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Forget the Times, here's everything you need to know

No need to spend your precious time searching through Facebook and Twitter to stay updated---Spectrum has your back. This weekly series on current events will have you more informed on the real world than your favorite Poli Sci professor!

Russia vs the World

By now, it is hard to have missed the protests in the Ukraine. As a recap, Russia sent its military to Crimea after a series of Ukrainian protests. A recent vote by the Crimean parliament indicated that the peninsula wanted to join Russia. Not surprisingly, this angered the Western world because Russia is flexing its muscles and no country can do much about it aside from imposing sanctions. And that’s exactly what President Obama did: He placed travel restrictions on Russian diplomats and he froze Russian assets in the US.

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Let’s hope it’s not the US vs the World

This new conflict with Russia comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to reduce the military to its smallest size since World War II. Although a consequence of budget cuts, the military reduction should not drastically affect our war-fighting capability. However, winning wars will take longer, and the military would feel the strain if faced with a two-front war. While I am not a military expert by any stretch of the imagination, I think, as I’m sure our representatives and officials in the Pentagon are doing, that we should carefully consider our options before putting this plan in action.

And now Whales vs the World

Well, not exactly. Scientists uncovered a “whale graveyard” in Chile’s Atacama Desert in 2010, but until now the reason for the deaths was unknown. A recent study found that killer algae was the perpetrator. And the menace didn’t stop there. Many other animals, including ancestors of dolphins, were found at this site also. So it’s not exactly whales vs the world, but it’s whales vs something. And whales are cool.

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The World vs the SAT

We all know that the SAT needed a revamp. Now that we’re all in college, the College Board is changing it! In short, the SAT will now score out of 1600, the essay will be optional, archaic vocabulary will be removed, and math will be tested in three categories: linear equations, complex functions, and proportional thinking. Although I’m glad that something is being done to that test, I still feel some ambivalence---why couldn’t they do this earlier?

Space vs Humanity

To conclude this week’s news post, there is a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” that will pass by the Earth on March 9. However, there is no real danger: Although it will pass really close in space terms, we still won’t be able to see it with the naked eye. The cool part is that we will be able to watch it via the Virtual Telescope Project, a European project that allows us mortals to access robotic telescopes through the Internet. And just when I was about to lose faith in humanity...

Chris Sabaitis is a sophomore at Columbia College studying Mathematics and History. Feel free to follow him on Twitter to get his latest news updates @chris_sabaitis.

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