• Academic

    Why Do Humans Laugh?

    by Caleb Rauch   Laughter is a real puzzler in terms of evolutionary study. What possible reproductive benefits could come from hooting like a deranged owl? Why is this behaviour instinctive, while something like hunting needs to be taught? While vocalizations from play fighting are nothing special in the realm of animals, only humans and a few primate relatives explicitly create laughter when they find something amusing or to communicate complex messages. We respond almost unconsciously to social cues that promote laughter and end up laughing even when things aren’t funny. It’s a complex phenomenon, but the question is simple: what causes laughter? In the book The Humor Code, author and…

  • Academic

    Smartphones: Delivering Your Daily Dose of Dopamine in a Convenient, Pocket-Sized Package!

    by Addy Wright   Have you ever checked your smartphone, found no notifications, and turned it off, just to find yourself checking again thirty seconds later? Rest assured, you’re not alone. The reason you and so many others get that irresistible urge to constantly check your phone is that it and the apps on it are specifically designed to be as addictive as possible. Today, smartphone addiction is so prevalent that the psychological attachment to our phones has its own name: nomophobia. This name derives from the phrase “no mobile phone phobia” (Valdesolo, n.d.). Smartphones themselves are purposefully designed to be addictive, and so is each individual application on them. If…

  • Academic

    Three Books on my Nightstand

    By Sara Hinojosa Editor’s note: A first-year student from Chicago, Sara Hinojosa, ’22, describes the books she couldn’t leave behind. This assignment is from Sara’s FA18 Media Writing class.   When I decided on a whim to go to school in Alaska, my plan was to fit my life into a single suitcase. Though I was tempted to haul all my favorite books along, I decided on three that I’ve never finished reading: “Under the Banner of Heaven,” by Jon Krakauer, “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman, and the Bible. I started “Under the Banner of Heaven” solely because Krakauer, a journalist, is a writer I most aspire to be like.…

  • Academic

    Physician Assisted Suicide

    by Johanna Kumpula I largely support the legalization of physician assisted suicide; an ethical issue that has been causing widespread problems across the United States. California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana are the few states that have made this practice legal. There are some obvious qualifications needed to participate in assisted suicide; patients have to be diagnosed as terminally ill, they have to be able to take the drug themselves, they must have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing and the consequences that come along with it, they have to make two verbal requests and one written request with two witnesses, and an attending and consulting physician…

  • Academic

    Why Racism Increases Gang Activity

    by Lily Van Alstine There is currently a strong perception that gang violence is a race problem. Many different channels of our media attempt to portray as a problem affecting only communities of color, that can only be solved by communities of color. Just this year, the President of the United States accused undocumented Latinos of being rapists and criminals. This kind of sweeping generalization is, frankly, sickening. And what’s worse is the statement was, sadly, a distillation of his audience’s thoughts on whether certain races are inherently violent. This thinking is widespread and I want to challenge the assumption in two ways. First, I’d like to say, briefly, that…

  • Academic

    Hooked on Healing

    by Matthew Vos For our veterans returning from service to their country, the public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management can provide not only a wide variety of recreational activities, but also an opportunity to enhance physical and emotional well-being while connecting with the lands and waters they fought to protect. For many veterans, BLM lands and waters have a truly healing effect.   In, 2013, for the third consecutive summer, I was able to join BLM-Alaska in helping several war burdened individuals experience rehabilitation through fly-fishing in one of Alaska’s most beautiful settings…   Around four years ago, Tim Sundlov, BLM-Alaska fisheries biologist and fly-fishing enthusiast who…