Articles by: skline

  • Button Mashing: ‘The Witcher 2’

    Lifestyle April 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm Comments are Disabled

    Obviously, “Skyrim,” with its over 300 hours of gameplay, is still at the top of the games-to-beat list for many readers of Button Mashing. However, you may want to pull yourself away from it and invest your time in a game that gives you a visceral, adult-oriented good time. That game is “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.” The original “The Witcher” was developed by CD Projekt RED and published internationally by Atari. It was released in Europe and North America in October 2007 for PCs. “The Witcher 2” contains numerous storylines and multiple endings. As in the first game, players assume the role of the stoic Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining witchers. Witchers are humans who have been genetically enhanced and rigorously trained to fight the vile monsters that inhabit the kingdom of Temeria. They are also given a special power, such as alchemy, magic or sword handling. “The Witcher 2” has all the elements of a great RPG, but the game is heavy on adult themes. The dialogue is vulgar, which can be shocking for some, but other gamers will appreciate this level of maturity. “The Witcher 2” also flexes its muscles with its visceral […]

  • Chemical Reactions

    Lifestyle April 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm Comments are Disabled

    Summer’s almost here, and everyone on campus is enjoying the beautiful weather. For many Patriots, this warrants a time to rejoice. Sandals, flip-flops, gladiators and the like are all here to liberate our feet. Many people have added carefree fashion pieces such as Capri pants, sleeveless shirts and some sheer clothing to their wardrobes. However, there’s a place on campus that this freedom is forbidden: the chemistry lab. It’s already a bothersome part of most people’s week, and now the strict clothing policies add another reason to dread going to lab. Slogging through a two- to three-hour laboratory, with all of its procedures, calculations and other nuances, is tedious enough. Added to this stressful situation is the fact that missing a lab is an unforgivable offense. If one attempts to make it up, at least an hour’s worth of scheduling is involved, which ends up being so frustrating that the endeavor is often dropped altogether. A large number of chemistry students recently experienced the attendant frustrations following a missed lab because they failed to comply with the dress code. It is the purview of lab monitors to walk about the laboratory with their goggles and clipboards, inspecting our materials and […]

  • Relay 4 Change

    Lifestyle April 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm Comments are Disabled

    It was a night to remember. It was a night to recognize. It was a night to pay tribute to those we have lost and those who are fighting. Cancer never sleeps and neither did many students during George Mason University’s Relay For Life. The relay began on Saturday and ran until 6 a.m. Sunday morning in the Field House. Countless students came out to support the cause and walk to put an end to cancer. Teams from different school organizations participated, including the women’s rugby team, university scholars and fraternities and sororities. Some teams were dedicated to specific people who were fighting the battle themselves. The event started off with the National Anthem performed by Off the Books, followed by speeches from student cancer survivors. First to the podium was freshman Emily Albis who began her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the end of 2010. During her speech, Albis held back tears as she thanked everyone for coming out. “Cancer sucks … No one should have to go through what I have to,” Albis said. Mason graduate Evan Milberg spoke next. Milberg, currently a graduate student at Georgetown University, fought both testicular cancer and stage zero melanoma. Though he […]

  • Bike Your Way to a Better Life

    Lifestyle April 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm Comments are Disabled

    If you’re not a bicyclist, you’ve probably noticed quite a few of your peers mounting up and heading out for a spin around campus. With the spring weather in full effect, now is the best time to see if biking is the activity for you! You can do just that in a stress-free environment at the Pedal Collective Fun Ride from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 28 on the Fairfax campus. The 10-mile route will begin at North Plaza and end at Brion’s Grille with a happy-hour. Joe Paisley, a senior communication major and organizer of the Fun Ride, has devoted most of his free time to his passion for bicycling. After becoming a member of the campus bicycling club, he paved the way for the Fun Ride in order to encourage others to bike. Even if you’ve never been on a bike before, Paisley encourages everyone to consider the advantages of the activity. “It’s more than exercising to me,” Paisley said. “It’s a social thing. There’s a whole culture to it.” Bicycling is a good way to meet up with a group of people and get some exercise while enjoying the spring weather, pollen notwithstanding. Whether you’re biking […]

  • The Buffet Rule: Good Politics, Bad Policy

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm 2 comments

    President Barack Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule,” which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on individuals earning $1 million or more  a year certainly makes for good politics. It capitalizes on the envy, resentment and visceral anger that is so often aimed at the richest members of our society. But if there’s anything I’ve learned as a student of political economy, it’s that good politics almost invariably equals bad economics. The Buffett Rule is no exception. First, let’s talk about the idea that rich people aren’t paying their “fair share” of taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the richest 1 percent of Americans face an average tax rate of 29.5 percent and pay 28 percent of all federal taxes. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent of American households have averaged a federal income tax rate below zero since 2000, according to The Atlantic. The fact is that rich people pay a lot of taxes. Nonetheless, there persists a widespread belief that they still aren’t paying enough. Much of the confusion in this respect stems from Warren Buffett’s proclamation that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, who, for the record, earns somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000 annually, […]

  • The Will to Compromise

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm Comments are Disabled

    Any student of English literature has at least casual knowledge of the works of the great William Shakespeare. Among these is “Macbeth,” which relates one of the greatest cautionary tales of the corrupting influence of power, in which the protagonist recites one of the most powerful and riveting soliloquies ever penned. The tragedy culminates with Macbeth’s renowned rumination human nature, “[Life] is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” While many people may disagree with Macbeth’s rather pessimistic outlook on existence, that particular slice of literary genius has a fascinating corollary in our times — political discourse.  Regardless of where one’s views fall in the political spectrum, there is  one thing everyone can agree upon, namely, the fact that the “other side” just isn’t listening to them. Politicians’ treatment of this impasse in American politics has not typically been to propose a compromise on policy positions but instead to simply scream louder than their opponents. Disagreements among politicians are natural and to be expected; divergence of opinions ought to lead to dialogue, dialogue to compromise and then compromise to legislation. To make this happen, both sides must eventually cede some of their prerogatives in […]

  • Mason Police Department Should Re-Evaluate Priorities

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm 4 comments

    The police department at Mason is a controversial topic, and it has been for many years. Even though crime rates, especially violent crime rates, are remarkably low, the police department still gains a lot of criticism and has a negative reputation among many students, especially in wake of the Fenwick library scandal a year ago where Abdirashid Dahir was falsely charged with abducting someone from a library study room. The charges in that case were subsequently dropped after great public pressure. You would think in a place where 6,000 people live and where more than 33,000 students attend classes that there would be more crime. But that doesn’t seem to affect the sentiment of many students who see the police department as a military-like operation that suppresses underage drinking and doles out harsh consequences for infractions. But wait — isn’t the police department supposed to be enforcing laws such as underage drinking? Yes, but I’m sure many of us who have friends at other colleges know that their police departments are more lenient. Maybe it’s because Mason has rapidly transformed to a residential campus in such a short amount of time? I think a big part of the Mason Police […]

  • China, Human Rights and the Need for a Revolutionary Spring

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm Comments are Disabled

    During the last few decades, China has rapidly transformed itself from an impoverished and destitute society into a growing and prosperous global economic powerhouse with a GDP (PPP) of $11.29 trillion. As a result of its roaring economy, China will inevitably become the next superpower of the world, whether it is in 2016 as predicted by the IMF last year, or in 2020. China meets all the prerequisites for a superpower: a large manufacturing economy, a strong military, a huge population and a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Therefore it is not a question of if but when China — which currently is the second biggest economy in the world — will be the world’s biggest economy. Whenever it happens, that era will catalyze new challenges and problems for the propagation of human rights and freedoms. By looking at the China of today, it is imagine a future China that will, like the United States, become a place where oppressed and unprivileged people from around the world seek refuge, asylum and freedom. I cannot imagine “pilgrims” on a modern-day Mayflower ship settling somewhere in China in search of liberty. And I doubt people will ever endanger their […]

  • Will Someone Turn the Lights On?

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm Comments are Disabled

    Undoubtedly, George Mason University has recently been making great strides toward becoming a more respected and nationally recognized university. With the seemingly unending construction of new buildings and the numerous openings of popular chain restaurants, Mason is a far different institution than it was even four years ago when I began studying here. However, there is one difference between Mason and other big-name regional schools that can no longer be ignored. Having done the rounds of the nearby universities when deciding where to apply, and after visiting friends at their respective schools over the past four years, it is clear to me that the emergency call box system here at Mason is lacking. There are currently no mandates that require universities to install security systems such as blue lights and call boxes on their campuses. Despite this, most area schools and all of the out-of-state universities I have visited in the past seem to have made such systems a priority. For instance, the University of Virginia has installed and maintains a security system that comprises over 400 blue lights and call boxes. They also provide an easily accessible map of the lights’ locations on their website. The University of Maryland […]

  • Broadside: Then and Now

    Editorials April 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm Comments are Disabled

    It was the heady days of 2002 and years had gone by with Broadside, George Mason University’s student-run newspaper, gaining no considerable recognition. Adam Modzelesky was determined to change that. “We went so far as to do some (admittedly rudimentary) market analysis,” said Modzelesky, editor-in-chief of Broadside for 2002-03 in an email, “to learn what our audience was interested in and give it to them, which took a lot of time and effort, but in the end I think it was worth it because we obviously got buy-in from the student body. “And, in doing so, I think it earned us some more respect from some faculty who — up until that point — probably didn’t think that highly of Broadside.” In May 2003, Broadside was ranked ninth in the country by the Princeton Review. Nine years later with no record of any other awards, Broadside aspires to establish a routine that will allow for renewed recognition. “I truly feel a return to the Princeton Review rankings will require patience and a substantial contingent of very dedicated/visionary Broadside staff members doing whatever it takes to be successful,” Modzelesky continued in his email. “It won’t happen overnight. You have to understand […]