The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


December Newsbytes #1

Newsbytes Masthead

By: Staff Writer Amrith Krishnan


A new bill brought to the California Senate on December 2 could greatly affect the tuition and financial stress that college brings if passed. The bill, known as  CA SB15, would offset the UC plan to raise tuition for four-year attendees by almost five percent next year. By lowering tuition, UCs would open themselves up to lower-income families and increase state funding for the system. The bill comes with a price, however. To pay for the cost of implementing the tuition reduction, the bill overrides a recently hard-won push to give more scholarships to middle-class students that would have trouble paying for college. In addition, a large increase in tuition for out-of-state students would help fund the bill, possibly decreasing campus diversity and attendance from other states. The bill, while controversial, ultimately would be beneficial to most families struggling to pay for college in California.



A week after the grand jury ruling not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting an unarmed black man in Ferguson, a similar ruling came out in New York. In Staten Island, New York, another grand jury ruled not to indict police officer Daniel Pantoleo for using an alleged illegal chokehold to subdue 43-year old Eric Garner, who was also an African American man. When Garner reportedly denied the charges against him for selling illegal cigarettes and tried to resist arrest, Pantoleo put him into a hold. Garner suffered from asthma, and died from asphyxiation due to the illegal chokehold, banned in 1993 by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The fact that the Staten Island grand jury released its ruling barely a week after the grand jury in Ferguson raises major questions and sparks violent debates concerning African American rights and police brutality, and the distance to which law enforcement can go in protecting the peace.



Another recent power failure in a Ukrainian Nuclear Power Reactor has people around the world questioning the safety and integrity of Ukraine’s nuclear safety. A short circuit in one of the nuclear reactor’s control systems has shut down part of the nuclear reactor, and while there is no imminent threat to the reactor, nearby villages have been evacuated. In light of the recent nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine, this reactor, called Zaporizhya, is the largest in Europe, and could create even more chaos if it is destroyed. The failing of the nuclear reactor has also led to power failures in other parts of the country. While officials claim that there is no threat whatsoever, repair crews are working day and night to restore power to the reactor.



Zombies are real? How else can dozens of preserved human brains go missing from the research labs at the University of Austin, Texas? There are a few theories going around. Undergraduates and other pranksters at the college could have stolen the brains for Halloween scares and other pranks. Or, they could be used for decoration in a macabre house design. The most probable            explanation for the missing brains is probably that environmental workers removed them from their preservation jars about a decade ago. Researchers could no longer analyze the brains because the specimens were too old to yield any valuable information. The University of Austin can rest safely knowing that the brains have been missing due to purely scientific reasons.






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