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This past weekend we saw a collaboration between Oregon Tech’s sorority -- Kappa Xi Alpha -- and fraternity --Phi Delta Theta -- to put on the annual Carnation Ball with the help of KTEC to DJ. This year’s theme was Euphoria, so we saw a lot of blues, purples, and sparkles, and of course we can’t forget all the lights.
This event happens at the end of Greek Week every winter and provides students with a way to let loose with friends and forget about the stress of class for a night. This year there were around 60 people in attendance including current students, alumni, and some non-Oregon Tech students. 60 is a good number but they always want more, so make sure to get yourself a ticket next year.
Some people don’t go to events like these because they feel like there isn’t anything there for them. Well, that’s not the case with this dance. There’s music and dancing which satisfy most people’s interest, but there are also areas that you can go to sit in the back and just observe if that’s what you prefer.
Also, if you showed up early enough you might have just been able to grab a coffee, but don’t worry if you’re late, they also had a Red Bull bar. And what kind of dance would it be without a photo booth that you can just walk up to and have the attendant take a photo of you and your group that you went with? You didn’t get all dressed up for nothing after all.
With a mixture of fast and slow dances, just about everyone felt like they had a space on the dance floor, especially when the event was coming to a close and the DJs started taking requests. At that point there was almost nobody left in their seat. Those that stayed until the very end seemed like they got the most enjoyment of everyone in attendance because they got to make the playlist their own and then got to be the only ones left dancing.
Overall, I would say that the Carnation Ball was a success this year and that if you didn’t get the chance to go this year, make sure you do next year.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept used to describe the network of devices connected to the Internet. This network includes commonly thought of devices -- such as laptops and phones -- that use the Internet frequently, and those that aren’t as commonly thought of -- such as aquarium thermometers, baby monitors, security cameras, fridges, toasters, and more. To many, the IoT might not mean too much aside from being a part of one’s life, but to a cybersecurity specialist, every IoT is a security concern. One of the best examples of this is the casino that got hacked through its fish tank thermostat.
Back in 2018, Darktrace CEO Nicole Eagan revealed hackers were able to get a casino’s high-roller database through the fish tank thermostat. She explained that once the hackers found the database they then “pulled that [database] back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.” Unfortunately, as Eagan states, IoT devices expand the attack surface while lacking traditional defenses. More and more things are being connected to the Internet every day and unfortunately, cybersecurity hasn’t caught up with them.
For some, this might not seem like a big deal. For example, many parents would like the comfort a baby monitor provides. However, many monitors today will hook up to the parent’s phones, making it an IoT device. A parent has to make a choice: add the monitor and risk hackers being able to see and talk to the baby (or another security-related issue) or go dark and hope for the best. Although this is an extreme case, it is food for thought.
When choosing devices, especially ones that would be inside the house, there are important factors to consider. When deciding on what device to get, there are some tips.
The first thing to consider is how necessary it is to add the IoT device and if the device can be implemented without it belonging to the IoT network. Fridges are one example. Samang offers a variety of fridges featuring a “Touch-Screen Family Hub” and an app for your phone. Although these features might be nice, they aren’t necessary for the basic function of a fridge. If one really wanted the IoT fridge they could better protect themselves by looking into the security of the fridge. For example, if its data encrypted, they should ask if it allows passwords and multi-factor authentication, and if it follows connectivity protocols. Forbes has a decent article that discusses 14 steps to secure IoT devices. Some of these steps will be more applicable to some devices versus others, but the steps are worth considering and following if possible.
Although steps can be taken to prevent IoT devices from being compromised, the only true way to protect yourself is to have no (or as few as possible) IoT devices at all.
Oregon Tech President’s Talking Points at ASOIT Meeting Did Not Address Faculty Retention - Erin Miller - 3/08/2023
At a time when students are looking for a resolution to the on-going faculty retention crisis, Oregon Tech President Naganathan failed to deliver reassurances at the February 20th ASOIT general meeting. His expounding of Oregon Tech’s historical and educational significance did not address a primary student concern—faculty retention.
In the fancily decorated Crater Lake Complex conference room--no doubt meant to match the Winter Wings fanfare around campus-- Naganathan’s talk seemed to be aimed more towards a donor audience than to the majority student audience seated before him as indicated from his talking points:
Throughout his presentation, Dr. Naganathan championed the need for Oregon Tech to publicly promote itself because “it is amazing now how many people don’t realize we are a four-year university,” he said.
He urged that “everybody is an ambassador for Oregon Tech.”
Complementing this view, ASOIT Chief of Students Diana Escamilla announced later that ASOIT is looking for student advocates to travel to Salem while the current Oregon State Legislature is in session.
After Dr. Naganathan finished, the quiet applause from students seemed to indicate that something had been left unsaid. The colloquial elephant in the room stood out during the student question-and-answer portion.
Students from the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering programs asked the President to address the loss of “hands-on” learning and program faculty.
A member of the Blacksmithing Club noted that Oregon Tech’s welding shop is gone. The shop provided direct hands-on experience for engineering students. Naganathan responded that the welding program was provided in partnership with Klamath Community College, but the program is no longer active.
The President also indicated that the “curriculum has changed over time” and what constitutes “hands-on” has been redefined. “We don’t want to take hours and hours to graduate [students]” so opportunities for hands-on learning have now shifted to industry.
An Electrical Engineering student stated that his program “lost four faculty members” which caused issues within the program. Naganathan addressed faculty hiring by stating, “We are actively working” to replace the lost faculty but added that hiring “has to be owned by the departments.”
Student Graeme Wiltrout, asked, “What are we doing to prevent faculty from leaving?”
Naganathan stated that “we need to create ways” to innovate so faculty become invested in the programs and want to come here. New faculty members bring their innovation with them when they join Oregon Tech.