Uma Venkata

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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. 


Venkata: Bail bonds and what they mean

One of the things that surprised me most when I moved to Minneapolis was the sheer number of bail-bond storefronts downtown. And now that bail bonds have quietly ballooned into a $2 billion industry, that’s all the more important. 


Venkata: Take the circular economy on your shopping spree

Clothes matter. They matter to the people who wear them because they promote a personal image; they matter to those who make them, whether it's for artistry, or more often, working conditions; they matter to the earth because “fast fashion” pollutes it so badly. 


Venkata: What UMBC's victory can mean to all NCAA athletes

The NCAA raised academic standards for student-athletes, but it’s not enough. If you’re not a student-athlete, it’s difficult to put yourself in the shoes that some of them run around in all day. Let’s try to do that here. 


Venkata: The case for flip phones

Flip phones are already making a niche comeback. The market’s trying to phase them out completely, so it’s roughly the same price as to have a smartphone. Still, this kind of consumer base has spoken: Nokia has the 3310 "Brick," which is the Zeus of a phone. It’s at Best Buy. 


Venkata: Janus v. AFSCME just started, and will matter for a long time

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments for Janus v. AFSCME. Mark Janus is an Illinois public employee, and, since he is not a union member, he protests his legal requirement to pay the fee that covers the cost of his union representation. The defendant, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, with 1.6 million members is the biggest public-employee trade union in the U.S.  


Venkata: The Boundary Waters are threatened by nearby mining

Our country is economically powerful and geographically gorgeous — but our reliance on foreign, rather than domestic, industry hurts tens of millions of Americans just like the Iron Range residents. A huge demographic needs a boost of economic self-sufficiency. But it doesn’t seem like the way to do that is to ruin our own lands for the sake of instant, temporary improvement.