Students say Press Freedoms go to Far

Evidently, the freedoms we take for granted in the U.S. are a little too much according to the students here. 36% of students think newsrooms should get approval from the GOVERNMENT before running a story. The utter helplessness and sorrow I feel when I read something like this is undescribable.

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get “government approval” of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

Asked whether the press enjoys “too much freedom,” not enough or about the right amount, 32% say “too much,” and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little.

Either the teachers really suck at teaching the ideas this country was founded on or they surveyed students from the School of the Americas. This article comes to me a day after watching OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, which is a movie about Fox News and the dangerous game it’s playing with today’s media outlets.

The press is the watchdog of Democracy. They are supposed to be trusthworthy and unbiased. They are supposed to report the news as it happens and not get approval from anyone. The corporate buyout of today’s media outlets and the current consolidation efforts underway will be a bigger part of America’s downfall as a free society than Bush, Cheney or Rove ever will.

If we can’t trust the media to keep leaders in check by reporting blow jobs, illegal arms deals and hotel break-ins then who can we trust? What if those who are reporting the news are best friends with those they are reporting the news on? If your friend did something bad and you had to tell some strangers about it wouldn’t you do all you could to justify your friend’s actions?

Ben Exworthy issue of The Stranger

Many people outside of Seattle most definitely do not know about a weekly newsmag called The Stranger. It’s a local newsmag about what’s going on, recent news, etc. written by a bunch of liberal hipsters. A great resource for finding fun stuff to do and reading fairly entertaining stories.

At any rate, this month’s issue is all about Ben Exworthy. In fact, it’s called The Ben Exworthy Narcissism Issue.

Back in December, I was reading the Strangercrombie catalog with my girlfriend Brit when she suggested that I buy everything involving The Stranger itself. […] By auction’s end, I’d bought the cover, Last Days, I Anonymous, Savage Love, Celeb I Saw U, rave Chow, Music and Books reviews, Drunk of the Week, the back-page comic, and one page of Stranger editorial space to fill however the hell I wanted.

So for $12,000 this guy bought an entire issue of The Stranger, which I must admit is amazingly hysterical. I’m actually planning on reading the whole issue just because I find it so amusing.

It seems I’m the go-to guy for resumé help. I’ve had a couple friends ask me in the last few days to review and comment on theirs so I decided to collect my thoughts here as most people make the same mistakes.

  1. Make sure your name at the top of the resume is HUGE. We’re talking 24 point bold font here folks.
  2. Always list your education at the very top starting with the most prestigious degree and moving down to certifications (ie. Doctor -> Masters -> Bachelor -> Minor/Associates -> Certificates).
  3. If your GPA is around or over a 3.5 for a specific degree then put it on there. If you put it for one degree you should put it for all or not put it at all (ie. 3.3 for Masters and 3.8 for Bachelors). Make sure to put the scale. Most schools are on a 4.0, but not all, so put something like (GPA 3.5/4.0).
  4. If you have a ton of skills or work experience then list a “Skills Summary” at the top of your resumé so that people can quickly look over your qualifications and decide whether to read your entire resumé from there.
  5. Your resumé can be longer than 1 page. However, if your resumé is more than one page be sure to put a footer with your name, page number and number of pages.
  6. Have at least two people read it over and look for spelling and grammar errors.
  7. Don’t embellish titles. “Sr. Engineer of Coffee Brewing” doesn’t make your job at Starbucks sound any better than it actually was.
  8. Don’t simply list “Microsoft Office” if you are a complete wizard at Access or Excel. Specifically mention how good you are with these two applications since every job on the planet uses them.
  9. Only list jobs that are applicable to the job you are looking for, but be sure to list at least three prior jobs.
  10. Include references in your resume if at all possible. This expedites HR‘s ability to get you into an interview.
  11. If you have an Object on your resumé keep it simple. Don’t mention you want to learn new things or advance your career. You wouldn’t be looking for a job if you didn’t want those things. A good example would be “To obtain a job in web programming, which leverages my knowledge of PHP and MySQL”. Make sure to change your Object depending on the job you are applying for.
  12. If you are sending your resume electronically it is a good idea to include more than one format. PDF, Word DOC and plain text are good choices. If you work on the web (ie. designer/programmer) then create an HTML version with links to your previous work or screenshots. If you think your personal views on your personal site might hinder you getting a job then purchase a separate domain for your resumé. In other words, don’t post blog entries about how you want to kill people at work on the same site you host your resumé.

Lots of people send cover letters to. I never have because I think they’re corny. I would consider those optional. And, for Pete’s sake, do NOT write it after you’ve had a few beers one night and then start sending it out (inside joke).

Remembering the Holocaust

The Greatest Generation fought WWII over 60 years ago and this week people around the world are remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.

There was a young Polish man in the camp who tattooed the numbers on our arms. He did it with a pen and some ink, dot after dot, like a child doing his homework.

So when he made a mistake, he would cross it out and start anew. A lot of people had this kind of mess on their arms.

When it was my turn I demanded: “Pay attention and do it as well as possible!” And then I began to laugh at my own absurdity, because when you are being gassed, it doesn’t matter if it looks good or not.

My number is still visible, 42646, and beside it, the Star of David.

Things I've learned about Seattle

I’ve learned a few things about my new hometown since moving here. Some of them are apparent as soon as you step off the plane, while others are more subtle.

  1. Seattle is so liberal that one of the sections, Ballard, sent not one but two Kucinich delegates to the DNC.
  2. In Capitol Hill, the area I live in, if you’re not pierced, tattooed or gay you’re generally considered an outsider. You get bonus points for looking like The Ramones.
  3. You need a tape measure and a compass to park.
  4. All the rumors about people in Seattle taking their coffee seriously is the understatement of the century. I hear oders like “grande non-fat latte with extra foam” every day in any of the 3 (yes 3) Starbucks in my building.
  5. Don’t walk on the metal parts of the sidewalk when it’s raining.
  6. The rain is actually more like mist and nothing like the rain back in the midwest.

Overall, I rank Seattle behind only a few of the cities I’ve visited in my few years on this planet. San Francisco is still tops and San Diego is either tied with Seattle or slightly ahead.

How Google Works

Getting to the top of search engines can be a daunting task. Just ask anyone who has tried. Because a certain someone is a famous heavy metal guitarist it is doubtful I will ever be numero uno on any search engine, much less Google, but there are things you can do.

First off, you can read The Anatomy of a Search Engine written by the founders of Google when they were still graduate students. The formula for PageRank is described as are the basics of how Google indexes webpages. It may not seem ground breaking now, but at the time it took the search industry by storm and, since then, Google has been the defacto standard in searching.

Some things to check out are their idea of building a feedback system into Google to rate result sets and their discussion on advertising.

What You'll Wish You'd Known

I ran across a great story that fits in nicely with a conversation I had early this morning about going after your dreams. I was discussing with Rob my recent web endeavors. I mentioned I was trying to build a few small websites large enough to pay the bills. He talked about how he wanted to take his writing more seriously. Today I found an essay titled What You’ll Wish You’d Known about this subject. My favorite quote:

I’m not saying there’s no such thing as genius. But if you’re trying to choose between two theories and one gives you an excuse for being lazy, the other one is probably right.

I’ve started to seriously work on creating a website or two that can sustain my needs and I’m going to either fail trying or succeed. Personally, I’d rather fail trying than not try at all.

Image Hosting Site

I’ve recently spent a little money and quite a bit of time completely rewriting a side project of mine called Picture Corral that does image hosting. I’m pretty proud of the cool features I was able to build into the new system. A few of the image and photo hosting features include:

  1. Unlimited uploads and bandwidth
  2. Email images as attachments into your account
  3. Share images with folders that double as photo albums
  4. Import entire ZIP archives of images (ie. put 10 images in a zip file and upload the single zip file)
  5. Works great for auctions, avatars and bulletin boards

At any rate I’m getting a crash course in internet marketing. Thankfully, I have a few friends who work in the business and they are giving me pointers.

Crash Blogs

Taking the lead from Emma, our cat, Crash, has created an online space for himself. Lauren set it up a few days ago and, I must say, it’s pretty funny. I wouldn’t expect any less from Crash, though. My favorite quote from his first entry:

Once we made it to Seattle I started adjusting to my new surroundings. Just when I settled in, my parents decided to adopt another pet. I was no longer king. I now had an evil half-sister. A scrappy, hyper chihuahua. Her name is Maya but, for the purposes of this diary, she will be known as my arch nemesis.

See what cat owners do in their spare time? Yes, we’re losers.