The Case for Stew

By Amanda Bertsch

 

It’s a familiar enough metaphor: America is either the melting pot of unity or the salad bowl of multiculturalism. Last Wednesday’s opinion piece dissected one view of the issue. Others strongly disagree. Yet there seems to be no good choice here.

In the melting pot, Americans have a strong sense of national identity. A shared cultural background unifies the wide country despite other (often political) differences. However, minorities may find themselves forced to assimilate, losing rich cultural histories in favor of a primarily white Christian narrative.

In the salad bowl, these different identities coexist peacefully. The juxtaposition between cultures enriches society. However, some may find themselves struggling to communicate with distinct and disparate areas of culture, so the country feels splintered.

Ironically, this debate about how to achieve national unity has become uniquely polarizing. Republicans tend to align with the melting pot model, while Democrats advocate the salad bowl. Many people in the middle offer some half-remembered explanation from eighth grade civics. Yet the truly impressive fact of this debate is society’s willingness to accept that narrative.

The melting pot vs. salad bowl debate is a false dichotomy. Continue reading

Mental Health Awareness in Adolescent Syrian Refugees

By Natalie Krafft

This essay was written by a TCP alum and former Denobis staff member during her freshman year of college.

Ahmed is a young boy, aged eleven, who has just fled Syria from all of its war and devastation. He has left his home, his friends and life as he knew it to flee to Greece. Since being in Greece, he has not been in school for a year and greatly misses his friends. The camp he lives in now is filled with diseases and has poor living conditions. The refugees who live here wait weeks or months before a soldier takes them to a new home. Now, all he wishes is to go to school to be with the other children and to be like them. This feeling of being ostracized is all too normal for him, which has lead him to be more melancholy than he typically was when he was back home (Katz).

For millions of children like Ahmed, this is their reality now, and it is taking a toll on their mental health, which will negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. Families of all sizes abandon everything they know for their safety. Adolescent refugees who are brought with these families have already faced trauma even before they left through the violence and death in their home regions. Their journey to a safer place is just as dangerous and once they arrive, nothing seems to be better right away. For a young person under the age of 19 to experience something as a traumatic as fleeing a war torn country can have some major consequences on their mental health that, if not addressed, could erupt into something much larger and darker such as depression and anxiety. Adolescent Syrian refugees are facing mental health problems because of the displacement from their homeland due to war. Continue reading

Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

By Markus Weinzinger

 

As always, opinion articles reflect only the personal beliefs of the author and not necessarily those of the Denobis staff, Denobis editors, or Tri-City Prep as a whole.

 

America is the premier mixed-culture nation on Earth. It’s a country where people from the world over have come to flee tyranny or to start from scratch. It is from this reality that America is known as the “melting pot,” that perfect blend of every spice, savor, and sweetener. Arriving in America, immigrants are no longer obligated to keep themselves tethered to their native culture. They have the wonderful opportunity to participate as citizens of the freest nation and pursue their dreams. Why then, is the melting pot established long ago tipping over and down the drain?

Replacing the melting pot practice is a new policy that’s emerged in the U.S. and in Europe: multiculturalism. Stemming from the left-wing school of thought, multiculturalism is the practice of multiple cultures coexisting. Sounds great: people get to see and experience the dances, cuisines, and costumes of rich cultures. However, multiculturalism doesn’t mean those cultures are obligated to cooperate or contribute to society. Multiculturalism’s effects can be seen as plain as day in Europe, which is on the frontline of the migrant crisis.

Since the migrant crisis flowed from Syria in the thick of intense conflict, Europe hasn’t hesitated in the least in lending a helping hand. The pictures and news reels report droves of migrants entering wide-open gates, smiles perched on their lips. Politicians like German chancellor Angela Merkel praised the efforts as an amazing display of the Western world’s tolerant and warm social atmosphere. The good feelings would be ephemeral, however. Continue reading

The Third OS: Linux

by Kaleb Lyonnais

One of the most ubiquitous debates about modern technology is which operating system is best. For the average person, the two contenders are Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS (formerly known as OS X). However, there are more options available than these two. The most prevalent third choice is GNU/Linux.

Operating systems manage the computer for the user. They organize files, partition resources, and run programs. The most fundamental part of an operating system is the kernel, which handles something most users take for granted. The kernel enables their computer to be a functional computer, as opposed to well-ordered, inert pieces of silicon.

Linux is a kernel invented by Finish programmer Linus Torvalds in 1991. As a kernel, Linux can make a computer functional, but is not a complete operating system. Many people and organizations have built upon the Linux kernel, developing complete operating systems called Linux distributions or distros.

The most popular Linux distros today include: Ubuntu, which has a setup similar to Windows 7; Debian, which is used in servers; and Gentoo, which allows users to customize everything (more accurately, it waits for the user to customize everything; there are very few default settings). There are a multitude of other distros, ranging from the bare-bones, where everything has to be done manually, to the complex, where everything is automated.

One of the main advantages of Linux is that it is free. Linus Torvalds owns the copyright to the Linux kernel, but purposefully does not enforce it. Many of the distros, including Ubuntu, Debian, and Gentoo, are all available for no charge. They can be downloaded from the Internet and installed on almost any computer (although some computers are uncooperative while doing this).

Another advantage is that Linux is directly controlled by the user. All settings can be changed; if the user does not like, for example, their desktop environment, they can switch it for a different one. Users can also access all of the code of their software; if they know how to code, they can reprogram anything.

A few ‘distros’ are not free, or completely-customizable, but these are not usually called Linux distros. These include Android, the Play Station OS, and lots of special-purpose operating systems. Generally, any computer, that is not Microsoft or Apple, has its OS built on the Linux kernel.

The reason Linux (excluding Android) is not popular for general use is that, because it is free, the people who develop its various distros have no money to advertise it. Also, the more advanced (that is, less automated) distros require knowledge of coding, which is a deterrent to the average consumer.

Linux, in its free distros, is completely controllable for users with coding experience or the ability to learn coding. For many people it would not be worth the effort, but for many other people it could be exactly what they need. People should at least keep Linux in mind when choosing an OS.

Esoteric Programming Languages

By Amanda Bertsch

Generally, programming languages are created to do something useful. HTML and CSS are used to design webpages. Java makes applets. BASIC creates games. Some languages, however, serve little or no purpose and are known as esoteric programming languages. They’re created by people who are very interested in programming and not very interested in having a life outside programming, and are subsequently some of the funniest in-jokes on the web. This article breaks down five of the greatest (almost completely useless) languages.

  1. Ook!
Ook code

A section of the “Hello World” program in Ook!

Ook! is one of a number of programming languages based on the charming BF, an early esoteric language with only eight commands. Ook! is different because it is specifically designed for orangutans to code. (Yes, orangutans.) Ook! has three different programming elements: Ook., Ook!, and Ook?. They are sorted into groups of two to create eight distinct commands.

 

 

  1. LOLCODE
LOLCODE code

The “Hello World” program in LOLCODE prints “Hai world!” to the output screen.

Picture a 12-year-old in 2007. Picture how they typed. Then imagine that one of those 12-year-olds could create a programming language. The result would look something like LOLCODE, a language designed to look as similar to the deliberate misspellings of the “lolcat” meme. Words such as “liek” and “hai” are common in source code of this language.

 

  1. Malbolge
Malbolge code

The “Hello World” program in Malbolge. Yes, that is code.

Imagine you were having a really bad day, and you wanted to make sure everyone around you was having an equally terrible one. That’s essentially the principle behind Malbolge, a programming language specifically designed to be as difficult as possible to actually use. A series of complicated rules makes Malbolge code look like a pile of gibberish, even when written correctly. Only a few programs have been successfully written in this beast of a language, despite its existing for decades.

  1. Piet
Piet code

The “Hello World” program in Piet is a beautiful image.

Aspiring artists, never fear! There’s a programming language for the visually minded. Piet is coded entirely in 20 different colorations of pixels. 18 of these colors are related on a color cycle, and a series of complex operations is used to translate the pictures created into program outputs.

 

 

 

 

  1. Shakespeare
Shakespeare code

A small section of the extensive “Hello World” program in Shakespeare.

Perhaps the most literary of all programming languages, Shakespeare is designed to read like a Shakespeare play. All variables are Shakespeare characters, whose values are increased or decreased by various “positive” or “negative” nouns (adjectives function as multipliers). Shakespeare has several ways to say just about anything, allowing programs to be nearly as variable and just as lengthy as the original plays.

 

 

 

 

Interested in more of these elaborate languages? Check out Esolang, a wiki dedicated to esoteric programming languages.