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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Black Friday shouldn't be on Thursday

We are all familiar with Black Friday. It now goes hand and hand with Thanksgiving itself. However, Black Friday is becoming more ridiculous. It is now stretching to Thanksgiving in most instances, and in extreme cases, it covers many days after Friday. I am fine with having Black Fridays sales on and after Friday, but having them on Thanksgiving is simply unconstitutional. Ok, I am exaggerating a lot, but let me explain.
Having Black Friday on Thanksgiving is a violation of our 8th amendment right, which protects us from cruel and unusual punishment. Have a sale on Thursday takes employees away from their family's Thanksgiving meal and forces them to work minimum wage while getting trampled from all the shoppers who are rushing to get what they"need". These employees are being punish in an cruel and rather unusual way because they are forced to work in harsh conditions against their will while earning not nearly enough to make up for all the work they have to do, not to mention they are missing a major America holiday. CEOs of major department stories must realize how inhumane it is to extend Black Friday to Thanksgiving. If not, then they must be impeached from their positions. Ok, that doesn't make any sense, but my point is Black Thursday doesn't make any sense.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


The way students and teachers handle grades (myself included) bothers me. It is natural to have grades on your mind and your mind on your grades. However, the ways students and teachers, including myself, go about their grade not ok. Here is a list why:

1. As finals are approaching and students are chewing their fingernails over the 89% they have in math class, it is worth reminding yourself that your grade is just a letter. An A vs a B isn't going to be the determining factor in rather a particular college accepts or denies you. There is plenty of other material colleges look at in your application.  And once you are in college, you high school grade doesn't mean anything.

2. I can't tell you how my times a teacher has handed back a graded assignment and I've heard some ask someone else what they got. First of all, grades are personal. If a teacher leaked out everyone's grade, they would be fired. Second of all, why would someone care how much material their friend understood about a subject? Does it really matter? Just asking makes it seem like grades are a

3. Here is the O'Connor theorem: Grade is just a number. A grade is just a way a crude summarizing a student's intelligence. However, one's intelligence is hopefully more complicated than one number. Judging a student by their grade is like judging how fit someone is by their weight. It is simply unfair to do both. I saw a Near True News article about all students students wear shirt with their GPA on it. This would never happen. But if we think about it, aren't all of us wearing this invisible shirt everyday?

4. We all have encountered the math department policy when we get our final back. We can't see our final, but rather just see our final score. If we want to see our test, we have to meet our teacher outside of class, which is a pain especially 2nd semester. I understand it is there to prevent academic integrity. However, this policy, in my opinion, defeats the point of learning. What is the point of taking a test if you can't learn from your mistakes?  Thus, the math department is focus on getting the grade to their student rather than truly teaching them.

So here is my challenge to the three people left who are reading this, don't be attached to grades. To students, we go to high school to learn, not to get good grades. An A in junior year english doesn't mean anything if you don't remember what you learn. To teachers, find ways to minimize the importance of grades. Take to O'Connor route is you want to be extreme. The middle would be having half the grade on assignments, half on participation, improvement, and other factors you don't see in grades.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why not getting into your first choice isn't a bad thing (guest blog)

 I did not get into my first choice of colleges, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Let me explain why.
            I ended up going to a different college. During the first day of orientation, I heard an Israeli guy walking down the hallway of my dorm humming an obscure song I liked. I introduced myself, and Eran and I became friends. More than 40 years later, we still are. A few years after we met, Eran introduced me to his friend Danny, who is also still my friend. And Danny introduced me to his friend Laurie, who became my best friend of all, my wife, and the mother of my wonderful three sons. I consider myself to be very fortunate, and none of this would have happened if I had been admitted to my top college choice.
            As New Trier juniors and their parents prepare to seek the college of their dreams, I hope they will remember that enjoying and learning from the journey is what matters, not the intended destination. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
Jon Marshall (Andrew’s dad)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

College Football playoff chaos

The college football playoff picture got shaken up after Saturday's games. For those who aren't aware, the four best college football teams, as selected by a committee, will compete in a playoff featuring two semifinal games and a championship game. Entering this week, the four best teams were, in order, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama. The next two were Baylor and Notre Dame. After a chaotic week where LSU lost to Alabama, Michigan State lost their first game, and undefeated Oklahoma State beat undefeated TCU, the playoff picture will surely change. While it is difficult to predict the top 4 week to week, here is my long term top four, in no paticular order.

1. An undefeated Clemson. (A one loss Clemson may get in, but will need a lot of help)
2. A one loss SEC champion (either Alabama, Florida, or LSU. If the SEC champ has two losses, then I think there will be no SEC team in the playoff)
3. A undefeated Big Ten champion (either Ohio Sate or Iowa. Both teams and Michigan Sate will have difficulty getting in with one loss.)
4. An undefeated Big 12 team (either Baylor or Oklahoma State. If there is no undefeated Big 12 team, then a one loss team may sneak in, either Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU or Oklahoma. With Baylor playing Oklahoma State in a few weeks, there can't be multiple undefeated teams.)

5. If one of the following doesn't happen (i.e. Clemson loses a game), then the winner of the Notre Dame/ Stanford game will be in the playoff (assuming the winning team wins the rest of their games).

6. If two of the above don't happen, then chaos! Maybe a one loss Big 12 team, a one loss Big ten team/ champion, or a one loss Clemson. Maybe an undefeated Houston gets in. Maybe a one loss LSU gets in even though they don't play in the SEC championship. Maybe even a one loss Utah gets in.

All in all, there are plentiful number of games left with big playoff implications. It looks like the SEC and Big Ten championship games may be de facto quarterfinal games. Using my model above, here is my prediction for the end of season top four.

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Ohio Sate
4. Oklahoma Sate
5. Stanford
6. LSU