In the week before quarter break, almost every conversation revolved around one of three upcoming events: finals, Florida, or forty years of hibernation. For Rose students Erin Campbell, Greg Larmore, Garrett Meyer, Homa Hariri, and Josiah Wang, the focus instead fell on Tutwiler, Mississippi, and their Habitat for Humanity service trip through Saint Joseph’s Campus Ministry.
It was a nippy Sunday morning when the Campus Minister Jeff Schaffer led the troupe out from Terre Haute, but the sunshine and overloaded minivan warmed them up as they traveled south. After stopping at Lambert’s Café per Garrett’s suggestion—where servers threw rolls at the diners—they were welcomed to the Mississippi Delta by their supervisor JD and his deep grin half-lined with golden caps.
The new two-bedroom, one-bath, one-story Habitat home was already framed, roofed, and sheet-rocked by the time the Rose students arrived, but JD chuckled at the suggestion that there was not any work left to be done. From Monday to Friday, the crew installed windows and doors, painted walls, spackled ceilings, and stained wood trim. Because they boasted only a handful of construction projects compared to JD’s 37 prior Habitat jobs, Greg and Garrett’s Sawzall cuts were not always straight, Josiah’s hammer sometimes had trouble finding its nail, and Erin and Homa’s painting clothes rarely stayed clean. Their charitable spirit, however, never came into question. The team’s volunteer labor continued that of prior Habitat groups to allow Tutwiler resident LaShonda to own the house for only the cost of its materials.
The Fightin’ Engineers found lots of ways to spend their downtime. While on site, smooth R&B poured from a paint-splattered boom box, and the crew occasionally joined JD when they could not hold back their jiggy moves. Tutwiler claimed to be the “Birthplace of the Blues,” so the team learned names like W.C. Handy and Muddy Waters by visiting nearby Clarksdale and its Delta Blues Museum on a free afternoon. They spent their evenings cooking dinner and ended each day in prayerful reflection.
The team reached out to the community in more ways than building a house. They were invited to the local clinic and there met Sister Doctor Anne Eucharista Brooks, the 2012 American Osteopathic Foundation Physician of the Year. For the past 30 years, the 75-year-old woman and her donation-funded clinic have accepted all patients regardless of their ability to pay—a daunting task in an area where nearly 40 percent of the population is below the poverty line. Though Sister Brooks’s words were saturated with hardship, the group clearly sensed the joy she derived from her service.
On their last day in Tutwiler, the team hosted a potluck dinner in their dorm. The students bought ingredients from the nearest grocery store (a striking 25 minutes away in rural northwest Mississippi) to bake blonde brownies, and local Habitat families brought brimming broiler pans of fried chicken and macaroni for the occasion. After stuffing their stomachs, the young Mississippians and young-at-heart Engineers entertained themselves with thumb wars, musical chairs, Mancala, and Angry Birds.
When asked for the most memorable part of the trip, Josiah responded that “what stuck with me most was the hopelessness and futility in many of the people’s lives,” but added that he really loved the “joy, energy, and fun we had the night of the potluck.” Homa wished to say to students considering a similar service trip that “you learn it’s not about you, but about them. You don’t learn that until you are in someone else’s community.”

 

Car crash tragedy in Ohio, 6 killed

On Monday, eight teenagers were speeding down a two-lane Ohio road in a reportedly-stolen SUV. The vehicle crashed into a guardrail and flipped over into a pond near the city of Warren. Two of the eight teens survived the incident by smashing a rear window and swimming away from the SUV, a state trooper said. The inside of the vehicle was entirely underwater within minutes of the crash, according to State Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of this crash, but Lt. Holt said that weather was not a factor in what he called the deadliest traffic accident in Trumbull County history, and the worst in Ohio in at least three years. The case is still under investigation, but they consider that the car’s speed was a factor.

Tension rises in the Korea Peninsula

Friction between North and South Korea has grown after the United Nation implemented new sanctions on North Korea about a month ago for performing nuclear tests. China, North Korea’s ally for many years, has helped minimize the degree of punishment against N. Korea before. However, China signed on to the most recent sanctions. These sanctions have also encouraged more North Koreans to join their country’s army. “All people who can take rifle are petitioning to be allowed to join or rejoin the People’s Army in all provinces and towns,” said the official newspaper of the ruling Worker’s Party. South Korea said if the North attacks, they will respond in a more destructive manner.

Racecar designed via the Internet

The Rally Fighter racecar is believed to be the first car built based on crowdsourcing, a process of drawing input from a global community of people through the Internet. The features of the Rally Fighter include a 6.2-liter engine, eight cylinders, automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive and 430 horsepower. It was produced in 18 months by Local Motors, an Arizona car maker. The president and co-founder of Local Motors, John B. Rogers, said this car is just one of several projects the company is working on. Rogers said he wants to continue using the method of crowdsourcing for future projects, such as motorcycles, boats, and a more affordable $10,000 car.

New pope selected

A new pope has been elected. Pope Francis comes with some controversies from his past in Argentina as well as some strong views on homosexuality, but close friends expect to see some changes.

 

After thinking of a way to involve students in implementing problem solving and creative thinking skills, juniors Bryce Filho and Heather Finnell, with the support of Dr. Berry and Dr. Walter, decided to create SPARK, Student Projects Advocating Resourceful Knowledge. The SPARK event consisted of two competitions that put students to the challenge of working as a team to make the best on-the-spot designs. The winners of each competition won prizes at the event. Multiple speakers were introduced during different sessions.
This event took place early Saturday mrning. Approximately 100 students, including local high schools students, participated in this event. The event started with an introduction by Dr. Bill Kline, Dean of Innovation and Engagement. Dr. Kline started the event by talking about the importance of teamworkwhich leads to great accomplishments. One of the examples he gave to illustrate this point was the construction of cathedrals. He said that a cathedral was built in stages because of its size; therefore, the architects must have had good communication skills to express the process of building a brick dome even larger than the Hulman Arena with their primitive tools. He also explained how the artists in the Renaissance were like engineers, since they dreamed big and built great things. To finish his speech, Dr. Kline mentioned the people that died in the Apollo II crash. He also showed the release of liability that NASA prepared for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, an agreement about the risk of not being able to return to Earth safely; this is to show how some people were willing to give their lives to further our understanding of the Universe. “Dr. Kline has always been somebody enthusiastic about what he does; his point is that design does not necessarily need to be done one certain way, but can be creative and can branch from different ways,” Filho said.
The first competition consisted of building a tower and a hanging support with pasta noodles, macaroni noodles, tape, straws, and others materials in groups of two students. While students were building their tower, company representatives served as mentors by providing them feedback on their process. These mentors helped students realize that there are many ways to accomplish the given task.
Right after scoring of the first competition, participants were treated to lunch, along with a speech on the acceptance of copying by E.J. Oruche, a 2011 Rose-Hulman graduate with a mechanical engineering degree who now works as a computer scientist.

He explained that it is fine to not have an “original idea” because new ideas are really the modification of old ones. He gave an example from companies like iPhone and Samsung, who have similar feature for their phones, but are still unique in their own way. He explained that borrowing from someone else’s idea is good, although our society pressures us to think of ideas as radically different. We should acknowledge that new ideas are influenced by old ones. This is the reason that people collaborate and learn from others. He said that if someone is doing something that works fine, then others should ask why it is working fine and how can it be adopted and modified in such a way that can better suit our needs.
The second competition started right after lunch. The objective of that competition was for groups of four students with at least one or two high school students to build a catapult that could shoot an angry bird. Each group took turns showing how far their catapult was capable of launching. The scores were given based on the accuracy and distance where the angry bird landed.
The event ended by awarding six winners for the first competition, three of them high school students and the other three college students. For the second competition, three groups won prizes, making a total of twelve winners for this competition. A raffle was held afterwards. Interim President Robert Coons gave the final speech about having a positive mind, problem solving, and great innovation, which marked the end of the SPARK event.
The first year of SPARK resulted in a very successful event for students to learn about creative thinking. When asked about the future of SPARK, Filho said, “We plan to expand it for next year, involving more high school students and Rose students and may expand it to other universities and get more company representatives involved in mentoring students by giving them feedback about prototyping.”

 

Gary Burgess, who served as the Myers facility manager and has worked at Rose-Hulman for 36 years, passed away Sunday night in his sleep at the age of 66. A valued and loved member of the Rose community, Burgess received the President’s Award and the Alumni Award for his service to the school. An Indiana State graduate, he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and owned his own company, Burgess Marine, for 20 years. Burgess was also advisor to the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at Rose for many years. Although he fought lung cancer in the last five years of his life, he never retired and continued to commit his time and effort to Rose.
“Gary was an exceptional friend, I never thought of him as someone I supervised but rather as someone with whom I shared my time at Rose,” electrical engineering professor and Pike chapter adviser Dr. Dan Moore said. Dr. Moore and Burgess both had offices in Myers and spent much of their time together.
“I doubt you could find anyone on or off campus who knew Gary who would say something negative about him,” Dr. Moore said. “I think the only people who he would not consider as a friend were those people he had not met.”
Rose’s campus and its students were touched countless times by his dedication to the school and its people. According to Moore, Burgess was “completely focused on helping people succeed.” He loved working with students, faculty, and staff and helping people build projects, parts and prototypes with results that often surpassed students’ expectations. Not only was he an expert in engineering design, but he also enjoyed woodworking in his free time and recycled wood from old trees on campus into benches, tables, and displays.
“One only need visit White Chapel to see the furniture Gary handmade to understand the extent of his talent,” Senior Director of Facilities Operations and Pike adviser Michael Taylor said.
“Rose is a better place because of his working here and those of us who knew him are better people. Because of that, he will be greatly missed,” Dr. Moore said.
In addition to his contributions to the school, Burgess served as a chapter advisor to Pike for 16 years and sat as member of its Housing Corporation for over a decade. He was always helping fix problems on the chapter grounds, was a mentor to his brothers, and was an invaluable leader to the chapter.
“The Pikes are going to miss one of their big supporters,” Dr. Bill Eccles, retired electrical engineering professor and former Pike adviser wrote. “I am going to miss one of my best friends.”
Burgess was diagnosed with lung cancer 5 years ago – with 6 months left to live. Dr. Moore said without doubt that he was able to hold out for so long because of his “dedication to Rose and his love of his job.”
“He was a fighter and his family and Rose provided him the strength for his battle against the cancer,” Dr. Moore said.
The funeral will be held at the Callahan-DeBaun Funeral Home today at 1:30 p.m., and Burgess will be buried with military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends give contributions to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America.
“Gary had a vast understanding of how people interact with their surroundings. He had a solid understanding of buildings and systems. Gary had a zest for life and had a variety of interests. He could relate to people in many ways and on many levels,” Taylor said, who was a close personal friend to Burgess. “I could continue on with more glowing accounts of Gary, but will instead simply say that I really do think the world of him and I will miss him dearly.”

 

There seems to be a great surge of movies that focus more on visuals rather than the plot and that is unfortunate. “Oz the Great and Powerful” is one of those films. It was beautiful and probably would have been more so in 3D. The colors were as intense as computer generated graphics can get, the creatures were interesting, and the costumes and hair were delightfully wacky. All of those attributes are important, but plot trumps all.
The movie was tolerable until the scene when Oz first arrives in the Land of Oz and he and Theodora are looking around at the scary sounds coming from the evil witch’s baboons. The camera suddenly zooms very quickly and at an unnatural angle. The colors were stunning but when the camera panned they all ran together, clearly they were meant for 3D.
Oscar Diggs or “Oz” (James Franco) is just an average conman, heartbreaker, and lousy person in rural Arkansas who dreams of greatness. He is swept away by a tornado and after some obviously made for 3D effects he lands in the world of Oz (just like his nickname). There he meets the witch Theodora (Mila Kunis) and she mistakes him for the long awaited wizard that is prophesized to save them from evil and take over as king, and the temptation of power is too great for Oz to tell the truth. But before Oz can take the throne, he must defeat the evil witch. In his travels he learns that all is not what it seems and that he himself may have been conned. The whole story seemed forced with every predictable twist you could think of.
Mila Kunis did not add anything to the cast other than looking great in what appeared to be skin tight leather pants. As Theodora she plays a clueless and powerful witch that falls in love with the dashing Oz almost immediately. She was clearly not picked for her acting but for her appeal. During her particularly dramatic scenes she wears a dress that accentuates her positives and she even rips at its seams. James Franco is handsome but is somewhat lacking in the acting department as well. He is charming but not very good at delivering the really good lines, when he did have them.
If this is what we can expect from Disney’s endeavors to recreate older classics, I am very hesitant about future spinoffs extensions of beloved stories. The live action with digital effects seems to be the company’s downfall after the disaster of “John Carter.” At least “Oz the Great and Powerful” has done a bit better; maybe there is hope.
Rating: 2/5 Elephants.

 

Gearbox has always been good to me. Their games are fun, addicting, hilarious, and for the most part original. “Duke Nukem Forever” and the “Borderlands” series are both fun and funny and provide a welcome escape from the standard cookie-cutter gameplay. I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve released: some have been well-developed and enthralling, while others have been openly ridiculous and almost bad, but still undeniably fun. Still, the company has done a lot to keep their fans pleased without pumping out the same old content. Well, almost.
In every single other expansion I’ve played, the main plotline only provided a piece of the picture. Side quests tied together to provide something fun and semi-relevant for players when the main quest gets a little tedious or boring. New weapons provided interesting and, more importantly, useful effects to try out. The final bosses were epic and difficult but fun and their loot was at least extremely valuable, even if there wasn’t anything quite good enough to replace your equipment. The areas were new and exciting but not very confusing. All of this built into a wonderful experience with each release, and I’ve always rated them highly.
I’ve never been so conflicted about a game or add-on as I have been about “Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt” for “Borderlands 2.”
On the one hand, it’s fun and the new enemies are challenging. Witch Doctors provide a welcome challenge, and a few new creatures provide an exotic feel and their own combat tactics. It’s not bad, per se. Unfortunately, it’s just not what I’ve come to love from Gearbox. The side quests are nearly all one-offs and most are not only irrelevant but frustrating. Hunting down a giant crystalisk is cool, but I’m not going to spend three hours scouring the already-confusing landscape for eggs. The introduction of new characters is nice when side quests offer a little bit of story about them, but this time around Hammerlock and Claptrap provide the only moderately entertaining side quests while a couple added characters (with quests of their own) have little introduction and even less to contribute to the experience. As mentioned, the landscape is confusing (sometimes ridiculously so, and at one point the map is useless) and not quite as exciting as it could have been.
If anything, the whole experience is literally the most anticlimactic thing I’ve ever been through; anticlimax seems to be a motif for this add-on. Initially, players are led to expect big-game hunting and quality bonding, but it all quickly goes down the drain with the appearance of one of Handsome Jack’s underlings, Doctor Nakayama, who himself is the most pitiful, disappointed character in the history of the franchise. The new fan boat is similar to the sandskiff from the “Pirate’s Booty” add-on, just worse in every way. The final battle is the only truly original thing about this game, and provides quite a challenge on True Vault Hunter mode. Unfortunately that’s it. The final cutscene is the embodiment of anticlimax and the loot thereafter is the most disappointing I’ve ever picked up. I didn’t find a single useful weapon during the entire eight hour ordeal. Oh and in case you were looking for even more surprises, there’s another raid boss in this expansion.
I wanted to like this game; I really did. The first couple hours were actually pretty fun. Nakayama provided comic relief throughout (barely), and the fighting was fun. Unfortunately, after a relatively short time, the sense of wonder devolves into wondering what you’re even doing. The tone of literally every character turns to exasperation. Even Claptrap gives up on trying to make the game fun. I’m not entirely sure what Gearbox was trying to convey with this expansion, but all I got from it was disappointment.
Rating: 3/5 Elephants

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