Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

At the elite colleges - dim white kids

Education has been called the key to upward social mobility. It's the great equalizer. If you're smart enough, you can do anything; regardless of money.

For a number of students, they're being denied the opportunity to enter college due to less qualified students being chosen over them. Who are these less qualified admittees? No, it's not minorities due to affirmative action. It's kids who are often being offered second chances despite being wealthy and connected young people who have squandered many of the advantages life has offered them.

Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America's highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions' minimum admissions standards.

This means opportunities lost for those who at every turn in their youth have had the harder row to hoe, despite that are succeeding, and are just looking for their first break. Sad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

99 Years of Cubs Losses

For all you Cub fans out there... In honor of the World Series you're not a part of:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did You Know?

Begun as a Powerpoint presentation to their fellow teachers at a Colorado high school in 2006, this information-filled video by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod has taken the web by storm. The second generation version reminds us of just how much information is available out there for us and what that means for the future.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Staying Frugal

20-somethings in America today on average spend 16 percent more than they make and have run up a household average of $4,538 in credit card debt. That does not paint a pretty financial picture. It seems obvious there is a lack of basic financial knowledge amongst this segment of society. That sets up a scary future for our counterparts, one in which bankrupcy, financial failure, and overwhelming financial stress are commonplace.

That is why I found this article on doing our best, even as young people, to live frugally good. We do our best to keep our own household one that lives and spends responsibly. An article like this serves as a helpful reminder to keep at it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kim Jong Il is master of the Internets

It would not be good for me to fail to point out that the most achieved man alive today, has now again made it clear that he is awesome.

Kim Jong Il, ruler of North Korea, clarified for us this week that he is an Internet guru. Along with his many other masterful accomplishments, Mr. Jong Il noted,

I'm an Internet expert too.

Indeed you are. Indeed you are. And again, thank you for reminding me of fond memories of times spent admiring your many triumphs. We all aspire to be the master of intellect and sport that you are. And if we have any tech questions, we'll send them your way.

Monday, October 08, 2007

God Don't Make No Junk

In 7th grade, the first year of school sponsored organized basketball in Minnesota, it was the night before basketball practice was set to begin at 6:30 AM. Needless to say, I was excited (thinking of not much else). I felt like I was all grown up and I was ready to prove I was a baller.
Unfortunately as that day prior passed, it grew more difficult to focus. What was this? I was coming down with the flu!? The night before basketball was to begin? Why oh why? It wasn't fair. I tried to play it off as nothing. "Was something wrong?" my parents asked. "Just feeling a little queasy..." I said.

Soon even that sentiment passed. Something was really wrong. I was in some serious pain. It felt like not only was I weak and nauseous, but a knife was stuck in my lower right side. The pain became quite bad. It soon was obvious even to my parents that this wasn't the normal run of the mill flu. To the hospital we went.

For anyone who has been similarly afflicted, it probably isn't a surprise that the diagnosis was quick (after some painful jabs by the doctor to confirm that yes, it really did hurt very badly on my lower right side). I had appendicitis. I needed to immediately have my appendix removed. And really, we had waited too long. My appendix was about to burst, and if that happened, it could be life-threatening.

So I had my appendix taken out. And for a week, while my future teammates practiced for the first times, I lay in the hospital recovering. I actually didn't mind the hospital stay too much as I got to read and watch TV (we didn't have one) as much as I wanted. I was fine, but I didn't like missing the basketball.

It was small consolation that I was reassured the appendix was of little use anyway--it was purposeless. But still, it was nice to know it wasn't something I needed anyway.

Now, though, that consolation has been shattered. Scientists seem to have found the purpose of the appendix.

The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most are good and help digest food.

But sometimes the flora of bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case.

Really, it makes sense. It would be surprising to have a body part that is truly purposeless. One scientist notes,

I'll bet eventually we'll find the same sort of thing with the tonsils.

While the appendix is less needed today in an era of fewer diseases and mass plagues, it may be still used frequently, especially in the Third World.

Me, though? I had better not be needing it. As a friend forwarding me the article noted, I better hope I don't come down with cholera.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Just Getting Started

I suppose now it's official. After knocking off Wisconsin and upping their record to 5-1, the Illini are one of the "surprise" teams of this college football season.

While hindsight is 20/20, what the Illini have done so far shouldn't come as a big surprise*. After all, Zook has brought in back-to-back elite recruiting classes, and last year we saw this team make strides in terms of competitiveness. Furthermore, we knew going into this season that the Big Ten would be down. Heck, after the bowl games last year one has to wonder if the Big Ten had ever really been "up."

Prior to the season, the biggest question mark in my mind with the Illini was their relative lack of experience. However, this team has rebounded quite nicely from a tough loss to Mizzou in the opener, and they're getting more experienced each week.

Next week the Illini are at Iowa, and honestly, that's a game we should win. The week after is when things get really interesting as Michigan comes to town. We'll see how that goes. It's been a long time since the Illini have beaten Michigan in Champaign. As far as I'm concerned, it's been too long... I'm guessing that Ron Zook will tell the guys the same thing...

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Zook was right to call next week a "big game." Anytime you go on the road in the Big Ten, you've got to take things seriously or else risk an embarrassment. In order to prepare better for Iowa, perhaps one day during practice this week Zook should wear a pink tutu?

Seriously, come Saturday that shock tactic could make the difference for the Illini at Kinnick Stadium...

* For what it's worth, I might as well take this opportunity to point out that I was the only person in the pre-season who picked the Illini to win 8+ games in Chairman Gau's poll. Oskee Wow Wow!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Too tired to blog

Wow... this is a first. I had a blog planned out for tonight but I became too tired to finish.

I guess work has really been work lately.