They say that reading a book is like taking a journey. And like any journey, reading Moby Dick has its fair share of bumpy roads and delayed flights. The biggest hurdle that I have had to overcome is Melville's writing style. It heavily relies on complex vocabulary and has an unorthodox syntax. For example, if i wanted to write The quick brown jumps over the lazy dog, Melville would write: While the canine was slothful, the nimble fox gracefully prances up beyond the canine. While this makes for challenging and thought provoking writing, it also makes for writing that, at times can be difficult to understand. While I originally wanted to read Moby Dick by myself without the audio recording, I have found that listening to the audio recording while active reading really helps decode the writing. While reading Moby Dick is proving to be challenging, it has also very enriching, and I am glad that I was forced to read it.
While I had never gotten particularly good grades, I had never got anything below a B-, and even then, it was never in math. However, this was about to change. It was in seventh grade and I had just been moved up a math class, and I was overconfident and thought that I would easily ace the course. Little did I know, my math teacher that year turned out to be a math teacher who was infamous for being tough. If your math homework was not formatted correctly, you would lose points, on tests, if you made a silly mistake, she wouldn't give partial credit. Her class required people to be organized, neat and accurate. I was bad at all of those things. My math grades that year were horrible, and one term, they went below the B- level. This completely shattered my bubble. I thought that I was good at math. This was my first taste of real failure. I had gotten bad grades before in other subjects, but I knew I wasn't good at those.
In eighth grade, the work got harder, as you can imagine, and I also had the added stress of staying until 5:00 everyday. The first few weeks very stressful, and I forgot many assignments. After that, I just gave up. I would hand in assignments late regularly and I wouldn’t study for tests. My grades started to really suffer. They were mostly “okay” grades, but I knew that I had much more potential. The one subject that I really suffered was English. Bu the time that the year ended, my self-esteem was in the gutter. I saw all my friends all do well and take the next step in their lives with secondary schools, and I knew that I was going to stay behind.
Over the summer, I decided that I was going to take a different approach to my education. I decided that I wasn't going to miss any homework assignments, that I would study hard for every test, and that I would get straight As. To date I have missed very few homework assignments, and I hope to continue getting better at it. Even after I made those promises to myself, my first two math tests were not as good as they could have been. However, doing well is a new science to me, and there ought to be a few bumps in the road. I had good grades in the fall term, they weren't great, but it was the best that I have ever done, and it gave me a huge boost of confidence to do well in the second term. In the second term, I perfected my techniques, and I came close to achieving my goal of straight A's.
While good grades are great, it's not why I made these changes. I made these changes because I was tired of being that kid who never had his homework. That kid who obviously did not do well in school. That kid who watched all of his friends take their next step without him. And worst of all, that kid who was always stressed out because he postponed everything to the last minute.
While Its very easy to say “Oh he’s only trying now because he wants to get in to schools.” Or “Once he gets in to a school he’ll go back to his old ways again.” But I have no intention of slacking once I get in to school, college or job. Even though I was originally motivated by applying out to schools, I have found that keeping on top of work and doing well feels good. I also want to thank the schools who denied me last year, even though it hurt, it forced me to look inward, and eventually "pull up my socks" . Next year, I will be joining a school that is infamous for expecting a lot out of their students. That will require me to use all of the work management skills that I have learned over the last few months. While I still have a long way to go, and I hope that I can keep improving.
My time at Fenn has been a transformative time. In this video I will tell you how Fenn has made me a better person.
Many people spend months, and even years planning their perfect wedding. Countless Pinterest boards, thousands of dollars, and you can throw a party beyond you wildest dreams. Over the last week, I have had the privilege of attending a wedding, and that thought me about the unimportance of marriage in our world. It started at six in the morning on Friday the 20th, when we woke up, got ready and rushed to the airport. We passed security just in time and rushed to our flight. American Airlines flight 1027 to DFW. We boarded an old 737 and we made our way towards Dallas. When we finally got the hotel, we were relieved, but little did we know, that we wouldn’t leave the hotel until two days later. The next day we went to the actual wedding, and you know what, the bride and the groom were the same people before and after this meaningless ceremony. Why would someone go in to debt to complete a meaningless ceremony that would cost $50 in court fees? Do you really think that God has blessed your union, if so, then why do 30% of marriages end in divorce? As some person said, the most dangerous phrase is “we have always done it this day”.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a 42 page report on the cybersecurity of air traffic control. This means that the FAA has found weaknesses in the air traffic control computers that put travellers like you or me at risk. The reports findings conclude that the current computers that are in use by the air traffic controllers are vulnerable to attacks that would add unauthorized, high access privilege user accounts that have the clearance to view and change sensitive data, such as flight plans. Flight plans contain many details about the flight, including altitude, speed, routes etc. This information in the wrong hands could be used to track, hijack, and attack planes. People can also change the information, which would allow wrongdoers to communicate false information to the crew, thus controlling them. Sounds pretty scary, right? Well, you shouldn't be. Not many groups have the skill sets required to perpetrate this kind of attack. And the ones that do, like the cyber hacktivist group Anonymous, do not have the motive. The FAA is also taking steps to fix such issues, and is developing a patch to fix these security issues. The report was a pre-emptive response to the growing cyber-terrorist movement, and will likely be of little consequence.
Revenge is an important theme in Moby Dick, watch this video to find out more
Over the last four days, I have had the pleasure of working with Hayden to create a video literary analysis. We were analyzing the role revenge played in Moby Dick, especially in the character captain Ahab, who puts the his life, as well as his crew's in serious jeopardy to accomplish his goal of killing Moby Dick. During the course of these four days, I learned a lot, not just about Moby Dick, but about video production. We learned about different microphones and how and when to use them, we learned how to use the green screen, and we learned about the difference between good and bad audio quality.
You may have heard about the FCC's decision to reclassify internet providers as common carriers, which means that they have to support all internet traffic equally, just as a phone company needs to connect all calls made to your phones. This means that Netflix no longer has to pay Verizon and Comcast in order to get a good internet connection, and that large evil companies like Verizon and Comcast cannot make a profit by charging video streaming services a tax to use their infrastructure. There is already a bill backed by the GOP to repeal the new classification, which is surprising, as the Dems are the ones that are usually in the pocket of the cable companies, but perhaps not that surprising, as Republicans are the more corporately, shall we say, inclined of the two parties. This is also very surprising because it is the second big loss for the ISPs this year. Back in January, the FCC also redefined broadband as 25/4 up from 4/1. We all expected this was coming, but we were hoping a reclassification for 10mbps, we weren't even dreaming of 25! This may be the kiss of death to outdated DSl connections, and may finally convince the ISPs to build more fiber. The lesson here is that sometime, even in a government as corrupt as this one we can win small victories against corporate America!
Today, I was given the opportunity to a speak at a board of concerned parents about technology and their kids. Now being the computer geek that I am, you probably already know my opinion on kids and technology. IT'S NO BIG DEAL! Really! You're kid isn't going be consumed by the devil. One parent in particular was very concerned about their kid's having access to the internet, another was concerned that her son was cheating in video games. Some parents were competing who could be the strictest parents when it came to electronics. "My eighth grader doesn't have a smartphone!" "my eighth grader doesn't even have a phone!" If you are a parent reading this, I know that it is very hard to let go sometimes. Rather than being super strict and banning all social media and electronics, give them what they want and have a conversation with your child about responsible use. No matter what you think, you can't stop your child from getting what he wants, especially online. You may think that you are a step ahead of your child and block FaceBook, Twitter, etc. but in reality, your child is already ten steps ahead of you and can circumvent it. You can't stop your child from having social media, so the best you can do is lay down guidelines and trust you child.
As you may or not know, independent high-schools release their admission decisions on March 10th. This is very stressful as you may imagine, but I got the shock of my life when I opened up my phone's calendar and saw that March 10th is only two weeks away. What! it feels like I just handed in my applications two snow days ago. Worse still, I noticed that it was on a school day. Imagine this, Tuesday on March 10th, English class, boring lecture of comma rules #7, and 8 email notifications will pop up from all of these schools telling me the news. Well, I have to go have a heart attack now, so excuse me.