The Martian, Fact vs. Fiction

Philip R. Wilkinson

DENVER – The first science fiction movies depicted men flying to the moon in a cannon shell, over time this idea transformed into massive star ships that could travel across galaxies.  However, in recent years’ audiences have become more interested in the reality of space travel and not a fantastical, unrealistic, vision of it.

Oct. 8, 2015, Hollywood director Ridley Scott released his latest work The Martian just three years after the release of his previous film Prometheus in 2012.  Prometheus is a more classical depiction of science in film with ships that can cross vast interstellar distances with no issue.  Continue reading

The gender wage gap’s potential effects on DU graduates

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Woman working at Bruegger’s Bagels on University Ave.

The gender wage gap is an issue that the government aimed to wipe out nearly 53 years ago when the Equal Pay Act was implemented. The act hoped to eliminate the discrimination of employees based on sex but has in many cases failed to be enforced when brought into court. The deficiency of enforcing the act is due to the lack of transparency of wages in private sector jobs and the inability to define what constitutes as equal quality of work. The most recent movement in the work towards equal pay for women was in 2009 when President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

At the University of Denver many women have entered college unaware of the potential wage gap they will face after graduation. Hava Gordon, Director of Gender and Women’s studies said “I don’t think students are very aware, I do a lecture on the subject to present them with statistics and I think many are surprised to see that the gap has not moved in so long, I think they’re surprised because they have grown up believing that there is not such a gap anymore and that we have progressed so far and more women are getting BA degrees than men, so the university education system does not reflect the work world.” Continue reading

Undocumented immigration issues call for more than building a wall

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An application for permanent residence in the United States.  [photo by Jessica Johnson]

As undocumented immigration has emerged on the docket as a pressing issue throughout the presidential primaries, flaws with the process have become evident, such as shady, under-the-table payments to undocumented workers, terrifying, middle-of-the-night raids by the Department of Homeland Security, and negative rhetoric that has shaped public opinion about immigrants, according to Dr. Margaret Thompson of the University of Denver.

As of 2014, it was estimated that there were 11.4 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.  They also estimated that undocumented immigrants amounted to about 5.1 percent of the U.S. workforce.     Continue reading

The future of sex technologies and gender remains, well, complicated

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[Photo by Hayley Knoph]

For the last century, robots persist as a symbol of the future. Movies, in particular, capitalize on the prospect of man-made beings that assist humans in every aspect of life—even sex.

From the robotic prostitutes of Blade Runner and West World to the charming artificial intelligence of Ex Machina and Her, sex robots have been part of film since its beginning. Even the first feature length science fiction film, Metropolis, presents its female robot as a hypersexual being. In that 1927 German film, the “Maschinenmensch,” or “Machine-Human” in English, seduces the city’s men into a life of sin through her hypnotic and erotic dance. Continue reading

The lesser of two evils: Clinton and Trump fight against their own unfavorability

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A discarded Bernie Sanders campaign sticker [Photo by Cooper Dahlen-Pagano]

Now that Hillary Clinton nearly has enough delegates for the Democratic nomination and Donald Trump has secured the delegates needed for the Republican nomination, Americans are now considering the pros and cons of a Clinton or Trump presidency much more seriously. However, while they have prevailed in the primaries, the months leading up to the general election are going to be an uphill battle for both candidates, as they each face record unfavorability ratings.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Clinton has a net favorability rating of -9%, as 44% of survey respondents expressed a favorable opinion and 53% expressed an unfavorable opinion. On the other hand, Trump doesn’t fare any better with a net favorability rating of -23%, as 37% of respondents expressed a favorable opinion and 60% expressed an unfavorable opinion. Continue reading

DU apathetic towards Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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The Hillel Library at the University of Denver [photo by Helen Filanowski]

DENVER-College campuses have been in the spotlight as havens for social justice since the 1960s, when students began to protest the Vietnam War, Civil Rights and the Free Love movements. Today, the issues have changed but the forum that college campuses provide for young activists has remained.

Is every college campus as active as one might think, however? The Israeli-Palestinian issue is one of the most hotly debated of our time. The conflict is centered around the country of Israel and the Palestinian people, many of whom were forced to flee Israel as refugees after Israel fought for independence in 1948. Continue reading

Why are so many college students enthralled by Bernie Sander’s push towards a socialist economy?

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The American flag waves in the wind at the University of Denver [Photo by Palmer McGraw]

Denver, CO– November 8, 2016, will mark the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election which will determine who will be the 45th president of the United States. Currently Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running neck and neck to win the Democratic nomination. However, unlike candidates in the past, Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist, a political ideology frightening to some and appealing to others.

Currently Sanders has been deemed a popular candidate especially amongst Millennials, and a recent poll found that 58% of young people would choose socialism over capitalism. However, it is unclear if Millennials, who did not live through the Cold War and witness the collapse of Soviet Russia, truly understand what Socialism is and the potential implications it could have on America’s capitalist economy.

The United States is a representative democracy, which grants the people the right to elect representatives to speak for the interests of the voters. Two major parties dominate the United States; those being the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and both parties hold differing beliefs on tax policies, social issues, health care, labor and free trade, education, and capital punishment. Republicans are known for being capitalists, wanting less government and free trade without strict regulation; while Democrats are known as being more toward the socialist end of the spectrum, due to wanting more government control and further regulations on trade.

Capitalism as a form of government advocates for free market and free trade. On the other end of the spectrum is socialism, which is a system where all property is controlled by a small group of individuals, in this case the government. They determine what the common good will is. Democratic socialism on the other hand is more in line with the political systems seen in Europe, in countries such as Scandinavia where there is more governmental control in terms of creating financial equality, but there is a higher happiness index because their citizens are not competitively profit driven like they are in the U.S.

Sanders, a democratic socialist, has pushed for policies such as free college, single-payer health care, wealth redistribution, minimum wage increase, increased estate tax, expanding social security through tax increases, and curtailing free speech. After hearing some of these proposed policies, for a Millennial, it would be hard not to vote for Sanders, given the amount of student debt in our country. Even more distressing is the fact that many recent college graduates are knee deep in debt and finding it increasingly more difficult to find jobs. Tuition rates are getting higher and higher every year, and economists have noted the price tag is rising past the point of inflation.

Continue reading