Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Can't Friend Yourself


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Duke...38?

Sagarin Ratings from USA Today for Sept. 27, 2008:

31. Ball State
38. Duke
56. Troy
84. Jacksonville State

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Things That I Hate About Politics

1. When someone labels someone as a liberal/conservative as if that were something dangerous:

"
John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly that's just me opposing George Bush's wrong headed policies since I've been in Congress but I think it is that it is also important to recognize I work with Tom Coburn, the most conservative, one of the most conservative Republicans who John already mentioned to set up what we call a Google for government saying we'll list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that John's been railing about."

- Barack Obama, Sept. 26th, 2008 in the First Presidential Debate

I would say that's a pretty good explanation and rebuttal by Obama after being defined as the most liberal voter in the Senate...

2. Somehow if you wear a US flag lapel pin, then you're patriotic:


Studies show that wearing a lapel pin is not correlated to levels of patriotism. Nor are middle names. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Death and Taxes: McCain/Obama

I thought this was interesting...

In the latest AC360 podcast:

Income OBAMA MCCAIN

38-66K -$1042 -$319
66-112K -$1,290 -$1,009
227-603K +$12 -$7,871
603K+ +$115,974 -$45,361**

For each income bracket, shown is the difference per capita under the Obama and McCain tax plans versus Bush's current tax cuts. Negative amounts mean persons under that income bracket would pay less, whereas positive amounts mean an increase in taxes.

What first struck me is that the 603K+ bracket would be paying anywhere from 10-16% more on their taxes under Obama and 4-8% less under McCain. That's a huge swing. But notice the upper middle class tax bracket; they would be paying about $1,000 less in taxes under both Obama and McCain. This income bracket contains about 20% of the population and would be getting the same tax relief under both candidates. Interesting, considering that liberals love to attack the other side for not giving enough tax relief to those not in the top 2% in income. However, while Obama's plan would increase government revenue by 600 billion dollars, McCain's plan would decrease government revenue by approximately the same amount. 

Anyone with info on what the total revenue difference for each income bracket from the Bush Administration would be?

From the Tax Policy Center:

"The two candidates' tax plans would have sharply different distributional effects. Senator McCain's tax cuts would primarily benefit those with very high incomes, almost all of whom would receive large tax cuts that would, on average, raise their after-tax incomes by more than twice the average for all households. Many fewer households at the bottom of the income distribution would get tax cuts and those tax cuts would be small as a share of after-tax income. In marked contrast, Senator Obama offers much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers and would increase taxes on high-income taxpayers. The largest tax cuts, as a share of income, would go to those at the bottom of the income distribution, while taxpayers with the highest income would see their taxes rise significantly."


** Source: Tax Policy Center on AC360 Podcast

What Does 'Country First' Mean?

During the Republican National Convention, I saw a plethora of "Country First" signs. 'Country First' being the foil to Obama's 'Change" mantra. However, McCain has been little helpful defining this motto, and I think it raises the question: what does 'Country First' actually mean?

Does it mean focus on domestic issues rather than foreign policy? Are we going to enact a policy of non-interventionism around the world again? Are we going to focus solely on steadying the highly erratic economy?

Or does it mean we should focus on moral and traditional issues like abortion, capital punishment, taxes, etc.?

I took the liberty to email the McCain campaign about this to find out just what they're talking about. I'll post their response soon!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's easy to confuse one lame football program with another

Apparently some paratroopers got Kenan Stadium confused with Wallace Wade yesterday...

Duke officials were a bit surprised when, at 6 p.m. Saturday, about an hour before the scheduled kickoff, two men parachuted into the Wallace Wade Stadium and landed at the 35-yard line with a game ball.

Problem was, the Blue Devils — who were warming up along with opponent James Madison — weren't expecting it.

“All we know is, they must have missed their jump site,” a team official said.

And they did — because the jump site was meant to be eight miles away.

North Carolina was scheduled to receive its game ball via aerial team at about that time in Chapel Hill. According to UNC assistant athletics director for promotions Michael Beale, the plane was in the air, but the jumpers from Virginia-based Aerial Adventures opted to cancel the leap into Kenan Stadium because of a bad weather front — which eventually delayed both games.

Evidently, when the clouds eventually opened, the pilot thought they were over the correct stadium, and the skydivers jumped — only realizing when they landed that they were in the wrong place.

The two men immediately scrambled off the field with the game ball. When UNC associate athletics director Rick Steinbacher was informed by a reporter of what had happened, he immediately called Duke officials to confirm the miscue, and offer his apologies.

“In about five years, maybe this will be funny,” Steinbacher said.

“Right now, I'm just glad no one was hurt.”

Thanks to the Charlotte Observer for the story: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/story/163718.html

To review:
Duke













and UNC:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Your Four Second Video...

The Internet is so awesome. I mean, whenever, I take a movie of something, I just instantly think , "Wow, I'll just post this on Youtube or Facebook."

But then I actually watch it when:
A) the hilarity of the event wears off.
B) I'm not inebriated.
Whichever comes first.

And I'll think to myself...Does anybody really care about a four second video clip that I shot that doesn't focus on a face/involves the line "Are you shooting a video?" ?

Fortunately, there's a lot of normal people out there who think exactly along these lines. Kudos to you! But for the 1% of the population that doesn't think past "Wow, I'll just post this on Youtube!", I just got a four second preview to the drunk New Year's Eve video I'm going to direct this year.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Copperhill, TN.

After getting really really sick of my music so far this summer, I've decided to switch it up a bit. I've been listening to a few podcasts, mostly news, but some others also.
The CNN Anderson Cooper 360 podcast is up there as one of the better ones. Unfortunately, I happened to catch today's segment about Obama myths, i.e. he's a Muslim, yada yada yada.

I'm kind of surprised at the way people talk about Obama regardless of whether they're voting for him or whether they know anything about him. Case in point, CNN did a special report about Muslim myths about Obama in Copperhill, TN (aka Smalltown, USA):

What concerns you about Barack Obama?

The safety of our country if Obama gets in. I do -- he is a Muslim, and I'm very concerned about that.

The fact is, he says he's not a Muslim. He says he's a Christian.

Yes, I know what he says. (Laughter)

(bold type is reporter; italics interviewee)

So we just had a normal citizen say that not only does she not believe what Obama says his religion is, but that religion is dangerous. Assumptions:

1) Obama is a Muslim.
2) Muslims are dangerous as politicians because they wouldn't secure the country.
3) Obama, as a politician, will lie about his religion just to get votes.

Wow. 12% still believe that Obama is a Muslim, 26% think he was born a Muslim. Not that it's surprising that that many people still believe these myths, but when confronted with the truth, the fact is so ingrained in their minds they would deny the truth.

But so what if he were a Muslim, what does that really do for him in office? Would he grant visas to al-Qaeda? Sounds dangerous. Or maybe he would actually talk to Iran or another Muslim country? We shouldn't talk to enemies. I honestly think that Americans would not want to overtly acknowledge how little religion has to do with your office....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Open Letter to Digg

I wanted to title this post, "Five Things That I Want Digg to Make a Reality", but I figured that might imply that they would start making crap in the real world. Not good. So in true cinematic style, here.....we....go....:

1. Make all submissions anonymous before they reach the front page. Once they hit the FP, then the submitters name will be shown. While there will always be a social hierarchy topped by Digg power users, making the submissions anonymous in upcoming will allow some more inexperienced users' submissions to be given some light.

2. Make the shout inbox more user-friendly. I'm pretty tired of taking 30 minutes to an hour cleaning out my shouts. I'm sure some people don't get to them, and others have a lot more in a day, but a "Delete All" button or a way to visually separate fans/friends, upcoming/popular, and others could be a lot more helpful.

3. Now, I'm no xenophobe, but when I get shouts, friend requests, and see submissions from people from different countries I can't help but notice that the majority of their content is hard to read, spam, and shouted to me about 100 times. This is not limited to foreign countries (I'm in the US) and I'm positive we have our fair share of spammers.

4. Ever get those messages to slow down and take a breath before you comment or shout again? That's fair enough, I guess, but when I shout to 101 people, and I don't know because there's no friend counter, and it tells me that...it's annoying. A shout counter/friend counter would be useful for sure.

5. Finally...I want to know what stuff of mine that my friends Digg. If I have friends that digg nothing of mine, but shout me 5 times a day, it'll be faster/easier to delete them if I knew that beforehand. There are sites that do this, but I lose them or they don't really work well.

*6. Why doesn't Kevin Rose ever accept my friend request?

Tell me what you think in the comments...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nancy Disgrace

I've been watching a lot of Nancy Grace lately...but not by choice. It's always on when I'm staying up late at night.

I can't imagine how people like her get jobs. Did Fox News send out a classified? "WANTED. TV Anchor to host her own show. Must defend the rights of the victim. In general, must be a bitch." I haven't seen it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Euro Semifinal Russia/Spain

I'm sitting here in the Bryan Center watching the second semifinal between Russia and Spain. The action is pretty good with Russia controlling early but Spain coming back of late. There's been an abundance of players falling though: I guess it doesn't help that they're playing through Hurricane Luigi...

Russia
I find it hard to root for a team that's playing in a European Championship even though most of their country is in Asia.
Spain
Probably the only bright spot for their team in the quarters was their goalie...in penalty kicks.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movie Review: The Happening

First off, spoiler warning: all parts of this review which might ruin the movie for those of you that haven't seen it are in white. You can highlight them for easier reading.

M. Night Shyamalan has a history of making intriguing, sort of scary movies. He wrote the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, and now, The Happening. IMDB also credits him with the screenplay of Stuart Little. I don't know what to think about that.

The premise: Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) is a science teacher in Philadelphia. Suddenly the "happening" occurs in Central Park, and it makes people kill themselves. It starts happening in other populated places, and people are killing themselves from Washington to New England. Elliot, his wife Alma, and friends have to figure out a way to not kill themselves.

The plot: They run. A lot. Seriously, there's not a whole lot more to the plot than that. Except for Shyamalan's extremely weak attempt at a subplot, as Elliot and Alma are not getting along at the beginning of the movie. (Spoiler): The way this "virus" works is that it has been spreading from more populated places on to less and less populated places. They try and get further and further from people until they find some old lady's cottage in the middle of nowhere, PA. She is unnecessarily grumpy and eventually gets affected by the virus, putting her head through a window. Wahlberg's wife is over in the spring house when this hits, so she has to hole herself up in there, along with a friend's daughter. Luckily, there's a talking pipe between the main house and the spring house, allowing them to reconcile. Wahlberg then decides that if he dies, he wants to die with her, so he throws caution to the wind and goes outside. Luckily, the virus went away, and we jump ahead to Wahlberg's wife finding out she's pregnant. Then the happening happens in Paris. The end.

The acting: Below average. No one in this movie is a very good actor. Even Wahlberg, who has generally been pretty good, falls short here. Of course, all this may be the fault of...

The script: absolutely sucked. The more I talked about this movie with Bob and Noah, the more we realized this was really poorly written. This movie has none of the elements of a good drama. Subplot? The only apparent attempt was Elliot and Alma's splintering marriage. It turns out that there aren't any juicy secrets between them. Elliot even delivers a line around the middle of the movie that seems to admit that the conflict between them is pretty poorly developed, and reduces it to a joke. It turns out that they just forgot to communicate over the past couple weeks. And you know how there's always intriguing false leads in a movie? You know, when they make you think you figured it out, but not really? Negative. Again, Shyamalan made a couple weak attempts, but there's no point in this movie where you say "whoa! he really got me there". Finally, Shyamalan never figured out a creative way to explain information to the audience. Most of the info is delivered through random characters (who have no point to their existence other than to deliver a line or two of information, and then kill themselves) or intrusive news reports.

Bottom line: M Night Shyamalan takes a semi-intriguing idea and then kills it with subpar acting and a script that he apparently spent a lunch break on. The concept has potential, but it gets completely killed in Shyamalan and co.'s assumption that people will be wowed just because he wrote it. Wrong.

Grade: D+. If it comes on TV in a year and you have nothing better to do, invite some friends over and watch it so you can spend the next week making fun of it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas Prices

If you're blaming the price of gas on the rise of a barrel of crude, be careful. The increase in the price of crude has far outpaced the increase in gas prices.

Crude Oil

Gas prices

Crude oil has DOUBLED in one year, while gas prices have only increased around 33%.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday

+ You know you're an avid Lost fan when you see the headline, "Astronauts set to open hatch after space-station docking" on CNN and you wonder how they're going to do it with no handle.

+ Ted Kennedy just had surgery for his brain tumor at Duke Med Center. I wonder if I should pay him a visit and say Hi.

+ Aliens invade Denver. Thanks to Larry King for giving these guys credibility. The reenactment halfway through is pure gold. I never knew aliens looked like cheap, country fair stuffed animals.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Seriously CNN, seriously?

Soup Can Sunday

1. Listen to this audio illusion. You have to use headphones. It'll make you think you're crazy, too (i.e. hearing things that aren't there).

2. So, the world record in the 100-meter dash was just broken...exciting! Personally, I don't think it should be news anymore. If you beat the world record by .02 seconds, is that really all that newsworthy? Especially when somebody will beat it tomorrow by .01 seconds?

3. This Tuesday is the last two primary contests: Montana and South Dakota. AKA "Going out with a Bang" but more likely "Thank God, it's almost over."

4. Mid-Life Crisis moment of the week. Reportedly, this is also the same guy who threw the infamous pizza two years ago.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

News Flash: Your program is underachieving

We have two college basketball teams (ACC teams, in fact):
Over the past six years Team A has gone 122-72 (.629), had three 20-win seasons, and made the NCAA tournament three times, winning four games.
During the same six seasons, team B went 122-68 (.642), and also had three 20-win seasons and three trips to the NCAA tournament, winning four games.
Logic says these two programs are probably about the same caliber, and probably found themselves in the same state at the beginning of this 6 year period.

Let's expand the descriptions:
Team A:
2002-2003: 20-10, 6 seed in NCAA tourney, lost in third round
2003-2004: 20-12, 4 seed in NCAA tourney, lost in second round.
2004-2005: 19-13, lost in NIT semifinal
2005-2006: 19-13, got invited to the NIT, apparently forgot to inform the players, because they lost on their home floor to a team that only avid college basketball fans have even heard of.
2006-2007: 25-9, 4 seed in NCAA tournament, lost in second round
2007-2008: 19-15, lost in second round of NIT

Team B:
2002-2003: 25-6, lost in second round of NCAA tournament
2003-2004: 21-10, lost in third round of NCAA tournament
2004-2005: 27-6, lost in second round of NCAA tournament (in one of the greatest games in NCAA tourney history)
2005-2006: 17-17, lost in first round of NIT
2006-2007: 15-16, no postseason
2007-2008: 17-13, no postseason

So while the two teams have taken wildly different paths, the bottom line stats are still the same.

The teams? Team A, Maryland Terrapins, Team B, Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
My point here isn't to pump up the Deacs. In fact, these track records are somewhat uninspiring. It's to illustrate how disappointing the Terps have been.
In case you forgot, Maryland won the National Championship in 2002 after making the Final Four in 2001. They were the first team since the inception of McDonald's All-Americans to win a National Championship without one. Since then, they have been able to recruit some of the best players in the country.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, lost in the second round of the '02 tourney and has only played ONE postseason game in the past three years.

How is it that Maryland, since winning a National Championship has been riding alongside a school that, historically speaking, has been pretty unspectacular? And not only are they underachieving on the court, they're screwing up off it too. For several straight years, they've had the worst Academic Progress Rating in the ACC. The lowlight of this run was the class of 2006, which featured six players, none of which graduated, and played a combined zero games in the NBA. Also included in this run is the borderline embarrassing antics of the students, lowlighted by their "F*** you JJ" on national television a few years ago.

So the million dollar question is: how could a program that got so high be so average?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lacrosse players and their sticks

I've grown up right in the middle of the lacrosse mecca of the world, and I've always followed it with curiosity. It's sort of interesting to watch. Right now, Duke and Hopkins are about to face off in the national semifinal, and I'm kind of looking forward to it. But at the end of the day, let's face it, it's the same as any other goal sport. Soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse are all pretty similar and are interesting if done well.

But that's not what I'm talking about today. I want to talk about lacrosse players. There's only one thing that lacrosse players love more than themselves: their sticks.

If you tuned in early to this wonderful contest, you saw kids prowling the area around the stadium carrying their sticks. The logical assumption here is that they brought their sticks for the same reason people bring footballs to tailgates: it's something to do while waiting for the game to start.

Wrong.

I happened to be in the vicinity of M&T Bank Stadium last year as the semifinals of the NCAA tournament ended. Kids were pouring out of the stadium carrying their sticks. That's right, they actually carried their sticks into the stadium for the game. There are only four conceivable explanations for bringing equipment into a game that you're spectating:

1. You're going to a baseball game, and the thought of catching a searing foul ball with your bare hand doesn't appeal to you.
2. You plan on having someone famous put their signature on said equipment.
3. There is a realistic chance that you will participate in the game that's about to be held.
4. You're a tool.

These kids have totally defied these rules, as they are clearly not headed to a baseball game, there is no such thing as a famous lacrosse player, and none of these kids look old enough to be NCAA eligible. Therefore, they are all tools.

Don't believe me?

Ask any lacrosse player why you should stop playing a good sport like baseball, basketball, or football and pick up lacrosse. Their answer probably won't make any sense. Kind of like this video. But instead of letting that person fill your head with meaningless white upperclass meathead drivel, pay attention to they way they talk. They sound like conspiracy theorists, lashing out at you every time you question them.

Back to their reasoning. They tell you it's the greatest sport on two feet. What? This means aside from polo and crab soccer, it's the greatest game ever. This is clearly not true. Anyway, I guess they were going off the theme of claiming your sport as the greatest game on ______ (i.e. the greatest game on ice = ice hockey, the greatest game on dirt = baseball). However, the greatest game on two feet kind of confusing, so I propose a couple of alternatives:
Greatest game with a bunch of cocky white guys.
Greatest game on grass with sticks with nets on the end.
Greatest game in Suburbia.

I could go on and on about these people, but I'll leave the rest to you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let Eastern Motors...

I stumbled upon this Eastern Motors commercial today on the tube. I forgot how bad the athletes that lip sync to the song are. I know they're not told to actually care about accuracy or believability, but Carmelo Anthony...really?? Are you that bad?

Kevin Jones.
OK, so I don't know you, but you did a completely average job. Work on those facial expressions, and also not looking like a Harvard MBA with a basketball jersey.
B-

Brendan Haywood.
He infected me with his awkwardness.
D

Clinton Portis.
Simply amazing. Not only do you get an academy award nomination but you were definitely the most animated. Maybe a daytime soap opera is in your future?
A-

Laveranues Coles.
He copied Portis' moves...
C+

LaVar Arrington.
I love how he really gets into the whole thing (i.e. furrowed brow, glare, thumbs up, etc.). He also knows how to work the beat. Great all around. I'm sure after he retires he'll replace the Rock as the best football player turned actor, who is also huge.
A

Carmelo Anthony.
Coming off a rousing portrayal of a tortured soul who only got a bronze medal in the World Championships in his acting debut Stop Snitching, it seems Carmelo has lost his stride.
F+

Edit: If you liked the Stop Snitching clip, then you'll probably like the Keep Talkin' response from the Baltimore Police Department. There's a reason The Wire and Homocide were filmed in Baltimore.

Monday, May 19, 2008

OBAMA, Pt. II

Some say Obama is not qualified for the top job in the world. They say he has too little experience, too much eloquence, not enough knowledge about foreign policy affairs. YADA, yada, yada. This attack comes from both parties, but more so from the Republicans now since HRC is all but kapoot. I would disagree and I did a little sleuthing so I can prove my point:

In the past 100 years, going all the way back to McKinley, and excluding the Roosevelts (#3 and #5), the most popular president in the Wall Street Journal 2005 poll rankings was Ronald Reagan, a Republican. Regardless of what I think about how he did as president, most people would say that two terms as California governor and an acting career do not qualify you to be president. Yet, in the public eyes he is the sixth best president ever.

Now arguably, the worst presidential candidates in the past 100 years were Jimmy Carter and Warren G. Harding. Harding served as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and senator for Ohio. Carter was a two state senator and also governor of Georgia. But these guys were awful and didn't live up to potential, right?

Now, I'm not saying that experience isn't necessary, however. For example, George Bush only served a governship of Texas before becoming president, and so far he has arguably done the worst job of any president in history.

I think it's fair to say that what brings about success in the presidency is the ability to bring about change and to be bipartisan. Take a look at the top 5 presidents of all time and those common themes emerge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stealing Mom's Car

I don't think I ever took my car for a joyride or anything else prolific like that when I was 12, but in the past two weeks, I've seen three kids in the news doing exactly that.

The one that started it:


13 year olds buy hookers and xbox with dad's credit card



Hopefully somebody getting hurt will put a stop to this horrific trend

Thursday, May 8, 2008

4 Reasons the NBA is Back

1. The Spurs are aging and the Lakers are coming back. If you take a look at the Nielson ratings for the NBA for the past 30 years, you'll notice two things. One, the Spurs being in the Finals does for ratings what Dane Cook does for the box office. Two, the Lakers (and also the Bulls back in the 90s) are like ratings crack. The Lakers even pull 2-3x the amount of fans as the Spurs.

2. One word: Ballers. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Boston's Three Amigos. The NBA thrives on rivalries and ballers: Magic-Bird, Bulls-Knicks, Jordan-everybody else. The talent this year has been nothing short of what you should expect.

3. New Orleans Hornets. The team is fast, young, and talented. Basically, they make the Spurs look like an old man talking about the good ol' days when they actually won trophies.

4. Jerseys. OK, don't fault me for this one. But the NBA is sporting some pretty fly apparel. I'm a big fan of the new New Orleans jerseys, Cleveland, and the Hawks. Although, you have to wonder what is going through the Clippers', Spurs', and Blazers' minds when you look at the travesties that they call their logos.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Owned with ball

So last night while procrastinating, I stumbled on something wonderful...people getting owned by those huge exercise balls. I currently have one in my room...hmm....

the all-time classic:








and my personal favorite

Most Awesome: Ball Ownage - Watch more free videos

nice.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

There are a lot of cheaters on YouTube

Well, now that I'm also in exam week, I'll contribute to this discussion about succeeding on an exam. While studying is a great strategy, apparently some people prefer other methods.
This post was inspired by the following video:


Very clever. And as we all know, YouTube has a knack for putting "related" videos on the side. Sometimes they're good, sometimes not. While that guy is just a clever bloke in a TV commercial, there are real life people who not only like to cheat, but they also like to help others cheat.
For the record, I HATE cheaters. In any environment it sucks, but it sucks even more in classes where your raw score doesn't really matter because you're graded on a curve. This post has more to do with my fascination with the "Anything goes on YouTube" theory than anything else.

Anyway, here goes:

This isn't what I expected. This guy recommends peeling the label off a Coke bottle, scanning it, Photoshopping it so that your notes are on the label, and then printing out a new label and putting it on. Clever. Only problem is, in the time it would take you to do this, you probably could just sit down and actually LEARN the material.


This guy suggests making a text file with notes and importing to an iPod. I guess this is a good idea if the proctor falls asleep, in which case you should save yourself the trouble and just pull out the textbook. Otherwise, you staring at your iPod might raise some eyebrows. (I don't know where you would be allowed to listen to an iPod during an exam anyway. Oh well.)


This video is impressive in its length and idiocy. The beginning schpeel makes you wanna punch the kid in the face. He claims Abe Lincoln, JFK, George Washington, and George W Bush all cheated, a claim that succeeds only in being vague. He then goes onto another speech about how cheating is bad and he won't take responsibility if you get caught. Whatever.
He opens with three "principles":
1. Become friends with the professor. This is just a good idea in general, but I guess theoretically it does give you a leg up, since I can totally see a professor thinking "You know, I really think Jimmy's up to something since he keeps staring at his iPod and a Coke bottle over there, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he's a cool guy."
2. Become friends with the class. He says if you don't know how to do a homework, make stuff up, email to some people, and be like "This is what I got, what did you get?" If someone did that to me, I'd email them back and be like, "You got everything wrong, do you need help?" and not "O RLY? Here's my answers. Don't copy them plz! ROFL" But if the people in your class are like this kid, I guess this might work.
3. Stay humble - don't brag. I feel like if you're enough of a jerk to cheat, then you'll be enough of a jerk to brag about it.
He then moves into five specific ways you can cheat, all somewhat idiotic in their simplicity.

Then there's this guy:

Maybe if you didn't call yourself a "vlogger" I would take you seriously. Oh wait, even then I wouldn't take you seriously, because your middle school trick is stupid.

So in addition to reinforcing my multitude of theories about YouTube (which sounds like a good topic for a later post), it reinforced another belief of mine: idiots will do ANYTHING to get ahead.

So if you like to be a jerk and rip off your classmates, there are plenty more videos about cheating on YouTube which you may watch to your unethical little heart's content.
Otherwise, you should turn to my favorite strategy: KEEP STUDYING.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to Ace that Final You're Cramming For....

If you're like me, you wish every finals week that you had started studying earlier. After you take your final, you go over some of the problems you could have gotten right if you just had time to read that extra chapter or do that extra problem. Sometimes I get the feeling some of the questions on the final are common knowledge to people here at Duke; everyone excluding me of course.

Questions like: What syndrome in primates causes hyperorality, motivational agnosia, and changes in sexual and feeding behavior? A lesion to which brain region causes hemispatial neglect? If you're like me, you answered "Dick Vitale Syndrome" for the first one because you thought hyperorality meant you talked too much (it doesn't, and hopefully you're not like me).

This doesn't solve your problem, though. You need a way to cram 20 chapters of that 1347-page textbook into your head in just 24 hours. Why? Well, it doesn't matter how you got there. It was probably your fault, but you don't care about that, you're here to know: How? How do I memorize this stuff? How do I fit those 20 chapters in my sleep-deprived, McDonald's-eating brain.

Good question, here's how. The bad news is there is no easy way, but the good news is there's a better way then what you're probably doing. If you're a perfectionist, you're neatly highlighting and taking color-coded notes. If you don't care, you're just jotting down as much crap and memorizing it rote as possible. If you're smart, you could do it a different way.

First, you need to ask yourself some questions. What kind of final is it? Is it short answer for most of the questions? Do you have to know specifics? Is it an all multiple-choice test? Are you going to be writing essays? If you are, then you're fucked. Sorry. But if you have multiple choice and short answer, you're good to go. If the test is spread out through the whole book with no emphasis on earlier or later chapters, well that sucks. But we can work with that.

Second, you need to build a visual map. This works best for the sciences but if you're intelligent you can probably tweak it for something like History or Public Policy. I'll take cognitive neuroscience, the final I had today, as an example.

Neuroscience is about two things. It's about memorizing terms like extinction, abstraction, priming, or long-term potentiation. However, it's equally about memorizing specific areas of the brain, how they get their information and what they do with it. This can get very intimidating.

Now, we need to somehow take these areas of the brain (occipital, lateral geniculate, blah blah blah), combine them with pathways (ventral stream, dorsal stream, etc. etc.) and then finally integrate what it is that they do here (let you see things, let you smell things, blah blah blah). We need a visual map! We need to take this information, analogize it to something we see everyday, or perhaps know a lot about, and then label it with our areas of the brain, its functions, and pathways.

For example, if we wanted to know how the visual system worked in the brain, we could analogize it to an object or a picture of something. Let's take a vacuum; weird, I know. The retina would be the bristles, and the tube could be the optic tract. The lateral geniculate nucleus would be the HEPA filter, and then finally the posterior occipital lobes would be the vacuum bag. I just took the test, so bear with me.

I did that example in about 2 minutes, and it's very poor, but the point of this visual map system is to convert all your knowledge about the subject into a system of easily remembered objects. If you can remember one part of the chain (the bristles, in this example) it will help you remember the whole, and then you can work from there. So now everytime you think visual pathway, you'll think vacuum, and then get confused as hell. No, but you will be able to transfer something that you don't know, into something you know intimately and that is easily remembered.

Some of the finals that I did the best on, but only managed to cram for a day or two before, were the ones that I could remember pictures objects and then take those analogies with me. I didn't have to know orbital energies, chemical formulas, or resonance structures. I had these things already embedded in me, because I had memorized whole pictures from the textbook, or had ready analogies that I could visualize.

They say that the people who can memorize the most use strategies like this. One likened memorizing which card was missing from a 51 card deck, when only shown the cards for a short period of time, to a room with 52 objects in it. Each object represented a single card, and had a sticky note on it. He would mentally remove the sticky notes of each card when he saw them, which left one object at the end still left. This was his card.

So why do people who are good at memorizing just remember the cards in the deck like they are? Why not just remember that there were 3 kings, 2 queens, and a seven played, rather than taking sticky notes off of imaginary objects? Well, it's because our spatial memories are much more advanced and organized then other memories. On any given day, you're visualizing a whole lot more data then you are taking in through any other sense. You've never heard about people who have had perfect auditory memories, have you? People with so called photographic memories are the ones that can memorize sheets upon sheets of useless data to their advantage.

So, I hope you might have gleaned a thing or two from this to help you study for your final, and if so inclined you should leave a comment telling me what you think about all this.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

You Wanna Have a Debate...OK

Coming off a 9% win in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton had this to say: "I hope we will be able to have a good old-fashioned Lincoln-Douglas debate right here in Indiana, so that you can see for yourself to make the decision about who our next President should be." Basically, Clinton wants a 90-minute debate without a moderator, which she likens to the Lincoln-Douglas debates back in 1858.

I read that thinking that she really had no idea what debates were like then. So I researched it. On Wikipedia: "Each debate had this format: one candidate spoke for an hour, then the other candidate spoke for an hour and a half, and then the first candidate was allowed a half hour "rejoinder." The candidates alternated speaking first."

As I remember being told in history class, the candidates would remember pages and paragraphs of rhetoric and recite them. Key word being: recite. As in from memory. Imagine going to a debate nowadays and hearing one of the candidates talk for an hour straight. I doubt any of the candidates could do that today, nor would we want them to. I suppose we're all too used to sound bites nowadays.

After all that, does Clinton even know that Lincoln is from Illinois, not Indiana?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...of Twitter

So I recently stumbled upon Twitter, this social networking site, where you can let friends know what you're doing all the time. I'd liken it to Facebook status on crack. Anyway, I found some interesting articles about people who have used Twitter for

The Good

The Bad

and...

The Ugly

Interesting to say the least.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finals Time

So this week we have our finals for Duke but, I can't stop playing Trick Shot Basketball and listening to Chris Cagle and Toto (a weird combo for sure). So as you know I love altversions of songs:



And a sweet dude on piano covering it also:


But more importantly, this was our LDOC lineup:
Frontiers....


Absent Star....some rock band that was marginal.

The Roots...

Check out their sweet sousaphone player, Tuba Gooding Jr. Heh.

And of course, Third Eye Blind..."Graduate" was one of my favorite songs:


Happy Thursday guys.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Happened in Pennsylvania?

Obviously by now you know I'm a big Obama fan, but I'd just like to say that all this hoopla over Clinton's Pennsylvania win is a tad overrated.

Yes, she won by double digits, but just barely at 10%, stating that "I won that double-digit victory that everybody on TV said I had to win." So, I guess that statement is correct, but she also ONLY picked up 14 delegates...and she's still behind in the delegate count by at least 130. Nice.

I also heard some figure that Hillary Clinton's campaign is in debt up to $20 million dollars. That's a lot of money around these parts...And while in terms of money, the two were nearly tied two months ago, Obama has a $45 million dollar lead at this point. Not to mention that I have yet to see a state count or popular vote count that has Hillary in the lead at this point.

All this and Clinton has said: "The tide is turning." Really? Didn't Obama hand that state on a silver platter to you with his "misspoken" bitter comments?? And what tide? I didn't know anybody was a closet Clinton supporter that was just waiting for that breadbasket 10% victory.

Now, I don't wanna be a pessimist, but Clinton would have to win with at least 60% of the vote in ALL of the remaining primary states to clinch the nomination. Likely? I wouldn't really know, I wasn't allowed to vote in a primary, so anything could happen here...

Another classroom doodle




thanks for putting so much white space at the bottom of the powerpoint













anyone know how to make this not look like crap?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday!!!!

OK, I love random facts, and this one is sweet. Did you know Akon has three wives? Yeah, neither did I. Yet, he doesn't drink or smoke.

Morals. He has them.

On another note, I love versions of rap songs, that aren't the real thing.
Like this guy, David Sides, who's sweet as shit by the way:


And the Duke Pitchforks:



The dude who does Lil Wayne does a pretty good job...

The real version isn't bad either, but I only watch til 1:20. For my money, you can't get much better than R.Kelly:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lacking Common Sense #1

Just the other day I went to the TED home page (for those of you who don't know what TED is, it's basically this conference where they have speakers talk about their amazing ideas and thoughts). I clicked on Al Gore's new slide show on global warming. I sat through the whole 30 minutes. Basically, I thought to myself, "So, what's new?". The earth is warming, theoretically; now let's see how the other 6 billion or so people on the planet react to this. Scrolling through the comments, it's like a bad Youtube comments section, except with better grammar.

The comments were of two varieties: 1) Al Gore, you suck. Don't bring your propaganda in here. Global warming is a hoax! And now Al Gore is in bed with the environmental companies. The data is skewed....etc, etc, etc.
2)I can't believe people are still blind to see there is a huge climate crisis on our hands. Look around you people! I'm gonna buy solar cells, a hybrid, eat soy, and not fart for the rest of my life....etc, etc, etc.
After two of these comments you get to the people who take crap personally, and start arguing emotionally. Which of course never works.

What's the point?

First, the issue, while it is being politicized, has also entered the court of public opinion. Not only has it become a social fad (green cars, green companies, green this green that), but now everyone who has read an article about global warming, or has seen Al Gore's slide shows suddenly has some unbreakable belief to one extreme or the other. Everyone argues with emotion either way. Documentaries are aimed to do just that: persuade people to one POV or another. What we need is facts and action. What we don't need are unshakable black and white beliefs! The world is grey.

The issue isn't about Al Gore, George Bush, gas companies or whatever, though. The issue is: is the world getting warmer? is it getting warmer at an appreciable rate? is this unnatural? is it dangerous? should we do something about it?

Second, those questions have little to do with what your opinion about Al Gore or any other gas company is. The gas companies will keep doing what they're doing no matter what you think of them. They are entrenched. And Al Gore will keep proselytizing about GW, whether you think he exaggerates or not. Al Gore could talk shenanigans out of his mouth for all I know, but I think he has one thing right: change comes from the people when they believe that something is amiss and government must respond to this.

The point is if we don't do something about the climate now, we'll pay for it now and later. If WE DO do something now, then we'll pay a LITTLE now and reap more benefits later. I realize that stats can show anything you want them to, but Al Gore has a point. That being, we shouldn't stand around and assume someone else is doing something to reduce global warming.

Whether you're a democrat, republican or whatever. Whether you think the oil companies are at fault. Whether you think this issue should be politicized or made into a social fad. We need to address it now, so we aren't addressing the (perhaps, irreversible) problems it will cause 50 years down the road.

In class doodle

Trust me, there's more where this came from:







Even though you probably don't care, I'll offer a backstory for those that have them.
This was inspired by Mr. Benjamin Paz. He was explaining how when you make a business plan, you select the option that gives you the highest probability for success, even though it may not necessarily be the best plan by the time everything plays out. He compared it to the reasoning for going to Wake Forest. "You could have gone to Beach University USA, but you came here instead. While you can go to another school and be successful in your career, you chose to go here because you think it gives you the best chance of success."
Hence, my artistic rendering of Mr. Paz's lecture: the guy from Beach U. chillin, and the Wake guy holding a briefcase full of dollars. (And if by now you're thinking we're a bunch of pompous jerks, you might be right)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Obama Owns



No explanation needed. It's over...

succeeding in college

Thinking about stuff that would be interesting to read about, I think about the common thread in almost all the blogs and sites I read: I read them in hopes they will make me more successful. Here, I'm hoping to do just that.

Step 1: Clean your room.
While it isn't necessary to have your home as tidy as the Vanderbilt mansion, there's no excuse for it to be a disaster, either. My mom, every time she sees my room, says "messiness sucks energy out of the room." Even though it sounds ridiculous, it's true. In a messy room, even if all the lights are on, it seems kind of dark and lifeless all the time.
Another reason to cleaning up the room is pretty self-evident: you will make your life easier if you know where to find things and don't have to sort through piles of crap to find it. Finally, it just makes a better impression on visitors when you don't need a bulldozer to make a place for them to sit.

In any case, getting the room clean is way easier than you think. If your room is really messy (like mine was a few days ago), pick a milestone that you're headed toward (mine was a Productions exam). Make a commitment to spend a pretty solid block of time on your room after that. It might sound like something you don't want to do after a big test or paper, but you'd be surprised how relaxing cleaning can be. Turn on some good music while you clean, or invite a friend over.
The main thing you need to do when starting out is make clearly defined piles. For most college students, 90% of the crap lying around will fall into two categories: clothing and books/papers.

Once you have everything separated, dive into it. Fold up all the clothes, throw stuff in the hamper, and don't stop until you've found a home for every piece of clothing. It's tempting to leave stuff out, but don't unless you know you're going to wear it within 24 hours (e.g. a polo shirt you're wearing to a party later that night).
Then, tackle the papers. Separate them into personal stuff (magazines, bills, etc), school papers, and junk. You'll be surprised by how much stuff you can get rid of in a short time just by recycling the papers you don't need. Then, depending on how organized you want to be, separate into sub-piles. Right now on my coffee table I have one pile for each class, RA stuff, general school papers, and mail. I'll discuss what to do with some of that stuff at a later date.
Finally, get rid of dust and dirt with a vacuum and/or broom.

Once you've got the room sufficiently organized, all you have to do is maintain it. A good rule is that you don't go to bed unless your room is satisfactorily clean. While that might sound like a pain, once again, you'll find that it isn't. It usually takes no more than 5 minutes and helps you unwind for the night. If you do this almost every night, the clutter that plagued you never has the chance to build up.

Now that my room is clean, it feels a lot bigger, and is just nicer to be in. I feel like I can actually enjoy it instead of worrying about navigating the obstacle course between the door and my bed.

Feel free to leave comments about how to keep it clean in between classes.

Right now, it's 3 a.m. and I've been studying for taxes for well over 12 hours, so if any of this doesn't make sense, blame the IRS.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Love Duke Parking

So if you guys know me, then you've heard about my debacle with Duke Parking, but just in case you missed it here's a summary.

I just got a new car, and I bought a Temp Blue Zone permit for it. The Temp permits don't swipe into the lots, so I figured I would just park next to the lots and visit parking services on another day to ask them how the hell I was supposed to park in the Blue Zone. However, that night I come back to my car and realize I got a parking citation for parking in a fire lane. I look around and see no red line or fire lane in my parking space. The next day I figured I could go to parking services to appeal the violation. To my dismay, I found a second citation on the windshield, this time for an improper permit. How I can get an improper permit (which would mean its a parking space) and a fire lane violation is beyond me...

I paid the improper permit and appealed the fire lane violation. I rationalized, wrongly in this case, that a simple sketch showing that my car was parked in a space and not a fire lane would be sufficient. I was wrong. I got an email a few days later saying my fine was upheld and their decision was final. I would have to pay $200 for parking in a non-existent fire lane parking space. I decided to respond creatively, since there was no way in hell I was going to pay the $200. I wrote parking services a letter with pictures explaining my situation and finishing with this:

After receiving an email upholding the fire lane parking violation I decided that I would refuse to pay this fine until they make the parking spaces I parked in look like a fire lane. There is NO red line where I parked. Additionally, in the attached photos you can see clearly that there is a white parallel parking divider. You can also see the illegally parked car behind me that wasn’t ticketed. I understand that your Appeal decisions are final. Therefore I find it only fair that my money be put to good use to make it clearer to other vehicles that the parallel parking spaces they think they see is a well-disguised fire lane.

Throughout the letter I made sure to let them know that I did indeed know that other illegally parked vehicles, and matters of convenience were no excuse for parking in illegal areas.

I'll keep you guys updated on what actually happens. As of now I'm waiting for a call back from the Adjudications manager at Parking Services.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Things I Can't Stand #3: Misspellings on public signs

(If you don't know what's wrong with this picture, go here.)

Maybe I am becoming an intellectual snob, but this kills me. I understand if your spelling isn't that good, it's fine. But if you know something will be viewed frequently by the public, run it by someone!!!

What prompted this post was a trip to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office (which by the way, only takes cash). While in there, I saw a sign instructing people how to fill out a certain form. It read: "Please fill out only the highlighted area's." I just rolled my eyes at the common error, until I started browsing around the place. I saw a bulletin board with "Sheriff's Auctions" It had five or six flyers with repossessed cars on them. Each one carried the heading "Auction of Personel Property"

Anyone else seen some of these offensive signs?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Barack or No Barack, Pt. 1

OK, so I'm voting for Barack come November. I couldn't vote in the primaries in Maryland because I am unaffiliated, but if I could, I would have voted for Barack, also, like so many other people. Even a few of my friends who are republican are loathe to vote for McCain and are going to vote for Obama.

So, why?


Why should you vote for Obama? I recently wrote another piece where I talked about how Obama was special for his ability to see both sides of an issue. Only the presidents who had this quality could bring about tangible change.

But there's another quality about Obama that I think is tops them all, and I just put my finger on it today. It's that he doesn't say anything wrong. Some politicians really just say whatever comes to their minds. Some stumble. But I have yet to find a sound bite of Obama just totally bombing on a question.

Not only is he really eloquent in his responses; we already know this obviously. But he attacks everything with a straightforward and rational argument which is doubly better because Bush couldn't argue with the broad side of a barn.

Everytime Obama speaks, it's like he's a magnet for new voters. Faced with a new issue, his response is usually the right one:
On Clinton staying in the campaign even though a number of Democratic heavyweights have asked her to stop...
"She is a fierce and formidable competitor, and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president. I think that she should be able to compete, and her supporters should be able to support her for as long as they are willing or able."

Honestly, what better response could he have given? In just one short quote he was able to compliment Hillary, make her look like a saint, yet toss aside any doubt that she is going to win this race. That is eloquence.

Another quote I like is when he addressed his middle and last names: Hussein and Obama, and how they "sounded" like a terrorist. He said:
"When I ran for the U.S. Senate the assumption was that anyone's name that was close to "Osama" doesn't stand a chance. So if somebody thought that tacking on "Hussein" in there would be a killer, then I think they underestimate the American people and the seriousness of the problems we face."

He could have attacked Fox News or Republicans for spreading lies about his name or anything else. But somehow he got past the trivial and managed to twist it back on the people who said these allegations.

Brilliant.

Unfortunately to be continued...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Current Events

-Nude pictures of Nicolas Sarkozy's wife (president of France) are being auctioned off by Christie's. I know it's France, but imagine if this were happening in the US, and an auction house was auctioning Hillary Clinton nude photos. UGH. Then I read more of the article and realized she was supermodel, which begs the questions why this is an issue in the first place.

-No news is good news for the Democratic candidates. CNN is publishing their family ties and have found some strange relations. Personally, I think after ninth cousins, it gets a bit ridiculous. Even I'm ninth cousins with Obama and Clinton.

-Hillary Clinton, in what seems like a chip off of George Bush, said she misspoke about her coming into Bosnia "under sniper fire." Her direct quote was: "I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement." O RLY? She probably just misremembered, or better yet people just misunderstand her.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to the Tourney

Look, there's only a few things I can't stand, and one of them is giving me stupid reasons why you picked the teams in the first round that you did. I'm not saying that you shouldn't pick the upset if you want to because they are bound to happen. In fact, in 2001, 41% (13 teams) pulled the upset over the higher seed in the first round. This included a win by Hampton over 2 seed Iowa St., two 13 seeds winning (Kent St. and Indiana St.), and 10 more upsets. This was the most upsets in the first round in the last 8 years. Picking the upsets are more fun, but I also find that winning 100 dollars in my pool is even more fun. Here are some steps that could help you do just this:

1. "Well, three of the four 11 seeds won last year, so I'm gonna have to go with this 11 seed Central-Eastern Michigan-Lansing State University" or some variant of this has been used for years by average bracketpickers. I even heard this used by Mike Golic about ten times in a four minute period on the Mike and Mike show, today. My ears cringed.
Look, there is no correlation between certain lower seeds winning from year to year. Don't believe me? I looked it up and graphed it:

The graph looks confusing, but basically the gist is this: The previous years' upsets have no bearing on the next years' upsets. If anything, there is an opposite correlation. Basically, if there were lot of upsets last year, you better not pick any this year.

2. Want to really pick an upset? Pick Gonzaga. In the past 7 years, they have managed a total of 3 upsets in the first round. But even after that they've never gotten past the Sweet Sixteen. Looks like they lost in the first round this year also.

3. Want to really win your pool? Don't pick any upsets. Don't pick the school that you went to, your friend went to, are in now, is in your state, or most of the people in the pool picked. Pick 148 for your final tiebreaker score (the average composite score of the last 7 years). Pick 151 for the final score if you're a stat expert and don't like outliers when compiling your average (yeah, Maryland-Indiana was the worst championship game in the past 10 years). Know that correlation doesn't mean causation. That means, if you're seeing a pattern and you're playing off it, it will fail you in the end. You can make a correlation between anything...just like this:

Seems like the more profanity in music nowadays is strongly correlated to the number of US Military Deaths in Iraq! That must be what's causing it! No, not even close...

4. The only teams that can be counted on for points every year in the tournament are the teams that have consistent tournament experience, good coaching, and a complete and solid team.
Recently, this list has been dwindled down to: UNC, Duke, Florida (for some reason they came up short this year...), UConn, and UCLA. A couple more are second-tier teams that hang out in the top 25 every year, those being: Kentucky, Arizona, Memphis, Michigan State, Stanford, Texas, Georgetown, Kansas, and the Oklahoma public university system. These can be counted on to round out your sweet sixteen. Good luck picking between them.

5. Think of upsets in cost effective terms. Purely, if you were to pick that 14 over 3 upset, more than likely that 14 seed will lose in the next round. That means you're giving up about 6 points that the 3 seed would likely win for you(2 for the second round, and 4 for the third round) just to get that one point for the upset. That 3 seed has a higher probability of going further and getting more points for you and giving up those points to pick an upset are just not worth it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things I Can't Stand #2: Unnecessary Bottle Openers

Unless your bottle openers are confined to your kitchen drawer, you are walking the fine line between being a social drinker and being a drunk.

Ever seen those belts (or belt buckles) or sandals with bottle openers? It's kind of cool, but do you really need a bottle opener that urgently? Like, was some alcoholic walking to class one day with a beer in his backpack and thought "ah damn, I can't believe I left the bottle opener at home."?

If you're thinking, "What about keychains? Everyone has those." Bottle opener keychains are only acceptable if you're in college. This is only due to the fact that college drinking does not usually occur within sight of a kitchen drawer. If you think they're acceptable at all ages, think about this: Remember the scene in Office Space where Peter offers his neighbor Lawrence a bottle opener and he pulls out his own? If not, skip to 0:50:

He does this for a reason. It's to emphasize his role in this movie as a huge redneck. It matches perfectly with his fu manchu and mullet. Do you really want to be like that guy?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Murphy's Law

Car trouble the day before you have to get back to school for spring break? Yes, please. Not only is it 1 am, the day of the first week back from spring break, but I'm also stuck in a shopping center parking lot waiting for a AAA guy to come rescue my car. Great!

Murphy's Law always seems to creep up in everyone's life at the wrong time. However, Murphy's Law can't explain everything. We need to add a corollary. It's called the embarrassing story corollary to Muphy's Law. Not only will something go wrong when you allow it too, but you'll also get some embarrassing story out of it. Case in point: Your new (read: used) car will break down on the way back down to college at 1am leaving you no option but to call AAA to go the extra 30 miles left. Unfortunately, you don't know where you are either. You have to tell the AAA lady where you are of course so the tow truck can get you. Your only landmarks? Sexy Nails, 96 Buffet, and Kim's Wig Shop. Nice. Let's see her Mapquest that.


Anybody have any great stories? Leave comments.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is Maryland going to the Big Dance?

With a record of 18-14 overall, 8-8 in the ACC, Maryland looks to be headed to the NIT for the 3rd time in 4 years. The Terps have dropped the ball big time with 3 straight losses and 6 losses in their past 8 games. Key wins against UNC and FSU recently have been mired by losses to Ohio (Sagarin ranking 89), American (156), and BC (116) twice. They have consistently proven that they can't win against the teams above them in the ACC, with no wins coming against Duke, Clemson, VTech, or Miami.
However, this article puts Maryland's odds of making the tournament at 80%. That seems a tad high for a team with an RPI around the low 70s, but according to this article the ACC is deserving of getting more than four bids. I think the commissioner of the ACC is just a little out of touch when he's saying that the ACC is the highest team in the nation in terms of RPI. The ACC, except for Duke and Carolina, has been one big rollercoaster (Remember when Maryland was last in the conference?). Fact is, the ACC is no stranger to getting four bids, and I think the selection committee will most likely follow this path. Unfortunately, unless the committee highly regards defense, Vtech will likely be left out of the tourney.

Conclusion: Maryland is going to lose in the third round of the NIT.

On another note, Bob Knight made his debut today on ESPN. I'm not gonna lie, he actually was quite good. You know the guy knows what he's talking about and you don't want to rip your ears out when listening to his voice like you do when you hear Jay Bilas. ESPN must have put him through etiquette class or something (meds?) because he didn't come off as a raving lunatic.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why is this Eliot Spitzer thing such a big deal?

So I awoke this morning to find the Thursday edition of the New York Times on the island in the kitchen with the page wide headline "Spitzer Resigns." I'm not gonna lie, but it isn't a tad unnecessary? Shouldn't politicians private lives not receive this much attention?
I'm pretty sure that even the Iraq war has never gotten that big a headline in the NYT.
Point being, is that President Bush is staying unusually quiet for the past few months and who could blame him? Meanwhile the country is in the middle of moral, ethical, political, economical, and military dilemmas, yet Bush is getting less press than Clinton's cackle. The news media doesn't make any sense to me, but I guess Bush should savor this while he can...

What do you think? Comments?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wait....What?

How did they let this one through...
Bob Knight is becoming an analyst at ESPN after leaving his job at Texas Tech. Fortunately, this ESPN page gives you the opportunity to ask him questions personally. I don't reckon that questions like "What's wrong with you?" would ever get by the ESPN censors. Personally, I think Bob Knight is a fool.
On the other hand, if Knight can bring what Steve Lavin brings to the analyst chair we might be in for a special treat. I honestly think that the commentating of Steve Lavin is some of the best out there thanks in part to Lavin's intimate knowledge of the game. It's relieving to have color commentary that's not riddled with crap like that of Dickie V's.

On a related note, Dick Vitale is known to body surf in the Cameron Crazies section before big games at Cameron Indoor. The guy is a straight up goofball. Where does ESPN get these guys? Actually, I dare ESPN to pair Dick Vitale with Bob Knight and see what happens. Comments?

Random clip of the day:
Nice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

C-word



Oh man. To have a curveball like that is any pitcher's dream.
As for Sean Casey, he looks like he was more fooled by the pitch choice than by how good the curve was. He must have been thinking fastball or changeup, and then assumed it was coming for his face. One set of buckled knees later, and Kershaw looks like a Cy Young quality pitcher. There's plenty of pitchers out there with this quality curve; Buerhle being the only guy I can think of off the top of my head.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Delay

So I'm sitting on the floor in RDU about a mile from my regular gate, mooching on their wireless. This got me to thinking though. Don't you think it'd be a good idea to give people whose flights are delayed beepers so they can wander off, and then when their flight is boarding they can buzz them back. This would allow people to spend their 3 hours doing something productive. They could also build a lounge. That would help.

Some observations:
1.RDU has a total of 3 outlets in their whole airport. Literally. I would know, I've searched. Apparently the drought in the South extends to electricity also.
2. The same guy has passed by my spot about 5 times talking on his cell phone. Each time he passes by he seems in one of three different moods: extremely happy, extremely mad, or extremely determined. Oh and he has an ugly camo backpack too. Is that necessary....
3. Some guy just blew his nose in the terminal by blocking one nostril with a finger and blowing. Without a tissue. In public. Love it. He gave me one of those "Oh, you saw that?" looks. Heh.

Thought of the day: I can't wait til Segways become socially acceptable. Once they do I wouldn't seem like a weirdo when I start running from place to place.

Second afterthought of the day: I think people assume that an Obama/Clinton ticket or vice versa would be unstoppable. I think in this case, and I can't put my finger on it just yet, the sum would be less than the parts. It's like one of those American Idol finalist shows when they all try to sing together, but it winds up sounding like shit because they're all solo artists anyway.

What Your College Doesn't Tell You on that Tour Group

OK, since I go to a college that spends more money on re-sodding their main quad than on more pertinent things I thought I would share a few thoughts:
-That main quad that looks "really beautiful" come spring break time when most seniors are taking college tours will look like shit for 4/5ths of the school year. This is because colleges don't invest in what is called drainage in most parts of the world. This ruins the grass every year, and Duke loves to spend upwards of thousands of dollars just to reseed and resod the whole campus.

-That wireless that's all over campus? It doesn't work half the time when you're on the third floor of your dorm. Oh, and forget the ethernet. But it gets even better. I had somebody explain the campus wireless to me in this way: "You know those Christmas lights that when one light goes out they all go out? Yea, that's how the wireless network works in a storm." Awesome, Duke!

-If somebody is paying $42000 a year to go to Duke, you would think they would give us something for free. Alas, I can count on a hand all the free things that Duke has given exclusively to me:
-several T-shirts
-a Devil rubber duckie
-$30 cable...cool

-I don't know whether it's a Southern thing or not, but I have yet to find a viable and healthy option that I can eat at on a daily basis. My coronary arteries are filled with sweet and sour pork and pan-fried dumplings at the moment. Life expectancy before going to Duke: 77. After: 32.

Go to Hell, Carolina, Go to Hell
Al

Thursday, March 6, 2008

random academic musing

Well, because I go to a university where academics is the topic of the minute 1440 minutes a day, I think about this stuff in a real life context a lot. I'm an accounting major, but I think about economics a lot.

First, I find the connection (or lack thereof) between the skill and intensity in your job interesting.
I look back on my summer job, working at the snack bar at a golf course. Our favorite days to work were banquet days, not only because we got paid more, but, paradoxically, because we also did less work. We got an 18% tip of everything they ate, which usually worked out to $1 for each worker per guest that attended. On those days, I could work eight hours and make upward of $120. But on some regular Saturdays, I would work my butt off and I would be lucky to get $100 in wages and tips. Why do I get more pay for less work? The only answer I can come up with is that when people come to the golf course for a tournament, they're willing to pay a certain price for a certain dining experience, and they don't really care how much effort it takes on my part. But in terms of difficulty of work, it makes no sense at all. In fact, from a supply/demand perspective, it doesn't make sense either, because people need me just as badly (maybe moreso) on a regular day of golf.
And also think about the world's best ER surgeon vs. the world's best baseball player. I don't really know, but I'm guessing that ER surgeon makes around a million or two a year, if that, while ARod makes 27 million to hit a leather ball with a wooden stick. Which does the world need more of? That's an easy question. If you said ARod, there's something fundamentally wrong with the way you look at the world. So why does he get paid 20 times more? It's an extremely complicated question. One reason could be that people across the country will turn on their television to see him play, while thousands will pay $40 or more to see him in person. While it may not seem justified, it's how the market economy works.

It's always interesting to look at the push and pull of supply and demand, from both a consumer and labor perspective. While it sucks that Nike workers in Asia only make a couple dollars a day, there's a reason they work there. Because their only other alternatives are to work somewhere else for less money or not work at all. In fact, the average pay at a Nike factory close to Ho Chi Minh is $54 a month, almost three times the minimum wage for a state-owned enterprise. In the U.S., that's like making $20 an hour. If you had no education and no specialized skills, and someone offered you $20 an hour (about $40,000 a year if you work full time) to produce shoes, would you? Of course, because that's slightly more than what the average person with an associates degree makes. When it comes to stuff like that, it's all relative. It is confusing and makes sense at the same time.
Whenever you buy something and you need something to think about on the walk/drive home, think about why the thing you just bought costs what it did. For example, why can I go to the mall and buy a Polo shirt for $65, take it straight to Goodwill, and someone else can buy it for $5? It's an interesting thought experiment...

Movies that are Even Better a Second Time

The Hunt for Red October
Glory
Absolutely NOT Commando
Forrest Gump - just for the quotes
Apollo 13


Thoughts:
Bertrand Russell once said: The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Russell was never Kanye West.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who Wins?

So for the past year, the Democratic nominees have been debating, caucusing, primarying, and just generally taking over the headlines. I can't go to CNN without hearing another Obama speech or Hillary cackle. But what's happening to the country in the mean time?
George Bush is probably reveling in the respite he's getting from these primaries. You could truly say that no news is good news for Bush. While his approval rating is hovering in the 20s, you've heard next to nothing from his administration...
Sounds good to him....

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday Night Musings

Crewmutts...There are no words. The fact that it actually looks appealing and I'd actually consider spending 100 dollars on that stuff is amazing in its own right.

JuicyCampus...Aren't there patrols or like garbagemen on the Internet that filter through the crap out there? They really let this one go then. Overheard on campus:
Guy: OMG, you're on Juicy Campus!
Girl: Oh, God. No way, I don't even wanna look at it.
Guy: Yeahuh
Girl: Ugh, well, the only people who post on that website have poor self-esteem.

DING DING DING!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Monday Night Madness

1. xkcd - I don't get it.

2. TASERs The real action starts around the 2 minutes mark...

So AJ and I were discussing the finer points of this vid...and we were thinking:
1. The guy assumes the cop is wrong.
2. The guy is too assertive.
3. The guy almost asks for it after the cop takes out the TASER.

The whole time I was thinking of how this video showed how NOT to act during a traffic stop.
Cool

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ESPN Commercials through the Ages





Andy Roddick is unintentionally hilarious.




This is what happened to the Knicks lottery picks over the years.







Bad pick.



This has to be one of my favorites for its accurate portrayal of Mark McGwire in his prime. I guess he didn't take himself too seriously.



Back when Rich Eisen was golden.



Kids. Heh.



Something tells me steroids takes away from your acting ability also.