Louisville to ACC

The craziness of NCAA conference realignment continued yesterday, but finally fans of the University of Louisville are happy. This happiness stems not from winning a basketball game. This upswing in good feelings certainly does not come from the rash of injuries that have struck Gorgui and Teddy, two of Louisville’s best athletes, either. Instead, the happiness comes from a more simple source: Hope.

Before yesterday morning, the cardinals were stuck in the rapidly deteriorating conference known as the Big East. The Big East, which only a few years ago had been known as a power six conference, had been recently pillaged of almost all of the decent teams left. Pitt? Syracuse? West Virginia? Gone, gone, gone. In fact, after yesterday, only 3 teams remain in the Big East that were there 2 years ago: UCONN, Cincinnati, and South Florida.  Hope that the University of Louisville could thrive in this environment and have a chance to compete for Football Championships was rapidly diminishing.

 

Suddenly, a great blessing was bestowed upon the University in the form of an invite into the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC offers opportunities that the Cardinals’ present home simply can not. A decent football conference, the best basketball conference, and a great home for all of the other sports that Louisville takes so much pride in. It also doesn’t hurt that the conference has quite a few wealthy and prestigious schools. Just think Duke.

Fortunately, the ACC needed the University of Louisville. Not for Academics. They had that. Not for Basketball. The ACC is already a good basketball conference, but Louisville does bring a very good team. The ACC needed Louisville for conference solidarity. Schools like Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech want to compete for Football national championships, and with out another strong school to increase their strength of schedule it just wasn’t going to happen. If the ACC had added UCONN these schools would likely have tried their best to get out. Louisville adds a decent football program that has a respected coach and recent success.

Now Louisville has a top 10 basketball team, a strong football team that may be going to a BCS bowl if it can overcome it’s injuries, and even  soccer team in the elite eight. The Louisville sports world looks bright, brighter than it has in some time. For the first time in several years fans are at peace. We no longer have to worry about being left in a dying conference.

States Seceding? Not so Fast.

A little under two weeks ago the 2012 election ended with a major victory for incumbent Barack Obama. As usual, people who voted against the winner did not take it well. Some took it so poorly that they actually started petitions for their state to secede from the Union. It seems like I remember some states seceding in the past. That’s right, the Civil War. That certainly did not work out very well for those states.

The petitions certainly do not make much sense. However, petitions from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana have received the 25,000 signature minimum that will make the White House have to take notice. Take a moment and look at the states that I just mentioned. Now all we need is South Carolina to get the correct number of signatures and the Confederate States of America will almost be back.  Quite a few other states have also started petitions, but have not yet raised 25,000 signatures.

So why did I say the petitions do not make much sense? First off, if you look at the petitions, which can be found of the White House website, you will notice that many people have simply gone around and signed all of the petitions. This has inflated the number of signatures and, lets be honest, having a Kentuckian sign a petition for Texas to secede really does not make sense. Furthermore, are you really trying to secede because your candidate lost? You do realize that in every competition someone looses, right?

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your stance, many people are speaking out from the other side of the debate.  Residents in three Texas cities, Houston, Austin and El Paso, have signed petitions asking to secede from Texas if Texas secedes from the Union.The Houston petition says that “those asking for secession of the state of Texas are mentally deficient and do not want them representing us.” The petition also adds,”We would like more education in our state to eradicate their disease.” Harsh.

Clearly voices on both sides of the aisle are going a bit overboard with this debate. However, many people still realize that we are fortunate to live in the United States with rights and privileges that citizens of many nations can only dream about. One of those rights is the ability to even petition for this type of thing. Would you like to try that in some of the Asian or Middle Eastern nations at the moment? Ask Tibet what they think would happen if they petitioned to regain their independence from China.

We live in a great Republic that has given us the right to have a voice. So you are mad your candidate lost? Why not just wait for 4 years to vote in someone else? That is the beauty of our nation. Even better, in only 2 years you can change the balance of power in congress, which could have an even bigger impact than the President. So, please, stop trying to destroy our country. It is time to start fulfilling our duties as citizens instead.  

 

The Electoral College

The 2012 election ended earlier this week and anyone who watched live coverage repeatedly listened to the comparison between the Electoral College vote and the popular vote.  The way the media was portraying it early in the night, the “nations” will could be overturned by the Electoral College. Fortunately, one candidate eventually took the lead in both categories ending this line of conversation. However, is what the media was saying really true? The answer is a resounding NO. The only way you could think that is if you do not understand the system at all. Apparently that is common in the media.

So what is the Electoral College? What is its purpose? Why is our election system not based on national popular vote? The answer to all of these questions are intertwined. To begin answering this question I must give some background information that reaches back to our founding fathers. First off, the popular vote IS how the President is elected. It is just by STATE level instead of the National level. Why is that you ask?

Before the Civil War is was common to hear the phrase “these United States.” This occurred because theoretically the United States is a collection of Independent and Sovereign states that are each its own nation. After the war the phrase “the United States,” became common because when Abraham Lincoln attacked the states that seceded, it set the belief that States could not leave the Union. Regardless of that development, the States are still the ones who elect the leader of the Union instead of the individual person.

The Electoral college is a compromise between Small and Large states. If each state only got two votes it would proportionally make the small states much more powerful. The only compromise that made sense was a system that reflected that states population. California has the most population by far, and the most electoral votes, but in a direct vote instead of the Electoral College its population would actually have a larger impact on the vote. In fact, in a direct vote the states of California, Texas, Florida, New York, and a couple of other large states could override the rest of the nation. The Electoral College, which still gives them large numbers, actually blunts the blow and allows small states to have some say.  This also illustrates why the EC still is relevant. States like Maine or Montana, which have small populations and different motivations according to exit polls, get to voice their say in this system. In a direct vote their votes would just blend in with all of the rest of them.

So is the Electoral College as stupid and worthless as the media likes to portray it? NO. If you haven’t noticed by now it bothers me that the media does not bother to explain the system. Most people simply do not understand that each state elects the President, which is to say that they do not understand the Electoral College at all, because it is simply impossible without knowing that fact. Do not get me wrong, I would like to see a few modifications myself. I am partial to the system in place in Maine and Nebraska which divides the states Electoral College votes by Representative districts. For example, in Kentucky this would most likely have given Obama one vote because of how liberal the City of Louisville is instead of making it irrelevant. I would strongly support that rule being spread to all 50 states.

Will the Electoral College ever go away? I really doubt it. I say that because people who are in power in this nation do understand the system and its benefits, even if most normal people seem to have little to no understanding of the Electoral College. Please, media, do your research before the next election and stop misleading American Citizens.

Millionaires Row

It is almost time for the Breeder’s Cup, and I am back to blogging after the technical error that made my blog from last week decide not to post. Things happen. And no where is this more apparent than Horse racing. If you have ever watched the Kentucky Derby or the Breeder’s Cup you know that the favorite horses often loose. Today I was able to go to Churchill Downs for some off the smaller races. The company I work for, Trilogy Health Services, held a company event in the Millionaires Row boxes. As a person with limited resources this is a place that I am not likely to return to any time soon, and I have to say that it was very nice.

If you do not have a ticket for the Millionaires Box good luck in getting in. Todays races were not exactly world class, but the security was still heavy. I can only imagine the security that must be up there on the date of the Kentucky Derby.   During the time that I was able to be in the box I actually did not see a race except on the TVs in the lounge. It seemed like everyone else in the lounge did the same thing. The food was just too good to leave. The Hot Brown Macaroni and Cheese was delicious.  They also kept our table well stocked with Stella Artois, which I found out was the official sponsor. Good choice.  

I know absolutely nothing about betting. That is probably a good thing because I do not have much money to begin with. Unlike me I can guarantee that millions of dollars will change hands this weekend due to the Breeder’s Cup. Even people who already have quite a bit of money will be looking to get lucky. But that is the name of the game in betting: luck.

If you will be going out to the Breeder’s Cup I can already summarize your experience: Alcohol, Food, Horses, and money. That combined with the worlds most famous horse track should lead to a great experience.   However, if you do plan on attending this week’s horse event, you can feel free to join me. I will be at the Temple football game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium watching 10th ranked Louisville attempt to reach 9-0 for the first time in school history. This will only be after I watch the 2nd ranked Louisville basketball team opens its exhibition games tonight against Pikeville. It is an exciting time for sports in the city of Louisville.

Microsoft Surface: What is it?

Windows 8 has been repeatedly discussed by technology experts. Opinions on that topic are nearly evenly split between those who hate the changes and those who love it. Windows 8 may be the company’s biggest release since Windows 95 introduced the world to the start menu. However, Windows 8 is not the only product that Microsoft will be releasing on October 26th. The new Microsoft Surface tablet will also become available on that day, and may be even more important for Microsoft.

The first version of the tablet will be available in the 32 gigabyte or 64 gigabyte sizes. Buyers can also purchase some rather unique accessories: either the Touch cover or the Type cover.  The touch cover looks like a normal screen cover, but it actually has a touch sensitive keyboard built in. These keys are flat and do not move, but the system still reads it as typing. The type cover is a slender traditional keyboard with keys that operate like  normal keyboard. Both covers contain powerful magnets which attach to the tablet easily and will not fall off without you wanting it to. The body of the tablet also contains a built in kickstand. The body of the tablet is created with magnesium and gorilla glass, both of which are very hard to break.

 With all of these positives what could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit actually. The primary source of trouble will probably stem from the fact that the first version of the tablet will run on Windows RT with the Windows 8 pro version being released 3 months in the future. The issue with this? Windows RT does not equal Windows 8. Do they look the same? Yes. Does the interface react the same way? Yes. Does Windows RT use all of the apps in the Windows Store? Yes. So what is the difference? Everything.

Windows RT is an entirely different OS designed to take advantage of the mobile ARM platform. ARM chips are those that are often used in mobile devices like phones or android tablets. The normal windows simply can not run on the platform. Windows RT is an entirely different OS which has been designed to completely mimic Windows 8. The main issue with this is that all legacy Windows applications are not usable on the first version of the Microsoft Surface.

If users understand this fact then everything will be fine. Windows RT will be a good OS as long as users understand what they are getting. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not done a good job in explaining the differences to people. It looks the same as Windows 8, so users think it is Windows 8. The Surface Tablet looks like a great product, and we can only hope that a misunderstanding is not what derails it.

 

Twitter Fights Nazis

Aside

ImageTwitter has become a tool used by the masses. The Twitter system allows people to send short messages with hash tags that allow viewers to see many opinions concerning the same topic. Did you see the Presidential debate on Tuesday? If you did you would have noticed all of the tweets of the bottom of the screen on most of the networks. Quite a few of these tweets contained the hast tag, #bindersfullofwomen. Thanks a bunch for that one Romney.  Honestly, twitter amuses me, but it can also be just as offensive.

ImageImage

It seems like Twitter has finally started to realize that all of the content on its site is less that friendly, and often downright illegal. Twitter recently unveiled a new initiative to begin blocking certain content that goes against the laws of certain nations. The first use of this system? the blocking of all Nazi content in Germany. As you should probably know by now, Germany has quite a bad history when it comes to Nazis. Remember World War 2? Remember the Holocaust? Both of those events disgust German citizens, and since shortly after World War 2 all Nazi symbols and references have been banned.

Neo-Nazi groups have been using Twitter to get around this law for several years, but Twitter has now said enough. The Neo-Nazi group, known as hannoverticker, was the first user banned on twitter using their new policy against racial hate. Several tweets from this group included calls for rounding up Jews, calling for the government to be overthrown to start a Fourth Reich, and tweets glamorizing the fact that several members are facing criminal charges for inciting racial violence.  Not cool.

Image

The new policy actually allows the group to keep their twitter account, but now its tweets are only visible out side of Germany. So how does that make you feel as an American? Do you agree with blocking Nazi content promoting racial violence? Or, if this was to occur in America, would you feel like it is a violation of your first amendment rights? Personally I would feel like it would still be illegal here. Talking about Nazi information is one thing, but attempting to convince people to restart a genocide is quite different.

Twitter, and other Social media sites, can be great places to share your opinions. However, if you are crazy and spewing racial hate, maybe you shouldn’t be surprised if the police come knocking on your door. Social sites are fun, as shown by the humor found in Romney’s Binders full of women comment, but maybe it is time to take some responsibility on them too.

 Image

How Important is a Logo?

 

Image

As you can see from the picture to the right, the Microsoft logo has changed many times. How many of you realized that? Unless you were born in the 70’s, I would bet not many of you. The original logo was classic 70’s, but subsequent logos seemed to rely more on a simplistic font. In fact, from 1987 until earlier this year the only major change on the logo was the placement of the slogan. Then, earlier this year, Microsoft released its new logo. The font is now straight up and down instead on italicized. The black has been changed to a gray, and a new multicolored window logo has joined the text. The result? Thousands of dislikes on the You Tube video that unveiled it.  The new logo is nice, but people do not like change an were used to the old logo.  

Logos are often the most identifiable thing for a company. If I say apple most people would picture the shiny, silver apple with one bite taken out of it. If I say Google, most people would picture the multicolored font that spells out the company’s name. Coke? The cursive styled Coca-cola. A logo can legitimately be worth millions of dollars. Unfortunately, most logos do not have the lasting power of the Coke logo. 

Image

So what happens when you feel forced to update your logo? It could end is disaster. Just ask Gap. The old blue logo was created in 1967. The company decided to update the logo to make it seem more exciting in a multi-million dollar refresh project. Gap then had the new logo created, changing the font to black and placing a blue square behind the p. Consumers hated it. With a passion. The backlash was so severe, that Gap removed the new logo and replaced it with the old logo after only two weeks.  

Clearly the logo can mean a lot to a company, especially from a marketing standpoint. The logo of many universities are also well known. The Logo of Notre Dame is almost universally recognized. The Wildcat logo of our rivals, the University of Kentucky, is also well know. Louisville’s cardinal logo is also well known. However, while this logo is well known I would like to see the return of one of our older logos. Say hello to the Dunking Cardinal. 

Image