Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green: The Nuclear Option

Here is our ongoing segment known as It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green. Which is ripped from a Kermit the Frog song. Again I am not the green energy consulted that also goes by the name Kevin Doyle, I'm just the guy who gets his emails.

Mr. President

Forget hybrid cars, for get plug ins like the Chevy Volt, and hydrogen cars? The way of the Hindenburg. The future sir is in the nuclear car.

I know what your thinking, how do we get a nuclear power plant under the hood of a car? Well actually we don’t have to, but if you wanted to all you have do is as Willy Wonka for his shrink ray, which was our initial plan, but Willy Wonka’s mother obviously never taught him to share things.

The way we do it is we created our own shrink ray and we shrink people down to miniature size. Once they are miniature then they can make mini-nuclear reactors. Now I understand that the basic laws of physics would say that this is impossible but so are giant bugs and superman but they exist. So from now on when presented with facts in the physical realm do not trust the physics you have come to believe in over the 40+ years of your life, look to the super secret physics of the US government. Trust me you don’t want the headaches.

Now after these mini reactors are constructed we simply work the reactor into the working parts of an automobile. I’m sure it’s not to hard, if we can do it with submarines, aircraft carriers and robotic soldiers then we can surely fit it into a Ford Focus.

The benefits of placing miniature reactors inside cars would be complete independence from Middle Eastern oil, and Midwestern Ethanol (and we can finally turn the Midwest into a giant replication of Tele-tubby land like we talked about).

Unfortunately there are some downsides, minor ones, but downsides all the same.

Through testing we have found that the effects of a transition to nuclear powered cars would be; approximately 12 million nuclear explosions per year due to car accidents, the eradication of all gas station hot dog stands, and due to the inability to reverse the shrinking process countless lives of mini-people will be lost.

Though these may seem as detriments to moving towards nuclear powered automobiles, we believe that no price is too high for energy interdependence and that you sir are the only person to lead us to the nuclear wasteland, I mean promise land.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Want My Money Back

I’m not one for using lyrics to express myself but in this case it’s just to hard to pass up. In the words of Ben Folds, give me my money back, give me my money bitch.

I Want My Money Back.

It’s been a little over a month since my classes started, and having taken a few tests and read a few books I think I can give me overall first impression of my classes. This is also my final full semester at NU (I have two summer sessions left) so naturally there is going to be some NU grumbling (A certified grumble has been spotted!) is to be had. Onward comrades!

Global Climate Change

It was this class, Dinosaurs or Natural Disasters in the running to fill my Natural World requirement. Natural Disasters was a class of 250, and Dinosaurs I have heard is not what it is advertised as, so I went with Climate Change.

So far I’m happy with my choice, knowledge has been learned and the reading easy. All in all I have received the education I expected; a bunch of facts I could have learned via a few hours of internet research. Go NU!


I took Spanish instead of testing out of Italian (for my language requirement) because I thought it would be better to walk away with an understanding of Spanish rather than bullshitting my way into two years of Italian on my transcript. I knew it would be hard but I figured it would end up being a fruitful choice, and so far it has been, very good choice on my part.

That being said, is it the best use of my money towards learning a language? Probably not. For the amount of money I spend on tuition I could probably spend a month or two in a Latin American country and I would walk away from it with a much better understanding of Spanish. Or I could go to a more cost beneficial program (compared to the cost of tuition) at a Language Institute.

If it wasn’t for the language requirement for a BA at NU I would not be taking Spanish, but this was the best use of the 4 credits I could find.

Contemporary Black Politics

I went into this class thinking we would start off by talking about local black politics (Chuck Turner and the like) and the up and comers in national African American community (Jesse Jackson Jr, Cory Booker, Michael Steele) and the effect of Barack Obama on the political process, especially for African Americans. Sounds like an interesting class right? That’s what I thought and that’s why I took it.

Well instead it has turned out to be a history class, centering on slavery and the struggle of African Americans from Reconstruction to Civil Rights. All well and good but the class is call CONTEMPORARY Black Politics. For those of you who may be confused about it’s definition, I present it to you now.

1. Belonging to the same period of time: a fact documented by two contemporary sources.
2. Of about the same age.
3. Current; modern: contemporary trends in design.

No where in the definition does it say history.

Now I understand that one needs to put the current political climate into a historical context but do you really need to do so for a 2 months (effectively half the scheduled class time)? If I wanted to learn about slavery and the struggle for equality I would have taken a History of Black Politics class. Instead I took this class because I all ready know about slavery, W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. What I wanted to better understand is the current state of African American politics the post-Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton era. I want to talk about my local African American community, something I encountered on my last Co-Op (btw I will post something soon about the BRA) and the future of African American political thought process.

But know I am learning about slavery for the 5th time in my life.

Senior Capstone

Going into this class (a graduation requirement mind you) all I wanted to do was write a 25 page paper on a Political Science topic of my choice. I wanted to research something that interested me and end up with a sizable piece of writing in a field I could head into in the future.

Yes I was asking for a large paper and mundane lectures, you would think I would get what I wanted.

What I got was group led class discussions, a bunch of mediocre to terrible books to read, and a pair of book reviews. No 25 page paper.

Quick rant: What is the benefit of group projects. I get that in real world working on a team is common but that doesn’t translate well to group projects. In the real world there is a designated leader who gets paid more and has the qualifications to delegate tasks. In a classroom setting there is no incentives for one to be the leader, and those who do step up are hardly ever qualified. There I said it.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

In a normal class room setting this isn’t a bad thing, but when the discussions come from all corners of the Political Science spectrum and your teacher is versed in only one of them it can end up being vague and misrepresented. Couple that with the fact that there are 65 Political Science majors in one room open to discussion there is going to be some problems.

First you have to understand that Political Science majors go on to be, among other things, lawyers, policy wonks, politicians and professors; all people who carry large opinions and enjoy discussing them (or in most cases, shouting them). So yes this class has been a bunch of know-it-all students shouting unfounded statements at each other while the professor tries to manage a volume of students that is too large for each subject.

For once in my life I am not one of the top 5 talkers in the room.


Overall I’m disappointed, I expected more from this semester. So far all I have come away with is a bunch of facts I could have found from looking in a geology book and an understanding of the Spanish language I could have gotten (and then some) for cheaper by living in a Latin American country for a few months. I’m starting to think Will Hunting was right when he told that asshole from Harvard that he could get the same education with a library card and late fees.

That being said I should have seen this coming. I can count on one hand how many classes that I consider to have gotten my money’s worth out of. Not to mention I consider College to be a game in the way that High School was a game, just that this time I have to pay $40,000 a year for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Only In New England

Would a day like today in February be considered fairly warm but in August it would be considered fairly cold. Six months apart and in the later days of their respective extreme seasons (winter & summer).

What I Am Reading: A More Perfect Constitution

I have since finished this wonderful piece of work (I kid) read the review here.

With the completion of that awful book comes the start of Larry Sabato’s - A More Perfect Constitution. Besides being the book that my group project is centered around I actually was looking forward to reading this because I love “What If?” situations and revising things (usually things that don’t really need revising). What I am no looking forward to is the class discussion about this, come to think of it I hate every class discussion in that class.

Funny story. So in my Capstone class we have to do a group project on a range of topics, and I chose to be in the American government group, for obvious reasons. Within my group we had to pick a concentration, I chose state and local government for obvious reasons. Slight problem; my professor has a doctorate in state and local government.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bigger is Better

As you can undoubtedly tell by visiting the blog, a column has been added on the left and the blogging area has increased in size as well. Also my last five tweets have been added. Let me know if you are having problems viewing the blog by either emailing me or just leaving a comment on this post.

And as always if you put your email in the little box up in the corner and hit submit you will be emailed each days posts in news letter format every night.

What I Am Reading: All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well

When I get down to just John Lennon you know it’s time for me to start another book. Next up is Tod Wodicka’s book (get ready) All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well. The name isn't long enough right? That combined with the cover and the Harvard Bookstore recommendation is the only reasons why this is getting read.

Quick Ponder: Is it wrong of me to go to the Harvard Bookstore, read the recommendations, take them seriously and then go buy the book at Borders because I have an employee discount? I just feel like I am stealing.

Anyway this book looks, writing wise, to be interesting (i mean the word “mead” is used in the first sentence of the description). But the best part is the actual cover, which looks like it's straight out of a Monty Python and the Holy Grail interlude, equipped with a long rambling text that makes no sense. Because I can not find a picture of the copy I have any where on the Internets I have attached a picture of me holding the book at the Harvard Bookstore. Yes that is my famous red jacket.

What I Just Read: Women

I think what Bukowski meant when he wrote the book “Women” was that all Women should not read this book. Within the first ten pages the C word is uttered, and within the first 50 he has sex with countless woman. No good will come from a woman reading this book, they will immediately think that all stereotypes about men are true and become feminists. As a man I will make sure that I never recommend nor allow a female I know to read this book, because it will ruin all men.

That being said this book is about a man who for years (before the book was read) had to hit on women to have a chance. Now at the age of 55, with his sudden popularity thanks to the publishing of his books and poems he call him for one night stands, send him naked pictures of themselves and fly thousands of miles just to spend a few nights in his bed. Needless to say the old man can not handle this and with his lazy, go with it personality, he just accepts the twenty somethings when they want him and moves from woman to woman without a thought about there feelings. The thing is, he isn’t proud of himself like most men are, at times he feels like nothing, like an old perverted man.

The book at times feels like just an endless drunken one night stand with a bad hangover the next morning, with the only thing changing in his life is the women (hence the title). To be honest I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, in the middle I started to get irritated by the mainstays in his life and mad at him for not taking hold of his life (though it all came together in the end).

If you are a young male, read this books, it may put your drunken sex filled life with some perspective. If you are a woman just forget I wrote this blog entry, better yet just ignore ever this tag.

Next Bukowski book is going to be Factotum, but I have decided that I will never read two books by the same author in a row, so I don’t tire of him or her. So Factotum will have to wait a little while.