The Columbia Chronicle

New study suggests music can be addictive in humans

By Bethany Buonsante

February 7, 2011

Throughout recorded history in every culture around the globe, music has existed in one form or another. Listening to favorite music is universally accepted as a pleasurable and often relaxing experience. For years, scientists have pondered why music plays such a large and important role in life. But recently, a group of neuroscientists, led by Canadian researcher Valorie Salimpoor, discovered that music elicits the same reac...

Celebrating education through melody

By Luke Wilusz

November 1, 2010

One lucky group of fifth graders got to celebrate their school’s new keyboard lab with some star power as they received musical pointers from Chicago-based rockers the Plain White T’s on Oct. 28.The band joined representatives from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and ZonePerfect Nutritional Bars at Jacob Beidler Elementary School, 3151 W. Walnut St. to present a $30,000 grant to support the school’s music program. T...

Supreme Court hearing on Westboro Baptist monumental

By Contributing Writer

October 18, 2010

by: Heather McGrawIn honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Harley-Davidson USA is sponsoring nationwide rides to promote awareness of the condition. One of these rides took place on Oct. 2 in Effingham, Ill. It attracted the attention of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., defendants in a Supreme Court case dealing with First Amendment rights.Westboro Baptists protested the ride wearing bandanas that read ...

Health care for restaurant workers would benefit all

By Eleanor Blick

October 11, 2010

“A cobb salad with a side of common cold and a Southwestern wrap with strep throat sauce, please.”In the past year, almost two-thirds of restaurant employees worked while sick, according to a report published on Sept. 30 by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. The study described people sneezing on food, crouching behind counters to blow their noses and supervisors having little sympathy for sick workers. Some of th...

Esteemed guitarist rocks students

By Shardae Smith

October 4, 2010

Students in the Music Department had the opportunity to learn from American guitarist, singer and songwriter Charlie Sexton Sept. 27 through Sept. 30.As a guest of the department’s Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music (CUP) program, Sexton was invited to spend the week as part of the Artist in Residence series to teach master classes with the department’s student ensemble bands.“The difference between what goes on [d...

Cops don’t need CAPS to find out issues

By Editorial Board

September 27, 2010

The day after a group of more than 300 officers picketed the Chicago Police Department headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., complaining of manpower shortages, the city announced it will cut several positions in its Chicago Alternative Police Strategy program to free up more police for street patrol. CAPS Director Ronald Holt said the exact number of reassigned officers is not yet clear, but Mayor Richard M. Daley announce...

Workhorse Kings ride the ‘Carousel’

By Luke Wilusz

September 27, 2010

Dan Dougherty is a man of many talents. When he’s not busy writing and drawing his daily comic strip, “Beardo,” or illustrating the ongoing zombie Western comic book “Rotten,” he’s writing, practicing and playing guitar with Workhorse Kings. Dougherty recently took some time away from his art, his writing and his music—not to mention planning his wedding—to talk to The Chronicle about the blues rockers’ fir...

When worlds collide

By Brianna Wellen

April 19, 2010

Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood was swarming with shouting Cubs fans searching for a place to celebrate their home team’s first win April 12. Making their way through the crowded streets were a select few who trickled up to the second floor theater at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield Ave., to enjoy an evening of improvised music and dance as a part of the collision_theory series curated by Links Hall’s Artistic Ass...

Magic turns muggle

By Colin Shively

November 16, 2009

A new trend of sports is taking flight at Northwestern University. Like most sports, it has balls, goals and teammates—yet unlike all other traditional sports found at colleges and universities, these games are played on broom sticks, and a little imagination.Marc Bourgeois, a sophomore at Northwestern, is in the beginning efforts to create a coed Quidditch team at the school where the Residential College Board has already ho...

How we believe what we believe

By The Columbia Chronicle

October 19, 2009

When fact and faith conflict, how do we move forward?  We usually don’t.A much-cited Oct. 2006 Time magazine poll showed that 64 percent of Americans would “hold on to what their religion teaches,” even in the face of scientific evidence.  In the 1980s, two Arizona State physics faculty showed that students didn’t learn from physics labs thatcontradicted their day-to-day experience. “As a rule, students held firm to mistaken beliefs, even when confronted with phenomena that contradicted those beliefs.” And we all have a friend who just knows the moon landings  were faked.One particularly troubling, but common belief is that pharmaceutical companies and public health officials are hiding the fact that vaccines cause autism, a conspiracy theory that many cling to,  despite mountains of data showing no connection between the two (and no convincing evidence to the contrary).But there are anecdotes, lots of them. You don’t have to look very hard to find empathetic stories from grief-wrought parents claiming that the MMR vaccine—or mercury, or formaldehyde, take your pick—changed their child.  Or, as Jenny McCarthy puts it, “The light left his eyes.”The fact that autism’s most visible signs occur in the same period when children receive the bulk of their life-saving vaccines becomes,  for these parents, evidence of cause rather than what scientists rightly call correlation.  This conspiracy theory survives the strongest kinds of repudiation.It turns out that Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor who first published reports suggesting the link between autism and vaccines, faked data for his article, which he wrote on behalf of lawyers hoping to sue the vaccine manufacturers. When scientists removed the supposed cause of the epidemic, thimerosal, autism rates continued rising. Then conspiracists shifted their claims—it must be something else in the vaccines.  Even as preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough make a comeback and study after study fails to find any credible evidence of harm, anti-vaccination forces continue spreading the same misinformation.I’m interested in the way these beliefs endure. Why do we cling to faith in the face of controverting facts? Perhaps it’s because we often perceive faith as fact. Everyone has strong vested interests with the debate over vaccines. Most of the anti-vaccine advocates innocently, but wholeheartedly believe their arguments; we on the other side hold our views just as deeply. When humans strongly believe something, we no longer distinguish it from fact. We believe in both God and ice cream.But the secret at the heart of theEnlightenment was a shift in that faith,  away from faith in facts toward faith in method.  To “believe” in science is not to believe that the Earth is round, that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or that we came from monkeys. It’s to believe in shared facts, verifiable evidence and the most convincing explanation of these.It’s strange to espouse a faith in a system that could shift worldviews overnight, but I take comfort in it. We’re a species who looked into the heavens, and by the shifting of the stars above, we came to better understand our place in the universe. Then we turned those telescopes inward to discover entire universes inside.We have only been able to do that because we understand that we interpret what we see, hear and experience, and that our interpretation can be wrong. We’re at our best when we put faith not in a specific view of the world, but in how we know which view to believe.Brendan Riley is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches writing, new media and popular culture courses. He has faith in facts.

Sitar creeps into Western culture

By KatherineGamby

September 21, 2009

The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones are all known for their innovative and award-winning music. What most people don’t know is that at some point in all of these artists’ careers, they included the delicate sounds of the sitar, a foreign instrument that, over the years, has slowly merged into American culture.The sitar has also played a major role in the music of artists today, including Lenny Kravitz, Janet...

Makeshift Prodigy creates diverse musical styles

By Colin Shively

September 13, 2009

The Chicago band scene is eclectic, yet within the local music scene, some bands have adopted their own musical style to represent multiple genres—Makeshift Prodigy is one of those bands.Made up of five members, Joe Bauer (drums), Jake Foy (lead guitar), Anthony Bagnara (vocals), Brandon Fox (ambient keyboards) and Dave Fister (bass), who have created their own musical environment and culture that is put on stage for the ...

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