A Personal Response to Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016)

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When writers and artists, critics and theorists talk about finding the universal in the specific, they’re talking about works of art like Moonlight (2016).…

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Grow Up Review – The Problem with Sandboxes

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Holly Kosiewicz

photo of Holly

Holly Kosiewicz is Director of Policy Development at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan and El Salvador and has worked on research teams in Colombia, Peru, and the United States. Her work has been included and published in several book projects as well as The Journal of Higher Education, The Journal of Economic Psychology, and Education Week. Holly earned her Master’s at Brandeis University (2007) and completed her PhD at the University of Southern California (2015).  

HARRIS: What were your immediate plans after finishing undergrad and did they work out the way you imagined they would?

HOLLY: I graduated from UT Austin in 2002, and my intent was to do international development work. I’m a first-generation American, and my Polish parents instilled in me the importance of understanding different cultures. So, after UT, I joined the Peace Corps and worked in Jordan. Unfortunately, we were evacuated after six months of service.…

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Musical Melancholy: Damien Chazelle’s La La Land

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Is there any genre that excites such undeserving scorn and hatred as the Musical? It seems that the very core of this hatred is nothing more than a revulsion to unceasing optimism and a complete refusal to suspend your disbelieve that normal people would burst out into song at random intervals.

I won’t say that La La Land solves this problem, nor that it is a problem.…

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Valve Loves Mods

Half Life

Have you ever played a game and thought to yourself “I really wish that dragon looked like Thomas the Train?” Well if you have, then you are in luck, because mods allow you to do just that. And if you have never even come close to thinking that, then fear not: there is still a mod out there for you. Mods are a great way to make a game more personal and entertaining since mods can essentially change almost any aspect of a video game into something the player wants. However, mods would be nothing without the developers that make the games they are for.

One developer that has been particularly prominent in the modding world is Valve. In fact, Valve was actually born from mods. In 1996, two Microsoft employees—Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington—left Bill Gates’ company to go and try designing video games.  To do this, they acquired the software development kit (or SDK) for the Quake engine and began modding. In 1998, they released their debut product Half Life.

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