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PIETSCH | In Defense of Fashion Knockoffs

“Ppl knocking each other off lol,” quips the nonchalant Instagram bio of the account @diet_prada. An angry undertone is palpable in the account’s ironic humor, however. The owners of the account, and the 1.1 million users who follow it, have had enough. Diet Prada has been popularized — and trademarked, according to the account’s name on Instagram — as a term referring to knockoffs in fashion. Within the account, a garment that resembles Prada is exposed as a cheaper rendition that leaves behind a toxic aftertaste.

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CHANG | Students: Make a Vote for Health Care

Unlike Iran policy, central bank reform or wildlife conservation, health care is a quotidian issue. The cost of premiums and copays are a consistent burden for the 28 percent of working-age adults who are underinsured. The price of prescriptions and hospital visits can’t be ignored without serious effects on economic stability. The future of health care is a hot topic, and it would behoove candidates (presidential, congressional and otherwise) and voters to pay attention. The debate over the state of our health care system has consumed classrooms (shoutout to PAM 2350: the U.S. Healthcare System), dining rooms, the pages of health care and medical journals and the Congressional floor.

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KAMBHAMPATY | Make a Lot of Bad Work

You need to make a lot of bad work before you can make any good work. I believe this to be true for people in any creative field. The designer of the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, Kenji Ekuan, created more than 100 prototypes before settling on the one that we see today. The widened base weights it perfectly, making it difficult to accidentally tip over. Two spouts located on opposing sides of the cap allow air to continuously fill the lost space as the contents are poured out, ensuring that you don’t get that annoying stutter that occurs when you pour a glass of wine a little too eagerly.

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BARAN | No Place Like Home

Home for Fall Break. For Thanksgiving. For the deliciously long Winter Break. Back to familiar haunts, faces and foods. The mildly annoying barrage of “back at it” Snapchats and Instagram posts.

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KIM | Say Hi

I climbed into the passenger seat of my Lyft ride and was immediately welcomed by the hefty gust of the heater blasting in my face. As we were en route, I briefly commented on the bone-chilling weather. A simple, small comment gradually developed into a lighthearted conversation about the warmth and food in California and the subtle beauties of Ithaca from a local’s perspective. My driver’s face lit up as she talked about her childhood growing up in Ithaca, reflecting on the coldest winter days where she would always go sledding with her friends and family. She recommended the circular sled because it would spin in all directions, transforming a simple slide into an exhilarating twirl.

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TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | Reducing Wait Times for Mental Health Support

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the accessibility and quality of student mental health services continue to be of high interest to the Cornell community. Written recommendations, like those submitted by the student-led Mental Health Taskforce, and ongoing discussions amongst campus stakeholders, like those facilitated by the Coalition on Mental Health, continue to highlight ways in which we can improve services and better support students. A recurring theme is that student demand for counseling services exceeds the possible support Counseling and Psychological Services can provide. While more than 22 percent of Cornell students used CAPS services in the last academic year, CAPS reports that for students seeking individual counseling, they aim to schedule first appointments within two weeks with wait times increasing even further during periods of high demand. The wait to see a counselor for individual counseling is a significant barrier to receiving high-quality care in a timely manner for many students.

Jade

PINERO | But What About Venezuela?

In recent years, Venezuela has become a favorite talking point for socialism’s detractors, who typically invoke the nation when they find themselves without a more substantive defense of their views. “But what about Venezuela?” they ask in comment sections everywhere. The question is rhetorical. Venezuela is just their trump card — present-day proof of the failed socialist experiment. But what if we truly wanted to know the answer to “what about Venezuela?” If the question was asked in good faith, what would the answer be?

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AHMAD | A Letter to Multilingual Students

This past weekend, the internet informed me about yet another native-English speaker lashing out at someone for being able to speak more than one language. Unfortunately, this is not a novel incident. Over the past few years, we’ve all become accustomed to various instances of people who are a little bit too in love with the English language. What makes this particular incident different, however, is the fact that the perpetrator was not some screaming dude in a mall being filmed on a bystander’s iPhone. Rather, it was Duke University Prof. Megan Neely, biostatistics, who sent an email to her graduate students advising international students to stop speaking Chinese amongst each other and instead speak English at all times.

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TAARIQ | Not So Wondrous Winter Land

As an environmental and sustainability sciences major, you would think that I would be against global warming. I understand that I am not from California or the South, but I’m tired of this winter after two decades on the East Coast. Of course I am concerned about the dysfunction and distribution of traumatic weather patterns due to anthropogenic activity, but this late winter and transition back to campus have been rough. This spring semester, I’ve come back with visions of professional development and academic success, but in the face of bone-chilling winds and hazardous slopes, my energy tank remains low. There are, however, some things I have employed to remain marginally functional.

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JOHNS | Lessons from Yad Vashem

Up the slope of Mount Herzl, in western Jerusalem, lies a 44-acre complex that is one of the world’s most moving testaments to the real life costs and consequences of totalitarianism. Yad Vashem, which I visited earlier this month as part of a small Cornell student delegation, is often described oversimplistically as Israel’s “Holocaust memorial.” Yad Vashem memorializes the millions of innocent lives lost to the Holocaust, but also those — Jews and non-Jews — who bravely resisted it. One does not leave Yad Vashem without a deep recognition of what happens when the power of the absolute state is wedded to an ideology that denies the God-given, individual rights of man. This past Sunday, the world appropriately commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of the most solemn international memorial days marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration and death camp operated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Each International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hear the phrase “Never Again.” Yet, sadly and frighteningly, we appear to be in the process of forgetting anyway.