Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Virtual Sweatshops

I personally haven't played World of Warcraft (WoW), but I have heard some ridiculous stories on the culture of the game. Including the concept of the warcraft sweatshops. This is where young Chinese peasants are playing the game, but strictly mining the in-game resources, for example chopping wood. This allows the game account to accumulate resources, which then is sold on eBay to willing gamers in other places.

Seems strange, and a bit cruel, but the salary is better than what they would normally be making.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Intellectual Property

It's controversial, and over my head. In my continued readings of Joseph Stiglitz's Making Globalization Work, he presents a simplified argument on how absurd Intellectual Property has gotten. He provided a few examples, but this particular one struck me.

In India, people are outraged when Yoga positions became copyrighted.
This begs us to question, "What's next?"
  • The descendant of the quarterback who invented the tight spiral brings a lawsuit against every football institution?
  • Will Daisuke Matsuzaka take someone to court when another pitcher attempts his Gyroball?
  • Will Charlton Lindler sue me for saying "Big deal, people die every day" in every imaginable context?
I agree with Stiglitz, in that the International Community's Intellectual Property Rights need reform.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Extending your Composition

To make papers longer, students tend to add words unnecessarily onto their essays, papers, etc. A friend of mine told me a strategy, that is more efficient than the aforementioned one. Making the periods in your composition simply one size larger than the usual "12" font, will extend it a fair amount. It has been calculated that if 7 pages would extend to 8 using this strategy.

Good luck

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Message In a Bottle

My theme for this week seems to be marketing products with political underlying, so I will continue just that. In class, we learned of a BBC study on a new cola war. Meet Mecca Cola and Qibla Cola, formed in 2002 and 2003 respectively to bring competition to Coca Cola, which they believe will hurt the U.S. based multinational.

Meet Mecca Cola, based in France and founded by
Tawfik Mathlouthi, an anti-Zionist, who contributes 10 percent of each cola sale to Palestine.Funny, a product meant to undercut Coca-Cola's production bears similar resemblance to it. Note the red, and the script.

And now, here is their primary competitor, Qibla Cola. Urging its Islamic market to "Liberate your Taste" and is a response to globalization and multinational corporations.

Launched a year after Mecca Cola, Qibla Cola was aggressive in their approach to market the product. The founder visiting Pakistan and other Islamic countries to promote the product in hopes of cutting into Coke's profits. They now bottle and distribute in Pakistan and Malaysia. Once again, note the similarities, and if you are the anti-Coke, then why is your product so similar?

And wasn't the objective trying to resist globalization and multinationals? Well since they have facilities outside of the original country, isn't that what they are? Many believe that there is in fact, a slight political undertone, but money still makes the world go round.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sour Grapes or Vodka?

Last week, the blogosphere exploded in response to an advertisement by the Absolut company in Mexico. The image of the North American map prior to 1848.Although intended for a Mexican audience, Americans began to take notice and of course there was backlash. Absolut has since pulled the ads, and apologized.

And now you have offended Americans saying they will no longer buy Absolut, Mexicans LIVING IN THE U.S. saying "Viva Mexico" and etc.

Remember "freedom fries" ?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rock Bottom

I found this hilarious picture on a Jim Rome fan club group on Facebook. I believe this was made prior to their matchup, which led to Michigan's first win.
I love it when storied programs hit rock bottom, and although Michigan recovered enough to re-enter the Top 25 and win a bowl game versus Florida, the Appalachian State upset has been referenced in commercials and will be remembered for a long time to come. Carr stepped down, and Rich Rodriguez stepped in, we know what happened then. I'm glad Terrelle Pryor committed to Ohio State instead, and that Ryan Mallett (although a dropback passer) transferred, meaning Coach Rod will have to start a nobody. Karma.

Notre Dame however, went on to lose to Navy for the first time in decades, yet Charlie Weis remains at the helm. Funny, I don't recall Ty Willingham losing this many games but was fired anyway. What an Injustice.

Update on that paper- The going is rough although I managed to finish a page of it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A broken record

I hate to be one, but I saw Lost in Translation once again, this time on the G4 channel. I was actually looking for Attack of the Show, but I was glad that I tuned in. The IMDB community have suggested this movie is best viewed after midnight, and I agree. The pace of the movie is rather slow and consists of two insomniacs, so watching it after midnight is the right condition.

Oh, and I'm digging Sara Bareilles at the moment.

Upcoming Weekend

I have a few things on the agenda, none of them are any fun or exciting.
  • Work Saturday and Sunday, missing a party in the process
  • Type up a very unconventional paper, I do not know how to start it
  • Groceries
  • Assigned readings
  • Financial Aid

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Office Returns Tonight

Finally, I have something to watch again, since Lost is on hiatus until April 23rd. It has been so long, that I forgot what the last episode was. I might have to look up the last episode on Sidereel, to get in the zone for tonight.

Prior to that, Goodfellas take the field again for intramural softball, and put one in the win column. I think we are not eligible for the A bracket for the playoffs, but that's quite alright with us. We are a great team, and we have a chance to win the B bracket. It's a weird feeling, not being a top seed, as we usually were for flag football or basketball, but I don't think we're going to beat the team with all the former club baseball players. I believe they beat us by 30 in an exhibition game.

Here's to hoping that we end up in the B bracket.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ultimate Frisbee

I played in a pickup game and got the frisbee twice the whole time. Good times. I knew before I graduated from college, that I would play in a game and so that's now checked off the list. Listening to the other players, and I gathered that they've been playing for a while and had clubs at their high schools.

Fred T. Foard graduates did not get the same opportunity. Schools around here have many options like lacrosse and etc. So basically, I was robbed at a chance to suck at a few more sports.

Over the Hegemon

You hear it in the news, in talk shows and in casual conversation: The U.S. no longer dominates Europe in terms of wealth, the dollar is weak compared to the Euro, and etc. Quoting Toby Keith in regards to the U.S.: "We ain't as good as we once was."

Additionally, the U.S. government can't speak out publicly against states that oppress people (ahem China) in fear of economic repercussions.

My history professor, Ed Brynn, a very intelligent man who served as a U.S. ambassador, Stanford and Georgetown degrees, etc, predicts that we are no longer going to dominate world affairs and a change of lifestyle in the U.S. is inevitable. That change of lifestyle he says, is in regards to the environment. As China increases their industrial output and their vast populace start driving more and more cars, gasoline prices are going to keep increasing. And he claims, that it would be a good thing, and its up to our generation to face it. It would be a good thing in regards to the U.S. abandoning the "lone ranger" ideals and work more closely with allies.

Of course, that proclamation startled me at first, but I am relieved that we obviously are still the military might of the world. I'm excited of what this change can bring. If given the opportunity, I would drive one of those unmanly, lilliputian hybrids to do my share.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Final Stretch

School ends after the 1st week in May, and I have now entered the stretch run of the semester. And I have written more papers the past three days than I have my whole sophomore year in college. The adrenaline just keeps me going though.

As an incentive for next year, I am going to reward the winner of our pool with a prize.

Monday, April 7, 2008

National Championship Game

Great game, I had bet money on Memphis though. As long as I can recall, there has not been a National Championship game that has gone to Over-time. Analysts have predicted before the tournament started that Memphis' free throw shooting woes would lead to their downfall, although these problems were not visible in the earlier rounds, the predictions came true tonight.

Game notes:
  • I felt bad for Joey Dorsey, a senior, who watched helplessly from the sideline when he fouled out.
  • Roy Williams was in attendance with a Kansas pin-I doubt West Virginia would send Rich Rodriguez a similar invitation.

Currency Speculation

In class today, a fellow student announced that he had purchased 2 or 3 million Iraqi dinars, while the currency was extremely low and hoping that it would rise to its past rate, and hopefully cash in. Judging by the current state of Iraq, my classmate probably won't see a return on his investment for a while.

I find it tempting, and has potential to make a bigger return than lousy savings bonds.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Final Four Continued

As you may know, Kansas triumphed over the Tar Heels in last night's game. The message boards have erupted, and speculation has started over if Ellington, Hansbrough and Lawson would declare for the draft or stay another year.

Good riddance

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Final Four

As I try to recover from the past two days, I am staying in on a Saturday to watch the Final Four and completing a term project. I have just watched the Memphis vs. UCLA game and now waiting on the UNC vs. Kansas.

  • There isn't great chemistry between Dick Vitale and Bob Knight during the pre-game show
  • UCLA is the "Buffalo Bills" of the NCAA (Getting to 3 Final fours in a row and not winning the National Championship).
  • I never realized how Memphis players are very long and skinny
Go Kansas? (Anybody But Carolina Rule).

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bill Clinton at UNCC

He was late 1 hour and 45 minutes in Halton arena but I believe it was worth it. He is the first former president to ever speak at our University, as he was campaigning for Hillary. North Carolina as a battleground state for the democratic nomination is new here, as no race has ever been this close.

He remains a charismatic speaker and pointed out attributes and reforms that we as students should know about Hillary.
  • She wants to reform student loans, as private companies are charging high interest rates
  • Willing to battle childhood obesity and the early onset of diabetes
  • Looking to restore the economy, creating new jobs
  • Introduce Environmentally sound reforms, alternative fuels, less dependency on OPEC
  • Stressing Iraqi war veterans receive proper mental evaluation
  • Wants the U.S. to work closely with other nations
  • States that she is the biggest "changer" that he has ever met in his life
He was preceded by a former ambassador and a Mayor pro-tempore that also happens to be a superdelegate. He was quite diplomatic, stating that all three frontrunners are outstanding individuals and could run the country well. He even went as far as to say that Senator McCain has done everything but die for this country (which he nearly did) and has great respect for him.

Overall, the speakers at the rally that preceded Clinton were surprisingly aggressive in their stance to support Hillary. We were only referred to as "UNC" twice, and I battled the crowd to get a handshake with Mr. Clinton

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bill Clinton on Campus

Well, he decided to drop by after all and supposedly is going to be at the Student Activity Center tomorrow at 3 pm. This is going to be an extraordinary opportunity, and I plan on attending and hope that we get good turnout. I still won't vote for Hillary though.

Anyway, its going to be a great weekend: Bad Dogs tonight, Bill Clinton and Lauren's birthday tomorrow. I shall continue my readings and post back on how stupid I think communists are.