Brennan Edel


Articles

​EDEL: Breaking down a Computer Science minor

Computer Science is an intrinsically different type of discipline in that it is highly vocational, more so than any other major in the College or the Engineering School. A study on return-on-investment for universities came to the conclusion that a Computer Science degree is the most valuable in the nation almost across the board. And the reason for that is that almost everything taught in the department correlates to a job skill.

​EDEL: Moving beyond the equal sign

The researchers also advocate broadening kids' "definition of the equal sign," meaning they should "be trained to view an equal sign (=) as balancing an equation, not as a command to produce an answer." This poignant idea uncovers probably the most nefarious byproduct of using expressions or "?" equations to teach students math: it commits a subtle semantical error. Asking children to fill in the spot after the equal sign suggests that by doing the arithmetic, one is actually creating the answer to the problem.

​EDEL: In praise of the thesis

Writing a thesis is the sort of résumé padding that I can get behind. Besides the fact that spending fourth year writing 40 or more pages of deep academic discourse is not something that one does merely on a whim, writing a thesis confers, in addition to the honors, a deeper and more pointed understanding of the major than only coursework can provide. Spending months researching, writing and finally producing a unique thesis about one single topic instills and inspires the sort of hard work and creativity that is truly distinctive.

​EDEL: Time for a sane scheduling system

We need a lottery system. I imagine something like the one used for scheduling basketball games, except with students listing out their intended classes in order of priority. Rather than Sabre points — which give a person more ‘names in the bucket’ come ticket-allocating time for sports games — we’d give people more names in the bucket for their preferred classes.

​EDEL: Tackling brain injury in the NFL

The fact is, Borland isn’t retiring so he can save a bit of intelligence; he’s retiring so he doesn’t end up depressed and suicidal, forgetting the names of his children and the details of his childhood. You can’t compensate somebody for that burden. Nor can you call it an injury. Injuries you can live with; CTE is a curse.

​EDEL: Rethinking serial killers

But for some reason, despite the dearth of serial murders and the rise of more modern fears, the Dursts of the world still hold America rapt with attention. This would be fine if we went about it in a methodical and thoughtful manner, but as coverage of Durst shows, we would rather see these stories crammed into the mold of our preexisting conceptions, to the detriment of the victims and broader awareness of mental health. By perpetuating the stereotype of the insane serial killer, we’re spreading misinformation about serial killers and about legitimate mental illness.

EDEL: Expanding our idea of spring break

I realize Groves’ intention isn’t to solely promote the traditional spring break experience, but in effect his email is doing exactly that, with the side-effect of marginalizing alternative spring break options. Although it’s not the express job of the University administration to publicize alternative options — many of which are student-organized — and more their job to ensure student safety, they should match their coverage of ‘traditional spring break’ with a touch of other options.

​EDEL: Idris Elba for Bond — with reservations

Casting the popular and talented Elba would actually be a monumental inconsistency. The other Bond actors were relative nobodies when they took the role or dropped out of the public eye once they left it, mostly because they weren’t any good in the first place.

EDEL: Misunderstanding Modi

I find Doyle’s portrayal of Modi as a ruthless, power-hungry fascist dictator — as evidenced by Doyle’s numerous references to fascism and his portentous warning that a “nationalistic man leading the Indian state should be very scary to us all” — decidedly exaggerated and unfounded.

EDEL: The Grammys don’t make sense

Maybe part of the reason the Grammys seem so contrived these days is that a music community, at one time, did exist. But with the rise of iTunes in the 2000s and the subsequent arrival of music-streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify, the importance of the individual artist is at an all-time low. We can pick and choose what songs we like.