Sections 1 & 2

Sections 1 & 2

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COMPUTER SCIENCE

I am majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. At first, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and what kind of degree I wanted. Growing up I watched my father take computers apart, put them together, design programs and basically anything else to do with computers. I became interested with computers and realized I want to be just like my father. Computers are the future, therefore I know that my major will create multiple job opportunities for me.

Computer science majors learn about computer systems and the way humans and computers interact from a scientific perspective. There are all kinds of different things you can do such as programming, cyber security, and system management. If you like video games you can go into graphic design. Any field you chose with this major acquires you to work with computers some way or another.  We design integrated systems like Microsoft Windows, microprocessors and cell phones. These provide basic frameworks for us to deploy algorithms. Finally, we write software, applying algorithms, data structures and information systems to complex problems. Computers are the future!

 

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AARON SWARTZ

Aaron Swartz, was an Internet savant who at a young age shaped the online era by co-developing RSS and Reddit and later became a digital activist (MARTINEZ, 2013). Aaron Swartz was arrested and being charged with violating federal hacking laws for downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database service that MIT had given him access to via a guest account. If convicted, Swartz would have had to face 35 years in prison and one million dollars’ worth of fines. Aaron Swartz was 26 years old when he committed suicide. He was facing 13 felony counts under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, leading him to hang himself in January (BRITO, 2013). With all that, Aaron was most likely terrified and simply didn’t want to live anymore. Maybe the government thought Swartz was too much of a threat to the United States security through the internet world and had to make sure they would get rid of him. I believe his death shows that the U.S. law should reconsider computer laws and copyright laws that are currently in place. 

 

Martinez, M. (2013, March 7). Internet Prodigy, Activist Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide. CNN.com. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cnn.com/2013/01/12/us/new-york-reddit-founder-suicide/

BRITO, J. (2013, JANUARY 31). Reason. Aaron Swartz: The Punishment Did Not Fit the Crime, Retrieved fromhttp://reason.com/archives/2013/01/31/aaron-swartz-the-punishment-did-not-fit

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STEM JOBS

Stem jobs are jobs in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Did you know that science, technology, engineering, or math graduates can find work as doctors, teachers, farmers, top level managers running businesses or government jobs, and even writers or artists? Stem jobs are some of the highest paying jobs in the world. Most STEM careers require years of education. By taking high school or vocational courses in science and math you can get ahead of everyone which will improve your chances of finding work in a wide variety of industries. STEM-related occupations pay on average between $8 to $18 per hour more than all other jobs looking across the nation. As seen in the graph below, consider Virginia, where average hourly earnings in STEM-related employment are almost TWICE that of all other occupations. The difference is almost as large in California, Colorado, and Maryland. From personal experience, I have seen both my cousins graduate from college as computer science majors and starting off with their salary being around 65,000 dollars a year which is incredibly high for someone right out of college!

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(Wright, 2011)

WRIGHT, J. (2011, September 20). States with largest presence of stem-related jobs. Retrieved fromhttp://www.economicmodeling.com/2011/09/20/where-are-stem-jobs-concentrated/

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MOOCs

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) can change higher education in many ways. For starters, it gives the people who want a higher education but can’t afford it some opportunity. Most MOOCs are free, although some can cost around a hundred dollars, maybe more or a little less, but regardless you are saving hundreds to thousands of dollars. Some people may question if they are learning the same as they would in a college setting. These online courses are taught by top professors at some of the world’s best- known universities (Newsom, 2013). That’s not the only advantage of MOOCs. They also run between four to twelve weeks but for many you can start and stop the lecture at your own pace and during your own free time. This would help a lot of people, especially me, just because you don’t have to stress about being late or being too sick to attend a class. If you pass a MOOC you can be awarded a certificate of completion. The best part is that it is easy for anyone to access. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, some free time and a desire to learn. (Newsom, 2013).

MOOCs are revolutionary – a cheap, high-quality alternative to expensive, exclusive universities (Newsom 2013). . This is all terrific for traditional academic mission but terrifying for the traditional business mode (Sharrock, 2013). That is why I don’t think they will ever replace college. College is a big time money making business that requires people to take in class lectures so they have to pay the high fees. Colleges wouldn’t make money if everyone took online classes. In my opinion, college is a good thing. Living on your own in a new environment helps people grow into intellectual, independent, individuals. Also colleges give the opportunity to seek for help or ask questions. MOOCs would not be able to prevent cheating, let students ask questions, or interact and collaborate with each other. Everybody should get to experience college but if they don’t have the money MOOCs are the next best thing. Education should not be a luxury it should be a fundamental right that everyone should have access to regardless of their parents or their own income (Petriglieri, 2013).

 

Sharrock, G. (2013, October 15). From moocs to harvard’s: will online go mainstream? The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/from-moocs-to-harvards-will-online-go-mainstream-18093

Newsom, J. (2013, October 13). MOOCs: Online courses might change face of higher education. News & Record. Retrieved from http://www.news-record.com/news/article_48f3fd9c-33b1-11e3-b180-0019bb30f31a.html

Petriglier, G. (2013). The opportunities—and risks—in the mooc business. The Wall Street Journal, Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304561004579135363266072976.html

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The United States and Syria

      The use of chemical warfare by Syria’s leader, President Bashar Assad is what led to the involvement of the United States in this international affair. Syria has been using chemical weapons against their rebels which lead to the citizens of Syria to reach out to the United States. The U.N. inspectors’ report provided airtight evidence that Assad’s forces fired rockets filled with sarin gas into Damascus suburbs, killing more than 1,000 people (Richter, 2013). A reason that the U.S. nearly intervened with Syria is because non-intervention could lead to serious problems in terms of U.S. moral standing in the world, (we are known as the worlds “police”) as well as the resulting free flow of weaponries, instability, etc. Has the world forgotten what the UN’s original purpose was? When a country is in need we should be there to act and protect human rights and the right to live, irrespective of a state’s sovereignty (Khan, 2013). In the end, we did not intervene with Syria because the US and Russia came into agreement that, if Syria hands over all chemical weapons to the international community, neither would interfere. Another reason that the U.S. decided not to get involved was because American just withdrew from Iraq and it is all very expensive. The American government is broke. The national debt is nearing $17 trillion, including nearly trillion-dollar deficits for the past four years.  If we were to start another war, once again we would have to borrow more money and create an even deeper whole of debt. In my opinion, there is no need for us to get involved with this conflict. In the past few years, the Syrian Civil War has caused there to be up to 100, 000 deaths. What is the difference between killing 100,000 people over 2 years with guns and bombs and killing 1400 with gas? Are bullets and bombs less tragic then gas? It just doesn’t make any logical sense.

                                                                

Sabith, K. (2013). Why the u.s. should intervene in syria. Policymic, Retrieved from http://www.policymic.com/articles/28082/5-reasons-the-u-s-should-intervene-in-syria

 

Richter, P. (2013, September 17). U.n. report on syria gas attack fuels calls for assad’s prosecution. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/17/world/la-fg-syria-accountability-20130918

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2013 Government Shutdown

The federal government, which also is the largest employer in the US, has been (partially) shut down at 0:001am on October 1st. Every year at that time an annual budget must be passed by the legislature. Passing a budget means setting money aside for things. If that is not done, things (or services) cannot be bought. That also means that federal employees cannot get paid because their work is nothing more than “service”. Since they cannot get paid, they can legally not go to work. So they are furloughed, which is an unpaid, force vacation…

If there are no employees at work, the place of work gets shut down. So the government is shut down. Alternatively to the budget, lawmakers (congress) can pass a CR (continuing resolution), which is a temporary agreement to fund the government. It usually is for several weeks to several months. The parties agree that they will get back together and negotiate a budget later but for now keep the government open. A CR is nothing more than kicking the can down the road.

Article 1)

Yan , H. (2013, 10 01). Government shutdown: Get up to speed in 20 questions. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/politics/government-shutdown-up-to-speed/index.html

Article 2)

Plumer, B. (2013, 09 30). Absolutely everything you need to know about how the government shutdown will work. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-the-government-shutdown-will-work/?tid=pm_pop

Video)

Stewart, J. (Performer) (2013). Jon Stewart on government shutdown 2013: [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZJkgXTIRU

 

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