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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”

    The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner was held on Sunday, and it was a star-studded affair indeed. While most celebrities have spent the better part of the past year roundly criticizing the beautiful disaster that is the Bush administration, some decided that the opportunity for exposure was simply too good to pass up. Among the distinguished guests were Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Newt Gingrich and Pete Wentz. While the dinner was a boon for various late-night comedians telling some variation of “”I didn’t know (insert celebrity) even knew where the White House was!””, President Bush’s yearly stand-up act was confirmation that he still doesn’t think he screwed up too badly. Explaining the absence of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Obama from the dinner, the president quipped: “”Hillary Clinton couldn’t get in because of sniper fire and Senator Barack Obama’s at church.”” You know you’re out of touch with reality when the worst president ever is cracking wise about other politicians’ shortcomings. The dinner made me feel more nostalgic than anything else – I’d like to see a repeat of Stephen Colbert’s marvelously awkward 2006 roast. Is it too late to throw my hat in the ring for Colbert ’08?

    Sarah Devlin is a sophomore majoring in English and political science.

    Ever sit in math class wondering if anything you learn might prove even remotely useful in life? And then remember all of those word problems that presumably demonstrate how abstract math concepts might help in the real world if you say, calculate the instantaneous velocity of a falling baby or when two trains leaving from New York and Los Angeles will eventually meet if they are traveling x miles per hour?

    According to a group of Ohio State University researchers such real world examples may hurt, rather than help, our ability to grasp new mathematical concepts. The group conducted studies on college students who were taught new math rules either purely by concept or through word problem examples. Students who learned the abstract theory were much better at performing tasks that employed the math concepts they had just learned.

    The results unfortunately don’t provide grounds for us to skip college algebra, but the study does point to the futility of employing contrived examples to communicate new concepts. Jennifer A. Kaminski, one of the researchers on the project, told The New York Times last Tuesday that the problem with real-world examples is that they obscure the underlying math, making it harder for students to transfer their knowledge to new problems. Maybe the study, coming out in Friday’s issue of Science, will change the way professors teach math and the way we choose to study new theoretical concepts.

    Christina Jelly is a senior majoring in biochemistry and philosophy.

    Trouble in River City! Miley Cyrus is the latest in a long line of Disney teen stars to publicly lose some of their wide-eyed innocence. The scandal? Cyrus was photographed topless by Annie Leibovitz for the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair , prompting the immediate outrage of everyone from Disney, who claimed Cyrus was “”deliberately manipulate(d),”” to Gawker, who compared Leibovitz and her crew to a band of pedophiles, to the Christian Coalition, who kind of predictably think Disney could be doing more to shame the girl.

    When they say “”topless,”” of course, they mean topless in the same sense that they meant “”naked”” when a pregnant Demi Moore, also photographed by Leibovitz, graced the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 – which is to say she technically is not wearing a shirt, and you can see some of her back, but there’s nothing that wouldn’t be right at home on a beach or, for that matter, cable TV. I’ve seen prom dresses that are more revealing.

    At the same time, you can’t deny that Leibovitz was going for something kind of sultry with this photo shoot. But it was only one week ago that some other photos of Cyrus were making the rounds on the Internet – candid photos which showed her flashing her bra at the camera. Even if those photos showed a look-alike, at 15 Cyrus undoubtedly knows enough about the birds and the bees to set her own boundaries – and recent events indicate that she might be a little more comfortable showing than we are looking.

    If that’s the case, our discomfort at seeing these images needs to be expressed that way – as our own discomfort – rather than in a way which robs a young woman of any agency she might have over her own sexuality.

    Alyson Hill is a senior majoring in classics, German studies and history.

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