5.05.2009

Weird science

We're chest-deep into the age of information. Makers of machines like the Kindle are replacing books, Ipods have replaced CD players and the internet seems like it is replacing everything that I found normal as a child.


And I love it. I love how far humanity has come in such a short time. Within one hundred years, we've advanced further than any civilization before us.


And it seems that technology is beginning to tread some strange grounds. Here's a look at four of my favorite technological advances:

Chocolate fuel

Vegetable oil and waste from a chocolate factory fuel a British all-natural Formula 3 race car. Even the car itself isn't made from plastics and metal. Instead, the scientists who invented the car used everything from plant fibers to soybean oil foam.


I certainly have no problem with the idea of running a car on chocolate. The idea is far from harmful. It's just strange that anyone would think of running a car on chocolate waste.


Mind control earphones

Just kidding. Japanese scientists have been tinkering with how to play with the nerves in peoples' ears. There's a lot of neurology behind the explanation, but here's the short story: you can make people move wherever you want them to. Sounds like fun, right?


The video (linked above) mentions that the device could be used as a navigation system for pedestrians. By plugging into a Global Positioning System, you can literally be pulled toward whatever destination you're trying to reach.


This means that, if someone were to hack into your earphones, they could control your every move. A slightly unsettling prospect, but at least you can avoid being led around by the ear. Just don't wear the earphones.


Telepathy helmets

Our own military has been working on this since at least October of last year. The prospect of our troops having a constant uplink to one another is actually a smart idea, and I have no real objection to it. A quote from a lead scientist on the project is what makes me a bit shaky on the idea:


"It will take a lot of research, and a lot of time, but there are also a lot of commercial applications, not just military applications."


Commercial applications. I would be horrified at the idea of any company getting their hands on this technology.


Mental twittering


That's right. A man named Adam Wilson created a helmet that can read your thoughts and create a Tweet (status update on Twitter ) with your mind. This doesn't have me worried so much as entertained. And there are real, practical uses for this technology. A device like this could bring definitive proof on whether or not people in vegetative states have thoughts, and are still aware of the world around them.


We've come a long way since the Industrial Revolution. And while some of our inventions seem a bit quirky, but I can't wait to see what our scientists can think of next.


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3.12.2009

Definitely another rant on same-sex marriage.

OK, another religious guy takes over the quad area and talks about Jesus. He's exercising his right to freedom of speech. That's great.

He notices my pin that says "'I do' support the freedom to marry". He looks puzzled and I tell him that it's for gay marriage.

He said, "I'm pretty liberal about same-sex marriage. I believe a straight man should marry a lesbian woman, so she can become straight."

It's some great philosophy, not. He then asks me if I am a lesbian. I said, "Does it matter?"

"Yeah, it does matter, but you're too pretty to be a lesbian," he said.

This man of God apparently didn't read the part in the Bible where it said that we should not judge others.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -Mathew 7:1-2

Not only was he against same-sex marriage, but he was judging on appearance on how a lesbian woman would look like.

Sexual orientation shouldn't matter to anyone. I was not going to tell him I was straight or I was gay. If he truly believed in the word of God, then he would look past the differences we all have and see how good our hearts are.

My point is that it is a sad say when civil rights such as same-sex marriage is left to the majority who unfortunately think like this man. I'm sure if this man was asked if we are all equal in God's eyes, he would say "yes."

Remember the time when everything was separate, but equal in this country? This man is saying that the gay and lesbian community is equal in God's eyes, but they don't deserve the same rights as heterosexual couples to marry.

Chris Rock, the comedian, makes a light note that “gay people have as much of a right to be miserable as everybody else", so let gay people be as miserable in their marriages as straight couples are.
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3.10.2009

What I hate about Sac State

There are so many things I love about Sacramento State, from the lessons to the women to our own little Golden Gate. So many things to praise yet I leave every day full of rage. Full of questions as to why people do the things they do. Why they talk so loud on their cell phones, like they're in their own little private phone booth. Why they come to class all greasy like taking a shower makes taking calculus look easy.
I'm not saying everyone is on the line for these offenses, but if you wear pajamas to school you better get in line to start mending some fences. I can't tolerate peoeple who don't care about their appearance, take a little pride and pick some clothes to wear that you didn't buy on clearance.
Oh and if you decide that high-end designer track suit makes you look fine, please wear something that isn't going to give you that big fat granny panty line.
I don't think I'm being too demanding and I don't feel like I am being too harsh in my reprimanding. These are just things that people in college should know. I mean people don't wear bathing suits in the snow, or say "yes" when they really mean "no".
So please take the time to consider what the rest of us have to look at when you walk around campus. I don't care if you're having a bad day, you don't need to show up looking like something that crawled out of Loch Ness. We all have to do our part to keep Sac State pristine, so please, please don't wear something that will make me want to wash my eyes out with some Listerine.
There are so many things I love about Sac State, but it's so hard to concentrate when I can't stop thinking about all the things about it I hate.
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3.07.2009

Credit card etiquette

How hard is it to use a credit card? Why do so many people not know how to decide between debit and credit?

When working at a register and I ask "credit or debit?" it shouldn't be too hard to decide on which. Responding with "I don't know, doesn't matter or surprise me" isn't convenient, it's rude.

If it's debit, you might want to actually know what your pin number is. Asking the person at the register "what's my pin number" is ridiculous. I'm not a identity thief, why should I know what your pin number is? There are times I wished I knew, so I could empty out their account and give the money to charity. People guilty of stupidity in public deserve to lose money.

Standing in line gives plenty of time to decide how your going to pay. "I'll use credit, no wait, debit, wait, will my bank fine me?" is a response that happens far too frequently. I wish I could fine you for not knowing how to use a card.

Some people need to just carry cash. But then again some people can't count.
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2.23.2009

Sac State's Parking Issues

At Sacramento State, the parking situation sucks on a number of levels.

First of all, the fees keep going up. It is now $153 for a semester, and six dollars per day, up from $108 a semester and five dollars per day last year.

Particularly the first few weeks of the semester, it is hard to find a parking spot, and depending on what time your class starts, it can result in a pretty distant walk.

Also, the cops will find ANY reason to give you a ticket. Be it a mediocre parking job, failure to have a daily permit even if you are only going to be on campus for a few minutes without being in one of the designated spots, they will find a way to get you, and laugh while doing so.

However, my biggest gripe with the parking situation is not being able to leave your car in the parking lot overnight. If you have a permit, you should be allowed to park. I realize it’s probably for safety reasons, but I’m willing to take that risk.

If you do want to park overnight, you have to obtain an overnight or Residence Hall parking permit, according to University Transportation and Parking Services.

I was unfamiliar with this regulation as I left my car on campus last year. Around midnight, when I informed my friends that I planned to leave my car on campus, they asked if I got a permit for it.

The answer was no, and they said one is needed or else it would potentially get towed. Disgruntled, we went to pick up my car.

I would have thought the permit I spent over $100 on would allow me to have the freedom to park at Sac State whenever I wanted to; unfortunately that is not the case.

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2.19.2009

Consumer holidays

As Valentine’s Day neared its end, I found myself with a bowl of popcorn and some zombie killing video games and came to an official conclusion: holidays suck.

While some holidays have deep-rooted origins and religious traditions, many have been created specifically to boost consumerism. Whatever the original intent, our money-hungry society has conformed each one into a commercial holiday.

Valentine’s Day, for example, makes a huge deal out of sharing love with significant others, but really it’s about sharing your money with them.

Sure, a nice homemade meal and some alone time with your sweetie can be romantic, but let’s face it, most people want material goods. Whether it is truffles or diamonds, they want to see that you care about them enough to spend money on them.

But this isn’t just about Valentine’s Day. The mass market has completely consumed every holiday of the year.

We barely made it through Valentine’s Day before stores started selling four-leaf clovers and “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” pins. And before you know it we’ll be seeing colorful eggs and stuffed bunnies that have somehow come to represent Easter.

But the worst is Christmas. Here is a holiday supposedly based on the birth of Christ when there are significant doubts that he was even born in December. This holiday is not about Jesus. It is about gifts. It is about money and consumption, just like every other holiday.

While I am not denying the joys of opening presents or the delicious taste of chocolate, I can think of better ways to spend my money and my time.

So while the rest of you enjoy hunting for Easter eggs, I think I’ll just stick to hunting for zombies.
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2.17.2009

Choosing Easy Teachers

Leaning back in my chair, at the beginning of every school year, I overhear a conversation between students about the method and reasoning behind why they chose our teacher.

Taken by itself, it’s a perfectly normal conversation. Normal, that is, until Ratemyprofessor.com gets brought up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some Anti-Ratemyprofessor.com activist. In fact, most of the college semesters in my life have been preceded by hours of browsing the website for student commentary on their professors.

But every semester, when students talk about teacher-rating websites, all I hear about is how high their teachers’ ‘Easiness ratings’ are. And it’s been a source of frustration for me, as a college student.

Getting a degree isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. Yet, listening in on the people around me, it seems as if baccalaureate programs are filled to capacity with students who are just looking for the largest reward in exchange for the least amount of work. Knowing that people are taking the easiest route now, I can’t help but fear for their future.

Sure, those that skate-by will eventually get a bachelor’s degree. Maybe they’ll even get a decent grade point average, too. But this is a world where bachelor’s degrees don’t usually count for much, career-wise. Most of us, more than likely, will need to go on to graduate schooling.

This is where being lazy and taking the easiest classes throughout first four years becomes a problem.

When the time comes to put in hours of hard work to get a Master’s degree, students who had years spent taking professors with the highest Ease rating will see the immense requirements of a graduate education, and find themselves struggling through classes.

By working hard now, the struggle of trying to get a Master’s degree won’t seem as harsh.

For freshmen, my suggestion is to start off in classes with a comfortable work load. Then find teachers who put you a little more outside of your comfort zone each semester. That way, when the time comes for graduate school comes along, getting a degree won’t seem like such a daunting task.

And don't even get me started on how creepy it is that people use the "Hotness" rating to choose professors.
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