As Spring semester 2013 comes to a close, we bring you our most impactful photos and stories. Thank you for your continuos support with The Daily Free Press. Our print issue will return in Fall 2013, stories and updates will be posted on our website periodically throughout the summer.
By Lindsey Cantey, Staff Writer
Thanks to business-review sites like Yelp, every decision we make as consumers can be well-researched. These days, we, as consumers rarely need to buy a new product, visit a new restaurant, or plan a vacation to a new place without becoming acquainted first with the level of quality it possesses.
This is where Yelp comes in. Anything remotely foreign, whether product or place, is typed into the search box. The results are cataloged and potential customers can view scores given and reviews written by past customers. Yelp can also tell you whether or not a place is open or closed, how far away the location of a place is in proximity to where the potential customer is, and is customized to a person’s specific location (i.e., Yelp in Boston, Yelp in San Francisco, etc.)
The peer-review model employed by Yelp works so well with influencing everyday purchase decisions. It is only logical it would be useful for other life experiences as well. Even life experiences such as prison. Yep, you read right. Yelp even has reviews for prisons. In an article by ABC, there are reviews on Yelp for prisons. Each review is composed of evaluations written by inmates, visitors and even lawyers.
Yelp prison reviews can be a useful and comical tool for those that have a choice. Through Yelp, one can virtually experience life in prison regardless of what side of the bars you may be on. Just like a restaurant or a salon.
So, in the event that you may be visiting a prison, I would highly suggest going to Yelp first. At least you get a sense of what you’re getting into. Sort of.
By Hilary Ribons, Blog Editor
The past few days have been hard for Boston. After the explosions that ended the Boston Marathon early yesterday, a somberness has fallen over the city. Everyone is still on edge and heightened security remains on Boylston.
Today, Online Editor Melissa Adan and I went down to Newbury to take some photos and interview people the day after the event. The city seems to be slightly quiet and deserted, but perseverant.
In respect of recent events, the online team has chosen to withhold posts on the blog until tomorrow evening.
Though the last couple of days have been difficult, some good has come out of it as well. Whenever something like this happens, though terrible, it offers the chance for people to unite and support each other. Buzzfeed.com produced a list of ways that the nation has stepped up to aid and support those involved in the Marathon explosions. This included marathon runners completing the race and going directly to the hospital to donate blood, good samaritans who helped at the scene and an ongoing google doc that was created a few hours after the event in which people listed open space they had in their home for visiting runners and their families who couldn’t leave the city.
I would also like to commend the newspaper staff on its coverage of this event. It has truly been trying and I couldn’t be more proud. Staff photographer Kenshin Okubo’s photos are receiving international attention and made it onto the front page of the online edition of the New York Times. Online Editor Melissa Adan’s video has now been featured on NBC Latino, NBC Miami and Miami’s WSVN News. Additionally, the rest of the staff has been producing excellent coverage that is being closely watched by many in this city and the rest of the world.
I believe in the strength of this city. Of course no one will ever forget, but they will move forward. The words Obama said at the press conference held on Monday evening echo throughout the city:
“Boston is a strong and resilient town; so are its people.”
By Hilary Ribons
According to a live blog on boston.com, there were two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Copley Square. Authorities say there are two confirmed dead and many injured.
Authorities also said cell phones were deactivated in the city to avoid accidental detonation of other bombs. For updates on the latest news, see @dailyfreepress. For reaction tweets and news from the event, click here for Storify or on the image below.
By Seline Jung, Social Media Editor
Last week I went on the first field trip I’ve been on since I was in high school. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the United Nations in New York with some of my classmates from my “Diplomatic Practice” class. The trip was entirely funded by the International Relations department at BU and was sponsored and chaperoned by our professor Husain Haqqani, himself a diplomat just until two years ago.
Haqqani, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. for three years from 2008 to 2011, has arranged for the trip to happen every year he’s taught the class since 2004. When I asked him why the trip was important to him and what he always wishes most for students to take away from it, Haqqani said that IR can be studied in the classroom but only understood in the real world. “I expect my students to understand the value of multilateral diplomacy through the UN as well as to know the complexity of the diplomatic world,” he added.
We left campus at 7:30 in the morning and arrived at the UN four and a half hours later for a general tour. Afterwards we split into four groups to visit different permanent missions: Britain, Pakistan, France and Egypt. All of us got to meet real diplomats and UN representatives in their personal workspaces.
I was in the group that visited the Pakistani mission, where we were warmly welcomed by the staff and briefed by two counsellors, one of whom was the primary negotiator for Pakistan on climate change. We then got to meet Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Masood Khan, who shook all of our hands and gave us words of wisdom to become “global citizens” and of course to keep Pakistan in mind when some of us become involved in the foreign service in the future.
This trip was incredibly valuable for me in several different ways. First, since I was part of the organizing team, I learned about responsibility as well as reaching out to missions and embassies, which I had to do. I also had never been to the UN before, so this was brand new and exciting for me. I also came to understand the value of learning outside of the classroom, which I think professors should try more. Everyone who went on the trip unanimously agreed that it was worth the day trip to New York, even though we were tight on time. Getting to actually see things can be so much more valuable than sitting at a desk talking about it in a classroom.
Below are photos from the day:
By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
Boston Police Department has a new goal: cracking down on underground music scene. According to an article on Slate.com, Boston’s underground indie-rock scene, which relies on ‘house shows,’ where the up-and-coming bands play in homes rather than clubs, are the target of the Boston PD’s attention. The structures aren’t licensed for such venues and violate a number of other ordinances.
How might the BPD be going about this? Why they’re going to go undercover as ‘fans’ and take to social media platforms like Twitter of course! Usually we’re used to seeing the police use social media to uncover evidence that solves more, let’s say, heinous crimes rather than using it to pass as hipster indie-rock fans to locate an illegal concert in an Allston basement.
While their goal seems silly at the outset, these concerts are technically violating laws that exist to protect public safety and fair noise levels for other residents in the area. Under the Nuisance Control ordinance, also mentioned in Slate.com, excessive noise is “ health threat” and affects the quality of life for residents. And beyond the threat of noise, the houses the concerts are held in are not licensed to hold that many people.
The situation seems to be not so black and white because there are instances where these house concerts are taking into consideration the surrounding neighbors. Furthermore, the police are also mistakenly cracking down on bands that are merely practicing. What draws the line between practicing and actually holding a concert? And is it infringing on rights of citizens to tell them how, when and where they will practice and perform their music?
Regardless of upped police activity, the bottom line is that these concerts are still going to go on and people are still going to attend them. Unless the police go about finding concert whereabouts on Twitter in a really clever way, I can’t see this operation going to well for them.
By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
During the first few months of 2013, the “sequester” has been a hot topic in the media, economic debates and White House conversations. Many Americans believe the term refers to government budget cuts but there’s more to it than that. Do you feel confident about your definition of “sequester”? Here’s what I think you need to know.
- In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act which contended that if Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a plan to reach the $1.3 trillion goal of reductions in federal spending to pan out over the next ten years, dramatic budget cuts would be implemented. It was deliberately created to have severe affects and was intended to inspire collaboration and agreement. However, since the goal was not met, the sequester was put into effect.
- The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending that went into effect on March 1. Throughout 2013, over $85 billion worth of cuts will be implemented across American agencies.
What will be affected?
- There will be an even split in spending cuts between domestic and defense programs
- Everyone, essentially, will be affected by indiscriminate spending cuts
- No programs are eliminated, but federal investment in the programs across the board is drastically reduced.
- Compromise between Democrats and Republicans
- Balanced plan to reduce deficit
The sequester is in effect because the Republicans and Democrats can not compromise. Republicans and Democrats in Congress were supposed to come to an agreement on how to reduce the country’s financial deficits. Since they weren’t able to agree on any proposal, arbitrary automatic cuts (aka the sequester) were implemented. Hopefully, Congress can come to an agreement soon because they brought this crisis on themselves (and us) and only they can fix it.
I asked a few students about the sequester to see if what they knew about it.
By Kristina Saliba, Staff Writer
This March I grew extremely tired of opening my yellow Warren Tower curtains only to see more snow falling down on Comm Ave. Every day before those snowfalls, I would be foolishly led on by the melting snow on the sidewalks, mistakenly led to believe that maybe…just maybe…this time it would be gone for good.
I blamed everyone from Mother Nature to my roommate and random passersby. But I never thought to take it as far as the Ohio prosecutor who “light-heartedly” filed a criminal indictment against the man truly responsible for it all: Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s groundhog.
Coming from someone who was overjoyed to hear that the groundhog’s forecast called for an early spring, this indictment of an animal seemed weirdly appropriate to me. However, The Huffington Post has recently reported that though Phil was the one indicted, Bill Deely, the groundhog’s handler and President of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, was going to take the blame.
The Huffington Post reports Deely heroically claiming, “I’m the guy that did it; I’ll be the fall guy. It’s not Phil’s fault.”
I personally don’t believe that I would do the same, especially because this is apparently the second year in a row that Phil’s forecast has been “misinterpreted.” Maybe Phil should be a little bit clearer. Maybe Phil should be a little bit more considerate towards those who have been opening up their curtains every morning with anxiety.
Recently, however, The Associated Press has released an updated article reporting that the Ohio prosecutor, who had filed this “tongue-in-cheek” indictment, dropped the charges this Tuesday, March 26. If Phil was worried before, which I’m sure he was, he has no criminal record to worry about now.
Normally, I would be bothered that Phil was let off so easy, but these past few mornings I’ve been opening up those white Warren curtains to find blue skies and an actual sun. I think I will let myself start hoping this time, but if it snows, I’m happy I know who I can definitely blame now.
By Amira Francis
According to a story by CBS Boston, Mayor Menino told business leaders he wants to create 30,000 new housing units in the next seven years. He intends for these housing units to be something called micro-units.
Micro-units are defined as small 350-500 square feet living spaces. From what it looks like, they are pretty much one-to-two-room living spaces. And they’re cheap.
What do you think, Boston?
As a student about to emerge into the very expensive life of urban-living while simultaneously trying to jumpstart my career, I heartily applaud the decision to implement these buildings. The ones in East Boston could cost as little as $550 per month. Now, the living spaces themselves are pretty small. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish at the same time. Here is an example of a New York micro-unit. Cute, right?
I have a feeling that micro-units, despite their small size, won’t feel that much smaller than an apartment. Everything will feel much more…compact, absolutely. But, as you can see from the picture, there is still plenty of room to give the sensation of having space. Since some of the already-existing apartments in Boston are pretty small, I figure micro-units shouldn’t be that much of a change (except in price). And hey! Let’s look at some of the practical benefits of micro-units.
Less room to lose your stuff: It should be pretty easy to find everything that seems to disappear all of the time.
More opportunity to get cozy with your friends: Smaller space, smaller amount of personal room. Prepare to get cozy. (Okay, granted, this can be a plus or a minus, depending on who you have over).
More motivation to clean your place: When you need to leap over the small amount of floor space filled to get to your bed instead of just stepping around it, like in a normal apartment, you probably won’t ignore it for as long.
Less money spent on decoration: You won’t need as much furniture to fill up all of the unwanted space in your apartment. Who needs all of that room anyways?
Overall, micro-units seem like an easy, comfortable way to be able to pay rent while living in the city. For all of us young, soon-to-be professionals who are trying to get on our feet and into the high-paying world we dream of, it gives us an opportunity to live in style while not throwing all of our money away on rent. Thank you, Mayor Menino.
By Amira Francis
“Pretty Cute Watching Boston Residents Play Daily Game of ‘Big City,” is the bold title of a new article from the satirical news organization, The Onion.
Does this make your blood boil, Bostonians?!
Or are you an original New Yorker who reads the satirical piece with a knowing smile on your face?
The article chuckles at Boston residents, portraying them kind of like little kids in a make-believe playground as the older, more responsible citizens of America watch on. While The Onion is just poking fun, as it usually does, is there a ring of truth behind its words?
You know – maybe the huge cities like New York and Los Angeles just resent us for having all the benefits of a big city while maintaining the lovely coziness of a small town. There are benefits to living in Boston. Okay, okay, our nightlife is no New York City nightlife. We aren’t constantly abuzz with people, and our streets aren’t filled with celebrities like LA’s streets are. But there are some pretty cool things about Boston. I wouldn’t say we are pretending to be a big city, but rather that we are a unique one, a hybrid of small-town-life and busy-city-thrill. For example:
- We have the large buildings and busy streets of a big city, without the filth. In fact, Forbes rated Boston the 10th cleanest city in the world in 2007 (tied with Lexington). Take that, New York.
- We have a convenient, easy-to-use subway system that transports you all around Boston with relatively no hassle. It has a color code that’s easy to understand and maps to help you along the way. And soon it may be running past midnight into the wee hours of the morning! (Okay, don’t poke fun. We’re getting there. We’re revamping our nightlife transportation, I promise. Boston will soon have a thriving, busy nightlife.)
- The music on Boston’s streets and in the T station is usually great. You never fear being stuck in the T station for too long because there is some pretty fantastic music keeping you entertained, oftentimes by very talented local college students. Which brings me to my last point…
- Boston is one of the biggest college cities you will ever come across. I know, you’ve heard it before. But really– the amount of college kids in the city keeps the town abuzz with a crisp energy. Everyone in Boston is learning something, eager to build their future, and excited to meet people and make friends. And while the majority of Boston may seem to fall under a younger demographic, it doesn’t stop it from being any less diverse. You can come across many different cultures in the hub.
So whether you’re a Bostonian who needed a little bit of a pick-me-up because you were down about your favorite city, or a hard New Yorker who needed a bit convincing, read this and know that Boston has some pretty fantastic things about it. For the record, the Onion’s article made me laugh. But I still refuse to admit there’s any truth behind the words.