Letters to the Editor

The “hot or not” section of last week’s Technique [printed Feb. 12] incorrectly asks the College Democrats to bring political candidates to campus, in light of the College Republican’s two speakers this semester. However, last semester we brought to campus, among several other speakers, two Gubernatorial candidates- General David Poythress, a former Secretary of State who ran the Georgia National Guard for 8 years, and then Georgia House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, one of Georgia’s longest-serving and most highly regarded public servants.

Both events were well publicized and well attended (40+ attendees for Poythress and about 30 for Porter), and I recall a Technique editor was at the Poythress event, but there was no follow-up article.

I really don’t care that the Republicans are getting glory articles for bringing in their candidates, but it would be nice if you could refrain from incorrectly slighting our organization, considering that we beat them to the punch.

On March 1, House Rep. Kathy Ashe will be speaking to us, and we will be reviewing the current legislative session. On March 8, we will be holding a campaign event with Michael Mills, who is running for Secretary of State. On March 15, Georgia Attorney General and Gubernatorial candidate Thurbert Baker will be on campus for a large campaign event.

We will hopefully be bringing former Governor Roy Barnes to campus in early April, pending finalization of plans.

Thank you!

Kristofer Carta

Fourth-year HTS

The excellence of Mass Effect 2 is hard to overstate. In regards to last week’s review [“Mass Effect 2,” printed on Feb. 13], however, to say that the bad elements of the game are not worth mentioning is to do a disservice to those looking for a balanced review.

One of the most common complaints concerns the mineral scanning, which is a tedious process of panning over planets looking for “blips” of resources on your radar. This, if anything, was a step back from exploring planets by vehicle in the original Mass Effect. The time spent on this monotonous task can range from minutes to hours, depending on the number of upgrades desired.

Additionally, I feel BioWare removed too many of the role-playing game elements. The combat and first-person shooter aspects are vastly improved, certainly, but the near-complete removal of any inventory system and oversimplification of the leveling system left a bit to be desired.

Overall, I will not fault BioWare for striving to improve their game in its weakest areas, but I felt that these negatives were important to be mentioned. I still highly and wholly recommend this game.

Ross Llewallyn

Third-year ECE

The annual Campus MovieFest event is a deeply flawed competition. Campus MovieFest does not provide the necessary guidelines to ensure a level playing field among the competing teams. As a result, the winning teams are often those with access to the best resources, not those with the best creative insight.

A competition, as a concept, distinguishes the best skill, talent and cleverness among a group of voluntary participants with similar backgrounds and training. In most quality competitions, the administrators take great care to ensure that no one competing individual or team has an unfair advantage. Whether in athletic games, talent shows, academic bowls or other competitive events, establishing these equitable conditions and avoiding mitigating factors ensures that the winners are determined only by these aforementioned traits.

Campus MovieFest, however, exercises little oversight on the films that their student teams produce. While all of the teams are given a standard set of video equipment at the start of the competition, many with access opt to rely on more professional cameras, microphones, lighting and video editor software. Furthermore, even though Campus MovieFest was originally designed to be an amateur’s competition, teams will often bring on board (or be composed entirely of) students with considerable filmmaking experience. A quick browse on Campus MovieFest’s YouTube channel reveals dozens of videos that almost look to be the product of a highly-equipped, well-trained Hollywood studio. These are not amateur films by any stretch of the imagination.

As a result, Campus MovieFest is often unfairly biased toward teams with better access to superior equipment and professional talent. It destroys the equality that most competitions are supposed to ensure. How is a team of casual friends with no film background supposed to compete with a team from, say, BuzzStudios or Berkeley’s Digital Film Institute? Campus MovieFest is in danger of being overrun by upcoming filmmakers looking for a new venue for their craft.

Campus MovieFest needs to re-evaluate their guidelines to return fairness to their competition. First, Campus MovieFest should prohibit any student currently or formerly associated with a film production club, department or studio from participating. Teams may consult such individuals in an unofficial advisory role, but these individuals may have no direct involvement in any stage of production. All teams should sign an honor statement to this effect.

Second, Campus MovieFest should require teams to use only the video equipment that they issue. They should also require their teams to edit their videos in iMovie, which is much faster and simpler to learn than Final Cut Pro. These latter two guidelines will equalize the technical aspects of film production.

When Campus MovieFest started at the beginning of the decade, it presented a great opportunity for students to produce and show off casual videos. There are plenty of other venues and exhibitions for students looking to turn filmmaking into a serious hobby or career. Let’s give Campus MovieFest back to the amateurs.

Joshua Cuneo

’07 CS

I would like to offer a rebuttal to the main points raised in the Consensus Opinion.

You argue that the sword attack on campus is an example of why students shouldn’t be allowed to have weapons.

The sword attack on campus underscores the inability of law enforcement to prevent violent crime and the ineffectiveness of current laws as a deterrent. It is just as much of a felony to carry a blade over 4 inches as it is to carry a firearm on campus.

The arms race that you predict between students and attackers has not taken place in the rest of the city or, for that matter, the 48 states that allow concealed carry. Allowing carry on campus will do nothing to reduce crime because of the small population of students and faculty who qualify for a Firearms License.

There is a strong correlation between the proliferation of right to carry laws and reductions in violent crime during the 1990’s. Even if we ignore the statistical data, denying a fundamental right to a section of the population because they are a minority is constitutionally and morally wrong.

You argue that the average student or faculty member would not be able to help themselves with a weapon during a crime. I would ask that you show more respect toward your peers. The U.S. Department of Justice also disagrees with you. According to the DOJ Crime Victimization Survey, victims who use a gun to defend themselves from an attacker are the least likely (3.6 percent) to sustain injuries in an attack. Victims who do nothing (the suggested tactic by GTPD) are injured a startling 55.2 percent of the time.

You also state that the academic environment is too stressful for firearms. However, none of the horrific accidents that you predict have occurred at universities that allow students to carry concealed weapons. The same pressures that you cite exist off campus.

Like it or not, firearms are deeply rooted in our culture and society. We can pretend that they don’t exist by banning them on campus but that is a naive, head-in-the-sand approach. Ignorance is the real danger to our community and anytime we promote it we are doing more harm than good.

Nick Reaves

Fifth-year ME

I want to thank you for covering The Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference (gtRIC). There are several points in the article that I want to clarify.

First, I want to thank all of the volunteers, students, staff and judges that helped at gtRIC. The student response was overwhelming, and this event would not have happened without dedicated volunteers. gtRIC emerged from the Graduate Symposium and owes a lot to the work of prior conference chairs and organizers. I want to particularly thank Janna Blum. In addition to overseeing the conference last year, Janna was the technical director this year. The technical challenges of a conference this large are immense and she did a fantastic job.

Second, I want to clarify that there were a total of 300 posters. We actually had more entrants than we could accommodate in the space we had.

Third, I wanted invite presenters, judges, volunteers and staff to complete, a short survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2NQLWRL. Our goal is to improve this event next year.

Baruch Feigenbaum

Grad. Student CE