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Letter to the Editor: Response to McCullough

To the Editor:

On March 13, Irvin McCullough of the Cornell Republicans authored a well-reasoned letter advocating for the repeal of Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Rule and challenging the student-led campaign urging Cornell to make conflict mineral-free purchasing decisions. His myriad assertions deserve responses. Contrary to McCullough’s claim that conflict-free initiatives have increased militia-led violence, evidence-based assessments attest to their achievement of the opposite outcome. According to reports from the Belgian research group IPIS, the implementation of Dodd-Frank’s conflict mineral regulations has coincided with most paramilitary-controlled mines becoming entirely conflict-free. A cluster of 41 civil society groups in North Kivu recently joined a total of 101 Congo-based human in unequivocally condemning the possible suspension of federally mandated conflict mineral audits, saying that the eastern Congo has U.S. government mandates to thank for increased security in the region.

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LEUNG | More Than This

Sunday morning I found myself in a coffee shop on North Cayuga street. My notes for an art history exam laid on the table. My iPhone 6s was charging and I checked it periodically to scroll through Instagram or check my email. I sat with my earphones in and some soft tunes playing. The contrast of this outside representation of being calm, cool and collected made me want to laugh, for my mind was raging.

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KOWALEWSKI | Sure, People Will Die, But at Least You Spite Obama

For the past eight years, the single greatest unifying force in the Republican Party has been hatred of President Barack Obama. Translated into policy, that force manifested into universal opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Now, the Republican Party finds itself with control of the White House and both houses of Congress. With this perfect opportunity, they’ve finally presented their alternative “repeal and replace” health care plan. Spoiler alert: it’s a complete disaster.

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GLANZEL | Confirm Neil Gorsuch

The Trump Administration has bungled almost every major administrative task and duty since Inauguration Day. From Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts,” to Sean Spicer’s 1984-esque news conferences, to Michael Flynn’s resignation, to Jeff Sessions’ Russia connection, to the president’s many deranged and lunatic comments (see Obama wiretapping and fraudulent voter claims), the last two months seem to be straight out of an episode of “Looney Tunes.” As a Republican, I am ashamed that my party willing stands behind a man who so vehemently opposes fundamental American values such as freedom of the press, transparency and freedom of thought. As an American, I am embarrassed that Trump’s lunacy dominates the headlines of foreign newspapers and endangers the global perception of our nation. Yet despite the endless stream of scandals and dysfunction, the president has made one very good call during his brief time in the White House: nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. First, and foremost, Judge Gorsuch is, without question, extremely qualified to serve on the Court.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why we should value Snap

To the Editor:

The basic premise of Soren Malpass’s The Value of a Snap was that we will be looking at another dot-com crash if today’s venture capitalists keep up their current investing habits. The author questioned the valuation of a number of well-respected unicorns and specifically targeted newly-public Snap, arguing that the service that Snap offers doesn’t justify its (at the time) $28 billion valuation. Frankly, I think the analysis of the industry, and Snap’s business specifically, was lazy. Here are my qualms with the skepticism over Snap’s valuation:

1. The idea that a business cannot be legitimate if it only relies on advertising revenue is ludicrous.

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RUSSELL | Hesitations

Over winter break, I went out with a few friends and took a train home alone through downtown Dallas. It was the late afternoon — too early for the post-bar bunch and too late for the usual work crowd. Soon after I chose my seat, a slender Casanova wannabe with a can of cheap beer and a green pullover jacket hobbled into the seat behind me. When a young woman entered our section a few stops later, the man took it upon himself to personally give her a warm welcome: “You married?” “Yes,” she said.

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GUEST ROOM | The Ubiquity of Ethics and Software

The pressing topic of cybersecurity has resurfaced in the public conscious following the news of Russian hackers leaking thousands of emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee. Software might be developed for one clear-cut purpose, but more often than not, the technology’s ethical ramifications are disregarded by engineers. In the case of the Russian hacking, the individuals that perpetrated the cyberattack broke a moral code by intentionally hacking to commit an illegal act. For software engineers, their innovative skills come with a great deal of responsibility. Although an engineer’s top priority is efficiency, they must not overlook ethics.

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DUGGAL | Technologically Shook

I have hit the point in the semester where I could not bring myself to care less about things even if I tried. I thought I hit that point two weeks ago; unfortunately, I was wrong, and here I am, eating ice cream out of a tub in the middle of Klarman Atrium. I can feel even the statues frowning at my life decisions. Two weeks ago, I wrote a horrific column on something related to technology and how people make it out to be worse than it is and why that was a narrow way to look at a complex topic, especially one that is not going anywhere just by having us wish it away. Quite frankly, I hated it, and I would like to apologize to anyone who’s eyes might have perused those particular set of words.

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GUEST ROOM | A Breakdown of the “Turkey: A State of Emergency” Talk

Doom was a dominant theme in Myron Taylor Hall this past Friday. This was unsurprising, considering the subject of the event there — “Turkey: A State of Emergency.” The speaker panel, hosted jointly by the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa and the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative, aired out some of Turkey’s dirtiest political laundry. Each of the panelists zeroed in on one particular undemocratic facet of the Middle Eastern nation’s recent political tumult, from extrajudicial detainments to growing anti-intelligentsia sentiment to the increasingly precarious livelihoods of the four million Syrian refugees there living. Most generally, the talk was geared toward unpacking the political machinations of President Reccip Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of this summer’s failed coup attempt. The statistics are jarring.