On the Soleimani Assassination

Before Olin and a significant portion of the world shut down due to this pandemic, this is what I was going to preface this article with:

International relations and foreign policy aren’t things we talk about often at Olin. The average American doesn’t live with the consequences of US foreign policy, however the majority of the world’s population does. The Vietnamese, the Chilean, the Turkish and the Greek felt them during the Cold War, just as the Syrians, Yemenis and Iraqis do today. I think it’s important to learn about international relations, and their direct ramifications on people’s lives. This is why I chose to do an AHS Capstone in communicating the recent developments in the Middle East related to international relations to the Olin community. With this project, I hope to start a conversation about international relations, different countries’ foreign policies and their impact on the lives of regular people, especially for those that live in the Middle East.

I wrote the following piece after I got messages from friends over Winter Break, asking if I knew anything about the “Iran situation” – referring to the Soleimani assassination. I didn’t at the time, therefore I spent the better part of January and February researching and writing about it. The following is what I have to say about the “Iran situation”. 

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On the Soleimani Assassination

On January 3, a US drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport killed Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’ elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commander of Iranian troops in Iraq (Cohen). US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the attack was deterrent in nature, citing an intelligence report on Soleimani’s intentions of an attack on four US embassies in the region, and an overall threat of Iranian aggression on American interests and allies in the region (Stracqualursi). I argue that the U.S. administration’s decision to kill Soleimani was ineffective in addressing the Iranian threat and was primarily a product of the blind pursuit of “maximum pressure” policy on Iran.

“Maximum pressure” is the brainchild of the famous Iran-hawk and former National Security Adviser under Trump, John Bolton, who argued that the only way to prevent Iran from expanding their sphere of influence in the region and from producing nuclear weapons is to pressure them through financial, political and military means. The goal of the policy is to force Iran to the negotiating table with the US on the US’ terms, on topics ranging from nuclear enrichment, Iran’s involvement in the many conflicts in the Middle East, to their role in the Palestine-Israel conflict. As part of this policy, the US previously pulled out from the “Iran nuclear deal” – officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA – citing its weakness in supporting American interests. The U.S. also re-imposed sanctions amounting up to $100 billion, which had been previously lifted following Iran’s compliance with JCPOA (Bakeer). 

Qasem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force – which is IRGC’s military branch that operates outside of Iran to protect the regime’s interests abroad through intelligence and unconventional military operations. Throughout his tenure, he built a strong network of proxy militia groups across the Middle East – which allowed him to coordinate Iran’s military involvement in the region, thereby expanding Iran’s sphere of influence against the Saudi regime. After an Iranian rocket attack on an Iraqi military base had killed an American contractor and a group of Hezbollah (Iran-backed) supporters had stormed the US embassy in Baghdad in late December, 2019, the tensions between the US and Iran had risen significantly (Makki).

In the presence of high tensions and an alleged threat to US personnel in the region, killing Soleimani not only promoted Iran and their allies in the region to retaliate against US troops and personnel, it was ineffective in addressing the real threat that Soleimani posed to American interests: the network of proxies he had established. While one could argue that these networks rely on personal relationships between Soleimani and his proxies, removing the head of an organization is seldom effective in disrupting their operations. In fact, following the attack, Iran promptly hit US bases in the region and went as far as leaving their air space open – treating the civilian traffic as a shield from further US retaliation – and downed a Ukrainian airliner, showing that the hit only aggravated the regime in threatening American personnel and interests in the region (Lampert). 

Since then, the Iranian aggression towards the US seems so unaffected by the drone strike that some government officials reportedly admit that “the killing of General Suleimani has not — as some had hoped — led Iran and its proxies to think twice about fomenting violence inside Iraq and elsewhere (Mazzetti)”, further confirming the futility of the assassination in preventing further Iranian attacks. One could argue that the attack was a successful preemptive attack based on the intelligence report Pompeo and many other senior White House officials cited. After all, a threat to US embassies in the region and a central figure to Iran’s operations in the region was killed; however the process to the assassination decision left many doubtful of the conclusiveness of the report and the cited imminent threat. Prior to the assassination, the administration circumvented a necessary meeting with the Gang of Eight – a group of high-ranking members of the Congress are informed on classified intelligence matters – before authorizing the strike, preventing any input from crucial leaders of the government (Stracqualursi). Given the skepticism voiced by several members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on the lack of evidence for Pompeo’s claims (Chiacu), it isn’t difficult to distinguish this attack as a blind pursuit of their “maximum pressure” policy, rather than a preemptive strike to alleviate a threat on US personnel and an effort to prevent further military confrontation with Iran.

Soleimani was a dangerous individual. He built a loyal network of proxies and militia groups across the Middle East, and posed significant risk to US interests, such as reinforcing Iran’s regional hegemony and threatening the US and its allies through his proxies. He was paramount for Iran’s numerous military involvements and humanitarian atrocities in the region, including the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Yemen and the ensuing refugee crisis. The US needs to take action against Iran’s growing destructive influence in the region, but this type of dogmatic implementation of the “maximum pressure” policy is reckless and unlikely to be successful.

Bibliography: https://tinyurl.com/u9mrmsk

Coronavirus Corner

A roundup of resources to help you stay informed, take care of yourself and others, and take breaks from the news when you need them.

Stay Informed

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to have an up-to-date and comprehensive COVID-19 section on its website.
  • The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center includes an interactive map.
  • This Podcast Will Kill You has released a six-epsiode series, “Anatomy of a Pandemic: COVID-19.” The show is co-hosted by two epidemiologists/disease ecologists.

Stay Home

  • Continue to avoid or limit contact with anyone outside your household.
  • Limit or avoid unnecessary trips out.
  • Help Flatten the Curve.

Take Care

Take a Break

Stay Connected

Got questions or suggestions for the Wellness Office? Share them here.

It’s Financial Literacy Month. Are You Angry?

“It seems like this whole system was invented to screw over poor people, but you have to participate or else you’ll get screwed, too.”

I’ve never been prouder of an Oliner than when I heard this come out of one of their mouths during a HOPES (Helping Oliners Plan Economic Success) session about credit scores. We’d been discussing how credit functions in American society: When we need to pay for things most of us can’t afford on our own (a car, a house, a college education, etc.), we must borrow that money from someone else (i.e., a lender). But the lender will only let us borrow their money if they think we’re likely to pay it back later, plus interest. So they’ll only lend to those of us who have already proved in the past that we’re able to do this. This history is what makes up our credit score. 

Yes, it’s often that simple: A good credit score gives us access to cheap credit for the things we want and need. With no or poor credit, however, the lender will either deny us or charge a higher interest rate, making it harder to finance that car to get to work, that house that’s likely to appreciate in value over time, or that degree that will increase our earning power. The fact that someone is already financially vulnerable makes it more difficult to take the steps needed to find their footing. 

Sometimes people we’re not asking for money, like landlords or employers, can even use our credit history as a factor in deciding whether or not to rent to us or employ us. 

And this is just one way that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. 

All I could say to the student was, “You’re absolutely right.”

I think my answer may have surprised them. After all, it’s both my job and my passion to help students develop lifelong financial skills. Just because Jerry Goss (Olin’s Financial Wellness Ambassador) and I are personal finance nerds, however, doesn’t mean we buy into the financial systems and industries on which financial wellness is built.  

Beyond credit scores, there are countless ways in which these systems perpetuate inequality. Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a global emergency in itself, but it’s also exposing and exacerbating the deep cracks that permeate our society. For example, people in poverty are more likely to:

  • Lose their jobs as industries are forced to either suspend operations or implement radical changes
  • Own small businesses that will not survive an economic recession
  • Continue going to work if they exhibit symptoms because they don’t have paid sick leave
  • Live without health insurance, or be at risk of losing coverage if they get laid off
  • Go without essential supplies that others are stocking up on because they live paycheck-to-paycheck, don’t have space to store them, etc. 
  • Rely on public transit where social distancing is more difficult
  • Feed their families with WIC-approved foods (WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), which may be unavailable during times of crisis as people stock up on staple ingredients 
  • Depend on school or work for meals 
  • Lack appropriate technology at home to continue their work or education
  • Exist without the protection of an emergency fund in times of financial hardship
  • Have their utilities shut off if they can’t pay their bills (as you can imagine, it’s hard to wash your hands without water or work from home without internet)
  • Serve as primary caretakers for older family members, so they can’t keep them safe by social distancing
  • Get evicted if they can’t pay their rent
  • Experience escalation of an abusive home situation they can’t afford to leave, given that the resources that might normally provide some respite (work, school, religious organizations, etc.) are unavailable
  • Fall victim to predatory financial scams that prey on desperate people
  • Face barriers to accessing mental health treatment in a time of heightened stress and anxiety 
  • Be shamed by others for their predicament 

And much, much more. Far more than I can list. Far more than my own privilege allows me to be aware of.

If this makes you angry, it should. It makes me angry. 

So here’s the thing: Yes, I want Oliners to develop practical personal finance knowledge and skills. I want to help you learn what you need to know about budgeting, credit, and so on to survive (and hopefully thrive) in today’s world, a world in which financial stability is both crucial and fleeting. As they tell you on airplanes, you must put on your own mask before you can help others. 

At the same time, however, I want you to fight for others to have the same opportunity. This isn’t about getting rich. It’s about waking up in the morning not having to worry about whether you can afford to be a person. This is what one outcome of financial wellness can be if we want it to. 

And I think it’s you specifically, as Oliners, who are needed in this arena. Don’t leave this in the hands of the folks on Wall Street, in business school, and in political office. We need people like you to be angry, to be compassionate, and to imagine how things could be different (not just during an economic crisis, but afterwards, too). We need people to think and act like Oliners. 

So yes, April is Financial Literacy Month. And we’re still having it! Because in many ways, I feel it’s more important than ever. Hope to see you at our events on the Zoom machine.

April Compliments Corner

Hello! Times have been super wacky and rough as of late for many of us, and I wanted to compile compliments from the community to bring some smiles to all of us who are physical distancing (with social closeness). Hope you enjoy! 

To submit compliments for next month, visit https://forms.gle/gm1VfwtUXseKDK4w7

Arwen, you’re such a cool person! You’re such a sweet human being and you’re such a style icon!!!

Utsav is someone I’d sit down and chill with any day 

Micah Reid is an amazing painter

Jessie Potter is the biggest sweet heart

I wish I was closer to Cali because she seems like such a fun person to hang out with 

Katie TT is adorable 

Casey M spreads so much kindness and positivity with everything he does! He truly brightens our community. 

Meg Ku: Thank you for being such a go getter and wonderful human, especially during the fauxmencement prep!

Katie B is beyond generous and truly cares for other people! She also has an amazing sense of humor. 

Ever is one of my favorite humans. He is so cheerful and really inspires me is so many ways! 

Rick Miller is incredible!!! I love the impact he’s made on the nature of the Olin community- I will miss having him as our President! 

I love Cassandra’s chipper and helpful attitude! 

Luis never fails to put a smile on my face with his INCREDIBLE sense of humor and his undeniable kindness. 

Riya is an incredible person! She does so much for other people, and always manages to have time to listen to you if you need it. 

Shreya, you are such a force to be reckoned with. I’m so glad I got to know you better this semester!

Mary you are so encouraging and compassionate!

Emma Pan, you are always so welcoming.

Andrew M, I appreciate your positivity and your drive to share happiness with all.

Sam D., thank you for always being an advocate and resource for our community. You are so loved.  

Dhara, you are kind, hilarious and wacky. I’m so glad we got to know each other more this semester and I am so excited have more great times! 

Annie, you are incredible and make my heart so happy all the time. I’m so grateful to be your friend 

To the entire Olin community: thank you for being supportive, funny, and generally wholesome!

Callan, Mckenzie, and Maggie are the most incredible people and put so much thought, love, and care into the library! It’s been amazing to see what the library has grown into with them, and I always love talking with them. They’re all so cool! 

Meg you are one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known!

To my faculty colleagues, who took less than 24 hours to frame opportunities (alongside the problems).  Your strength and optimism are contagious and appreciated.

To the guy who lived across the hall– you are caring, funny and awesome in so many ways. I miss seeing you all the time!

Thank you, second floor lounge, for being so tolerant of my excessive alcohol consumption

They know who I am

Anya, Anusha, and Alison are the backbone of Olin College

Hadleigh, you were so incredibly hard-working & patient as you not only folded so so many origami hats, but taught people too along the way, spreading the joy of the activity :) Thank you for being awesome!!

Jeff Goldenson, I’m really so sad to see you go :(  Thank you so much for all the wonderful wacky time in the Greenhouse you gave to us students, and through the highs and lows, always caring about all of us above anything else. 

Anusha! Your leadership has really been constantly inspiring to me, but you have really gone above and beyond to support the student body and be their advocate in these last few weeks. Thank you for being such a wonderful person, and continuing to work hard to help all of us, I know everyone really appreciates you.

Adva has such a kind spirit. Her speech at Fauxmencement made me sob. Thank you for being a part of our community, Adva. 

I find it so impressive how much Miranda reads. I just want to say thank you for your book review emails and that you’re awesome.

Riya, you’re such a sweet and caring person and I’m so lucky to have experienced so much of your kindness!

Meg you’re the best roommate ever!!!

Your Partner in Crime

Annie Tor, bless your soul. You’re so sweet and kind and make everyone around you smile.

Nathan you’re so awesome at flying planes

Colin Snow your bread is the world’s best 

the president search committee did a wonderful job and it seems like our president elect is well put together. definitely the person we need at the moment during all of this turbulence 

Amazing work by MarCom and IT on the Next President website!

Katie Gosbee, you are so awesome!

Olivia Seitelman, thank you for being such an amazing human being.

Meagan R. your the bestest writing ninja this semester!

Dunk man you play some mean jazz

To the faculty – thank you so so so much for making the transition to online learning as simple as possible. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to run a Olin class from Zoom and we really appreciate all the effort.

Class of ’22, thank you for making me smile :D

Kevin and Himanshu and the Dining Hall staff, we miss you so much!!! Thank you for all you’ve done for us.

Kate Mackowiak can make anyone laugh and feel completely at home when they are around her.

Simrun Mutha has an infectious laugh, brilliant smile, and killer dance moves.

Prisha Sadhwani is gorgeous inside and out, an amazing baker, and truly cares about her friends and family.

Nathan Faber gives the best hugs, and is a great unicycler.

Owen Dray is a kind human who always helps others but asks nothing in return.

Isabel Serrato has a kind soul and is hillarious on the sodium stage.

NOAH D’SOUZA PLAYS A REALLY GOOD INKLING! IT’S SO SATISFYING TO LOSE TO!

jerrito

Caitlin Kantor is the best hype-woman around, and always makes everyone around her feel accepted.

Emily + the NINJAs have been amazing for MechSolids and they’ve made the transition to O(n)lin(e) a lot easier 

Shreya is just great as usual 

Jonathan, I don’t think you could begin to imagine how amazing you are and how glad I am that you are in my life. I’m constantly impressed by you and admire you so so much. Still not sure how you know the perfect things to say when I’m feeling down, but thanks for always being your thoughtful, genuine, wonderful self. 

Sam Young bringing back houseparty makes me happy. Love that chaotic energy

Julia Chomowicz is a great teammate and amazingly compassionate.

Katie Rollauer is an example of a staff member who cares deeply about the Olin community. I appreciate her kindness and openness.

Zhenya is hands-down the most thoughtful, loving, inspiring, and genuine human being I have had the honor of knowing. She cares so deeply for others and the love she shows for others inspires me to be more reflective and intentional as I go about each and every day. I hope to be even half the person she is one day.

Matt Brucker is such a stylish, sweet, sincere, and kind human being!

Student Affairs and Resources Team – there are now words for your amazingness!

Rae-Anne

HK Rho is a radiant, loving, strong, genuine, hilarious human being who lights up every room she is in.

David Freedman is one of the most sweet, thoughtful, genuine, and loving human beings I have ever known. I learn so much from his example and brings a special joy to every room he is in. He is a wonderful listener and cares so deeply about those around him.

Chris Lee (the student) is so genuine, hilarious, and passionate. He cares deeply for his friends through advice or laughter. He is a wonderful listener and an incredible friend. 

Kristtiya Guerra is such a wonderful human being who cares so deeply for her friends. She never fails to make those around her double over with laughter. She is sweet, sympathetic, and brave.

Richard Gao is one of the funniest and honest people I have known. He is gentle, sympathetic, and warm. He cares so much about those around him and is wonderful listener. 

Kyle Bertram is such a caring and genuine human being. She is a wonderful, kind role model for me who I admire greatly.

The Dining Hall staff makes me feel so loved while being so far from home. They feel like my family and I am so appreciative of their hard work. Olin wouldn’t be Olin without each and every one of them.

Riya Aggarwal cares so deeply for those around her and is a true friend. She is very sweet, thoughtful, and an amazing listener.

Adva is such a radiant, caring, lovely, beautiful inside and out human being. She is honest and hilarious and understanding without fail.

Jon Stolk is one of the most thoughtful, inspiring, and genuine people I have ever known. He is an amazing listener and cares so much for those around him. He brings joy to every room he is in and I learn so much from his example.

The class of 2022 is my forever family- and  I mean family in the deepest, truest sense. Thank you all for being so loving and unique and accepting me. I miss and love you all more and more every day. I can’t wait for the next 2 with y’all <3 

The POE 2019 teaching team brought so much joy and honest help and care to my life. Thank you for your love.

Sam Michalka is such a wonderful wonderful wonderful human being who I learn so much from every day. Sam cares so much for the human beings around them as an exceptional teacher. They shine a light in every room and are a true inspiration to me.

Katie Goldstein is such a genuine, caring person who really listens to those around her. She has helped teach me what really matters in life and how to be a better friend to everyone around me. She is radiant and beautiful inside and out.

Daniela Faas is such a wonderful, strong role model to me. She cares so deeply for those around her and is a wonderful human being and teacher.

Ben Ziemann is such a warm, gentle, passionate, and caring individual. I look up to his example and Olin will not be Olin without him.

Vicky McDermott- I can’t but smile just reading her name. I look up to Vicky so much and Olin won’t be Olin without her. There are so many words I can use to describe her: kind, hilarious, genuine, caring, warm, gentle, sweet, radiant, and beautiful inside and out. I spent a while trying to find a good quote to describe Vicky and liked Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart”. You’ll be in my heart always, Vicky <3

Sophie Schaffer is such a warm, radiant, hilarious individual. She made me feel at home while so far from home and I will miss her so so much. 

Himanshu is such a caring, radiant individual. He makes everyone smile without fail and really cares when asking how someone is doing.  

Carlos Godinez is such a radiant, hilarious, and kind human being. He is a wonderful listener and never fails to make me smile on a tough day.

Olin students – this has been hard and you have been overwhelmingly amazing. Thank you and we look forward to seeing your faces again soon!

Rae-Anne & the StAR Team

Mason Grabowski has beautiful hair when he lets it loose!

Sam Kaplan has the best beard on campus, hands down. If you disagree, I still think it’s still high ranking. 

Your uncle SIBB

Julia Benton, you are sweet, hilarious and a total joy to be around! I love that you’re my friend!

marion madanguit is hilarious has an insanely good sense of direction while blindfolded!

Michael Remley is such a refreshing person to be around

Elias we love you as a ModSim NINJA!

M+K

Nathan Shuster has mad board game skillz

To everyone who wrote me kind things in the form and over email about this section (including the person who said “Don’t not publish this compliment just because it’s about you!”), thank you so much for your kind words. My heart is so unimaginably happy ❤️

– Maia

Horoscopes from a Sober Contributor

I would usually use this section to describe upcoming astrological events and try to provide some insight regarding what the future might hold. I genuinely believe that astrology is the best tool we have by which to make sense of the present and meaningfully consider the future, and I think it’s at its most useful in times of deep uncertainty where other, less scrutinized models seem to fail. Regardless, the nature of current events made doing a standard analysis of the cosmos and reporting out accordingly in a public setting feel out of touch at best. Hopefully, I will soon return to writing rigorous, scientific horoscopes. I’m too much of a coward to do that right now.


If you must know, the sun is currently in Aries, and it will enter Taurus on April 20th. There will be a full moon in Libra on April 7th (it’ll be a supermoon!) and a new moon in Taurus on April 22nd. Pluto will enter retrograde on April 25th in Capricorn. I’ll admit I’m pretty nervous about the Pluto retrograde, but other than feel free to interpret this information as you’d like and feel free to contact me if you’d like to talk about astrology and interpretations. 

In the meantime, here are some less scientifically-determined food-related suggestions I would recommend for each sign to enjoy if they can acquire them in a safe way.

Pisces (Feb. 19–Mar. 20): If you can get to a store that sells fun novelty items, find whatever seems the most wack and exciting, purchase it, and consume it. 

Aries (Mar. 21–Apr. 19): There’s nothing wrong with adding more hot sauce to your daily diet.

Taurus (Apr. 20–May 20): Recreate the Olin Dining Hall experience and make a smoothie using whatever you can find wherever you are staying. No blender? Get creative!

Gemini (May 21–June 21): Usually supporting local businesses means getting takeout from a small place in your neighborhood, but it’s also okay to patronize a fast food chain if you’re looking for something specific. 

Cancer (June 22–July 22):  Canadian factories are working through the night to keep kraft mac and cheese on store shelves. You might as well go enjoy some dorm-room comfort food.  

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22): Spending hours carefully preparing overdressed breakfast foods so that you can photograph them is certainly allowed, 

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Consider freezing milk, as a treat. Or freezing literally anything else.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 23): It’s okay to eat that microwave popcorn that you tossed in your backpack while trying to clean out your room a few weeks ago. Maybe put some pepper or olive oil or something on it though. 

Scorpio (Oct. 24–Nov. 21): Have you tried these protein powder recipes yet?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Looking for an adventure? Pour some black beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and other taco fixings into a bag of chips and you’ll get walking tacos, a midwest classic (apparently). 

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): You’re probably trying to stay healthy – consider making some nice vegan carrot hot dogs to spice things up!

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18): Get something caffeine! Whether it’s instant coffee or those chocolate covered espresso beans, do what you need to do.

Erika Serna is a Gamer Girl

She has not one, but 2 Nintendo Switches*. That’s right, she wanted the Animal Crossing Switch so much that she bought it in addition to another Switch. She has played copious amounts of Animal Crossing over the past few days since its release. She has over 140 hours logged into Stardew Valley, and has completed 23/40 of the extremely difficult achievements in the game. She’s also taken up Sonic Adventure 2, with about 5 hours with that game. She has played My Riding Stables – Life with Horses for over 5 hours, and even wrote an in-depth article about her experience with it. And these games are just the ones that I know about. Who knows what other games she has spent hundreds of hours on in the past year. She also recently started TWO Discord servers (that we know of), where she now spends every waking hour on. Due to all of these facts, Erika Serna is, without a doubt, a gamer girl.

*Clarification, Serna was borrowing her brother’s Switch for the semester and now owns the Animal Crossing one. But it remains to be seen whether her brother actually plays on the Switch.

Howoscopes

Authors: Hadweigh Nunwes, Jowdan Cwawfowd-O’Banner, Mawk Goldwatew, Shwashank Swaminathan, Chwase Jwoyner, Nathan Estwill, Allwi Busa, Ewika Sewna, and Aidwen Cawley-Clwoptwon

Awies (Mar. 21–Apr. 19):

In the very immediate future, you will read a lot of uwu-speak. (◕ㅅ◕✿)

Tauwus (April 20-May 20):

Wemembew tew dwink watew Tauwus(✿◕‿◕). It seems wike you haven’t been dwining any watew at aw Tauwus. You wook weally dwied out wike an onion skin, wike onions fwom shwek. I’m wooking at you wight now and aw youw skin is wike… weawy dwy. (◕ _ ◕✿) Hewwo? Tauwus? 

Gewmini (May 21–June 21)

 (◠‿◠✿) Wuv is in the aiw Gewmini! The staws awe awinging  (◡‿◡✿) 

Cancew (June 22–July 22):
Pwease mistew Obama… I’w do anything fow you mistew Obama pwease hewp. (ʘ‿ʘ✿)

Weo (July 23–Aug. 22):

uwu pweas sway stwong (◕︿◕✿)

Viwgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22):

Hewwo viwgo… you stinky wittle (✿◉ω◉)

Libwa (Sept. 23–Oct. 23):
Uwu It’s time to tiwt da scawes (◕ ˬ ◕✿)

Scowpio (Oct. 24–Nov. 21)

You’we bweeding oWo, you shouwd go to da howspitaw (◕ ɔ ◕✿)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21):
If you are a Sagittarius, wun run. Run far, far away, and no matter what happens, don’t read the other horoscopes. You have been spared. 

Capwicown (Dec. 22–Jan. 19):
uWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWoWoWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWuWu

Aquawius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

I don’t have much to owfew. Take this swowd.  (◕ ﺮ ◕✿)

Pisces (ʘ ω ʘ) (Feb. 19–Mar. 20)

Fishy wishy wanna dwink water like a gweedy wittle piggy  (◕ᴗ◕✿)

Negative Lies about Pineapples

NOT Suitable for O-Link

Pineapples have the most corrosive sap of any pine tree.

Eve actually ate a pineapple, not an apple, so pineapples are responsible for your sins.

38% of Super Mario Bro. VIllains are based on pineapples

There’s an enzyme in pineapples that makes them eat through your teeth when you eat them.

Some people have a genetic variation that makes pineapples taste like cilantro to them, leading to the pineapple on pizza debate.

Pineapples are a healthy vegetarian alternative to pizza crust.

1341 pinto beans = 1 cup pineapple

Florida is also known as “The Pineapple State”

Pina Coladas originate in Colorado. They’re a mixed drink made of pineapple juice and colorado sand, leading to the name.

Pineapples were invented by Bloomberg in 1987.

The Pina Colada song is about a man cheating on his wife with her twin sister.

The Chiquita Banana lady isn’t wearing a pineapple hat, that’s her hair.

It was once thought that pineapple extract could be used as an antibiotic, but instead it just made cuts hurt a lot and made the bacteria stronger.

Skin products made of pineapple were banned because a pineapple face mask caused chemical burns.

Jack o Lanterns used to be made of pineapples until Global Cooling made it too cold for pineapples in the US in October.

Wellesley’s mascot is the Pineapple King.

Context: When Alia asked me to write an article last semester she explained they were looking for things in the intersection of this venn diagram for Olink: Positive, True, and Relevant to Olin. I can still write about things outside that intersection, but those are more suited for Frankly Speaking.

And what’s the inverse of the union of those circles? Negative lies about pineapples.

Q&A with Stephanie Milton

Stephanie Milton, Olin’s new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator arrived at Olin in January. Stephanie took a few minutes out of her day to answer some questions as she digs into her new role.

The Wire: Welcome! We are excited to have you on campus. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your background and how you came to be at Olin? 

Stephanie Milton: My background is in student affairs. A few years ago, though, I decided I wanted to explore theology so I entered the seminary. When I completed my program, I was trying to decide how and where I should help people. One of the ways people do that is through palliative care and bereavement. I worked at Emory Hospital and then moved over to the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (AVAHCS). There I focused on veterans and their history of moral injury and trauma. I have also worked both at small colleges, such as Spelman College, and in the UC system at the University of California Santa Cruz.

The Wire: Tell me what interested you about the work here at Olin? 

SM: I was looking for something student-facing. When I came to campus, I got this art school vibe from the students: they are very creative and that appealed to me. This is a start-up culture and very hands-on and I think that isn’t found just in the curriculum but everywhere.

I really like working in the DEI space because it’s very rewarding to see students and others have those a-ha moments. I have come to realize that the results of my work are not always visible while people are on campus, sometimes it’s only after they have graduated that they reach out and tell me what it meant to them. The Title IX piece is different. I hope people feel comfortable with me because I want people to know I’m approachable: “Hi, I’m here. Let’s talk.”

The Wire: What are you looking forward to at Olin?

SM: I’m looking forward to meeting as many students as possible and hearing what they want and what they are cautious about. I’m looking for a balance between my dual roles in the DEI and the Title IX space. And I can’t wait to experience the whole academic year. I have heard about EXPO and Commencement. I’m looking forward to being a part of this community. 

I also have to learn all the acronyms! Students have been sharing things with me like “MVP” and it took me a while to realize it was minimum viable product.

The Wire: What is coming up? 

SM: We have definitely hit the ground running here. We are planning films and discussions for Women’s History Month. We are planning a restorative justice workshop. I also want people to know there is always dark chocolate in my office. So, come on by.

The Situation in Bolivia

I heard about the unrest in Bolivia on NPR’s Up First podcast while getting ready for class last semester. I hear upsetting news on Up First pretty much everyday, but this stuck out because I traveled through Bolivia with a student program. I don’t have a real connection to the country; I was a strange tourist, but the fact of having physically been there, having stood on the largest salt flat in the world makes it feel more real to me. 

I want to talk about the present, but Bolivia has a lot of past that needs to be addressed. I’m by no means an expert; this summary is an amalgamation of what I learned in classes on my trip, and the Wikipedia article on Bolivia, where I got all the dates. 

The Spanish conquering force arrived on the shores of South America in 1524 and had mostly conquered the Incan Empire by 1533. The area that would become Bolivia was then known as Charcas. 

In 1545 the mining town of Potosi was founded high in the Andes mountains to extract silver from the ‘Cerro Rico’ (meaning  ‘rich mountain’), an imposing peak at 4,824 metres above sea level that contained the largest silver deposit in the world. The Spanish enslaved the indiginous population to mine and smelt silver from the mountain. In 20 years nearly all of the easily available silver deposits had been exhausted, and so more intensive mining approaches were used. In the 16th and 17th century the riches of Potosi were pressed into coin and shipped to Europe.  An estimated 60,000 tonnes of silver were extracted from the rich mountain by 1996. 

In 1781 Túpac Katari led an indigenous rebellion which was put down at the cost of 20,000 deaths.. In 1809 the wars for Latin American independence began with revolution in the city of Sucre, Bolivia. 16 years of war ended with victory over spain, and on August 6 the Republic of Bolivia, named for general Simon Bolivar, was established. 

At the time of its founding Bolivia had over twice as much territory as it now covers. It lost land to all four of its neighboring countries, mostly over the discovery of some newly valuable resources, including saltpeter (sodium nitrate), rubber trees, and underground oil. 

These wars were waged by the spanish descendants who ruled the newly formed countries, and the conditions of the indigenous population remained terribly brutal.

Although Bolivia has nominally been a republic since its founding, before 1982 it was  governed by US backed military dictators with short, unstable periods of democracy following popular revolutions. 

Evo Morales was born to indigenous Aymara farmers in 1959. He ran for congress and won in 1997 on a socialist and anti-imperialist platform. He won the presidency in 2005 with an absolute majority of the vote. Though most of the population of Bolivia identify as indigenous, Morales is viewed as the country’s first indigenous leader, and was the first to include native religion as part of his official inauguration. Over the course of his administration he nationalized gas, mining, among other industries, alienating multinational corporations which had previously been involved in Bolivia’s resource extraction-based economy. When Morales took office, he had support from idiginous communities, but as time went on his popularity among some of these groups fell.

On November 12th I heard on the news that Evo Morales had fled to Mexico after pressure from the country’s commander of the armed forces following increased protests over the Organization American States found the results of the recent election were tampered with. Bolivia is still in turmoil, with protests, counter-protests, and no certainty of the future. 

Despite the centuries of resource removal and loss, Bolivia remains an incredibly biologically and geologically rich country. Within its borders are some of the highest peaks of the Andes mountain range, rainforests of the Amazon basin, part of lake Titicaca, 20% of the world’s tropical glaciers, large deposits of natural gas, and the largest salt flat in the world. Salar de Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia at 10,582 km2 is vast and beautiful expanse of salt. You should image search it to see what I mean. There are ancient fossilized coral islands that rise from the flats home to giant cacti and lakes with Andean flamingos. In the dry season, people drive across the plains of white salt crystals. My travel group spent a few days there, sightseeing. We had just finished a backpacking trip, the final leg of which brought us through steep foothills made treacherous by landslides caused my strip mining, and we were quite happy to sit back and ride across the stunning flats. On one of our stops, I wrapped up a salt crystal and in a tattered plastic bag and took it with me. 

Geologists believe that Salar de Uyuni contains the largest known deposit of lithium in the world, in the brine under the thick salt crust. Bolivia hasn’t been a major exporter of lithium, partially since the regulations under the Morales administration were so strict, and partially since lithium is fairly abundant and difficult to extract from salt flats. The current interim leader of the country, Jeanine Cháves, hopes to open the country to foreign trade, and with the increasing demand for lithium batteries, perhaps extraction will begin.