New hero knocks out the competition

Unprofessional, hand-drawn comic evolves into a highly talked-about sensational anime

SELF-MADE HERO AND CYBORG APPRENTICE TAKE on fearsome opponents, emerging victorious every time, much to their surprise.

What started as an amateur illustrated comic has developed into a widely popular manga and anime series. One Punch Man, created by Japanese author ONE, went viral shortly after its publication as a webcomic series, hitting more than 7.9 million views in June 2012. And its popularity is no surprise, upon realizing how uniquely One Punch Man portrays itself. This show gives me everything I want out of an action anime with a side of goofy humor.

Warning: background spoilers ahead. One Punch Man follows Saitama, a guy who is a hero for fun, and his cyborg disciple Genos, who strives to become just as strong. True to the series’ name, Saitama possesses the strength to destroy anything with a single punch, which, for him, turns out to be exceptionally boring—and that’s what makes it funny. In any other universe—for example, Dragonball Z or Naruto—possessing extraordinary strength would be exciting for any of the characters. But for Saitama, three years of easily defeating monsters has become mundane.

When conflict appears, Genos and Saitama rush to the scene. Genos always fights first and ends up a punching bag. Then Saitama steps in. There’s no time for long, drawn out dialogue; enemies transform or perform their finishing moves upon realizing his strength. After a short, fast paced fight scene, Saitama winds up and throws a single punch to save the day.

The entire theme of the show is unique. Compared to other anime protagonists, who struggle to become the best, Saitama is already the best. The workout that pushed him to greatness isn’t even that strenuous, relative to what other characters undergo. All he does is 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats, followed by a 10 kilometer run every day; this routine is just regular strength training. Additionally, while most of these heroes, such as Goku and Naruto, are recognized in their universes, Saitama is not. In fact, while many of the other heroes in One Punch Man have fan clubs, Saitama isn’t even recognized on the street. The series is entertaining because it pokes fun at traditional character tropes and plots other series possess.

What really strikes me is that Saitama lives an average life. In his free time, he watches TV or reads manga; before dinner, he buys groceries from the market. His three-room apartment does not even have a bed. Sometimes, he’ll go out to eat at a sit-down restaurant, but then realizes he only has enough money for a small side of fries. When a monster is reported on the news, Saitama responds with a, “I guess I’ll go.”

One Punch Man single-handedly reignited my interest in anime, for better or for worse. I have never seen anything like it; between its goofy premise and epic fight scenes, the show places itself as my favorite anime of all time. If you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you start with the first episode; it does a great job introducing the series.

Posted in Features | Leave a comment

St. Lawrence, Skidmore face doom on court

AFTER A ROUGH START TO THEIR SEASON, RENSSELAER BOUNCED BACK with two consecutive victories. (file photo)

The Rensselaer men’s basketball team struggled for much of their winter break slate of games, losing four in a row and five out of six during one stretch. However they won two games last weekend, improving their record to 9-7 with a month left in the regular season. The first of these victories was a home victory over St. Lawrence, 72-61 last Friday. On Saturday, they traveled to Saratoga to take on Capital Region rival Skidmore College and finished on top by a final count of 68-60.

In the first game, freshman guard Tom Horvat led all participants with 15 points and five assists to set the tone for the Engineers. In addition, senior forward Tyler Gendron added 14 points while junior guard Jonathan Luster and freshman center Marcus Giese each had 10.

For the Saints, guards Willie Zachary and Kyle Kobis each had 14 points while forward Riley Naclerio had seven points and nine rebounds. The difference in the game was efficiency. RPI shot 54 percent from the field while St. Lawrence struggled, converting just 37 percent of their field goal attempts.

In the first half, the Saints built a seven-point lead midway through the first half when forward Ben Crawford pulled down a rebound on the offensive glass and made the ensuing layup and free throw after he was fouled on the put back.

The Engineers answered by going on a 10-0 run in under three minutes to take a three point lead. Leading the charge was senior forward Chase Almond who scored four points during the run, including a tip-in that gave RPI a 23-20 edge, and grabbed a steal that resulted in an easy basket for sophomore guard Asa Barnhill.

The game remained tight as the first half drew to a close. After Kobis drilled a three to give St. Lawrence the lead, Horvat cut to the basket and scored on the very next possession to take the lead right back for RPI. After twenty minutes, the Engineers held a five-point lead.

Early in the second half, two more baskets by Barnhill gave Rensselaer a seven-point lead with 15 minutes remaining. The lead didn’t last, though, as St. Lawrence scored eight unanswered points to go up 48-46. Once again, RPI responded as Horvat and Luster drilled threes to give the home team some energy.

St. Lawrence answered, and the two teams traded baskets until the scoreboard read 61 for both sides with 2:06 left in the second half. Luster then drilled another three that catapulted the Engineers to run away with the game in the final seconds. In all, RPI scored 13 consecutive points to finish a game that was closer than its final score indicated.

In the second game, Rensselaer earned its third conference victory of the year, outscoring the Thoroughbreds by four points in each half. Skidmore forward Erik Sanders poured in 20, and guard Edvinas Rupkus added 15 to pace the Thoroughbreds, while the Engineers’ more balanced scoring attack was led by Gendron, who scored 13, and junior guard Nate Kane, who made three of four three point attempts and finished with 11 points.

In the first half, Skidmore took a 21-15 lead after forward Charlie Williams hit a three from the top of the key. However, effective long-range shooting allowed RPI to close the half on a 12-2 run and take a 27-23 edge into the locker room.

The crucial point in the game came early in the second half when 3-pointers by Horvat, Barnhill, and Gendron, as well as a three-point play by Luster, gave the Engineers a 13-point lead. Skidmore never threatened following that sequence, and RPI earned a 68-60 win.

Next up this weekend, the Engineers will be playing at Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday and Hobart on Saturday.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

E-Board completes budgeting for the Union

ON SUNDAY, THE EXECUTIVE BOARD COMPLETED budgeting for FY17 and scheduled appeal hearings for Thursday. (file photo)

The average undergraduate student at Rensselaer pays $329 in activity fees per semester. This money is collected and used toward student-run events, student-led organizations, and many more student-centric programs. RPI attendees can be assured that these funds are also student-managed. Through overcoming the complexities and pressures of handling these finances, the Executive Board leads the student body to the finale of the budgeting season.

In the final months of the Fall semester, clubs and organizations met with their E-Board representatives and Student Activities Resource Person to hash out the details of their budgets, readying them for the preliminary budget due dates. There isn’t a single time for all clubs and organizations to submit these budgets, but rather, they are staggered throughout the season, allowing the E-Board to scrutinize each more carefully. The three major groups that receive funds are Intercollegiate Athletics; Rensselaer Union Funded Clubs; and the Mueller Center, Archer Center, and Union Building.

All National Collegiate Athletic Association teams’ budgeting takes place at the East Campus Athletic Village, whereupon their budgets are reviewed by their representatives and Karen Hansen, the business administrator for athletics. After their preliminary budgets were submitted, their budget was finalized a month later. For all athletics, there is a ceiling that their total budget must not exceed.

The budgeting for the Mueller Center, Archer Center, and Union Building fund takes place during the study days of the Fall semester, with their budgets due December 8 and finalized December 15. These budgets are reviewed by President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 with the aid of the Director and Business Administrator of the Union, taking into consideration historical data, returns, and merit. This budgeting, along with all the Union funded clubs, takes place at the Union itself.

There are about 170 Union Funded Clubs, and while their preliminary and final budgets were due November 30 and December 21, respectively, their budgeting days took place last Thursday, January 21, to Sunday, January 24. Clubs and organizations are dealt with similarly to the aforementioned groups, with representatives examining their budgets and making recommendations, looking for what can be done away with. This information is collected and compiled, and then released Sunday at 7 pm. Club members that disagree with the final product have until noon on Wednesday, January 27 to make an appeal. It is recommended that appeal forms be filled out after meeting with E-Board representatives and SARPs. Hearing for appeals begin Thursday, January 28 at 8 pm. What is to come is a week of careful and considerate discussion to create the recommendation for the activity fee. The Union Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017 will also be filled with this compiled data. To review the UAR for Fiscal Year 2016, go to

This is the process that has taken the Student Activity Fee and put it to what the E-Board deems the most and best use. A near 4.4 million dollars in expenses are being directly controlled by the E-board, while the total operating budget rounds to about 9 million. Estimated sums of 1.8 million are apportioned to athletics, 1.5 million to the Union and satellite buildings, and about 1 million to clubs and organizations. The decision to apportion what amount of money to whom is based on guidelines and E-Board policies, with newer clubs usually given less to “allow them to establish their programs and goals,” starting at around $125. However, it should be noted that being an older club or organization does not guarantee more money.

Those interested in understanding more about how the Student Activity Fee is put to use, or how their clubs are financed, should contact a member of the E-Board.

“We have handled over four million dollars, and hundreds of budgets, and [we] believe addressed all of the major needs of our organizations while providing new opportunities and support … This is hard work, but it gets done for the good of the Union and the student body, no matter what.” – President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Respect in the 2016 election

Practicing consideration with differing opinions

People have opinions on everything, and it’s human nature to want your opinion to be the “correct” opinion. America has just entered the beginning of an election year, and a noteworthy one to say the least. With twelve candidates polling for the Republican nomination, three for the Democratic nomination, and several others pursuing third-party and independent runs, this election season is exceptionally packed. Additionally, a record-breaking number of individuals running have never directly been involved in politics prior to their runs, including real estate mogul Donald Trump, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, and software developer John McAfee.

With so many candidates to choose from, not everyone will agree on the same candidate. Whether this is triggered by party affiliation, a candidate’s stance on a single issue, or any other personal reason for choosing a candidate, each voter has the inherent right to make an informed decision on who he or she is interested in voting for.

In the past few months, I have repeatedly witnessed a disturbing pattern in election-related discussions; one voter may be discussing why he or she believes his or her candidate is best suited for office, but voters expressing support for a conflicting candidate could be quickly shut down simply for holding a conflicting belief. This is not fair to those who may support candidates that are not considered “popular choices.”

I believe that it is important to remember that a voter has a reason to why he or she has chosen a particular candidate. To another, the reason(s) for their support may seem insufficient, insignificant, or just nonsensical, but to that person, they are valid. Of course, debating and discussing ideas is a great way to find common ground and learn one’s reasoning behind an opinion or decision, but attacking or belittling the person for his or her opinions should not be acceptable.

This doesn’t just apply to elections. With any point of contention, every person should have the right to hold his or her opinions without fear; this is the crux of freedom of speech. Granted, some positions are not ideal and there are reasons as to why those opinions are not ideal, but respectfully explaining why you disagree will most likely have a larger impact than intimidation.

As we progress forward to an increasingly open and accepting society, it’s important that we embrace our differences, instead of ostracizing each other. This should not solely apply to physical or emotional differences; ideological differences should be respected by one another as well.

Posted in Editorial/Opinion | Leave a comment

Sequel to modern classic explores race politics

NEW NOVEL COMPELS fans of literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird.

Following the astronomical success of her breakout novel To Kill A Mockingbird, author Harper Lee quickly retreated into a self-imposed exile from most literary circles; for more than fifty years, Lee has enjoyed a comfortable retirement as a consequence of her instant classic. Her first novel was a carefully composed critique of the racially backhanded society that plagued a large part of the South through the late 1960s. Lee’s story creates a narrative centered around the young, spirited, and gracelessly female protagonist Scout. Lee’s novel served as a romanticized account of growing up in the midst of a deeply concerned community, as well as a dark warning about the dangers of a hive-mind mentality.

However, in 2015, Lee reemerged onto the literary scene with the announcement of her new installment for the story generated in To Kill A Mockingbird. The author’s newest book, Go Set A Watchman, takes place roughly 15 years after the events in To Kill A Mockingbird, and follows Scout as she returns from her newfound adulthood in New York to visit her stomping ground of Maycomb, Alabama.

One of the most striking differences between the two novels comes through the narrative provided by Scout, who has adjusted to womanhood and now goes by a stiff and haughty Jean Louise.

The creation of Jean Louise is masterful—while the voice of the protagonist is clearly more adult than that of Scout, Lee has carefully kept the undertones of fearlessness and virtue entirely intact within her main character as she has matured. The nuance of Scout’s character lies in the fact that she’s entirely recognizable but stops short of being derivative.

Jean Louise’s triumphant return to Maycomb is marred by the sense of alienation that she has developed from moving north; the backbone of the plot comes from the fact that the protagonist has lost the lens of adolescent nonchalance that allowed her to fall in love with the South. Instead, Jean Louise is confronted with the brutal reality of having her relationships marred by institutional racism.

The largest instance of this pivotal shift in the character of Maycomb comes in the form of Atticus Finch’s newly reconsidered pro-segregation tendencies—despite being a pillar of virtue in the previous novel by serving as the lawyer for a man unjustly accused of rape, Atticus demonstrates extreme racial biases by standing in for a town hall committee designed to enforce a separation of the races. Within this dynamic, Lee enforces a sense of internal conflict as Jean Louise struggles to compromise with the humanity of her father, as well as an incredibly emotional dispute as Jean Louise rejects the reality of Maycomb.

By forcing Jean Louise to interact with the realities of Southern politics, the author forces the lighthearted image of Maycomb constructed in the earlier book to collapse under the weight of adult responsibilities—at every glance, something that Jean Louise cherished in her childhood is fundamentally altered in a way that leaves her floundering for a sense of familiarity.

The craft of Go Set A Watchman lies in its full-bodied acknowledgement of the fact that the world of To Kill A Mockingbird was never perfect.

Posted in Features | Leave a comment

Rensselaer tramples Union by three points

Eleven games have passed since The Polytechnic last wrote about men’s ice hockey. Among these games were contests against Dartmouth, Harvard, Arizona State, Miami University, Princeton, Cornell, Colgate, Quinnipiac University, and Union College. Notably, the Engineers tied Harvard after losing to them only a week before. Rensselaer also tied in their game against Eastern College Athletic Conference number one ranked Quinnipiac 2-2. The record for Rensselaer over these games was 5-2-4. Most recently, the Engineers challenged Union College for the Mayor’s Cup.

Rensselaer fought hard against Quinnipiac in their game last Thursday, January 21. Although the game ended in a tie, the Engineers had them on the ropes for the majority of the game, well into the third period. The game was scoreless in the first, but senior forward Zach Schroeder scored for RPI 16 minutes into the second. Five minutes into the third period, senior forward Mark Miller put up another goal assisted by senior forward Milos Bubela reaching a two point lead. This has been quoted as the most dangerous circumstance in hockey because almost immediately afterward, the Quinnipiac scored once, causing panic, then again, tying the game. Quinnipiac’s first goal came seconds after the Engineers’ two point lead was achieved. The last goal of the game was another one by Quinnipiac with less than ten seconds left in the third. Quinnipiac achieved a power play 14 seconds into the overtime, yet neither team was able to score, leaving the game in a tie.

On Saturday at Times Union Center in Albany, the Engineers started their game against Union strong with a goal from sophomore forward Lou Nanne assisted by senior defenseman Chris Bradley and sophomore forward Drew Melanson. Union answered with one of their own less than two minutes later. Sophomore defenseman Mike Prapavessis scored an unassisted goal 13 minutes into the game. Shortly after Prapavessis’s goal, Rensselaer faced an elbowing penalty. This gave Union the opportunity to once again tie the game. The score stayed stagnant through the end of the period despite another power play opportunity for Union.

The second period only presented one goal scored by junior forward Jimmy DeVito for the Engineers 13 minutes into the period. RPI only faced four shots on their net and kept the lead while putting double the number of shots on the Union goalkeeper. The Engineers also had a power play opportunity but did not capitalize on the chance with a goal.

Even though the Engineers faced another penalty kill in the third period, Union was unable to answer another two goals put up by senior defenseman Phil Hampton and Melanson respectively. The game ended with a final score of 5-2, the third win for Rensselaer over Union this season.

The statistics do not necessarily reflect Rensselaer’s winning trend. In this game for example, the Engineers won by three goals but faced more shots on goal. Union also won twice as many face offs as Rensselaer (40-20). Finally, Union had three power play opportunities against the Engineer’s one.

RPI is headed to Brown University on Friday for a 7 pm game.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

President Jackson wins National Medal of Science

PRESIDENT SHIRLEY ANN JACKSON SPEAKS to and addresses RPI faculty, staff, and students during her annual RPI Town Hall Meeting last fall. (file photo)

In a press release from the White House, Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson was announced as one of the recipients of the National Medal of Science on December 22.

The award, which is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House, was established by law in 1959, and is awarded to outstanding individuals for those “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences.”

In an email from Associate Vice President Allison Newman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Arthur Gajarsa ’62 weighed in on President Jackson’s nomination, “All of us at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are very proud that President Jackson has been chosen for the nation’s pre eminent award for research and leadership in science.”

Gajarsa went on to detail President Jackson’s accomplishments, including her contributions to condensed matter theory, her advocacy for science and technology, and her contributions to the Institute in her capacity as president.

A full press release from the Division of Strategic Communications and External Relations can be found at

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Adagio for the East Coast

Sad college student laments ever leaving home

Central Connecticut’s first line of attack comes in the form of a tangible silence; as the last stronghold of the straight-backed, stiff upper lip society that fueled the insurance industry through the better part of the 19th century, Connecticut grasped onto a certain breathlessness that commands the entirety of its identity. Hartford rose to prominence on the coattails of the line of wealth running between New York and Boston, and its centrality prompted the birth of arguably the most pompous, elusive, and apathetically sophisticated communities on the East Coast. When I get the opportunity to march down the streets of the city that is pretty much always sleeping, Hartford silently reminds me that I can feel completely alone when surrounded by people. This isn’t necessarily because I feel alien; the city simply chooses to identify as 125,000 individuals rather than a singular city.

I should take a minute to mention that I wasn’t born into this—I’m an admittedly embarrassed Michigander who was thrust into New England the summer before my senior year of high school. By the time I was born, Michigan had already settled itself into a 200-year-old pattern of complacent mediocrity and aged tiredness. Moving to Connecticut supplied me with the unique opportunity to become familiar with being unfamiliar; being willed into existence in one of the bleeding-heart bedroom communities that created America, the word “stranger” was distant and unobtrusive on my everyday life. Connecticut was the first time in my life that I had ever been made to feel foreign.

It’s for this reason that I fell in love with the state; I didn’t just adapt to the stuffy, painfully introspective society of the east coast—I reveled in it. The move supplied me with the inalienable opportunity for self-reflection on a greater scale, and I seized it with the full intention of figuring out the inherent difference in mentality that allows New England to tick with such a palpable and intriguing lack of enthusiasm. I wish that my great transition would have supplied me with a more tangible change in myself than adopting the words “mad” and “wicked” into my vernacular, but I find that becoming a genuine Nutmegger is simply an inescapable mentality that arises as a consequence of being a sexually frustrated teenager in The Constitution State.

Whether or not you realize it, being on a college campus in Troy has a raw vitality driven by the presence of 5,000 other kids that are somewhere near your own age. In my experience, Connecticut has allowed me the quiet release of feeling alone; the opportunity to consider myself aside from a larger community serves as an individualistic dream in the midst of the four years I’m committing to the institution of higher learning. I’m happy to walk alone so long as it gives me the opportunity to become a more self-aware person. In consequence, going home has become one of those things that I genuinely look forward to, and for that reason I can’t help but feel a hint of remorse as I prepare for this upcoming semester.

Posted in Editorial/Opinion | Leave a comment

Rogue hacker takes on corrupt corporation

CYBERCRIMINAL ELLIOT EVADES authorities as he works in tandem with the infamous fsociety and Mr. Robot.

When watching a popular television show, it’s usually safe to say the main characters will succeed in the end and that the audience will know more about the situation at hand, which often takes the edge off of any cliffhangers and curveballs a show may throw.

Well, so I thought. In comes Mr. Robot, the 2015 winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama Television Series. The show follows Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer with a wide set of emotional problems, who, in his spare time, works as a “vigilante hacker.”

After a major security breach at the largest firm in the world, E Corp, which Elliot’s company protects, Elliot receives a cryptic invitation from fsociety, a secret group of hackers led by the secretive Mr. Robot. The fsociety hackers look to take down major data stores owned by E Corp, which Elliot fondly and silently refers to as “Evil Corp,” to eliminate information detailing 70 percent of the world’s debt.

But that’s not even the exciting part. As the series unfolds, viewers need to stay on their toes to keep up with the readily-changing environment, characters, and plotlines. After each episode, I was left with mounting questions and the strong urge to continuously re-evaluate how secure my online presence is. Even as the season ended, the answers received just led to more questions, which left me hungry for the next season.

Be warned though, this show is not for the faint of heart. Many episodes delve into dark topics, such as drug use, violent crime, and the sometimes-intimidating world of black-hat hacking. Once you finish the first season, maybe you’ll agree with me when I say I sympathize with the character Bill Harper.

Never before have I been as shocked by a series’ curveballs as I have with those found in Mr. Robot. Sadly, the internet is crawling with spoilers, so try your best to avoid searching for the show until you’ve passed through the first season. The show can be watched online for free at; use the rest of your syllabus week wisely.

Posted in Features | Leave a comment

Engineers continue undefeated this season

THE ENGINEERS SWAM to victory in all six of their dual meets this season, where they have competed against Rochester Institute of Technology, Ithaca College, Vassar College, Hartwick College, Union College, and Skidmore College. (file photo)

RPI Swimming and Diving won 20 of 28 events in its meet against Skidmore College on Saturday. Both the women’s and men’s teams won with commanding leads of 123-62 and 146-78, respectively. Both teams remain undefeated, improving to 6-0 for the season.

Among the Engineer women, sophomores Shanny Lin, Michaela Yamashita, and Jessica Suave were the first to touch the wall in two events each. Lin won two individual events: the 1000 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Yamashita took the 200 individual medley, and Sauve finished first in the 100 freestyle. Both belonged to the victorious 200 medley relay team. In most of the events at the meet, RPI women hit the wall first.

Among the Rensselaer men, junior Richard Dong and sophomore Spencer Marquardt also defeated all competitors in their events, winning in the 100 backstroke and 200 medley relay and the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, respectively.

Freshman John Alberta won both the 50 and 100 freestyle. The runner-up in the 50 freestyle was a mere five hundredths of a second behind him, in contrast to his safer two second lead in the 100 free.

Out of the nine men’s individual events, the Engineers swept the first three positions in the 1000 freestyle, 50 freestyle, and 100 butterfly, while Skidmore accomplished a sweep of the first three positions in the 100 breaststroke.

The Engineers, now at full throttle, have reached the threshold of their season and are fast approaching their final dual meet, which will be held at Hamilton College on Saturday at 1 pm.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Oil prices down, Canadian tourism up

The start of the 2016 fiscal year brings with it not only the lowest price per barrel of crude oil in the past five years, but also a significant increase in Canada’s tourism industry. Seemingly unconnected, the increase in tourism is related to the petroleum industry’s steady decline in oil prices. From a real, regular gasoline retail price per gallon in 2014 of $3.40, $2.40 in 2015, and now $2.04 in January 2016, average gasoline retail prices in the United States have seen a 40 percent price drop. The price drop can be attributed to an increasing surplus of crude oil due to American domestic oil production increasing to become the world’s top oil producer in 2014. The United States produced 12.5 million barrels per day in 2014, putting Saudi Arabia second at 11.6, and Russia at 10.8.

“We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil … and today, America is number one in oil and gas,” stated President Barack Obama during his 2015 State of the Union Address.

With a lesser need to import foreign crude oil, an increasing surplus of crude oil has accumulated in the international market, driving down the price of oil.

In Canada, the oil industry serves as one of its most important primary sectors, in addition to being the world’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas and crude oil. Therefore, it is no surprise that the depreciation of the Canadian dollar correlates with the decline in oil prices. Changing from an almost even 1:1 exchange rate in 2012, the loonie now sees itself at 70 American cents per Canadian dollar in January 2016. The value disparity, however, encourages Americans to migrate north and vacation. Vancouver, Canada experienced a record breaking year, with 9.4 million visitors, and Montreal-area hotels saw a profit increase of more than nine percent from the previous year.

“We’re getting more reservations at the last minute from Americans planning trips for the weekend,” says Head of Hotel Association of Greater Montreal Eve Pare.

The beginning of 2016 may not bode well for the oil industry as gas prices continue to drop. However, Canada’s tourism sector may see an auspicious boom as Americans go loony over the low Canadian dollar.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Children’s film surprises adult audiences

Once animated children’s show turns live motion picture with mature sense of humor

MUSICALLY TALENTED CHIPMUNKS ALVIN, SIMON, AND THEODORE STEAL the hearts of young and old in this heart-warming family film with its quirk and charm.

Maria Kozdroy

Yes, you may think that Alvin and the Chipmunks movies are purely for kids, but that should not be the case. One week past Christmas, my brother asked me to go see their latest movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. I had no idea that they even had another movie. I agreed to go see it, and I’m going to share what I think of it—not from the perspective of a 40-year-old movie critic or a parent, but from that of a 19-year-old college student who was on a month long winter break.

As can be assumed from the title, The Road Chip, the chipmunks and their “possible new brother,” Miles, go on an adventure from Los Angeles to Miami to try to stop the probable engagement of the chipmunks’ “father,” Dave, and Mike’s mother, Samantha. Along the way, the chipmunks are being chased by the “police of the sky,” Agent Suggs. The biggest fault in the title with the actual movie in my opinion is that there is a lack of family bonding in the car or plane that I think of when I hear “road trip.” In the movie Are We There Yet? featuring Ice Cube, I clearly recall multiple scenes where the children are giggling and learning about their soon-to-be father. These types of scenes would have brought more to life of the Chipmunks movie.

Another scene I would like to point out is when the chipmunk brothers, having just rescued Miles and Theodore, appear to be passed out. Theodore—the chipmunk who loves food—is revived when he smells an empanada that Miles had dropped. After Theodore stands back up, it shows the crew continuing on their adventure. I would have loved to see Theodore sneak back and grab the empanada. This is what I was expecting to see but never did, and I felt that a simple addition like this would probably have brought more humor to the scene and gotten bigger laughs from the audience.

Only two scenes made me laugh and a few others in the crowd laugh. The first was when the chipmunks break out in dance to “Turn Down for What,” popping open the sparkling cider and a packet of sugar which created a fog-like dance atmosphere. The other scene was when the three chipmunks are holding a pose on the hoods of luxurious cars outside the hotel, one with the signature Jaguar emblem. I found this very creative and an interesting way of the chipmunks trying to escape from the police.

New York Post movie critic Kyle Smith writes, “The next time the chipmunks make something together, I hope it’s a fur coat.” This quick and cute movie is not supposed to be taken seriously by any means for teenagers and adults, rather to be a laid back movie that might make you chuckle a few times and have you simply move on with your life once it’s over. For anyone that thinks the Alvin and the Chipmunks series is not enjoyable and below expectations should either not watch the movie or not reflect upon it after, if one does watch it. My biggest concern is that I wish the producer could have added a bit more to make it not only a little longer but also a bit more exciting and funny. Overall though I liked it as a short, enjoyable film.

Posted in Features | Leave a comment

Tetrault, Boucher hone team leadership skills

PLAYERS ENTHUSIASTICALLY CHEER on their teammates before the start of the game in the spirit of sportsmanship. (file photo)

To new team leaders seniors Bailei Tetrault and Ellen Boucher of the Rensselaer women’s basketball team, basketball means a lot more than the score on the board.

“Since basketball is a team sport, commitment and trust in your teammates is essential to having success on the court,” said Boucher.

“When we show up to games and practices we expect that everyone will bring effort and intensity because the team is only as strong as the weakest player. While you’re a member of the team, you’re a member of the family we create.”

“During my time playing basketball at RPI over the years, upperclassmen have taught me the meaning of leadership,” said Tetrault. “They’ve demonstrated the qualities and characteristics in what makes a great leader. So now that I am captain, I’ve tried my best to delineate those same traits to the underclassmen.”

Since Winter Break began, their team has suffered in the points, falling in six of the eight games held over the recess, but what Tetrault and Boucher spoke most proudly of wasn’t the score; it was the growth they experience as a team while fighting from game to game that makes the sport worthwhile for them.

“Playing a collegiate sport provides you with an unparalleled college experience,” said Boucher. “A typical day in season includes a commitment of at least three hours training, practicing or playing [and] travel many weekends… This has allowed me to gain important time management and organization skills. I have also developed as a leader by learning from older players as an underclassmen and now applying those skills to lead the team myself as a captain, which is an honor I am privileged to maintain. The heart and dedication of collegiate athletes is astounding, helping me to mature both as a player and person.”

In what was one of the closest games of the season on Friday, the Engineers scored 51 points to St. Lawrence’s 52. Sophomore Shainta Iton sent the ball soaring eighteen times during the game, earning RPI 20 points with 10 baskets. Iton also managed eight rebounds. Senior Ashley Clough and freshman Sam Krumbhaar each added nine more points and freshman LaKissa Martin contributed six.

On Saturday, the Engineers journeyed to Skidmore College, where they played against the Thoroughbreds in a heated game. Although three Rensselaer women scored over ten points that night, their efforts were matched by Kelley Donnelly of Skidmore, who earned an impressive 33 points. With a 77-66 loss, the score was close for most of the game, only moving in favor of Skidmore in the fourth quarter.

“We are a young team but have a lot of talent,” said Tetrault.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Fazio, Lord, Dery shatter track records

RPI distance track runners junior Ben Fazio and sophomore Jaime Lord sent the indoor records at the Bombers’ Athletics and Events Center to the grave when they crossed the finish in 8:24.4 and 10:06.2, respectively. Both were honored as Liberty League Track Performers of the Week for their victories in Friday’s men’s and women’s 3000 meter run at Ithaca College, Fazio’s time, also a new school record and the top NCAA Division III time so far for 2016, was six tenths of a second faster than the former facility record. Lord surpassed the women’s record by more than 13 seconds.

“I think I speak for the entire team when I say that we’ve put in some good training for the past two months and have been excited being back on campus for a few weeks and competing again,” said Fazio. “So far the team is looking strong. We’ve already had a lot of people qualify for championship meets later in the season… Hopefully we’ll be able to translate some of that individual success into another Liberty League win for the team in a few weeks.”

Junior Maddie Dery finished as runner-up to Lord in the 3000 meter, also breaking the facility’s previous record.

“Racing is my favorite part of the sport, so I’m very excited to be back at it again,” said Dery. “I had a tough preseason this year [as] I was struggling with an Iliotibial band injury so I was unable to complete the full training schedule. After taking a couple days off and doing a lot of cross training…I’ve finally been able to start getting my mileage up over the last few weeks.”

Other top finishers at the meet were junior Garrett Davis in the 800 meter in 2:01.3 and the women’s 4×400 meter relay team. Junior Sara Khedr and sophomores Sabrina Ahamparam, Caroline Howes, and Monica Mazur together put three seconds on the runner up team from Oneonta College to finish in 4:20.3. In a photo finish, freshman Sean O’Connor took second in the mile by two tenths of a second to Connor Farrell from Oneonta.

In the field, senior Tyler Yeastedt, who was declared the Liberty League Men’s Field Athlete of the Week, captured the 35 pound weight throw with a mark of 17.39 m and came in second in the shot put. In the high jump, freshman Lauren Parker took second for the women and sophomore Max Maritato followed suit, finishing second for the men. In terms of points, the Engineers scored third and fourth out of four teams for the men and women respectively.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, hosted the first indoor meet of the season for the Engineers on Saturday, January 16, where the men and women both ranked second. Fazio placed first in the men’s 1000 m in 2:27.8 and Lord dominated the women’s 1000 m in 2:58.6.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Joe Cassidy no longer serving as Director of the Union

Edit 8:46 pm: After further discussion, The Poly believes that this article was written carelessly. A news article is no place for the opinion of the author. This article was not written in the way it should have been and we apologize for it. Not all of the Senior Board was given the opportunity to weigh in on this important article due to the winter vacation. We will leave the original piece below as we feel that taking it down would reflect poorly on us and appear as though we are hiding our mistakes. We will take the responses received about the article as a starting point to improve the content we publish concerning such topics.

-Jack Wellhofer, Editor in Chief


Joe Cassidy is no longer serving as Director of the Union, according to early communications from members of the Rensselaer Union Executive Board. This decision is effective immediately and comes in the middle of the E-Board’s annual budgeting period.

It is unclear as to why Cassidy is no longer serving. This news comes without warning and during winter recess. His tenure has been plagued with controversy; current and former students alike have attested to the poor relationship between Cassidy and student leaders.

According to student reports, Cassidy repeatedly overstepped his position’s boundaries, as defined in the Rensselaer Union Constitution, including the alleged strong-arming of the 2014 Constitution referenda, the attempted manipulation of both the Student Senate and the E-Board, the misrepresentation of student government to administrators, and the authorization of binding financial decisions without the approval of the E-Board. Cassidy also reportedly attempted to block the 2015 Constitution amendments, which ultimately passed.

The Poly reached out to President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16, who withheld comment until later in the day, and Grand Marshal Marcus Flowers ’16, who was not available for comment.

Edited 2:30 pm for accuracy.

Posted in News | Leave a comment
Rensselaer Union

Rensselaer Union’s Nelson leaving RPI

Communications specialist looking forward to new employment in Troy area

Update (12:10 pm, December 21):

After meeting with a reporter, Nelson provided The Poly with the following statement:

I am very happy to have accepted a position that will advance my career. This change is a great move for me, both personally and professionally. I am thankful to my friends, colleagues, and students who have said kind words and supported me.

Update (7:40 pm, December 17):

Following the article’s publication, Nelson responded to our request for comment with an invitation to meet in person. A reporter from The Poly intends to meet with her tomorrow.

Original Article (3:16 pm, December 17):

Rensselaer Union Communication Specialist Holly Nelson has accepted a new position and will be leaving RPI effective Tuesday, January 12. Nelson started working for the Union in September 2013.

An email from Nelson obtained by The Poly is vague on details and only says that she will remain around the Capital District.

At the time of publication, an request for comment from Nelson had not been answered. This article will be updated when Nelson responds to the request.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A statement regarding the December 9 parody issue

After further discussion with members of the Rensselaer community regarding the content of this week’s end-of-semester parody issue, the Polytechnic Senior Board has decided to redact some of this week’s content. While the intent of the issue was humor, some items were in poor taste and in excess. It does not further the image we wish to impart on the campus as the RPI newspaper.

The core mission of The Polytechnic is to provide a respectable news source to the Rensselaer community on events pertaining to Rensselaer. Although the parody issue, traditionally reserved for April Fool’s Day, is a way for students to provide humor to a stressful time in the semester, this instance of the parody issue was not conducive to The Poly’s mission.

We apologize for any offense or distress that the content may have caused and will be mindful of the impact of our future content.

Posted in Announcements | Leave a comment

Winter Tunnel initiative announced

In an email to the Rensselaer community, the RPI administration announced plans for the Winter Tunnel. In their email, they described Winter Tunnel as “a way to further help our community bond through the winter months.” They went on to describe how a similar program has worked well at Rochester Institute of Technology and that it has long been something RPI has needed. “I have seen first-hand how well this program works,” wrote an administrator. “It will be a much needed moral boost to the community.”

Immediately, “throwaway” accounts took to social media site Reddit to rationally discuss the announcement. Accounts in the form of “descriptor” + “metal” asserted their hatred of the new plan on RPI’s subreddit. One account, /u/liquidgallium, said, “I can’t believe you’ve done this. First Summer Arch, now this? Do you expect us to live here full time?” Another comment, by /u/transparentaluminum, said, “Hmm… CLASS support, or thinly veiled scheme? Either way, it doesn’t sound good. I guess all I’ve got is the Union now… ” Many of the comments complained about the further lack of communication with the students. “I’m quite close to the administration, and this is the first I’ve heard about this program. Why haven’t the students been given information on it before forcing it on us?” asked /u/pizzagate.

Students interviewed in the Rensselaer Union by The Poly were also concerned. Many asked how they would be able to celebrate the holidays with their family and whether or not they would ever be able to go home at all. “Wait, so, does this mean we’re living at RPI 365 days a year? That’s terrible!” said one student. Another student said, “wow, okay, I guess I’m going to be in a constant state of stress. Maybe I should join that new varsity curling team.”

Update (3:24 am, December 9): After new information came to light, it appears the Winter Tunnel is not what The Poly initially believed it to be. The name is unfortunately the inverse of the controversial Summer Arch program, but there is no relation. After reading the email and not just the subject line, it appears that the Winter Tunnel is, in fact, a winter tunnel planned so that students can have a warm, sheltered way to walk to and from classes on campus.

The email concluded, “we are sorry for our poor communication with the student body. We hope this is a way we can apologize and give back to the community. Happy holidays everyone.”

Disclaimer: All articles and content published on December 9, 2015 are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, organizations, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.
Posted in News | Leave a comment

Prestigious Rick Hartt museum amazes

LORD ALMIGHTY RICK HARTT STARES from his portrait in the Union Art Museum. The painting is highly valued in the art critic community and is often the target of robbers and criminals.

At the corner of 15th Street and Sage Avenue, there is an esteemed art museum that many students know—falsely, I might add—in another capacity. This museum contains only one important painting among a sea of worthless work, an image of the Rensselaer Union’s Lord almighty, Prince of Peace, Protector of Students, retired Director of the Union, Rick Hartt. The impression of Hartt comes with significant emotional baggage for many who see it, and it sends them on a literal trip down memory lane to the glory days of the Union.

The painting is best observed at a distance, due to its size and the size of the legacy Hartt has left on the Union. Observed too closely, one only sees splotches of paint and cannot make out the details. As you step back, you begin to see a man who has captured the respect of everyone he has interacted with in his years at RPI. The calm confident pose, so effortlessly captured by the artist, gives the viewer a sense that he was one of the few people to be able to bridge the large gap between the administration and the student body. It is the look of a man who was able to master the politics of both running the Union and making sure that students always had a voice in the affairs of their very own alma mater.

I would also like to remark that, while in the process of looking at the painting, it has undergone some security upgrades. Unfortunately, this painting was recently victimized (yes this masterpiece is so awe-inspiring that personification is the only way to do it justice) by a thief who could not have gone to RPI, for he would otherwise recognize the error of his ways. The museum’s private security force (who inexplicably reports directly to President Obama himself) would like any leads towards finding the cultureless Neanderthals responsible for the temporary theft of this great work of art.

Finally, this review ends with the reporting of some unsubstantiated rumors that a painting of another person might be on the way. The subject of this new painting may or may not have a corner office in Union 3710. Either way, I would like to comment that the addition of another painting would have to be done such that in deference to the visage of Hartt is maintained. To do otherwise would the reputation of our great museum on 15th and Sage, permanently.

Disclaimer: All articles and content published on December 9, 2015 are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, organizations, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.
Posted in Features | Leave a comment

Union gets putted to defeat in first match

SOPHOMORE SEAN BEACHAM PREPARES to tee off on the eleventh hole, which takes the players through the Polytechnic office.

Varsity minigolf hosted their first home event this past week, scraping by with a win against Union College on Thursday afternoon. Since the team is new this season, RPI Athletics has not had time to build a proper facility. The Liberty League has allowed the team to play through various academic buildings, deeming the course “suitable and challenging enough for the time being.”

Hole one starts on the third floor of Davison Hall. “It’s a long, straight shot,” said sophomore captain Tucker Babcock. “It can be tricky to get enough power to go the whole length of the hallway without having it bounce off a wall.” Babcock, a long time minigolfer, managed the hole in two shots. Union player Benjamin Dover nearly had a hole in one, but the effort was thwarted by an intoxicated freshman who stumbled out of his room onto the course. “It’s frustrating, but part of the game and part of the challenge,” remarked Dover.

The teams were even heading into hole five, the Engineers winning holes one and two, while the Dutchmen took three and four. Hole five takes the players through Commons Dining Hall, which is notoriously tricky during lunchtime. Sophomore Sean Beacham had what should have been a beautiful first putt, until a worker kicked it into the Pacifica station, forcing him to take his next shot in the rice. “That was unlucky,” said Beacham, “but we’ve been practicing our awkward putts for a while. I only felt a little bad when I hit the people in line with a face full of rice.”

The ninth hole is unique to RPI’s course. Players are required to substitute their golf balls for acorns, and must putt through the Quadrangle. Most players made it through the hole fine, but sophomore Riley Joinnides had his acorn claimed by one of the squirrels. Since there is no mulligan rule in competitive minigolf, Joinnides was forced to climb the tree and fight the squirrel for the ball. The other squirrels, seeing their companion in danger, joined the fight. Midway through, a hawk saw the opportunity to take the squirrel by surprise, and an epic, mid-air battle ensued. Joinnides missed the remainder of the match. Some say he’s still fighting the squirrel army.

Union was up by two going into the fifteenth hole, which is a playthrough of Walker Laboratory. “The toughest part of this hole,” explained sophomore Ranger Beguelin, “is ignoring the lab students when you break their glassware. ‘I’m going to sue!’ is pretty common to hear on this hole.” On the first shot, sophomore Louis Barrette broke a beaker with a powerful drive, causing a small fire and delay of game as the building was temporarily evacuated. The rest of the hole was completed with minimal casualties. Only two students were transported to Samaritan Hospital for glass related injury.

Finally, with the the scored tied, the rival teams reached the eighteenth hole. Each team lined up on the roof of Sage Laboratories. As RPI001 left its reserved spot next to the Troy Building, each player in turn took a chance at the much sought after hole-in-one: the tailpipe of the leaving vehicle. Many missed completely, and one Union player shattered the back windshield, for which he was later arrested, but it was a renegade squirrel, which had managed to steal Joinnides’ original golf ball, who managed to sink the ball into the tailpipe, granting varsity minigolf its first home win.

Disclaimer: All articles and content published on December 9, 2015 are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, organizations, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.
Posted in Sports | Leave a comment