There has been plenty of buzz surrounding the G-20 ceremony in India this year. With huge billboards on the sides of roads in New Delhi and Mumbai, Indian President Narendra Modi’s government has increased domestic awareness of foreign policy. For India, the summit has turned into a public relations blitz where it can put forth the image of itself as a country that is ready to take on a larger power position on the world stage and one that is equipped to tackle the political and economical challenges that plague the 21st century.
The discussions around the Kremlin’s threats to utilize nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine were seemingly fading, as for a few months, Russia limited its mentions of intentions to use them. On Saturday, March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an agreement with Belarus to store tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. While Putin justifies the decision by stating that Russia follows the U.S. model of storing nuclear weapons around the world, Russia’s determination to relocate the weapons closer to Europe is concerning.
Last week, in the wake of the massacre at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., we wrote about the sorrow and collective trauma shared by our generation of students who have been left waiting in fear of being the next victim of a school shooting.
The Tufts Asian Student Coalition called on the university to hire more faculty specializing in Asian American studies to fill an urgent gap in the race, colonialism and diaspora department. With Professor Courtney Sato going on leave, there will be no courses or full-time faculty in the Asian American studies concentration next fall, according to the coalition’s March 30 letter to the administration. I find this regrettable. I am not privy to the university’s finances, and expanding the department may not be financially tenable, but Tufts ought to reconsider this decision and try to meet student activists’ demands.
At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing about artificial intelligence. It has become increasingly clear that AI is going to change the way that many things are done. Its ability to write code, make art and learn from humans to hold conversations holds great potential in reimagining many aspects of society. However, such significant changes face pushback. There has been concern that the computer’s pace of development will be disastrous, as the human brain’s processing power won’t keep up with AI’s capability of limitless content generation. In short, AI could flood people with false information faster than we could remove it. This would bring catastrophic consequences for online discussion and political engagement. Access to the technology for malicious capabilities would be just as easy as access for education or artmaking.
Since the beginning of the year, the White House has been crowing about progress made against inflation, as recently as a few days ago. Unfortunately, even if the numbers do not lie — and there has certainly been discussion about the extent to which current calculations are truly representative of inflation rates — this story is not likely to remain true for much longer.
As President Joe Biden campaigned to defeat former President Donald Trump, he was unequivocal in his support for immigrants and immigration. Biden called America a “nation of immigrants” and promised to reform the temporary visa system to make it easier for highly skilled immigrants to stay in the United States. Over two years into his term, this has not happened. Despite attempts in his proposed budget, Biden has not yet increased funding for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes green cards and visas for immigrants, leading to a mounting backlog and longer wait times. He also hasn’t prioritized legislation to raise the national green card caps that restrict skilled immigration, nor has he pressured Congress to increase the H-1B visa cap for high-tech workers or reformed the program as he promised in his campaign.
The announcement last Thursday that former President Donald Trump had been indicted immediately plunged the United States into wholly uncharted waters. For the first time in our country’s 247-year history, a former commander in chief will face criminal charges after leaving office. I will not debate the merits of the case against Trump or the motivations of the prosecutors pursuing it. Whether or not Trump is guilty does not change the profound consequences of this indictment that will reverberate in our political system forever. Just or not, this indictment opens a new and bloodier chapter in American politics.
It has certainly been a liberal fantasy to see Donald Trump arrested ever since the 2016 election cycle. This possibility now looms imminent after Trump posted on Truth Social claiming he would be arrested on March 21, and the Manhattan District attorney’s office confirmed on Thursday that Trump was formally indicted by a New York grand jury with charges concerning his infamous Stormy Daniels hush money payments. The charges are quite complex, and they are very likely related to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s then personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to keep porn actor Stormy Daniels from discussing an alleged affair she had with Trump. However, the more than 30 counts that Trump is expected to be charged with are currently sealed from the public.
In recent years, China has performed a series of threatening military exercises around the Taiwan Strait, leading to the United States demonstrating its commitment to defending Taiwan, a disputed island territory which mainland China claims as its own. Taiwan, now a democracy, became the headquarters of the Kuomintang, whom the Chinese Communist Party defeated at the end of the Chinese civil war (1945–49).
In a recent interview for the New York Times, American poet Jane Hirshfield discusses the transformative power of poetry. “A poem … tries to see the wholeness of things from every angle and every side in order to see more clearly,” she says. In one sense, going back to the Ancient Greek origins of the word, “poiesis,” a poem attempts “to make” a new world for the reader as it offers a different view of reality.
Editor’s note: MisCONceptions is a column with four contributors. This article was written by Trent Bunker.
In the past month, the Florida state government has released various bills that encroach upon the rights of people of color, gay and trans individuals. On March 14, it was revealed that Florida House Bill 999, Postsecondary Educational Institutions, has prohibited universities from financing any activities “that espouse diversity, equity, or inclusion or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.” Another bill addressing racial matters was issued this year, and the Florida Department of Education banned AP African American studies in all public high schools.
Content warning: This article heavily discusses mass shootings, death, gore and violence.
Tim Buckley, the CEO of asset manager Vanguard, recently came out in support of his firm’s choice to not subscribe to environmental, social and governance investing. “Mr. Buckley … knows that Vanguard can’t promise to be a fiduciary to its clients while also committing to align its assets with the 2050 net-zero target,” said the Wall Street Journal’s Terrence Keeley. Buckley sees that investing clients’ capital in ESG funds is effectively betting on a future rooted in unproven technology and unpredictable government policy, both of which pose investment risks for the future. Recent action by the Tufts Community Union implies that this future, to them, is somehow knowable.
Editor’s note: MisCONceptions is a column with four contributors. This article was written by João Ribeiro.
At the beginning of the full-scale war, some directors of Ukrainian fashion brands felt unsure about the field’s relevance; however, a few months into the conflict they realized that continuing their creative processes is especially valuable at this time. In addition to bringing attention to Ukraine by engaging in shows and contests, making designs for clothes now meant remaining strong and fighting against Russian attempts to destroy Ukrainian culture. Ksenia Schnaider, a creative director of KseniaSchnaider, said that she initially thought that the brand she and her husband Anton created in 2011 would no longer exist.
I’m currently reading a book called “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. The story follows chemist Elizabeth Zott through the trials and tribulations of being a female chemist in the 1950s. It’s full of romance, funny stories about parenthood and stories of misogyny and sexism. Although this novel is set in the 1950s, it seems more relevant than ever as we face the loss of women’s rights. Women’s rights and autonomy took a serious hit with the overturning ofRoe v. Wade last summer, and last week, Walgreens put women on notice regarding their ability to access medical care as they will not sell the abortion pill Mifepristone in 21 states. This decision, prompted by Republican attorneys general, is an extreme show of cowardice by Walgreens. Not only are Republicans interfering with personal healthcare decisions, but this choice has once again made access to abortion much more limited for women who don’t live in urban areas.
A common trope in science fiction is “what if the computer comes to life?” The plot of “Free Guy” (2021) — a mediocre film — for example, revolved around a nonplayer character in a video game gaining sentience and struggling to preserve it. The problem of what to do with a sentient computer is an enormously complex one — too complex, indeed, to address in this column. There is, however, another more fundamental question: How do we know when a computer has gained sentience?