• The Commuter: Latest Edition

    The Commuter: Latest Edition
  • Girl Power! Women in Tech Night Draws a Large Audience to LBCC

    Girl Power! Women in Tech Night Draws a Large Audience to LBCC

    The sounds of 3-D printers in various parts of the room filled the once-silent void and nearly a dozen people from LBCC, some students and some employees, milled about playing with Micro:bit controllers, Edison Robots, and 3-D printing pens. A table on the east side of the room held an old iMac that had its hard drive surgically removed by a tall young man in a baseball hat.

    It was 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, in LBCC’s room T-229 – the MILL was open for “Women in Tech Night.” Everyone seemed to be smiling and talking, and most were learning something new. It felt more like the LBCC we knew in the Fall of 2019 than the empty halls we’ve grown accustomed to.

    As the clock approached 6 p.m., the speakers for the night’s main event began to arrive. The crowd that had come to see them had doubled in size. Jennifer Kessel of Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District was at the helm of the panel as the event’s moderator. Erin Hyde, a computer programmer also from LBL ESD was at the table as a speaker as well. Corey Cowles, tinkerer and production manager at Agility Robotics, and LBCC’s own computer science instructor Sisi Virasak also took their seats in the MILL’s Audio/Visual Lab.

    At 6:15 the microphones were hot and cameras were recording as the audience shuffled into the room, greeted by the panelists. There was a collective discourse that although this was a women-centered event, it wasn’t a women-exclusive event. Panelists agree that women and gender minorities need men to join the conversation and help in taking action to break down the barriers to equity, inclusion, and representation in the tech industry.

    The panel lasted for 45 minutes and at the end attendees, including a handful of students from West Albany High, raised their hands, eager to ask questions.

    At the end of the panel, Kessel said, “Tonight turned out better than I had expected for the first go-around; we had great interaction with the crowd, and comfortable panelists that could give us their honest answers. That was the most important thing, that we were comfortable and safe and could talk about our topics.”

    When asked if she’d recommend the event to students, Kessel said, “Definitely, you get to see women like you in roles that you want to be in, we aim to facilitate more mentorship.”

    LBCC student Yuqi Knowles, who plans on going into the pharmaceutical industry, said, “I really enjoyed the panel discussion, hearing the women talk about their lives and careers made me feel really confident.”

    By 7:45 the MILL had emptied, and the room was once again quiet except for the ceaseless drone of the H-Vac system.

    “It was amazing.” Forrest Johnson, the MILL’s coordinator, glowing in the success of the makerspace’s first event said. “It was really lovely to have everyone here, so many amazing women in tech jobs, students, and people from LBCC. It was a great community event.”

    If you’re reading this and upset you missed the event, you have another chance to join in the fun. The MILL is hosting a “Women in Science Night” on Mar. 16, in T-229. The time of the event has yet to be determined. At a Glance:
    What: “Women in Tech Night” Open House
    When: Thursday, Jan. 19
    Where: Takena Hall, Room 229, LBCC Albany Campus, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW
    What’s Next: “Women in Science Night,” March 16
    Website: www.midvalleystem.org
    For More Information: Forrest Johnson at Mill@linnbenton.edu

  • Roadrunner Women Hold Off Mt. Hood

    Roadrunner Women Hold Off Mt. Hood

    Kathleen Hale tallied a double-double with 11 points, and 17 rebounds, and the Roadrunners held off Mt. Hood for their third straight win. 

    The Linn-Benton Women’s Basketball team defeated Mt. Hood Community College 42-40 on Saturday, Feb. 4. 

    The Roadrunners started the game off hot, outscoring the Saints 19-9 in the first quarter. The Roadrunners offense didn’t replicate the same success for the rest of the game, shooting 25% overall. 

    The Roadrunners’ Sabrina Albee scored the game-winning basket with 1:13 left, hitting a 15-foot jump shot, giving the Beaks a narrow 2-point lead.

    Next up, the Roadrunners travel to Roseburg to take on Umpqua Community College on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. The Roadrunners upset the then No. 4-ranked Riverhawks 68-56 in their first meeting on Jan. 11. 

    To watch a KBVR-TV post-game interview with Roadrunner Muriel Jones-Hoisington, click here.

  • Braver Angels Debate: Is ChatGPT a Threat to Higher Education?

    Braver Angels Debate: Is ChatGPT a Threat to Higher Education?

    On Wednesday, February 8, from 12pm – 2pm, the Braver Angels will hold their next debate. The topic? The highly talked about, all-the-latest-buzz, both hated and adored ChatGPT. Is this new technology a helpful and welcomed tool or a threat to higher education altogether? Hosted by LBCC’s Civil Discourse program, this debate is free and will be conducted over zoom. Registration is required and can be done so here at this Eventbrite page. Expect civility, active listening, and a highly structured format. Tune in for this collegiate debate regarding a topic that affects the entire student body.

    To learn more about Braver Angels debates of the past, click here.

  • Avatar: The Way of Water — A Review

    Avatar: The Way of Water — A Review

    Thirteen years have passed since “Avatar” released in theaters. At the time of release, it became the highest-grossing film ever up to that point. Now, director James Cameron has returned with the first of four planned sequels: “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

    Taking place just over ten years since the first film’s events, the story sees Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) seeking to find a new home for their family. Elsewhere, a new Avatar body has been given to Col. Miles Quartich (Stephen Lang), who seeks to have Jake’s head for crossing him in the first film. While the story may not reinvent the wheel in terms of narrative, the sequel is still a visually-stunning 192-minute epic that builds on the innovative special effects of the first film from 2009.

    Though many doubted the film could reach the lofty heights set by its predecessor, Cameron has added to his list of impressive film sequels that include the likes of 1986’s “Aliens” and 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” With each sequel to the 2009 film budgeted at $250 million each, the visual spectacle is a sight to behold. Everything from the advances made with the Na’Vi to a host of otherworldly sea creatures are rendered in immense detail, with the oceans themselves setting a new benchmark for depicting bodies of water in CGI. While the film’s final act may be lengthy to an extent, the conflict between Jake and Quartich is what makes the film’s finale truly worthwhile.

    With the film currently outpacing the first’s record box office returns (having made over $2 billion worldwide as of this writing), “Avatar: The Way of Water” has proven to be a worthy followup to its groundbreaking predecessor, setting the stage for the next sequels in 2024 and 2026.

    Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore and Cliff Curtis with Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet, and introducing Jack Champion

    Directed by James Cameron

    Rated PG-13

  • Roadrunner Men Fall to Saints

    Roadrunner Men Fall to Saints

    ALBANY, Ore – The Linn-Benton Men’s Basketball team fell to Mt. Hood Community College 85-82 on Saturday, Feb. 4. 

    The Roadrunners fell to 10-12 on the year, and 5-4 in the NWAC South Region. The Saints improved to 5-14 on the year, and 4-5 in the NWAC South Region. 

    The Roadrunners took a 80-78 lead with a 15-foot jump shot from Kamana Lapina with 54 seconds left in the second half. 

    Saints Will Wilson scored the winning basket going coast-to-coast with 5 seconds left converting an and-1 layup to put the Saints up 83-80. Wilson would hit two more free throws to seal the game. 

    Ayden Foster led the scoring for the Roadrunners, with 19 points shooting 8-15 from the field. Teammate Tyson Parker followed right behind with 18 points shooting 5-11 from the field. 

    Next up the Roadrunners travel to Roseburg to take on Umpqua Community College on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Tip-off is set for 7:30 P.M.

  • Reopening of Hostile Terrain Exhibit and Presentation

    Reopening of Hostile Terrain Exhibit and Presentation

    On a night that honored those who have perished while seeking a better life, it seemed that their spirits were present. Linn-Benton’s Hostile Terrain exhibit reopened to students and faculty in a ceremony that included a moving information session and a native dancing ceremony in the January night.

    Professors Anne Magratten and Lauren Visconti opened the ceremony Thursday, Jan. 26, by welcoming guests to Linn-Benton’s Calapooia Center, where about 20 people gathered in a room around four long tables. Surrounded by large projector screens on three sides of the room, some 10 or 15 people sat along the walls. 

    Visconti introduced the guest speaker, Perla Torres. Torres is the Colibri Family Network’s director. She immigrated to the United States in 1999 with her family and studied at the University of Arizona, focusing on immigration law reforms and justice for migrants as a psychology and pre-law major. Torres also works as a case manager for the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Children’s specialist for the Border Protection team. Torres joined the project to bring awareness to the plight of migrants who try to seek a better life by crossing the border.

    After Torres introduced herself, the visitors began to hear the information session. Included in the presentation was a description of the Mexico-United States border and description of the areas that migrants tend to attempt to cross. Graphics detailing the various agencies that document deaths along the border noted more than 4,000 lives lost over the previous four decades. 

    “We can see here,” Torres said, “that dozens if not hundreds of people perish every year trying to cross the Mexico-United States border, and tear apart families and communities.”

    Visconti and Magratten then took a moment to inform the audience about the powerful next segment of the presentation, about individual stories of persons who disappeared along the border. The screens played a video about families discussing the pain and tragedy of losing their loved ones in the perilous trek across the Sonoran Desert. The audience sat in a respectful silence of their stories. The video concluded and the guest speaker shared information about international agencies that seek to assist migrants and families who lose their loved ones.

    Following the moving stories, the professors instructed the attendees to move to the actual exhibit, composed of a 5-foot by 10-foot map of the Mexico-United States border. Thousands of orange and tan tags with the names of individuals whose bodies were recovered line the wall, stretching several hundred miles into the United States, some as far north as Nevada. 

    Visconti said, “These tags are a powerful symbol of the risks that people are willing to take to make a better life for themselves and their families, and we all can do more to make the immigration process far less deadly, while helping to improve lives on both sides of the border.”

    Professors Magratten and Visconti spoke to the audience about their involvement in the project and how it was formed, this being about Visconti finding the work of academic Jason De Léon. The professors recounted the three years involved in completing the project in addition to the hundreds of hours put into filling out the tags and placing them along the wall. Teosorro Malendez, a student and contributor to the project, shared his experience in helping to bring the wall to life.

    Following this, Magratten introduced the native dancers. Dressed in traditional Aztec attire, the dancers included professors, their families, and visitors to the Linn-Benton campus. They wore dozens of shells on their ankles and began the dance with a shell horn that could be heard across the solemn night. Forming an oval across from the wall, the dancers took turns beating a three-foot drum that reverberated in the chests of the audience. After 20 minutes of dancing, chanting, hymns, and worship, the dance concluded, leaving one to wonder if the spirits of the dead were in attendance as well.

    The dancers gave a short speech about the meaning of the project, and Visconti concluded the ceremony with a description of the Hostile Terrain project’s scope across the United States, where it is found on dozens of campuses, and her feelings about what it accomplishes:

    “I really hope that attendees are motivated to make a difference in the lives of migrants and make the immigration process a less deadly experience. I hope that we can all gain from other cultures and bring awareness to the struggles that people seeking to find a better life face.”

  • Wellness Wednesday: Physical Activity and Stress

    Wellness Wednesday: Physical Activity and Stress

    Here are some thoughts on exercise, physical activity and a few reminders to help cope with stress in your life:

    Ways to exercise without getting up from your chair:

    ·         Jumping to conclusions

    ·         Running around in circles

    ·         Stretching the truth

    ·         Beating around the bush

    ·         Spinning your wheels

    ·         Running your mouth off

    ·         Doing a tailspin

    ·         Throwing a fit

    ·         Jumping out of your skin

    ·         Flying by the seat of your pants

    ·         Driving others wild

    ·         Digging a hole for yourself

    ·         Walking on eggshells

    ·         Chipping away at your self-esteem

    ·         Jogging your memory

    ·         Walking on sunshine

    ·         Spinning plates in the air

    ·         Juggling responsibilities

    ·         Running on empty

    ·         Balancing work, school and home

    ·         Throwing caution to the wind

     “Activity” means being active.  It does not require special clothes, a gym membership or vigorous muscle contractions.  Vigorous exercise is good, great in fact for building muscle endurance (like strengthening your heart); however too often we buy into the “no pain, no gain” myth and overlook the fact that doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing. 

    Try these:

    · 5 minute study breaks every hour.  Walk, stretch, go up and down stairs, dance, strike a pose.

    · Take a midday stroll to anywhere (that you can walk safely).  Notice your surroundings, breathe in deeply, listen to the sounds of nature or tunes of your choice.  Bonus points if you take a pet or child with you for a walk. 

    · Add physical activity to your daily calendar and treat it like a very important class you MUST attend.

    · Start the day with 20 minutes of stretching, walking or doing a youtube fitness video – you’ll feel better all day long.

    Do’s and don’ts for Stress Intervention:

    Do: Take a breath.  

    Don’t: Hold your breath

    Do:  Acknowledge your stress, worries, fears.               

    Don’t:  “Dread ahead”

    Do: Consider positive action.          

    Don’t:  “Should” yourself

    Do: Talk with friends.                         

    Don’t: Gripe about the same thing 3x without doing something differently.

    Do: Laugh, dance, play.                     

    Don’t: Always put the fun off til tomorrow. 

    “If exercise could be packaged in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” -Robert Butler, National Institute on Aging

    Image by storyset on Freepik

  • Roadrunner Women Cruise Past Portland

    Roadrunner Women Cruise Past Portland

    PORTLAND – Brooklyn Hankwitz scored 21 points, shooting 8-12 from the field, and the Roadrunners cruised to a 70-45 win against Portland Community College on Saturday, Jan. 28.

    The Roadrunners ended their two-game skid on Saturday to boost their season record to 15-3, and 5-2 in the NWAC South Region. The Panthers fell to 7-11 on the season, and 2-6 in the NWAC South Region. 

    Roadrunner Muriel Jones-Hoisington shot an impressive 4-7 from the three-point line to finish with 12 points. Jones-Hoisington also tallied 8 rebounds and 5 assists. 

    Next up the Roadrunners travel to take on Southwestern Oregon Community College on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. at 1988 Newmark Ave. in Coos Bay. 

  • Civil Discourse Op-Ed: Children in Tackle Football

    Civil Discourse Op-Ed: Children in Tackle Football

    The Civil Discourse program, facilitated by Communications professor Mark Urista, takes on their latest hot-button issue: Should children play tackle football? With every football season, both college and national, we see countless injuries, many that can change the trajectory of a player’s career and life. But is football more dangerous than other sports? Are parents protecting their children by keeping them out of tackle football or are they teaching them to be afraid of their surroundings? The Civil Discourse looks at every angle of this very debatable issue.

    Children Should Play Tackle Football

    Authors: Damoni Wright, Eagle Hunt, Eliana Ortega, Jacob Pacheco and The Civil Discourse Program

    Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest has renewed discussion about the danger of playing football.  A recent survey shows that the public is split by almost 50/50 on whether kids should play tackle football.  After weighing the risks and benefits, it’s clear that stopping kids from playing tackle football will cause more harm than good. 

    It’s important to recognize that injuries can occur when playing tackle football.  Nearly 215,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for football-related injuries in 2009. On the surface, it’s easy to come to the conclusion reached by nearly half the nation that these numbers demonstrate that tackle football is dangerous and should be avoided. But when compared to other sports, these numbers are far from abnormal. The same source finds that over 200,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. Are we going to discourage children from riding bicycles? That proposition seems absurd. While seeing such high statistics is definitely alarming, it’s a risk that anyone who plays sports must face in order to participate.

    It’s also hard to deny the health benefits that a sport like tackle football can provide for adolescents. “Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the U.S., and today, the country has some of the highest obesity rates in the world: one out of six children is obese, and one out of three children is overweight or obese” With numbers like these, denying a child the opportunity to play any sport would be a possible detriment to their overall health. Football is a physically demanding sport that requires players to be in top shape, which can help children maintain a healthy weight, and build muscle.  Football also helps kids develop hand-eye coordination, speed, and agility.

    Telling kids they shouldn’t partake in an activity because it’s dangerous might be taken the wrong way. No parent wants to see their kid get hurt but no parent wants to see their kid afraid of the world. Tackle football is a great place for kids to learn how to play in a team, communicate, and be unafraid when faced with a challenge. Most importantly it teaches them that in order to win there is going to be lots of effort and especially, lots of pushback. Granted they’ll likely earn a couple of bruises along the way but this attitude can follow them through the hardships that life will give them. 

    Finally, there have been positive measures enacted in recent decades to make tackle football safer.  Equipment changes, concussion protocols, and players advocating for their well-being have improved compared to a generation ago.

    If a parent decides it’s unsafe for their child to participate in a sport like tackle football, that’s okay. But other parents should be given the freedom of choice for their kids to participate. There’s risk in football but there are also costs associated with not letting kids partake in these types of activities.  For these reasons, it’s fair to conclude that the benefits of playing tackle football far outweigh the risks.

    Children Should Not Play Tackle Football

    Authors: Cheyanne Rider, Mackenzie Witnauer, Yahaira Suarez, and The Civil Discourse Program

    Football is one of America’s favorite pastimes. From watching the $132 billion backed NFL to the NCAA all the way down to Pop Warner leagues, football is deeply entrenched in our culture. But at what cost? Children can start playing Pop Warner football as young as five years old. Injuries of all kinds are common in sports but football is the most dangerous for kids between 5-14For this reason, children should not play tackle football.

    Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a fatal brain disease associated with recurrent traumatic brain injuries. This could include multiple concussions and repeated blows to the head. Some of the symptoms are memory and cognitive problems, confusion, personality changes, and/or erratic behavior including aggression, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. A diagnosis of CTE can only be made after death, but when it is suspected during life neurological exams, thorough brain history research, and brain imaging can be used to rule out any other causes. 

    A joint study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation, found that 25% of high school football players developed brain disease.  According to Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation “A football player’s odds of developing CTE may be most determined by their parents, specifically what age the child is allowed to start playing tackle football.” “It’s time to accept that CTE is not just a risk for professional and college football players, but also for high school players, and the best way to prevent CTE among football players is to delay the introduction of tackle football.” 

    Brain injuries aren’t the only injuries of concern in youth tackle football. Joint injuries are extremely common in football. ACL/PCL and menisci injuries can have long-term effects on a player’s life outside of the sport and can cause premature arthritis. Football is hard on the body at any age, but it is particularly dangerous for developing bodies. There are seven to nine games in a regular Pop Warner season, ten in high school, and many practices in between for all levels. The players are subjected to hit after hit, tackle after tackle, dogpile after dogpile. The stresses that young bodies are exposed to in tackle football are not worth the risk of long-term and acute injuries.

    There have been strides made to make tackle football safer at all levels but the serious risks of injuries remain. The benefits of team sports are undeniable and luckily there are much safer alternatives to tackle football for youths under 14. Flag football is an option within the Pop Warner organization. Kids are able to learn the game and reap all of the benefits with significantly less risk. 

    Football is part of American culture. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. Sports are great for kids to learn healthy habits, teamwork, responsibility, and many other life skills.  That isn’t going to change either. The thing that must change is the risk we take by letting children play tackle football.

  • “Mario Party” and “Mario Party 2”: Retro Review

    “Mario Party” and “Mario Party 2”: Retro Review

    On November 2, 2022, “Mario Party” and “Mario Party 2” became the latest games to join the Nintendo 64 Online lineup for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. After taking the month of September off for a Nintendo Direct presentation, two of the N64’s most popular party games join the list of beloved retro titles on the service. 

    First released in 1999 and 2000 respectively (a year after their individual releases in Japan), the games make up the first two installments in the long-running “Mario Party” spinoff series. The games were developed by Hudson Soft, a partnership that lasted for nearly a full decade before the developer was purchased by Konami.

    Though the numerous sequels have varied significantly in quality, the first two games hold a special place among an entire generation of fans. The games see characters from the “Mario” franchise take part in a wide variety of mini-games and boards. The first title sees a Princess Peach-themed cake and the jungle home of Donkey Kong as featured game boards, and the second introduces settings ranging from haunted houses to spacecraft and even a fan-favorite Wild West area. Whoever has the most gold Power Stars at the end of each game wins.

    While the titles may seem cutesy on the surface, don’t be fooled. The games still retain a surprising amount of challenge whether or not you’re playing with friends or against AI opponents. The audio and visual presentation has also held up remarkably well over time, with the N64 Online releases giving crisp sounds and quality colorful graphics. The mini-games also sport a wide range of control schemes that are simple enough to pick up and play, but tricky to fully master. Some mini-games even give instructions on how to rotate the analog stick on your controller to avoid getting hand blisters and cuts (a problem infamous in the original N64 releases).

    The early installments also were a key inspiration for the installments on Switch returning to basics, with 2018’s “Super Mario Party” and 2021’s “Mario Party Superstars” drawing heavily from the gameplay and boards of the original titles. 

    With 2001’s “Mario Party 3” set to round out the original trilogy on the service in 2023, now is the perfect time to roll the dice on the N64 Online releases of “Mario Party” and “Mario Party 2” on Nintendo Switch Online.

    Publisher: Nintendo

    Developer: Hudson Soft

    Platform: Nintendo 64 Online for Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack (Originally Released on Nintendo 64)

    ESRB Rating: E