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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

Opinion | Viewpoint

erodgan
Viewpoint

Turkish and Syrian governments have failed their people

Turkey and Syria recently experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the largest earthquake to have hit land since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Impacts were felt hardest in Turkey, where the country has experienced a death toll so far of more than 40,000, while the death toll in Syria has climbed to more than 5,800. Although there is little that countries can do to prevent earthquakes from happening in the first place, except for perhaps taking measures to slow the rate of climate change, it is imperative that governments act in their citizens’ best interests by preparing extensively.



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Viewpoint

Unpaid internships: The price of privilege

February: a month to anxiously await the groundhog’s forecast, celebrate Valentine’s Day and prepare for internship season. As winter comes to a close, the last-minute frenzy to edit resumes, write cover letters and find the perfect interview outfit begins, sweeping across college campuses as students strive to finalize their summer internship applications. 


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Viewpoint

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … weather balloon?

The recent polar vortex left many of us indoors, glued to our screens and inevitably following a bizarre news story developing in the midwest. One headline read, “Suspected Chinese spy balloon spotted over Montana,” which then evolved when Mao Ning, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, claimed that the flying object was a “civilian balloon” rather than a surveillance balloon; this claim is largely disproven by the technical features of the flying platform such as motors, propellers and a much larger diameter than a weather balloon that would fly at such high altitude. Most recently, an unidentified object was spotted flying over Alaska and another balloon over parts of Central and Latin America, with Ning admitting that the balloon flying over Central and Latin America was a “civilian airship.” The object flying over the coast of Alaska was shot down much more quickly than the first spy balloon; the U.S. military was made aware of its presence in the airspace on Thursday evening, and it was shot down midday on Friday. The spy balloon, which was first detected on Jan. 28, was shot down off the coast of South Carolina at the order of President Biden on Saturday. Will this lead to bullet holes permanently tattering U.S.-China relationships?



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Viewpoint

Post-'zero-COVID' economic recovery and the problems facing China

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s economy incurred consistent downward economic trends as a result of President Xi Jinping’s stringent “zero-COVID” policy. Many foreign firms considered leaving China, factory activities were severely reduced, workers were laid off and the entire economy only saw a mere 3% growth during the entire year of 2022 — the second slowest growth rate since 1976. However, with the abandonment of the “zero-COVID” policy and the recent reopening of the country in the final months of 2022, China has made various attempts to revitalize its lackluster economy and return to its pre-pandemic economy. 



The Setonian
Viewpoint

Let’s be smart about regulating AI

Massachusetts is a leader in higher education and scientific discovery, as some of the world’s most prestigious universities and research labs are located in Greater Boston. Companies like Boston Dynamics have been on the forefront of artificial intelligence development since its inception and have been continuously pushing the boundaries of science. Boston’s dominance in the technology world must be coupled with a leading role in responsible use and growth of AI.


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Viewpoint

Toward a brighter economic future

As India’s economy remains resilient in spite of a challenging global environment, it has been called a “bright spot” against a global recession. The country’s large domestic market, young demographics, and relatively low levels of exposure to international markets are some of the reasons why it is partially insulated from global economic headwinds. However, the country’s cumbersome red tape and inadequate infrastructure are significant economic drawbacks. 


rondesantis
Viewpoint

Culture war takes prisoners in the classroom

Despite the conservative critique that the liberal agenda is negatively affecting the way that young students are taught history, conservatives now seem to be refusing to teach a paramount part of American and world history. The state of Florida, led by conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis, threatened to ban a new Advanced Placement African American Studies course over concerns that it was pushing a liberal agenda and lacked educational value by including topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement and black queer studies. He threatened to do so under the authority of the state’s anti-critical race theory law called the Stop W.O.K.E Act. 


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Viewpoint

Classified documents: An unnecessary scandal

On Nov. 2 2022, President Joe Biden’s legal team found classified documents at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. The approximately 10 documents contained material marked as sensitive from the president’s tenure as Obama’s vice president and prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the president’s handling of the classified documents. Biden and his personal lawyers have been “cooperating fully” with the Department of Justice’s investigation. On Jan. 16, about a week after the appointment of the special counsel, another series of classified documents were discovered at former Vice President Mike Pence’s home in Carmel, Ind. As of the writing of this article, a special counsel has not been assigned to investigate Pence’s classified materials; however, he publicly claimed “full responsibility” for the misplacing of the documents. A third investigation of classified documents in a public official’s personal residence predates the former two and involves former President Donald Trump. This situation is unique in that the response from Trump’s legal time was hostile and uncooperative: Trump spent 18 months obstructing and hindering the DOJ’s investigation. 


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Viewpoint

Jacinda Ardern resigns: She had it all

On Jan. 18, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation ahead of a general election later this year. She explained her decision in a speech, stating, “I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have but also one of the more challenging. … I am leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility is to know when you are the right person to lead and when you are not.” She also added, “I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple.”


The Setonian
Viewpoint

The fall off: Causes and implications of China’s declining population

For the last few decades, China has been not just one of the world’s strongest economies, but its most populated country. However, recent news suggests that it may have already fallen to second in the race that it has spent decades dominating. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced that in 2022, the country’s population fell by 850,000 to 1.411 billion people, marking the first time the population has decreased since 1961. It is hard to say that this news was unpredictable, considering China’s population structure. Still, this crisis and China’s response will certainly have a large impact on China, its trading partners and its rivals.


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Viewpoint

Tufts’ gym isn’t working out

Anyone who has recently been in the Tufts gym has likely noticed and been irked by the crowding. In some ways, this is not Tufts’ fault. It is not a surprise that gym attendance is heightened in the period following New Year’s Day as New Year’s resolutions are meant to be based on the idea of self-improvement. Logically, going to the gym fulfills this natural desire. However, given the unpleasantries of the current state of the Tufts gym, the administration ought to concoct and implement a more responsible plan for the future.


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Viewpoint

ChatGPT: Exciting or terrifying?

On Nov. 30, 2022, OpenAI, an independent artificial intelligence foundation co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015, launched ChatGPT, a new chatbot built through OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model system, which quickly gathered attention from different industries worldwide. The model is trained through supervised and reinforcement learning on a vast dataset of text. Although the model and the technology behind it have been around for a while, OpenAI is estimated to have 1 million users already in the same week they made this technology public.


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Viewpoint

The importance of the new disability community senator

The Tufts Community Union Senate announced on Jan. 19 that a special election will be held to fill six vacant positions, among them a new disability community senator. An announcement from the disability justice club ABLE encourages “a member of the disability community … [who] want[s] to change the lack of accessibility, education and representation on campus” to apply. 


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Viewpoint

The death of The Beautiful Game

After a surprise exit by Brazil (ranked as the best international team by FIFA in October before the World Cup commenced) and the appearance of two underdog teams in the third place match, Croatia (ranked No. 12) and Morocco (ranked No. 22), one could almost feel the entire culture of soccer shift. Analysts and casual viewers alike were left scrambling for answers. How were these teams, who were not even considered likely to make a late run in the tournament, much less compete for the third place trophy, able to perform at such a high level against all odds? The answer is less exciting than one would expect, and it involves the death of the most engaging parts of soccer. 


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Local

Royals celebrate climate progress in Boston, but Earthshot is still out of reach

Boston was recently honored with a royal visit from Prince William and Princess Catherine for the purpose of announcing the winners of their Earthshot Prize Awards, which go to individuals across the globe who are working on solutions to repair the planet by 2030. The awards were presented in partnership with the Boston-based John. F Kennedy Foundation, which is how the city was chosen as the host of this year’s awards. The concept of “Earthshot” is reminiscent Kennedy’s “Moonshot,” the commitment he made during a speech at Rice University in 1962 to put a man on the moon. Earthshot emphasizes the urgent need for global climate action. 


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Viewpoint

Nuclear war is closer than we think

Fans of the 1983 blockbuster “WarGames” will likely recall the game-turned-reality threat of “Global Thermonuclear War.” I do not in any way look forward to nuclear war, yet, in today’s current international climate, we are advancing dangerously close to such a case. It is evident from recent rhetoric and conflicts in the Russia-Ukraine War that Russian President Vladimir Putin could likely detonate a nuclear weapon, but this fact seems to be largely ignored by mainstream media. 


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Viewpoint

The dark side of the lottery

Many Tufts students may have opened their e-bill and wished the lottery ticket in their pocket would win them a few hundred thousand dollars; however, digging into the origins of the lottery and the aftermath for the rare few who actually win often exposes the dark underbelly of an institution that falsely promises a shot at the American Dream. 


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Viewpoint

Why the holiday season may not be so cheery for college students, and what to do about it

Part of the appeal of attending a New England university is experiencing the seasons — the bright fall foliage and white snow blanketing campus. I came further up north for college fully expecting a picturesque winter. I imagined holiday lights, sledding down President’s Lawn and lots of hot chocolate — something straight out of a Hallmark movie. Snow and hot beverages are sure to arrive in the coming months, but currently, as temperatures are dropping and the ground lays bare with dead grass and fallen leaves, the winter blues are upon us.