Archive for the ‘Email’ Category

Memes and Extremes: ASSU Judgement Day

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

This article is a response to Kristi.

Everyone has their quirks, especially here at Stanford, where high achievement is often the result of hyperorganization and highly developed time management and planning skills. Where Stewart MacGregor-Dennis differs from most students is that he posts his thinking online for all of Stanford to see. This can make him a target, but it also means that you know the candidate you are voting for. Spending his personal money on maintaining his social media (if you look through his ODesk account, he has only spent about $50 services related to his campaign) doesn’t seem to be an issue pertinent to his ability to be President.  And in the end, it’s all transparent: everyone can see his likes, twitter followers, and ODesk account. Why is the most controversial issue in this campaign the idea that a candidate might actually try to maximize his social media footprint? Some tactics may have been misguided, but to claim Stewart is unethical or that he was trying to dupe the student body is laughable. We all know how the internet works: things that get liked or followed get more likes or followers. But everyone can still see who is liking and following what.

Stewart MacGregor Dennis and Druthi Ghanta

The current attacks on Stewart aren’t focused on his experience, or his platform. They don’t critique the things he has done working for the ASSU, and they don’t question his plans for the coming year.  Instead, they focus primarily on his personal life. This isn’t problematic in and of itself—politicians open themselves up to scrutiny by the public. Stewart, perhaps more than any other student at Stanford, lives his life with transparency.

Much has been made of the infamous 40 page life plan, his propensity for mind mapping, and his active tweeting. These are all ways in which Stewart has combined the private and public spheres of his life. This is quirky, and it’s easy to look at a 40 page life plan and crack jokes (you have, after all, forty pages of material to work with). However, the things that look eccentric in Stewart’s personal life are the things that make his successful in Stanford student government. Life plans, mind maps—all of these are indicative of a strong vision and a passion for organization.

The ASSU needs a President that can keep track of it’s  its over 650 student groups, the over 40 university committees with student representation, and branches of government like the SSE, SSD, Undergraduate Senate, and Graduate Student Council. And if it takes a thousand mind maps to make it happen, then that’s what it takes. Next year, I want Axess to be improved and upgraded further (a la SimpleEnroll), co-hosting small grants for students groups, and affordable summer storage for students and student groups. These things affect Stanford far more than a few unwanted emails or the number likes on a Facebook status ever will.

Vote for the candidates whose platform you support on April 12 at  

Update: This is Rachel Rose. This article was posted to my personal Facebook, but thanks Adam for the reminder to be clear for those not on Facebook.

Keep it civil, please

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

DeLong's email attacking SMD

Dan Ashton is the current deputy chair of the ASSU Senate.

Mudslinging began in the ASSU Presidential race even before TUSB could blog about the race.

In the included email to students, Daniel DeLong personally attacked current ASSU Vice-President Stewart MacGregor-Dennis when discussing an unbiased event for the upcoming elections.

The context makes it worse: DeLong and SMD are probably running against each other next year.* The attack was, in effect, a negative campaign message.

An apology was issued by DeLong later the same day, saying that he never wished to “tarnish the reputation” of SMD.

[EDIT: removed additional commentary about the apology]

I hope everyone remembers that in a STUDENT Government, student body unification — not divisiveness — is the ultimate goal.

As a result, I really hope this is the last personal attack we see.

The Great Mailing List Fail of 2011 (Updated)

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

After today, five minutes of all training sessions for Stanford administrative staff will be devoted to instructing people on the proper way to communicate information to students. That is, NEVER ADD THEM TO ONE GIANT MAILING LIST THAT THEY CAN SEND EMAILS TO. They will figure this out, they’re Stanford students.

At 5:20PM, all 6000+ students of Stanford’s undergraduate population found themselves added to the ugres_rcfs mailing list (which is officially the distribution list for Student Housing Undergraduate Room Condition Forms). The first email from the list was a repeat of a police report that had been issued last night, probably from the list’s administrator. Within minutes, people started asking the entire membership of the mailing list questions about the list, sparking several message threads of increasing confusion, rage, and diabolical glee.


USC Fraternity Email goes Viral

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Our Kappa Sigs aren't the only ones who've hit a rough patch

I was sitting at Stern Dining last night in an attempt to keep myself awake to study. That location is a pretty mixed bag when it comes to people working quietly, laughing with their friends, or just grabbing a bite to eat from The Dish. Last night was one of the particularly noisier times and one subject repeatedly surfaced amongst different groups. I first noticed a rather obnoxious animated group of freshmen boys behind me gather around a laptop, laughing about some “hilarious” email that got leaked at USC. A few minutes later, the girls at a table to my left started talking about a link shared on Facebook about USC’s chapter of Kappa Sigma being under investigation. It came full circle when the friend I was sitting with read aloud from one of the most vile and offensive emails I’ve had the displeasure of seeing.

The intent of the email, reportedly sent by an unidentified member of the fraternity, was to start a “Gullet Report” about which girls are most willing to have sex and which brothers are getting the most action. One of the earliest lines in the email reads:

Note: I will refer to females as “targets”. They aren’t actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless.”

And it just gets worse and worse from there. The author runs down a list of key terms, describing different types of “pie” (vaginas) and the various methods to be utilized to “take down” certain targets. One such example is the Loop n’ Doop: (more…)

Spokeo knows your secrets – or does it?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

So, if you haven’t heard, is a new website that aggregates your online data. At this point, I’ve personally been sent messages on Facebook and through multiple chat lists. But back to the main topic – in layman’s terms, Spokeo is an online phonebook that tells anyone who looks up your name where you live, your phone number, etc. Yet that comes with a big if. Many web users, when they hear of the site, have a moment of panic. Anyone in the world can find out where I live? They have a picture of my house from Google Maps? This is horrifying!

John Doe might be the generic character that no one can identify, but Spokeo can find him. And the 15,918 who also share his name online.

Except, it isn’t. The first time I looked myself up on Spokeo, I could barely find anything. Yes – my name and email address exist on the web, but I didn’t dig up anything damaging or security-threatening. Although people are worried about their privacy, Spokeo is an aggregator meaning it only collects what’s already out there. That means if Spokeo is somehow able to post your address, and phone number, that means you’ve stored private information somewhere public. Meaning, that it’s not thanks to Spokeo that everyone can find out information about your life – it’s thanks to you.

So the first step in dealing with Spokeo is really simple: take your page off of the web. While Spokeo is a little bit creepier, because it gathers all the information together, it’s really not that much different from Googling yourself (which I advise all of you to do). After you get rid of your Spokeo page, the next step is to actually make sure that information you would prefer to be private is actually inaccessible! I admit to putting too much of myself out there in the heydays of Myspace and when I first got a Facebook but  it’s different now.

In recent times, people are worrying more and more about internet privacy. With aggregator sites like Spokeo, PiplIntelius, and more (no, Spokeo was not even close to being the first site) the first step in protecting your identity online falls in your own hands. So please stop freaking out about Spokeo. I can’t say anything about  the information that can be bought (although some of the websites listed above claim that its for the most part inaccurate), but the way  people conduct themselves online is the main issue here. We’re not victims. If you want to protect your privacy, do it.

You are Too Intoxicated to Post Right Now

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

So you had a drink or several on Saturday night. They not only made you a remarkably better dancer, but also gave you a whole slew of ingenious ideas. Your girlfriend dumped you last week? Now is a fantastic time to send her an email. Have a crappy boss? Update your Facebook status to let the world know about it.

Hindsight’s twenty-twenty, and the next day these great ideas may come back to bite you in the ass. Thinking along this line, Webroot, a web security company, just came out with “The Social Media Sobriety Test”. According to them, “Nothing good happens online after 1AM”.

The plug-in would require you to pass a series of sobriety tests before gaining access to certain sites. The tests mimic those administered by the police: spelling the alphabet backwards and following a finger as it moves around on the screen. The plug-in can be customized to run for social media sites and email during your likeliest times of intoxication. If you’d rather not end up on Failbook, you can set it up for Facebook login. If you fail the test, the site will make a post for you (e.g. “John Doe is too intoxicated to post right now”). It doesn’t work on phones, so you’re on your own when it comes to drunk dialing/texting. (more…)

Another Stanford Labor Issue–Was a Stanford Janitor Fired for Charging Her Cell Phone?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

karina_reyes.jpgOn the email circuits right now: a petition against ABM (Janitorial Services Company) for allegedly firing Terman Engineering center janitor Karina Reyes for charging her cell phone on a University computer.
The petition description reads:
Karina worked at Stanford through ABM, a janitorial subcontractor. While cleaning offices, Karina connected her cell phone to a Stanford computer to charge. ABM suspended and then fired her for touching the computer, claiming that Stanford had requested this. However, Stanford says that it never asked for her dismissal. Moreover, the owner of the computer asked that Karina not be fired. Karina is taking her case to a federal mediator on February 10, but this is no guarantee that she will get her job back. Please sign our petition and tell ABM and Stanford that ABM’s actions were disproportionate and that Karina should keep her job.
Can these accusations be true? If so, the firing of Reyes (who claims to have an unblemished record) for simply charging her cell phone is horrifying. Unfortunately, SLAC’s previous fights for any sort of fair labor have been met with heavy resistance, and so we can only speculate as to what will happen here.

Fixing Bikes to Fix Haiti

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

bicycle_repair_man.jpgTimothy Tam ’12 has found a particularly Stanford–and very effective–way of raising money for the Haitian earthquake victims: fixing people’s bikes for cheap and giving all of the proceeds to UNICEF. A member of the cycling team, Tam is offering $5 basic repairs (way cheaper than the campus bike store) plus discounted parts and giving the profits to Haiti.
Tam, who does not appear to have any relation to the cookie, writes:
I’ll be charging $5 for basic repairs ie. lubing chains, tightening brakes and $10 for more time consuming jobs like fixing flats and adjusting gear shifters. If you need any specific part for your bike ie. bike lights, helmets etc., I can help you out with that too as the Menlo Velo bike store on El Camino has agreed to supply parts at a lower price for this cause. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail at if you’d like me to have a look at your bike or have any other questions.
Think of it as the anti-bake sale: donate a little money to do your exercise, not to have to work it off.
And yes, that is a picture of the Monty Python character ‘Bicycle Repair Man,’ flanked by nerdy-looking superheroes.

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Unfulfillment and SMIF

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Two emails have been making the circuits lately, and both highlight interesting aspects of the Stanford community/experience.
The first is an invitation to an event with that intends to address the 1 in 4 depression rate at Stanford by “just good old venting and problem-solving” by those feeling the effects of an inexplicable drear just below the surface of each day. Thursday, November 12 at 9:00 pm in Old Union 216C. (See below for the complete email and my brief opinion).
The second is certainly more frivolous. It’s a blog in the vein of FML where the catch phrase has been altered to: SMIF (Saving Money Is Fun!). The blog is the project of the ASES frosh intern team (whatever that is) and was designed to compete in the Global Innovation Tournament, which asks its entrants to find innovative ways to making saving money fun. SMIF Blog
(Read more below the jump)