Uma Venkata

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Venkata: Shifting food mentality because imperfect produce is perfectly alright

The hoops grocery stores have to jump through are pretty high. A manager has to anticipate how much they will sell in a given order period, taking care to not undershoot and end up with bare shelves, or overshoot, which causes some produce to rot, in turn spoiling even more other food. But modernization has made this easier. Grocery is a delicate balancing act that, thankfully, has been harmonized by computerization in most places.  


Venkata: MAVNI program must continue.

In July 2002, after 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order to expedite the naturalization of immigrants serving in the American armed forces in order to increase military power for the war on terror. Then in 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense operationalized the initiative by launching the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest recruitment program, or MAVNI, which oversees immigrant enlistment into the U.S. military. 


Venkata: Adequate investment should be put into high-speed rail

Don’t get me wrong, flights are convenient. They’re fast and fun, and sometimes you score something duty-free. But especially if you’re buying last-minute, they can cost an arm and a leg. Furthermore, the amount of pollution a commercial jet emits in one flight is shocking. For example, flying round-trip New York to San Francisco stamps 0.9 metric tons of a carbon footprint per passenger, or about 20 percent of the average annual car emission. 


Venkata: Pride celebration in Minneapolis and beyond is evolving

I’ve always lived in a big city and always been pro-human rights, but this Sunday was the first pride parade I managed to get to. High school and college are when most of us begin to grasp the gravity of the meaning of Pride parades — these periods are a formative time for us all. 


Venkata: One man's trash might in fact be compost

I estimate that what actually happens to our recycling is a mystery to most people — it certainly was to me. But last week, I got the chance to visit the University of Minnesota’s recycling facility in the Southeast Como neighborhood with Recycling Coordinator John McKeown. 


Venkata: Mindset around plastic use needs dramatic alteration

We know that plastic is everywhere and has taken a place in modern life that’s only natural. Plastics are boons to medicine, delivering sterility, preservation and aid in transplants and prosthetics. Nevertheless, consuming far too much plastic worldwide is not vital, but flippant. 


Venkata: College is not the only place to be

Last week, the Minnesota Daily published a profile on low-income students who make ends meet while footing everything, including UMN tuition. Their fortitude is, to say the least, impressive. One day I’ll get my act together and be a fraction as resilient as them — but with that kind of standard, don’t hold your breath. 


Venkata: Study drugs are not the answer

As many of us know, plenty of students on campus find themselves reliant on study drugs. There’s such a market that two weeks ago, the Minnesota Daily reported on a pair of entrepreneurial students who marketed an “alternative to Adderall,” NeurOwl, to be sold at Maxwell’s Market in Marcy-Holmes. Though we’re used to it, step back: a commonly acknowledged, publicly held, University-wide study drug routine is alarming. 


Venkata: What we lose when we lose the humanities

University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point is likely eliminating 13 humanities majors in order to expand 16 ‘more-marketable’ programs. The endangered majors include English, history, philosophy and political science. The reason is fiscal. 


Venkata: The NFL and cheerleaders have a problem

A New Orleans Saints cheerleader, Bailey Davis, was fired for uploading to Instagram what the organization considered too revealing of a photo. If you care to look up the photo and compare the immodest nature of her attire to her cheerleading uniform, you may perceive a negligible difference.