Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

Map-of-US-state-cannabis-laws.svg

Map of marijuana laws in the US. Green: State with legalized cannabis. Dark Blue: State with both medical and decriminalization laws. Medium Blue: State with legal medical cannabis. Light Blue: State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws. Grey: State with total cannabis prohibition.

The legalization of cannabis (marijuana) has been a topic of contention across the country lately.  Over the past five years or so the push to legalize marijuana has been gaining momentum and dozens of states have reduced penalties, legalized medical use and even recreational use of marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and most recently the District of Colombia. Now that marijuana is legal in the nation’s capitol it will be interesting to see if more states start to legalize the recreational the use of Marijuana.

There are many arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana. While reading chapter three of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty I wondered what Mill’s position would be on the controversy over marijuana. Mill talks about what Continue reading

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What Makes Anything Into Something?

When I was little, I was obsessed with the universe. Sounds weird, but something about space just got me going—admittedly though, Star Wars provided me with most of my knowledge. That phase of my life has long since passed, but one thing I learned while in still knee-deep in it still drives me crazy to this day. According to this article by Cornell, there are several theories for the shape of our universe and two of them include it fading into nothingness (while a simplified description, it gets the general gist across).

A diagram of three of the theories for how the universe might be shaped.

A diagram of three of the theories for how the universe might be shaped.

However what fascinates me is how we define nothingness in this case. Anything outside our universe is “nothing” meaning there is not one thing out there. But how is it that we are able to define nothing as something? Kind of a confusing question, but when combined with the reading from last week, NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football, it got me wondering how we define who we are, what we do, and what makes anything into what it is? Continue reading

Interpreting Change Within Sports

Like just about everything in life, sports are an ever-changing entity. Today’s games, while similar to their original forms, are quite different than they were some time ago. Hockey and basketball are no exceptions to these changes. For example, hockey very recently incorporated new penalties into the game, and basketball was once so different that the games was once played without a three-point line. Also, these sports are continually changing now – evidenced by the NHL’s ongoing debate about the role of fighting within the sport.

I was recently able to get a glimpse at today’s versions of hockey and basketball when I attended games of the Michigan hockey and basketball teams, respectively. While the games are quite similar to how they were when they first originated, obviously there are some differences in the way that they are played now. This idea of changing sports is a central idea in Marc Tracy’s article “NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football?” In his article, Tracy comments on how current rule changes and proposed rule changes are taking away from the game that football once was. He ponders at what point football is no longer football. Is the elimination of kickoff returns all it takes to completely change the game? The elimination of tackling?

The NFL has already eliminated kickoffs from its Pro Bowl, and some are worried that eliminating kickoffs entirely would take away a great aspect from the sport.

The NFL has already eliminated kickoffs from its Pro Bowl, and some are worried that eliminating kickoffs entirely would take away a great aspect from the sport

Continue reading

The Power Of Sports Chants and Ritual

Michigan student fans in the "Maize Rage," the front row with chests painted, cheer on their team before an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Michigan student fans in the “Maize Rage,” the front row with chests painted, cheer on their team before an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

When I decided to attend the University of Michigan last May, I had no idea what to expect in terms of sports and the level of dedication the fans at the university would have. I had heard crazy stories about the chants at the football games and had watched basketball games on television, but didn’t believe that the chants and atmosphere would be anything like what I have experienced so far. Growing up in New York, I have naturally been a New York Knick fan for a good portion of my life. I have attended countless games and seen some unbelievable plays and experienced some unbelievable moments at Madison Square Garden. I was always impressed with the level of dedication of the fans in the crowd and their willingness to chant and support the team while in attendance. However, I took notice of something small that has a large impact on the atmosphere of professional and college sporting events. The chants at professional sporting events are backed up by piped in sounds and the fans follow along. These piped in chants often make the crowd appear louder than they actually are which creates an illusion in regards to the strength of the chants. On the contrary, these piped in sounds do not exist at all in college sporting arena and the chants and crowd noise is based solely off of a band, which rarely does in game chants play style chants, and fan noise which is totally organic. With little guidance from the predetermined chants, fans and students are tasked with creating the chants and formulating the environment inside the arena or stadium.  Continue reading