The Lode The Student News Site of Michigan Technological University Wed, 26 Feb 2020 01:18:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The three dramas: death, denial and deceit Wed, 26 Feb 2020 01:18:42 +0000 I’m gonna start this article with a phrase that some of you might have seen me write several times before (so don’t roll your eyes too much, please): I’ve been watching superhero stories recently. It’s great, as always. But every time I start watching several episodes in a row, I end up noticing something that bugs me. This time, it’s drama.

Now, obviously, life is dramatic sometimes, and superheroes and other action/adventure main characters certainly have to deal with a lot more than normal. But there’s a strange pattern to drama in stories that is more clearly seen in action stories than in pretty much any other genre. It shows itself in three ways: death, denial and deceit.

Death—or more accurately, the plot twist no one is surprised about anymore, we just all hate the writers—is a really easy way for the writers to up the danger stakes. Need to show how deadly the situation is? Kill the sidekick. Need to motivate the hero? Kill the love interest. Need to turn the hero into a bumbling fool so they can’t win easily? Kill the mentor.

Death is very much a part of life, and certainly, people in dangerous situations are going to be surrounded by it more. But you know what I never see? A superhero story where the hero is permanently injured in a way that keeps them from using their abilities on the field. (Characters that have their abilities because of former injuries don’t count for this. Their new normal allows them to be on the field.)

Okay, so yeah, Professor X ends up in a wheelchair, but does that stop him? No. That’s not a bad thing. I love a good story where people aren’t considered useless or ignorable because they have some limitations that others don’t. Actually, we need a lot more of that type of representation.

But why do they still have to be powerful and useful to be important to the story? What about a superhero that has really bad PTSD and can’t fight anymore? Are their team members going to just forget they exist? Can’t they still have a positive influence on their friends and former team members just by existing and interacting with them?

They can, but writers think that’s boring and not interesting enough. Maybe for the people who are only there for the explosions and stuff. But the rest? The ones who are there for the characters, the loyal ones? They’re going to be wondering why it’s death or 100 percent healthy all the time. But in the end, writers kill characters off because they think it keeps people invested, because they think life-or-death conflicts are one of the few conflicts worth talking about.

The second aspect of story drama is always denial. The main character wants something, but for some convoluted reason, denies themselves that thing. This can be great if done creatively. After all, that’s also a very real, common thing to occur. But I’m pretty sure that it’s a higher-than-average rate of superheroes denying themselves a significant other because of dramatic, self-absorbed or insecure reasoning.

Because I’m fairly confident that most people do the exact opposite when feeling that way. There’s this belief in our society that being in a romantic relationship somehow makes us more worthy and special people, which is really messed up.

It also sets us up for abusive, co-dependent relationships because we look to the other person for validation and self-respect. Or, we get so desperate for sort of dynamic that we obsess and chase after someone regardless of their needs or desires (Like celebrities or your hot co-worker. Just stop being creeps, you all).

Denial as a plot device or character arc is great otherwise. Need to wear out a character’s patience? Have them go on a diet because they’re not getting enough veggies, but their best friend works at a doughnut place and always smells like doughnuts. I guarantee you the character is going to either start avoiding the friend when they smell like that or they’re going to break their diet. Which gives the villain places to wreak havoc since the hero can’t go near baked goods without being seriously tempted.

If you’re a writer, have fun with this sort of thing! Don’t just give in to the norm. Trust me, the readers are not interested in the whole “can’t have the girl, want her anyway, will have the girl, she dies.” That’s boring and we’re no longer paying attention. We know the plot, and we know the character arc, and we’re not invested.

The third part of this drama fiasco is deceit. You know the drill. Friends, lovers, family members, whatever, the hero has to keep their identity secret or they have to keep their recent activities secret or they have to keep someone’s heritage secret. The point is, there’s a secret. Someone deserves to know it. They don’t know it—because the hero is trying to be noble or avoid heartbreak.

Again, this is absolutely a thing that happens in real life, so we can’t just say that it should be avoided altogether. However, it needs to be less prominent. I’m pretty sure writers rely on secrets and deceit more than any other plot device in this sort of story. It’s a little less obvious in other genres because the stakes aren’t as high, but it’s there wherever you look. And it’s stupid.

Yeah, everyone has secrets, but not everyone needs to know them. And the people closest to you should absolutely know something that might affect them. You know, like villains targeting them or something. There’s lots of reasoning behind this, like plausible deniability or avoidance of heartbreak. But the former doesn’t mean that they can’t know part of the story, and the latter is likely to happen anyway if you know anything about clichés.

Writers need to get creative with what secrets are around, why they’re not mentioned, and how they may or may not be discovered. Otherwise, all the audience gets is another predictably dramatic tension that we know will end awfully, and we won’t care because we know that it is what it is.

But if writers were able to think for just one second about what would make a reader sit up and take notice, what would make them empathize, they would discover that almost all of their previous attempts have just been patronizing to the portion of the audience that isn’t there for the explosions. And there might be more people in the audience due to loyalty to the story if the explosions weren’t the only semi-unpredictable thing in it.

]]> 0
Debate: Should the sale of plastic bottled water be banned? Wed, 26 Feb 2020 01:09:38 +0000 Round 1

Side 1: Bottled water may seem like a great beverage option, but roughly 70 percent of them end up in landfills or as litter. They are one of the most common waste items found in the ocean, which is horrible for the plants and animals living there. Plus, since plastic requires oil in its production, it takes millions of barrels of oil to produce enough bottles for the entire U.S. for one year. That’s a lot of wasted oil, which has its own environmental issues to deal with. It’s also less expensive to use water fountains and other tap options. Buying bottled water for a couple bucks per 8-12 ounces is not exactly the best use of your money. A reusable bottle makes it convenient and cheaper and doesn’t leave nearly as much waste or take as many resources to make. All things considered, bottled water is a really good candidate to get rid of.

Side2: Yeah, it’s horrible that so many bottles end up in landfills or as litter, but that doesn’t mean that bottled water doesn’t serve an important purpose. Think about shops and fast food places that only serve bottled beverages. If there was no bottled water, customers would be reduced to choosing from much less healthy options, like soda or really sugary teas and coffees. The customers are far more likely to choose one of the unhealthy options than they are to choose tap water. These items also typically have plastic containers, but, even though they have deposits in some states, there’s not an easy way to reuse those bottles and they’re just as popular. So why ban the one and not the other? Also, by banning bottled water, small businesses may be at a disadvantage compared to larger businesses. They may not have an appealing tap water option but they could have offered bottled water, while the larger businesses may have water coolers or soda fountains with a water option to choose from. If a person is very determined to have just water, they’re not going to stay at a smaller business.

Round 2

Side 1: Bottled water is also important because of health and safety concerns. What about areas that might not have safe tap water to drink? Bottled water is much safer, even if it is more expensive. Would you rather the 10-30 dollars a week for water or the hundreds of dollars in hospital bills or meds because you got sick from bad tap water? Not only can tap water be kinda sketchy sometimes, what happens when there is no tap water at all? This happens quite a bit during emergency situations. If there is a hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake or tornado, the infrastructure of an area can be completely disrupted or destroyed. This leaves emergency personnel and the people they’re helping without water and other amenities so they have to rely on things like bottled water to survive. We can’t just replace those with reusable bottles since there’s nothing to fill them with, and it’s just impractical to ship reusable bottles back and forth to use and refill them. If it comes down to plastic waste or health issues, maybe we ought to be encouraging better recycling habits than anything else.

Side 2: Granted, in cases of emergency, bottled water is super important, but outside of that, it’s typically healthier to drink tap water. When it comes down to a comparison between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which tests bottled water, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which tests tap water, the latter is much more stringent with testing for contamination and health issues. Plus, since companies that sell bottled water tend to drain local water supplies, what’s really happening is that communities that really need the water are losing it to people who are only out to gain more money. That’s not healthy for the community or the local environment either. As for recycling habits, there are plenty of recycling places that simply dump their recycling in landfills in poorer countries who can’t protest. Creating a good recycling habit needs to include more reusing and repurposing and less “recycling.” It also needs to include more reducing, which (guess what?!) means fewer bottles in whatever way we can make it work, especially for relatively straightforward items like reusable water bottles.

]]> 0
UnLODEing Zone Wed, 26 Feb 2020 01:01:49 +0000 Dear Mr. Snow!

Before coming to Houghton, I loved winter. Waking up every morning with a comfy blanket, wearing sweaters in school and early evenings with hot chocolate. And then Michigan Tech happened. I won’t say I hate winter now, but something good is only good when you have a limited amount of it. Just like too much love is not healthy, too much winter is unbearable. Also, the winter I used to like was 60 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s like summer here.

Still, the winter is beautiful. The white hills and barren woods. The beautiful sunset, obviously on the days when we see the sun. And, oh! The sun. I never thought I would say this, but I really miss the sun. After coming from the tropical subcontinent of India, I never thought I would ever miss it.

You know, Mr. Snow, do not be so cold. Grow some empathy, be warm. And you will see all your stiffness will go away. You will feel more flow, you will feel free. You will feel like water. It only takes a small change. Just gain a few calories. Go out in the sun and enjoy the weather. Do not ruin it.

But here are some “Cool” facts that I learned to not hate snow:

1. No two snowflakes are exactly the same is a myth (Statistically impossible).

2. Syracuse, New York tried to make snow illegal (I wish we tried it here).

3. Each winter in the US, at least 1 septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) ice crystals fall from the sky (I didn’t even know they had a unit for a big number like this).

4. The largest snowball fight on record took place in Seattle (Obviously, can’t be Houghton).

5. Not all big snowstorms are blizzards (Just like not every husky is our Blizzard).

Disclaimer: This letter is written for the cold, white snow outside. It is not meant to offend anyone with a surname Snow, like Jon Snow, who knows nothing. If you are hurt, I am sorry. And if you are the cold, white snow, bring me my summer back, or I will shovel you.

]]> 0
How to fake being Boujee: Wine edition Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:58:39 +0000 I have not always enjoyed wine. My Spanish ancestors are rolling in their graves at the thought, but it’s true. It’s too bitter, too dry. I once heard a man describe the taste a strong red can leave you with as “the oaky afterbirth.” I had another friend who, upon meeting his significant other’s family for the first time and realizing they were all “wine people,” went so far as to make up a lie on the spot about how he was allergic to tannins.

They’re married now. He’s still keeping up with that whopper, as far as I know.

My point is, wine is something most people have to really work to develop a palate for. We could speculate as to why—perhaps the prevalence of super sugary beverages that we’ve spent most of our childhood consuming has ruined our ability to detect nuances in flavor the same way generations before us could. Or maybe it’s simply that, seeing as your taste buds die as you age, wine really is just not very good and the only reason your grandparents love it is because they can’t tell what they’re drinking anymore. This argument could go on forever though and would make the article way too long to hold your attention. Plus, we’re not concerned so much with the “why” as we are with figuring out how to, after establishing that we all actually hate wine, convincingly pretend to appreciate it in order to appear classier.

Look, wine is just fancy, vinegar-inspired garbage water. It’s rotten juice, and we all should just start being honest with ourselves about that. However, in the absence of honesty, I support the desire to feign knowledge and/or enthusiasm. Maybe you want to impress a date, maybe you just want to relate to that cool, wine-loving aunt over Thanksgiving, who knows, I’m not here to judge. Here is a short and simple list of words to throw around to help you fake it ‘till you make it:

Chewy—a heady, rich wine, sometimes used in relation to tannins (when you almost want to chew away the dryness after drinking).

Complex—the flavor changes in your mouth, there’s not just one singular note.

Corky or Corked—the cork was contaminated or loose, making the wine smell musty and taste sour.

Dry—not sweet.

Foxy—as opposed to floral; more of a musky scent.

Good legs—has a high Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

Mouthfeel—literally exactly what you’d think.

Oaked—when there are things other than fruits (think butter, vanilla, spices) added to the wine for flavor.

Silky—a smooth wine, almost creamy.

Tannins—bitter tasting, more prevalent in red wines than in white, which can really dry out your mouth.

So, next time you see Aunt Cheryl laughing a little too loudly over a glass of red, you can feel comfortable sliding on over and commenting on the chewy tannins or some other made-up nonsense. And who knows? Maybe someday you’ll actually know what you’re talking about.

]]> 0
World News Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:51:22 +0000 On Sunday, Cairo-based independent News Amwal Al Ghad reported that Egypt had signed a deal with five EU and US oil companies for drilling contracts, with exploratory drilling to begin in early 2021.

Egypt is just one of many countries around the world that is exploring and drilling oil. The entire Meditaranean has been caught in conflict over vast undersea oil reserves found over a decade ago. The Gulf region has also been dominating headlines. Russia has made headlines too, with the EU, Turkey and China. At a time when fear of war between nations cycles, the economic competition between nations has carried on in the background largely unnoticed.

The oil and gas industry has suffered setbacks due to political pressures and market instability. In 2019 energy was the lowest performing sector of the stock market.

Last July, a Charter of Cooperation was signed between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia. Parties agreed to collaborate on energy infrastructure and oil-market stability. In December, the International Energy Agency (IAE) declared that even if OPEC cuts production as planned, there would be an oversupply of oil in 2020. Also in December, Forbes reported that Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) would soon make gains on the coal industry and dominate the market. Leading LNG exporters like Qatar and Cyprus have vastly improved their gas sectors to take advantage of the trend.

On Jan. 2 Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement to establish the East Med pipeline, which will connect Israel’s Levantine Basin to Italy through Greece. The project is a split venture between two Italian and Greek utility companies. Israel became a major energy exporter last December, after signing a permit to export LNG to Egypt. Israel also has had a difficult time in Jordan recently, where Jordanian congress unanimously passed a resolution on Jan. 19 opposing the 10 billion dollar deal between a Jordanian utility company and US- Israeli, Texas-based Noble Energy.

Though its neighbours have all found much oil in the Meditaranean, Turkey has not found any in waters it indisputably owns. This has caused much conflict over the years, which has spilled over into Lybia. Last month Turkey announced it would send troops to Lybia to protect the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, with which it has negotiated to drill off Lybia’s shores. The Lybian National Army (LNA) opposition forces under General Haftar are backed by Egypt and the UAE, and have strongly opposed Turkey’s ambitions to drill for oil.

On Dec. 13, Beirut-based AMN news agency cited local media in reporting that LNA Chief of Staff, “revealed an agreement with Greece to block the sea lane linking Crete and the eastern sea borders of Libya to Turkish ships.” The victor in the battle for Tripoli is yet to be determined. While Lybia has made deals to drill for oil offshore with EU energy companies, Turkey’s ambitions have received condemnation in Brussels. In October last year, the European Council reaffirmed its solidarity with Cyprus, which on Jan. 19 this year called Turkey a “Pirate State.”

Iran has struggled to exert its regional power under crippling US sanctions. Despite the sanctions, Iran has sought new ways to be competitive. In 2018 Iran began using cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions, and began to push other Muslim nations to do so as well. Last December, Iranian parliament approved the creation of a special economic zone at their port in Jask and found vast oil fields and LNG deposits, giving them a huge boost in the energy market. Also, more EU countries joined the INSTEX mechanism designed for them to evade US sanctions to trade with Iran. Recent tensions between Iran and the US has led to more US sanctions against the Iranian economy.

Stock market values for oil went up sharply in early January, following the assassination of Iranian General Soleimani. They went back down after a lack of response by Iran and a speech by President Trump, but cyberdefense and other stocks held a higher value. The future of oil markets is still unclear, yet regardless, countries around the world continue to explore, drill, and connect their energy infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince last year announced economic reforms which among other things, opened nationally owned oil companies to privatization and sought to sell five percent of the giant Saudi oil company Aramco. Its sale has been delayed many times, as experts disagree on the high valuation of two billion dollars given by the Crown Prince, valuing it instead at 1.7 billion.

The Kingdom has made headlines recently. In January Aramco signed a participation agreement with Sempra LNG to invest in 25 percent of the Port Arthur LNG project in Texas, and to purchase LNG yearly upon completion.

Syria announced it would switch to LNG for its transportation system last December. It hopes to develop infrastructure off its coast. Although it has recaptured some oil fields with the help of Russia, Syria has lost many eastern fields to the Kurdish and US forces.

The United States last year took up a policy of not allowing Syrian oil fields to be developed by ISIS or anybody else, including Syria itself. In December local media reported the US to be building a new base on Deir Ezzor, at the al-Omar oil field. Also, the Middle Eastern Monitor reported that local sources reported seeing drilling equipment, Saudi soldiers, and a delegation of oil experts arriving at al-Omar aboard helicopters. Saudi Arabia later denied the allegations.

While Central European nations like Poland seek to diversify their energy with LNG imports from the United States, the EU has opted to connect with Russian oil giant Gazprom. Russia and Ukraine agreed to a deal to pipe petroleum through Ukraine to Europe, a result of the Normandy summit brokered by France and Germany. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will connect Russia to the EU through Ukraine and Moldova.

In late December the U.S. State Department issued a warning that work on the pipeline is sanctioned, and that violators will be revealed to Congress within two months. Russia has other major energy aspirations, last month it declared it will invest $300 billion for oil developments in the Arctic Sea. Last month Russia and Turkey inaugurated the new TurkStream pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine entirely. Russia recently opened a LNG pipeline to China through Mongolia, and hopes to open another line soon.

China has its own ambitions as well. On Nov. 30 of last year, the United Kingdom’s Independent news cited a spy report revealing that China’s military is using the cover of science expeditions to explore the Arctic’s mineral riches. China later entered into an agreement with Cyprus for $320.7 million USD, to develop Cyprus’ first LNG terminal. On Dec. 21, SCMP reported that China had signed a contract with a Saudi energy company to install 10 million smart meters, in a big part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Later China released its Natural Gas Development Report for 2019, which indicated that China’s increased dependence on LNG will require double-digit growth in that sector.

The big power competition between nations marks the turn of our new decade. Many conflicts over resources are ongoing, while much progress has been made in every region of the earth. Different nations have economies that are faced with different struggles. One thing that unites us all is our mutual need to consume energy; sharing energy may foster conditions for future peace. Though many nations have prospered, some like Turkey have been left out in the cold. The results of that shifting dynamic may shape regional if not global conflicts, into the next decade or beyond.

]]> 0
This week in history Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:48:34 +0000 On Feb. 17, 1820, The Senate allows Missouri to enter the union as a slave state and Maine to enter as a free state. This is known as the Missouri Compromise and was done to maintain the balance between abolitionists and slave-owners and prevent a civil war.

The Communist Manifesto was published this week on February 21, 1848, by Karl Marx. This book has inspired many and is arguably the world’s most influential political manuscripts.

Ten weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which allowed certain areas to be labeled as military zones, authorizing the removal of anyone from these military zones, “as deemed necessary or desirable.” This was the beginning of internment camps for Japanese Americans. By June, about 112,000 Japanese Americans were evicted from the west coast and held in “relocation centers”.

On Feb. 21, 1965,  Malcolm X was assassinated. Malcolm X lived as a hoodlum but is said to have abandoned that life and embraced Islam while in prison. When Malcolm X was released, he joined the Nation of Islam. In 1963, however, he left the NOI in order to make the pilgrimage to Mecca as well as advocate the equality of all within the Islamic faith. Malcolm X worked toward that ideal for the rest of his life until he was assassinated in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom by people who were said to be affiliated with the Nation of Islam.

On Feb. 20, 1985, Ireland defied the catholic church by allowing the sale of contraceptives. This was a highly controversial vote and marks the first-ever defeat of the catholic church in Irish history.

On Feb. 18, 2010,  WikiLeaks published the first documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. These documents included a detailed account of a discussion held among American diplomats and Icelandic government officials. While this barely registered with the public, partly due to WikiLeaks being unknown, Chelsea Manning continued sending sensitive information to Wkileaks— in fact, this was the first of around 750,000 sensitive documents.

]]> 0
Tech’s role in NASA’s next Moon mission Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:47:09 +0000 Among seven other universities who collectively received nearly $1 million in the furthering of NASA’s moon-faring Artemis program is Michigan Tech and its help with the work in studying the Moon’s darkest places.

Through NASA’s Space Grant project and BIG Idea challenge, two STEM outreach initiatives are put on by the agency, an impressive sample of institutions are beneficiaries. It includes the Massachusetts Institution of Technology, Dartmouth College, and Penn State alongside MTU, with Tech’s $161,074 in funds received second only to that of MIT.

NASA’s Artemis is the program responsible for putting the next set of American astronauts on the Moon. Sister of the eminent Apollo, the plan is to get there in just four short years, leveraging modern technology to discover a whole new multitude of information about our nearest celestial body. NASA’s Artemis website describing the program also features the involvement of commercial work to “establish sustainable exploration by 2028.” Finally, and perhaps most exciting, is the promise to “use what we learn on the and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.”

A primary reason NASA is interested in the dark side of the moon is to access the extraterrestrial water (ice) of the Moon’s surface. Having little knowledge of the dark side of the Moon, NASA has rallied each institution receiving the cash into developing some constituent parts of what could be used in the Artemis program, especially to explore the Moon. One part of Artemis’ purview is to better understand the dark side of the Moon. Specifically, Tech’s assignment is to develop technology of the following description:

“A small rover to lay lightweight, superconducting cable that tethers to a lander as it traverses craters in permanently shadowed regions. Once in its final destination, the rover acts as a recharging hub and communication relay for other robots working in the area, providing continuous power without requiring direct sunlight.”

Other details about Tech’s project for NASA include its name; tethered-permanently shaded Region Explorer or T-REX. According to a project synopsis document, the especially cold temperatures of the Moon’s surface beneath its shadow allow for superconducting properties within materials.

Following the completion of the task in 10-months’ time, teams will present to a panel of NASA experts in person during a “design review.” Those technologies proven to be viable might just be able to see their work in use by NASA in the next big space program.

]]> 0
Afrobeat takes on momentum Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:45:22 +0000 At 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday, the Fitness Studio of the Student Development Complex comes alive with the throbbing sounds and rhythms of Afrobeat. Accompanying these sounds are the calculated intricate steps of dancers doing vigorous African dances and burning calories away. This is the African Student Organization’s (ASO) Afrobeat Dance Class.

The Afrobeat Dance Class is one of the many ways the African students in Michigan Tech are contributing to the communal life of the university. Held for many years, but consistently from last semester, the class is open to all interested participants at no cost. Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as well as member of ASO, Malissa Sanon, has been leading the dance class together with Maeva Kounouvo, a humanities master exchange student from France. So far, about 100 people have benefitted from the dance sessions since the beginning of the spring semester.

According to some health researchers, dance can help in burning some calories to keep the body healthy. Because of the rigorous schedule of students and professors, it can be challenging to engage in routine physical activities. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions and an increasing number of individuals with cardiovascular risk, dance can improve the condition of the human heart and lungs. It can also increase muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, increased aerobic fitness, as well as  improved muscle tone and strength.

Speaking to the Lode newspaper, Soji Bello, the Public Relations Officer of the organization invited all members of the university and the community saying “Come and enjoy energetic African music while exercising. Our instructors are eager to take you through the classes no matter your level of dance skill. Don’t be left out.” According to Munkaila Musa, a fourth year PhD Candidate in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, “the dance class is a great avenue for me to release some stress after long hours in the lab. It also helps me to interact with people in an environment where we are not talking about books but something else. This class is so much fun. You don’t need any dance experience to join in. We are all learning together and having fun.”

]]> 0
Ebony Stewart comes to MTU Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:02:49 +0000  

I’m sure everyone remembers the unit of high school English when they had to read countless poems by authors such as Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and Wordsworth. I always liked poetry, but I was never a huge fan of doing it in high school English primarily because of the forced style the teachers made it seem was necessary and the themes they would make us memorize.

I always wished that we could have a little bit more freedom with the way we did our poems, and didn’t have to stick to a certain theme or style. I felt that, on one hand, it was important to read poetry from centuries past to get a glimpse of our world’s history, but, on the other hand, I thought that there needed to be some modern-day poems regarding issues that us students actually faced day to day included in what we were reading.

As it turns out, there is a certain form of poetry that is so honest and vulnerable that many people love and perform all around the world for its openness of ideas and freedom to talk about challenging issues: slam poetry.

Ebony Stewart, who is coming to Michigan Tech soon, is constantly changing and reevaluating the ways in which people portray poetry by touring all across the country and speaking on issues and experiences surrounding the black community.

Ebony Stewart is a woman of many trades. After being crowned a “slam champion” of slam poetry in Austin, Texas three times in a row, she went on to tour around the country and use the power of poetry to speak on some of the most challenging and pressing issues in our country.

Ebony frequently speaks on issues such as “sexuality, womanhood, race and gender” all surrounding the black community. She hopes that her poetry will “remove shame, heal minds and encourage dialogue.”

Ebony also has done several one-woman shows which have also received prestigious awards such as the David Mark Cohen New Play Award as well as the B. Iden Payne Award. Ebony Stewart, after accomplishing all of this, went on to compete in the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam competition– and won the entire thing! Through all of this, Ebony considers herself a “sex advocate” and is currently in training to become a licensed sex therapist. Her work can be seen on various popular news outlets and websites such as Teen Vogue, Afropunk and The Texas Observer. If you want to watch her speaking any of her poems, many can be found at “Button Poetry” or “Write About Now.”

Ebony Stewart will perform here at Michigan Tech on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. with the Black Students Association sponsoring the show.  Ebony will perform in the “Backstage Rosza” pop-up venue in the backstage of the Rosza. In addition to Ebony’s performance, there will also be an open-mic slam poetry event before the show. Feel free to bring your best poetry and entertain or wow the audience. As always, admission is free with your Tech ID for students. Tickets are $15 for adults and kids. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling the Ticket Office.

]]> 0
The Nice List Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:01:44 +0000  

To my little sister.


You are one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Being around you is so much fun and you always put effort into making me feel better about myself, no matter what my insecurity is that day.

You are always there to listen to me, and I hope that you know I’ll always be there for you as well. Whether it’s complaining about work or sharing the pleasantries and challenges of taking in a stray cat or raising a new puppy, we are each other’s support and for that I am so grateful.

I am grateful that we have a strong bond and that we don’t compete with each other, because I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you standing up for me — even against myself.

You are my sister, my best friend, my partner in crime, my troublemaker and so, so much more to me.

Thank you for always being there. Thank you for always looking out for me. Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for being the best sister a girl could ask for.



Your big sis

]]> 0