Harry and the Potters: 15 years of Wizard Rock

Harry Potter has been a part of the overall cultural narrative on an international scale for almost two decades now. So today, you might learn something about Harry Potter that you might not know: he has a band, a whole genre of music, as a matter of fact. Wizard Rock as a genre is rock music about Harry Potter the story, but the band I’m going to tell you about today deals with is about Harry Potter the character, and the two guys who bring him to life in the real world.

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Race to the Red Planet: Mars 2033

I’m really passionate about space. A lot of the reason I got a degree in physics is due to a childhood passion for the cosmos. I wanted to be an astronaut more than anything as a child. To be able to see the vast expanse of the universe and do research that would change the world? That’s the dream for me. Unfortunately, I have a bad knee and have terrible vision, and astronauts have to be in prime physical condition. So instead, I find the wonders of the universe in physics.

Space travel has become more and more prominent in recent years due to its integration into the private sector via organizations like Space X, who also strive to make reusable rockets, instead of our current unsustainable single use rockets. But what does this mean for NASA? And what does it mean for those of us who hope to go to space but aren’t astronauts? Private sector organizations show the world that anyone can go to space if they have the money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good idea.

Funding has just been granted to NASA for a program that intends to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2033, which seems like a long way off, but is a huge step in space exploration, and will even effect the way we live life on Earth. Some of the most revolutionary leaps in technology and medicine have been products of the space program. Research happens at the International Space Station each and every day,  a worldwide collaboration in discovery. They aren’t the only ones headed to the Red Planet though. The private organization Mars One intends to make a permanent colony on Mars along the same timeline NASA has for its manned mission, but this plan seems overly ambitious and unrealistic.

The main differences between these private organizations and NASA are funding, accessibility to civilians, and rules about what we are allowed to do on the Martian surface. Where Mars One and even Space X want to colonize on Mars (though with very different methods), NASA wants to explore the surface, gaining scientific knowledge with minimal disruption to the planet’s surface. The NASA Office of Planetary Protection strives to make sure that we do not harm the places we explore.

I have all the hope in the world for future space travel. The biggest thing holding the human race back from getting people to Mars is due to money, because space travel is really expensive. There is much to be gained from space travel, but only by working together on an international scale will we have the skills we need to truly discover the secrets of the universe.

What do you want the future of space travel to be? Should humans live on Mars? 

Why do I still feel broke?: Lifestyle Inflation

Lifestyle inflation isn’t something that gets talked about often, which means a lot of people aren’t even aware it is occurring. When you get a new, better paying job, you are often spending more to accommodate your new lifestyle. This can happen to be best of us, but awareness is key to stopping it.

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Silence Does Not Mean Yes: Consent

Living in a city, I deal with being catcalled, inappropriately touched, and harassed on a weekly, if not more frequent, basis, and I know that I am not alone in this experience. It defies gender, race, and sexuality, though some are more affected than others.

Consent is often a hot topic these days, and is another one of those words where everybody has a different definition. The legal definition in the United States varies from state to state, and some states, such as Massachusetts or Iowa, do not specifically define it at all.
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Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995

On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 a.m., a bomb went off in front of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, OK. This event would kill 168 people, and would be considered the deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. In the modern age where it seems that a terrorist attack happens every single day, this seems like it is just another unspeakable tragedy. But this tragedy changed the precedent for the entire country, changing domestic policy and eventually leading to the creation of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which has been said by critics to be “surely one of the worst statutes ever passed by Congress and signed into law by a President.” It changed the definition of habeas corpus and made getting an appeal much more difficult.
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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is such an unknown word it gets a little red line under it when you type it into a word processor, even though over 5 million people live with it in the US each year. For many years and even now, it was believed to not be a real condition by some people. As someone who has watched one of the closest people in my life suffer with it for over a decade, I can tell you, it is real to the person suffering through it.
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