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Sarah Myers
Sarah Myers '21 is pursuing a BA in International Relations while also studying Physics, Mandarin, and German. She enjoys writing about politics, ethics, and current events. She spends her free time reading and convincing herself that watching Chinese television counts as studying Mandarin.

The hypocrisy of it all

It is embarrassing that an entire country is reacting to the death of an esteemed judicial leader by immediately squabbling over her replacement. Yet in the long term it is perhaps even more disappointing and embarrassing that a country’s entire political establishment is flip-flopping on its positions at will for the sake of ever smaller bits of power.

From Stanford, yet another disappointment

Stanford recently announced that frosh, sophomores and transfer students will no longer return to campus this fall quarter. This was almost certainly the right decision, given the frightening rise in cases in California in recent weeks and the United States’ seeming inability to contain COVID-19.  Buried deep in that Re-Approaching Stanford email, though, was yet…

To all American citizens: We must stand up for international students

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students will not be granted visas or allowed to stay in the United States this year if they are taking a fully online course load. This decision is cruel, xenophobic, and antidemocratic. Stanford University and its students must do everything possible to ensure that this decision is reversed and that Stanford’s international students are able to continue their education with as little disruption as possible.

The war on friendship

When I talk with my friends, one of the fears they mention most frequently is being alone. Technology is filling the time we could spend with friends and family members. At the same time, harmful notions of what it means to have a “good” relationship are undermining our ability to form meaningful connections.

Screening out distractions for some time to myself

I’ve certainly come to believe that my phone use has done serious damage to my ability to focus for long periods of time. A lot of my screen time is used for browsing social media, consuming individual posts for seconds at a time or less. The endless scrolling facilitated and even encouraged by social media apps has a bizarrely addictive, yet numbing effect on my mind. Even reading on my phone had become difficult, because the mental cue of using my phone put me in a mindset of super-fast attention switching and superficial processing. It didn’t help that new notifications constantly interrupted my reading.

Presidential election 2020: Back to the future

What if Democrats start playing to the Democratic base? What if young liberals were genuinely excited to vote? The demographic game has changed since 2016, in ways significant enough to affect the election. But if people were reluctant to vote for a candidate they didn’t believe in in 2016, I can only imagine how difficult the Democratic party will find it to drag demoralized and unenthusiastic voters to the polls in 2020.

Stanford fails its Jewish community

This year, classes were held on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These holidays are the High Holy Days of Judaism. Yet Stanford decided that classes would be held, and professors would be free to create assignments with no regard for students observing these days.

Stanford flakes

The experience of being flaked on, or of flaking on someone else, has come to be a quintessential part of Stanford undergraduate life. You show up to a club meeting on time to find that half of the members have just texted you saying that they are between five and 15 minutes late.  A quarter…

Foreign Policy in the United States

The United States faces an increasingly urgent challenge: reevaluating how we choose and implement foreign policy. Currently, our government’s approach to foreign policy is paradoxically too democratic and not democratic enough. Presidents’ decisions to use force are strongly influenced by electoral incentives, but citizens have few opportunities to directly influence a specific decision about the…

Mistreated moderators and the pervasive violence of the internet

Recently, the Verge published a look inside one of Facebook’s deals with a content moderating contractor. Facebook hires these moderators to screen posts reported by users for violating their community standards. These moderators look at reported posts and decide whether to delete or allow them. Author Casey Newton was able to convince some former Facebook moderators, who are generally prohibited from discussing their work by NDAs, to tell her about their experiences. Their stories are deeply upsetting; they are routinely forced to witness extreme violence, constantly monitored and held to incredibly high standards for speed and accuracy. Accuracy is determined by how often moderators’ decisions agree with the decisions of slightly more senior moderators; more senior moderators are given a random sample of a regular moderators’ processed posts and asked to make their own judgments. At Cognizant, for example, moderators must be “accurate” at least 95% of the time. Within the Cognizant work site Newton examines, some moderators have responded to constant exposure to the worst of Facebook by buying into the conspiracy theories. One person genuinely believes the earth is flat, another has become convinced that 9/11 was not a legitimate terrorist attack, and another denies that the Holocaust took place.

Accessibility to healthcare and education in rural towns

Recently, in a class called “Health and Healthcare Systems in East Asia,” we read Doctor Stories by Dr. Kenjiro Setoue. I strongly recommend both the class and the book, but right now I would like to focus on an issue the book raises: Should governments devote disproportionate resources to providing public goods to people living…

The shutdowns will continue until laws improve

Our government now has enough funding to remain open until Feb. 15. President Trump and Congress plan to use this time to continue arguing about funding for Trump’s wall. Frankly, I do not believe that they will reach an agreement by then. These are the same people who failed to reach a compromise, initiated the…

Not everything is a moral decision

I think a lot about morals. It’s difficult to explain why, per se, but I do. In this moment, however, I find myself incredibly tired of them. I’m sure we’re all tired of talking about New Year’s resolutions by now, but the number of people online and in real life who seem to need to…

Discussion section confessions

Discussion sections and seminar classes are unavoidably weird. The professor or TA running the show is incredibly knowledgeable about the class’s subject, but they spend hours listening to undergraduate students who may or may not have done the reading offer their own analysis. Participating in these sorts of classes makes me uncomfortable not because I’m…

Confronting anti-Semitism on campus

On Saturday, 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue by a man who told law enforcement officers, “I just want to kill Jews.” As a Jewish person in America, I don’t know how to react to this tragedy. On Saturday I cried. On Sunday I found out that this is the synagogue…

‘Pokémon Go to the polls’

Just for a moment, let’s remember 2016, and one of the my favorite quotes of all time: Hillary Clinton, at a July 2016 rally in northern Virginia, donning a brightly colored knit blazer, telling you to “Pokémon Go to the polls.” Clinton’s delivery was key here — she delivered this line with the anger of…

We should be ashamed of Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced this year that he won’t be seeking reelection, because he wants to spend more time with his family. Announcing the decision, he said “I like to think I’ve done my part.” And he has done his part—in creating a more unequal, unsustainable, bigoted America. A long time ago, in 1998,…

Confessions of a liberal

It’s 2018, but I’m going to say it anyway — the 2016 election made me angry. I was angry that 62 million Americans voted for a man who, in my opinion, was — and still is — bigoted, underqualified, selfish and power hungry. Every time Trump makes an offensive remark, uses his platform to create…
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