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Your Internet Service Plan under a Closed Internet

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

What would the Internet begin to look like if net neutrality became a thing of the past? Although somewhat of a parody, this mockup isn’t that far off the mark:
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Source: Josiah Roe

NYTimes picks up Rumsfeld Hoover Hubbub

Friday, September 21st, 2007

According to the New York Times, people at Stanford are angry about Rummy’s appointment to the Hoover Institution as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
Get out.
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Protesting profs, including Eric Roberts, Charlotte Fonrobert, and Phil Zimbardo.
From the Times:
Some 2,100 professors, staff members, students and alumni have signed an online petition protesting Mr. Rumsfeld’s appointment, which will involve advising a task force on ideology and terrorism. Faculty members say he should not have been offered the post because of his role in the Bush administration’s prosecution of the Iraq war.
“We view the appointment as fundamentally incompatible with the ethical values of truthfulness, tolerance, disinterested enquiry, respect for national and international laws and care for the opinions, property and lives of others to which Stanford is inalienably committed,” the petition reads.

The university is taking a “free speech” stance on the issue because, you know, it’s not like he’s a war criminal or something. Either way, I think it’s going to be fun to have Rummy on campus. Imagine the creative protests that will come out of this experience. And maybe if we’re nice (you know, if we actually let him walk into his office), he’ll want to talk to us.
I have to admit, I’m kind of curious.

Stanford to Close CoHo Permanently

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

coho_logo.gifGet ready to say goodbye to the CoHo: according to the Stanford Report, it’s not re-opening when students return to campus later this month. With the exciting renovations to Old Union and its plethora of new student spaces, clearly this isn’t a complete bust. But you’d think the University could have been a bit more transparent about the fact that they were eliminating the only chill environment where students could study, load up on caffeine, grab a bite, and listen to artsy live performances all in the same space. It was the only place on campus that you could go to have some sense that you were still alive while finishing up on that Econ problem set. Maybe the Starbucks on Stanford Ave can fill that role somewhat, but it’s hardly in a central location.
In the article disclosing the death of the CoHo, Old Union cheerleader-in-chief, Jeanette Smith-Laws claims that much of the “CoHo feel” and “CoHo look” will be replicated by the new performance space in the basement of Old Union. But who knows if it will measure up? If you want food or coffee with that live performance, you’ll have to go upstairs to the lamely-named “Axe and Palm” cafe (I’m sure Stanford Dining picked the name) to buy your food and (presumably) bring it downstairs to the performance space. And if you wanted to study down there, you’ll probably have to forget it. With the emphasis on performance rather than hanging out, and with the food a decent trek away, I just don’t see many people making an attempt to study there.
It’s sad that the University assumed Old Union’s new additions wouldn’t thrive without driving students from the other union. Or maybe Stanford Dining couldn’t figure out how to run a budget surplus with two cafes operating late right next to each other. Either way, I’m sad to see the CoHo go, and sad that there wasn’t more transparency in the decision, or in any decision made surrounding the student unions. I mean, with a student union presumably for students, well… maybe I shouldn’t kick that dead horse. Long live the CoHo.

Abandoned Monkey Finds Love Across Species Barriers

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Breaking news from the Daily Mail:
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“They’re an odd couple in every sense but a monkey and a pigeon have become inseparable at an animal sanctuary in China. The 12-week-old macaque – who was abandoned by his mother – was close to death when it was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province. After being taken to an animal hospital his health began to improve but he seemed spiritless – until he developed a friendship with a white pigeon.” Continue reading…
Can I just say? Cuuute. Add this to that other recent story about a Chihuahua that adopted four baby squirrels. Yay for inter-species love.

California Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Gays to Marry — Again

Friday, September 7th, 2007

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For the second time in two years, the California legislature voted to legalize marriage between same-sex couples. This time, the bill received more votes and was co-authored by 29 Assemblymembers and 14 Senators, who were led by Assemblyman Mark Leno. A broad coalition of more than 250 civil rights organizations and leaders support the measure, including the NAACP California State Conference, United Farm Workers, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Chinese for Affirmative Action, California Teachers Association, ACLU, California Nurses Association, Lambda Legal, Anti-Defamation League, California National Organization for Women, California Church Impact, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
It’s unlikely, but we’ll see if Governor Schwarzenegger has the balls to sign it this time (October 14th is his deadline). Props to our courageous legislators.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633

Miss Teen South Carolina Calls 9-11

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and a big one at that), you’ve no doubt seen the viral video sensation, Miss Teen South Carolina, who shocked America with her pontifications on what we should do to help “U.S. Americans” and “the Iraq” find the United States on a map — for our children. It’s yet another big moment for internet video, and it’s clear that this particular video (and this particular Miss Teen South Carolina) is lucky enough to be entering into the second phase of viraldom: replication with modification. This could very well be as big as the Dramatic Chipmunk. Check out one of the first knock-offs, “Miss Teen South Carolina Calls 9-11”:

Democrats join HRC for intimate chats on LGBT issues

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

I thought this was pretty cool: all but two of the 2008 Democratic presidential hopefuls appeared one-by-one at an event hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and televised by Logo to discuss their views on issues affecting the gay community. First of all, it’s cool that these candidates showed up. Even cooler was that, with the exception of Barack Obama (who seemed to be straining), most of the candidates really seemed to embrace the LGBT community, and the discussions came off as candid and intimate. The chat with Mike Gravel and his wholehearted acceptance of homosexuality was a special treat, simply given the generation he hails from.
Also, I hate to sound promotional, but I keep walking away from watching Hillary Clinton talk feeling really impressed and almost reassured by her command of the issues. LGBT issues seem to be no exception, and I found her ability to speak frankly and with empathy on the politics of homosexuality, in short, moving. Check out this scene with Melissa Etheridge:

For more, watch more of the debate, or read the Washington Post’s coverage.

Fake Steve Jobs Revealed by NYTimes: Will the character survive the unmasking?

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

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Brad Stone, a reporter for The New York Times, has uncovered the identity of The Fake Steve Jobs: it’s Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine.
“I’m stunned that it’s taken this long,” said Mr. Lyons, 46, when a reporter interrupted his vacation in Maine on Sunday to ask him about Fake Steve. “I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I’ve been sort of waiting for this call for months.”
Back in character, Fake Steve Jobs had some unkind words for Brad Stone:

If anyone can think of a cool way to use the name “Brad Stone” (all or part) as a verb, let me know. Maybe this:
brad, v.i.:
1. To bust a fellow filthy hack without mercy and spoil the fun for everyone, in a quest for personal aggrandizement.
2. To urinate in a pool.

Even better, I thought, was the punch-in-the-gut he reserved for bloggers: “One bright side is that at least I was busted by the Times and not Valleywag. I really, really enjoyed seeing those guys keep guessing wrong. For six months Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth put their big brains together and couldn’t come up with the answer. Guy from the Times did it in a week. So much for the trope about smarty-pants bloggers disrupting old media. Brilliant.”
Fake Steve, or rather Daniel Lyons, will be releasing a book in October entitled, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody, and soon his blog will be moved to Forbes.com. Anyone who has followed Fake Steve’s writings, however, will wonder whether or not he can be so… shall we say… honest in the future about his thoughts on Apple and Silicon Valley. Will he have to tone it down, or will Forbes embrace the character in full?
With his name and that of his magazine at stake, Daniel Lyons will probably have to be more cautious about what he says. But that’s unfortunate, because the snarkiness and ridicule was guilty pleasure, even when bloggers like us or the “freetards” of the open source movement are the targets. It was… irresponsible, I guess you could say, and correspondingly so refreshing.
BTW: Now that we know who he is, let’s invite Mr. Lyons to campus. Word.

My Additions to the Class of 2007 Time Capsule

Friday, July 13th, 2007

It was Thursday before graduation. Senior Dinner on the Quad that night had been somewhat chaotic, but ultimately delicious and a nice opportunity to say goodbye to friends and reminisce on the old days.
My friend (who asked to remain anonymous) and I, doing quite well for ourselves after several glasses of wine, decided to take a stroll around the Quad. Oh, our beautiful Quad.
Once we passed under an arch to start walking through the arcades, it didn’t take us very long to reach the plaques and time capsules of years past, and soon we came upon the placeholder for the 2007 plaque, which was covering our class’s time capsule.
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I had received the e-mails from our class Presidents requesting “suggestions” for items to go into the time capsule. Because every other request for suggestions from the Presidents had been disappointing (hello Gioia), I hardly even paid attention, and didn’t send in any ideas.
But as I stood there looking at the covering over the capsule, I suddenly regretted missing an opportunity to make a mark on the history of the Class of 2007. We attempted to remove the covering over the capsule.
Surprisingly, it came right off. We didn’t know it at the time, but most of the “official” items going into the time capsule had been removed for the night following the capsule ceremony, while the plaque was not yet sealed in place. All they had left behind was a green Energy Crossroads Conference bag, a crumpled dollar bill, unattractive women’s lingerie, and some other stuff.
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Feeling that the capsule was overly female and not gay enough, we set ourselves on a mission to find and bring back items that would more adequately represent the Class of 2007. To be sealed in our Time Capsule for all of time.
Here’s what we came up with:

(more…)

Naming the Old Union Eatery

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Mondaire Jones, our Exec VP, has just distributed a flier asking students to submit ideas for the name of the new Old Union eatery to olduniondining at gmail dot com. I can only imagine, after the results of the contest for naming Tresidder’s cafeteria, that someone will suggest “Union Cubed,” and that the naming committee will think it’s just too cute to resist.
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By the way, before we try to name it, how about telling us what’s unique about it? If it’s just another unhealthy Cyber Cafe-esque Stanford Dining attempt, let’s not mince words with the name. “Fatty” or maybe “Freshman 15” will do.
Continue reading for the contest guidelines…

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Michael Moore Bitch Slaps CNN

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Before a live interview with Michael Moore on CNN, Wolf Blitzer runs a short video segment claiming that Michael Moore “plays loose with the facts” in his new documentary, Sicko. Boy did that make him angry. Check it out:

For Moore’s online rebuttal of CNN’s claims that he fudges the facts, see here. It’s quite well-cited and shows that CNN isn’t being very honest, either.
By the way, I saw Sicko and loved it — if not for its balanced treatment of the issue, then for being a reality check on the downsides of our system. And as an artistic piece, it’s priceless. I relished the absurdity of the scene where he sails to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with three ailing 9/11 rescue workers on a little dingy, demanding that the 9/11 heros get “some medical attention, the same kind that Al Qaeda is getting.”
“They don’t want any more than you’re giving the evildoers, just the same.”
Guantanamo Bay being, of course, the only place on American soil that provides free, universal health care.

Dramatic Chipmunk Gift: The little things Facebook does to show they care

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

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As you no doubt know, the five-second Dramatic Chipmunk video has taken the Internet by storm, spawning an entire series of Star Wars knock-off videos, chipmunk remixes, and dramatic staring contests. BustedTees has a dramatic chipmunk shirt. There’s even a Facebook App.
For everyone who thought the Internet would usher in the reign of the lowest common denominator, here is your Exhibit A.
I’m with Dan Hopper when he says he’s come to believe that “not all of these videos are actually made by people, but merely willed into existence by the Internet.”
If you’re curious about where the original video came from, click here.

Who are your favorite bloggers? Let’s invite them to campus.

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Next year, we’d like to invite some influential bloggers to campus to speak. If you had your pick, who would you invite?
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Fireworks @ Frost

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

A few people have posted videos of the fireworks and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert at Frost Amphitheater last Tuesday. Here’s one for those who were out-of-town:

Yesterday, the Stanford Band also performed at the Redwood City 4th of July Parade. Lots of video of that if you’re curious.

iPhone Quick Review: Nothing Short of Fabulous

Friday, June 29th, 2007

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People who know me know I’m a Mac addict. I have been since my parents brought home our first Performa 6200 when I was in 5th grade. Tonight, I bought an iPhone.
Like everyone has said, it’s fabulous. I haven’t unboxed mine yet (it’s almost bed time), but my fifteen minutes in the Chicago Apple Store with the device was enough to give me a solid first impression. There are a lot of things I didn’t like about it: the camera doesn’t let you take video, the web browser doesn’t do Flash or even let you log into some sites (like this one… so I couldn’t bring you a “live from the Apple Store” entry like I had hoped to). Also, the interface still has a few minor, but somewhat annoying glitches to work out, like the magnifying glass being off the screen occasionally, making it unhelpful in those situations.
However, it is, like everyone has said, a technical marvel. I loved browsing the Internet on it (via WiFi), despite the lack of support for some sites. Photos and iPod features were a blast to use–although, because the iPhone is a touchscreen, taking self-portraits was difficult (I couldn’t see the button I was supposed to press while the back of the phone was facing me). I even placed a call to my mother. Holy Moses.
One thing I was unexpectedly impressed by was the keyboard. I never used the “one-finger” method to do the typing. It seemed too cumbersome from the beginning. I started right off the bat with my two thumbs, and was blown away by how easy it was to adapt. Rather than the five days the old fogies first to review the device claimed it took to get used to the keyboard, I was typing with no errors and both thumbs after only about five minutes of practice. During that five-minute learning curve when I was making a lot of errors, however, iPhone was able to predict what I had wanted to type anyway and so there were, in fact, no bumps along that road. Awesome.
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I waltzed in the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store (Chicago) at 10PM this evening, avoiding the terribly long line that had formed when the iPhone was released nationwide at 6PM. The store was pretty empty except for, well, everywhere there was an iPhone on display. I found one hiding in the corner, tried it out, and then bought one of my very own. Even though everyone and their mother was in line to buy the iPhone, the Apple Store was still very well-stocked.
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Apple’s videos of the device in action are very impressive — if you haven’t watched them already. But to really experience it, you’ve got to try it out for yourself. Until you get to the Apple Store, the gazillion iPhone stories should tide you over. AppleInsider has high-quality unboxing photos and details from the iPhone user guide. They’ve also already taken an iPhone apart, revealing “better than expected” construction. Macworld has an article about an editor’s activation disaster. Engadget looks at how far we’ve come, Gizmodo claims scientific evidence that iPhone phone quality is the “best ever,” and PC Magazine, which was not lucky enough to receive a unit before they went on sale, says the iPhone is “even more impressive” than expected.
Finally, have a peak at Google Hot Trends. At the time of this blogging, 17 of the top 50 Google Hot Trends for today have the word “iphone” in them. That’s more than a third.
Update: I have now commenced the iWait. I tried to activate my new iPhone late last night, went to bed, and now it’s almost noon Saturday and AT&T is still telling me it “may be up to 24 hours; before I can make calls or use any of the features of my iPhone. Apparently, the company is completely incompetent and didn’t predict so many iPhone users would be activating at once. However, upon calling Sprint to inquire about how much my early cancellation fee would be, I was reminded of just how incompetent that company is. I waited on hold for over 20 minutes and then tried for over five minutes to get the rep to understand that I wanted to *leave* Sprint, not *upgrade to more minutes*. I swear, it’s enforced stupidity with these folks. It didn’t help that my phone kept cutting out. Anyway, I’ll let you know when I’m able to make my first call. Oy vey. Until then, I’ll just pet my pretty iBrick.
Second Update: Okay, now the title of this entry is a misnomer. The iPhone itself is nothing short of fabulous… but activating it is… something quite different. I was on the phone between Apple and AT&T all day today trying to figure out why my iPhone would not activate, including a total of three hours of “You are very important to us. Please continue to hold. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” The conclusion after everything is said and done: I have to get a new sim card for my iPhone tomorrow because AT&T failed to activate my phone correctly. Or something. So 48 hours after buying my iPhone, I have yet to place a call. Sigh.
Of course, I’m not alone. Engadget, a popular tech blog, ran a poll of its users today and found that a total of 50% of iPhone buyers have had activation problems, with 38% of respondents saying they had yet to be resolved. The other 50% said they had no problems activating their phones. My conclusion: AT&T is functionally retarded, although their press people are claiming that iPhone activations are down to 8 minutes now. Let’s hope so.
Third Update: My iPhone works, and I’m enamored again. Thank God. All it took was another sim card, and the headaches are over. A word to the wise: if you’re transferring a number from another carrier, read this first.