Aaron Swartz was a computer programmer, responsible for many things including the creation of the social news site known as Reddit. He was an advocate of free flowing information via the internet, as well as freedom of knowledge in general. He was found dead on January 11th, 2013, the cause of death being self inflected hanging. The cause of Swartz’s suicide is not confirmed. but most people, including his ex-girlfriend, believe that his potential sentence of 35 years in prison and/or his potential one million dollar fine may have lead him to kill himself (Franceschi-Bicchierai, 2013). Swartz’s trouble with the law was based on the fact that he linked his computer to MIT’s computer system to download and share millions of articles on the paid database (Cohen, 2013). Aaron Swartz’s death was a national tragedy in my opinion, and hopefully the government will learn to handle information violations differently so that the world will not suffer the loss of future geniuses such as Swartz.
STEM jobs are any job that involve science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. It is statistically proven that STEM jobs pay higher than other jobs in different fields. While this doesn’t necessarily hold true across each occupation and individual circumstance, it tends to be true in most cases.
The idea of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) seems to be a revolutionary one for higher education. The internet allows for ideas to be shared with relative ease almost immediately. Computer programs can handle tedious tasks such as grading papers and repeating information. These things allow for professors, teaching assistants and students to complete all necessary tasks that come with school in a much simpler way. However, I do not think that MOOCs are a sufficient alternative to the traditional classroom setting. For one thing, making something easier means that people are putting in less commitment. This makes dropping out much easier for people, and it shows. The dropout rates for students that join MOOCs can sometimes exceeed ninety percent. (Moore, Cengage Brain, 13) MOOCs would also cut out contact between professors and their students. (Acedeme Blog, 13) I believe that connection to be extremely important in learning, especially in specialized fields where expert testimony can be infinitely helpful for people looking to become a part of that field. On top of all of these things, cheating and distractions would be completely out of the hands of the teachers. MOOCs have been proven to be a cheap and effective alternative to traditional education methods (Newsom, News & Records, 13), I personally think that the negative effects outweigh the convenience. MOOC’s may be good for someone trying to learn something on there own or to review for a class, but I do not think they should ever replace college or a classroom setting.
The United States has always tried to be an advocate for a few things that our own government was based off. One of these things is free speech. Over the course of the last few months in Syria, the government has not only been denying their people of free speech, but killing those who protest. Police brutality, snipers, and possibly chemical weapons have all been used against the protesters, leaving many people dead, including women and children. BBC news stated: “Mr Assad again denied claims that his troops had used chemical weapons, blaming the rebels instead.” (BBC , 2013) The reason that the United States was so against the idea of intervening is ultimately fear. Not necessarily that the United States army would have any trouble with the Syrian army, but that more people may die if Bashar Assad makes a drastic move. The idea that he may have possibly used chemical weapons on protesters leaves the United States government to believe that he may use similar tactics in defense of intervention.
The main cause of the government shutdown is congress not passing the appropriation bills. I think it is ridiculous that furlough workers are at risk or are currently having their pay checks compromised. This is especially frustrating given that Congress members receive upwards of 174,000$ annually. Despite the shutdown, the government will continue to spend on things that they consider to be “mandatory”. Because of this the idea that the shutdown will put off the eventual debt ceiling is not an accurate one.
Khadaroo, S. (2013, October 3). As government shutdown drags on, some in Congress see fit to donate their pay. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2013/1003/As-government-shutdown-drags-on-some-in-Congress-see-fit-to-donate-their-pay-video