Author: Andreas Kalt

Joseph Puente: An independent candidate against political parties

Joseph Puente, part-time filmmaker and actor, is the only candidate running for Congress in Utah’s Third Congressional District who is politically unaffiliated. Although Puente remains neutral on most issues, he does tend to lean a bit to the left. Most of Puente’s political campaign is centered around stopping the intolerant war waged by hard-core Republicans and diehard Democrats. Unfortunately for Puente, Democratic nominee Karen Hyer shares many of the same views on the issue. Because Puente is completely self-funded, much of his campaign has been online. With Obama setting the virtual precedent on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, many of today’s candidates view these online networking tools as necessities. Since these tools are free, independent candidates like Puente can compete on the same playing field as big-time and big-funded candidates. Puente claims to be a representative, rather than a politician. “Politicians go to Washington already locked in a party platform – and they usually won’t budge. It’s time to elect someone who can see past the rhetoric. … If we want to get anything done in Washington, we need to remove big money interests from the political equation,” Puente mentioned on one of his many YouTube posts. Puente’s core beliefs are not as apparent as the other candidates. On current national issues, Puente poses completely new and innovative solutions; for example, he believes health care reform should be a state...

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The science of spirituality Religious scholar visits Salt Lake City

Utah may get a little more colorful next week when Arvind Sharma visits Westminster College to give his lecture “The Scientific Study of Religion: Promise and Pitfalls.” Although the name of the lecture may sound anti-Mormon, or anti-religious for that matter, it isn’t in the slightest. When asked how he felt about the Mormon community, Sharma answered in a wonderfully thick Indian accent, “I only know two things about Mormons. One, they have polygamy — although, I think that may be more in the past. And two, they have missionaries.” Sharma, a Harvard doctoral graduate, is no newbie to religious or ethical debate. Although he has an long history with and belief in the Hindu tradition, he has developed a vast knowledge for all things religious. He has written an impressive amout of books about religion. These books, along with his numerous degrees, should deflect any of the incoming ignorant argumentative ammunition that Utahans are often armed with. While Sharma’s lecture aims to discuss religion, it will do so from a scientific standpoint. “There have always been two views of religion,” he said. “The first view is as a believer. If you are a Christian, you can go to a seminary. You go to a monastery if you are Buddhist. On the other hand is academic study—you don’t have to believe what the others believe. Academic study came around...

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Music at the edge

We all want instant gratification, and thanks to the internet, all of our entertainment cravings are filled immediately. Purchases are almost guilt-free; you want it, you click it, you got it. No cash exchanged, not even a swipe of a credit card. All it takes is the push of a button, literally. As digital music distribution becomes more and more common in our world, some question the decreasing value of music. Does digital distribution of music destroy the value of an album? Single song purchases from digital storefronts are convenient and quick. With the launch of iTunes 4 in 2003, Apple introduced the iTunes Store. Now, the music superstore has had well over 10 billion songs downloaded. These purchases only give the consumers exactly the song they want. While it is true that sales of singles have skyrocketed since the introduction of the digital storefront, the sale of entire albums has decreased even more quickly. In an interview with Billboard, will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas stated, “I’m trying to break away from the concept of an album. What is an album when you put twelve songs on iTunes and people can pick at it like scabs? That’s not an album. There is no album anymore.” Other artists specifically request that their music be available online only with purchase of entire albums. Programs like Limewire and Bearshare give music lovers opportunity to illegally obtain music from their favorite artists...

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You kill it, you eat it

Hunting is undoubtedly mankind’s oldest sport.  Because man was dependent upon this skill for food, we have long treasured it.  As civilization grew and animals became domesticated, the physical need for hunting has decreased.  In twenty-first century America, we are no longer dependent upon hunting for food, but nonetheless, hunting is still avidly practiced. There is, undoubtedly, a sense of brotherhood that follows hunting.  Family and friends band together for days to venture into the woods.  Devoted hunters spend such an immense amount of time preparing for the kill, that it almost becomes religious. Week’s worth of planning, practice, packing and tracking all lead up to that single moment they squeeze the trigger. Once it’s all over, hunters should hope that their game is quickly killed and has suffered as little pain as possible.  Because wounded animals are not always pursued or recovered, the environmental community is in an uproar. What bothers conservationalists most is that the entire animal is not going to use.  Animals can be harvested just as a mere trophy, and the lifeless mess can be left to rot in the woods. Although there are some hunters that genuinely enjoy watching their prey die, most don’t kill for the thrill. Unregulated hunting easily gets out of hand and has pushed animals to extension and endangerment.  Because passenger pigeons flew in flocks that stretched more than a mile...

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