Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

“Don’t Break the Internet”: An Investigation of SOPA and PIPA

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

What TUSB might look like, under new proposed legislation.

Wikipedia is blacked out.  The Oatmeal is down.  Google is urging people to take action.

What’s the deal and what does it mean for a Stanford student?

These activities and others among the tech elite represent a broad movement in Silicon Valley circles to protest legislation that would put severe copyright infringement restrictions on major Internet services.  Here’s the soundbite summary from my research.

SOPA

The former and more far-reaching law, SOPA, would impose heavy penalties on any website providing links to pirated or copyrighted content.  The intent is to protect providers and creators of such content (particularly in the music and movie industries) from the effects of illegal downloading.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stated that “Rogue Web sites that steal America’s innovative and creative products attract more than 53 billion visits a year and threaten more than 19 million American jobs.”

The difficulty here is that the regulation that would be imposed by SOPA would put the burden of proof on the accused: once accused, sites like YouTube and Wikipedia would be assumed guilty until their research teams could exonerate themselves.  For small start-ups and vast corporations alike, the costs ensuing from such a law could be prohibitively expensive.  Top tech industry representatives, including Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet, have taken a public stand against the law, encouraging web users to do likewise.  Numerous big-name companies have aligned themselves against the bill, including AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Zynga. (more…)

GameDay Signs

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Continuing the day of coverage, I thought I’d share some of my favorite signs.  “Oregon-ized Crime Doesn’t Pay.”   “Say No to Quack!”  “I Like My Duck Confit.” “I Had A Smart and Clever Sign But Oregon Fans Wouldn’t Get It.”   There are tons of great ones, so if I didn’t mention yours doesn’t mean it isn’t fantastic.  Share your faves in the comments!

College GameDay = Crazy

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Hey y’all, Sasha here to update you on the ESPN GameDay madness. And madness is exactly what it is. On the plus side, Stanford students have showed up in mass. On the not-so-plus side, about a thousand of them cut in front of me in line…. On the plus side, I have a press pass sooooo it really doesn’t matter.  On the not-so-plus side, for  all of you who showed up bright and early at 4 AM only to not even get into the Pit, life sucks sometimes.  Also on the not-so-plus side, how could GameDay not foresee the massive problem that is people cutting in line?  Unclear.  Back on the plus side, the Pit is filled.  On the not-so-plus side, it took them long enough.  For a little while I thought this might be the first GameDay in which the Pit wasn’t filled…because GameDay took too long letting people in.   But all is bright and shiny now.  So be at peace Stanford fans.  College GameDay is here for the very first time.  We are going to beat Oregon to a pulp later on (fingers crossed).  And we go to STANFORD.  Life is good.  Want more updates?  I am here with one of our very own (Stanford-wise and TUSB-wise) who is tweeting for Scout.com.   Follow him @ksawhney1. And keep checking for more updates!

 

Contest EXTENDED and Cool Blog Content

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

My personal favorite.

Greetings, cyberspace!

Haiku Contest:

Just wanted to let you know that because we want to maximize students’ opportunity for creative self-expression, we’re extending the deadline of our Stanford Haiku Contest to next Friday, October 28th.  (Mau2011eum-induced entries will undoubtedly prove hilarious.)  Many thanks to those of you who’ve already submitted – feel free to submit more entries (by commenting here or on the original post) to increase your chance for Ike’s deliciousness!

The Unofficial Stanford Guide:

Whether or not you’re a freshman, the TUSB-provided content in this year’s Unofficial Guide gives an excellent overview of how to maximize your time here on the Farm.  Didn’t get a copy when you moved in?  The new Guide is also offered in full online here!

Suggestions?  Questions?  Interpretive dances?

Email us at stanfordblogging@gmail.com!  We work hard to provide content that’s interesting and informative for the Stanford student body, so let us know how we’re doing!

Go Cardinal!

The Day Before

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

On the way to Stanford.

The rusted grass on the side of the road looked familiar, as if it had scratched the backs of my legs in a dream years ago. And the brush I must have run through, red powdery flowers staining my fingers as I scraped past—but it was too real to have been a dream. I’d traveled this road before (the car crawling up the highway) and I used to imagine my hands trailing on the road as we blew past the rolling hills of rusted grass and red-stained brush. They’d blister, like the sun on the roof of our car.

It’s hard for me to imagine just how big the great state of California is and in comparison the smallness of my town, my house, my microscopic room… and I had to leave my little niche in the world, the place I’d carved out. And yet, I realize that my parents cut out a piece of the world and set me in, let me grow bigger, helped me make that space my own as I grew into myself. I know that I’ve outgrown that cave. My head scrapes the ceiling, my legs press against the hard rock.

My pianoI ran my hands over the painted walls of the house, felt the creaking hard wood that screamed to the world I was awake at midnight on those endless Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Goodbye. I caressed the ivory keys of my piano next and mourned the end of my physical ownership of it—it will always be my parent’s piano now, the piano of my childhood, the piano I play when I go home… but never mine. The piano of Liszt and Beethoven and Turina and Debussy and even Bill Boyd (my favorite composer during those early years) is no longer mine, for I’m off to caress other keys, make other connections. But memories are just as solid as real things, if not more so; their heartbeats can be stronger than our own. Wait: I stand corrected. Emotional memories. The way it felt. The way it will always feel. (more…)

The Time Has Come….

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Great sports come from happy Trees. Happy Trees come from California.

the Walrus said,

“To blog of many things.

“Of classes, dorms and making friends

“Of packing many things

“Of why the 650 is hot and how to spread your wings.”

~

The big, crazy packing list has gone out to the incoming freshman class.  And if I know anything about the pre-college prep process, this means they’re freaking out because they don’t know how to sign up for classes, when to sign up for classes, what to pack, who their roommates will be, or how to do their laundry.

Have no fear, fif-TEEN!!  TUSB is here to answer all of your burning questions.  From now up until the first day of class, the few, the proud, and the bloggily-inclined shall step forth to save the freshies in distress and prepare them for the first of the best four years of their lives!

With topics as diverse as crazy Stanford acronyms, decorating tips, and been-there-done-that pointers from the older and wiser, we hope to sate the Stanford appetites of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  If you’re an incoming freshman, feel free to comment below with topics you’re interested in, and we’ll do our best to cater to all your questions.  In the meantime, have a fantastic summer!

the TUSB Staff

In Memoriam

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

STANFORD, Calif. (TUSB) — Between the hours of 7:00 and 8:00 pm (PST) Wednesday, a skateboard was taken from the planter outside of the HumBio building. A devastated me was seen shortly thereafter, frantically combing the Quad and, fruitless in my search, interrogating the only witnesses—squirrels—as to the whereabouts of my beloved primary mode of transportation. The squirrels could not be reached for comment. Because they scampered up a tree and I can’t jump very high.

So I dealt with my crushing loss the only way I knew how: I showered, ate some ice cream, and blogged, pure anger and mourning coursing through my fingers and onto my keyboard. Naturally, I have a few things to say.

To my skateboard:

The pain in my feet from having to walk everywhere will be a testament to your pivotal roll in my life. Without you, I have lost all my bearings; I feel like I no longer have a grip-tape on my emotions. I feel as if a truck has split my heart right in half-pipe. I am kicking myself for having pushed you away. But now, I have to go on with my life, without you in it: back to the grind. This is my last tribute to you, skateboard. You were taken from me much too soon.

To the reader:

Why do we react so strongly to having something stolen from us? Surely there is an evolutionary reason why we feel so passionately connected to our possessions; they are essentially extensions of ourselves. This idea of “ownership” certainly came in handy for the survival of early man: I imagine a similar scenario in the wild, in which man, having just descended from the trees, finds that his log-board had been stolen, even though he had only gone up the tree to get a banana for like 10 minutes.

Diego likes his meat rare. And running away from him.

Back then, it would have been totally acceptable to hunt the wretched pilferer down, drag him back to the cave by his hair and present his hairy pink behind to a pet sabre-toothed tiger.

Unfortunately, society today frowns upon that sort of thing.

To the person that took it, if you’re reading this (though I highly doubt you are because you’re either an asinine illiterate poopy head or an equally-as-illiterate squirrel):

I pity you. To steal is to give up on being a productive member of society, to completely disregard the moral law that has been set in stone since the aforementioned banana-eating, tree-climbing, sabre-toothed-tiger-owning caveman. Also, congratulations, you’ve stolen my birthday present from my parents. If you can’t find it in your heart (or lack thereof) to return it, at least do me the honor of riding it well, and often, instead of selling it for parts or something. This one’s for you, douchebag.

To either of the thief’s two friends (one of which is surely his right hand), if you’re reading this:

Actually. . . Maybe it WAS the tights?

I’m not advocating vigilante justice or anything, but let’s just say that Batman wasn’t a hero because of his tights.

To anyone who has ever had something stolen from them, if you’re reading this:

This article is for you, in memory of every one of your stolen bikes, MacBooks, credit cards and innocences. I feel your pain.

To my prodigal skateboard, if you’re reading this:

Holy crap, you’re sentient. Regardless, come back to me.

R.I.P. Skateboard. Aug. 18, 2010—Mar. 30, 2011

I miss you.

Be a Part of TUSB! Come to Our Open Info Session Tomorrow (Weds.) 1/5

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

By now, the thought has crossed your mind: wouldn’t I be more intelligent and attractive if I were not only a reader but a contributor to The Unofficial Stanford Blog? Well, here’s your opportunity to find out more about how TUSB works, the people who run the show, and different ways to get involved. Or, if you just want free stuff, there will be snacks available, gratis.

The info:
What: TUSB Open Info Session
When: Wednesday, January 5. 8:30 pm.
Where: Old Union Room 216

Bring your friends!

Email us at stanfordblogging@gmail.com with any questions. Hope to see you there!

A Response to The Outbreak of IFS: Taking the High Road

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

The Internet is an extraordinarily powerful tool, and one that has completely retooled the mechanisms of personal expression. Here on TUSB, it allows any student to join the campus and worldwide discussion. Free speech works most powerfully when all ideas are able to be brought to the fore, which is also why we have a “comments” section on articles to foster discussion. We began TUSB with a mind to encourage students to write about topics on which they feel strongly, regardless of whether they are critical, laudatory, or somewhere in between. Many times, important and justified criticism (or, for that matter, praise) can not only open up the discussion but actively work towards fixing the problems at stake. See Jon Stewart’s brilliant, impassioned segment on the Zadroga Bill that undoubtedly had a powerful influence on the bill’s recent passage.

But there is one problem: allowing for greater expression also results in expression that is not constructive. Perceived anonymity causes people to forget that they are, in fact, humans [for a great read on the topic, try Stanford Professor Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, chpt. 13] and engage in oft-egregiously obnoxious ways.

On the Web, this is called “Internet Fuckwad Syndrome.” See graphic.

At TUSB, we do not allow anonymous posting, but we do allow anonymous commenting, as outlined in our f.a.q. (which, to be fair, I wrote). As a result, we sometimes receive inflammatory ad hominem attacks in the comments section. If there’s a slightly more controversial article, there is the chance that the errant malevolent comment could incite a deluge of similar comments, resulting in what the CDC would label a “full IFS pandemic.” As TUSB became (and continues to become) more popular, it was only a matter of time before this happened.

(more…)

And the winner is…

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Sophomore Jonathan P.’s awesome procrastination nation picture received the most reader votes. He will receive the last of our much sought after Amazon.com gift cards. The photo was taken with his new ultra-wide lens and came out beautifully. Jonathan’s best procrastination advice: lie down, close your eyes and listen to Pandora for a while. You’ll either get a much needed nap or gain energy from simply relaxing for a few minutes.

Keep an eye out for upcoming TUSB contests! Thanks to all who sent in submissions and voted.

TUSB Photo Contest Winners – Vote!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Congratulations to Joshua W., the staff-selected winner of TUSB’s Procrastination Nation photo contest! Joshua is a freshman who enjoys praising God and dabbles in online shopping, late-night eating, and singing obnoxiously. His best tip for procrastination: do something active! He snapped this photo on the roof of Durand while putting off writing a PWR paper.

Because we got so many fantastic submissions, we had a little trouble deciding on a second winner. That’s where you come in. Take a look at the photos below and vote for your favorite! There’s still one last Amazon gift card at stake.

Napping on a tree branch

Aiming a water gun threateningly

Playing around with an iPhone

Which photo deserves to win?

View Results

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Pasadena-Bound?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
2011 Rose Bowl

(Image via Wikipedia)

[This post originally appeared on DailyAxe.com]

In the spirit of a new month and an updated Power Rankings that received a lot of positive reader feedback, today we’re reconsidering another all-time Reader Favorite, “The Rose Bowl Dilemma”. With the Card’s shutout victory in Seattle last Saturday and a big game coming up this weekend against #13 Arizona, Stanford fans are once again dreaming big about what might become of the 2010 Cardinal football campaign. And when PAC-10 fans (and Big Ten fans, for that matter) dream big about football, the Rose Bowl is almost always involved.

Stanford has a shot to play in Pasadena, but that shot seems to be decreasing in probability. Understand premise 1: Stanford must win out. The Cardinal would have almost no opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl if they don’t win every remaining game. (more…)

Daily Axe Preview: Stanford-Washington

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
jakelocker

Jake Locker's health is a key to Saturday's game. (Image by avinashkunnath via Flickr)

Washington comes into this weekend’s game at 3-4 and a pedestrian 2-2 in the PAC-10. The Huskies have suffered embarrassing losses to Nebraska (56-21), Arizona (44-14), and a BYU team that we now know is terrible. But Washington’s 2010 campaign has also included close wins at USC and against Oregon State in double overtime two weeks ago. The Huskies have a great home field advantage at Husky Stadium in Seattle–they’re averaging nearly 67,000 fans per game— but are just 2-2 at home so far. And their win-loss history is not a predictable product of their opponents: the Huskies should have beaten BYU and lost to Oregon State. So what’s up with UW?

Jake Locker. The performance of the Huskies’s star senior quarterback is an incredibly reliable predictor of success. When Locker throws for more than 270 yards, the Huskies win. When he doesn’t, they lose. Locker’s passer rating also flawlessly indicates whether UW wins or loses: when his rating tops 124, Washington wins. Locker’s completion percentage is only slightly less telling of how successful the entire team will be on a given Saturday. With the exception of the loss to Arizona State on October 9, the Huskies have won every game in which Locker has completed at least 60% of his passes. (more…)

It Must Have Been the Hair

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Butch couldn't get it done on Saturday. (Image via Flickr)

Let’s face it: the final score of today’s Stanford-Washington State football game was just a tad (read: sarcasm) surprising. Stanford was a 34-point favorite, it’s Homecoming Weekend, and Washington State hasn’t defeated an FBS opponent this season. So casual fans who look up the final result and see 38-28 Cardinal will most likely be taken aback. But what happened?

I offer two theories:

Theory 1: Sekope Kaufusi

Who’s Sekope Kaufusi, you ask? Good question. He’s a 6′ 3″, 236-pound, Redwood City-raised linebacker for the Cougars. He didn’t make enough tackles to even appear on the Stanford Press Relations stat sheet. He’s a member of a defense that let Stanford accumulate 28 first downs, 439 yards, and 38 points. But Sekope Kaufusi just might explain the unexpected closeness of this afternoon’s game.

In the often strange world of collegiate athletics, little things can often make the pregame underdog the postgame victor. Remember the 2006 George Mason run to the Final Four, which started when a nut punch galvanized the Patriots and inspired them to keep outplaying themselves? Remember when the 2007 Appalachian State Mountaineers beat #5 Michigan in Ann Arbor for absolutely no reason? What I–and I think nearly everyone else–love about college sports is their unpredictability and amateur athletes’ susceptibility to be influenced by the most seemingly trivial factors.

And that’s exactly why Sekope Kaufusi may have given his team the boost they needed to finish within 10 points of the heavily favored and clearly superior Stanford Cardinal. (more…)

TUSB Contest: Procrastination Nation

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

It’s midterm season. We all know that stress in high volumes quite often leads to madness, frustration, and, most of all, procrastination. You’re probably procrastinating right now. Sometimes it’s necessary just to keep us from losing our minds. At TUSB, we are happy to offer you the chance to benefit from your time-wasting activities.

Photo from http://www.refinery29.com/cool-camera-straps-fashion-forward.php

In the Unofficial’s second official contest, we’d like you to share your most anti-productive moments with us! Snap a photo of procrastination at its finest, send it to us at stanfordblogging@gmail.com, and get the chance to win a $25 Amazon.com gift card. The deadline is November 13th at midnight. Two winners will be selected and each will receive a gift card, as well as the prestige associated with winning a TUSB contest.

To make a short story shorter:

  • Take a picture of your best (or worst?) procrastination
  • Send it to stanfordblogging@gmail.com
  • Deadline: November 13th at midnight
  • Get the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Happy procrastinating!