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Showing posts from March, 2010

Review: Undercover Boss

A reality T.V. show about a famous person going undercover is far from an original concept. In fact, second to making unknowns famous, making the famous unknown is the second oldest reality television concept. In that sense, Undercover Boss is hardly groundbreaking. However, in terms of execution, the show is very good, if a bit repetitive.

The basic premise is pretty simple: every week, a CEO of a major corporation poses as an entry level worker, going to different parts of their company in an attempt to find out more about their company and to meet people. Though the show is ostensibly about these CEO's finding out more about their companies, but really it's to showcase their companies and to the highlight the people working there.

The show's tone is good, without great exaggeration, although many of the plans put in the end are kind of flaky. After a while, moreover, the show becomes really repetitive. There are only so many inspirational episodes of CEO's helping t…

Exciting things I've learned about classes today

1. Sometimes, not even the professors know how long classes are supposed to be. Their students not correcting them doesn't help either.
2. No classes are as exciting as the prospect of cake.
3. The scariest possible thing you can hear in a math class is that you're only covering 3 chapters, with the professor only wanting to cover 2 of them. This means that those are going to be the two hardest chapters of all time.
4. Courses that don't give you a syllabus are the worst.
5. Seriously Law School, your library is really hard to navigate. Still the nicest library on campus aside from Eckhart, though.

Ten thoughts on NJ districts

1. When running tab, make sure that everyone's on the schematics.
2. Judging every round sucks, but judging less than half the time also sucks. You have a lot of good judges, use them.
3. I intervene, but only against illogical cases.
4. Almost all of the people I knew in high school are about to graduate. This is a scary thought.
5. The NFL selling PF topics is fair, since PF isn't a real event.
6. PF has taken on a bastardized LD look.
7. Bold assertions in PF are perfectly acceptable.
8. I like rounds that are easy to decide.
9. New Jersey is illegitimate.
10. A deck of cards is a necessity everywhere.

Post on Derive Politics, Districts tournament

So I just came back from the NJ districts tournament after judging for about 40% of the time (and getting paid for 100% of the time), and first a shout out to my former high school (and thus former teammate) Maddy Stein for qualifying for NFL nationals in Kansas City. More thoughts on that to follow tomorrow.

But I've also written something else for my website, Derive Politics, entitled Health Care, Finally. An excerpt:

"The final passage of the Senate health care legislation by the House of Representatives means that the reforms Democrats had been pushing since the early part of last year are finally reality. Though Republicans had been trying to stop the passage of the legislation through various means, ranging from rallying public support to the threat of filibuster in the Senate, the Democrats have managed to beat back everything that the Republicans have thrown at them. At the very least, it was a political victory for the Democrats, affirming their legislative power. It …

Predictions for tonight's NCAA games, part 2

So last night I was 2/4 (50%) on my predictions, meaning I'm better than the average sports writer, and no worse than a coin. Let's go at this again.

In the round of Michigan State v. Northern Iowa, the winner will be Northern Iowa. With an injury to one of MSU's star players, this matchup seems to be easier for Norther Iowa than expected. They are likely to make the Elite Eight. Of course, I said the same about Washington, and look where that got me.

In the round of Tennessee v. Ohio State, the winner will be Ohio State. In short, the Vols have no answer for Evan Turner, and that will be their downfall.

In the round of St. Mary's v. Baylor, the winner will be Baylor. They are not only the better team, but faster and better than St. Mary's previous opponents. More importantly, they have a big guy at center, something St. Mary's hasn't had to face all tournament. It's likely that St. Mary's Cinderella run is over.

In the round of Duke v. Purdue, the …

Predictions for tonight's NCAA games

Who will win? Read on to find out.

In the match of Cornell v. Kentucky, the winner will be Kentucky. It will be a high scoring affair, but even if both teams played perfectly Kentucky's offense is slightly stronger. That being said, if Kentucky's not playing at its best it's going home.

In the match of Washington v. West Virginia, the winner will be Washington. A recent injury suffered by West Virginia means that they will be unlikely to take on a strong Washington team.

In the match of Butler v. Syracuse, the winner will be Syracuse. While Butler is good and Syracuse ended the season on a slide, they seem to have recovered. Because both teams have played well, I'm going to default to the assumption that Syracuse will win.

In the match of Xavier v. Kansas State, the winner will be Kansas State. K-State's earlier win plus the lack of any reason to think that they would lose gives them this win by default.

Still sick

Just finished season 4 of Stargate. Not as interesting as it could have been, and it feels a bit contrived. More on this later when I'm not sick.

Illustrating why Glenn Beck is no Christian

Not that he ever claimed or acted like one.

Courtesy of

5 Thoughts on the Union Catholic CFL local

1. I hated Ridge when I was a competitor because they had a large team, lots of funding and a large budget. I like them as a judge now because of those reasons.
2. Most debaters aren't even that good.
3. Apparently killing your wife if her life sucks (no friends, job, prospects) is "mercy killing" and it's justified.
4. Also, apparently the moment a registered sex offender moves into your town you should kill him.
5. And lastly, apparently everyone believes that the South is racist, although some people have concluded (ie, random novices with arbitrary bullshit) that the probability of 12 of them being racist enough to affect a trial is about 8%.

It's finally time for spring break!

Here's how finals week went down:

1. The statistics final was impossibly hard.
2. I like my odds on the math final, ironically more than I like my odds on the statistics final.
3. The civ paper took forever to write, but I think it's a good paper.
4. The econ final was a brutally impossible two problems which tested mostly your algebra and little of anything else related to econ.

And now it's time for some rest and relaxation. Just kidding, it's time to judge two weekends in a row and to do an externship.

Finals week filler, part 4

Courtesy of Greg Mankiw's blog. Appropriate because I'll be studying for econ right about now.

Some quick thoughts about the Starcraft 2 beta

Some quick thoughts about the Starcraft 2 beta:

1. The system requirements, while reasonable, will make the game run slower than people are used to on computers that are a few years old.

2. It's really hard to get mobile anti-air units early on unless you're Terran.

3. The fact that you can't mine depleted vespene geysers is unfortunate.

4. The Zerg might be unbalanced, in the sense that they seem to be weaker than the other two races.

5. Not being able to select an entire group of units and have them all expend minerals (ie, 3 larvae and instantly turning 3 of them into drones) sucks.

Finals week filler

Courtesy of D13M

Goals for finals week

1. Pass all of my finals.
2. Get enough sleep.
3. Wake up at 9AM every day.
4. Visit an apartment.
5. Ready myself to judge for the next two weekends.
6. Not play Starcraft 2.

Guess which one is most likely to not get done?

Review: A Serious Man

This was a good movie. Yeah, it didn't win the Academy Award for Best Film, but it was still a good movie. Before you read the long review, this is it in a nutshell: if you're a Cohen brothers' fan you'll love this movie, and if you're simply a fan of good comedy with believable human characters, then you'll love this movie too.

The movie is acted really well.Michael Stuhlbarg plays his role to perfection. His character acts exactly like you would expect a real person to act. In all honesty I can't find fault with any of the acting in this movie. The dialogue, too, was funny.

The overall plot is good, even though it feels like nothing gets resolved. It in some ways better captures the true spirit of life: the fact of the matter is that once you finally beat some of life's problems, more appear. The course of the plot still flows in a likeable manner, however, so the fact that the characters are no better off at the end then at the beginning doesn't f…

Ten thoughts on Stanford, part 1

1. California, even northern California, is always preferable to Chicago in the late winter/early spring weather-wise.

2. It feels good to have 19 other teammates with you at an APDA tournament, instead of only 5.

3. For some reason, In-N-Out is slowly going from "awesome" to merely "really good". I think it depends only on expectations.

4. "Israel should bomb Iran" is a case that is invincible.

5. Every tournament should tell you your record after round 2.

A note on programming...

If you actually read this website and compare our current output with that of the archives, you'll see that 2010 is already our most active year yet. This is actually post number 70 for this year, surpassing 2009's post total by 5. 2009 was the previous record for most posts in a year, although that number is inflated because some of the archive/about pages are dated then.

At this rate, however, 2010 is likely to become this site's most productive year ever. It's possible that there will be over 300 posts this year by the end of the year. Granted, the quality might have gone down for each individual post, but I'll take the 500% increase in content any day.

Expect a few television reviews followed by thoughts on the Stanford APDA tournament to come this week.

Review: Accepted

This movie is disappointing. I wanted so much to like it, especially since it deals with a subject matter that I'm personally very interested in and since it has actually decent actors. It's one of the few movies to focus on the college acceptance part of the standard college movie, and it had such promise. Of course, promise is always squandered, because apparently writers, when given actual talent and a budget to work with, will churn out some fluff piece.

Let's be realistic: I'm not expecting the most realistic and nuanced of plots. All I wanted was something dealing slightly with how hard college admissions is, followed by humor. This is not a difficult thing to do. The problem, however, is that the movie focuses too little on the college admissions process (which has quite some humor in and of itself) and spends way too much time focusing on the perceived shortcomings of today's college education. In short, the movie is too preachy, and fails to exploit an eas…

Interesting infographic of the day

China should probably abolish it's one child policy

Why? It's because the policy has become redundant. Its original purpose was to curb massive population growth that was indigent to developing nations, as China (with its 1 billion people) could ill afford massive growth at that rate. The policy was in essence designed to reach the birth rate of a developed nation (or artificially go beneath it  for a bit) for a country that was not developed. China clearly is no longer at that stage of existence anymore.

The policy implemented in the 70s is no longer adequate for China now. It's a country that's growing at such a fast rate that labor is required in unprecedented. Going forward, China will neither naturally need this policy (as it becomes more developed, birth rates will drop) nor will it want this policy (it leaves families seriously at risk if a natural disaster strikes and it seriously cripples their work force). It's pretty clear that this policy has outlived its usefulness. The one-child policy should be abolished.