Where Did The Week Go…

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–Ryan Beltram, EDN

On Wednesday, more than 7,000 websites, most prominently Wikipedia, went dark for between 12 and 24 hours to protest two bills put into legislation by Congress. The House presented the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) while the Senate came up with “Protect IP Act” (PIPA). The aim of these two bills is to regulate the illegal distribution of copyrighted material by foreign websites, which operate outside of US jurisdiction. These bills provide the power and the framework to restrict access to sites like Wikipedia as well as cut off sources of income.

Let me tell you why this is scary. Websites like Google, Twitter and Yahoo! have publicly opposed SOPA/PIPA because they believe the bills are so vaguely worded that they hold the power to usher in unprecedented censorship online. So much for filters.

The beauty of the internet is that it is free and open. It’s a vast world of information that we not only consume, but create and give to others for use. The thought of that being censored or restricted is not only frightening, but unconstitutional. What makes this country great is that we have the freedom to express ourselves in many different forms without fear of it being denied or censored and the internet is the driving force behind how we present our ideas and thoughts these days.

According to Rep. Lamar Smith, chief sponsor of (SOPA), “The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.”

That’s a big number and obviously this isn’t the time to be losing more American jobs. But there has to be another way to curtail this problem so that our freedom of information is not compromised. Saving money and creating and saving jobs is a top priority and I’m all for thinking of ways to make that happen. But if that means threatening certain freedoms we have had for more than 200 years than we need to revisit the approach to best address the problem of foreign online piracy.

The Good News Poetry Tour Comes to Eugene

I could use some good news every now and then how about you? This past Thursday, The Good News Poetry Tour was in Eugene to spout good vibes at the Mills International Center in the EMU.

The Good Poetry Trio

This event was free to the public and featured three talented and award-winning writers and performers: Neil Hilborn, Hieu Minh Nguyen and Dylan Garity whose past work has tackled topics as wide-ranging as a grandmother’s values to an OCD love to what it means to live in today’s world than in the past. The trio traveled through the state of Oregon teaching workshops at different high schools and colleges until making their way to Eugene.

The ability to express a view on something small or large and be able to articulate it in an artistic way is difficult. Poetry is a somewhat lost medium and to have three young artists have the courage to not only present their material, but to do it in front of an audience is inspiring.

The Good News Poetry Tour continues on Jan. 22 with a stop at the Portland Poetry Slam. Two days later they will be featured at the Lewis and Clark College Poetry Grand Slam.

Netflix Instant Pick: Frozen

The next time you feel liking going skiing, don’t watch Frozen before heading off to the mountain. Released in 2010, this chilling thriller works because it presents a simple yet real situation that anyone could encounter and asks the audience, what would you do in this situation?

Frozen is chilling.

Three friends are enjoying a nice day at Mount Holliston and they don’t want it to end. Dan Walker, his girlfriend Parker O’Neil and his best friend Joe Lynch don’t have any money left to buy more lift tickets. After much encouragement by Dan, Parker bribes a lift-worker into one more run atop the mountain. Being the only person who’s aware that they’re up there, the lift-worker leaves his post to resolve a problem and his fellow employee misunderstands his instructions and stops the lift. Now the trio is stuck near the top of the mountain without anyone’s knowledge.

What makes Frozen effective is that the three main characters are essentially stuck in one spot for the duration of the movie creating a claustrophobic feeling. Despite the one location, the film is never boring as the three characters are presented with one nightmarish problem after another. The slow deterioration of them both physically and psychologically is hard to watch but necessary since this is a thriller after all.

The film does suffer from a weak screenplay particularly in the scenes before they make it to the chairlift but once they get there, the film earns its R rating with plenty of scares. The beauty of the plot is its simplicity. This scenario could happen to any one of us and the film presents this in a realistic manner which makes it even more terrifying.

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