Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 26, 2005
Creative management could help ASUA budget woes
Although I am a graduate student and not represented by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona undergraduate senate, I have been following the Wildcat's coverage of a recent ASUA senate appropriation of $1,200 to send some ASUA senators to a leadership conference in Denver. Personally, I don't think that the ASUA senators are taking advantage of their position in order to send themselves on a holiday. They are driving to Denver and they are paying for their own food. I think that $1,200 is a small price to pay, given that the senators are likely to bring some good ideas back to the UA.
That said, I find the controversy about this small appropriation curious, given the grounds for serious concerns about other ASUA expenditures. Not including the loans that it receives to host Spring Fling and Bear Down Camp, ASUA began the year with $831,613. According to the figures from the ASUA treasurer, of that amount, $407,720 will go to salaries and stipends. Of this $407,720, the lion's share will go to pay for five non-student staff members.
There is a lot of ASUA money going to non-student staff and the Wildcat should question that, not $1,200 for conference travel. I believe that ASUA could save $90,000 each year if it filled some of its staffing needs with graduate assistants (from the department of higher education, for example). This is the way things are done at the University of Southern California, and I don't see why that system wouldn't work here.
philosophy graduate student
UA pedestrians should abide by law
Thank you for your article "UA Problematic for Pedestrians." I only wish that pedestrians would abide by Sgt. Eugene Mejia's advice of looking before crossing - especially along North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard. Drivers would be happier if pedestrians would also have the courtesy to stop themselves and go respectively rather than just be one long line of people crossing the street and not allowing the cars through. It would certainly help with the traffic clog through the day.
theatre arts junior
Stop depending on authorities for safety, take action yourself
This is a response to Andrew Neal's letter titled "More than locks needed for real safety." I would advise the author of this letter, as well as the public, to stop depending on the "authorities" to handle your own safety for you, as Neal's letter requests. I have lived in Tucson for over two years, and if you expect that the police will respond to a 911 call in a timely manner, you are watching too much television.
This is a dangerous world and it is not going to suddenly become safer by giving more tax dollars to the police or whining about it. As previous editorials have stated, lock your doors for a change, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and use some common sense. Common sense says that a woman walking around half naked at 3 a.m. is asking for trouble.
Last but not least, if you are truly concerned about your safety, learn how to defend yourself. Take some self-defense classes and consider carrying firearms where permitted by law. Needless to say, if the police were truly concerned about students' safety, instead of handing out shiny red whistles, they would be handing out guns.
engineering physics sophomore
Thermodynamics law incorrect assertion in evolution debate
There have been a number of letters to the editor passionately defending intelligent design as a legitimate scientific hypothesis. As usual, these defenses were based on total ignorance.
Let me cite two examples. One author asserts that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. False. The second law states that a closed system will move inexorably towards disorder. The universe is a closed system. The earth, however, is not; it receives constant energy input from the sun. The second law entails, then, that over time all the stars in the universe will burn out and everything will be cold and disordered - but this is totally irrelevant to the fact that, while stars burn, they supply planets with energy.
Another author states the famous "gaps in the fossil record" - the idea that evolution is poorly confirmed because certain fossils do not exist. False. Although Darwin thought evolution must always occur slowly, modern genetics indicate that there can and should be sudden "jumps" in evolution.
The simple fact is that people who argue against evolution simply have no idea what they are talking about. I have shown here - in less than 200 words. - how two of the main arguments given by creationists are clearly false. Creationists like to mention the fact that many scientists with Ph.D.s support creationism. So what? Many of these people know nothing about the theory of evolution!.The fact that someone has a doctorate in, say, chemistry or physics does not make that person qualified to evaluate a theory in a different discipline. Most people think they know what the theory of evolution is, but anytime I ask people to explain the theory to me they get most of the basic points wrong. The theory that people criticize is not the theory of evolution, but a crude caricature of it.
philosophy doctoral student
Several errors in intelligent design argument
In two recent letters in the Wildcat on the topic of intelligent design, I spotted several errors. Silas Montgomery stated, "There has yet to be any 'tangible, compelling evidence' for evolution, just conjecture and speculation," and then hilariously goes on to accuse the Wildcat of "fallacious arguments and sloppy fact checking."
No evidence, huh? Read up on the avian bird flu. A recent strain just jumped to ducks. And while the virus has been confined to birds, there have been a few notable cases of humans becoming infected. Another example is the increasing rates of infection from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This dangerous problem, interestingly enough, is a direct consequence of the over-prescription and inconsistent use of antibiotics, which creates ideal conditions for rapid evolution of new bacteria. There are hundreds of other examples such as these that prove ignorance of evolution is itself a trait subject to natural selection. Maybe there is a god.
In another letter, Janne Perona stated, "Evolution also contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, " since it leads " to more complex and ordered organisms. " This is absolutely false, and I would have hoped that a biophysicist such as herself could easily understand why. The second law just states that the amount of entropy, which measures of disorder, always increases in a closed system. Janne's statement is false because evolution doesn't take place in a closed system. The heat generated by all that sex and living and natural selection adds tremendous amounts of entropy to the universe. Thermodynamics has no qualms with evolution, just as it has no qualms withnaturally ordered structures like sugar crystals, snowflakes or neutron stars.
I agree with the statement that science and religion do not have to be in conflict, but faith cannot rest on an utter rejection of reason. There is a difference between a creator and a designer.
physics graduate student
Pedestrians need to respect bicyclists
I found the Sept. 22 article "UA problematic for pedestrians" somewhat offensive. As a bicyclist here on campus, I can safely say that not enough emphasis of blame was placed on student pedestrians. I am in no way attempting to misplace any and all blame onto pedestrians alone. In short, what I am saying is that all parties in this case should be allotted their fair share of blame.
I have no doubt that bicyclists can be aggressive and hasty when riding around campus - I have seen it myself. But, one cannot take this fact alone at face value and from it stereotype campus bicyclists as lawless rebels who enjoy recklessly swerving in and out of pedestrians' paths. We do not. Anyone who has attempted to ride a bicycle on campus, particularly during the pedestrian rush hour, knows that bicyclists are not alone in their lawlessness.
Pedestrians fail to acknowledge that there is a bicycle path that traverses campus that is designated solely for bicyclists. By meandering on the bicycle path, one is naturally put in harm's way. These bicycle paths are not supposed to be used by pedestrians, and yet there is always a multitude of people on them, not the sidewalk that sits right next to it, forcing bicyclist to weave in between people. Naturally frustrated, bicyclists resort to aggressive behavior in order to scare people off the paths.
It's not right to do this, but neither is traveling on a bicycle path without a bicycle. It is the equivalent of a bicyclists' attempting to ride down the freeway as though they had the right to be there. Obviously they do not and neither do pedestrians have the right to be on the bicycle path. Signs should be posted that are obvious and eye-catching, warning pedestrians about walking on the bicycle paths. If both parties, bicyclists and pedestrians alike, stick to "their side of the tracks," so to speak, then enjoying one's ride or walk to class should be like a walk in the park.