Bad deal

I once found on the internet an interesting application. It was a site where college students could rate their college professors. Although I have not been in college for a while, I visited the site. I was dumbfounded to find that some of the lecturers I had a long while ago are still around, and given student’s comments, still display the same flaws as a couple of decades ago.

I was lucky enough to have some teachers that had inspired me. Unfortunately, these educators were not my college professors, rather grammar to high school teachers. In fact, out of the 50 odd professors I had during my stint in college, I would say less than five came close to inspiring me. The rest seemed quite bureaucratic, and it appears the major message they were conveying was, `do like me, get an education just to get a job`, rather than showing contagious love for the subject they taught.

Paraphrasing Paul Simon, `although my lack of education hasn’t hurt me none` (Kodachrome, 1973), the fact is that I was able to pick the pieces. Somewhat discouraged by a department head who waited until the senior year to tell me I was not really suited to be one of his peers, I stayed away from graduate school and managed to build a career elsewhere. You see, I was unlucky enough to attend a class taught by that same Rutgers department head, called `The last 11,000 years`. If he thought I was not hot stuff, I reciprocate the feeling. He was an awfully boring bow-tied bloke, who displayed a thick air of arrogance that was not matched by his prowess as an educator.

The bottom line is, once I graduated from college, I had a student loan that cost me $88.31 for a few years. No huge harm was done.

But I find that college students are getting a raw deal today. For while college costs have increased by leaps and bounds, the quality of educators has not, at least judging from the comments made by current students on myspace. A lot of people now leave college with a mini-mortgage to pay, and they are likely to have been educated by a bunch of people who might be very good researchers, but very poor educators. As far as I can tell, in this day and age, tenure is still given mostly based on research production, rather than aptitude to communicate in class, in other words, to educate. This means people are paying for a Rolls Royce, and driving away in a Yugo. Students are disbursing top dollar for undergraduate education which, for all practical purposes, means zilch in the job market these days, and they will still need to get a graduate degree, and another mini-mortgage in the process. This is a sad state of affairs.

Students will find a highly competitive world out there, which will force one to outperform others in order to survive. But that is not what they really get from lecture halls. Academia is a cocoon that protects complacency.

Whether the laws of supply and demand will ever weed out incompetent educators from professorships, I do not know. If ever education does become globalized, and students are able to take online courses from low cost educational institutions located in other countries, and such become widely accepted in the USA, it remains to be seen.

I just think college students are getting an awfully bad deal.

 

Reproduced from http://legaltranslationsystems.com/blog/blog3.php

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Change in concept of beauty in Hollywood

It seems that every once in a while, Hollywood studios change the concept of young female beauty in movies. Sometimes the changes are very subtle, other times not. I think we are going through one of those periods where changes are very clear.  Whether people sit down and decide to do this, or somebody tries something new, and if successful others follow the lead, I don’t know.

No one will lose sleep over this, but it is worth noting.

About ten years ago, it seems that ugly-beauty was becoming the norm. Ok, ugly-beauty does not make sense. Let me explain. Girls like Anne Hathaway and Penelope Cruz were being portrayed as the beauties of the day. Sure, some people might say they are both beautiful, but quite frankly, they have angles which are atrocious. Maggie Gyllenhaal also has a weird face.

This was followed by aggressive-beauty. Women who were quite beautiful, whose beauty is aggressive, even scary! You know, the type of girl you say will never look at you. These were your basic Megan Fox, Scarlett Johannson, Emma Watson and the latest iteration of Lindsey Lohan.

Now it seems cute, girl-next-door is back. I rather take cute any time of the day. These would be Jessica Alba, Zoey Deschanel (who, incidentally, has been around for sometime, but only making it now), Kristen Bell and Ann Kendrick.

These are just examples and my thoughts. As beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, many people might disagree with taste, but might actually agree there is a trend.

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An erect penis on a Facebook timeline

Sorry, I don’t like to lie. Make that two.

Yes, little by little Facebook is becoming a true depository of pornographic material. Thus far, I had seen lewd pictures of bodacious women in different stages of undressing. Sometimes, a finger here or there, but nothing extremely explicit.

Well, there is a first time for everything, they say.

I could understand if the profile was there, hiding from Facebook, as some of them did back in the old days, providing links to porno sites. No, these are “bona fide” profiles, where tons of photos are being posted, which by the looks of it have been around for sometime, and Facebook actually  SUGGESTS I subscribe to them!!!

The profile in question had, as I said, two clear, recently posted pictures of erect penises on the timeline. But more. Photo albums also contained pictures of women with clear view of nipples, naked, and whatnot. Fill in the blanks for the whatnot.

Supposedly, the profile is from Pakistan, but who knows. Pakistan is supposed to be a country where this is prohibited…

Adding insult to injury, it seems that Facebook has changed its policy on reporting sexually explicit material. I suppose an erect penis is sexually explicit material in all cultures…Anyway, way back when, you could report directly on the picture, and they would take action. They really did take action.

As sex sells, I suppose they have now become more lenient, first amendmentish, as far as reporting porno pictures. They have become soft, and the pictures harder. At least in this case, I was directed to a page where I sent a message to the supposed Pakistani sex maniac, nicely asking him to take it off! Which means, it is now up to users to sort this type of thing among each other.

I am not naive. I know that a 6-year old nowadays has seen more deviant sex online than I had seen by the time I was seventeen (call me a late bloomer).  The truth is that a child can open a facebook profile, without any parental control, and see these pictures.  Plus supposedly,  with all types of digital cameras and smart photos, teenagers exchange naked pictures of each other, in phones or games. So they say.

Sure, sex is a fact of life, healthy, that is how we are made, blah-blah-blah, however, what is the point of all types of disclaimers and laws prohibiting disclosure of sexual material to children (or folks younger than 18), if it is so readily available on Facebook, which is readily available to children!

It is bad enough  young girls (and boys) are exposed to the oversexed likes of Keysha, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, which give a very unhealthy take on sex and sexuality.

I don’t really expect the Pakistani profile owner to remove that picture, which might be of his own member.  The name on the profile is a woman’s, however, by the looks, I think a man owns it.

The point is that Facebook is actually suggesting I subscribe to this crap! I am a former user of pornography, and try to stay away from this, for I find it is not healthy. It causes more trouble than it solves.

To make matters worse, it seems such profiles might tag friends or subscribers, so the smut will appear directly on your timeline. That is why I now analyze the pages of anyone sending a friend or subscription request. I DO NOT WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS.

You might say, just get out of Facebook. Well, by and large, it its a great tool to be in touch with friends, family, clients. I don’t want to close my Facebook account.

I know that Facebook’s relevance stems from the questionable fact that it has 500 million (or more) real profiles. A lot of these are not real people profiles. They are profiles of companies, fake celebrities or even fake people, like the Pakistani porno purveyor. It seems to me that it will be just a matter of months before millions of porno Facebook profiles appear, and it will be borderline impossible to get rid of them.

Thus my advice is, before accepting somebody as friend or subscribing to anybody, visit the profile, and see if it is clean. That is, unless you are a regular Larry Flynt. Then suit youself.

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On the subject of imprecise information which should be precise

As I said in a previous post, computers are supposed to be so fast, and so precise. I still remember when hard disks, at the time called Winchesters in some corners, had 20 mb storage capacity and that was something else. Many of the files I work on these days exceed that size, and speeds are awesome.

Besides the point.

The point is, since day one, it appears, the internet has been laden with sites that qualify, quantity, rank one thing or the other. I remember, in the beginning of the millennium,  visiting a silly site that calculated how much any person is worth, based on age, education and a host of other parameters. Nothing to be taken seriously, of course.

However, a few things must be taken seriously, when they affect real value of things, and money.

Since the beginning, sites sprung about which calculate the values of individual domains and sites. Exactly what parameters were used to peg values to domains, I know not. Except that a few people make a few quid selling domains, and I, and the vast of majorities that bought a few domains with the intent to sell, did not.

Again, besides the point.

When a site supposedly calculates the worth of your site, based on quantifiable information, this raises a few questions.

Once such site is the also silly uglystat.com

Why do I say that?

Well, just checking out, I provided the name of a site I know a lot about, my own. In a few seconds, the site appeared to be agglomerating data from several sources, and voila, gave the site’s value. A whopping $480.00.

I do not plan to sell the site, however, the astounding finding is that just about every parameter used in calculating the site’s value was wrong. According to  uglystat.com, that site only has 200 visits a day. Well, the blog alone has about 3000 (including robots, granted). The rest of the site, perhaps another thousand. The number of pages was also incorrect. Again, in the blog alone, I have over 4000 pages, plus a few thousand elsewhere. Then, the links! I know for sure the site has a few hundred external links (or more), yet it said a meager 15 or so.

Who I am to trust? Some site that out of the blue “calculates” information which is supposed to be private, or the information provided by my own IT provider, where, after all, the site has been lying on for a good number of years?

The thing that bothers me, is that perhaps decisions about how much money I will be paid by advertising schemes (pay per click programs) might be based not on actual activities, but rather, information provided by such silly sites.  Thus, it might affect one’s pocket, after all.

As for the privacy, if sites such as uglystat.com have access to so much information about one’s site, including how much it makes from pay per click programs, one reaches the conclusion that privacy as such is really a joke.

And why in the world it visits one of my blogs incessantly, I haven’t the slightest idea.

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Facebook etiquette

Somebody, somewhere, should write a Facebook etiquette book or site. I will try to cover some topics, in summary form.

For instance. If somebody sends a direct “Happy birthday” message to your wall, the least you can do is reply “Thank you”. It will not cost you anything, perhaps about 5 seconds. Liking it or saying “thank you for the tons of FB messages” on your wall (when you got about 30 messages) is not very nice at all. I can see using this when you got 500 messages, but very few people do.

Posting compulsively is a no-no. Yesterday a friend of mine posted some thirty messages, one after the other, about a project of his. It was an important project, however, I for one did not read a single message. I find this invasive as SPAM.

Posting gross pictures is another no-no. The other day, this animal activist posted the picture of a tumor inside a piece of beef. I am surprised I am still eating even veggies.

Tagging people to send advertisement is not nice.

Tagging people compulsively is not nice. Tagging people everyday is no good either.

Nobody is really interested on your bowel movements or farts.

Engaging in arguments, especially political, in somebody else’s walls, with other people’s friends is not nice.

Posting pictures of almost naked women or men is not nice. It might offend some people. There are plenty of porno sites for that, and the interested party can visit those in his/her own time.

Sending people multiple game requests is not nice. It might be a good idea to ask first.

Joining groups to gossip about other users is no good.

Posting certain things on people’s walls is not nice, like some types of risque pictures.

Sending Join my Cause should also be refrained from. These causes often have pictures of grossly dismembered people and animals, aborted fetuses and other types of things. Most people are in Facebook to have fun and be in contact with friends, not get grossed out.

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The Anal Sex Conspiracy

Granted, I might be outdated. I have not been a single for a long time, and do not cheat on my wife. Thus, I don’t know what is going on the sex scene outside of my marriage and in the real world.

I do watch lots of movies, not porno ones, mind you. Regular Hollywood movies. And I believe the movie moguls are again trying to mold society to their liking.

It used to be that most women displayed a total dislike to anal sex. Most of them told me so. Supposedly, it hurts a lot, so I guess, it is an acquired taste, stuff that masochists might enjoy.

Yet, when you see a sex scene in a regular Hollywood movie, between a man and a woman, eight out of ten times, it involves simulation of anal sex. And most of the time women seem to ask for it!

Has the world changed that much, or is Hollywood trying to change people’s minds, just like it does when placing tons of beautiful feminine lesbians in movies. (Sorry, but most lesbians I have ever met were not feminine, not pretty at all).

What is the purpose of this conspiracy? Who is behind it (no pun intended)? Are we supposed to change views on sex in general, are they trying to promote birth prevention without abstinence? Is this a devil ploy, saying everybody is doing and enjoying it, so that eventually everybody will do it and reap the consequences?

Whatever it is, it is no coincidence. It is not a fad, it has been going on for sometime.

Before practicing it, people should be aware of the medical consequences of the practice. Bacteria in the rectum does not mix well with bacteria in the vaginal area, in the worst case scenario leading to renal failure, in addition to all types of infections in the reproduction system. Excessive, long-term anal sex can lead to dysfunction of the sphincter muscle, hemorrhoids, etc. Anatomically, it is not supposed to be done, and can bring myriad health problems. Add that to the supposed pain, and I don’t understand what is so cool.

I reckon if you ever ask a Hollywood mogul about it, he will shrug and say, “lighten up, it is only fiction”. They are never responsible for societal woes, are they. Mr D. is obviously behind this.

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Patriotism and partisan politics are a difficult mix

A lot of folks out there say they are patriots, in spite of all evidence otherwise. A great number of politicians, if not all, also make the same claim. Yet, they violate a basic premise of patriotism, which besides loving the country, is wanting the country to do well, in spite of who is in government.

A few years ago, I heard of somebody who made a lot of money during the passage of Wilma in Florida, who was praying for another hurricane, so he would make money. Most people would say, “what a terrible, selfish dude”. Yet, this is what most partisans do.

You see, if your party is not in power, and you root for four years that the incumbent president mess up big time, so that your party can come in, and take over, you are not a patriot, at all. Sorry to break the news. You are just a selfish, power monger. This applies to Democrats, Republicans and whoever else is out there.

Maybe I am fantasizing, maybe I misread history, but it seems that there was more respect on the US political arena in bygone ages. Nowadays, people root that a major crisis take over the country, so their cronies can be back in power.

Perhaps that is why a lot of people prefer not getting involved in the political process. Folks just see the hypocrisy, plus, realize that parties seem to come before the country for partisans. For God’s sake, politicians these days treat elections as the Super-bowl, which it isn’t! Concession speeches are hogwash, generally the last time there seems to be respect between opponents.

Then there is the whole political process, which is becoming vicious and costly for the country. Pork-barrel politics is still around, and that might be the greatest reason why we accumulate huge deficits. That is the currency used to get bills approved in Congress.

Rather than collaborating towards the good of the country and fellow citizens, politicians battle considering first the party’s position on issues, then the actual sense a position makes.

Let us hope the situation changes, although, in all honesty, the higher the stakes, the worse the situation is likely to get. And the stakes are getting ever higher.

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