Friday, August 31, 2012

Harvard Investigates 125 Students For Cheating

In a Boston Globe article published earlier this morning, it is reported that Harvard University has investigated and still continues to review the reports that over half of the 250 students enrolled in "Government 1310: Introduction to Congress” class during the spring of 2012 cheated on their final exams. Initially, the college did not release the course under investigation nor the students,citing federal privacy laws, but the University's newspaper reported an update naming the class shortly after the Boston Globe released their article.

It is reported that over 125 of the students ignored the college's rules and regulations regarding academy dishonesty and the outlined instructions on the spring take-home final exam. In its official handbook, Harvard instructs students to “assume that collaboration in the completion of assignments is prohibited unless explicitly permitted by the instructor.” It also encourages professors to state their collaboration policies on syllabi, though as stated, collaboration was prohibited on this assignment.
The "Introduction to Congress" exam's instructions prohibited collaboration with fellow students
via Crimson News Staff

It appears that groups of students worked together on answers and responses on the exams on both the short answer section and the essay assignment, according to Jay Harris, Harvard's dean of undergrad education. Obviously students were not stupid enough to plagiarize or copy text directly from other sources (I mean, they did get in to Harvard after all...right?) but they gambled and 'rolled the dice' with Vegas gaming odds (not too far off from their MIT counterparts years before, though a different situation and scenario altogether) and decided that collaborating and sharing unique individual ideas and using them collectively would somehow go unnoticed. If I were one of the students, I probably would have thought the odds were in my favor too. Typically, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, or even graduate students assist professors with paperwork, coursework, teaching, and most importantly - grading exams. Have more than one assistant or fellow, and the students know the exams will be divided amongst different persons for review, evaluation, and grading. This was the case in this course as a teaching fellow was the first to discover the similarities across several exams that were suspicious. After notifying the professor, they reviewed other exams and found the same exact similarities from the 'collective mind' that the group had unwilling created.

Cheating or academic dishonesty is nothing new to colleges and universities across the country today. But this is the 'Ivy League'... aren't these students alleged to be the future leaders of our world? If they are exhibiting signs of cheating and dishonest behavior so early in their matriculation, isn't this a warning sign of what is to come? Or rather, isn't it indicative of what happened to our economic crash in the US caused by unscrupulous persons that were 'Ivy League' educated? Bernie Madoff went to Hofstra, which is prestigious, though not Ivy League, which does not exactly support my point 100%... But take someone like Marc Dreier: He is the epitome of Ivy League education as he graduated from both Yale with a bachelors and Harvard Law with a JD. These upper-echelon colleges are supposed to be preparing students for their professional lives and careers... does this not include ethics and integrity? Apparently not...

Lat year, Harvard University introduced a voluntary freshman pledge that would uphold basic values such as ethics, respect, and integrity. Among faculty and staff, the pledge was ridiculed and many professors had contempt for the practice calling it unscholarly. It is considered unscholarly to be unethical or to disregard basic values and ethics? Harvard was not forcing freshmen to participate or take this pledge, as it was voluntary. Administrators and faculty alike resisted the ethics pledge citing that their students should already know how to conduct themselves without requiring a formal code. This seems to be commonplace amongst 'Ivy League' schools. So, since their students should know how to behave and be ethical students or citizens, why have a formal handbook at these colleges at all? Why have formal policies regarding rules of conduct or regulations in dormitories or for college computers or library use? If students are inherently good, they one should not need these polices in place. But since we have these rules and polices in place for "the greater good"...why are Harvard professors scoffing at the idea of suggesting something similar for ethics, integrity, and respect?

The most these students will face, according to Harvard's Administrative Board, is likely suspension from the college for a year at most. Seem lackadaisical to you? It's been their practice for years. The most famous? Go back to the year 1951... Edward "Ted" Kennedy was suspended from Harvard for two years because he sent a friend, to pose as him, to take his spanish final exam. Maybe that explains his embarrassing singing event at an Obama campaign rally a few years ago..

When I attended high school and college, we were subject to expulsion. Now it is simply commonplace and accepted to abuse academic dishonesty and only worry about a suspension at worst? We are failing to teaching the "future leaders of tomorrow" or whatever that quote is about ethics and integrity. It's no wonder we have had a financial meltdown and economic crisis. I am reminded of the end of the movie "Fun with Dick and Jane" where just prior to the credits, a special thank you message appears naming these executives and the companies they destroyed:

Just a list of 'Ivy League' Institutions and Interesting Statistics:

Institution Location Athletic nickname Undergraduate enrollment Graduate enrollment Motto
Brown University Providence, Rhode Island Bears
2,333[10] In Deo Speramus
(In God We Hope)
Columbia University New York City, New York Lions
15,760[11] In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen
(In Thy light shall we see the light)
Cornell University Ithaca, New York Big Red
6,702[12] I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.
Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire Big Green
1,893[13] Vox clamantis in deserto
(The voice of one crying in the wilderness)[14]
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts Crimson
14,044[15] Veritas
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey Tigers
2,479[16] Dei sub numine viget
(Under God's power she flourishes)
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Quakers
10,306[17] Leges sine moribus vanae
(Laws without morals are useless)[18]
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut Bulldogs
6,391[19] אורים ותומים
Lux et veritas
(Light and truth)

I never thought...

 Does it break my heart? Of course...every moment of every day: into more pieces than my heart was made of. I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent. I never thought about things at all. Everything changed. The distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn't the world. It wasn't the bombs and burning buildings: it was me. My thinking: the cancer of never letting go. Is ignorance bliss? I thought so...but I don't know anymore. It's so painful to think...and honestly tell me, what did thinking ever do for me? To what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think. I have thought myself right out of happiness at least a million times, but never once into it. I have thought myself right out of my life into someone...something else. And now that I have fought that long journey to "wakeup" and find my way home, I must patiently wait at the front door and hope that I am invited I lost my key a long time ago.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Apple Wins - Samsung Pays - Blackberry keeps their money for another day!

The nine-person jury came to a unanimous conclusion today regarding the Apple vs. Samsung... It appears that Apple outplayed Samsung in its Patent infringement litigation... I wonder how Apple was able to do this in a more successful manner than their competitor RIM (blackberry) and their many stalled or failed attempts at the same...In the link aforementioned above, RIM did get a California judge to reverse the earlier decision that would have caused them some financial distress as they were accused of patent infringements...

THE ISSUE: Apple Inc. claimed Samsung Electronics Co.'s smartphones and computer tablets "slavishly copied" the iPhones and iPads. Samsung countered with its own claims that Apple used its wireless technology without proper compensation.

THE VERDICT: A nine-person jury unanimously agreed with Apple and ordered Samsung to pay $1 billion. Most of the damages were tied to Samsung's smartphones. It rejected Samsung's counterclaims.

THE FALLOUT: The award represents about 1.5 percent of Samsung's annual revenue. Analysts said the embarrassment of the verdict is a bigger blow for Samsung than the financial setback. Still, the question remains whether Samsung and other Apple competitors will have to redesign their smartphones to avoid infringing Apple's patents. Most analysts agree the verdict sends a threatening message to device makers like Samsung who use Google's Android operating system.

THE IRONY:  Both of the companies are still tied up in the courts of nine other countries. This represented essentially 1/10'th of the ongoing legal issues regarding the patent infringement case... Before the verdict was rendered in California early on Friday, the judge in a South Korean court issued a split-verdict. Basically, the judge ordered both companies to pay the other nominal damages and court costs. No winner there...just a waste of time and money for the judiciary system. Oh wait, the court made money from court fees that both sides had to pay upon rendering the verdict. The plaintiff had to pay for filing paperwork to bring the defendant to court. Both companies had to pay legal fees to act on the filed motions...Maybe the only one that wins is the lawyers, judges, and clerks that are paid to process and the mindless paperwork involved with cases like these. No way, the lawyers simply cannot be the only winners... can they?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just Like The Movies

Rollins College 1925
Hamilton Holt August 1872 - April 1951
 I have always been so sure about everything in my life. I was so sure about my job and career, sure that I would be married by my late twenties or at least 30, sure I would make a third million by 30, have a Centurion Card, sure I would live in an amazing loft, sure I would always have a BMW or Land Rover, sure I would spend my free or vacation time in a home I owned in Oberoi, and sure I would always have a group of close friends and family. I was so sure... and so naive*. But relationships... I always heard from many and was told by a few close friends and family, that they were easy when they were "right"... That even when things became difficult -- if not impossible, they were still easy. I just don't understand.... how did they know this to be a truth? It has hardly ever been easy for me, in that regard. So does that mean every relationship I had was "wrong" or not the "right" on before? Does that mean my current relationship is wrong simply because it is not easy? I always thought that if something was easy, was it really worthwhile? I believe it was Hamilton Holt who is frequently quoted to that effect...

Relationships, of any kind, unfortunately just do not work they way they do on television and in the movies: Will they, won't they, and then they finally DO and they are happy forever -- give me a break, seriously. Nine out of ten of these folks breakup because they were not right for each other to begin with, and half the ones that do proceed and get married will get divorced (follow the link, interesting statistics), anyway. And I am tell you, right here -- right now: through it all, and I mean everything (the hopelessness, the depression, the anxiety, the loneliness and despair) I have not become a cynic... I haven't.

A paper umbrella will turn any drink into a party beverage
Use your umbrella wisely, in Bali.
Yes, I do happen to believe that love is mainly about pushing chocolate-covered candies, flowers, Hallmark cards, and in some cultures by taking one of those small umbrellas the bartender puts in your tropical island rum beverage into your girlfriend's/boyfriend's tropical island beverage as a sign of affection or love. You may call me a sucker, a sap, or a looser...because I do. I do believe in it it. Bottom line is this: the couples that are truly right for each other wade through the same shit as everybody else does... but the big DIFFERENCE is, they do not let it envelop them like quicksand and suck them down... One of the two people in the relationship will stand up and FIGHT...fight for their partner, themselves, their relationship, and their love EVERY--SINGLE--TIME...if  it's right... and those people are really truly lucky. One of them will say something...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Remembering the past

Why is it that people are so quick to dismiss and forget all the good you have done and only judge you upon mistakes you have made or any negative consequence either directly or indirectly your fault? And then after you are gone, people tend to romanticize the past and forget and dismiss all the negative or bad things and only remember the good you have done... though the moment has passed, you have split ways and taken different paths, or maybe you are no longer walking the earth. I don't understand why people focus on the negativity while in the moment and do the opposite when you are gone. I simply do not understand and I am afraid I never will.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

That line we cross

We occasionally find ourselves in a quandary. We see a line that we want to cross. The problem is, once we do cross that line...we simply cannot go back. There is no "undo" button for that action. Things will never remain the same after.

You think you have forever, but you don't. You never know when the last time you do something will actually be the last time. I need some hope...a reason to continue onwards and move forward. But with the absence of hope, I remain stuck in neutral. The engine is running but the transmission is not in "drive" and since reverse is broken, I'm stuck in neutral. I just hope that it does not shift from neutral to park...or it will forever be this way.

The way back?

I was told recently that I had "lost my way"... It was a hard thing to hear, though it had merit. It was a day or two before it set in... but if it was indeed true, that I had lost my way, how do I find it again? When you have lost everything, where do you begin?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goodnight, you.

For what it's worth, I am truly sorry. I'm trying my best and have made leaps and bounds, but unfortunately it seems that it is too late. Most people do not understand the truth depths of depression nor what it is capable of. It changed who I was. I became someone else. And it's a constant struggle to fight the urge and resit to simply rollover every morning and simply "give in" and give up for just that one day. The problem is, that one day is never just one day. One becomes two. The next becomes three. Now you are a day or so away from the weekend so you might as well just wait until next week to do what you were supposed to. I would never wish this on my worst enemies...nor would I wish half the medications listed to treat depression on them. The side effects of most are just downright awful and must be considered carefully so that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. It should not be taken lightly... as lightly as I did at first with so many medications because I blindly trusted and followed my physician. Do your homework or pay the ultimate price, like I did. But that's another discussion for another day.

But for The One I've hurt, I am sorry. I called you late in the afternoon but your phone was turned off or battery had died. I had hoped we would meet for coffee earlier but it's okay.You have every right to be upset and angry at me. I don't blame you at all. But just remember, you are not alone. I am the one who has isolated myself from everyone and am truly alone...

And all I want is a taste of her affection
And all I want is a minute of her time
and I want her to feel the same when I'm calling out her name
Like nothings ever changed when I come home

Goodnight, you.