Category: Lifestyle

Why upcoming Pixar movies may not be ‘incredible’

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer

Did Pixar sell out?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Theodore Lee

Did Pixar sell out?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Theodore Lee

Last week, news broke out that after more than a decade of fans begging for a sequel, Disney/Pixar decided to give the green light to The Incredibles 2, as well as a third installation of the Cars franchise. For parents of young children and maybe even for fans of Pixar, this may seem like fantastic news. But for me, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney/Pixar as much as the next person. I vividly remember first falling in love with A Bug’s Life when I was six years old. I would constantly watch it on VHS in our living room, even the short with the old man that played chess by himself in the park before the actual movie began. Years later, my dad took me and my younger brother to watch The Incredibles in theaters, and I remember my brother and I clutching our sides in tears when Mr. Incredible tried to squeeze through the conveyor belt but kept bouncing out because of all the weight he’d gained in his years off from fighting crime.

As I got older, I felt a newfound respect for all of Pixar’s original films, more so than its parent company, Walt Disney Studios.

The way I saw it, Pixar was gutsy and clever enough to create smart, witty films that were, yes, targeted for kids, but enjoyable enough for the whole family. But then Cars came out in 2006 and I think we can agree it all went downhill from there (I mean, really, Planes?).

News of the upcoming sequels to Pixar’s critically acclaimed films from the 2000s are just two among many of the studio’s line-up for the next couple of years. They now join the ranks of the most recent Pixar flick, Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters, Inc. (2001) that was released just last summer.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think all of these sequels to Pixar’s beloved original films are necessary. What’s wrong with leaving perfectly good movies untouched and leaving what happens after the closing credits up to the imagination of the audience?

You could definitely argue that the company is clearly trying to target our generation with all of these sequels. We grew up with Andy from Toy Story, who goes off to college just as our generation is leaving for college.

While I will admit that I caved and went to see Toy Story 3 in theaters, and will definitely do the same for The Incredibles 2, I just wish that Pixar would stick to its roots and focus on creating more original and innovative stories for its audiences.

The studio announced in September 2013 that their lineup for the next few years will alternate between sequels and original films, starting with The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out in 2015, followed by Finding Dory in 2016, and many other untitled projects in the works right now, including an untitled project on El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), also scheduled for release in 2016.

Spotlight: BU Snaps: The Next Big Thing?

By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer

PHOTO VIA BU Snaps Facebook page

Will BU Snaps be the next big thing?/ PHOTO VIA BU Snaps Facebook page

First we had BU Crushes and BU Confessions, and now… BU Snaps?

BU Snaps already has more than 1,8oo Facebook likes after its creation on February 21st. It’s surely catching up to the other main anonymous Boston University entertaining Facebook pages. BU Crushes 2.0 currently holds 2,732 likes after joining in September.

BU students can screenshot funny snapchats they receive and message them to BU Snaps via their Facebook page, or through their twitter @BUsnaps.

School of Hospitality Administration freshman Maura Feltault sees the positive in the newest BU page. “I think it’s a good way for the BU students to come together as more of a community,” said Feltault. “It’s always fun to see what other people are up to and this is a great way for students to stay in touch.”

Some students, however, don’t feel the same enthusiasm about BU Snaps.

“I don’t like knowing that anyone could screenshot my snapchat and submit it onto this Facebook page without my consent,” said Lauren Howard, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I understand I’m sending the snapchat, but to people who I decide, not a portion of the BU population that I don’t know.”

The snapchats range from food arrangements and partying, to “selfies” and views of the city.

While some may use this social media outlet to embarrass friends (all in good fun) or showcase funny or pretty pictures via snapchat, BU Snaps’s main goal is for students to share their life moments at BU.

With 157 snapchats shared and counting, the future of BU Snaps looks bright. With BU Confessions and BU Crushes 2.0 starting to fade on popularity growth, BU Snaps could be the next big thing.

Are video games actually linked to aggression and racism?

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Here we go again: a new scientist, a new study, and a not so new debate has caught the world’s attention. Scientist Craig Anderson, director for the study of violence at Iowa State University, recently published a study about the link between violent media exposure and aggression in children.

His team followed over 3,000 children in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades for two years and asked questions measuring aggressive behavior. The team found that children who play violent video games for an extended time displayed an allowance and propensity towards hostile behavior.

So, kids who see and partake in violence become aggressive? What a novel idea!

But really, was this something that time and money needed to be spent on to figure out? In 2013 when President Obama called for an increase in research on violent video games and violent behavior, did he mean this?

Of course violent video games desensitize to an extent, making someone a bit more aggressive. However, this aggressiveness does not equate to murderous tendencies. What research really needs to focus on is the role of violent media and the tipping point between aggressive behaviors and violent behaviors, a link that very well may not exist and is moreover influenced by personal matters of home or mental illness.

There have been a myriad of other studies that try to pinpoint the criminality of violent video games. One study tried to show how high-stress gaming situations lead to higher sensitivity, or how they help suppress empathetic feelings, or even how they promote racism.

In terms of empathy, Anderson and his team found no evidence of such a connection. According to an earlier lab-based study, whether someone was in the group who played violent video games or non-violent ones, they were equally likely to help the scientist pick up a dropped pen.

A recent study done by Ohio State University shows how picking avatars of different races affected the gamer’s stereotype of that race, proven through the Implicit Association Test (which basically tests subconscious racist tendencies). But this study was done only through a few select games and situations. Yes, some games may have racism laced in, but this problem extends far beyond the virtual world.

Today about 90 percent of children play video games, and over 90% of these games involve mature content like violence. If violent video games lead to violence in real life, shouldn’t there be an upward trend of violence to go with this data? Research shows there has been no increase in real-life violence, especially in adolescents where the target of these inquiries lies.

People will never cease to ask questions, target, and study the impact of violent media in connection to violent behavior. Yet, maybe it’s time to let go of this search for excuses and focus more on the known, direct causes for violence and work to fix the problem itself.

Windowless jets and the future of air travel

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer

Will windows on planes become a thing of the past?/ PHOTO BY Robin Ngai

Will windows on planes become a thing of the past?/ PHOTO BY Robin Ngai

Imagine a world where planes don’t have any windows and you can choose to see whatever you want. As you sit in your plush leather seat, you can pull up your email or whatever city skyline of your choice on the inside wall of the plane.

No need to imagine it any longer, thanks to Spike Aerospace, an up and coming company made of up engineers who want to make air travel more advanced than ever.

The Boston-based company has come up with a windowless jet that allows passengers to enjoy the personal flying experience they desire. Passengers can choose to literally fly among the clouds and see a view of their journey projected on the interior of the plane.

In addition to featuring maximum comfort and special effects, the jet is will be going at supersonic speeds. Spike Aerospace has predicted that it will be able to take travelers from Los Angles to Tokyo in just five hours.

As someone who travels across the country for seven hours to get to school, this jet sounds too good to be true. This kind of speed would allow people to travel faster for work, school or even emergencies.

In countries such as China, they have advanced towards this type of speedy traveling. For example, running through China is the bullet train which goes at high speeds in order to carry its passengers through the vast terrain.

So, what does this mean for the future? I hope that it means this sort of transportation will be more accessible to the general public. I know that at first it will be ridiculously expensive, but maybe some day even the average traveler can fly from Los Angles to Tokyo in just five hours.


American Eagle rolls out out clothing line for dogs

By Devon Delfino, Blog Editor

Are you tired of only finding Halloween costumes for your pet? Doesn’t he or she deserve the chance to express their own personal style, from preppy to hipster, tailor-made to small, medium and large dogs? Do you want the chance to match outfits with your furry best friend?

Well now you can with American Eagle Outfitters’ new line of doggy clothing.

Personally, I think it’s adorable (and who doesn’t like staring at photos of cute dogs?). The site even offers links to matching human apparel, but there has been some skepticism as to if it’s real or just a crack at an April fools joke. I hope it’s real because my dog just has to have that ‘selfie’ beanie. Although if my dog dressed this well, I think I might be in danger of her showing me up because the outfits and the dogs featured in the campaign are seriously cute.

And yes, in case you didn’t already know, doggie outfits are actually a thing — not to mention “doggles” — though it looks like the campaign just uses regular sunglasses for more of a laid-back vibe.

In the promotional video for the new line, American Beagle Outfitters seems to poke fun at the frivolousness of a doggy clothing line while offering an adorable array of outfits. My favorite part of the site is the fundraiser for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the site, which pledges to give $1 per order purchased on the site for up to $100,000. What better way is there to both help out the ASPCA than by buying ridiculously cute outfits for your dog?

Either way, I’m just happy to see so many pics of adorable dogs wearing hilarious (and stylish) outfits. Check out the “dogumentary” below:

Five reasons to live in specialty community residences

By Heather Goldin, Multimedia Editor

The time has finally arrived to choose a housing option for next year. You know you don’t want to be stuck in one of the freshman dorms, so you may want to start doing research on the Boston University Housing website. Do you go for one of the well-liked sophomore dorms? Cross your fingers and hope to get pulled into Student Village? Ditch your housing deposit completely and opt for somewhere off campus? How about a specialty community residence?

It’s not the first residence option that comes to mind, but there are actually several benefits to specialty community residences at BU. Not convinced? Here are some reasons to consider an SCR.

1. Sweet Crib

SCRs are far different than your average college dorm. Forget sharing a bathroom with your floor of 30-something, brownstones limit your entire floor to no more than eight residents. It is also notable to mention that each floor of the brownstone has two bathrooms, complete with little cubbies for your bathroom storage needs. Did I mention there’s a kitchen in the basement?



2. Kitchen Access

Love cooking? SCRs allow students the luxury of making a meal at home when they don’t feel like trekking to the nearest dining hall. You can bake goodies for friends, or invite the friend group over for a dorm-cooked meal.



3. Common Ground

SCRs give students a way to instantly forge a connection with their roommates. Whether you share a common language, major or passion, SCRs are a great way to make friends with common interests.



4. Role Models

Where do you see yourself two or three years from now? Your special community resident adviser might be none other than future you. RAs and upperclassmen in SCRs have great insight on leadership positions and events. Older students are also great to talk to about anything really: stress, life, the universe, you name it.



5. Adult-like Responsibility

Forget waving your BU IDs in front of security guards (and the hassle of signing in your overnight guests), SCRs program your IDs with tap access to the residence. In addition, only residents who live in a specific specialty residence can get in with their ID. With so much freedom, SCRs are a great way to mature during the college years.



Don’t believe me? Take it from current students living in specialty community residences this semester.

Budget-friendly recipes for off-campus residents

By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer

One-pot meals, like stews, are great options for college students living off-campus./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Pelican

One-pot meals, like stews, are great options for college students living off-campus./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Pelican

If you are planning to live off campus for the first time next semester, it  can be difficult to budget how much to spend on food, especially when there is no dining hall to swipe into (unless one of your generous friends guest-swipe you in). Once you figure out how much you can spend, you should probably figure out the best way to make the most of your groceries. 

Go-to, easy recipes with very few ingredients will help you stay under budget and keep you from breaking down and ordering Chinese. After a long day, having a meal waiting at home is not only smart, it’s cost effective. I’ve compiled three types of meals and even more recipes for the college chef – most of them one-pot and easy to make.

1. Make a stew, soup or curry on Sunday and eat that throughout the week

One-pot meals with multiple forms of protein are smart for weekly dinners, and can often involve shortcuts (a can of soup, tomatoes or red beans). There are thousands of food blogs that offer these sorts of recipes, but for those vegans or gluten-free foodies out there, this chipotle black bean stew is filling and tastes better the longer it sits. Meat-eaters can try out this hearty jalapeno popper chicken soup.

2. Make large batches of oatmeal or steel-cut oats for breakfast all week

Foods like steel-cut oats are filling, cheap and easy-to-make: You can buy four packs of 24-oz oats online for under $20. This oatmeal recipe is from the recipe site NoshOn. It teaches you how to make oatmeal ahead of time, so you have easy breakfasts all week. You can take them on the T, bring them to class or eat them over some last-minute homework.

3. Buy a rice cooker and get creative

Rice is cheap, and it serves as a filling, warm, gluten-free base for a lot of casseroles and three-ingredient dinners. Try pouring soup or jarred sauces over rice, mixing in curry paste and coconut milk or even sticking to Sriracha or teriyaki sauce. As you start to develop your inner college chef, you can get more creative with whatever’s in the pantry. To start off, try out these recipes for Mexican rice, Bourbon chicken and rice or a classic Jambalaya.

Not sure about making the jump to off-campus housing? Try out some of Boston University’s apart-style housing available.

‘Ban Bossy’ campaign encourages girls to be leaders

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer

Bossy. We’ve all used it as a way to describe someone we know in a negative way. A campaign dubbed “Ban Bossy” has emerged to stop the usage of this word.

The two sponsors behind Ban Bossy are Lean In (founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg) and Girl Scouts. In addition, celebrities Beyonce, Jane Lynch and Condoleezza Rice have come together in support of this foundation.

The message at hand is that bossy is a term we use towards girls and women everywhere to degrade them. Instead of using words like leader to describe girls’ attitudes, bossy is used instead. This Pantene commercial is a perfect example of how words can be twisted when it comes to describing the different sexes.

So, instead of discouraging girls to take charge, Ban Bossy is embracing it. They believe that the confidence gap between girls and boys tend to begin to grow at an early age. If we can come together to get rid of this word, then we may be able to stop this gap. Girls will continue to raise their hands, speak up in class and have higher self-esteem.

I think this is a fantastic campaign that will really encourage girls to be less self conscious about speaking out. This campaign has the potential to convince our communities and future generations to be brighter, stronger and more passionate about what they do.

On the Ban Bossy website, there are leadership tips for girls, parents and teachers. In an effort to reach out to girls everywhere, Ban Bossy also has a multitude of tools that can help to boost confidence.

This is a campaign that not only women should be a part of, but men as well. It’s important that as a society, we come together to #banbossy.

White House Appeals to Millennials with Cats, Sports and Parody

By Devon Delfino, Blog Editor

You know what really says ‘health insurance’? Cat gifs (at least according to the White House.)

In an effort to get more sign-ups for Obamacare youth before the March 31st deadline, the White House released a series of gifs (some of which are cat-related) to illustrate the need for affordable health insurance. Dubbed, “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered,” the campaign is undeniably aimed toward the internet generation.

In a similar effort, the White House is also attempting to get more publicity by using March Madness to get young sports fans to sign up for healthcare. And, just last week, President Obama appeared on Zach Galifianakis’ celebrity parody show, “Between Two Ferns,” to stir up interest in the Affordable Care Act, and it seems to be working. According to the Huffington Post, the “Funny or Die” website is one of the top referrers to the healthcare website.

It’s a bit weird that such gimmicky ploys are working for such a serious issue in U.S. politics. But why not stick to what works?

Some people are not so agreeable, though, and speculate that Obama shouldn’t have gone on the show due to his political status. And while I have to agree that it’s unprecedented to see a sitting president really go for broke with appeals to the younger masses, I think it shows growth and determination to see Obamacare through to the end. After all, political figures have turned to satirical outlets like “Saturday Night Live” for years in an attempt to bolster their position for their next campaign, so why not let the current president do the same?

Plus you have to love the awkwardness that comes out the faux-interview.

The Danger of Selfies

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer

As aptly suggested by the name, “taking a selfie” is a highly self-centered activity that corresponds well to the narcissistic nature of adolescence. Walking through any number of public venues, one would be hard-pressed not to find an individual striking an awkward pose as they snap a picture of themselves on their smartphone.

Now, as witnessed in several recent news articles, it would appear that people are receiving their comeuppance for such flagrant displays of self-interest.

First thing for everyone to know: selfies can possibly spread lice.

As friends cozy up to each other and intimately touch heads in preparation for a picture, some people say it is possible for a lice-infected individual to spread their infestation through such direct contact. The idea stems from a sudden increase in lice among high school students in some areas of the country, and though experts deny this to be an explanation for the outbreak, it is best to play it safe and keep your head to yourself.

If a possible epidemic does not deter you from the activity, then at least be conscious of whether or not the time and place of your selfie is appropriate. After all, it is always important to maintain a level of respect.

Unfortunately, some people still don’t know the meaning of the word, like the soldier who hid in her car to avoid saluting the flag and to take a picture of herself for Instagram. Beneath the photo, Private Tariqka Sheffey wrote a comment that essentially expressed that people should keep their disapproving remarks to themselves because she does not care what they think.

Her words reveal the dark side of today’s cultural climate. People are now getting so wrapped up in the intense private world allotted by social media that they can lose both their respect and awareness towards others as well as towards sacred institutions. However, I don’t think that will stop anyone from taking selfies.

Of course, the moral of the story is not that people who take selfies are often selfish individuals. Just remember to be aware of yourself and of your surroundings when gearing up to take that photo. After all, you don’t want to be that person everyone hates for making them rub lice disinfectant all over their scalp. You just don’t.