Ronald Leung / Silhouette Staff


If you read the last issue of IO, you already know the world has ended.

Human civilization has shattered, overcome by a legion of the walking dead. Pockets of survivors live miserably, scavenging for food and water, desecrating undead brains and avoiding the ever-present threat of a deadly bite from a set of decaying teeth. As despondently as the remaining humans live, this scenario creates the perfect storm for a whole new crop of ethical dilemmas to grow.

Before we continue, let me make it clear that I’m a pretty big fan of The Walking Dead. It’s a prime example of a zombie apocalypse television series that focuses on the moral consequences of the cataclysmic event and not just on the mindless muscle of re-killing shambling brain-hungry humans.

Picture this: you’re a country sheriff who miraculously survived the initial outbreak. After a couple days, you are reunited with your wife. After chopping off some zombie heads and ensuring you’re safe, you settle down and, in a wave of passion, get down and dirty with your wife. A couple of weeks later, she notices irregularities in her menstrual cycle. You raid the local abandoned pharmacy and find a pregnancy test. She’s pregnant. You’re happy, of course. But then you and your wife start talking. You also found some abortion medication at the pharmacy. Do you really want to bring a baby into this harsh life? What kind of existence is your baby looking forward to? A painful experience of constantly looking for the next meal, all the while dodging roaming hordes of zombies? Being eaten alive, organ by organ, in the hands of a crazed once-human? Never mind the lack of operational hospital equipment and conditions to deliver the baby (your wife would be giving birth like she was in the medieval times – in other words, a fairly hazardous experience). Never mind your existing views on abortion vs. pro-life. The world has changed. Your family and friends started eating each other and your old perspectives are not as relevant. Look into the eyes of your wife. What will the two of you decide?

It’s fairly easy to say that most of us currently have a moral code. We don’t kill. Would that still hold if the world went to hell and 95 per cent of us became zombies? Desperate times call for desperate measures. While many of us would understandably try to survive – regardless of the price – others would rise to the occasion and try to keep us all in line with a basic moral code and respect for other humans. After all, whoever is left would really be all that’s left of humanity. What if you found someone stealing from your camp of survivors? You decide to let him or her live, and weeks later they come back to steal again, mad from hunger. In the ensuring struggle, one of the members of your survivor camp is killed. Do you regret your original decision to let them go free? What if instead of stealing, they had accidentally killed someone in an accident? Would you still let them go free?

Clearly, there are no easy answers – even in a zombie apocalypse. It’s troubling, isn’t it? Not only do you have to worry about basic survival and cannibalistic dead humans, you also have to grapple with an ever-persistent moral code. Ah, C’est La Vie! (Even after La Vie.)

Ronald Leung / Silhouette Staff


Getting together a successful study group is like preparing for the apocalypse. Ensure you have all the necessary teammates to make it through.

The Brain

Human encyclopedia, smarty pants, and know-it-all: this member of your storm survival crew has many names but they are universally characterised by their intelligence, studious manner, and attention to detail (sometimes to the ire of the group). You can count on them to fact-check constantly and answer any wandering questions your crew may have. They’ll probably have a penchant for excessively correcting your grammar.

The Pilot

While they may not necessarily be the most respected, all members of the crew listen to the pilot. They are storm veterans and have the sole focus of getting the entire crew to safety. Keeping the group on track and directing them from YouTube videos, side-conversations, or texting are all just part of the job description.

The Paranoid One

Don’t laugh at their mad rants and apocalyptic warnings now – they brings a healthy amount of snacks perfect for tired minds after grappling with the storm. Chips, chocolate, and power bars are staple foods of their repertoire. They have been preparing for years and finally their worst fears have come true. They’ll keep the crew fed and healthy as they continue to fight the storm. Just don’t make fun of their paranoid gibbering: things could get ugly, fast.

The Sleeper

Somehow dozing through a storm, the sleeper seems to not realize just how dire the situation is. Completely out of it, they will sleep through all necessary storm preparations and wake up minutes before the storm hits. They can be spotted walking out of the wreckage later, somehow unharmed and apparently unaware of the destruction around them, no matter how devastating it is.

The Worrier

Hyperventilation, excessive hand gestures, or even outright unconsciousness are not uncommon for The Worrier. The complete opposite of The Sleeper, they will panic at every conceivable moment and freak out at every little detail. While often annoying, their frantic outbursts can yield important details. They can be seen to be white-lipped and shaking, huddling in the corner and rocking back and forth, even after the storm has passed.

The Prodigy

Appearing supremely unconcerned, they will simply show up to storm preparations for the sake of it. Constantly appearing to do anything but preparing themselves, The Prodigy will stare down the storm with the coolness of a cucumber, too nonchalant to even blink. Hours later, when the storm’s victims stagger out, weakened and dazed, The Prodigy will calmly stroll by, hair stylishly tousled as opposed to everyone else’s hurricane-do.

Ronald Leung / Silhouette Staff


Since vacationing is a luxury for cash-strapped students, every dollar counts. How do you get the most of your money when exploring a new destination? Should you book a tour bus, or decide to go lassiez-faire? At first, the latter seems to be the more attractive option. Who wouldn’t want the freedom of drifting through a romantic foreign city, tasting cultural snacks and discovering quirks and curiosities in every nook and cranny? You’d be free to stay as long as you please at your favourite attraction, and spend as long as you want sipping a exquisite coffee or shopping along the promenade. However, the cost of this self-directed journey is the large preparation needed to actually pull off a satisfying trip. Hours of research needs to be done in order to scout out potential attractions and famous gems of the destination you’d be visiting, hours that as students, many of us don’t have. In addition, the trial-and-error format of self-journey often racks up higher costs as we dip our toes continuously until we find just the right temperature.

A tour bus on the other hand, usually comes in a neat package with transportation, lodging, and most meals covered. A fluent interpreter and tour guide often accompanies every bus, where they provide commentary about attractions and banter with the locals, avoiding a lot of embarrassing miming on your part. They also have a packed itinerary, so all you have to do is follow along and enjoy the experience. However, this could also be considered a downfall for many travelers. Package tours are notorious for their early mornings and late evenings, so you may find yourself struggling to stay awake. In addition, they have strict time limits at attractions, so many vacationers often complain of feeling rushed as they are herded from destination to destination. Not everything on the itinerary may be to your liking which may also be an annoyance.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to judge without trying out both. If you find planning too much, an organized tour bus may be perfect for you. If you’re proactive in your travels, a self-directed experience may yield much more freedom and sight-seeing. Whatever you chose, never forget that you’re on vacation. Enjoy the sights, breathe, laugh and sleep, because before you know it, it’ll all be over.

Ronald Leung / Silhouette Staff


  Caffeine Adderall (and other psycho-stimulants) Energy Drinks Sleep
Availability Found in most tea bags, coffee products (not decaf, obviously), and your local coffee shop. Legally only distributed as a prescribed medication. Not meant to be used as a studying stimulant. Readily purchasable at supermarkets and convenience stores. No money required for purchase. Only investment needed is a time commitment.
Effectiveness Depends widely on each individual. Some live by caffeine, some feel it does nothing to boost energy. Caffeine tolerance can also build, requiring increasingly large portions.  Has varying effects, but most users describe having the ability to zero-in on a task with stringent focus for hours on end. Energy drinks are simply heavily-caffeinated drinks, so they would have the amplified effects of a cup of coffee. Requires multiple sessions of adequate sleep, but the effects pay off by allowing for more energy-filled and focused study sessions
Side-Effects Twitching/uncontrolled muscle movements, sleep problems, loss of appetite. Headaches, inability to fall asleep, dry mouth, restlessness. More serious side effects include difficulty breathing, migraines, seizures, depression. Dizziness, insomnia, irregular heart rate, agitation, breathing problems, tremors. (In healthy amounts) better memory, mood, and immune system. Balanced appetite, more logical thinking process.

By: Ronald Leung


To have 20 valentines: oh how I miss those days,
Draped in a childhood haze.
Dodge ball in grade three,
Getting my elementary school degree.

Feburary 14th: the day would roll around,
Which cards would I get? Thinking in a frown.
Scooby Doo?
Hello Kitty?
Carrying my own cards, school-bound.

The time would come,
All my friends to be my valentine!
Handing out my precious cards,
No one will ever be glum.

How strange it is then,
And how strange it is now,
To go from multi-valentine fun,
To only wanting one.

By: Ronald Leung


An Academy Award is certainly a fantastic achievement: to be declared the best in the highly-competitive film industry is nothing to scoff at. It’s understandable then, that the acceptance speech that follows can be dramatic, hilarious or overwhelming. Here’s a look at the five most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches.

  1. Adrien Brody – Best Actor, The Pianist (2002)

Brody made history by becoming the youngest actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor at the age of 29, so you can certainly imagine his excitement. He was so excited that he went ahead and planted an impromptu kiss on announcer Halle Berry that lasted quite a while. Berry, although quite shocked at first, clearly did not have a bad time herself.

  1. Angelina Jolie – Best Supporting Actress, Girl Interrupted (2000)

Before Brangelina, Jolie also showed some mouth-to-mouth at the Academy Awards by kissing her brother. She added how she was “in love with” him in her acceptance speech. It certainly gave the audience a little pause.

  1.  Joe Pesci – Best Supporting Actor, Goodfellas (1991)

Usually the emotion of winning an Oscar translates to a length acceptance speech, but not for Pesci. He takes the cake for possibly having the shortest speech in Academy Awards History: “It was my privilege: thank you.”

  1. Greer Garson – Best Actress, Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Garson was so surprised at winning that she hadn’t prepared anything to say – resulting in a rambling 7-minute speech. The Academy then imposed a 45 second time limit for all future speeches.

  1. Marlon Brando – Best Actor, The Godfather (1973)

Brando famously snubbed the Academy by sending Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to refuse his Oscar. He wanted to protest against the stereotypical portrayal of the Native Americans, and also their unfair treatment at the hands of the US Government.

By: Ronald Leung


Sleeping positions often appear to be more of an unconscious choice of personal comfort, but novel research from Dr. Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, and Robert Phipps, a body language expert, suggests that this preference is actually a good indicator of your daytime personality.

Use this guide to decode your sleeping position to find out what it’s saying about you:

Position:  Lying curled up on one side with legs bent
Personality: Sleepers who prefer this position often show a tough exterior but are actually shy and sensitive within. They often take time to warm-up in new situations, but given the chance they’ll relax and become very sociable. They also stay organized but often over-think problems and worry excessively.

Position: Sleeping on your side with legs and arms straight
Personality: People who prefer this position are often quite social, fun to hang out with, and extremely trusting. This can turn against them sometimes, because they can be prone to being gullible. However, when they are determined, this type of sleeper can be stubborn and set in their ways.

Position: Sleeps on the side with both arms stretched in front
Personality: Often having open personalities, these sleepers are also susceptible to suspicion and cynicism. They also describe themselves as slow-decision makers and are indecisive, but will stick with their decision once they make them.

Position: Lying on your back with both arms at your sides
Personality: People who use this potion are often disciplined and follow schedules and plans very well. They also hold high expectations not only to others, but also themselves, and can be their own worst critic at times. They tend to be reserved and quiet.

Position: Sleeping on your stomach with the head turned to the side and arms curled up near your pillow
Personality: Sleepers who prefer this position are very open to their thoughts and feelings and can be both sociable and brash. Under the surface however they can be very sensitive and not very receptive to criticism.

Position: Lying on your back with legs sprawled and arms up near your head
Personality: Character traits for this position often prioritize friendships but don’t enjoy being in the centre of attention. They are often willing to listen to the problems of their friends and enjoy giving assistance to others. They can be too selfless at times however, and neglect their own needs and opportunities.

By: Ronald Leung


We’re a pretty diverse bunch here at McMaster, but perhaps one of the common threads that hold us together is our love for caffeine. If you’re anything like me, it becomes a habit that will slowly burn through your pocket. Never fear! The following is an analysis of where exactly you can find the cheapest coffee, and some other sustenance, on campus.

Pros Cons
Tim Hortons (MUSC) -        Reasonable prices ranging from $1.24-$1.90-        A wide range of sizes, from x-small to x- large

-        Central location in MUSC

-        Accepts student cards

-        Long lines at peak times-        No substantial food items are sold (only donuts and Timbits)
The Union Market (MUSC) -        $1.30 and $1.45 for medium and large coffees-        Large assortment of snacks and other food

-        Less expensive salads ($4.99) compared to La Piazza or Centro

-        Central location in MUSC

-        Doesn’t accept student card/meal plan
House of Games (MUSC, Basement level) -        Best curry (vegetarian option available!) on campus-        Only place to sell bubble tea on campus

-        Huge variety of bubble tea flavours

-        Sells other food such as Jamaican patties and samosas, as well as specialty beverages and snacks

-        Large collection of video and arcade games to enjoy

-        Doesn’t accept student card/meal plan
Caffeine: The Elements (BSB) -        Great cupcakes-        Sells large assortment of drinks, snacks, and baked goods

-        Cozy sitting area

-        Accepts student cards

-        Location is not very convenient (unless you frequent BSB a lot)
Williams (MUSC, HSC first and second floor) -        Large selection of hot drinks in addition to coffee: speciality lattes, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, etc.-        Convenient location to grab a bite during study sessions (two locations in the HSC alone, one right beside Health Sciences Library)

-        Filling meals consisting of wraps, salads, or fresh-made paninis

-        Many baked goods and snacks

-        Good assortment of cold drinks, such as Ice Caps or Fruity Chillers

-        Accepts student cards

-        Prices (especially for the speciality drinks) can be much higher than other places-        Long lines at peak times
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