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Nick Statt

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Across the vast pool of video games that I have picked up and played over the years, there exists a handful of truly transcendent moments, times when I find myself in silenced awe of the rendered landscape I am constantly participating in and the mind-numbing complexity of the digital world enveloping me. For instance, traveling across a sun-soaked Manhattan by helicopter as GTA IV’s Niko Bellic, with thousands upon thousands of detailed skyscrapers creating a sheet of glowing orange glass as the breathing, automated city flows beneath me. Or holding a 9mm to the head of a random stranger—a father of two you learn—as Heavy Rain’s Ethan Mars, a desperate father forced to the fringes of morale decision making by a serial killer who, in the style of the Saw films, forces his victims, as well as you the player, to make weighty choices to save their loved ones. Moments…

In November of 2006, a man born as Jesse Curtis Morton, but who went by the name Younus Abdullah Muhammad after converting to Islam, allegedly tried to recruit followers through Stony Brook University’s Muslim Student Association. Morton ran the website of the New York-based, jihadist organization Revolution Muslim, and was a leader of the radical Islamic Thinkers Society. Not only is it unclear whether or not he physically visited campus or simply attempted to contact the MSA online, but there is also no official record of this incident whatsoever. Despite that ambiguity, Stony Brook University became one of the many northeastern schools targeted by the New York State Police Department in their covert spying operation centered on MSAs in the northeast. The operation was highlighted in the Associated Press’s multi-month investigative report starting in October of last year and culminating last month with the full disclosure of the files they…

Don’t we all wish we could grow up in a pleasant Canadian suburb, have a bar mitzvah and play a dramatic role as a paraplegic on a teen television drama, all before entering the rap game and becoming so absurdly famous that your core lyrical theme becomes grappling with the limitations of a “normal” personal life and the meaning and depth of your career’s legacy? Normally, I would say count me in. But Drake’s second LP, Take Care, actually comes close to convincing me it’s not so great being on top, especially if you look closely at the album cover where he sits pensively beside a table adorned with gold objects. Because in this post-Kayne West world—where a rapper can’t get by on image and artistic aspirations alone, no matter how phony or stupidly ambitious—hip-hop has become the most, for lack of a better word, existential genre of music out…

Shared support service centers, as they are officially named, are not department mergers. The complex administrative consolidation process will not involve any layoffs, and is not geared at cost cutting. As part of Operational Excellence, one prong of President Samuel Stanley’s future-oriented initiative Project 50 Forward, these centers’ primary focus and ultimate aim is to tighten up efficiency, essentially utilizing the same staff resources under a different organization. Under the guidance of Nancy Squires, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Operational Excellence Steering Committee, shared support service centers are a way in which multiple departments, often those with similar focuses and geographical proximity, can balance out inequalities in staffing and attempt to alleviate the pressure from the inability to fill empty positions by joining together. The process was done with the help of consulting firm Bain & Company, who left in June after…

It’s one thing to hold back for effect, to keep things simple and low-key to help accentuate the nuances and let every component breathe. But it’s another thing when that effort falls flat into boredom. Real Estate’s self-titled debut album did just that, with barely a third of the album’s 10 tracks able to rise above its hushed hum, and the repetitive riffing of “Fake Blues” as the only trues earworm still unshackled from obscurity. Flash-forward two years and the members of Real Estate are now New Jersey’s indie kings of surf pop and “jangly guitars,” a term music reviewers can’t resist from using. On October 17, they drop their second delivery in the form of Days. But this follow-up LP is significantly more powerful, so much more emotionally driven that you’d be hard pressed to find anything on it that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on their debut.…

By Nick Statt The six-month-long search for Stony Brook’s provost is over  President Samuel Stanley announced on August 3 that Dr. Dennis Assanis would be appointed Stony Brook University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as the Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs. Assanis, who will be leaving his position as a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, will be filling the shoes of former Provost Eric Kaler, who resigned in July to become president of the University of Minnesota. Assanis’ appointment is effective October 1. “I look forward to the opportunity to filling the more than 250 new faculty positions over the next five years, thanks to the passage of the 2020 legislation,” said Assanis. “This will have a catalytic effect that will really benefit all our students, as it will improve our student to faculty ratio from 28 to one to 22 to…

By Nick Statt The Student Activities Board (SAB), the event-coordinating wing of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), has received an additional $130,887, a 32.4 percent increase over last year, while the club budgets have been cut by $208,062, an 18.3 percent decrease from last year’s final budget. Nearly 70 percent of all clubs saw a cut in their budgets and SAB now has $534,887 to spend on campus events. USG officers saw immense promise in SAB throughout the last two semesters, which was the organization’s first year after the controversial 2010 Establishment of Student Life Act that restructured SAB and put former USG Treasurer Moiz Khan in charge of event planning. “They successfully put on big programs clearly demonstrated by Aziz [Ansari], Best Coast and obviously Bruno Mars,” said current USG Treasurer Thomas Kirnbauer, who drafted the budget alongside last year’s treasurer Jackie Mark and a six-person budget committee. “We…

For months, Brookhaven National Lab was staring at the face of devastating House budget cuts of $1.1 billion that threatened to cut the staff by 930, or one third, and potentially discontinue the operations of internationally renown facilities like the RHIC particle accelerator. But a budget compromise released on April 8, called FY11, reduced that $1.1 billion to only $35 million, marking a definitive effort to not let science take the back seat even amid the nation’s struggling economic recovery. “We don’t yet have any new info on how or if the final budget deal will affect us,” said Media & Communications Manager Pete Genzer, but he stressed the words of BNL’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology Doon Gibbs, who said in a statement provided by Genzer, “…We deeply appreciate Senator Schumer’s, Senator Gillibrand’s, and Congressman Bishop’s support for science and their willingness to protect the Lab and its…

The expansion of the universe is accelerating, and scientists have no idea why. Gravity should be slowing this expansion over time, but billions of years ago it shifted from slowing down to speeding up. The cause is attributed to an unknown form of energy, and this energy makes up for nearly three fourths of the entire universe’s mass. Its name in scientific circles is dark energy, yet that is simply a placeholder until the truth is discovered. At Brookhaven National Lab, cosmologists study dark energy, as well as its companion dark matter, and conduct experiments in the hope of breaking new ground on the origins and current nature of our expanding universe. By the end of the decade, these scientists hope that a new tool, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, will allow them to plunge even deeper into the depths of the sky. The telescope will allow them to collect…