4 Solar Energy Facts That College Students Should Know

4 Solar Energy Facts That College Students Should Know

Climate change is a huge topic of discussion among college kids. If you care about saving the environment, it's important to know some basic solar energy facts so you can be more educated on the topic.

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Switching to solar energy is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. Here are three facts you should know about solar energy.

Solar Energy is Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

Many people are hesitant to switch to solar panels because they feel it will be more expensive than using traditional sources of energy such as fossil fuels. This is because the sun does not charge people money for the energy it provides. This means really the only cost we have to endure is for the installation of solar panels, which have become increasingly more affordable and easier to get due to government incentives, tax rebates, and loans.

Solar Energy is More Abundant Than Every Other Energy Source

Solar energy is the most abundant source of energy, especially when compared to non-renewable energy sources. The sun does not simply run out of energy or light, but earth cannot keep producing coal for our energy needs. There is enough solar energy produced each year to provide for all of humanity.

Solar Panels Are Much Cheaper Than They Used to Be

Solar panels have decreased rapidly in the last 40 years, and show no signs of slowing down. While the current cost of solar panels may still intimidate many people, you have to consider how quickly they pay for themselves by eliminating your electric bill every month. Also, as I briefly mentioned above, you can get tax rebates, incentives, and loans to cover the cost of installing solar panels.

China is the World Leader in Solar Energy

California is paving the way for solar energy in the United States, but China is leagues ahead of us and the rest of the world. If the rest of the world follows in China's footsteps, we will be on our way to going completely solar in the distant (near?) future.

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My Best Original Screenplay Oscar Predictions Based Solely On The Writing, As It Should Be

Let's focus on the writing, not the politics.

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The Oscars are almost here, so it's time to make predictions.

Except, if you're like me, you probably haven't seen all the nominated movies. This year, I realized I had not seen any of the films up for Best Original Screenplay. This was a bit of a failure moment for me as a hopeful future screenwriter, but I took the opportunity to do something everyone always says to do when you're learning—read scripts.

I decided to read these scripts and make my predictions based solely on the writing, as it should be. I read each script, then watched the trailer and read a few articles about the movies to answer any questions.

And here's what I decided.

"The Favourite"

I'd heard great things about this movie before reading it, so I was excited to study this screenplay. It was well written, I will be honest, so bravo to Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. But, it still left some to be desired. It definitely has its good qualities and is justified in its being a, well, fan favorite.

Except, the script relied heavily on subtext for commentary. Any narrative, no matter what time period it takes place in, will be held against the current societal environment regardless of intentions. However, it was clear that this film's intentions were to place a female voice in history and in current outlets. Which, of course, is not a bad thing. However, this film does so with disregard for true equality. The female focus is at the men's expense, which is not true equality (but that's an argument for another time).

I actually found the story predictable. The story tried to build suspense around the war, but even that seemed like a second priority to the writers after the love triangle. The script didn't explicitly tell the reader "how to feel," but it was strongly implied by the end.

"First Reformed"

This was a solid film written by Paul Schrader. Each scene really does move the plot forward which is story 101 but still important to note sometimes. Even the scenes that seemed like they would be time fillers allowed for the voice-over narration of Toller's journal.

This voice over was a nice touch of characterization and introduced well in the first scenes. This introduction was so well written, I could see exactly how it would play out, which is textbook screenwriting. The dialogue was believable. The setting description was a good balance and told part of the story too.

But there was that ambiguous, "La La Land"-dream-sequence-ish ending though.

"Green Book"

Okay, this one. This film is important and was skillfully written, so definitely a bravo to Peter Farrelly, Brian Currie, and Nick Vallelonga.

This film spoke to racial equality in the sense of true equality—meeting on the same level. It took place in one of America's shameful times and followed a white man realizing how things really are for those different from him and learning how to use his privilege in a way that helps and not harms. Like Dr. Shirley said, "You never win with violence." And as far as movies nominated in this category based on true stories, this did the best at maintaining the integrity of the original.

The writing was phenomenal. There was a personality in the action. The characterization was shown, not told. This was done through the actions, letters, reactions, how the characters treat others and how other characters treat the main characters. There was evident development in growth in the two main characters Lip and Dr. Shirley. It ended nicely, and the scenes were paced well.

"Roma"

This story would be better as a novel, in my opinion. The descriptions were beautifully written, so much so that every time there was dialogue or a scene change, I was roughly drawn out of the story. For a script, the action was almost too artsy and I could tell that it would be better visually than in writing. There were a few inconsistencies, like how Pepe calls Cleo "mom" in the beginning when Señora Sofia is actually his mom. Of course, this was probably meant to be just a kid crying for his mom when he was tired, but it leads to some confusion going forward when introducing characters.

This film was artfully written by Alfonso Cuarón. Most of the time, there was a good balance between detailed and vague descriptions (except that one part that described the color of the sky even though this is a black and white movie). I was struck by the impactful use of sound descriptions woven into the script, such as the car horn or the plane flying overhead. This was something that was present in the other scripts but didn't make as much of an impact, in my opinion, as it did in "Roma"

"Vice"

Oh goodness, where to begin? Adam McKay begins this script with an indignant tone in the superimposed text saying they "did their f***ing best" to tell a true story. But did they? No. If this Best Original Screenplay award is based on the writing, then "Vice" is shockingly nominated. If it's based on political people-pleasing, then I guess the nomination makes sense. The film is riddled with a bias to the left. It assumes the viewers agree with the flat narrative of the film and that we all see the characters as the one-dimensional people they movie portrays. The film even addressed this bias at the end, but the way they did didn't level the playing field at all, but just pandered to that bias, trying to pick a fight. Well, they shouldn't be dignified with a response, in my opinion.

But I digress. The writing. That's what we're here for.

Unfortunately, even the writing was objectively bad compared to the other scripts. And I don't say that lightly. It read like a school project that was completed the night before it was due. There were typos everywhere (notably, "due" was spelled "do"). The story and scenes seemed willy-nilly thrown together with the only goal of pushing an opinion. The framework and organization were centered around how best to convince the viewer of McKay's views, not tell the story. It's a very serious subject that's covered here and could've been handled better instead of this script that reads like a comedy with political propaganda tendencies.

And now, my predictions for best original screenplay go to...

I'll break this down into categories.

My favorite: "Green Book."

What should win: "Green Book."

What will probably win: "The Favourite."

They all have a chance, but if "Vice" wins, then what are we all here for? The writing, or politics?

The other films all had their stance in politics without taking away from the story being told. "The Favourite" was female-driven with LGBT aspects and classist themes while telling the story of Queen Anne and her ladies. "First Reformed" critiqued megachurch culture, environmental activism, and big business while telling Toller's story of grief. "Green Book" also had some classist themes and attacked racist tendencies in a way that can educate and change minds by telling a historical story. "Roma" was the story of a family set in cultural and political context. But "Vice" was just about politics and not the story.

Let's focus on the stories. Let's focus on the writing.

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3 Ways to Save Money on Utilities During Winter

As college students or young adults, we're always looking for ways to save some extra money each month. Here's how you can keep your house warm without spending a fortune on heating this winter.

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Don't leave your heater blasting for the next two months and pay a ton of money to the utility company. Here are three ways to keep warm and save money.

Make Sure Your Heating System Is Performing Optimally

Your heating system is what will keep your house warm throughout the winter months, but don't pay a ton of extra money because your system is working harder to heat your home. If your heating system is working at its best, it will save you a ton of money during the winter. If you think your system isn't working properly, you can have professionals come out and take a look.

Keep Your Home Insulated

Insulation helps to keep your home warm without using extra heat. By keeping your home insulated, you can save a fortune on utilities because your heating system will be doing a lot less heating. If you don't want to pay for insulation, you can do small things around the house to keep it warmer. Keep the curtains closed all the time to hold in heat. Have the fans turn the opposite way to circulate warm air. These small things can really make a difference.

Bundle Up

Instead of jumping straight to turn the heater on when it gets a bit cold in your home, bundle up with a sweater, sweatpants, and a blanket first. Keep yourself warm using comfy clothing instead of paying money to heat your home. You'll still feel just as toasty, and you'll see a big drop in your monthly utility bill from not using the heater as much.

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