UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 27, 2023

OPINION | Alec Baldwin rightfully charged for fatal shooting

Alec Baldwin and “Rust” armorer were rightfully charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 19. 

Actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Oct. 21, 2021. During the filming of “Rust,” an American-western movie, Baldwin also shot and injured director Joel Souza. The incident occurred on the movie set located at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hutchins was admitted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after being shot in her chest. Hutchins passed away later that day. 

Baldwin, along with the armorer of “Rust”, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are justly being charged.

Involuntary manslaughter is still a homicide charge. However, it’s not as severe as first-degree murder. For Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red, one charge is an 18-month sentence and the other is a five-year sentence.

A Market Watch reporter, spoke to a criminal attorney about the charges Baldwin is facing. According to the report, if Baldwin’s case goes to trial, Baldwin will only be convicted of one of the charges, and the jury will have to choose which charge for Baldwin to be convicted of. 

People magazine said Baldwin’s attorney made a statement that said: “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

Baldwin’s attorney is wrong. It doesn’t matter if Baldwin didn’t know there was a bullet in the prop gun. Just because he didn’t know about the bullet doesn’t make him exempt from the consequences of taking someone’s life. If any other person accidentally shot someone, they would be charged and forced to take a plea or serve jail time. Baldwin should not be treated differently than anyone else just because he is famous.

Not only do non-famous people face the consequences of their actions, so do other celebrities. Actor Matthew Broderick hit and killed two people in Northern Ireland in 1987.

CNN reported Broderick was charged with dangerous driving but the charge was later reduced to careless driving. He was fined and did not spend any time in prison. Broderick was not drinking, and therefore, the car accident was purely accidental. Yet, he was still charged and had consequences.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red have the options of taking a plea deal. However, both will be fighting their charges despite being guilty of losing a life on set.

According to People magazine, Gutierrez-Red’s attorneys said: “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”

Her attorneys said that Gutierrez-Red’s charges are the result of a flawed investigation and an inaccurate understand of the full situation. Her attorneys intend to prove Gutierrez-Red’s innocence.

Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb and Mary Carmack-Altwies, Santa Fe County District Attorney, said that if Baldwin or Gutierrez-Red had done their job, Hutchins would still be alive.

Some people may say Baldwin should be let go because it wasn’t his fault. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he killed someone.

Baldwin did not intend to kill someone, but someone lost their life. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red did not correctly perform their jobs by making sure the firearm was not loaded. That is their fault. 

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red’s lawyers believe their clients are innocent. However, they are not. 

Even though Baldwin should without a doubt be charged, Gutierrez-Red should be given a more severe punishment. Gutierrez-Red is the armorer, and her job is to ensure the transport and safe use of firearms. Technically, she should have made sure the firearm Baldwin had was safe to use.

Baldwin is still guilty for taking someone’s life. However, Gutierrez-Red should be held in a higher degree of responsibility than Baldwin. The fact is she didn’t ensure the gun was OK to use. If she had properly done her job, Hutchins would still be alive.

In a statement obtained by People, the Hutchins family attorney said on behalf of the family: “Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

One cannot put a price on life, and thus losing it calls for action. It’s doing the Hutchins family justice to not let Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red walk away freely. Therefore, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red have been rightly charged.

OPINION | Flip phones make a comeback as latest tech trend

I can remember growing up and observing all of the adults around me using phones that flipped open and shut before they were forced out of popularity with the advent of the iPhone.

Well flip phones are back—or at least trying to come back.

Thanks to viral TikTok videos of creators using flip phones and documenting their experiences, the hashtag #bringbackflipphones has over 25 million views on the app.

So, what is it about flip phones that is suddenly so appealing to Gen Z and myself? Well, some experts claim they can improve mental health, are satisfying to use, are more durable than smartphones and are part of a modern fascination with retro technology.

Flip phones improve mental health

Many TikTok creators seem to have many positive things to say about using a flip phone, including the impact it has had on their mental health. They believe smartphones have a negative effect on young users, and flip phones provide a less distracting and stressful alternative when going out with friends. 

Some negative effects smartphones can have on users include:

  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Concentration and learning issues
  • Less physical activity
  • Eyesight problems
  • Lack of personal communication

I personally can think of many times when I have been out in public with the opportunity to socialize and meet new people but instead have retreated to the comfort of my phone.

Flip phones are satisfying to use

I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, Breaking Bad, last summer when I realized the protagonist Walter White used a flip phone. White was often shown flipping his phone open to check a text message or aggressively flipping it shut to end a phone call. There was something satisfying about the way the character did both of these actions.

Imagine you are in an argument on the phone, and instead of touching a button on the screen to hang up, you slam your phone shut with a satisfying sound to highlight your anger. This is a feature phone manufacturers should have never gotten rid of. 

Another bonus of using a flip phone is how cool you’ll look when you pull your phone out of your pocket and whip it open. It might make you feel like a spy with a cool new gadget or a business person from the 2000s.  

Flip phones are durable

Both of my parents had flip phones when I was a kid. They were fascinating at the time and seemed almost indestructible. I can recall a few times when my mom accidentally dropped her phone just to pick it up with only a few minor scratches to show. Now, with smartphones being used by the vast majority, every time we drop our phones we have a quick moment of panic before we pick it up to see if the screen has shattered or if it’s broken in any other way.

Flip phones typically have the screen fully protected when the phone is off and folded while the other parts of the phone are built in very durable and long lasting ways. 

Flip phones are retro

After I finished “Breaking Bad,” I spent the next few weeks searching thrift stores to find working flip phones with no success. At the same time, I was trying to convince my friends that they should get one too by telling them it could be a secret form of communication within our friend group. I then realized I had become a victim of this growing trend, and I was fully onboard with it. 

Gen Z seems to have a fascination with old trends and technology while other generations don’t. In other words, retro is the new normal. Flip phones join a list that includes polaroids, bucket hats and thrift shopping, so what is it that makes retro technology and fashion so appealing? 

Well, it’s nostalgia.

Retro tech may make us feel like we are living in a more simple and stress-free time that we may remember from our childhoods. It makes us feel comfortable and briefly forget about the problems we are facing as adults. It also allows us to feel more like the people we grew up idolizing. 

Flip phones today may include modernized features

Now, I know you’re thinking flip phones are lacking many of the everyday features you rely on by using a smartphone like maps, high-quality cameras and internet access. However, there are many solutions to this problem if you do decide to go the flip phone route. 

After spending 30 days with only a flip phone, TikTok creator @imacrispynugget decided he was going to continue to use his flip phone a majority of the time. He will only use his smartphone when navigating somewhere or when in need of a personal hotspot for his computer. 

Many modern flip phones are also much more advanced than those of the 2000s. Some even include things such as Google Maps and internet search bars. 

If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon of using a flip phone, I suggest you do.

OPINION | Early campus construction causes chaos for students

Closed roads, blocked pathways, no parking and unhappy students. That’s what the construction on campus brings to the student population.

Campus View Suites III was announced last semester to replace Nisson Towers. Expected to be the largest student housing building on campus, construction began at the beginning of the spring 2023 semester and is estimated to finish in July 2024. What faculty didn’t consider was the affect it would have on students.

Construction shouldn’t have begun until this semester was over, and the majority of students had left campus. It would have been easier for everyone if the campus remained as it was prior to construction for the remainder of the semester.

With half of the student housing parking lots blocked behind gates, students have swarmed the parking lot by the Udvar-Hazy Business building and Jennings Communication buildings leaving barely any available parking for those that live farther away.

What used to take seconds to find an open parking spot can now take up to 20 minutes. Most of the time, students end up parking in the M. Anthony Burns Arena parking lot because there are no parking spots closer to their classes. Parking lots were already filled to capacity before the construction, now it’s nearly impossible to find a parking spot close by.

I live 15 minutes away from campus, so I usually leave around 30 minutes before my classes start to find parking. With the amount of available parking spaces we have this semester, I leave 30 minutes before class and still walk in 10 minutes late.

Utah Tech University faculty should have taken into consideration the amount of students that use the parking lots. Not everyone has parking passes, but enough do that we need the full parking lot to fit everyone. With such a large chunk of the parking lot blocked off, there aren’t nearly enough open spaces to fit the students that need to park there.

With the construction also comes the road closure. The main road leading to the Jennings building’s parking lot was cut off making it so students need to go around the baseball field to make it to the parking lot. The traffic down that road is worse than ever and has led to car accidents. A car flipped on its side and rear-end accidents only made the situation worse. With only one route and too many students taking it, it’s bound to lead to more accidents and injuries.

If the construction had started when it was supposed to in the summer, no one would be having these issues. Students wouldn’t be walking into class late because they had to park on the other side of campus, walkways would be accessible to students that live near the construction, and the roads wouldn’t need to be closed.

Aside from the chaos this construction has caused, by starting construction later in the year, students wouldn’t have been relocated to different buildings throughout campus. The previous residents of Nisson Towers had to be moved to open rooms throughout other student housing buildings and some ended up at the University Inn down Tabernacle St.

Students who signed a lease with Nisson Towers wanted to be close to campus and some ended up farther than they wanted to be. If construction had been pushed back to the summer, these students wouldn’t be facing this issue and going through the stress of moving between semesters. No one expects to be moved halfway through the year because of construction.

While it can’t be stopped now and we’ll have to deal with the consequences of construction, faculty should have taken students’ lives into consideration when planning this new building. The new construction has disrupted the lives of those living around the work, those who go to class near it and those who had to be moved because of it. It’s something we’ll have to get used to, but it could have been avoided.

OPINION | Instagram dominates social media landscape

Because there are so many different social media applications becoming popular, it can be hard to choose what the best one is.

The best social media app is the best for many reasons, and I have decided which social media app is the most versatile and useful among college students.

That app is Instagram.

Instagram is the fourth most actively used social media platform but the app has features that incorporate aspects of other popular social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok that ultimately make it the most versatile social media app.

Instagram has a “stories” feature which is similar to Snapchat’s main purpose of posting photos that stay active for 24 hours. Instagram stories, different than Snapchat stories, can be highlighted on the owner’s page to allow them to be organized and archived, unlike Snapchat.

This makes it possible for users to customize what they don’t want to be shown on their main page but still have the photos posted on their account. I have multiple highlighted stories on my Instagram like different concerts I’ve been to and life updates that I wanted to organize into groups.

Aria Line, a sophomore psychology major from Idaho Falls, Idaho, said she agrees Instagram is her favorite social media app.

Line said: “It’s fun to get ready to take Instagram pictures and then see the reactions to the posts. I also like the fact that it’s easy to message my friends on direct messenger and send them memes and funny videos I see on my explore page.

The newly added reel option allows users to post short or long video clips from YouTube to their Instagram accounts.

Instagram also allows users to upload and share popular TikTok trends and videos, which is primarily where most people see the newest and latest trends. Because everyone has a different personalized for you page on TikTok, it doesn’t offer the same exposure and variety of videos that the Instagram reels’ section does. I find out about way more trends through Instagram reels than I do from my personal TikTok account.

Instagram has also created the option to change your profile into a subcategory, which includes a business option. If you create a business account then you are able to see engagement across your posts, market more specifically to your followers and stay connected to your brand. This is a feature most other social media platforms do not have.

Zach Root, a junior management major from Berthoud, Colorado, said Instagram is the best social media platform because he is able to use it for fitness influencing.

“I was able to create a fitness Instagram account that has gained thousands of followers across the world,” Root said.”I can see how well my posts are doing because I have my account labeled as a ‘fitness model’ business account,” Root said. “Instagram is the only social media app that allows me to influence the fitness industry while staying personable to my followers.”

He uses his fitness Instagram account to influence others and his personal Instagram account to stay connected with his friends and family that live in Colorado while he is attending college in Utah.

“It’s so awesome to see my friends from back home post photo updates,” Root said. “Everyone is so busy that texting back and forth isn’t really realistic, so seeing everyone post photos on Instagram makes me feel involved in their lives from a distance.”

Utah Tech University also utilizes its Instagram account’s engagement features to promote events, sports, news and increase future student recruiting.

The only social media platform that every club, organization and sports team use at Utah Tech is Instagram. This allows students to stay connected to the unique groups the university has to offer on one social media platform.

I get most of my updates about everything Utah Tech related through their Instagram accounts.

Instagram also has a shopping feature that is perfectly tailored to your interests allowing you to experience easy and stress-free shopping. Going onto the shopping tab allows you to be exposed to and support small businesses, shop your favorite influencer’s recommendations, and order directly through Instagram.

Businesses are also able to organize their most popular products to be advertised first, which makes it easy to shop for the best-of-the-best products from a brand you already love.

Ordering directly from Instagram saves the time and hassle of searching for a product on a different website because on Instagram they are tagged and can be ordered directly through the shopping tab on Instagram.

Besides the mere convenience of Instagram’s features, Instagram simply allows you to express yourself through photos. You can share any photo you want your friends and family to see and create a feed that is unique to you.

The Weeknd, Mike and Post Malone are my favorite musician’s Instagrams that I follow because they often post upcoming concert dates, teasers of new releases and interact with fans.

If you don’t already have an Instagram account, now is the time to create one and become immersed in all of the unique features this social media platform offers.

OPINION | 2023 Predictions: Major political, fashion, social media shifts on the horizon

As we enter the new year, predictions of what will happen often spark controversy.

It’s the start of a new year and the beginning of a new decade. This year has loads of predictions already sparking, and it makes us wonder how many of them will come true. As new technologies and social media trends are expected to emerge, what should we make of wild predictions or unpopular opinions? Traveling is reentering the minds as travel holds from the pandemic start to disappear which predicts crazy populations of people traveling again. Predictions are often taken with a glance as we enter the new year but these predictions look promising. Looking at the new technologies and potential political worries gives us a look at what this year might have in store.

Joe Biden will die

This sounds harsh, but President Joe Biden is 80 years old and is not getting any younger.

Biden is the oldest president of the U.S. and the oldest president elected at 78. Current speculations are rising as to how much longer Biden has as President of the U.S. Concerns for his health are rising as he is recently seen as quiveringly walking compared to prior years. This is long after the average age of retirement. This has people wondering how much longer he has before he dies of sickness or secedes. Biden should be retiring and giving the opportunity as president to younger generations. If Biden does not secede, then he will die in office.

As Vice President Kamala Harris would become president making her the first female president. Harris currently holds a near 50 percent disapproval rate. This sways her status within the Democratic house on if she can hold the office of president. If her approval status continues to go down she would not be a good candidate for president.

TikTok is out; Vine is in

TikTok has undergone multiple stages of almost being banned. Recently, states like Colorado and Alabama have put in requests to ban the widely-popular application. Politicians are afraid the China-owned company is collecting and potentially selling data.

TikTok has been widely popular since 2018 and has grown exponentially in cultural influence and user popularity. 60 percent of TikTok users are 16-24 years old, and almost everyone has some social media platform and has at least seen a TikTok, but like all great things, will TikTok dissolve this year?

Vine was an iconic social media platform that took over in the mid-2010s. After its unexpected ending in 2016, the app was left as a memory in the back of our minds. Vine in many ways was the catalyst for how TikTok started. Vine had an upload time of six seconds similar to TikTok’s upload time is around 60 seconds. Influencers like Marcus Johns and Liza Koshy have made their way into the TikTok world. Many other Vine influencers have joined TikTok and have made similar content to what they did during Vine. This definitely brings back nostalgia to people who had Vine and are now entering the world of TikTok.

As the early 2000s come back as a trend in fashion and culture, videos uploaded on Vine are recirculating on the internet. Speculation of Elon Musk bringing back Vine has been debunked but that doesn’t mean something similar will be created early this year.

TikTok is designed to have an influencer market and fast trend approach. Something like Vine can easily come back better than ever. Vine videos were designed to be six seconds, which is perfect for the fast scrolling through TikTok and the short attention span of average TikTok users. 

Sheer fabric and silver jewelry are back

Some fashion trends get crazier every year, but this one is here to stay.

Sheer fabric has been popular over the years and is coming back stronger than ever as we see more outfits and pop culture references become popular again. Sheer fabrics are all about strategically layering shirts and accessories. Think about the 90s trends of Cher Horowitz in “Clueless” or Drew Barrymore.

It’s all about getting the right style nowadays, and sheer fabric will be all the rage. With the warmer weather in St. George, you can hop on the trend earlier in the year.  

Deciding the color of jewelry all depends on the colors you wear, and silver is the way to go this year.

With medium blues and dark greens continuing the trends of 2023, something silver will complement the color schemes and the sheer fabrics.

Thick necklaces and earrings were popular last year and will continue to be popular this year. Celebrities and fashion designers are adding more and more silver accessories to fashion runways and movie premieres. During the Golden Globes, Jenna Ortega rocked silver necklaces and silver earrings.

Artificial intelligence will become more accessible

With the rising trend of artificial intelligence designing different portraits of pictures in seconds as seen on TikTok, to Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer writing essays for you in seconds, AI is taking over the world. Doing simple tasks is now being handed over to AI.

AI has made an impact on our world since it was invented. It is prominent in movies, media and everyday life. AI is often seen as a force that eventually overtakes the world, and this is starting to look like a reality.

ChatGPT is a popular AI created in 2022 designed to use algorithms and data to write basic everyday essays or topics in native languages.

This has raised concern for the younger generation because of how easy it is to use and how authentic essays generated artificially can appear. Speculations have risen as to how much longer the search engine Google will last. If someone can take the algorithm ChatGPT uses and make a fast search engine that Google has, it will blow up. It is possible that with how popular ChatGPT is someone is making a faster more reliable search engine that will take over the future. It’s daunting to think of how fast AI is taking over how we do daily things.

Off season is the on season

When traveling, it is sometimes smart to go to your destination during the off season when it isn’t as popular. Flights can be cheaper and crowds are less daunting.

Now that travel influencers are rising in popularity, they are giving out all the best secrets. One of them is to travel during the off season. This leads to popular destinations being popular all year round, and unconsciously getting rid of the off-season. This may cause economic worries in the future, but for now, it is safe to say the infamous off season won’t be so off anymore. 

The year 2023 is shaping up to be a year of cool trends and new beginnings. Predictions like these will have us looking back remembering the crazy times we lived in and the trends that took over the year. These promising trends can get us prepared and ready for the new year ahead.

OPINION | Disneyland is the happiest place on earth

If you don’t think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, you’re doing it wrong.

Disneyland offers the full theme park experience. There is entertainment for all ages, attractions and good food.

There is a noticeable, special feeling the second you step on “The Walk of Magical Memories.” Whether it is the smell of freshly baked goods and popcorn or the magical firework show, there is no doubt that you will leave with a smile on your face.

Nostalgic

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy” is one of the first signs you will see walking into Disneyland. After reading the quote, you can pay attention to the different posters displayed near it and throughout the park.

These movie posters simply display the past and present Disney movies, but I personally admire the reminders of how far Disney has come. Not only do they offer visual representations of Disney’s greatest achievements, but they are also a preview of what attractions you may find in the park.

Although Disneyland is always renovating and adding rides, you will still want to keep the original attractions in your mix.

There are still 13 attractions operating that have been at the park since the opening day. One of the most popular rides amongst the 13 is Peter Pan’s Flight. Despite the fact that this ride has been running since 1955, it is arguably one of the best storytelling rides Disneyland has to offer.

Peter Pan’s Flight perfectly encompasses the movie by taking you over the city of London and other scenes of the movie.

Even though the prices and technology may change at Disneyland, the core attractions will always bring the same nostalgia you experienced when you were a kid.

You can watch your favorite movies come to life

Disneyland goes above and beyond when it comes to bringing the magic to life. The most recent example of this is the movie “Star Wars.”

The new state-of-the-art Rise of Resistance ride is the most technologically advanced theme park attraction in existence today. This attraction is a combination of audio-animatronics, screen-based media, motion simulations, and more to make it feel like you are truly on a secret mission.

I was truly stunned the first time I rode this ride. Although we waited almost 70 minutes, it was worth every second.

This ride was unlike any theme park ride I had rode before. The technology and the surprises Rise of the Resistance offered were mind-blowing and something you have to experience in person to understand.

Along with the movie-based attractions, there are handfuls of your favorite characters around the park at all times. If you are lucky, you will catch them doing stunts and other acts.

Entertainment at every corner

Not only does Disneyland have 58 attractions to choose from, it has a variety of entertainment to ensure there is never a dull moment.

This entertainment can be as small as a character walking around and interacting with guests to incredible nighttime shows starring Mickey Mouse. The entertainment that is provided throughout Disneyland adds to the magical experience that other theme parks lack.

While at Disneyland, you can enjoy street performers, live music and fireworks to name a few. No matter how many times you go, you will always find a new type of entertainment to enjoy with your family and friends.

My favorite entertainment Disneyland offers is the “Fantasmic!” show. This show escalates the Rivers of America to a thrilling act that has fireworks, music and stunts that incorporates Disney’s favorite characters.

Walt Disney himself said it best: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

If you are on the fence, take a trip to the happiest place on earth. You won’t be disappointed.

OPINION | Watch out e-books, paper books are here to stay

As an avid reader since the time I could put words together, I’ve been a part of the paper book versus e-book debate for ages.

While e-books are more convenient, paper books will always have my heart. Nothing beats the feeling of flipping through the pages of a hard copy of my favorite book.

Yes, I’ll admit that e-books are rising in popularity because of the easy features. You can pull a book up on your phone when you’ve got the time and read away. Features like Kindle Unlimited make it easy to have all the books you can imagine at the tips of your fingers. While that would work in a pinch, you can’t deny the nostalgic feeling of a paper book.

I won’t lie, I have a Kindle and use it frequently, but when I have the chance, I’d pick my paper books any day. Picking up a new book, smelling the freshly printed pages, and feeling the story at your fingertips is priceless. E-readers don’t get to experience books like us hard copy lovers do.

As of 2021, only 9% of Americans only read e-books while 32% only read print copies. There are those that will read a book in any format, like myself, and don’t bother tuning into the age-old debate. While I prefer to flip through the pages of an actual book, I won’t complain when I have to turn to my e-books. 75% of U.S. adults will read a book in any format in 2021.

When you’re browsing through your local bookstore, you’ll have to make a decision; go the old-fashioned way with a printed book or go for an e-reader.

Printed Books

Reading printed books will help with memory retention and focus. When you put your phone down and pick up a book, you’re forced to put away distractions and focus on the story in front of you. You’re more likely to remember the plot of a book easier if you’re reading it off a page instead of a screen.

It also helps with sleep and eye strain. We’ve all heard the tips telling us to put our phones away an hour before bed to fall asleep easier. Nothing beats falling asleep to the whispers of pages sliding across each other as you navigate through a story.

I’ve had glasses since I was in the fourth grade and my parents would often scold me for squinting at my phone to read versus picking up a book. My eyesight continued to get worse and we came to find out that reading on my phone was a big part of that problem. Looking at tiny words on a tiny screen can cause headaches and bad eyesight, I’m a victim of both.

Nostalgia is one of the best things about printed books. Sitting down and flipping open your favorite book with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate is a very relaxing act and can help you wind down after a long day.

E-Books

When browsing through a bookstore, something that might catch your eye is the cost difference between printed books and e-readers. While printed books can go for anywhere between $9 and $20, an e-reader can range from $50 to $130.

Now, the thing to think about; a bigger one-time cost can be more effective than buying $15 books every time you need a new one. E-readers, however, don’t guarantee that each book you want to download will be free. Some books may cost just as much as the printed version.

E-readers also give you the chance to bring your books with you wherever you may be; it’s easier to carry around, but also requires charge and Wi-Fi. You’ll still need to jump through some hoops in order to read when you’re away from home.

The debate is never-ending, but I know my answer. Printed books will always be better than their electronic counterpart. E-readers may be getting popular, but they’ll never reach the level that printed books are on.

OPINION | Despite conspiracy theories, the Moon landing was real

While I wholeheartedly believe in our ability in space travel today, there is solid evidence and strong factors that make the first moon landing a little fishy. 

My main cause for speculation is the time period it happened. 

Red Scare

The first man-made spacecraft to reach the moon was made by the Soviets in 1959. Fearing the enemy having more claim in an untapped market like space, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to do all it could to get ahead in 1961 with the development of the Apollo program. 

Despite their best efforts, the U.S. just couldn’t seem to catch up as the Soviets were able to perform a soft moon landing in 1966. This was the same year the U.S. was able to get a spacecraft on the moon which the Soviets were able to accomplish seven years before. 

The good ol’ red, white and blue were far behind in the race to the moon until… they suddenly weren’t. Somehow the US was able to seemingly kick things into hyperdrive and get men on the moon three years later. 

Everything happened so fast and seemed to come together so quickly for the patriots. A manned spacecraft orbited the moon in 1968. They then reached the moon in 1969, and in July of that same year landed and had men walk on the moon. 

To be able to somehow figure out one of the most complex and greatest technological achievements in the history of mankind that quickly is frankly unbelievable. 

The Soviets, who always seemed to be three steps ahead, never even got a man on the moon.

There was obvious motivation to fake this landing too. 

The moon landing was the culmination of the great “Space Race” between the Soviets and the U.S. Coming off the back of the cold war, the Cuban missile crisis happened just seven years earlier. Both nations would take any opportunity to one-up the other. 

It was a never-ending flexing of muscles as both parties tried to gain an upper hand in some way. The U.S. couldn’t afford to give the Soviets a win like this. 

Times were tense and a victory such as this would do wonders in promoting patriotism and a worldwide sweep of pro-American fever. 

Proof

There are a few pieces of evidence conspiracy theorists point to as proof of the mission being a hoax. The most famous being the waving flag.

Space exists in a vacuum, so the famous image of Buzz Aldrin planting the flag in the soil of the moon as it picturesquely waves is technically impossible in the Moon’s climate. There was no wind, so why was the flag waving? 

Another one people often bring up is the fact that we haven’t returned since 1972. If we ever really got there, why not go back? 

Conclusion 

As much as I wish I could say I was bold and stupid enough to wholeheartedly believe in this theory, I sadly can’t. I choose to believe in the landing because it is an incredible achievement and frankly, who even cares if it wasn’t real? Doesn’t affect my life in the slightest. 

However, there are interesting surrounding factors that give this theory a much stronger case than most. 

OPINION | Anyone can give the perfect budget-friendly gift

Christmas can be one of the most expensive and financially stressful times of the year, but it doesn’t have to be. 

In fact, the holidays should be a time of relaxation away from the stress that comes from school, work and other commitments. It should be a time of celebration with close friends and family. It should be a time of personal reflection and gratitude as the year comes to an end, but for some people, tis’ the season of giving. 

Gift-giving is one way people can show their love toward each other especially because it is one of the five love languages. Yet for some people, money is scarce, but this does not make gift-giving impossible to achieve. 

With the right budget in mind, anyone can give the perfect gift to their loved ones by following these tips and tricks. 

Tips for gift-giving

Before picking out the perfect gift, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

The most important one is to remember no matter what gift you give, no matter how expensive or cheap, the right receiver will always be grateful and happy to have received a present from you. No need to feel ashamed for a gift that did not break the bank. Although cliche, it is always the thought that counts.

Another important thing to keep in mind is who you are giving the gift to. Whether it is your mom, best friend or mentor, think deeply about who they are and what they mean to you. What things do they like? What is their favorite color? What are some inside jokes that you two may share? The more questions you ask yourself, the more likely you will be to find great gift ideas. 

Although this may be slightly harder to answer, think about what the gift receiver’s love language is, and if you don’t know, just ask. Once you know the way they like to receive love, this is going to help you give the best gift.

Lastly, and most importantly, give yourself some credit. Although you may not have all the money in the world, remember you have talents that can make you a great gift-giver. If you are great at baking, bake your sibling a cake. If you are great at crocheting, crochet your friend a hat. If you are great at painting, paint your significant other a portrait. Your talents can be the greatest gift of all, and those will be the gifts that cost close to nothing. 

Tricks for gift-giving

The trick to finding the perfect gift has a lot to do with knowing your gift receiver’s love language. Once you know this, you can narrow down your search for the right gift. If you know their dominant love language is words of affirmation, open when letters, a jar of compliments or a short book will do the trick. If their love language is quality time, then a movie night in or a dinner night out will satisfy your loved one. Many of these gifts will cost you close to nothing which allows you to stay within budget. 

Another trick includes knowing where to shop. St. George is home to many stores located right next to each other including Ross, Five Below, Dollar Tree and T.J. Maxx. Even Target can be considered a store within budget if you look in all the right places. 

These right places may be the dollar section at the front of the store, the clearance sections throughout the aisles, or even the deals online. 

Speaking of online, there are online places to shop with many of them offering free shipping and coupons as an incentive for the holiday season. To eliminate shipping costs completely and to get some of the best prices of the year, Amazon Prime is a great place to shop. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, don’t worry. They have a six-month free trial where you can send your gifts right to your own dorm. 

Another resource you can use when searching for a gift within budget includes looking at thrift stores. With a thrift store around every corner in St. George, the perfect gift may be close to brand new and half the retail price.

Giving the perfect gift is not hard at all, and anyone can do it. In fact, there is no wrong gift, and with the right budget planning and preparation, your holiday gift-giving will be a success.

OPINION | Fake Christmas trees are less of a hassle than real trees

In the matter of a few seconds, your once cute and authentic Christmas tree can become the ultimate hellfire.

Halloween has come to an end, and Christmas is slowly creeping up, so save yourself the time and money and just get a fake tree.

Soon Thanksgiving will be over as well, in fact it is a popular tradition in American families to decorate for Christmas the night of Thanksgiving.

One of the first things to be decorated is the Christmas tree, and honestly, I do not see the hype in spending a good amount of money on a real tree that is just going to be tossed in the dumpster when January rolls around.

Last year, my roommates and I decided to buy a real tree, I wasn’t opposed to it until I found out all the maintenance it needed to keep the tree healthy. If you’re like me, and plants aren’t your thing, don’t get a real tree. We had to water this tree daily.

Although this is where the problem arose, we all have a pretty busy schedule as we were all stressed about wrapping up our spring semester with finals, and we forgot to water the tree. We noticed the bristles from the tree fell all over the tile and the carpet, and the tree looked so dried out.

According to the National Fire Protection Association , a tree without proper watering and maintenance becomes a massive fire hazard. The needles from the tree, whether they are still hanging on or fallen on to the floor, are potential fuel for a huge fire disaster.

Don’t worry though, this won’t happen if you just buy a fake tree. For broke college students, like myself, buying a fake Christmas tree is not nearly as expensive as a real tree. You can find a tree for under $50 at the local Target, Walmart or Home Depot stores.

First of all it won’t burn your house to ashes and dust, and it won’t cost you over $100 every year to have a hazardous, disposable tree.

Secondly, the tree always looks good, full and green. A fake Christmas tree will never dry out and leave stubborn needles all over.

Lastly, you will not have to throw the tree away, instead you can store it like you would all of your other Christmas decorations.

If you wouldn’t throw your money away from what is spent on Christmas decorations, then there is no reason to throw away your tree after December every year.