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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, July 11, 2020 — Houston, TX °

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Facing the STEM Superiority Complex

(01/22/20 3:03am)

The modern world doesn’t know how to integrate STEM, the humanities and the social sciences. We’ve come to the point where our society values technological innovation as the best way to solve any and all problems that arise. Scientific development without consideration for people and regulation creates significant issues, from racist algorithms that favor white patients over black patients to Amazon’s Alexa recording our conversations. These are instances where we thought of STEM as entirely separate from humanities and social sciences, and as a result, important ethical and social considerations were completely overlooked. The aforementioned algorithms are a result of neglecting the social determinants of health and the biases in medicine that are reflected in historical datasets. Smart speakers have been recording millions of hours of intimate home conversations that are being analyzed and parsed without the explicit consent of users. Because technology is incredible and has the ability to do amazing things to positively impact the world, we need to integrate it with the humanities and the social sciences in order to prevent mass abuses.



Rice admits 19 percent of Early Decision applicants to the class of 2024

(01/15/20 5:46am)

Rice welcomed 385 students into the class of 2024 through the university’s binding early decision program, according to Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva, as well as 55 students through QuestBridge National College Match. This year, Rice accepted around 18.9 percent of the 2,042 applicants on Dec. 12, according to Romero da Silva, a higher percentage of students admitted than last year. 



Rice Ph.D graduate known as ‘CRISPR Baby’ scientist sentenced to three years in prison

(01/15/20 5:43am)

A Chinese court sentenced He Jiankui (Ph.D. ‘10), who revealed that he had genetically-edited twin girls last year, to three years in prison on Dec. 30, 2019. The questions surrounding his PhD advisor, Rice University bioengineering professor Michael Deem’s involvement in the He’s experiments, remain unanswered. In November 2018, Rice began a full investigation into Deem’s role in the research.



First classes held in Kraft Hall as construction continues

(01/15/20 5:38am)

The new four-story home for the School of Social Sciences, Patricia Lipoma Kraft ’87 and Jonathan A. Kraft Hall for Social Sciences, completed a substantial portion of its construction over the break, according to Larry Vossler, senior project manager for Facilities Engineering and Planning. While classes have begun in the building, extractors and remaining debris can be seen on the grounds next to the building. 




Amongst “happiest students,” dissatisfaction persists

(01/15/20 5:33am)

Last semester alone, students wrote over 35 op-eds and letters to the editor, addressing particularly controversial events at Rice and other salient issues facing the student body: from students donning ICE agent costumes to the use of the n-word at Rice to the university’s decision to let a student who was found guilty of assault graduate.



Senior Spotlight: Freddy Cavallaro talks growth at Rice

(01/15/20 5:28am)

Freddy Cavallaro reads a Bible verse daily. He has a 138-day streak on his Bible app, which he said would have been longer if not for a camping trip. He doesn’t take the Bible lightly, and yet his favorite Bible verse is from Romans 14:2, which goes, “For one believeth that he may eat all things. Another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” 


New year, new(s)paper

(01/15/20 5:26am)

In the spirit of the new year, we as the Thresher’s editorial board have set a few resolutions and invite y’all as the readers to hold us accountable. Going forward, we want to be more transparent about our operations as well as maintaining the standards and policies we’ve created this year in the spirit of transparency. 


Building a more financially inclusive Rice undergraduate experience

(01/15/20 5:25am)

At universities across the U.S., including Rice, conversations about inclusion and the affordability of college are ongoing. The last few years have seen growing attention to financial accessibility and the inclusiveness of the Rice experience, and we are impressed by the positive spirit and heartfelt care that so many members of our community have shown toward others. What is notable is how this attention and care cuts across all levels of the university, ranging from the launch of The Rice Investment (designed to expand access to a Rice education for low- and middle-income undergraduates) to student leaders working to facilitate equivalent access to experiential opportunities by establishing accessibility funds within each of the residential colleges.



Invisible opportunities: Reframing accessibility at Rice

(01/15/20 5:21am)

When I read last December’s Thresher news article, “Invisible Burdens,” and the accompanying staff editorial, highlighting the apparent lack of accessibility on campus, I was disappointed, a bit angered and saddened. Reading that Thresher editorial that day was the first and only time I have felt alone and completely misunderstood at Rice. I did not want to identify with the kind of “disability” the editorial portrayed. I felt alienated. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. As a wheelchair user and someone living with a disability, that was not the experience I had received on campus, nor was it the voice of real advocacy.


The Trump administration directs an assassination and calls it peace

(01/15/20 5:18am)

President Donald Trump’s disdain for foreign policy was once merely a joke. No one believed him when he attempted to buy Greenland, and the U.N. openly laughed at his supposed accomplishments. These included a shakedown with NATO allies on budgetary matters, a nonsensical travel ban and a dramatic decrease in refugee acceptions. The shame he regularly heaps upon the U.S. ensured that the joke was never funny, but recent actions threaten to cost us more than just respectability. The president’s decision to launch a drone strike killing Iranian Major General Qassim Soleimani as he was leaving Baghdad’s international airport created a highly volatile crisis in the Middle East and threatens to ignite yet another war. The Trump administration’s response? A statement straight from Mar-a-Lago in Florida saying, “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.”