Category: Scott Eisenhart (page 1 of 4)

Is Some Internet Better Than No Internet?

As an American, I enjoy many rights. When you think about these rights, you probably jump straight to those mentioned in the Constitution, or the famous rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in the Declaration of Independence. But in the twenty-first century, do people have the right to Internet access? Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, and his latest project is addressing this topic.

The creation, entitled Internet.org, aims to “connect the two-thirds of the world that don’t have Internet access”, according to the website’s “About” section. A BBC article reports that the site would utilize a “zero-rating” policy, where telecommunications providers do not pass on the costs of handling data traffic onto the consumer. This process is not the same here in the U.S., and this policy would allow for hundreds of millions of poorer people in developing countries who have no Internet access at all to finally be able to connect.

Critics of this practice argue that it limits the amount of competition present on the site. Telecommunications providers that can’t afford to not pass data traffic costs onto consumers would be unable to access Internet.org. Zuckerberg’s response to these criticisms is that, “if someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have access than none at all.”

I would like to take a moment to reflect on this statement. The concept of the Digital Divide – or the gap between those who can afford to and have Internet access, and those who cannot afford it and do not have access – has been a topic that has been discussed a lot in my Digital Technology & Politics course. For me, this issue seems to be a no-brainer; in today’s day and age, Internet accessibility is increasingly becoming a right that everybody deserves to have. So many of the opportunities that I have would not be possible with the Internet. My college education would be poor because I wouldn’t have the ability to research topics or find information that I had questions about. I would be unable to vote because as an out-of-state college student, I am unable to get to my polling place on Election Day, and so I rely on the absentee ballot (whose application is, you guessed it, online). And finally, I would be unable to stay in touch with my family. The Internet allows me to share my life’s musings with those that I love, both across the United States as well as my relatives around the world. The Internet allows me to exercise my other rights, and I believe that this should not be an exclusive club that only a fraction of the world is able to enjoy.

But, the Internet access that I enjoy, and the Internet access that Internet.org will bring, are two different Internets. I can fortunately afford to access all of the Internet’s websites. Internet.org will only allow users to connect with sites that have the ability to not pass any costs onto the consumer. The number of sites that have the means to do this are very small, and I ask myself: is some access better than no access?

I’m going to end up agreeing with Zuckerberg on this. While it is not a perfect situation, millions of people will be able to tap into more of the Internet than they currently can. Additionally, as more time passes, more and more sites will have the ability and the resources to not have to pass any costs onto the users, which will allow more sites to join Internet.org.

I can confidently say that the Internet has influenced by life for the better. So many opportunities that I have had would not have been possible without the Internet, and I cannot wait to see what new comes from it. Innovations such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org will allow more people to exercise their inherent right to have access to all that the Internet has to offer. A right that, I believe, is absolutely essential to have in a twenty-first century world.

~Scott Eisenhart

Why You Should Embrace The Madness

With winter slowly giving way to the approaching spring, arguably the greatest period in sports has finally come upon us. I am of course referring to March Madness, the colloquial term for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament.

The tournament is a series of 64 single-elimination games played between the best college teams in the nation. The results of each game are displayed by using a bracket, and each year millions of Americans attempt to correctly guess the results of each game in order to achieve the milestone of having “the perfect bracket”. There is no official record of anybody ever having a perfect bracket, but this does not stop people from trying anyway.

In 2012, a math professor from DePaul University concluded that the odds of a perfect bracket were about 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,755,808 (1 in 9.2 quintillion). Just for comparison, you have a 1 in 250,000 chance of getting killed by a meteorite, 1 in 175 million chance of winning the Powerball lottery, and 1 in 700,000 chance of being hit by lightning. The chances of a perfect bracket are so low that last year, businessman Warren Buffet offered $1 billion to anyone that successfully picked a perfect bracket (needless to say, he didn’t have to pay out). Assuming that you are a normal, rational person, you may see these odds and decide to not even try to fill out a bracket. Well, I am here to tell you that you can still do so, and you definitely do not need to be a college basketball guru to be successful with your bracket!

There really is no correct way for picking your teams in your bracket. Sure, you can do your research, find out which teams have the best records, and fill your bracket out that way, but March Madness is known for its upsets and unfamiliar teams going on Cinderella runs. Because of its unpredictable nature, anybody and everybody is equally qualified to fill out a bracket!

Some methods that people have used to fill out their brackets are: most bizarre mascot, prettiest uniforms, colleges that family or friends attended, familiar colleges, or just blind picks.

Unfortunately, UD will not be partaking in this year’s tournament after losing in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. The team that is most likely to win it all this year in the University of Kentucky, which has an astonishing record of 34 wins and 0 losses in the regular season. The Kentucky Wildcats are looking to be the first team to go unbeaten in the regular season and win the March Madness tournament since the Indiana University Hoosiers in the 1975-1976 season.

Whether you are a serious fan who is looking to win big, or a casual fan who wants a friendly competition with coworkers or peers, the insanity that is March Madness is for anybody and everybody! So, pick your teams, sit back, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

~Scott Eisenhart

The Simultaneously Best and Worst Time of the Year

Ah, December.  The twelfth and final month of the year.  We’ve been through a lot this year, and it’s hard to imagine that in a few short weeks, we’re going to start over again.

For me, December is both my favorite time of the year, as well as one of my least favorite times.  How, you might ask?  I thought you’d like to know, so here it goes.

For one, my birthday is in December!  And fortunately, I am still young enough to be excited as I age (now in a few years, that’ll probably change).  I always look forward to the day that I came into this world, and I always celebrate in two ways.  One, I always have a get-together with my close friends that I care deeply about, and I also stare at my Facebook timeline as hundreds of my “friends” wish me happy birthday.

December is also known as the holiday month.  I personally celebrate Christmas, and during this month my thoughts are filled with sugar plum fairies dancing around in my head.  I like being able to take time out of my busy schedule and spend time with my family giving gifts and showing my appreciation for all that they do for me.  Besides Christmas, there is also Chanukah/Hanukah (however you choose to spell it), Kwanzaa, and for my British/Commonwealth friends, there’s Boxing Day as well.  Oh, and you can’t forget the New Year celebrations!

Yes, December is a lovely time of year with many good aspects.  However, there are also some sad things about December.  It is the month of finals, as thousands of college students across the country spend their days and nights cramming as much information into their brains as possible.  And after all of the final exams, everybody packs their belongings and heads home until the spring semester (which, for UD, doesn’t begin until early February).  I don’t like this part of December because I have to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people that I have gotten to know at college.

So as you can see, December has both positive and negative attributes, in my opinion.  But like it or not, time always continues on!

Whether you like it or not, December is here to stay (at least for 31 days)

Whether you like it or not, December is here to stay (at least for 31 days)

~Scott Eisenhart

Eat, Sleep, Drink, and Other Tips to Stay Healthy

Recently, America has been obsessed with news about Ebola, the West African virus that has taken close to 5,000 lives this year.  Several American healthcare workers have contracted the virus, and much of the nation’s focus is on preventing its spread.  However, in all seriousness, the chance of a major Ebola outbreak in the United States is pretty slim.  Americans are much more likely to be stricken by other, milder illnesses.  With that in mind, here are ten things that you can do to help defend yourself against illness.  Sure, they don’t sound like rocket science, but you would be very surprised at how many people fail to do these (and a point of clarification: I am not a doctor)

1)    Limit the amount of things you touch: Germs can and do live on every surface, so the more objects you touch, the more germs you come into contact with.  There are many opportunities for people to limit the amount of things they touch.  For instance, flush the toilet with your foot instead of your hands, or open bathroom doors with a paper towel instead of your hands.

2)    Drink plenty of water: While it is the time of the year for pumpkin spice lattes, consider drinking water instead.  Not only is staying hydrated a necessity, but water also helps to flush out any toxins in the body.

3)    Sleep: Probably one of the most difficult things for college students, sleep is very important for preventing illness because it allows for your immune system to recharge.  Additionally, if you do fall ill, your immune system works predominantly when you are asleep.

4)    Wash your hands: You have heard it since you were a baby, and yet I personally know many people who do not wash their hands…even after using the bathroom.  I feel extremely confident when I say that this tip is the EASIEST thing that an individual can do to improve their chances of not getting ill.

5)    Limit the amount of partying: Excessive partying can affect both your hydration levels as well as the amount of sleep that you get.  So yeah, last night might have been crazy, but you won’t be able to do it again for two weeks because you got sick.

6)    Cut back on the amount of sharing you do: This might sound bad, but especially during prime cold/flu season, be mindful of whom you share your things with.  Couples; it may be cute and adorable to share a milkshake with one straw, but do you know what isn’t cute?  Streptococcal pharyngitis, aka strep throat.

7)    Switch out coffee for tea: Coffee may be the drink of choice for many Americans, but there are some promising studies that suggest that tea may play a role in the prevention of illness.  Whether it be green, honey, or mint, embrace your inner Briton and enjoy some tea!

8)    Eat healthier: Mom always told me, “You are what you eat.”  So, if you eat greasy, fatty, sugary, unhealthy food…well, you can guess what you’ll be.  Healthy foods contain many vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that can help your body fend off any illnesses it encounters.

9)    Exercise: Not only does being active feel good, it helps to keep your body in tip-top, illness-fighting form.  Whether it be a stroll around the Green or an intense pickup game of basketball at the Little Bob, anything is better than nothing!

10) Cut back on the kissing: The human mouth is one of the dirtiest places in the world.  Harvard professor Sigmund Socransky noted that “In one mouth, the number of bacteria can easily exceed the number of people who live on Earth.”  And when you smooch your sweetheart, you are literally swapping both spit as well as germs. 

Good luck, and stay healthy!

Homer didn't listen to Scott's suggestions, and look at how much fun he's having.  Don't be like Homer: heed Scott's advice!

Homer didn’t listen to Scott’s suggestions, and look at how much fun he’s having. Don’t be like Homer: heed Scott’s advice!

~Scott Eisenhart

Graduate Classes: A Brief Insight

This semester, I am in the unique position of taking a graduate class as an undergraduate.  Not only does this class count as an Honors class, but it is also giving me a great look into the future degree program that I hope to be accepted to.  I am sure that there are some of you who aspire to continue onto graduate school but are unsure of what to expect.  I hope that I may be of assistance with these observations.

For one thing, the class composition is different than that of the typical undergraduate class.  There are approximately 15 students in my class, far less than what you probably see in your giant lecture hall.  Also, my fellow classmates are different from my undergraduate classmates.  Many of them have full-time jobs, and yet still find time to come to class.  Many of them are also a lot older than I am.  I have on occasion been called the baby of the class because of my youthfulness and my undergraduate status.

The class meets much less frequently compare to an undergraduate class.  My particular class meets once a week from 6:30-9:30 at night.  It is very important to keep focused during those three long hours, as a lot of material is covered.  And just like undergraduate classes, it is important to stay on top of the work.  You may be lulled into a false sense of confidence because you’ve got 6 days in between classes to get your assignments done.  But, the magnitude of the work is a lot more difficult, so that assignment may end up taking a lot longer than you imagined.

Reading.  There is a lot of reading.  And you actually have to do it.  And the teacher actually checks.  So do the reading.

At this point, you probably think that graduate cases aren’t so fun.  But they are!

Because everyone in the class comes from different backgrounds, everybody has a different approach to answering a question.  I always find it fascinating to see this phenomenon in action.

A lot of times, the professor will bring in guest speakers to lecture on their areas of specialization.  Not only are you learning from some of the best in the business, but you also get the chance to network with them after class.

And, depending on the class, your graduate professor might plan field trips!  I personally am going to visit the Capitol in Washington D.C. this November with my class, and I cannot wait!

The bottom line is, graduate classes are a bit different than undergraduate classes.  Graduate school is definitely not for everyone, and you should do some serious planning and thinking to determine if this is something that you want to do.  But, if you determine that graduate school is right for you, and you find the right program, I can guarantee that it will be an awesome experience.  You will learn a ton, and you will undoubtedly prepare yourself for the next chapter in your life!

gradstudentbrain

~Scott Eisenhart

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