Hearthstone expansion adds new depth and intricacy

Hearthstone, a massively multiplayer online card game, was released in March 2014. Playable on Windows, Mac, iPad, and Windows touch devices, the game enjoys a large playerbase, hitting more than 20 million registered users in September. Since the game’s release, Blizzard is releasing a 120 card expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, on December 8, 2014, which will completely change the game.

This past summer, Blizzard released the Curse of Naxxramas adventure. Though this was only 30 cards, the metagame shifted drastically. Keep in mind this was only a set of 30 cards, whereas GvG will be 120. Hearthstone will be a completely different game after December 8.

For the actual set, a few new mechanics have been introduced, as well as more type-specific cards. Ogres are stereotypically dumb creatures that won’t always hit the desired target. They have a 50 percent chance of missing the target you assigned, but can consequently hit through taunts or stealth. It’s all ogre now. The introduction of a new card-type, the mech, allows for different, powerful synergies when used together. Even standalone, a few mechs have respectable stats for their costs. Additionally, spare parts, a mechanic that goes hand in hand with mech, are one mana spells that are produced from certain GvG cards that can slightly modify the minions on the field.

Murlocs will be receiving a helping hand from Shaman, through two potentially powerful class specfic cards. Rogue may see the inclusion of pirates with a class specific pirate card and two more neutral cards.

Our favorite part of this new set are the potential wombo combos that can be unleashed. Each of the ridiculous combos can use up to 10 mana and at least five or six cards to one turn knockout the opponent. They are flashy and highly unlikely, but make the set that much more exciting. On a more somber note, though certain classes received great legendaries, a few classes weren’t given the same love (mage, paladin, and rogue, we’re sorry).

We both agreed that the new set will move the meta towards a more midrange orientated playstyle. With the release of mech, synergies will require more time and mana to play out. Additionally, early removal cards and GvG taunt cards will cause this move towards the midgame but not so much into the late game. As a result, aggressive and late game decks will be viable but not so frequently used as midrange. But we also don’t think that the meta will even settle for two to three months.

Hearthstone is huge. At more than twenty million users, the game has been a massive success in the short time it has been out. With the upcoming expansion, a booming E-sports scene, and a massive Twitch following that is usually in the top five most viewed games, Hearthstone is shaping up to be a fantastic free to play game for a long time to come.

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North Hall and E-Complex to close

NORTH HALL AND E-COMPLEX are both being closed at the beginning of the next academic year.

On Friday, November 14, students living in North Hall and E-Complex were informed that the two residence halls would be closing after the end of the spring semester. Graduating seniors living in North or E-Complex will be able to stay in their residence hall through Commencement, but the residence halls will be closed effective May 31. According to Dean of Residence Life Todd Schill, “The eventuality of re-opening will be dependent upon the Institute’s Long Range Facilities Master Plan.”

Both E-Complex and North Hall were built in the 1930’s. Many students have complained about the buildings. Schill said that “students have complained about the water system (inconsistency of hot and cold water scalding water when toilets are flushed), heating system (way too hot in the winter), and bathroom conditions for many years.” Resident Director of North Hall and E-Complex Andre Lussier ’15 relayed student complaints he’d heard, including bug problems in both and logistical issues with kitchen space and laundry in E-Complex. He said he’d heard “quite a few complaints about bugs such as cockroaches” and centipedes. Lussier also noted that E-Complex had only one laundry area and two kitchens, which were only accessible to students living in different stacks if they went outside. The layout is similar to Quad, though the rooms were bigger. Many are singles and larger than most singles on-campus, which was perhaps why those residents chose to live in those two residence halls. North and E-Complex are also closer to the academic campus than most residence halls. Lussier also said that, “E is dilapidated and old,” while North mostly has problems with the heat being too high. Another complaint he’d heard was lack of bathrooms; E-Complex has just one bathroom per floor of around five people and North has two bathrooms per floor of around 10 to 12 people. The bathrooms had just one stall and shower, and furniture in both residence halls is old.

Schill said he met with two Student Senate leaders a few weeks ago “who reinforced some of these same concerns.” Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 said that “for the past two semesters, our Student Life Committee has been delivering student concern with the Residence Halls to Residence Life.”

According to Schill, 169 students live in these two residence halls together. The Future Residence Hall Closure Memo that was sent out to affected students noted that two incentives for North Hall and E-Complex residents will be in place next year. Former North and E-Complex residents will be given priority in housing selection for 2015-2016. They will also be able to pay the same prices they would have for North or E-Complex, plus inflation, if they stay on campus. Schill also noted that “we know that the singles have been popular in North and E-Complex and we plan to make more singles available to upper class students in the Quad for 2015-2016.”

Keraga noted that, “these halls are expected to remain closed for a long period of time as necessary changes are made.” He met with Vice President of Administration Claude Rounds last Thursday about these two residence halls and other topics. Keraga said that, “administrative renovation efforts are focused on the Quadrangle” and the Student Senate would be communicating with Rounds’ department to make sure the renovations in Quad were most effective for students.

Lastly, Keraga said that, “we’re also passing a wide feedback/renovation proposal this Monday, targeting all residence halls on campus.” On the closing of these two residence halls, Keraga noted that “closure of a residence hall is a difficult decision. It’s encouraging to see student feedback taken seriously and necessary change being made.”

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Staff Editorial: Downtown Troy revitalized

The past few years have seen a marked improvement in downtown Troy. With renovations to the Troy Riverfront Park a few years ago, a variety of events have been held, drawing people from Troy and its surrounding areas.

Various festivals have been held annually. For example, Troy held its eighth annual Chowderfest in the Riverfront Park, serving chowder samples for tickets. Additionally, the River Street Festival takes place every summer, offering vendors and live music all along River Street. The holidays are around the corner, and with it, comes Troy’s 32nd annual Victorian Stroll. During the stroll, parking is free and businesses offer discounts and hold events for people of all ages to enjoy. Another notable festival is the Food Truck Fest, which held its second event ever this year.

Improvements to downtown Troy include the recent boom in new businesses, most notably restaurants. Many of these new restaurants are within walking distance of RPI or along the West shuttle route. Recent additions to downtown Troy include Nibble Inc. (an organic donut shop), Muddaddy Flats Quesadillary, Psychedelicattesen (a bagel shop), and Flying Chicken (a soul food restaurant). Some of these new additions, such as Plum Dandy (a frozen yogurt shop) in City Station, attract business by offering discounts to college students. Be sure to take advantage of such discounts—they often make pricier restaurants affordable.

This boom in business can be attributed to the increase in renovations around Troy, in addition to the Riverfront restoration. A few years ago, Congress Street had its sidewalks and roads renovated to look more modern. College Suites at City Station increased the number of students living Downtown. Phi Gamma Delta fraternity recently moved downtown, exemplifying the improved draw and sense of security for students.

When you find yourself burnt out from doing work and studying as the semester winds down, take an adventure into downtown Troy, especially if you have never been before. There are countless great opportunities to eat and have fun all across the city.

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Fraternity does good for brothers and sisters

SIGMA PHI EPSILON’S SIGN ADVERTISING their tasty $2 breakfast sandwiches outside of stage for students and staff.

Early morning classes here at RPI do not always leave students time to eat breakfast. Fortunately, Sigma Phi Epsilon has been selling warm and tasty $2 bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches every Friday morning to hungry students. All of the money raised is being donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the national philanthropic and service learning partner of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

The idea for this fundraiser was developed by brothers Joe Livote ’14 and Brian Michalka ’16 with the understanding that to raise philanthropy money on campus, Sigma Phi Epsilon would need to provide something to the RPI community that people really wanted. Many students were looking for a quick breakfast on their way to class and did not want to spend any more than a few bucks. Additionally, they preferred fresh eggs and bacon cooked on a grill rather than products offered at campus dining locations.

The event kicked off on October 24 as a team of eight brothers lugged enough food and cooking equipment to prepare 60 sandwiches in front of Russell Sage Dining Hall. By 9:30 am, the fraternity had exhausted its inventory and had to close for the day. Over the next two weeks, the sales continued to double, raising just over $1000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. One of the greatest successes in expanding their sales has been offering office delivery to the various departments on campus. Faculty and staff can place an order online up until Thursday night, and have sandwiches delivered right to their desk at their specified time Friday morning. The brothers at Sigma Phi Epsilon will happily deliver one to several dozen sandwiches to any campus location.

To attract passing by students, Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers are prepared with music and a microphone to advertise breakfast to all. While walking by, you might hear brothers advertising the high quality, low price, or ready-to-go method used. Brother Jack Eaton ’16 might even be on the microphone singing some modified karaoke to bring attention to the great cause.

Sigma Phi Epsilon plans to continue their Friday morning sales from 7:30–10:30 am on the Sage/Center for Industrial Innovation concourse. The brothers hope to continue to raise money and expand their office delivery option going into the spring semester.

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Football keeps Dutchmen’s Shoes for second season

THE ENGINEERS CELEBRATE following RPI’s 31-28 win over Union College in the Dutchmen’s Shoes Trophy Game Saturday, November 15 at ECAV Stadium.

On November 15, Rensselaer faced off against Union College for the annual Dutchman’s Shoes Trophy Game. RPI has faced the Dutchmen 112 times, making the rivalry the oldest within the State of New York.

Rensselaer came out on top of this contest with a last minute scoring drive, winning 31 to 28. RPI’s offense produced 375 yards of combined offense, 255 yards rushing, and 120 yards through the air. With this win, the Engineers finished their season with six wins and four losses.

Junior quarterback Jeff Avery was still injured; therefore, starting in this contest was sophomore Tommy Morgan. Morgan completed nine of his 17 passing attempts for 120 yards. He also accumulated 34 yards on the ground.

The Engineers’ rushing attack was led by freshman running back Mike Tivinis, who rushed for 89 yards. Following closely behind was junior Nick Schlatz, who rushed for 77 yards. Rensselaer’s passing attack, led by junior Matt Lane with 48 yards receiving, wasn’t as dominant as their running attack.

RPI won the coin toss but elected to defer possession to the second half. Union immediately drove down the field to RPI’s 18-yard line where they elected to kick a field goal. Union missed the field goal and gave the ball back to Rensselaer. The rest of the quarter proved to be full of intensity, where neither team would budge as the ball exchanged hands multiple times.

Sadly, with 13:41 left in the first half, Union found the end zone as they rushed the ball in from two yards out. The Engineers tried to regroup after this scoring drive, but Union regained possession and scored their second touchdown of the game giving them a 14 to nothing lead. However, Rensselaer’s senior leadership shined through as senior receiver Reggie Colas caught a 10-yard pass from Morgan to score the Engineers their first points of the game. The following possession Union drove the ball down to the Institute’s 34 yard line. The following play, the Dutchmen threw an interception to senior defensive back Nick Borkowski, who returned the interception 75 yards for a Rensselaer touchdown tying the game at 14. Rensselaer regained momentum, and after forcing Union to turn the ball over, Morgan completed a touchdown pass to junior Logan Gaddar to give the Engineers a 21 to 14 lead.

However, Union regained possession at the beginning of the third quarter and found the end zone after a 4-yard rush to again tie the score at 21. The Engineers began to put together a drive until they fumbled the ball on the Union 45-yard line. The Dutchmen drove down the field and scored with 3:44 left in the third quarter to take a 28 to 21 lead.

Both Union and Rensselaer came out for the fourth quarter with a lot of excitement and emotion. RPI obtained the ball with 13 minutes left on the clock. The Engineers put together a strong drive concluded by a Morgan rush for eight yards to tie the game at 28. With 8:24 left in the game the Engineers pulled some trickery as they ran an onside kick which they recovered giving them back possession. The Institute drove the ball down to the Union 8-yard line where senior kicker Andrew Franks kicked a 25 yard field goal. The Engineers fended off any further Union attacks as they won 31 to 28.

With this win, the Engineers advanced their record to six wins and four losses. The Engineers were just recently selected to the Eastern College Athletic Conference bowl game, where they will face Framingham State College on Saturday, November 22 at Bowditch Field.

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RPI hosts first Hackathon

Over the past weekend, over 500 students had the opportunity to experiment with new technologies and create a wide variety of projects at RPI’s inaugural 24-hour college hackathon, HackRPI. Hackathons, which are a portmanteau of hack and marathon, are highly-popular events where participants have a predefined period of time to create a project from start to finish and present it for the chance to win prizes. RPI joins several universities across the country that host hackathons, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Rutgers University, and the University of Michigan.

Spread out across the Darrin Communications Center and the Center for Industrial Innovation, hackers had from 2 pm on Saturday until 2 pm on Sunday to work on their projects. Many hackers worked throughout the night; some taking naps and some staying awake the entire time. Following the conclusion of the hacking period, all submitted projects were scheduled into two half-hour expo sessions, where hackers and judges could explore the projects created and pose questions to the creators.

While the judges determined the winners, the founders, Jacob Martin ’16, Jazmine Olinger ’16, Robert Rouhani ’16, and Sebastian Sarbora ’16, recapped the highlights of the event. Once the winners were determined, they were announced and awarded by the commissioner of the Major League Hacking organization, Mike Swift. Swift and MLH have been guiding and supporting hackathons for several years, and MLH has become widely established as the leading organization overseeing hackathon competitions.

A winner and a runner up was chosen for each of the six categories: Hardware, Web, Data, Mobile, Video Game & Virtual Reality, and Humanitarian. Also, corporate sponsors had the opportunity to award their own prizes, and HackRPI volunteers awarded superlative prizes. For the Hardware category, TweetTyper, which used an Arduino Microprocessor and a Brother SX-4000 typewriter to automatically print Twitter feeds, was crowned the winner, and Anglerfish, an application looking to bring new life to previously one-dimensional presentations, was declared the runner-up. MStream, a website utilizing the Bose SoundType API to allow more collaboration during playlist creation, won the Web category, while What’s Up, which enables students to find upcoming events on their college campuses, won the runner-up position. In the Data category, which encourages hackers to process large sets of information, the winning hack was a new programming language, based in Ruby, called fpl, and the runner-up, which used the TripAdvisor API to determine water quality in areas based on water reviews on TripAdvisor, was Potable. Okiru (Wake up), the winner of the Mobile category, is a mobile application that hopes to combat the struggle of waking up in the morning by using the Venmo API and Microsoft Azure to send scheduled wake up calls and pose questions that, if answered incorrectly, will charge $1 to the user. SoundTap, which allows users to search for songs by beat tempo, was named the runner-up for the category. The winner of the Video Game & Virtual Reality category was LeapTalkForGood, which used Leap Motion and the Azure API to interpret sign language gestures, and the runner-up was Virtual Builder, which uses paper templates to construct an augmented-reality, three-dimensional world through the camera. Finally, MentorMe and NicoQuit were named winner and runner-up for Humanitarian category, respectively. MentorMe allows at-risk LGBTQ and minority individuals a secure place to communicate with mentors, and NicoQuit is a personal training system that guides cigarette smokers on their journeys of ending their nicotine addictions.

In addition to the event organizers, the representatives from MLH, and several corporate sponsors, including TripAdvisor, Bose, Microsoft, International Business Machines, and many more, HackRPI saw over 60 volunteers help staff the event. The volunteers, who were RPI students from many different disciplines, assisted the organizers with setup, takedown, providing mentorship to hackers, and ensuring every aspect of the event ran smoothly.

Everyone present at the event were well fed throughout the entire event. Because food at hackathons has become so popular that an online following specifically on the topic, known as Snackathon Snackers, has been established, HackRPI was sure to exceed expectations with the food provided. In addition to having access to a self-service, constantly-restocked, and always-open snack bar and a never-ending supply of coffee, hackers were also treated to pizza from I Love Pizza of Troy for lunch and Italian food from Bootlegger’s on Broadway for dinner on Saturday. On Sunday, hackers received bagels and cream cheese from Bruegger’s Bagel Company for breakfast and hamburgers and hotdogs from RPI Hospitality Services for lunch.

The event was well received by the Institute leadership. Acting Dean of Science Dr. Curt Breneman, Computer Science Department Head Dr. Chuck Stewart, and Executive Officer Dr. David Goldschmidt, as well as some professors and RPI public relations personnel, were present at the event. Both hackers and sponsors acclaimed the event as well-structured and enjoyable, and the organizers look forward to making the event an RPI tradition for years to come.

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Editorial Notebook

Stress relief for finals

Sleep, exercise, and relaxation keys to survival

Thanksgiving and winter break can’t come soon enough. With finals coming up, stress and tensions will be running high. Stress can have a huge impact on grades and overall health. When feeling stressed during a test, for example, I often make small errors that I usually wouldn’t make. Health-wise, stress can cause me to have nasty headaches or migraines, which reduce my ability to focus, study, and do well on assignments. That, in turn, causes me to become more stressed. Thankfully, RPI offers a plethora of services to help you relax, ace finals, and break the vicious stress cycle.

When studying for final exams, you might feel like staying up all night before the exam. Instead, it’s a good idea to get a good night’s rest before the exam. In fact, getting enough sleep two days before the exam will do more help than you might think; most of our information processing happens when we are asleep. Cramming the night before the test will just have you more stressed, worried, and tired during the test. Throughout finals week, make sure to get enough sleep each night. Sleeping well on non-test days will leave you refreshed and ready for more studying.

Unfortunately, with finals come stress. Sleep will only remove some of the stress; engaging in other, non-studying activities during finals week will also help you relax. Participating in a club helps reduce stress. However, if your club only causes you stress, then doing an unorganized activity that you enjoy—whether it be reading, watching Netflix, or spending time with friends—is also something to consider. Exercise is also a viable option.

During the study days, the Mueller Center hosts many activities designed to relieve stress. Yoga, an exercise class, or free food all help you escape the workload. Plus, they are all free and often times a great way to try out a class with no commitment to join. But if you do happen to enjoy the class a lot, they usually offer the class during the spring semester–for a fee. Also, even taking a 10 to 15 minute break to walk or stretch can make a difference. Moving from one study location to another can also help. A change in scenery is always nice; being stuck in the same room all day can be extremely boring and make concentrating on studying harder. During study days, Red & White has free food and drinks at the Heffner Alumni House. This is a great opportunity to study in a different location and, of course, there’s free food!

And finally, the Counseling Center also has tips for reducing stress, managing time, and taking care of your mental health. However, during this time of the semester, it can be hard to schedule an appointment because they are usually very busy. But, if you do get the chance, the Counseling Center has a relaxation room, and they offer stress relieving techniques.

To me, though, the best stress reliever is going home. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving break. Any break from classes, tests, and homework will be welcome.

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Sustainable student events, present and future

The Student Sustainability Task Force has continued to work on making RPI greener this semester. As you may have seen in last week’s Polytechnic top article, SSTF Chair Elizabeth Anderson ’14 presented the Green Revolving Fund to the Student Senate. Project head Dan Sze ’18 has formed a team of interested students working on the GRF proposal and can be contacted at szed@rpi.edu. Our goal through this project is to get a solid proposal for the inner workings of the GRF and three proposals for potential first projects. Students working on the project will gain experience with writing proposals, researching how RPI’s infrastructure works and how it might be improved to increase sustainability, and be part of a very big and important project.

A Green Revolving Fund works by starting with a sum of money going to a project that has a return on energy—one that saves money such as renewable energy or energy or water efficiency. The money earned back is then used towards other sustainability projects. Harvard University has had a GRF since 1992, and has grown the fund to $12 billion. While we aim to start quite a bit smaller at RPI, the project is earning support from the administration and students; we just need more dedicated students working on making good, solid proposals!

We have also worked on redoing our website, which can be found here: http://sstf.union.rpi.edu/. This website is planned to have not just the basic information about SSTF, but also our history, projects, contact, and sustainability at RPI. It already has links to other RPI clubs and organizations focused on sustainability, and is planned to have more. SSTF is also trying to figure out who to contact to get the Sustainability Clearinghouse website updated; it has not been updated since before fall 2011.

Several other projects are underway in, or partnered with SSTF. Sean Wilson ’15 is heading an Urban Gardening project with plans to design and build a greenhouse. Anderson is working to create a network between RPI alumni and current students involved in sustainability in a project co-partnered with the Society of Environmental Professionals. Vasudha Program Assistant Emily Farella ’16 is working on a project to get water bottle filling stations.

RPI’s environmental clubs have been having a good semester. Congratulations to Terra Cafe, which has had over 200 attendees each week this semester! Their Thanksgiving meal in Russell Sage Dining Hall Second Floor last Wednesday was quite delicious. Congratulations also to Green Greeks, which raised $152.50 for the World Wildlife Foundation through their recycling can/bottle drive. SEP held an event to talk about classes in the Science and Technology Studies Department, particularly Sustainability Studies classes; this event was well attended.

This Saturday, November 24, EcoLogic will be hosting the EcoPrincess Festival in the Academy Hall Auditorium from 1–3:30 pm. As SSTF Outreach Coordinator Kelly Dearborn ’16 wrote two weeks ago, this event is designed to get children excited about environmental issues using princes and princesses. You can contact EcoLogic president Jesse Noviello ’15 at noviej@rpi.edu if you have questions or want to volunteer. This event is also open to the community, and we invite any staff, faculty, or graduate students with families to bring their children!

Lastly, SSTF will be having elections on Wednesday, December 3 for the positions of chairman and vice chairman. If interested in a position, contact Anderson at andere6@rpi.edu.

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Men’s basketball strong in home debut

RPI men’s basketball played their first games of the season this past weekend at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday and versus Berkeley College on Sunday. New Head Coach Mark Gilbride started off well, leading his team to a 1-1 record after the opening weekend.

On Saturday, Rensselaer jumped ahead early, taking a 14-6 lead six minutes in after sophomore Nate Kane drilled a 3-pointer. But the other Engineers came back quickly. At the 7:33 mark, guard Sam Longwell knocked down a three to put WPI on top, 21-20. Another three by Longwell and a three by Aaron Davis put Worcester up by nine three minutes later.

Worcester led by as many as 18 in the second half, but RPI trimmed the lead to 10 with three minutes remaining. WPI would hang on though, winning 66-55 over Rensselaer. In a losing effort, junior power forward Chase Almond scored 13 points and secured six rebounds. Junior forwards Brian Hatcher and Tyler Gendron each scored 10 points. Gendron added eight rebounds, while Hatcher nabbed seven.

The following afternoon, the Engineers stayed a step ahead of visiting Berkeley the whole way, as the Knights’ only lead was 2-0. One minute into the game. 3-pointers by senior guard Josh Dugas and sophomore guard Jonathan Luster gave Rensselaer a 7-point cushion with 11:22 left in the first half. Later, a three by freshman Asa Barnhill put RPI up 37-30.

A balanced scoring attack in the second half allowed the Engineers to expand and hold on to their lead down the stretch. The Engineers earned their first win of the season, finishing off Berkeley 81-61. Almond scored 18 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to lead the Engineers to victory. Hatcher and Dugas each added 11 points. Dugas and Luster led the team in assists with four each. Almond also recorded three blocks, while Hatcher tallied two of his own.

The Engineers don’t compete again until Tuesday, November 25 against Sage Colleges of Albany.

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First probe to land on a comet powers down

The European Space Agency made history last Wednesday when Philae, named after an island in the Nile, became the first space probe to land on a comet. Philae’s landing took place 311 million miles from Earth; its exact position on the comet, however, is unknown. Launched on March 2, 2004, the probe’s mission is to take pictures of the comet’s surface, determine the comet’s composition, and analyze the comet’s magnetic environment. The comet is comprised of compounds frozen in time from the formation of the solar system. Philae’s mother ship, the Rosetta spacecraft, will examine the comet from a distance as it heads deeper into the solar system.

Landing on a consists of many complicated parts. In Philae’s case, the target comet was irregularly shaped and only 2.5 miles in diameter. ESA experts report that Philae landed more than once as further analysis indicated that the lander bounced on the surface. The bounce has been attributed to a malfunction in Philae’s anchoring harpoons and the comet’s weak gravity. Fortunately, the probe hasn’t sustained any significant damage from the bouncing. Furthermore, images taken by Philae show it pressed up against a slope which reduces the amount of sunlight received by the probe’s solar panels. It was predicted that the probe would receive around seven hours of sunlight per day. Now, however, Philae only gets one and a half hours of sunlight per 12-hour comet day. As a result, Philae is unable to charge its batteries enough to support sustained scientific operations, after having transmitted a plethora of data and images back to Earth and drilling into the comet’s surface, Philae has been put into standby mode by ESA controllers after the probe’s batteries fell dangerously low. Philae was intended to transmit data for nine months, collecting energy as the comet approaches the sun.

Despite its glitches, Philae has completed nearly all of its intended missions. ESA experts hope that by maneuvering the probe more sunlight will reach its solar panels. Additionally, the ESA is hoping to reestablish communication with Philae as it receives more intense solar illumination as its comet comes closer to the sun by August 2015.

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Editorial Notebook

EDM, universal religion

EDM’s cultural influence compared to rock and roll

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM, is a phrase almost inescapable in today’s pop culture. More of a buzz word than an actual definition or description, many people use this phrase to embody the recent surge of electronic music, especially in the USA. But what does it actually mean? Electronic music in general has expanded and changed so much in recent years that it is almost impossible to nail down an exact definition. Is electronic music characterized by the club-centered, 4/4, drum machine, sub-genre known as house music? Or is it the bass-heavy, sound-stretching, heavy hitting music known as dubstep? The beauty of electronic music is that there is no definite answer to this question. There are a myriad of genres in today’s ever-changing electronic music scene, making it impossible to define or categorize them completely. Two different people with separate music tastes could both be hooked on electronic music but listen to completely different styles of music. One could enjoy the more ambient feels of downbeat and trance music, while the other could love the chest-pounding of club music, such as house and trap.

But why is electronic music so popular? What is making this genre so commercially successful that it can be the basis for huge music festivals and Billboard hits? The answer is timing. Every decade or two, a new genre of music is born and popularized. In the 1960s and 1970s, this genre was rock and roll. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was hip-hop and rap. Each of these waves of music, in time, became associated with a generation of listeners. Electronic music is the music of this generation, the millenials. It provides a new energy and a fresh sound for the youth of this time to call their own. In a time of instant gratification and an increase of computer and cell phone reliance, there is no better genre of music to fit the mold. For example, electronic music artists can stay active on the social media sites that millenials swear by, and can post their music directly from their computer to their online page. Also, the purely computerized production of music allows for more releases in a shorter time span. This keeps the brief attention span of today’s generation active and attentive. A combination of these things and more helps guarantee there is no dearth of interest at electronic music festivals and clubs in the USA and it shows on recent top Billboard hits.

What this means for the culture of the world and the USA in particular, is extremely relevant. Looking forward a few decades, there is a high likelihood that this electronic revolution will be looked back upon in similar ways to the rock upsurge of the mid twentieth century. This type of music will help define decades of music history. Music enthusiasts of all kinds have something to appreciate within this genre, providing something for people ranging from the club lover to the relaxed listener to the undecided. This surge could even prove to be an upward trend with no end in sight. The sky is the limit for this relatively new genre known as EDM.

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EMPAC film makes big waves

Last Thursday, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center hosted directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ernst Karel, and Verena Paravel of the Sensory Ethnography Lab as they presented their newest film, Leviathan. The film takes place on a fishing vessel, and while I was expecting an exposé on the fishing industry, instead, I got a very pure, abstract look at how the fishing boat operates.

Leviathan is not a narrative story in any sense. Rather, it uses small, durable, and waterproof GoPro cameras attached and placed in various areas of the ship to get dynamic shots of different happenings. For example, in one scene, a fisherman could be reeling in the net on the trawler, while in the next, there could be a shot underwater as the ocean rushes past the camera. The film is not meant to discuss the fishing industry, it serves only to give a snapshot of life aboard the vessel. The confusion of being in the middle of the ocean, during a storm, and having to sort through fish. The monotony of spending hours waiting to pull up the net. It’s scary just how terrible the fishermen’s lives are. Worst of all is the fish. Throughout the film, you spend much more time seeing the scavenging birds and working men than you do fish, until in one miraculous moment, they appear. In what I can only describe as the most gruesome movie moment I’ve ever seen, I watch as they systematically organize and gut every single fish. After a low shot of the dead fish in the dumping receptacle, with the blood and cut fish heads, I became incredibly disgusted, not at the process, but at how well the directors made the scene so nauseating. The rocking of the ship, paired with the blood and severed heads was hard to watch, and even though I’m not a squeamish person, it was near unbearable.

While anyone who wants to see fishermen get knocked down a notch like Seaworld in Blackfish might be disappointed, Leviathan offers something different. I thought I had heard everything I had needed to hear against the fishing industry, but after having to actually watch them work, I pity them as well as the fish. Trawling can be harmful to the ecosystem by hurting unintended catches or destroying habitats, but I had never considered how terrible the work of the trawler fisherman is. The movie presents the fishing industry not as evil or scary, but bland and bad for everyone involved. I’ve reevaluated my views on the issue because of the film, and it’s worth a watch for anyone interested.

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Men’s Hockey splits weekend of ECAC games

Engineers take Princeton 3-1 Friday, fall to Quinnipiac Saturday at home

SOPHOMORE DEFENDER PARKER RENO MANEUVERS around an opposing Princeton skater, in the Engineers’ 3-1 victory against the Tigers at the Houston Field House on Friday, November 14.

The Engineers faced off against two conference foes this past weekend as Princeton University and Quinnipiac University traveled to Troy. Friday, RPI took on the Tigers of Princeton at the Houston Field House in front of a crowd of 2,836 fans. The puck dropped for the first period at 7 pm after the Rusty Pipes a cappella group sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

It didn’t take long for the game to grab the attention of everyone in the stands as the first shot from Princeton rang off the post. Shortly after, 2:27 into the game, Princeton took its first penalty for boarding, setting up the Engineers for their first power play. The Engineers controlled the zone, moving the puck around with crisp tape to tape passing for much of the one-man advantage. While the power play didn’t deliver any goals, it did set a tone of fast, tough play that the Engineers would continue all night. Rensselaer’s energy and pressure paid off as a strong hustle play to keep the puck in the offensive end led to the Engineers’ first goal, 8:45 into the period. Senior defenseman Curtis Leonard worked hard to get the puck back deep into the corner where freshman forward Drew Melanson was able to take over and find junior forward Mark Miller at the face off dot for the goal. Princeton looked to answer shortly in a good scoring opportunity with the Tigers in front of the net with the puck. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Rensselaer junior goalie Jason Kasdorf was ready to make a big pad save moving side to side to keep Princeton off the board. Despite being shut down, Princeton continued to try to respond and found the back of the net at 9:43 as the net was being knocked off its moorings. After review, no goal was ruled as the puck did not cross the goal line before the net came off. The Engineers’ speed forced Princeton to take its second penalty for tripping just over midway through the period, and it would be the Engineers’ speed on the one-man advantage that would lead to RPI’s second goal. As the Engineers dumped the puck into the offensive zone, it appeared as though it would be a routine icing but the Engineers hustled and beat the Tigers to the puck. Once again, Rensselaer found themselves with the puck in the corner, seemingly to the surprise of the Tigers, and senior forward Jacob Laliberte moved the puck to freshman defenseman Jared Wilson in the high slot who blew a one timer past the Princeton net minder for the Engineers second tally. Junior forward Milos Bubela was credited with the secondary assist on the goal. The Engineers and Tigers traded penalties and chances for the rest of the period which ended with Kasdorf stifling another Princeton scoring opportunity.

The second period was not as eventful as the first, as neither team could break through the oppositions’ defense even though Rensselaer continued to outshoot the Tigers more than 2-1. Rensselaer once again found a hole in the Princeton defense halfway through the period. Sophomore forward Riley Bourbonnais was able to find Miller from behind the net as Miller was leaking into the slot setting up Miller’s second goal of the night and the Engineers’ third of the game. Less than a minute later, Rensselaer was called for tripping, resulting in a Princeton power play. The Tigers found some room and generated shots including a one-time blast that beat Kasdorf but was ruled no goal despite appearing to find the twine. However, the play did not have the chance to be reviewed as the puck bounced back into play and Princeton maintained control of the puck. Shortly after, the Tigers definitively scored with eight minutes left to play bringing the score to 3-1 in favor of the Engineers. The Tigers failed to make another goal for the next six minutes or so and in a last ditch effort, pulled their goalie with 1:20 left to play to no avail. The strong showing for the Engineers ended in a 3-1 win in a game that saw Rensselaer generate 35 shots and Kasdorf make 24 saves.

The Engineers returned to the Houston Field House on Saturday to take on the Bobcats of Quinnipiac University in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Engineers once again started the game with a lot of speed and energy and it showed early in the first period. Just over five minutes in, an area pass from Melanson was chased down by freshman defender Garett Wilson who won the race against Quinnipiac and carried the puck into the zone. Freshman forward Lou Nanne matched his speed and streaked down the center of the ice toward the goal and was rewarded with a beautiful pass from Wilson that Nanne deflected into the net. After the goal, the Bobcats began to take over the game in a four minute stretch in which RPI was assessed three penalties. Playing a man down (or two men down at times) for that long of a period, in addition to struggling in the faceoff circle, forced the Engineers to yield the first goal to Quinnipiac with three and a half minutes left in the first period. The Engineers would get an opportunity for their own man advantage just 21 seconds after the goal, but an aggressive Bobcat penalty kill led to Rensselaer spending the majority of the power play retrieving the puck from their own zone.

The second period was scoreless but was plagued by penalties from both sides. By the end of the second, nine penalties had been called in the game by an officiating crew that seemed to put their arm up every few minutes. The third period started tied 1-1 with a one goal edge in shots for the Bobcats as they totaled 14 shots after two periods while the Engineers generated 13. The tie was broken 5:42 into the period as Quinnipiac was, once again, able to find the back of the net. The Engineers failed to respond despite two power play opportunities. Just as in the rest of the game, the aggressive penalty kill from Quinnipiac shut down the Rensselaer power play except for a great scoring chance that saw freshman defender Mike Prapavessis of RPI display great patience as he waited for the right moment to blast the puck past the Quinnipiac goalie. However, the Engineers found themselves on the other end of a reviewed goal that was called back as it was determined the net was dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line. Down 2-1, Kasdorf headed to the bench with just over a minute to play. The extra attacker would not prove to be the offensive spark the Engineers needed as the Bobcats scored an empty net goal with 30 seconds left to play.

After splitting the weekend with one win and one loss, the Engineers have eight points with a 4-2-0 record, giving them a share of the lead in the ECAC alongside Quinnipiac who also has eight points from four wins. The Engineers now begin a six game road stretch two of which are ECAC matchups. Rensselaer returns to the Houston Field house December 13 to face off against Boston University in the last home game before the end of the semester. Rensselaer plays eight games over winter break, half of which are at the Field House. The eighth game is January 24 against Union College at the Times Union Center for the annual Mayor’s Cup. RPI plays Brown University in the first home game of the second semester on Friday, February 13. Saturday, February 14, Rensselaer will take on Dartmouth University in the 38th annual Big Red Freakout!

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New club food policy announced; S&W budget approved

MICHAEL DAME ’16 (RIGHT), STANDS in front of the Executive Board proposing a new budget to print Statler & Waldorf.

President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 met with two clubs, Statler & Waldorf and Humans vs. Zombies, then reviewed the new club management system, followed by an update on the food policy discussion from previous weeks.

Statler & Waldorf opened the meeting with the Rensselaer Union Executive Board. S&W, a satirical magazine, has previously printed up to six times per semester. Printing six times a semester used to cost approximately $30,000. Currently, S&W is looking to publish one issue this semester. At the beginning of the year, they held a Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond event. In two hours, they had outlined, written, and published two full length humor articles. Membership is now at 11 people. S&W came to the E-Board to ask for funding for either a black and white or full color issue. S&W estimated that it would cost $2,000 to print 1,000 issues. In a 10-0-0 motion, the E-Board approved funds for S&W to print 500 full color copies pending on the stipulation that they will update Amarello on the final price.

Next to meet with the E-Board was Humans vs. Zombies. HvZ is an elaborate game of tag; there are human players, with socks and dart blasters, and zombies, who tag human players and turn them into zombies. HvZ is looking to receive financial support from the Rensselaer Union. Currently, officers are paying for everything from their personal funds. While they do have a few fundraisers to offset costs, HvZ still needs finances. With over 40 people participating in games, not everyone has the equipment needed. HvZ would purchase blasters and store them in the Union. Members of HvZ could borrow from the club and return them after the game. In a 10-0-0 motion, the E-Board approved HvZ as a Union—funded organization with $125 starter budget. Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 will be their E-Board representative.

The E-Board welcomed Pranav Sathyanarayanan ’17 next. He presented an update on the club management system, which will eventually replace the old one. He gave a quick tour of the website and asked for the E-Board to give any feedback on what they would like to see on the new site. The E-Board will receive training later on how to use the new site.

Finally, an update on the ongoing club food budget discussion was given. Little progress was reported. The E-Board proposed that clubs will receive food appropriations if they are working longer than five hours on a product that benefits the Renssealer community. They will receive $3 per person who attends the event. E-Board approval would be needed for a food budget. No motion was passed on the matter. Details of the food policy are still being determined. The meeting concluded shortly thereafter.

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Top Hat

Senate petition website prototype presented

Happy Wednesday, RPI. Thanksgiving Break is fast approaching, and with it, a final lull in classes before the semester’s last sprint. Remember to keep studying and get ahead in preparation for your last exams and even finals, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a break!

Among other events, this Friday, November 21, at 9 am in Mothers is the next Tidbits speaker, sponsored by TALKS and the Union Speakers Forum. This week’s speaker will be James Spencer, director of the Rensselaer Tech Park. Free coffee and donuts will be provided. Also, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to see the RPI Players’ performance of Dracula this Friday and Saturday, November 21 and 22.. Among all the excellent performances by the Players I’ve seen in my time as a student, Dracula has been easily the most dramatic, well-acted, and enthralling.

On Monday, November 17, the Student Senate reviewed the results of the Senate’s student body opinion survey, as presented by graduate students and Communications Committee Chairman Jennifer Wilcox. The survey results measured student opinion on topics ranging from classroom feedback to dining hall satisfaction, to research interest, and even Arizona iced tea! These results will be posted publicly under the 45th Student Senate tab on http://docs.studentsenate.rpi.edu, as well as on Reddit and Facebook.

Gabe Perez ’16, chairman of the Senate’s Web Technologies Group presented progress toward creation of an online petition website similar to the White House’s “We The People” page http://whitehouse.gov/petitions, or http://change.org/petitions. Entering into this year, it has been my priority, and a high Senate interest, to create a system students may use to bring issues to the attention of the Student Senate and RPI administration and a process these students or groups may use to gain Senate support for their causes.

Early this semester, Kenley Cheung ’13, a passionate alumnus of the Student Senate’s Web Technologies Group and of RPITV, brought to our attention that Rochester Institute of Technology’s current student government has implemented a similar system through their open-source PawPrints platform. We have begun adapting this platform for appropriate use on the RPI campus. To this end, we are excited to be collaborating with RIT officials as we pursue the site’s development through our Web Technologies Group. Communicating with another school’s student government has been a great experience and an invaluable opportunity to learn from other leaders.

On Monday, November 17, a working demo of the petition site was demonstrated before the Student Senate, integrated with RPI RCS ID authentication to maintain security, and with the petition process altered to match appropriate standards for the Rensselaer community. When a petition reaches the appropriate threshold, it will be brought before the Senate for a vote. At that stage, the Senate may vote to take one of several courses of action, ranging from holding a referendum election, to immediately supporting the petition, to deferring the petition to a committee, and so on. If supported by the Senate, a Senator will be assigned to investigate the petition and pursue its cause.

This discussion was preliminary and there are still many decisions to be made. Through interaction with RIT’s student government, we’ll be discussing and reviewing the site’s moderation policy, governing what petitions are deemed appropriate or valid, as well as integration into the Rensselaer Union Constitution’s petition process, site maintenance, and more. If you’re interested in this topic, please contact Perez at perezg2@rpi.edu, or myself at gm@rpi.edu.

Finally, just a reminder that the Pass/No Credit deadline is November 25—that is, next Tuesday, November 25, or the final day before Thanksgiving Break. This is the final day RPI students can add or remove Pass/No Credit designation from classes. This option exists to encourage students to take difficult courses without fear of damaging their GPA and to give students who are struggling in a course a better option than withdrawing. If you’re considering switching one or more courses to this designation, you may learn more at the registrar’s site at http://registrar.rpi.edu/update.do.

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A fresh round of StartUps to pitch ideas

On December 3, four local startups will bring their businesses before an audience in Revolution Hall at Brown’s Brew Pub in downtown Troy. This is part of the StartUp Tech Valley series, co-sponsored by RPI’s own Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. These meet-ups are held monthly for startups from the local community with the goal of providing a place for individuals to launch their venture to the public, learn from seasoned entrepreneurs, and obtain feedback about their product/service from potential customers. Each month, a new line-up is chosen. In addition, there is a job postings board for those in search of a job or companies in search of new employees. All community members are invited to attend; the event begins at 5:30pm with presentations beginning at 6:30. This month’s line-up is as follows:

EcoValve – With the goal of reducing wasted electricity and water, this distance-sensing showerhead will reduce the amount of water coming out of it as the user moves further away. EcoValve will be presented by Theo Pak ’15. To find out more about the company, please visit http://ecovalve.net/.

PageBlank – Working to give your business a strong brand image that extends consistently across each item, this print design company takes care of all the design work for you, and delivers turn-key printed products, and live hosted websites, ready to use. PageBlank will be presented by Hammad Ghuman ’95. To find out more about the company, please visit http://www.pageblank.com/.

LeetSystems CyberSecurity – Focusing on assisting organizations to secure themselves, this company uses a variety of testing services to find vulnerabilities in their clients’ systems, including a la carte hacking to detect possible weak points. LeetSystems CyberSecurity will be presented by Tyler Wrightson. To find out more about the company, please visit http://leetsys.com/.

HR Resolved – To combat the largely-underserved human resources side of businesses, this company leverages today’s virtual environment offering Human Resource Services with a balance of in-office presence & real time/all the time availability, as a retained partner or a la carte service provider from their New York headquarters. HR Resolved will be presented by Katie & Bill Tansey ’03 MBA. To find out more about the company, please visit http://www.hrresolved.com/.

To learn more about the StartUp Tech Valley series, please visit http://startuptechvalley.org/.

To find out more about the Severino Center, please visit http://scte.rpi.edu.

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Athlete of the Week:

Mark Miller

This week’s athlete of the week is junior forward Mark Miller of men’s hockey. In a 3-1 win over Princeton University, Miller scored goals in the first and third period to help the Engineers achieve victory.
His first goal gave RPI a 1-0 lead 8:45 into the first period, which was assisted by freshman forward Drew Melanson and senior defender Curtis Leonard. His second goal came midway through the third period when sophomore forward Riley Bourbonnais found him open on the right wing. He struck an emphatic one-timer into the back of the Tigers net to put Rensselaer up 3-0.
Next up for Miller and the Engineers is a trip to the University of New Hampshire on November 25.

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New J-Board members approved, Senate survey discussed

Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 opened this week’s senate meeting with the Judicial Board appointments. Following the appointments, two presentations were shown and discussed. Then the meeting followed with committee and constituent reports and concluded with the Grand Marshal report.

The J-Board appointments fell under the legislation section of the meeting. The Senate approved, in a 19-0-1 motion, Anthony Barbieri ’15, a co-terminal student, as Judicial Board chairman. Six regular members of the J-Board were also approved by the Senate. Orlando Hernandez ’15, Chris Notarnicola ’15, Zach Minster ’17, Nathan James ’16, Spencer Pilcher ‘15, graduate student Tim Krentz were the six members approved. The Senate also approved five alternates: Emily Philips ’17, Trishala Chaudhary ’18, Sumit Munshi ’17, Ian II Shin ’16, and Harrison Leinweber ’18. Following these twelve approved appointments, the Senate moved to presentations.

The first presentation was conducted by graduate student Jen Wilcox who reported the Senate Survey Results. The survey was developed by the senate and associated committees. Receiving over 800 student responses, some key topics of the survey included food quality, iced tea preference, academic affairs, residence life, RPI FIXX, and other topics. The Senate will be publishing their findings in the upcoming weeks. The survey gift card winner will also be announced later.

The next presentation was about RPI’s online petition Service. Gabe Perez ’16, the Senate CIO, presented RPI’s online petition service, a project that RPI and Rochester Institute of Technology are collaborating together on. The petition service will allow students to put up a petition, receive signatures and track its progress; it’s another way for the Senate to receive student petitions. In order to create a petition, you must be an RPI student with a valid RCS ID. A release date has not yet been set.

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Club food policy revisited, revised again Senate petition website prototype presented

Hey RPI!

Many wonderful things happened over the weekend. First, my congratulations go out to the RPI players for their amazing performance of Dracula by Steven Dietz, an adaptation of the classic novel by Bram Stoker. I could not make opening night, but I was able to attend on Sunday and I was blown away! I have read Dracula and I can say that Steven Dietz found an incredible new way to tell the story and the cast, set, and costumes were very impressive. I highly recommend that, if you have not had the chance to see it yet, you make some time this weekend to do so. The last two showings are Friday November 21 and Saturday November 22 at 8 pm each night. Come see the artsy and creative side of these engineers and scientists; I promise they won’t disappoint.

Second, in the world of athletics, our cross country teams both competed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional on Saturday. The men placed fourth and the women took eighth. Two individuals from the men’s team, Jacob Andrews ’15, and Benjamin Fazio ’17 have also qualified for the NCAA Championship meet and they will represent the Engineers this weekend in Ohio. I wish them the best of luck! Third, our football team won a nail-biting 31-28 victory over Union this weekend to keep the Dutchman Shoes Trophy here in Troy for another year. It was truly an exciting game to watch, and the “SHOOOEESSS” cheer that swept through the crowd after the game was absolutely phenomenal.

Looking to this weekend, there will be the second Tidbits presentation by TALKS featuring James Spencer, the Executive Director of the Rensselaer Tech Park, with donuts and coffee from Nibble. It will be held in Mothers in the Rensselaer Union, Friday morning from 9 am–10 am.

Last week, the Executive Board heard from two clubs. Humans vs. Zombies has been approved as a funded club, hopefully leading to even more HvZ games here on campus and a growth of their already impressive 145 members. If you would like to join in on the next HvZ game, reach out to their president at brumea@rpi.edu. We also heard from Statler & Waldorf, who proposed and were granted the funds to print a new issue this year. Be on the lookout next semester for this wonderfully hilarious magazine created by your fellow students to show off the culture and fun of Rensselaer.

The Executive Board also engaged in a final conversation about extra food funding for clubs. The final decision is that this extra food money should be available to clubs who volunteer to serve the Rensselaer student body in some way, shape, or form, not just the club members themselves. However, funds will only be granted if the student is volunteering longer than five hours, and they are not already receiving pay for their services. Then, $3 per member will be available to purchase food. This number was calculated based on the price of pizza, which is the food of choice for most organizations. If you have any questions on this new policy please feel free to email me at pu@rpi.edu or stop by my office house every Wednesday 8:30–11:30 am (this week I will be out 9–10 am due to a meeting.

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Piano performance impresses reviewer

Attendees of Bach and Beyond were treated to an unusual selection of traditional piano compositions written by J.S. Bach and modern, experimental pieces performed by Professor of New Media and Music Michael Century in Studio 2 of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center on Thursday, November 6 at 7:30 pm. This performance was part of a series of annual performances by Century. The back of the program explained the theme through quotes from Giorgio Agamben’s What is Contemporary? and T.S. Eliot; an alternative title for the performance is Bach, our Contemporary. Bach is contemporary with all composers and performers due to the timelessness of his pieces; through his masterful compositions, he exists outside the era in which he lived.

The first half of the performance began with the Bach suite Overture (Partita) in the French Style, written in 1735, one of the longest keyboard pieces ever composed by Bach. It consisted of eight movements of varying temperaments, from calm and composed to frenzied. In his masterful performance of this and other songs throughout the night, Century exhibited great passion in his physical movements. He performed with his eyes closed in intense concentration, his head shaking vigorously in ardor, his face contorting in expression, and his head reeling backward or leaning forward in intensity. Brows furrowed behind his wire frame glasses, frowning and occasional tensing his cheek muscles, Century’s rendering of the music was quite a moving performance. The audience laid completely motionless, with only the rhythmic rising and falling of chests to indicate life. Many closed their eyes, assumedly to focus on sound by eliminating the sense of sight, seeming to meditate over the music. A diverse audience in attendance, including the middle-aged, young couples, the elderly, and students, numbering approximately 60, were all united for the couple hours in admiration and consumption of Century’s work and that of the composers.

Overture was followed by Three Preludes and Fugues from the Well Tempered Keyboard, a collection of Bach’s three works from 1722 and 1742. This piece “highlights the contrapuntal intricacy, virtuosity, and expressiveness of this set, which commonly is considered only for its didactic purpose.” Early on, the piece was very fluttery in character, including many trills and rapid runs of keys. At other times, the piece took on a poignant character, full of staccatos. One section interestingly began with a one fingered, then one handed, very loud and staccato introductory passage.

The pre-intermission portion of the performance concluded with a shift in stage location and instrument to the accordion. From behind darkly shaded, mirrored glasses, Century gave his depiction of Keyboard Study 2, an improvisational piece written in 1963 by Terry Riley. The piece consisted of numerous variations on a four note theme of A flat, G, B flat, and F, which had a rather ominous mood, especially given the instrument used. Century repeated this theme numerous times, slowly mutating every so often, resulting in an evolution over the duration of the song. The other hand acted more creatively, performing more widely varied passages. Every so often, Century returned to the original theme. From the perspective of this reviewer, the song was reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s On The Run; in On The Run, a clamped cymbal repeats a short riff throughout the song while a synthesizer makes variations on that theme, interspersed with random elements.

The post-intermission portion opened with Century strolling into the room with his accordion in a somber state. Dream, written in 1948 by John Cage, had an entranced mood to it, a generally flat sound landscape, a legato articulation, as one would imagine a dream during restful sleep to be. Perambulating through the audience seating, pausing every few strides for a long while such that he walked around the audience once, Century seemed to temporarily give his attention to each audience member as he passed. As he reappeared at the front of the stage, the song died out and Century was joined by graduate student Ryan Ross Smith.

Smith and Century then performed the piano duet Interval, from For Times to Come, an experimental Karlheinz Stockhausen piece from his short involvement with the thought school of intuitive music, in which compositions are scored with text instructions, rather than with musical notation. Some instructions include “play single notes at irregular time-intervals, durations, and intensities.” “Each time one of your attacks coincides with an attack of the other player, transpose it somewhat in the direction of the hands of the other until your hands are superimposed.” The two performed blind in a seemingly random call and response. The set of instructions dictates that when some unlikely events occur, the song is to change and at some point an instruction to end the song is given. Century and Smith then began to hum the note of the other player and eventually ceased using the piano, only humming. The two, both still blind, at separate times, left the piano bench and wandered into disparate corners of the room, still humming the interval they had ended using. This portion of the concert presented a dramatic contrast to the Bach pieces of the first half; Bach’s pieces had much precision and order to them, all technically perfect musical ideas performed now exactly as they were almost 300 years ago, the opposite of the extreme randomness of Stockhausen’s piece.

The post-intermission section neared completion with Morton Feldman’s Palais de Mari of 1986, which consisted of very short one to three note bursts of sound at random intervals, then stretched using pedaling to echo and ring through the hall, ranging from a quarter second to a few seconds in between key strikes, for the duration of approximately 25 minutes. Written less than a year before Feldman’s death, the piece was declared by Feldman to be one of “mourning.” Feldman and Cage were both pioneers of the indeterminacy movement in music, which created pieces that allowed for large variation in interpretation between performances through random elements specified in the composition, such as the written word directions of Cage’s Interval. Century concluded the evening by abruptly changing the mood, returning to the highly structured music of Bach with Adagio from Organ Toccata BWV 564, a lively piece of approximately 90 seconds in duration.

Despite the sometimes abrupt changes in mood, flavor, and character of music between songs, and as ridiculous as it may appear to one who didn’t attend the performance, Bach seemed to fit decently within the rather absurd collection containing modern, experimental pieces that challenged commonly accepted definitions of music. The assertion that Bach is everyone’s contemporary was at least evidenced, though not incontrovertibly vindicated. This performance was certainly a great trial of that seemingly self-contradictory statement. To his credit, such a trial demanded great mental stamina and versatility in the musical style of Century. The concept of defending a thesis through a musical performance is befitting of a tenured professor of music, one that added another level of depth to the performance.

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