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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”

    It’s a good week for Britain

    As the BBC reported Sunday, British astronomers have discovered a solar system very similar to our own. The planetary system is about 5,000 light years away and consists of a star, OGLE-2006-BLG-109L, orbited by a Saturn-like planet and a Jupiter-like planet.

    What’s so great about that, you ask? This means that when we’re done trashing the Earth (and Mars) we can skip town! Go ahead and quit recycling, buy an Escalade and have 50 babies. There’s no need to worry about this planet anymore now that we’ve got a few back-ups. Well, that’s not really true, but it is nice to know humans could planet-hop their way into a much longer existence than previously anticipated.

    It’s also a great week for British pop star Rick Astley, whose 1988 hit “”Never Gonna Give You Up”” was re-popularized through an Internet meme in 2007 known as “”Rickrolling,”” whereby an unsuspecting Internet user would click on an unrelated link, only to be redirected to the song’s cheesy music video. Reuters reported Friday that Astley is once again raking in money with the tune, which has been purchased online no fewer than 1,000 times per week since December. Thanks to April Fools’ collaborations between YouTube, LiveJournal and Sports Illustrated magazine, the track was the No. 77 music download at that day.

    So, in a way, I guess it’s been a good week for all humankind.

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

    It’s a bad week for all humankind

    General David Petraeus recommended yesterday morning that the United States halt troop withdrawals in Iraq after July in order to preserve the successes of the surge. Petraeus’ recommendation amounts, as usual, to the Bush administration’s favorite policy: sticking its head in the sand and pretending everything is going fine.

    Despite continued assurances to the nation’s public that the surge is working, it is not. Since troop levels began decreasing in January, violence has spiked. If “”progress”” in Iraq is dependent on the constant presence of high U.S. troop levels, then progress has not been made. Steven Simon, a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, argues in a new article, “”How the Surge Fails By Succeeding,”” that the surge is actually making real progress less likely because it focuses on short-term strategies that help pit key Iraqi constituencies against each other in the long run. It’s difficult to track precisely, but in the very best case scenario, 104,000 Iraqis have lost their lives because of the war; at worst, over 650,000. Also in the course of the war, we’ve inflamed the rest of the Middle East, particularly Iran, and put the world on edge. If it’s unclear that we have much real control over Iraq’s fate and perfectly clear that our presence threatens to make things much worse, what exactly are we doing there?

    Matt Styer is an interdisciplinary studies senior.

    It’s an ugly week for the Amazon

    The New York Times reported Sunday that representatives of the “”Amazon’s ‘Forest Peoples'”” gathered for a global conference to discuss deforestation in South America, which has been correlated significantly with an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as decreased quality of life for natives living in the Amazon. Since indigenous peoples in South America have stronger legal claims to the land than in other nations with tropical forests, environmentalists have honed in on the region as a testing ground for environmental policy. Currently, the plan is to have wealthy countries pay developing nations for each acre of forest that they leave intact, in exchange for carbon “”credits.””

    It’s admirable to take an interest in reducing deforestation, for the sake of environmentalism and the people who call the Amazon their home, but when that plan involves wealthy countries paying poorer countries so they can pollute more, the benefits become a little murkier. Fighting environmental degradation shouldn’t come in the form of paying indigenous peoples $10 an acre, the amount suggested by the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, so we can keep driving Hummers and leaving our lights on all night. We can do better than this – showily inviting indigenous peoples to an ultimately condescending global summit looks bad for environmentalism and relations between the developed and developing worlds.

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

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