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The Rocky Horror Picture Show: a Social Commentary

By Charlotte Wood, VI Form

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: a Social Commentary

 Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), an absurdist musical comedy that parodies sci-fi B-movies, particularly those of the 1950’s, reveals much about the culture of Vietnam era America. Specifically, the film comments on the conservatism of the previous decades, the Watergate scandal and other governmental matters, the counterculture movement, and questions of sexual and gender politics.

The 1970’s were a complicated and often confusing time in American history. By 1975, the U.S. had finally withdrawn from Vietnam after being entrenched in the anti-Communist conflict for nearly twenty years, and even then the war raged on between North and South Vietnam for two years after the U.S. had removed its troops.[1] America was left divided, economically devastated, and, perhaps worst of all, defeated. These troops were not coming home as heroes. The right saw them as failures or losers, while the left saw them as murderers.[2] Vietnam truly “pierced the myth of American invincibility,”[3] and postwar America has never been the same as a result. (more…)

STEM Fellow: Probing the Semantic Representations of Emotional and Social Concepts in Autism

By Lucy Cao, VI Form


Probing the Semantic Representations of Emotional and Social Concepts in Autism


Please Click The Image To Download/See the  Poster

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a set of neurodevelopmental disorders as shown through difficulties in social interaction and communication as well as repetitive behaviors. Symptoms of ASD manifest at an early age and become most prominent between the ages two to three years old. One major area of defect common among ASD individuals is language and communication, especially the ability to comprehend language and make inferences based on social and emotional context. Recent linguistics studies have shown that there is an association between the ability of individuals with autism to attribute mental states (to themselves and others) and verbal skills. It is found that high-functioning ASD individuals have a less coherent representation of emotional experiences and tend to avoid using emotional terminology. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between social competence and semantic representation of social and emotional concepts. Knowing that lexical co-occurrences are useful measurements of semantic knowledge, participants of this study were asked to rate pairs of verbs in terms of similarity on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being very similar and 5 being very dissimilar. Data collected from the typically developing (TD) participants indicates that there is a correlation between social competence and accuracy of similarity ratings of verbs containing social and emotional content. The less socially competent, the less accurate the ratings are. Moreover, such a correlation is not present in verbs of no social or emotional content. However, the investigator failed to identify a significant difference in the ASD population’s perception of emotional and social verbs and the control participants’ perception of these verbs due to reasons of methodology.


An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual

By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form

An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual

Total Estrangement

Alienation is a natural state of human beings. We are set in an environment that leaves us with a sense of inadequacy and ineptitude and no matter what extent to which we alter our facades and wear a mask of falsity; we will never be able to cross the glass ceiling that is our expectations. From the very moment we are conceived, we are being classified and divided among throngs of opinions, preferences, and expectations. We are expected to live up to this normality of society, the ever prevalent quest to “fit in”. To be amidst the general populace and succeed in a manner relative to the ideas of said society and government that preside over our specific demographic. We are expected to succeed in the realm of capitalism and to move further up this hierarchy and supersede the ranks of the proletariat in turn for the bourgeoisie. We are expected to develop social relationships with everyone we meet and to be liked by them. We are expected to achieve great things and to do what has never been done before. In the aftermath of all this expectation, what is left for us to expect for ourselves other than that which has been told to us? In that we are governed by these (more…)

Gun Control in America: A Nonpartisan Investigation

By Sam Lauten, VI Form

Gun Control in America: A Nonpartisan Investigation

For the entirety of my life, I have been taught that there are good politicians and evil politicians. I have been taught that there is only Democrat and Republican. I grew up in a firmly liberal household, in a liberal state, and attended liberal private schools from kindergarten to my senior year of high school. This is not a criticism of my family, nor is it a criticism of liberal education, rather a recognition of the fact that I have been exposed to very few people that are significantly different than I am. However, this year as I began to look onward to studying political science at college in the fall, there was something that I found deeply troubling about experiencing eighteen years of life without having my own political views truly challenged. Even so, I have always had firm opinions about nearly every issue, even those which I have not necessarily experienced the effects of first hand. An example of one of these issues is gun regulation. (more…)

Letter to the Editor: Native American Policy

By Mo Liu and Jamie Lance, V Form

Letter to the Editor: Native American Policy

Dear Editor Jackson,

It occurs to me that there is much attention raised among the general public regarding our government’s policy towards Indians, and therefore in writing to you, I, as a member of the Board of Indian Commissioners, want to clarify my position. Indians cannot be entirely excluded from our picture as a nation. However, the Indian society is not a cultivated society likes ours. One of my colleagues, who is experienced with Indian affairs and always provides us with elaborate information about the Indians, says their tribes are corrupted by “idleness, improvidence, and indebtedness”. The lack of private property or land and the underdevelopment of laws mark the Indian society as barbarous and inferior to ours. Because of this difference, since 1871 Indian tribes are no longer considered sovereign nations. Governments before us circumvented the Indian dilemma by relocating and establishing reservations west to the Mississippi River, yet now with a closed frontier and western migration, conflicts between settlers and the Indians are inevitable. The issue is pressing. (more…)

Math Modeling: Using Math for Flight Path Safety

By Kate Sotir, Cooper Sarafin, Anderson Fan, Shep Green, VI Form and Mo Liu, V Form

Math Modeling: Using Math for Flight Path Safety

Part 1:

The problem at hand is to create a model, a rating system, that would inform potential flyers of the safety of a particular flight. Our solution includes a mathematical equation that gives us a number between 1 and 100, depending on the inputs. Although the values themselves indicate the safety level of flights, we do not want to our audience to read into the numbers: a flight with a safety index of 63 should not be considered a more dangerous flight than a flight with a safety index of 67. Therefore, to make our model directly presentable to our audience, we classified the possible outcomes into ratings. A safety index ranges from 1 to 20 would have a rating of ★, from 20 to 40 would have ★★, 40 to 60 would be ★★★, 60 to  80 ★★★★, and finally, 80 to 100 would have the highest rating of ★★★★★, and flights that fall under this rating would be the safest choice based on our model. (more…)