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UNM alumna receives prestigious clean energy award

The recognition of successful women in STEM continues with eyes on University of New Mexico alumna Kate Anderson, chief of staff for energy systems integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a sector of the U.S. Department of Energy. This year, Anderson is the recipient of the C3E Social, Economic, and Policy Innovation Award, which recognizes women in clean energy. “There are not a lot of women in clean energy … but there should be,” Anderson said. “An award like this helps because it helps people see themselves and see that, ‘Oh, that’s something that I could do too,’ and not just view it as a man’s field.”


REVIEW: ‘Eternals’ marks needed change for Marvel Studios

  “Eternals,” the third film installment in Marvel’s phase four, recently came to theaters and marked a nice change in the studio’s traditional releases. Going into “Eternals,” I was feeling apprehensive due to the poor critic ratings, but the film’s diverse cast and engaging plot signaled a new and better era for Marvel. The film follows a group of eight extraterrestrial beings known as the Eternals, lead by Gemma Chan as Sersi. Each has their own unique powers, who have sworn to protect the Earth from the Deviants (alien monsters who are trying to eat all of human life).

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OPINION: ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ exceeds soaring expectations

  Taylor Swift has been teasing the release of her second re-recorded album, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” for months. On Nov. 12, the 30-song collection finally arrived, and it’s everything that I could’ve hoped for. What makes the album unique from the original are the exquisite “From the Vault” tracks — songs Swift had written for the first version of “Red” but ultimately had to chop when piecing together the final cut. Swift’s first rerecording venture was April 2021’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” and there were really only two vault tracks that I continue to listen to. However, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” has several vault tracks worthy of repeat button notoriety, including the ten minute version of fan favorite “All Too Well.”

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REVIEW: ‘The Harder They Fall’ stumbles on gold

  “The Harder They Fall” is a striking western drama featuring a vast and talented cast that was filmed in Santa Fe. This extravagant tale of the Wild West is well worth a watch. While the film is classic in structure, it’s expertly executed with exciting new twists. Co-written and solely directed by Jeymes Samuel, “The Harder They Fall” packs a punch. At first it seems to revel in its own melodrama, but over the course of 139 minutes, it blossoms into an original tragic story of the cyclical nature of violence and vengeance. 

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UNM student fights for climate justice

  The fight for climate justice continues at the University of New Mexico and senior Raven Alcott is standing at the forefront of the action, acting as a voice for Indigenous communities. As a student majoring in environmental science with a minor in Native American studies, Alcott has been fighting for the complete divestment of the University from fossil fuels as a member of the UNM Leaders for Environmental Action and Foresight (LEAF). She even recently contributed to UNM LEAF’s complaint to the state’s attorney general, which called for an investigation of the UNM Foundation’s financial investment in fossil fuel stocks.

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UNM biology student looks to lead in conservation efforts

  With a lifelong commitment and passion for protecting public lands in hand, University of New Mexico senior Kai Hollenberg embraces the challenges of conservation. As a biology major with a focus in conservation who serves as the president of the UNM Wilderness Alliance, her ongoing work with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service as well as opportunities to address pressing environmental concerns across the country has prepared Hollenberg for a life of service in the conservation sector. “When I think about how much time the average human spends working, I really want it to be for something I believe in,” Hollenberg said. “Conservation and the health of our planet is definitely at the top of that list for me.”


REVIEW: ‘Antlers’ is no fawn

  If you’re looking for a 100-minute long disappointment, a ticket to see “Antlers” is the way to go. From the underwhelming acting of Keri Russell (Julia Weaver) and Jesse Plemons (Paul Weaver) to the excessive gore and misguided use of Native stories, this movie is a bust if there ever was one. Directed by Scott Cooper and produced by Guillermo del Toro, “Antlers” is a horror-drama about drug use and the Native legend of the Wendigo from the perspectives of a child and his teacher. This film attempts to draw parallels between addicts and monsters, but fails miserably in every way. 

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Silent Lights: A raving success

  In a sea of red, blue and green headphones inside Johnson Center, students raved to seemingly inaudible sound and sang aloud to songs no onlooker could hear. Strobe lights pulsed to silent beats and a panel of DJs, all within feet of each other, spun records through the airwaves. The event, put on by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico and aptly named “Silent Lights,” drew hundreds to the campus recreation center on Nov. 5 for the unique take on a homecoming dance. Control of the party was put in the hands of the partygoers, armed with wireless headphones featuring volume control and the ability to choose between three different music stations at a time.


REVIEW: ‘Spencer’ beautifully tells a story we already know

  This review contains spoilers The problems that I had with Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” the new Princess Diana biopic that was released today, walked into the theater with me. I suppose I was expecting a new vision of Diana Spencer or perhaps something that would comment more on the society that made her so beloved and so controversial. While I may have been disappointed by what Larraín chose not to do, what he does choose to do does fabulously well. This movie is the type of biopic that presents a short, highly consequential moment in the life of its subject, much like Larraín’s 2016 film “Jackie,” which chronicled a pivotal moment in Jackie Kennedy’s life.


REVIEW: Last Night in So-so: Edgar Wright’s new film proves underwhelming

  Edgar Wright’s latest film, “Last Night in Soho,'' has all of the glamorous edges of the 1960s London cultural scene it seeks to explore the underbelly of, but explores a hollow plot with half-baked themes slathered with Wright’s admittedly skillful knack for dazzling visual effects. The film follows the vintage London-obsessed Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) as her romanticization of the 1960s is tested. Feeling isolated from her peers at her new university, she moves into a boarding room where she is dragged from the modern day into ’60s London while she sleeps, forced to passively observe the downward spiral of struggling actress Alexandra “Sandie” Collins (Anya Taylor-Joy).


UNM grad student studies ancient Indigenous group

  Jacque Kocer, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, is working on a dissertation investigating ancient Indigenous peoples around Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Kocer is a native New Mexican and got her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Davis on an athletic scholarship playing soccer. She majored in international relations and Spanish, not completely knowing where that would take her. After graduating, Kocer experienced gender inequity in “male-dominated, money-driven industries” at a small financial advisory company in Northern California, which was part of why she left. “I left in 2011 and walked away from this really unfulfilling but high-salary career, and I wanted to pursue this academic career in archaeology,” Kocer said.

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Silent Lights moves indoors due to weather concerns

  Due to weather concerns, the University of New Mexico’s Silent Lights — a twist on a traditional homecoming dance — will be held indoors at Johnson Gym on Nov. 5, despite it being at an outdoor venue since its inception in 2016. Attendees will not be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, but only current UNM students will be allowed entry to the event. Students must show either their UNM ID or a government-issued ID along with their UNM ID number to get in, according to Rudy Montoya, student activities specialist. Guests are not allowed in, according Ethan Rule, director of marketing at University Communication and Marketing. 

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‘Mass’ seeks to find grace amid tragedy

  “Mass” (2021) is the directorial debut of Fran Kranz, who also wrote it, and the film is one of the most effective feats of drama that I have ever experienced. Its reflections on the tragic outcomes of a school shooting left me feeling bare, and yet, remarkably, not for one second did it feel exploitative. The movie boasts four of the best performances I’ve ever seen and its screenplay makes its characters feel devastatingly real. This isn’t a movie to go to in order to learn something, but if you feel open to an honest rumination on grief, guilt and grace, “Mass” is worth a watch.

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REVIEW: ‘The French Dispatch’ is the quintessential Wes Anderson film

  This review contains spoilers Immediately from the initial casting announcements of Wes Anderson’s latest feature, “The French Dispatch,” public expectations were high. With Anderson regulars like Owen Wilson and Bill Murray poised to go toe-to-toe with newcomers like Timothée Chalamet and Frances McDormand, the film was bound to be a success, which it mostly was. And while “The French Dispatch,” is, for the most part, a success, it still has its shortcomings. It’s Anderson’s most Anderson-like film to date, for better and for worse. The film follows the newspaper the French Dispatch and the publication of its final issue following the untimely death of its Editor-in-Chief Arthur Howitzer Jr., played by an exquisitely deadpan Murray. 

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Way OUT West Film Fest celebrates queer stories

The 19th annual Way OUT West Film Fest ran completely virtually from Oct. 15-24, marking the second year in a row it has done so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other film festivals that relegate LGBTQ+ content to a specific film genre, Way OUT West only features LGBTQ+ stories told and created by LGBTQ+ filmmakers.  More people than last year were able to “watch queer-flix and chill virtually” as the program for the festival suggests, since streaming access to most of the 88 feature length and short films expanded beyond New Mexico to reach attendees in Colorado, Arizona and Texas this year.


REVIEW: Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ is a grand but dull sci-fi epic

When it was announced that a third version of “Dune” was in the works, it’s safe to say most moviegoers were skeptical to say the least, and while Denis Villeneuve’s take on “Dune” is still far from perfect, it’s probably the closest we’ve gotten to truly seeing Frank Herbert’s original vision fully realized for the big screen. Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” has widely been regarded as unfilmable. David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation received mixed reactions from critics and fans alike, and cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 14-hour-long version, which would’ve starred Salvador Dalí and Mick Jagger, ultimately never saw the light of day due to budgetary reasons. 


UNM professor Lee Drake plays role in aiding Afghan refugees

Lee Drake, an adjunct anthropology professor at the University of New Mexico, recently received national attention for the work he’s done in aiding Afghan refugees, specifically for the role he played in helping 9-year-old Asma’s family get help.   Asma and her family, who had already lost their father after he received threats from the Taliban for the assistance he gave to the American military, were trying to leave Afghanistan. They had been waiting outside of the entrance to an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan when Asma was struck by a tear gas container. This put her in grave need of medical attention and forced the family to leave the airport before they could depart.


Scientists predict New Mexico slated for another dry winter

La Niña, an event characterized by below-average temperatures and cooling of the Pacific Ocean surface, brought an unusually warm and dry winter to the Southwest last year and is likely to worsen drought in New Mexico for a second consecutive year. Cold water on the equator influences the subtropical jet streams, which are air currents in the atmosphere, and shifts colder weather conditions northward, according to University of New Mexico Professor Emeritus of Earth and Planetary Sciences David Gutzler. The effect is warm, dry air rising in the Southwest. 

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UNM alumna analyzes impact of COVID-19 through epidemiology

Sarah Shrum Davis had a winding path to discover her love of epidemiology but now works as a coordinator for the New Mexico Emerging Infections Program. Working hand in hand with the CDC to survey infectious diseases, Shrum Davis has been working with a team of people to research more information on the coronavirus. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Shrum Davis moved to New Mexico and worked in a wide variety of fields, from zookeeping to mental health to education. However, once she discovered the field of epidemiology, she never looked back.

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REVIEW: ‘You’ season 3 somehow got crazier

This review contains spoilers for seasons two and three of “You” October brought us the third season of “You,” an insane series following sociopathic serial killer Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley). This season was filled with twists and turns, lust and jealousy, and a litany of murders that would make Michael Myers squirm — it was fantastic.  The show has been heavily reliant on the perspective of unreliable narrator Joe in the past, but season three showed his wife Love Quinn-Goldberg’s (played by Victoria Pedretti) perspective more in-depth. Love is a killer too, and while I still maintain Love and Joe deserve one another, Joe’s infatuation with Love came to a halt when he found out about her murderous tendencies. At the end of the last season, we learned Love was pregnant just as Joe was about to kill her, and the pair left city life behind to raise their son in the sleepy California suburb of Madre Linda.


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