Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was a very well-educated computer programmer who helped develop many websites.  He was well-known for his news website Reddit and in helping develop Creative Commons.  Aaron also did research work at Harvard where he founded a group that campaigned against online piracy called Demand Progress. Aaron was arrested in January of 2011 on accounts of breaking and entering, wire fraud, and on violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These charges were based on the fact that Aaron Swartz was accused of downloading academic journals from JSTOR (Peterson). These charges added up to be about one million dollars worth of fines and around 35 years in prison. In 2013 after attempts and denial of getting a plea bargain, Aaron Swartz took his life (Wikipedia). I believe that this whole situation says a lot about United States law and government, I think that his sentencing was unfair. People facing rape and murder charges sometimes do not even receive such lengthy sentences and high fines for their misdoing, which in my opinion is way worse than Aarons wrong doings. I believe that the government puts their personal threats before the safety of their citizens. Most high profile criminals even receive plea bargains, and at such a young age facing 35 years in prison is not a fair final sentence for Aaron. I believe that the government pushed Aaron to suicide, and the way that they handled the whole case could have been done differently. Although copying and taking others works is wrong, I believe that the government overreacted to such a small threat of a young man who was also doing good things on the internet- like trying to stop piracy and being an internet activist.

Aaron Swartz. (2013, October 26). Wikipedia. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz

Peterson, A. (2013, July 30). The four lamest excuses in MIT’s report on Aaron Swartz. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/07/30/the-four-lamest-excuses-in-mits-report-on-aaron-swartz/


STEM subjects, also known as STEM jobs are jobs that require at least a bachelor degree in science, engineering, technology and math; hence the acronym STEM (Smith).  STEM jobs were created to encourage more people to take an interest in all of these field which will help stimulate the economy.  STEM jobs do in fact pay more than normal jobs. Those who have STEM jobs can earn almost double of what those on the normal workforce make (Wright)Image



Smith, J. (2013, June 27). The Highest-Paying STEM Jobs For Recent College Graduates. Forbes. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/06/27/the-highest-paying-stem-jobs-for-recent-college-graduates/

Wright, J. (n.d.). States with Largest Presence of STEM-Related Jobs. EMSI  Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.economicmodeling.com/2011/09/20/where-are-stem-jobs-concentrated/

Massive Open Online Courses

In simpler terms Massive Open Online Courses are online classes that students can take instead of taking in classroom classes.  These online courses are changing the way that education is received and reviewed.  Massive Open Online Courses can change higher education in many ways; it provides more discussion among students from many places.  It also allows ideas and discussion to be shared and interpreted among all the students taking this course.  (Marques) Another way this changes higher education is it allows students to learn and read material at their own pace.  Also taking an Massive Open Online Course does not give you a limit on attendance, you must get into a routine of logging on and getting the work you need to complete that day done. (Educause)  Another way these courses are changing higher education, is that they are giving many more people access to education without having to leave the comfort of their home or workplace. (Wallstreet Journal)  There are many positives and negatives to this new learning style, in my personal opinion online classes cannot replace in-class college classes.  These online courses, although convenient, I don’t think could possibly provide all the information and insight as a in-classroom class could.  I feel as though it would be harder to ask questions and understand material when you are just reading it or watching it on your computer.  Also, since most online classes can be taken by anyone, you may not be receiving the higher education that you would wish to receive since each online class is not personalized for each University.  Although there are many positives to online classes, I do not believe that they are up to standards or could replace  in-class college classes.



Educause. (n.d.). Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Retrieved October 6, 2013, from http://www.educause.edu/library/massive-open-online-course-mooc

Marques, J. (n.d.). What is a Massive Open Online Course Anyway? MN+R Attempts a Definition – moocnewsandreviews.com. MOOC News & Reviews. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://moocnewsandreviews.com/what-is-a-massive-open-online-course-anyway-attempting-definition/

The Opportunities—and Risks—in the MOOC Business Model . (2013, October 15). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304561004579135363266072976.html

The United States and Syria

In recent news it was said that the United States was planning a bomb attack on Syria.  The United State’s reasoning behind this attack was because Syrian president Assad threatened to use illegal chemical weapons against Damascus.  This talk of Syrian president wanting to do this, immediately set off Obama to want to attack and bomb Syria without agreement and permission from the United Nations. (Smith) Shortly after though, things seemed to calm down and it seemed that there would be a more simple approach than immediately threatening to bomb.  There was finally an agreement between The United States and Syria under the United Nations Security council resolution. (Yahoo News) This resolution called for all of their chemical weapons to be destroyed, both countries, and ally country Russia seem to all be cooperating under this resolution.  I believe that this was a very fair compromise, I did not think that it would have been a good idea for The United States to immediately attack Syria.  The initial attack would have just brought the United States more problems and we would be fighting with a country that threatened to use illegal weapons.  Not only would it had been a bad idea for the US to bomb Syria because they would have fought back, it would have also reflected poorly on America. Also, The United Nations would have been mad at the United States and Obama for not consulting them for approval first, because it would have been illegal for them to do so since the United States has signed international treaties which would have prevented them. Over all I think that this was the best case scenario, both countries are cooperating and we are getting rid of all the illegal chemical weapons that Syria has.


Smith, J. (2013, October 4).   US, Syria, Iran: What Just Happened?  by Jack A. Smith  — Antiwar.com                                                                                                  . AntiWar.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://original.antiwar.com/jack-a-smith/2013/10/03/us-syria-iran-what-just-happened/

US credits Assad over Syria chemical arms destruction. (2013, October 7). Yahoo News. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from http://news.yahoo.com/destruction-syrias-chemical-weapons-begins-163329036.html