On the Subject of Net Neutrality

I want to take a moment to interrupt the usual flow and pattern of my blogs and raise awareness of an issue that is relevant to everyone reading this. We all take the open and fair Internet for granted, but the time to defend this service is now at hand. Our freedom as Internet users is at risk because of the agenda of the new FCC Chairman who wants to put more power and money in the hands of big cable companies at the expense of consumers.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach their audiences.

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.

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But on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall in order to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools to make it easy for your friends, family, and followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that we can stop censorship and corruption when the Internet comes together. Now, we have to do it again.

Internet services have basically become a public utility in the 21st century and big cable companies should not be allowed to skew the quality their services in favor of sites that can afford to pay them more. I will stand up on July 12th; I hope you will too.

You can learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12

We will return to the regularly scheduled blogs next Wednesday with a review of one of my favorite books: Good Omens; The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Thank you for indulging this digression; I wouldn’t have posted this if it weren’t something I care about and feel must be shared.

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On the Subject of Attribution and Citing Sources

I wrote a post about plagiarism last year that didn’t do very well since the editorial was prompted by politics which, in retrospect, wasn’t the greatest idea in such a turbulent election year; I still want to expand upon the idea and make an argument regarding why citing sources is a necessary part of creating or sharing content on the internet, so here we are.

If you were to put a significant amount of time into something, wouldn’t you be upset if someone took your work and shared it without your consent or went a step further and paraded it as their own? It is easy to share a meme or image online without checking the source and unintentionally spread ignorance by not doing our due diligence as responsible adults; maybe a quote from a celebrity will make this point hit home:

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This is my favorite line from the Gettysburg Address.

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On the Subject of Variety in Reading

For a lot of people, explaining what they enjoy reading is easily done with one or two words: science fiction, fantasy, romance, nonfiction. Through no fault but my own (yes, you read that correctly) my own explanation is a little more complex. Upon graduating from college I realized that I could finally read whatever I wanted since my time wasn’t occupied with literary analysis, and I started keeping track of the books I was reading for fun; looking back at what I read in 2016, the variety present among the patterns is rather striking.

To deny oneself the ability to explore all of the possibilities in literature is simply wasting a grand opportunity to grow. I understand people have their favorite genres or authors (Lord knows I do), but remaining static in our reading only keeps us in one place as human beings. A case for reading the same author or genre is easily made, but why should we diversify when it is so much more comfortable to remain in what we know?

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Though this image illustrates my point, the lack of organization is figuratively killing me inside.

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On the Subject of Choosing to Read

In today’s fast-paced world (because apparently that’s a phrase that can still be used despite being what I assume to be decades old), it is difficult to hold someone’s attention for more than a matter of seconds. I wasn’t even sure there was an audience for my writing on here because I tend to stay away from short content; thankfully, I was wrong.

If I am going to write something and put time in revising and editing, I want there to be something substantial to show for it. However, there are countless blogs and websites that have more followers and clicks because they stick with short posts that fit into people’s limited attention spans. If reading long articles online barely keeps someone preoccupied, how can reading books for fun even compete in this age of micro-attention?

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I think this is supposed to be profound or something. I dunno.

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On the Subject of Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech has long been a contentious issue throughout the history of not just the United States, but the world. How do we express ourselves without upsetting others? How do we go about hearing hurtful words directed at us and deal with them as responsible adults? What is okay to say, what isn’t, and who decides? The issue of freedom of speech has never fallen out of prominence in society, but it is especially prevalent today when people are afraid to speak their opinions. Continue reading “On the Subject of Freedom of Speech”

On the Subject of Condescension Toward Non-Native English Speakers

I have a difficult time sympathizing with those who belittle or degrade immigrants to the United States that speak English as their second language. It is important to remember that the U.S. does not have an official language; seriously, you can google it for yourself if you don’t believe me. The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn and as nonsensical as that may seem, both facts are true. So why is it that so many people born in the U.S. look down on those who don’t speak English well when it isn’t even the official language of the country?

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This image won’t be quite as cute by the time you finish reading.

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On the Subject of Interpersonal Criticism

Our lives are perpetually in a state of flux and they should be because we grow through making mistakes and learning from them. Unfortunately, we are often too afraid of failure or being corrected and this can hold us back from reaching our true potential on individual and societal levels. We must both give and receive criticism in order to better ourselves.

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Doesn’t it look like he is trying to eat the paper funnel rather than yell through it? But I digress…
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