Un-fancy-ness Over Break

So, I’m sure we all know that Christmas break is finally here. So what exactly does that mean? Well, for the usual person, Christmas break means cookies, sweets, presents, bright lights, Christmas trees, family, love, and all that wonderful stuff. But for high school students, Christmas break often means mountain-loads of homework, piled on by the thoughtless and careless teachers these students have. It may seem like I’m attacking the character and spirit of school teachers; yes, this is indeed a logical fallacy, but it is also one I cannot repress any further. First of all, this time is called Christmas BREAK. Break, in this case, means a repose from school and all things school-like. And all things school-like definitely involves homework. Assuming that these teachers have loving families to return home to, it is rather safe to say that the majority of school teachers get to go home, relax, hang out with their families, and do next to nothing scholarly over Christmas break, while poor unfortunate students are stuck slaving away on study guides and reading chapters.

Not to sound diary-ish, but when I got home from school today, what was the first thing I did? Answer: I did my advanced pre-calculus homework. I’m not saying I’m a dedicated student or that I have no life. The thing is, I have relatives coming over tomorrow, I don’t want to miss out on family and love because I have to do homework. I guess this all sounds a bit rambling, but what I’m trying to express is that the homework teachers give to students over break robs them of family togetherness. I’m sorry, but when it comes to reading about U.S history, versus enjoying quality time with my relatives, I’m prone to choose the latter, as is every average high school student on the planet. In short, homework over Christmas break is an unfair thing to do to students, and it should not be considered acceptable.

Now, assuming we’ve come to terms that homework over Christmas break is unacceptable, I can also argue that it is unproductive. Who’s going to do a good job on a study guide when all he or she can think about is playing that new Halo game on a shiny Xbox 360? Who is going to retain information after gorging themselves on cookies and turkey and other delicious foods? Note that I’m not arguing of the positive versus negative impacts of students; I’m simply saying that, if students are on break, then these students should not accept the legitimacy of homework their teachers pile upon them.

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(Obligatory Post About the End of the World)

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that everyone has been talking about it for the last week or so. Yes, yes, according to some calendar created by the Mayan civilization, the world is supposed to end sometime on Friday, December 21st, 2012. Despite mostly universal anxiety over the possibility of it happening, there is not a consensus as to what will happen and precisely when. For example, two particular groups of scientists believe the world will end due to an asteroid or a large solar storm (otherwise known as a solar flare). Others, though, such as David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA, are unsure that such a comet or solar storm could occur. Morrison argues that there is no immediate threat in the solar system, such as a comet, that could potentially cause earthly destruction within the next 500 million years. The assumption Morrison makes is that all comets in the solar system that are near the earth have been correctly and adequately tracked. However, being an astrobiologist at NASA, his opinion seems like a believable one. As for a solar storm, Morrison is more open to that possibility (that a solar storm could occur on Friday, December 21st). Morrison, however, debunks this is well, assuring the audience of the website that solar storms do not usually kill millions and at most cause troublesome electrical outages. To top it all off, Morrison refutes the idea that December 21st is a special date, claiming that there is in fact absolutely “nothing special” about it. Perhaps he begins to stereotype a little bit when refers to all believers of an apocalypse in stating that there are “thousands” of people on the internet, who “are not scientists”, who post apocalypse theories. The critical assumption here is that none of the apocalypse believers are credible, knowledgeable scientists.

One of the theories of a possible comet going un-tracked mentioned in the article is that the comet could lose its reflective ice surface, thus becoming dark and untraceable. Once again, Morrison provides evidence to dispute this, saying that NASA has the ability to, and still does, track these kinds of comets using the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Being of a scientific nature myself, I find it hard to believe an apocalypse will really happen. I’m not going to waste time here researching a bunch of data about how comets are not flying towards or earth or how solar storms are really nothing to worry about. Instead, I’m going to look at timely evidence that I think we can all agree on: how the world didn’t end with the Millerites, how the world didn’t end in 1999 despite Nostradamus’s predictions, how the world didn’t end in May 2000 when the planets were supposed to align, how the world didn’t end on 6/6/06. The long story short is that there is absolutely nothing to worry about; there is no more evidence to support this apocalypse as there is to support any previous one.

How Utterly Useless (A Certain Part of) Facebook has Become

So, Facebook used to be that social networking site that allowed you to see pictures of what your friends have been up to, that site that allowed you to read about interesting events in your friends’ social lives, and even that site that helped you reconnect with lost friends from elementary school or something along those lines. These features have not necessarily disappeared from Facebook, but unfortunately, nowadays Facebook seems to be clogged with “fan pages” that link to pictures that usually say trite (rarely intuitive) sayings or quips about life in general. In other words, Facebook is slowly turning into a sort of Memebase or Reddit, with the guise of still being a respectable social networking site. It wouldn’t be a personal problem, except for the fact that I have to spend a good fifteen minutes to even find a post that’s from one of my Facebook friends rather than a post from one of these fan pages.

You could simply responds, “Why don’t you just un-fan the fan pages?” That does seem likely a dandy solution. But these Facebook fan pages have a way of cohorting. What I mean by this is, five or so different fan pages will post the same picture and the same time, or even multiple pictures at the same time, as if they have been planning to piss me off the next time I check my Facebook. So even if I remove my connection from half of my fan pages, I’ll still be seeing the same useless, uninspiring photos. To be honest, I do not know much about how computer viruses or spam bots work, but the fact that several Facebook fan pages often post the same picture at the same time, with the same caption, bothers me. It appears as though the original creators of the fan pages have somehow given up control of the fan pages to a virus or a spam bot. What really irks me is how often times, the picture or photo has NOTHING to do with the topic of the fan page. A few examples from my Facebook news feed: The title of the fan page is, “I Missed Your Call By a Second, I Call Right Back and You Don’t Answer!”, and the title of the photo is, “Spectacular Shots of Mountain Reflections”; The title of the fan page is, “I was awake at midnight on 01/01/2010”, and the title of the photo is, “Spectacular Photoshop Fail!”; and the title of the fan page is, “Shouting random numbers when someone’s trying to count!”, and the title of the photo is, “Girl wtf was that” (unfortunately, I can’t link to the photo…). I think you see my point. This growing disease of Facebook is beginning to piss me off. It serves no purpose to what Facebook is intended, and needs to be solved in some way another (and no, as I already stated, simply un-fanning the pages won’t work.)