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Monday, March 04, 2024

Opinion | Columns

Former President Jimmy Carter answers questions during a news conference at a Habitat for Humanity project Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Carter fell at home on Sunday, requiring over a dozen stitches, but he did not let his injuries keep him from participating in his 36th building project with the nonprofit Christian housing organization. He turned 95 last Tuesday, becoming the first U.S. president to reach that milestone. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Why we should strive to be more like this president

In honor of former President Jimmy Carter’s 95th birthday Oct. 1, I would like to take a moment to discuss the most underrated president in modern U.S. history. His presidency is often considered a failure, despite all of its successes. Carter was ahead of his time with his foresight into climate change and human rights, serving as president from 1977 to 1981. It would be difficult to find someone who cares more about this nation than Carter.


American health care compared to the rest of the world

In the U.S., health care can be quite expensive. The total amount spent on health care last year was $3.65 trillion. U.S. health care expenditures for 2018 were nearly 17 percent of the gross domestic product. This is almost twice the average cost of other countries’ health care within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Why is health insurance so expensive in our country, and how do our costs compare to health care costs around the world?

Marchers gather for the Climate Strike in Edmonton, Alberta, on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press via AP)

You should still care about the environment

On Sept. 20, a youth climate strike of unprecedented proportions stood at the forefront of the world stage. Now, two weeks later, that energy has died down to some degree in Gainesville’s corner of the world. This is a shame, because it’s our generation's responsibility to enact the change. The private sector still needs to be held accountable, the government still needs to be pressured and public sentiment still needs to be changed: and here lies the purpose of the Climate Reality Project.

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

It’s alright to feel lonely on campus

How is it possible to feel alone in a crowd? Among 50,000 other students, I thought I’d arrive on campus and surely find my place shortly thereafter. How could I not with such a massive pool of students and clubs? I had seen cliques form as early as Preview. A few months in, and it still hadn’t happened to me.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Stress less about your food

As exam season peaks its head around the corner, I think it’s important to talk about ways to maintain a healthy mental state while going through the rigors of midterms and finals. I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me the first thing to go during times of stress is always food. During a packed day, it just feels inconvenient to have to cook or go out. Although, I think anyone can tell this is a bad habit to keep. Food is the fuel your body will use when you study and eventually rock those exams, so it’s important to be mindful of what you use. Here I’ll recommend some foods that have helped me stay sharp during tests.


Mental health is physical health

Take a moment and imagine a world where spraining an ankle is a taboo subject. Where someone with a fever is too embarrassed to see a doctor about it. Now, pull back and see that this is the world we live in, not with physical illnesses, but mental ones. 


How reading can impact the rest of your life

Reading is important. This lesson is reiterated from the time we’re toddlers throughout our education. Despite constantly being told that reading is crucial for a successful life, many Americans lack basic reading skills. In 2017, it was reported that 43 percent of American adults read at an eighth-grade level or lower (Zoukis). Reading, however, is not just mere entertainment. Reading can determine one’s future. 

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Older Democrats dominate the party, but don’t underestimate young people

Ten Democratic presidential candidates gathered on Thursday for the party’s third primary debate, and once again Joe Biden was in the news afterwards. In June, a confrontation betweenBiden and Kamala Harris concerning Biden’s previous stance on school integration using buses splashed across headlines. This time, it involves Biden’s response to a question about racial inequality and reparations. Biden’s answer was rambling and confusing, but what struck people the most was when he told parents and caretakers to “make sure you have the record player on at night,” so their kids would hear more words. Needless to say, record players are no longer in common use. Combined with Biden’s outdated references, the 76-year-old former vice president seem out of touch and unfamiliar with the modern world. 


College is about employability, not expanding your horizons

I’ve often asked why I’ve had to take so many general education classes earning my bachelor’s degree in computer science, especially those that have been entirely unrelated to my major and have taught skills seldom useful in a professional setting. You know the classes I’m talking about — History of Astronomy, Man’s Food, Age of the Dinosaurs and so on. But whenever I gripe about being forced to take these classes if I want to graduate, people echo some variation of the same response: “College is about expanding your horizons” or “College is about making you more well-rounded.” At this point, I’m sick of hearing it.


How to combat mental health stigmas

When you picture an asylum, what comes to mind? For many people, it’ll be a prison-like building with white walls and barred windows. Maybe even a “Shutter Island”-esque ocean lockup filled with unknown or unspeakable horrors. I think it’s telling that just googling ‘psychiatric asylum’ brings up images meant to invoke fear: walls with writing scratched into them and patients confined to straitjackets. But is this really the way we should be depicting mental illness, something that 1 in 5 adults will struggle with yearly?


Taxation is theft: the fundamentals of libertarian political philosophy

The phrase “taxation is theft” can be a meme, or a serious political position, depending on who you ask. While it’s easy to dismiss the idea as the deranged babbling of an adamant free marketeer, I’d like to explain the underlying politics that the phrase rests on and defend the idea that taxation is state-sponsored theft. To reach such a conclusion, there are only two premises you must accept: The Non-Aggression Principle is valid, and all laws are ultimately only enforceable by violence. Let’s examine both assumptions.


The cost of beauty shouldn’t be the environment

People love makeup. More than a third of Americans aged between 18 and 29 wear makeup on a daily basis, and another third use makeup several times per week. Even men have taken an interest in keeping up their appearances with beauty products, according to CNN. While I enjoy dismantling toxic masculinity and being able to express myself creatively, I can’t help but become frustrated with the amount of waste we’re producing that is harming our environment. 


Be kind to the weather person

During discussions of hurricane tracks, forecasts and cones of uncertainty, I’ve heard mention of how the meteorologists discussing these forecasts “always” get it wrong or make mistakes. While I can understand why people feel this way, such comments detract from the important work that meteorologists do.


The psychedelic renaissance is a welcome change

Once upon a time, psychedelic drugs were mysterious tools of experimental psychology and psychiatry being seriously investigated for their potential applications. Studies like the Harvard Psilocybin Project and the CIA’s attempts to use LSD as a mind-control agent in its secretive MK Ultra project drew plenty of attention. But before psychedelics could gain any considerable momentum or have their effects fully understood, the federal government outlawed them by making them Schedule I drugs in the 1960s 一 substances that have “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For the next several decades, research was scarce. 


Why La Casita matters

Arriving in Gainesville from Miami left me with a massive culture shock. As a freshman, I was overwhelmed by the feeling I had sacrificed so much of what defined my life until then. From a Cuban coffee in the morning to a shared “buen provecho” at dinner, a lifetime of Hispanic and Latinx traditions were lost to me. There was a comfortable sense of familiarity in hearing Spanish regularly and visiting my local panadería every other day — a routine I never realized the significance of until it was gone. In its place was a town that I first characterized as unfamiliar and unwelcoming. 


Running from our problems: beginner exercises to help you destress

From a marketing perspective, I think that exercise has been criminally mismanaged. If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed. The problem comes from the idea that exercise must be really taxing and time-consuming to be effective. While I’m not suggesting that you’ll be an Olympian by doing 30 minutes of exercise every other day, I think most people would be surprised by just how beneficial a few movements can be, not just physically but mentally. 

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