Residence Hall
Fire Alarm: Honeywell system showed fire alarm activation and then went from red to white. Alarm tripped due to cooking smoke. Alarm reset at 6:55 pm.
• Barton Hall
Fire alarm: Honeywell system showed fire alarm activation. Alarm was reset at 8:29 pm.
• Colonie Apartments, Building A
Fire alarm: Honeywell system showed fire alarm activation. County notified. Alarm due to cooking smoke. Alarm reset per TFD.
Saturday, March 1
• Quadrangle Residence Hall
Illegal drug use: Off-duty RA reported an odor of marijuana coming from the second floor. Resident was cooperative during the time of questioning. Evidence has been placed in property room. DOSO was notified.
• Quadrangle Residence Hall
Intoxication: RA called requesting EMS for an intoxicated subject, who was conscious, alert, and breathing. Troy EMS transported patient to Samaritan. DOSO was notified.
• Quadrangle Residence Hall
Larceny: Walk-in at Public Safety stating that money was stolen from wallet. Report filed.
• Crockett Hall
Injury: Caller reported that a student fell and dislocated shoulder. Student was in the kitchen area on the first floor. Student was conscious, breathing, and alert and there was no bleeding. Student transported to Samaritan by TFD. DOSO was notified.
Ads coordinator fondly remembers her many camps
Summer camp. A time for children to spend all day playing in the warm sun, all afternoon swimming in the refreshing waters of a lake, and all night gathering around a cozy fire. Camp is a place where friendships seem to be made—and broken—in an instant. It is also a place to discover your fantastic arts and craft skills, and take part in inside jokes, ones that will only be funny to your camp friends.
When I think of summer camp, I think scuba diving off the coast of San Diego, horseback riding in open fields, building both parallel and series circuits in a workshop, playing the trumpet (for about eight hours) in a concert hall, and upgrading my bike into an epic pod racer to be raced around the school. You could say my summer camp experiences are a little more exciting than making multiple friendship bracelets.
Since I was young, I have been going to camp. Summer for me is opportunity; a time for me to discover hidden skills and experience new places. Therefore, when I am offered the opportunity to leave my house for a week to do awesome activities—sign me up! This is exactly the thought my mother had when I was young, and I am very fortunate for it.
Some camps I have attended are sea camp, band camp, electricity camp, circus camp, Star Wars camp, horseback riding camp, dance camp, theater camp, basketball camp, soccer camp, golf camp, Girl Scout camp, and art camp.
With all the camps I have attended, I have had some great moments that I shall always cherish. I have also meet some truly amazing people that I cannot envision my life without. One of those people is my friend Jack.
This one time at band camp, I became best friends with a boy Jack. I cannot recall how our friendship came to be, but we were both 12 years old and excited to become better musicians. After a few hours, we had discovered our mutual obsession with Spongebob. We both continued to attend band camp until we were 17. Even now at 20 years old, Jack and I still remain best friends, and are able to quote Spongebob to no end.
Friends are made in the 16-day journey to see if we can be the very best that no one ever was
Last weekend, what I thought to be impossible happened. After more than 16 days, thousands of people playing a single game of Pokémon actually managed to beat it. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, which would be rather surprising at this school, Twitch Plays Pokemon is a streamed video of an emulator of the first Pokémon game. People in the video’s chat enters commands like left or right in order to dictate the avatar’s movement and actions. This sounds simple, but with thousands of people entering commands anything can happen.
And that’s exactly what it did. Twitch Plays Pokemon was more than a game. It was a special kind of social experiment. Analyzing some of the community from the outside through forums and the subreddit, it’s easy to infer that there is something truly inspiring and special about the Twitch Plays Pokemon experience. The journey has almost become a religious tale with its lore, how the holy Helix Fossil—an item that was accidentally accessed many times through the mass input—came to life by being regenerated into its true form, Lord Helix, otherwise known as the crustacean pokemon Omanyte. To anyone looking at the fan art or listening to the fans, I can say, straight faced, that it is all weird and kind of cult-y. But I think that’s the charm. The fact that nine million (yes, that’s correct, nine million) people watched, as more than a million of those people furiously typed commands for one, small, 8-bit character is crazy.
However, it’s hard to say what lasting influence this experience will have. Will people five years from now remember the martyrs Jay Leno and Abby? Or will it just be some dumb internet fad people will get over? To be honest, I’m unsure. Reading one of the posts in the TPP subreddit, it seems like this game was a very emotional journey. In this post by user 8bitremix, he recounts how growing up he never understood the Pokémon hype, and by joining in this experience he found a piece of his childhood that he did not know he missed. Through the subreddit, he’s actually become a live updater of the stream and has gained many friends through this experience.
I think, down the road, the fan art and silly lore will be forgotten, but as long as the stream made as deep an impact on just one person, as I read in their post, I look forward to watching the adventure of this new character in the next installment happening right now. If a million people working together can beat a Pokémon game, why can’t it change the people who play?
Freshman scoring duo and strong goalkeeping leads Engineers over Keene State
On Saturday, March 1, RPI lacrosse had their first home game of the season against Keene State at ECAV stadium. After losing their first game to Montclair State in a fourth quarter struggle–where Montclair produced four goals to RPI’s none to win the game—RPI was looking to bounce back and reclaim what they hope to be a successful season.
RPI was able to strike first, scoring seven seconds into the game from freshman Breanainn McNeally. RPI, with momentum behind them, came back and scored again with 8:26 left in the first quarter by the hands of sophomore attack Patrick Finn. RPI began to look like they were going to run away with the game when Keene State attack man Tyler McKelvie showed his athleticism by scoring a behind the back goal. RPI goalie Alex Castronovo shut out the other two scoring attempts from Keene State to end the quarter with a 2-1 lead.
The second quarter began with RPI producing two quick shots from sophomore midfielder Pat Hogan and McNeally,;however, due to great goal keeping by Keene State goalie Alex Sharp, both attempts produced no results. When Keene State finally got the ball out of their side of the field, Bryan Rotatori capitalized on the opportunity and scored with 12:10 left in the second quarter. After a couple minutes of exchanged possessions, freshman attack Matt Hall was able to score after a Keene State turnover to regain the lead 3-2 with 9:12 left in the second quarter. Keene State came back and scored two goals from Tyler Reilly and Tyler McKelvie to make the score RPI three to Keene State four. RPI, not wanting to go into half time losing, was able to muster together one last play. Hall took a shot with 11 seconds left in the half, his shot went wide. With only one second left in the half, McNeally was able to pick up a ground ball and pass to Finn, who shot from 10 yards out to tie the game at four going into half time.
RPI won the opening faceoff of the third quarter and produced three quick shots; sadly, none found the back of the net. Hall was finally able to get one in with 10:36 left in the second period. The next nine minutes of play proved to be a back and forth battle of exchanged possessions and missed opportunities. To end the third quarter, RPI pulled out two goals within four seconds of each other coming from Hall and McNeally to give RPI a 7-4 lead.
As the fourth quarter began, RPI was determined not to have a repeat of what happened in the previous game where Montclair State scored four goals to RPI’s none to give Montclair the win. Using this as motivation, RPI produced a quick goal from McNeally with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter to give RPI an 8-4 lead. The rest of the fourth quarter consisted of two goals for each team being scored in alternating fashion.
The game ended with RPI pulling out a 10–6 win. Being led by the steady goal keeping of Castronovo and the freshman duo of Hall and McNeally—who combined scored seven of RPI’s 10 goals—the rest of the season has the strong potential for success.
Future philanthropy events outlined
The Student Senate approved the revisions of the Union Constitution on Monday; this is a positive change for Greek life. The Senate also removed every reference to the Inter Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Council except for the Greek senator positions where they voted to keep these positions. This removed the clauses giving the Judicial Board the right to review all IFC and Panhel legislation and well those outlining Greek Judicial Board. The Rensselaer Union Constitution now reflects that the IFC and Panhel are independently constituted bodies and that the Union does not have jurisdiction over their actions. This also gives the IFC and Panhel constitutions the ability to define the Greek Judicial Board separately.
Some upcoming events include Dress for Success with Sigma Epsilon Phi will be rescheduled until after Spring Break.
Phi Iota Alpha is having a 50/50 Raffle this week. They will be tabling in the Union 11 am–2 pm on Wednesday and Friday and 12–2 pm on Thursday. The winner will be picked on Friday at 2 pm.
Delta Phi and the RPI Red Cross Club will be hosting a Blood Drive in the Mueller Center this Thursday from 11:30 am–5:30 pm.
Theta Xi will be having a March Madness bracket challenge to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Contact email@example.com for more info.
Sigma Chi will be hosting the A Derby for a Cure 5K on Saturday April 19. All proceeds go to Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
RPI hopes to promote entrepeneurship among students through educational opporunities and resources
Last Wednesday, February 26, 11 student teams gathered to pitch their business proposals at RPI’s annual Business Model Competition. The Lally School of Management has hosted this event for three years, with the help of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, an on-campus organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship among RPI students through educational opportunities and resources. This year’s business models were presented to a panel of judges comprised of RPI faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Judges chose the top three submissions in both graduate and undergraduate divisions.
Undergraduate winners Zoe Konrad ’14 and Daniel Campros ’14 proposed a collaborative storytelling platform named Gapelia with the hopes of reviving the world of publishing. Gapelia’s aim is to “create a coffee table book, but digital” said Konrad. It was assumed that travel bloggers would provide Gapelia’s biggest market, but more interest has been received from owners of printed publications, such as peer-to-peer scholarly journals, who are eager to move to a digital format.
Graduate students Daniele Gallardo and David Menicovich took first place in the graduate category with Actasys, an active flow control device designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and increase fuel efficiency on ground vehicles. To test a working prototype of their device, Actasys is seeking another $400,000 on top of their recent award of $500,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. On Friday, the team followed up their RPI victory by winning the regional Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge at NYU. The team will be off to the final round in Bentonville, Arkansas in April. Way to go guys!
While first place winners left with $4,000 worth of funding each, second and third place winners took home $2,500 and $1,000 respectively. Among the runner-ups projects included a trip planning application, an all-carbon lithium battery, a handgun locking mechanism, and a biomolecule used to eliminate disease causing pathogens while preventing the build-up of drug resistance in the their target. Each team was given 10 minutes to present their business model, including a detailed strategy for sales, marketing, internal operations, and expected finances.
This was an evolution from last year’s competition, which required contestants to develop a business plan rather than model. This change in focus was intended to emphasize the importance for new entrepreneurs to take action over planning. “The best way to learn entrepreneurship is by engaging in the best practices of being an entrepreneur,” explained Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center. “These practices recommend ‘getting out of the building’ to speak with customers and to understand their need.”
The Business Model Competition is designed to assist and inspire students at every step in the entrepreneurial process. The Severino Center hopes to create an environment that will encourage taking the first step of turning an idea into a business model, while also helping ventures that are already established toward their next milestone with over $15,000 in awards. No matter the level of accomplishment, all new businesses stand to improve from the workshops, customer interviews, coaching, feedback, and live practice sessions that are offered through this program. This host of resources is designed to prepare participants for the range of annual business plan competitions coming up in the spring.
What to get involved in Entrepreneurship? Check out the following things going around campus.
• Startup Tech Valley, (Wed. 3/5, 4/2, 5/7, 5:30–7:30 pm, Brown’s Brewing Company-Revolution Hall). Come hear from four local startup founders to both get inspirited and meet like-minded innovators. www.startuptechvalley.org
• Foundry-RPI (Tues. 3/18, 3/25, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 6–7:30 PM, Rensselaer Union Games Room). For the entrepreneurs on campus and others who want to help them to succeed. Come obtain feedback, mentorship, and food! See scte.rpi.edu.
Impact from a highly debated Senate session involves Greek Senate
Hello, RPI! At the general body meeting for the Student Senate this Monday, many important topics were discussed regarding the Union Constitution. The Senate voted on and passed three motions during the meeting, and each of them is important for the future operation of the student government. The first motion focused on the Independent Council. In the motion, it was outlined how the Independent Council was created to expand the social and extracurricular life of students who were not Greek and then explained how the Rensselaer Union now serves the intended function of the IC. It further stated that because the Independent Council operates separately from the Rensselaer Union, meaning it has its own constitution, it can dissolve itself. In the motion, it dictated that by dissolving itself, the responsibility for electing the independent senators fell to the Student Senate. These independent senators will only be elected by Independents and the voting status of the students voting in Grand Marshal Week will be determined by the Dean of Students Office.
The second motion in the meeting was the Senate’s approval of the Rensselaer Union Constitution as prepared and revised by the Constitution Committee chaired by Frank Abissi ’14. This committee was created last semester to assess the state of the current edition of the Union Constitution. By approving the new Union Constitution, the Student Senate has confirmed that it can now be voted upon by the entire student body in the upcoming Grand Marshal Week elections.
The new potential Constitution has many changes in it. One of the focuses of the new Constitution is the checks and balance of power in the student government branches. It also removes some unnecessary layers of bureaucracy within student government and streamlines the communication lines. In addition, it distributes new power to different government branches in order to empower them and increase their role. In terms of specific items, I will refrain from mentioning most of them now as future editions of The Poly will have articles that outline the different changes in more detail. The only specific fact from the new constitution that I want to mention is the representation in the Student Senate. During the meeting, the idea of removing the Greek Senators was discussed and a variety of different opinions were presented for keeping and removing them. In the end, the Senate decided that the Greek senators should retain their voting rights.
Finally, the last official motion of the meeting focused on approving the new Grand Marshal Week 2014 Elections Handbook. The handbook is prepared by the Rules and Elections Committee, chaired by Timothy Breen ’15. For those interested in running for something in student government, campaigning officially starts March 17 at 8 am. In addition, all potential candidates should be aware that this year, all candidates must attend an informational session or submit the results of the video quiz before campaigning. Candidates who choose to view the video must score 100 percent on the quiz. The video and the accompanying quiz will be posted to http://elections.union.rpi.edu by Saturday, March 15. If you are interested in running for a position and want more information about their roles please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, have a great Spring Break everyone!