Hofstra University Honors College's Blog

Now that we’re almost a month into Summer Break and mostly full swing into our plans, I wanted to share an article from the Boston Globe about bringing technology along during our vacations.

The full article is here but I wanted to post a few quotes as well.

“I know it sounds bad,’’ said Wallace, of Roslindale, as she worked on her laptop at Panera in Brookline, “but seeing if I had an e-mail was more exciting than looking at the sunset.’’

She’s 22, the same age as me. I’m pretty sure if I were in her position, I’d totally be taking photos of that sunset… (Whether or not I’d be using an iPhone and then posting them to facebook is a different matter because I don’t have one yet)

 

The article goes on to describe how people are demanding wireless wherever they vacation, even if it’s camping. Did you know 5,000 of our 13,000 campgrounds now offer wireless? It boggles my mind. We have become so connected that we can’t function even on vacation unless we have our Kindles, laptops and smartphones with us.

I remember packing a backpack of things to keep entertained during a trip – either a plane or car ride. There would be coloring books or a sketch pad, kids puzzle books, a magazine as a treat, and a book or two for me to read. As I got older the bag included a gameboy and then an iPod (the kind that just plays music). But now it’s either my laptop or my iPod touch or both. (I’ll still have the books though.)

 

If the kids build a sandcastle on the beach and mom doesn’t update her Facebook status, did it happen?

I love this quote – reminds me of our generation’s insistence that nothing is official until it is on facebook. But there’s a difference between using the site to record memories – like the first sandcastle of the season, and live blogging every sandcastle of the summer. Some people know the difference and can leave their technology at home while others remain tethered to their smartphones.

Just something to keep in mind now that vacation season is starting up.

Universal

Imagine if you will, nine college students sat in a room together. They all look very different from each other. They’re all studying different things for different reasons. They all come from different backgrounds and all have different faiths. Then, these nine students are asked to come up with a list of commandments. A list of things that they all agreed were universally true of how people ought to live. This is exactly the task posed at the “Gay and Spiritual” meeting last night. The members of the group were gay, straight, bi, Catholic, Wiccan, agnostic, and beyond. There were no two people who I could say were the same. I’d even hesitate to say that any two people were similar. As one can imagine, writing commandments wasn’t as easy a task as it sounds.

Everyone had different ideas about right and wrong and how vague or specific the commandments should be. There was debate over whether or not we had the right to tell anyone how to live on a personal level or if we could only say how people should interact with others. Words had to be chosen carefully and concepts chosen had to be something that everyone agreed on. The commandments weren’t chosen by majority, they were chosen by consensus.

I would not have been surprised if the group only came up with one or two things that we all agreed on. In the end, we came up with a list of six commandments that all nine of us agreed are a good set of general rules for life. Read the rest of this entry »

Pure Fluff

Good afternoon readers! Considering the student body’s only concern for the past and next few days is focused completely on papers, finals, and tech weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from hard thinking. That’s why this week, instead of attempting to talk about something deep or meaningful, I thought it would be more fun to take a few minutes and think about something useless and silly. Something that doesn’t involve school, higher education, or even much brain function. This weeks topic is something full of fluff: the humongous plot hole in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Read the rest of this entry »

(Cross Posted from my own WordPress)

Boston has long used veteran’s preference to get returning vets into jobs such as the police and fire departments. This year, Boston Fire Department has asked to set aside 15 of 50 spots in their academy class for people who speak Spanish. (And yes, they actually have to ask for an exception to sidestep the law)

And well, I let the quote speak for itself.

But a group of military veterans, normally given preference for the jobs, has challenged the decision. Alleging in legal documents that the bilingual requirement is being used to “recruit people of color into the uniformed ranks,’’ the veterans have asked the state Civil Service Commission to investigate.

So when did knowledge of a language determine your skin color? I’m sure this wasn’t the only line of reasoning the veterans put in their legal documents, but this quote makes them seem very racist. Later on in the article, the lawyer for them complains about how they came back from serving in Iraq/Afghanistan to find the rules have changed on them.

And there’s even more background, like how the BFD was legally bound to hire/diversify at a one to one ratio meaning for every white candidate they hired, they needed a black or Hispanic one as well. That rule was disbanded less than ten years ago and since then the department has hired a group that is 88 per cent white.

I don’t really understand why the veterans are so angry. The department finally realized they need more staff who speaks Spanish when they respond to calls from Spanish speaking people. Boston has a huge Hispanic population in one neighborhood, and significant populations in other neighborhoods that are on the other side of the city. In other words the Hispanics are basically all over. It’s time the department diversifies again.

The veterans can always apply again next year, right?

Sickle cell anemia prevents malaria. The name Catherine can be anagrammed 553 different ways. A rat can last longer without water than  a camel. A crocodile can’t stick it’s tongue out. Genetically speaking, we are more closely related to bananas than Neanderthals.

As you might have guessed by that introduction, I love useless trivia. I feel like knowing random facts about the world purely for entertainment’s sake, is great! True I may never need to know any of this in any situation other than to inform other people who love useless trivia, but the point isn’t to use the information. The point is to enjoy the information. To revel in just how cool and interesting all of this is.

My newest trivia obsession: words we don’t have in English, or foreign words that can’t be translated into English. They’re called lexical gaps, or lacuna. For example, Read the rest of this entry »

Reflection

From the hours of 2:30 PM Sunday the third to 3:30 PM Saturday the ninth, I did not use the internet. That’s 145 web-free hours. It was an interesting experience. The first two days were the most annoying, the hardest to kick the habit. Luckily, I was so busy on Wednesday  that I might not have even been able to get onto the computer even if it wasn’t Week Without the Web. After that, it got easier. Within the first twenty-four hours, I would have guessed that I would have jumped immediately onto my computer as soon as the week was over. Then on Saturday, I found myself not feeling any immediate need to get online. When I did finally log back on, instead of thinking “OMD I have to get on now!” like I thought I would, I was thinking “I guess I can check my email now.” And only because I was hanging out with  my boyfriend and there was a gap in our activities while he checked his email and log onto Netflix.

So, did I learn anything from Week Without the Web? I guess you could say that. I’ve learned that I need internet far less than I thought I did. Since WWW ended, my computer use has decreased significantly. Instead of constantly logging on to check email accounts I know are empty just because I’m a little bored, I’ve been catching up on my reading list and mastering card games. Also, I’ve learned that my internet priorities are a lot different than I had thought they were. Read the rest of this entry »

Election Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Except it lasts over a year… I’m talking about election season. This week Obama officially filed to run for reelection. *Name for Election* 2012 has officially begun.  Depending on where you get your news from, it could be called Indecision or

So get ready for 19 months of campaign fund raising, social media outreach, baby kissing and the inevitable mud slinging.

It’s quiet right now, because caucuses and primaries don’t kick off until January 2012 but that hasn’t stopped the media machines from rolling out rumors that Michele Bachmann (who gave the Tea Party response to the State of the Union) will file soon, or my favorite, Donald Trump will run. Trump has been on several TV shows recently making his stances known. He is completely anti-gay not even supporting civil unions or domestic partnerships for same sex couples. He’s also pro-life.  The startling fact is that a poll conducted in February showed that Trump was ahead of Obama by two points. You can read more about it here.

A few relatively unknown people have filed to run under the GOP banner. Perhaps the most promising is Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota. But he isn’t well known outside of his state. A highlight is Jimmy McMillan, from the Rent is Too Dam High party. Even though he is technically a democrat, he filed to run as a republican so he wouldn’t directly challenge Obama. McMillan ran for NY Governor but obviously lost. (He did get 41 thousand votes – 20 thousand more than the mistress of Eliot Spitzer)

What I love is no matter how much we hate and complain about the process, once Election night actually comes, we love to stay up and watch the results as the come in.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.