TORONTO – Dark matter inspires many strange theories, but until now few have involved giant lizards and the origins of humanity. If physicist Lisa Randall’s theory is correct, however, there is a clear link between dark matter, the great unknown majority of universal stuff and the extinction of the dinosaurs, which cleared the path for the…
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By Staff Report
In a surprising decision, the College Football Playoff Committee put Alabama into the top four in their first rankings of the season.
Alabama has one loss and was not expected to be ranked so highly in the first week.
The SEC has six teams ranked in the top 25 in the CFP rankings.
Alabama and LSU face off this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Undefeated Clemson and Ohio State would also be in the playoff if the season ended today.
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
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By Bea Sampaio
Less than two weeks after the nation’s largest mass shooting took place at an Orlando gay nightclub, Pedro AMOS was approached by an old friend to commission an art piece for the victims of the attack.
The friend in question was Roxana Rauseo, manager of the Wynwood Yard, and the aim of the project was to memorialize the identities of those lost on June 12th by creating a giant public mural located on the back wall of O Cinema’s building.
AMOS, whose artist owned and operated company had recently been named The Miami’s New Times best graffiti guide, called upon colleagues Luis Valle and Jona Cerwinske to aid in the mural’s initial construction.
All three of them donated their free time in order to finish the painting as soon as possible, a process that meant trading alternating shifts amid the oppressive Florida heat with little supervision and a lot of donated paint.
The mural itself, scenically located across from the The Wynwood Yard’s own urban garden, depicts the full names of every person killed during the night of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.
Those names, 49 in total, were purposely rendered in the same six colors that typically make up the rainbow LGBT flag.
AMOS describes the experience of receiving the notecards from Rauseo bearing the identities of the dead, later admitting he still cannot bring himself to throw the papers away even after the project had already finished.
“I was all like work, work, work and trying to organize everyone and put everything together but [then] she gave me all these cards and it was really heavy to get all that, it really made it all real. And then you’ll be painting [a name] and this girl would come and say ‘Oh my god, my mother worked with him.”’
Construction of the mural was often marred by inclement weather and a host of technical mishaps, eventually stalling completion of the painting an extra four days over what was initially scheduled.
Problems with a donated forklift meant that Valle had to fill in a majority of a giant, multicolored heart using only a paint roller and a very sore back (his efforts were later compensated with a complementary massage at The Standard).
Regardless of the conditions, many locals still stopped to gather on Thursday night and hold a prayer vigil for those lost in the Pulse shooting, even bringing bouquets of flowers and lighting candles in order to honor the dead.
“I was up on a ladder and I’m painting and everybody came around during the vigil and I had my back turned. I turned around and I realized everybody was there with their cameras and it was a moment that just kind of hit me, you know?” Valle said.
The Nicaraguan-born artist had previously painted a memorial piece in New York as part of a fundraising effort for a deceased person, but had never attempted anything on this particular scale before the events in Orlando occurred.
The commemorative mural comes as a result of the devastating mass shooting that took place in in Central Florida earlier this month, one that resulted in the collective deaths and injuries of 102 individuals when a lone shooter, Omar Mateen, opened fire inside of a popular nightclub.
“I thought it was bigger than an LGBT community problem. I thought it was a world problem. I thought it was a failure on behalf of all humans. It’s disgusting and it rocks everyone, gay straight Latino, black, white, to their core. It’s just a terrible scenario.” AMOS said at one point, alluding to a speech he gave to expectant attendees on the night of the Wynwood vigil.
Maybe so, but both the location of the attack as well as the hateful rhetoric spouted by its perpetrator would suggest otherwise.
LGBT activists and civilians alike have fought for decades to create safe spaces within the queer community.
For better or worse, their struggles have always been the subject of punditry and social scrutiny, a fact further evidenced by the controversy surrounding the recent reactions that conservative Florida legislators maintained in the wake of the Pulse shooting.
It’s not surprising that the deaths of these individuals would be politicized in the wake of this tragedy, not when we know that discriminatory laws already politicized many aspects of their lives to begin with.
Still, if there’s anything to glean from the memorial in question it’s the cathartic role, however modest, that public art can play in the wake of these tragedies.
The swiftness with which the different facets of Wynwood life responded to the events in Orlando reflects the collective empathy expressed by local entrepreneurs, artists, managers, and volunteers for the LGBT community as a whole.
More importantly, these kinds of displays have the potential to galvanize residents against incidents of homophobia, pressuring otherwise reluctant allies to openly express support. It’s also viscerally, laudably beautiful to look at, a kaleidoscope of vibrant images framed by the urban greenery surrounding it.
“As artists, we have the ability to make a difference and [either] do something about this or at least put a voice out there.” Valle said at one point during the interview, “It’s the least we can do for something so horrible.”
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By John Massey
Germany and the far right of the political spectrum do not historically mix.
So why is it that a party of the far right (granted, one not nearly as radical or hate-filled as the Nazi Party was) is picking up steam in the largest and most powerful European Union country?
In recent weeks, the Alternative for Germany (AFD) has achieved regional representation in eight German states. There are 16 German states in total.
AFD is a far right populist party in a similar vein as the National Front in France and UKIP in the United Kingdom.
The ragtag party has managed to bite at the heels of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), and appears to be gaining popularity across the country.
This is largely due to the anti immigration platform of the party in response to Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s policies on resettling refugees, primarily from Syria.
AFD has a unique opportunity for swift gains due to its novel position on the political spectrum.
A pro right wing backlash has been felt across the West, be it the Tea Party or Euroskeptics, but AFD has been making attempts at separating itself from the most extreme elements of German political life.
According to the Q&A section of the party’s website, the AFD breaks with the ranks of other far right parties by being in support of continued German participation in both the EU and NATO, though with caveats to both of these organizations that favor a more independent foreign policy.
AFD also voices disapproval of TTIP (a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and Europe), subsidies for energy research, while favoring “re-nationalizing” of the banking sector, and promoting marriage between men and women as “politically desirable”.
All of these positions seem to indicate that AFD is interested in focusing inward, and is not particularly hostile to longstanding German policy.
Despite this resemblance closer to the American Republican Party than particularly sinister right wing parties like PEGIDA, the party has been moved more so to the extreme by the Party’s president Frauke Petry, who has brought anti-immigration rhetoric and closer ties to the Kremlin to the forefront of its public perception.
This will likely only continue due to the departure of the party’s moderating influence, Bernd Lucke, cofounder of AFD, left the party in 2015 when ousted from the party presidency by Petry.
Lucke founded another Euroskeptic party Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA), and complained that AFD had grown far too xenophobic.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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