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Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 6:29 p.m.

The Bionic Man comes to D.C.

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National Air and Space Museum, where the bionic man will make an appearance tomorrow. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

National Air and Space Museum, where the bionic man will make an appearance tomorrow. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.


This post was written by Hatchet reporter Maddy Pontz.

You may get a glimpse at humanity’s future tomorrow.

The world’s first entirely bionic man will walk the D.C. streets Friday at 10 a.m.. He’ll walk near the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, putting his implantable synthetic organs and entirely bionic body parts to use for the first time ever.

This scene straight out of a science fiction film will, in fact, be used as a part of a new documentary set to air Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel, delving deeper into the story of this frighteningly human-like robot.

The Incredible Bionic Man (as he is being called) is worth billions of dollars in research.

So, if you happen upon a bionic man while jogging on the Mall tomorrow, don’t fear. It is not the beginning of some sort of robot-driven apocalypse – it just might be the next step in human evolution.

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Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 3:31 p.m.

Security 50 years later: reflections on the March

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Thousands gathered on the National Mall on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Hatchet staff writer Rachel Smilan-Goldstein recounts her experience at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action ceremony Wednesday, which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the March for Jobs and Freedom.

On a day meant to commemorate a historic moment in the ongoing struggle for equality, one barrier remained unwavering between spectators and the reflecting pool: a white security tent.

Thousands gathered Wednesday at the 17th Street entrance of the National Mall, squeezed between the Washington Monument and World War II Memorial, only to wait for hours before passing through an unsubstantial security checkpoint.

The mass of bodies could not be described as a line, instead resembling a mob as the rain poured down on the muggy late-August morning. The heat was sweltering, and we stood for hours.

Within the crowd, people shouted for medics. An elderly man was helped out of the masses; a young woman knelt above the ground before fainting, vomiting and losing consciousness. At least five other people left for medical attention.

And with no access to water or bathrooms, many people abandoned their spots in the crowd for basic necessities.

Despite the dangers and inconveniences of the security process, many attendees remained in high spirits. As they inched closer to the security tent, they joked loudly about reaching the “Promised Land” on the other side and “crossing the Mason-Dixon line.”

Along the way, guards held true to their promise to confiscate a number of items. One man in the crowd lamented giving up his two metal water bottles and a Swiss army knife. A woman was devastated as guards took her over-sized sign denouncing the death of Trayvon Martin. As she complained, guards told her that she could keep the sign but would have to sacrifice her hours of waiting. With thousands waiting for her to make a decision, she tore off part of the poster and proceeded onto the Mall.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s representative in Congress, called the security check point an “organizational breakdown.” She wrote in a letter to the Secret Service that D.C. Fire and EMS had to attend to more then 100 people, and some were hospitalized.

“As a result of your poor planning and execution, many were unable to attend and participate in the event altogether,” Norton wrote in the letter she sent Thursday to Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. “There is no doubt that the many failures could have been prevented.”

In 1963, there were no metal detectors, no bag searches, no pat downs. Instead, those rallying for civil rights across the country faced threats of police dogs and fire hoses, or worse.

The security feats average citizens had to overcome Wednesday illuminate the changed world in the wake of the events of the 1960s and more recent years. The cumulative impacts of tragedies ranging from the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to 9/11 to the Boston bombing haven’t changed the “why,” but “how” we march on Washington.

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D.C. has its problems, sure. People like to gripe about the Metro, tourists and the fact that D.C. is not New York. Well, the Washington City Paper brought dozens of journalists and experts together who are eager to solve some of those problems.

It is part of the alternative weekly’s “How to Fix Everything” issue, and here’s a sampling of some of the best solutions that were pitched.


1. Fix D.C. beer

Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The problem: According to “local freelance beer nerd” Aaron Morrissey, D.C. bars are negligent in cleaning draft lines, tainting new beer batches. Moreover, price disparities across beer vendors are costing consumers big time. Morrissey notes that at one organic market in the Petworth neighborhood, a 32-ounce growler is 31.3 cents an ounce, but a 72-ounce six-pack costs 16.6 cents an ounce.

The fix: “The District could lend a hand in the regulation of such wild pricing differences by extending financial incentives—a growler grant, perhaps?—to local beer-centric businesses like the in-progress DC Growler Station, in the hope that more growler shops will lead to streamlined pricing,” Morrisey wrote.

2. Make the National Mall a territory for an all-out, state-wide food vendor competition

The National Mall. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The problem: The expansive green of the National Mall is outdated and underutilized, hamstrung by subpar food services, says New Republic editorial director Michael Schaffer.

The fix: Give each state in the country a food kiosk featuring state-based cuisine and line them up across the mall. Let the competition for food dominance commence and encourage national tourism.

“State tourism boards would make sure their kiosks sold the best of native fare. North Carolina would know that the family being introduced to vinegar-based barbecue today might be spending scarce vacation dollars in the Tar Heel State next summer,” Schaffer wrote.

3. Build more Metro lines

Gallery Place-Chinatown metro station. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The problem: The hike from Union Station to Georgetown can’t easily be conquered without a taxi, and numerous other city hotspots aren’t accessible by metro, either. The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority announced in January a tentative plan to expand metro lines, but not until 2040.

The fix: Build metro lines while it’s affordable to do so, extending services to areas like Georgetown, H Street and West End.

“There’s no reason to wait [until 2040]—or, really, to wait at all. Interest rates are low, the system is clogged, the city’s running big surpluses, infrastructure investments will spur economic development, and building now is cheaper and easier than building later,” Aaron Wiener, staff writer at Washington City Paper, wrote.

4. Revamp D.C. teaching requirements

Ward 2 D.C. Council member and mayoral hopeful Jack Evans, an advocate for teaching requirement reforms. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The problem: The D.C. public school system has long struggled to yield high graduation rates and student academic success. This is due in part to a lack of mandatory teaching positions in D.C., Ward 2 councilmember and mayoral hopeful Jack Evans says.

The fix: “One of the basic things that every school should have is a music teacher, an art teacher, a librarian, and a physical education teacher. And they don’t exist in our schools today, so I’ve actually introduced legislation demanding…that our schools have those four at a minimum, those four instructors,” Evans wrote.

5. Invest in — and expand — Southwest D.C.’s museums

The Hirshhorn Museum in D.C.’s Southwest quadrant. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

The problem: The Hirshhorn and the National Gallery of Art, the two flagship museums of Southwest D.C., haven’t seen upgrades, driving away potential tourism.

The fix: “The Hirshhorn and the National Gallery are the two museums that would most benefit from expansion. Both have seen their collections grow substantially since they last added significant gallery space…Extending the Hirshhorn and the NGA there would help extend foot traffic and urban energy into a place that needs it,” wrote Tyler Green, writer for the Modern Art Notes blog at Blouin Artinfo.

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There’s a new reason to head to the Mall after dark.

The scaffolding-encased Washington Monument turns into a glowing tower every evening, thanks to 488 lights from the National Park Service.

Hundreds of lights have been wrapped around the marble tower as it undergoes construction. Photo used under the Creative Commons license.

The lights come from a sheer blue fabric wrapped around the 500 tons of scaffolding, and officials said they hope it will draw visitors who have been turned away by the construction. The monument has been closed since it suffered damage from an earthquake in August 2011.

The National Park Service estimated that the monument will reopen next spring.

Not in D.C.? You don’t have to miss the lights. Here’s a live view of the monument via an online EarthCam.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:17 a.m.

Fireworks on the Fourth: Where to go in D.C.

View of the fireworks on the National Mall. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

It’s somewhat ironic to be celebrating Independence Day in a place still fighting against taxation without representation. But what the District lacks in political liberties, it makes up in Fourth of July fireworks.

Here are the best spots to view the show:

The Mall
The crowds aren’t as bad as Inauguration, but if you want room for your lawn chair and picnic blanket, you’d better get there early.

Fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and will explode over the Washington Monument, so try to snag a spot between the two. The security check-points on the Mall will open at 10 a.m. and the fireworks  start at 9:15 pm.

U.S. Marine Corps Memorial
Only six blocks from the Rosslyn Metro Station, the Marine Corps Memorial is a convenient and less-crowed alternative to the Mall. It offers scenic views of the Lincoln Memorial with the Capitol in the backdrop, without the densely packed crowds.

If the National Mall isn’t patriotic enough for you, watching the fireworks in the shadow of the Iwo Jima Memorial should do the trick.

Cardozo High School
1200 Clifton St. N.W.

Though it’s two miles from the Mall, many locals consider Cordozo High School to be one of the city’s best spots for fireworks. It sits on top of the one of the only hills in the District, and its rolling green lawn in front of the school is a perfect for place for a blanket to watch the show.

Do-It-Yourself
If you’d rather celebrate the the nation’s founding with at-home pyrotechnics and Roman candles of your choice, check out this list of certified firework vendors.

Normally fireworks (along with large quantities of TNT and fertilizer) are not sold within the District, but the week before the Fourth is an exception.

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Thousands walked or ran on the National Mall to show their support for the fight against breast cancer Saturday in the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for a Cure. The event was moved to Mother’s Day weekend this year to honor mothers and all women.

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More than 100 runners came out to the Renaissance Hotel Monday evening to take part in a memorial run honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The participants ran 4.09 miles around the National Mall, the same number as the elapsed time on the official race clock as the first explosion occurred.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 11:19 p.m.

It’s Monday

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Photo Courtesy of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Olivia Kantor

The weather’s heating up this week and the cherry blossoms are officially in bloom. Get outside and off Foggy Bottom to take advantage of spring events around the District. 

-Hit up the Tidal Basin paddle boats and check out the National Mall from the water. Race your friends, get tan and laugh at all the photo-crazed tourists. Tidal Basin paddle boats start at $12 dollars an hour. Reservations can be made online.
-In honor of the D.C. Cherry Blossom festival, Japanese eatery Kushi Izakaya & Sushi is hosting a sushi buffet April 11, with live performances featuring Taiko drummers from the Tamagawa University in Tokyo. Sushi buffet? Enough said. Tickets will be sold at the door starting at 8 p.m.
-Get classy at the Willard Intercontinental’s Cherry Blossom Tea service. Nibble on cherry scones and sip Japanese Cherry Blossom tea from the Peacock Alley Tea Room with views of the White House. Tea is served Friday through Sunday 1:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.
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Over 200 entertainers, artists and martial arts masters performed Saturday on the National Mall as a part of the 14th annual Chinese Culture Festival, hosted by the Greater Washington Chinese American Community. This year, GWCAC collaborated with Guizhou, a province in southwest China, to host “Guizhou Cultural Week,” a series of performances and discussions highlighting the customs and culture of Guizhou.

Dancers using traditional fans wowed attendees with the grace of their performance. Samuel Klein | Hatchet Staff Photographer

With flags billowing in the wind, the festival featured live music from Chinese performers. Albert Liu | Hatchet Photographer

With the Capitol’s dome in the background, performers prepare to go on stage. Samuel Klein | Hatchet Staff Photographer

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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 3:26 p.m.

Weekend Outlook

Acclaimed authors and a renowned athlete will be featured in D.C. events this weekend. The best part? They’re free.

- Canadian singer-songwriter Bahamas will perform at the Iota Club & Cafe in Arlington, Va. Friday. Tickets to see the guitarist live are $12, and the show begins at 9 p.m.

Puppeteer and Sesame Street voice actor Kevin Clash speaks at the National Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License.

- The 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival returns to the National Mall this weekend, welcoming writers like New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson and “Goosebumps” series author R.L. Stine. The free festival runs Saturday and Sunday, and features over 50 authors.

- Miami Heat basketball phenom Dwyane Wade will host a book signing at Politics and Prose Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Wade will sign copies of his memoir, “A Father First,” which must be purchased in advance of the event in order to be signed.

 

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