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An APP(le) a Day: Can Smartphones Provide Smart Medical Advice?

I am not going to shock anyone by stating that we live in a time where distrust of government is high, where people believe that they need to ‘take back’ whatever they feel needs taking back. This opinion runs especially strong in matters surrounding healthcare, where people question a range of issues, including: universal insurance, low cost pharmaceuticals, the efficacy of particular medical tests, and autonomy as regards end of life (and other medical) decisions.

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Censoring Richard Wagner

The Romantic Era of music brought us some of the most beloved minds in Western music we have ever known. Beethoven, Verdi, Puccini, Chopin – the list could go on and on. Following Beethoven’s brilliant instrumental music legacy, however, one German composer’s ingenuity stood out above the rest – Richard Wagner. While he was alive, Wagner was the single most popular composer in Germany. Even today, Wagner is one of the most celebrated composers in all of Western music history, and his operas are still performed worldwide. Unfortunately, however, his legacy has been tarnished by his radical anti-Semitic beliefs which were translated into many of his operas. Questions about the ethicality of performing his art in a modern setting have long been debated by the classical music community.

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Lab-Grown Meat: Is it Kosher?

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

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Is Infrastructure an Ethical Obligation?

It’s no debate that American infrastructure has been deteriorating. Across the country, bridges are collapsing, roads are riddled with potholes, schools have chipping paint; even the United States House of Representatives had lead in their water this summer. During their campaigns, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have declared their intentions to drastically increase spending on infrastructure if they are elected to the presidency. Clinton announced that her administration would spend $250 billion on infrastructure over the next five years, paid for by a business tax on companies with assets abroad. In response, Trump stated he would double Clinton’s proposed investment by borrowing funds via the sale of government bonds. Numerous economists and bipartisan politicians have agreed with both candidates – America has an infrastructure problem that needs to be addressed, and soon.

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Brexit: Hyperglobalization and the Globalization of Nationalism

“The specter of Brexit is in all of our societies,” cautions Alexander Betts in a TED talk in July. What is “Brexit”? Brexit was a vote held on June 23rd by the peoples of the United Kingdom (UK) to decide whether their country was to stay or leave the European Union (EU): a political and economic union composed of  28 member states. Voters’ main motivation to leave the EU was due to concerns over immigration, more specifically, their concerns over an increasing amount of refugees entering the UK. In the aftermath of Brexit, the election been labeled as a “rejection of globalisation.” What does this mean?

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The Ivory Trade: Ban or Regulate?

The United Nations’ Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES) will begin on September 24th in Johannesburg, South Africa. The hot topic at the convention will be lifting the ban on the ivory trade that was imposed in 1989. Botswana has been the most recent country to speak out against the ban and to side with fellow African countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania. Botswana carries heavy influence in the decision because  it is home to the world’s largest population of elephants. Along with South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe are some of the larger players in the African ring to support lifting the ban. They are in favor of the economic benefits that come with sales of this natural resource. They will offer a proposal at the conference to lift the ban on the sale of legal ivory. China and Japan also play a large role because of the sheer amount of ivory that finds its way into their borders.

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Absent Perpetrator and Action-Less Bystander in East Chicago

The small Indiana town of East Chicago sits roughly 25 miles southeast of downtown Chicago. In late July, East Chicago’s mayor and the Environmental Protection Agency began informing residents that their soil had been contaminated with lead since at least 2014. But it was only a few weeks ago that the city began the process of evacuating nearly 1200 residents out of their housing complexes. The reason for this evacuation coincides with the rich industrial history of East Chicago: the smelting of lead.

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On Morally Supporting Abstinence-Based Sex Ed

The Atlantic published an article titled “Sex Ed Without the Sex” this past week by writer Olga Khazen. In that article, Khazen traced current sexual education practices in the city of Odessa, Texas. Odessa represents the widely used ideology of current sex ed courses throughout the United States, which is laden with conservative, Phyllis Schlafly-esque teachings. At this time, only 13 states require sex ed lessons to include medically accurate facts, while less than half actually require sex ed to be taught in school.

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Classical Music’s Accessibility Dilemma

As music becomes increasingly accessible in the digital age through means such as Spotify, traditional live-music presentations of classical music have taken a bit of a beating. Even long-standing, socially prominent venues have recently faced financial turbulence. In 2014, the Metropolitan Opera found itself in a $22 million deficit due to shortcomings in both its ticket sales and donor contributions. Desperate to attract more audiences in order to keep afloat, the greatest modern minds in classical music have been forced to rethink how to market classical music to make it consistently appealing to a broad range of audiences. In the process, ethical questions have risen concerning the preservation of the art – is the integrity of classical music being sacrificed as the industry strive to create new events that will ignite new interest?

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Our Views of Women in the Military Demand Complexity

Donald Trumps reemerged tweet about sexual assault in the military has brought the topic of womens roles, rights, and risks in the armed forces to the forefront of discussion. In his recent interview with Matt Lauer, Trump defended his tweet from May 2013, which reads: 26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together. His logic suggests that the creation of an environment in which females and males are mingledwhether it be a place of work, an educational institution, or just plainly the worldnaturally encourages sexual assault. This tweet also implies that women are the ones who have been integrated into the military; they are the outsiders; they are the reason that these sexual assaults occur. To understand todays sentiments toward this issue, we have to look at the history of women in the U.S. military that is so often left out of textbooks.

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Health Transparency for Presidential Candidates

From Grover Cleveland’s secret oral surgery to First Lady Edith Wilson running the Executive Branch after her husband, Woodrow Wilson, suffered a stroke, the legacy of medical cover-ups among Presidents and candidates continues. This past weekend, Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 memorial early after feeling overheated and dizzy, as well as losing her balance. Clinton’s staff later released that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia the previous Friday and ignored her doctor’s request of a five-day break from the campaign.

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The Context of Colin Kaepernick’s Protest

During a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers on August 26th, people finally noticed what 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick had been doing all season: sitting during the national anthem and presentation of the flag. In a press conference with the media, he proclaimed, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

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Has Your Newsfeed Hurt Your Mental Health?

Within the past few years, it has become even easier to put up videos on social media instantaneously. So many of those that go viral depict something violent, such as the many horrible instances of police brutality that have made the news this year alone. Though often shocking, disturbing, and tragic, these videos do serve as evidence in cases of violence, and sharing them on Facebook can help spread awareness against the crimes committed in them.

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Proprietary Tech’s Environmental Cost

Apple’s product design has always been known for a distinct minimalism. The oft-lauded aesthetic of the company’s products, guided by Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, has become a trademark of the company, birthing some of the world’s most recognizable tech products and influencing a generation of hardware design. The iPhone, a product defined by the clutter of features that its sleek design excludes, has often been the focal point of these efforts, representing Apple’s minimalistic aesthetic.

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When One Crisis Fuels Another: The Zika Virus and Bees

With the Zika virus officially entering the United States, panic has ensued in the South. After Congress failed to pass a bill that would provide funding for combatting Zika, many states have taken the fight into their own hands. Following the standard procedure of preventative action, South Carolina began spraying insecticides by plane on Sunday August 28th. The chemical sprayed is called Naled and this is not the first time it has been sprayed in South Carolina, considering the state’s ongoing effort to combat West Nile Virus. However, that was the first time that the insecticide has been sprayed by plane, in order to spread it over a larger area. Though Naled poses no serious risk to human health, it can kill insects other than mosquitos. Beekeepers in Dorchester County, South Carolina found this out the hard way when they woke up to millions of dead bees on the morning of August 29th.

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What Did Mexico’s Politicians Gain from Trump’s Visit?

Mexico’s Finance Minister, Luis Videgaray, recently resigned. The reason seems to be the events of last Wednesday, September 31st, when Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump visited Mexico. The visit was not well received by the Mexican population. Due to their discontent, Videgaray seems to have been forced to resign; he is attributed to have been one of the main supporters and architects of Trump’s visit. Shortly after Videgaray’s resignation, Trump deemed his visit a success since he was able to influence the composition of the Mexican president’s cabinet. Success or failure, these are the events as they unfolded:

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Making Amends: Georgetown University and Slavery

On a Fall day in 1838, a stone’s throw from the Capitol, families were torn apart. Loaded up on boats headed for the Deep South, 272 souls were shipped away to an uncertain future of pain, labor, and separation. This was an everyday occurrence back then; though the international slave trade had been abolished over a quarter of a century earlier, the domestic trade was alive and well, with an estimated 2.5 million enslaved by 1850. However, this case is set apart because the slaves were owned by Georgetown University and were sold to keep the university financially afloat.

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