Letters To The Editor

Your days are Googled

I hate to sound like the wacko liberal spouting conspiracy theories about the growth of Google, but is anyone else concerned about the consolidation of all things related to the Internet into the hands of one corporation? Decidedly, Google’s services are excellent, convenient and free. Now Northwestern is going to join up with another free Google service – Gmail.

Everything Google just seems too good to be true. So what’s the catch? Google is the entry point into the Internet for most people, controlling what you access, and Google actually has most of the Internet downloaded on its servers (the idea that made it so successful in the first place). Google owns YouTube, Google Earth, Google Document, Toolbar, Maps, Desktop, Images – and maybe even someday Google Operating System.

Ironically, if you Google “Google censorship” you get plenty of articles related to the dubious content editing practices of Google. Well, you might think, at least Google hasn’t censored criticism of itself (yet?). This may be an indication to Googlites that Google is open and fair enough to provide good services, make money and not screw anyone over or otherwise oppress the masses.

In fact, the unofficial motto of the corporation is “Don’t Be Evil” (Google this one too). Despite their best intentions, however, Google is probably evil. Holding ever-increasing power over the Internet, I find it unlikely they will be able to resist succumbing to evil.

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But, then again, maybe I’m just being paranoid.

– Amanda WasielewskiWeinberg senior

Alarms mere annoyances

It’s now my third day back at Northwestern, and that means three days of dealing with the newly alarmed security doors, which means that it’s my third day of listening to the constant-and annoying-BEEP BEEP BEEP of the doors going off at all hours of the day. What is the point of these security doors? When they are set off, whether by day or night, nobody comes running: no police officers looking for intruders, no security monitors, no Community Assistants; unless you’re fortunate enough to rouse one and make them turn off the alarm. So again I ask, what was the administration thinking? The alarms serve no point, other than to craze and annoy residents. These doors are detrimental to students’ sanity, and create a very stressful and aggravating living environment. I propose we let the idiots who dreamed up this scheme sleep above one of these ringing doors for just one night, and then ask them to reconsider.

– Sean AgesWeinberg sophomore

Mary Jane eases the pain

The recent decision handed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that although there is not yet a constitutional right to use medical marijuana, such a right might eventually be recognized as fundamental.

While this provides a glimmer of hope to patients who might actually live long enough to see our federal government stop treating sick people like criminals, it does absolutely nothing to help my mother.

She died several years ago of cancer. We watched helplessly as she wasted away on the powerful narcotics prescribed to control her pain. The morphine they gave her did kill her pain, but it also killed her appetite. She hardly ate those last few weeks. There was nothing we could do.

I’m not suggesting that we condone the recreational use of marijuana, just as I wouldn’t suggest that we condone the recreational use of morphine. I’m not suggesting that every person with a common cold run out and use marijuana, just as I wouldn’t suggest that they use morphine. I just don’t understand how letting people waste away on powerful narcotics like morphine is better than letting them try marijuana as an alternative, especially when current research supports the use of marijuana as an effective treatment for some.

The Illinois legislature will soon be voting on a bill that would allow people like my mother to use medical marijuana to help control pain and stimulate appetite. I hope that they do, because if we hold our breath waiting for our federal government to do the right thing, patients may not be the only ones dying needlessly.

But then again, perhaps I am also an ignoramus who saw a possible positive message in a mere crusade against correctness.

– John WalkerFormer Program Coordinator for the Biotechnology Training Program in NU’s Technological Institute