Daily Archives: October 17, 2010

Tumult freezes repair process

The Catty Shack’s frozen yogurt machine broke down earlier this year, leaving its menu, which once displayed frozen yogurt treats, unlit.
But the decision concerning whether Linfield will pay to fix it or to purchase a new one is up in the air.
General Manager of Linfield Dining Services Bill Masullo speculated that repairing the machine would cost $6,000-$8,000 and replacing it could cost as much as $14,000.
“I just report the facts: Here’s what it costs to repair; here’s what it costs to replace,” he said. “We’re at a crossroads where we say does it make sense to fix this machine and does it make sense to replace [it].”
But the college owns the yogurt machine, which Masullo said makes treats similar to Dairy Queen’s blizzards. Sodexo simply uses it.
Junior Wesley Allegre, Associated Students of Linfield College Senate campus liaison committee chair, said students don’t purchase enough frozen yogurt products to offset the cost of replacement or repair.
“If we went to the administration and said we want a new yogurt machine, [Masullo] would give his perspective, and his is that it doesn’t make sense,” Allegre said.
Masullo said he has statistics demonstrating its lack of use. Retail Supervisor Shawn Fisher, class of ’10, said the frozen yogurt machine sees seasonal use, but even when the weather is warm, it’s intermittent at best. He said it “just depends on the day.”
“In my three years now at Linfield and my two years on the meal plan, I got a frozen yogurt once,” junior Rachel Coffey said.
Coffey asked about the machine’s absence at the Sept. 27 ASLC Senate meeting as a proxy for the Math Club senator.
She said she heard contradicting rumors circulating about the machine. She said she thought the machine had always been working, but others told her it had been broken for years.
Coffey said more confusing rumors exist about the repair being Sodexo’s problem because it didn’t actively turn in work orders to the school about fixing the machine; however, she said she’d also heard that the school just wasn’t doing anything about the issue.
But Allegre and Masullo both said that the machine’s fate will depend on student voice and use.
“People don’t realize that Sodexo, even though they are a company and are trying to make a profit, is trying to sort of appease us, and they are willing to do it,” Allegre said. “Students just need to make it known what they want. They just complain.”
Allegre said Masullo is brainstorming ideas such as placing coffee options on the now unused menu hanging in Catty Shack.
He said this will increase awareness of the venue’s espresso machine. Allegre also said Masullo is increasing other ice cream novelty items in Catty Shack to compensate for the lack of frozen yogurt.
But Masullo insisted that nothing is set in stone.
“Unless we get any people that want to participate in these programs, we’re doing it for us,” he said, referring to Sodexo employees. “It’s up to you to play.”
Students can discuss food services at Food Committee meetings at 4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month. Masullo said the best way to give input is to meet with him in person.

Kelley Hungerford/Editor-in-chief
Kelley Hungerford can be reached at linfieldrevieweditor@gmail.com.

ITS bars file sharing websites to decongest network

Information Technology Services has blocked a number of websites associated with BitTorrent downloads in an attempt to alleviate pressure on Linfield’s network.
ITS finished upgrading the network’s physical components and digital organization, but students are overloading the network with downloads that use BitTorrent tracking protocols, Irv Wiswall, chief technology director, said.
BitTorrents are a type of peer-to-peer download. When a file is selected for download, the program finds multiple computers of user that share the file. It then downloads part of the file simultaneously from each.
“The most common use of peer-to-peer [file sharing] is copyright violation,” he said.
The process takes up substantially more bandwidth than downloads that have one source, Wiswall said.
BitTorrent uses tracking protocols to organize and sort the incoming information and reassemble it at the downloading computer. Tracking protocols can be compared to a tag or label on a file being downloaded.
“We don’t have enough bandwidth,” he said. “We’ve got 100 megabits of bandwidth per second, and it’s full most of the day.”
“What we’ve done is block, at the gateway, the BitTorrent trackers,” he said. “It’s what you need to make the BitTorrents work. It’s given some relief to the network.”
Students attempting to reach a forbidden website are redirected to a website bearing a message from Wiswall. It tells students that they have been redirected because they are trying to download files using a BitTorrent tracking protocol, and it slows down the network and that they should contact Wiswall if it was reached in error.
The policy of blocking trackers began during the last week of September, Wiswall said.
ITS was using a device called a packetshaper to regulate BitTorrents. It ceased to regulate BitTorrent traffic effectively for reasons unknown, so the department decided to change its strategy.
The packetshaper examines information coming and going from the server. It then assigns a percentage of Linfield’s available bandwidth to the data.
The device is programmed to be especially vigilant in discovering peer-to-peer tracking protocols and assigning them a low priority for bandwidth space, Wiswall said.
He said the packetshaper lost its ability to detect and block peer-to-peer file sharing sometime last year.
“People that write peer-to-peer protocols play a cat-and-mouse game with the people that program the packetshaper,” Wiswall said. “They keep trying to get around it.”
Wiswall said the packetshaper was initially installed to counter Napster, which was making Linfield’s network unusable at the time the device was purchased.
The programmers of BitTorrent protocols may have written programs beyond the packetshaper’s ability to analyze, Wiswall said.
“We don’t know if the packetshaper can’t figure out the protocols or if we don’t know how to make it do that,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to look into this.”
Using BitTorrent to download copyrighted material
is illegal under federal law. Posters hanging inside Renshaw Hall warn of the
consequences for illegally sharing copyrighted
material.
Wiswall is unable to determine who is illegal downloads material on Linfield’s network.
“Our network is set up in such a way that I can’t track back to the individual that downloaded the material,” Wiswall said. “I get notifications from people trying to protect their copyright all the time.”
Wiswall is not against using BitTorrent protocols to download material even though it causes problems for the network. Anyone who wants to use BitTorrent to download material that is not copyrighted can ask the ITS support desk for assistance, he said, but no one has asked for help yet.
Even with the blocks on BitTorrent tracking sites, students said they can still use the program to share files.
One student, who requested to remain anonymous, said he uses other programs and websites as proxies for the blocked ones, allowing him to stay connected to peer-to-peer networks.
He added that he has had to change his proxies frequently because ITS kept finding and blocking the websites he was using but that it was more of an annoyance than an obstacle.
ITS is making plans to troubleshoot the sluggishness. Wiswall said he hopes to increase Linfield’s bandwidth by 30 percent next year if the budget permits.
If successful, Linfield will have 130 Mbit/s of bandwidth instead of 100 Mbit/s.
Wiswall said he hopes this will help counter the slowdowns the network suffers during peak usage.
“I think we will still reach those peaks because 30 Mbit/s isn’t enough to keep people happy,” he said. “But we should reach those peaks less.”
Linfield pays $48 per Mbit a month. Wiswall said he does not expect that price to change if he does increase the bandwidth.
Linfield purchases its Internet service from Online Northwest. The contract expires in one year, and Wiswall said he is looking at other providers for a better deal.

Joshua EnslerNews editor
Joshua Ensler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Committee elicits student dining issues

A student-run Sodexo Food Committee meets at 4 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month inside Dillin Hall to discuss campus dining issues.
The Linfield Dining website, www.linfielddining.com, advertises the Sodexo Food Committee, but this year there’s a lot in the works to increase publicity and to re-vamp the committee.
Campus Liaison Committee Chair junior Wesley Allegre said that he will promote the Sodexo Food Committee to the Associated Students of Linfield College Senate so that it can be included in the Senate reports.
“Using ASLC will be influential because ASLC has a big presence on campus,” Allegre said.
Senators can pass the word to their constituents and receive input on changes they would like to see in Dillin Hall.
“My ultimate goal is to be informed about what students do like and what they don’t like,” Allegre said.
Director of Dining Facilities and Auxiliary Services Brad Sinn said that one of this year’s goals is to accommodate students.
“I would like to see a lot more interaction on what meal plan fits students lives,” Sinn said.
Sinn also said that he would like more input from students on dining hours. With sports and academics, students are on different schedules, he said.
For more information about the Sodexo Food Committee contact General Manager of Linfield Dining Services Bill Masullo.

Chelsea Bowen/Opinion editor
Chelsea Bowen can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com.

Campaign managers visit campus

On Oct. 11, 50 hungry and impatient students crammed into Walker 203, waiting for the first “Pizza & Politics” meeting of the year to begin. But everyone running the event was a little late, and so was the pizza.
Lead by Nicholas Buccola, assistant professor of political science, “Pizza and Politics,” is a program of events each semester that invites students to eat pizza and listen to guest speakers and lectures or watch movies about current political issues.
The program was successful last year, with an average of 50 people attending each meeting.
The first meeting this semester focused on local elections and invited Democrats
County Commissioner Mary Stern and candidate for the Oregon House of Representative’s Susan Sokol Blosser to speak to students.
Unfortunately, neither could attend, but they sent their campaign managers.
Ryan Mann represented Sokol Blosser and Sal Peralta came for the Stern campaign.
The meeting lasted almost an hour, during which the managers were asked questions about their experiences. They passed out advertisements for their respective campaigns, too.
A graduate of Oregon State University, Mann pioneered a petition effort to lobby Congress to help students with tuition and other education benefits.
He went to Washington, D.C., with other students to present to Congress.
He was also an intern in the state legislature before becoming Sokol Blosser’s campaign manager.
Mann urged students to think about their votes and their voice in this and in all local elections and used his petitioning Congress as an example.
He said he understood that many people cannot make the 4,000-mile trip to Washington, D.C. to lobby, but pushed students to become involved at the local level.
“It’s true that your one voice may not be able to change much in D.C., but Salem is only 35 minutes away, and you can make a difference there.”
Sokol Blosser, who is running for the Oregon House of Representatives seat against Republican incumbent Jim Weidner, is a founder of Oregon’s wine industry and a successful Horatio Alger story: starting with little and working her way up to become a successful businesswoman.
Peralta spent less time telling students how he became involved in politics and more time talking about Commissioner Stern and blasting her opponent.
Stern has been a McMinnville local for a number of years and is currently in her second term as county commissioner.
The election could have been over on May 18, when the primaries took place and candidates are eligible to gain a majority of votes, which would result in no second election.
This would have made November elections unnecessary. However, Stern lost the primary by nine votes.
Peralta said he believes his candidate is the right woman for the job and that voters will know this as well.
“The voters see a moderate county commissioner running against the national
spokeswoman for the Constitution Party,” Peralta said.
Mary Starrett, Stern’s competitor, is a member of the Constitution Party.
“Faced with this kind of competition, if I can’t win this one, then I must be the worst campaign manager in the world,” Peralta said.

Matt Sunderland/Senior reporter
Matt Sunderland can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Professor discusses links in biology and physics

Professor Michael Roberts lectured a packed room Oct. 13 in Riley Student Center. Roberts explained how physics restricts land animal physiology. Robert Lisac/Freelancer

Professor Michael Roberts lectured a packed room Oct. 13 in Riley Student Center. Roberts explained how physics restricts land animal physiology. Robert Lisac/Freelancer

Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology Michael Roberts addressed the misconceptions about the physics of physiology in popular culture for students, faculty and staff Oct. 13.
Roberts used a variety of media examples, such as “Gulliver’s Travels” and “The Little Prince,” to demonstrate how physics dictate the size and shape of land animals.
“Most people are aware that giant spiders are impossible, at least the way Hollywood shows them,” Roberts said. “But it’s important that they know why giant spiders are impossible. Besides, it’s the little ones you need to look out for.”
Roberts explained the effects of gravity on the construction of land animal physiology. Large animals have thick legs and robust skeletons to support their weight, he said.
Hollywood spiders, he said, do not have the prerequisite leg diameter to support the weight of a giant thorax and abdomen.
To illustrate his example, he showed the audience the thickness of the legs of the four land animals with a mass of more than 2,000 pounds.
The elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus and the giraffe are the only living species whose members weigh more than a ton, and all have wide legs compared to other land animals, Roberts said.
Gravity is not the only physical constraint on physiology that Roberts discussed. The square-cube law and diffusion of atoms and molecules are two closely-related topics that he mentioned.
The square-cube law is the relationship between surface area and volume. The most simplified explanation of the law is that surface area is squared every time an object doubles in size, and the volume is cubed.
So, the volume grows faster than the surface area. This causes problems in nutrition, Roberts said, because molecules cannot diffuse fast enough to maintain an organism’s metabolism.
Diffusion is the process by which molecules in an area of higher concentration move into an area of lower concentration until equilibrium is reached.
Diffusion and the square-cube law affect organisms in two ways, Roberts said. First, they limit cell size. Cells tend to be about 10 micrometers in diameter on average, as this is optimal for the diffusion of molecules into and out of the cell.
“Growth is not cells becoming larger,” Roberts said of animals, “but more cells being grown.”
Multicelled animals can escape this limitation with distribution systems like respiratory and circular systems, but they face a different problem.
The metabolism of an animal is also based on the square-cube law but does not behave in a linear fashion. A larger breed of dog with 125 times the mass of a smaller breed does not have 125 times the metabolic activity. Metabolic activity is measured in watts.
Roberts recently wrote a dissertation that argued against a recent finding in physiology: a claim in a study that said the metabolism equation should be changed to W = m^(3/4).
Currently, the metabolic activity of an organism is thought to be equal to two-thrids the power of the mass of an organism, or W = m^(2/3). W is watts, representing the metabolism, and m is mass.
The study examined a wider range of land animals than previous efforts, with organisms that fell below one once and above 2,000 lbs.
Roberts said he found a flaw in the reasoning of the group study. In his dissertation, “A New Model for the Body Size-Metabolism Relationship,” he points out that there were two distinct groups in the study.
Smaller animals were examined at their basal metabolic state, he said. This is when the animals are at rest, and no muscles are being used.
Larger animals, such as horses, cannot sit longer enough for the measurements to be taken without dying, and therefore were measured when standing and fighting gravity.
Roberts said this skewed the results of the study, and the two populations must be separated when averaging the metabolic rate of animals.
The crowd sat in rapt attention during the lecture and stayed afterward to make suggestions to get better results from the study. One suggestion was to launch large animals into space, because they could be studied without the effects of gravity.
“I would hope that students understand that size relationships aren’t linear,” Jeremy Weisz, assistant professor of biology, said.
Weisz said he thought the lecture went well, and that students should be aware of the constraints physics place on physiology.

Joshua Ensler/News editor
Joshua Ensler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.