The right to die

Death row inmate fights for control of execution
For some people, the choice to have someone end your life when you are going to die anyway is a completely reasonable decision. In the eyes of others, there is a line that can be crossed over into cruel and unusual punishment. If you’re already slated to die, why not at least give you the dignity to make the decision yourself? Some would argue it is similar to physician-assisted suicide, and in some ways, it is. A choice like this would warrant some much needed thought from all parties involved. Convicted killer Gary Haugen is now faced with such a choice, and it is definitely easier said than done.

Weird science with Janieve Schnabel: Tripping out

Bizarre fruit could offer alternative to sugar
Have you ever heard of a “flavor-tripping” party? Despite what it sounds like, it has nothing to do with drugs. All it involves is a small red berry and a bunch of lemons and vinegar. For those of you wondering what the heck this is all about, you're not alone. Despite its effects having been known for almost 300 years, very few people know about the aptly named miracle berry. This small, tart, cranberry-like fruit is unremarkable when eaten on its own—bitter and unimpressive, even. However, if something sour is consumed after it, the moniker's meaning becomes obvious.

A step backward for TriMet

New fare inspection policies reflect poorly on metro transit service
You’ve gathered your books, pens, cute highlighters and notebooks and made arrangements for tuition. You’re registered for classes and enjoying the “welcome” from the university and friends. Now try to make sure the fall term does not include being welcomed in with TriMet’s new $175 fine for not paying the fare to ride the MAX. If a fare inspector or transit officer is having a bad day, it could also include a 30-day exclusion from riding.

Flocking to a new level

Social learning in birds should be studied further
Stories, legends and lore surrounding mimicry and songbirds stem back hundreds of years. To this day, people wonder how something so far removed from us evolutionarily can so closely imitate what many consider a uniquely human trait: speech. It is said that President Andrew Jackson’s mouth was so foul that his parrot was ejected from his funeral for “uttering profanity.” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” depended on the famed black bird’s capacity to mimic human speech.

B cell cancer treatment not too good to B true

New method involving inactive HIV is potential breakthrough in cancer treatments
A potential breakthrough in cancer treatment was made last year in Philadelphia, Penn. In a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial, doctors treated three late-stage cancer patients using their own modified immune cells.

Hipstertown, USA?

What it means to be a hipster
It may not come as a surprise to some, but Portland has been named one of the most hipster cities in America. One of the Huffington Post’s several handy lists delved into the challenge of finding which colleges in the U.S. are home to the greatest number of these “witty-independent-artist-intellectuals,” and unlike 2010’s list, Portland did not go unnoticed.

College and military ties

Options for veterans in college expanding
There is a unique relationship between the military and higher education in the United States. Some students may be surprised to learn that Portland State University was originally established to cater toward veterans and military personnel. Portland, like many cities across the U.S., was virtually flooded by American GIs returning from the Pacific Theatre, so much so as to warrant the founding of a secondary education institution with the express purpose of integrating these veterans into the skilled workforce. The school was initially named the Vanport Extension Center.

Oregon Sustainability Center: the Good, the Bad and the Controversial

The proposed OSC affects Portland State University, like it or not
Plans are moving forward for the Oregon Sustainability Center, though not without major controversy over the building’s funding. While Mayor Sam Adams is highly in favor of the structure, much of the public is concerned about how the construction of the building will prove to be financially sustainable for Portland. The OSC would be a revolutionary step for green thinking, but every good idea comes with necessary drawbacks.

The case for cautious optimism

Endgame in Afghanistan approaches
A humid summer evening in the swamps of Virginia’s semi-prehistoric wilderness. A platoon of sixty young men—sweaty, sun-burnt, caked with mud and smelling like a herd of gastro-intestinally distressed bison—sits in a semicircle around the one man with brass on his lapels. Pens scratch on waterproof notebooks as we, the officer candidates of Echo Company, 4th Platoon, the future leaders of the United States Marine Corps, pick the brain of our platoon commander in an unusually casual question-and-answer session. Training is almost over. Our platoon commander, a captain, still speaks to us with a dry mixture of impatience, sarcasm and contempt.

Unions, strikes and rallies

Narrowly avoided strike illustrates the importance of unions
This past month, while many students were (hopefully) still bronzing in Cancun, exploring Europe or trout fishing in the Gorge, the unionized PSU staff came within four days of going on strike, making final negotiations and avoiding the picket line just in time for the student's scheduled return. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and PSU workers staged large rallies on Aug. 8 and Aug. 17 in the Park Blocks. The Aug. 8 rally had over 250 SEIU workers, faculty and supporters. Tiffany Dollar of ASPSU led labor chants near the end of the rally, and the workers marched to University Place Hotel where the administration was meeting to send their delegation inside.

There goes the neighborhood

Seattle’s reformed Christian mega-church opens shop in Southeast
In early August, news that Seattle-born Evangelical church Mars Hill would be opening its first Portland location on Southeast Taylor and 32nd Avenue hit the press. Controversy surrounded it from the beginning, not only because many of the sermons available on Mars Hill’s website showed founder Mark Drissoll asserting extremely questionable ethics, but also because this time they would be doing it in a part of town many Portlanders believed was a place free from this particular set of beliefs.


Arts & Culture

Corey Harper is post-Portlandia on the national stage

Corey Harper does not immediately strike me as a folk musician, but after speaking with him, I see where and why he deserves the...



Trumpcare: Are we any better off with this new plan?

The House of Representatives passed Trumpcare, or the American Health Care Act, on May 4. While the bill still has to make it through...