• The Trail of Lights is back on for the next five years, and I don’t care.

    I know, I just spewed pure blasphemy from my fingertips as I typed that out. But let me tell you where I’m coming from.

    I’m a native Austinite. For as long as I can remember, my parents took my brothers and me to the Trail of Lights every year. And I have glorious, sparkling memories of those nights. The beauty of thousands of lights arranged in spectacularly strange and wonderful ways is something that never ages.

    I remember spinning under the giant Zilker tree until I thought I’d puke, melting in the searing heat of those huge fire pits, and being utterly confused by the bizarre winter wonderland display at the end of the trail that played eerie Trans-Siberian Orchestra-esque music while flashing blue and pink light against a glittery white lion. I even got lost there one year. It may have been only 10 minutes, but those were the longest 10 minutes of my life.

    My point here is that the Trail of Lights will never be like this again. The now-minimalistic Trail of Lights’ displays pale in comparison to the glittering landscape of my childhood. Over the years, the displays have been cut away because of energy costs, taking the charm out of the trail. It’s hard to see something so awesome be turned into something so … anticlimactic.

    I understand why the trail has been cut back. The amount of energy and money wasted through turning tiny lights into massive displays is mind-boggling. And as someone who has been so, so many times, I admit to being more than a little jaded about it. But until the trail returns to its former glory, I really couldn't care less.

  • The Daily Texan Life and Arts section is happy to complement your lunch break with a smattering of news from across the cultural spectrum.

    Everyone loves the age-old comic "Calvin and Hobbes." Here are 16 things they say really well.

    Chicken wings may be in a horrible crisis, which would probably ruin those coupons they give us after Texas wins football games. Oh wait, maybe that doesn't happen anymore.

    We are all watching "Girls" and we are all a little sick of Hannah Horvath's hair-cutting, O.C.D. tendencies. But you know what we're not sick of? This Buzzfeed re-enaction using PEEPS.

    This puppy is on a farmyard adventure. Dawwwwwwww.

    We are going to have choose between phone battery life and taking awesome pictures. The 21st century is rough, y'all.

    There are secrets hiding in Jennifer Lawrence's new blonde updo, but don't worry, Vulture has found all of them for you.

    It's Wednesday, but at least you aren't struggling as much as this little puppy.

    Justin Bieber is trying to be a bad boy like ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez. Straight up? He spit on someone. Ew.

    People went on vacation in the '80s and '90s and took really dumb-looking photographs that are now viewable online. Isn't the Internet great?

    Pepsi wants to make us all uncomfortable with its weird sexual language.

  • It looked like the line for the Kingda Ka rollercoaster at Six Flags Great Adventure. The sheer presence of Michio Kaku on UT’s campus managed to attract approximately 600 hopeful attendees, all of whom lined the halls, stairwells, and exterior of the Student Activity Center on Tuesday. Those who found themselves at the end of the line were turned away. Perhaps this fate wasn’t so bad after all.

    Michio Kaku, for those who don’t know, is a brand name astrophysicist. He’s got the degree from Harvard, he’s got the two New York Times bestselling books on physics, and he’s got the fashionably long gray hair to boot. For the past couple of years, he has been hosting his own show on the radio to talk about breakthroughs in science.

    Yet despite his relative celebrity status, Kaku’s presentation felt deflated. It felt uninspiring. It felt unambitious.

    The better part of 40 minutes was spent listing off pieces of technology that might appear in the next 100 years. While speculating about future technology certainly has its merit, I tend to reserve speculation for sci-fi novels. It’s easy to woo a crowd with generalized statements about how amazing our lives would be with autonomous vehicles and food from a 3-D printer. But at the same time, I don’t really want to be talked down to. I want my mind to be blown.

    What’s truly disappointing is that Kaku is a smart guy. At the ripe old age of fifteen he decided to build a particle accelerator in his garage and enter it in a science fair. He co-founded String Theory in 1974 and has written numerous textbooks on the general subject of physics. So why then would he feel the need to advertise the future in such elementary terms? It was as though science and technology are not intrinsically valuable to his audience unless it has some materialistic, self-serving purpose. To me, this watered-downed, over simplified marketed view of science ultimately defuses the value that it has on its own right.

    In the next 100 years, I don’t want to see just new gadgetry and products for consumers; I want to see a shift in popular understanding of science that reflects a deeper appreciation for its true worth.