Some information for students (from a fellow student) to keep you up to date with this complicated current affair.
There’s been a lot of talk going around about Edward Snowden and his disclosure of NSA information, but with the amount of commentary in the media, it’s difficult to figure out even some basic information. The purpose of this post is to answer some of the basic questions revolving around Snowden and the NSA.
Who is Edward Snowden?
Born on June 21, 1983 in Wilmington, North Carolina, Edward Joseph Snowden is soon to be thirty years old. He studied computing at Anne Arundel Community College, but illness left him unable to complete his coursework, leaving him without a high school diploma until the later completion of his GED. In 2011, he participated in an online program, working towards a Masters Degree with the University of Liverpool. Seven years earlier, in 2004, Snowden had enlisted in the US Army as a Special Forces recruit, but according to his own reports, was discharged four months later after breaking both his legs in a training accident.
Snowden’s former positions include (in the order he held them):
· Working for the NSA, he was a security guard for the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, a covert center.
· He worked for the CIA in IT Security.
· According to his own reports, the CIA placed Snowden in Geneva under diplomatic cover in 2007, where he oversaw network security.
· He reports leaving the CIA to work for a private contractor inside a US military base in Japan for the NSA.
· Until recently, Snowden held a position as a system administrator inside the NSA for consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii. He held this position for under three months and was fired on June 10th after his media disclosures.
What did Snowden disclose?
Through the disclosure of documents and an arranged meeting in Hong Kong with reporter Glen Greenwald, of The Guardian, and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, Snowden revealed the following pieces of information:
eNotes’ editorial intern shares his tips of how to make the most of your high school summer. Or any summer, for that matter!
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. My grandma bought me the first book when I was 11, and from then on I read every book within the same week it was released. My extreme anticipation and excitement for the release of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, back in 2007 should be understandable then. However, I was conflicted. The release date for the 7th book was set for the end of July, which is far too close to the end of summer from a student’s perspective. You see my dilemma. As a typical high school student, I wanted the long carefree days of summer to last forever, however, I now had this exciting event to look forward to at the end of summer. For the first time in my life, I was looking forward to summer ending. This turned out to be the slowest summer ever. My summer that normally felt like it was only 16 days long now felt like the setting of a slow-motion dream I couldn’t escape. Ultimately, I became comfortable with the pace of that summer in 2007 and learned to enjoy my time and stay in the moment up until that long awaited release of the Deathly Hallows.
That summer was a stark contrast to a typical high school summer, which moves way too quickly and is filled with sobs of students during the final weeks. The days meld together and may begin to pass you by. Let’s take a look at some tips to ensure that you’re making the most of your summer and emerge into the next school year after a productive and fun vacation.
1. Break it down. You have two and a half months ahead of you with no academic obligations. Plan your summer by answering these basic questions which will provide an outline for your time ahead: 1. What will I do with my time?, 2. What are my obligations?, 3. What will be fun?, 4. What will be beneficial?
2. Travel. One of my biggest regrets of high school is that I considered leaving my street to be “traveling”. Travel and learn to be comfortable making your own decisions, being your own boss, and not having your mother force you to clean your room. You will gain experience, confidence, and surely return a changed person. More importantly, you will be better equipped to handle college. And anyways, girls like well-traveled men (and vice versa). If a trip outside of the US isn’t plausible, spend a couple days in a neighboring city.
Last month the public library of eNotes’ very own hometown, Seattle, broke the world record for the world’s longest book domino chain. Check it out!
It took twenty-seven volunteers, seven hours, and five attempts in all, but on May 31st at approximately 11pm the Seattle Public Library successfully toppled 2,131 books, domino style. The awesome number of books used allowed the library staff to get creative with the pathway, too, as books climbed ramps, scaled stairs, and at one point spilled across the floor to spell ‘READ’ in giant letters. The books truly seem to have a life of their own as they bypass scenes like a couple sharing a picnic and a woman reading on the beach. In truth, these books were actually given a second life, as all of them had been “retired and donated” to the library. Now that they’ve had their moment in the spotlight, though, all should find a new home, thanks to the library’s ingenious way of getting the books back out there for public consumption:
Books used in the record-setting event can be purchased at upcoming Friends of The Seattle Public Library book sales. Each book will have a special sticker identifying that it helped set the book domino world record, as well as the Web address so the book buyer can watch the video.
Hopefully this attention-grabbing kickoff to the Seattle Public Library’s summer reading program will have a domino effect on the popularity of reading worldwide. Kudos to the two college students who masterminded the entire event: Laura D’Asaro and Luke Greenway of Harvard University and Middlebury College.
For those of you on the quarter system, finals are just around the corner. You’re likely feeling stressed at the end of this long year, and only just over the hurdle of your most recent midterms. You’ve heard stories of a friend of a friend who was able to stay up all night on energy drinks and Adderall, then aced his Organic Chemistry final. Sound familiar? What you may not be familiar with are the risks of falling into such behavior yourself, the least of which is getting caught for a disciplinary offense.
Adderall is a widely misused drug commonly referred to as the “study drug.” It’s most commonly abused by college students, though it is rapidly gaining in popularity with high school students across the country. In fact, according to data from Monitoring the Future, “10% of high school sophomores and 12% of high school seniors take these attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs without a prescription from their doctor.”
It’s unclear why many college and now high school students turn to Adderall use, but some claim it is the high expectations set upon them to get betters grades in school. Many high school students also begin to feel the pressure to perform better on finals at the end of the year. This pressure can be from parents, academic advisors, or just the increased competition to get into the right college. No matter where the pressure comes from, students will often use Adderall to help them to focus better, have more energy and motivation or spend hours awake cramming in last minute studying.
If you or your friends are thinking about trying Adderall to help you cram or write a last minute paper, know the facts first:
(George Eastman‘s (co-founder of Eastman-Kodak) suicide note. Eastman shot himself in the heart after suffering from chronic spinal pain which left him partially disabled.)
When someone makes the decision to take their own life, often the first thing many people want to know is whether they left a suicide note. Some people, like Eastman, leave just a few words the living are left to ponder; others leave long, detailed letters of regret, pain, and loss. Whatever the method, there is no denying that the final, written words of anyone who has made this decision are compelling.
Taking a class on the composition of suicide notes though…well, that’s definitely new. But philosophy professor Simon Critchley of New York’s the New School believes there is much to be learned, artistically and rhetorically, from suicide notes. He recently hosted a course called the “Suicide Note Writing Workshop.” One of several classes offered in month-long series of programs called “The School of Death,” Critchley came up with the idea after hearing about a program called “The School of Life” in London. Critchley (my kind of guy) called it “ “a particularly nauseating philosophy of self-help.”
Critchley realizes it is a dark subject and also a “way of mocking creative-writing workshops.” But, in the workshop’s defense, the professor explained to The New York Times, “We’re not mocking suicide. We’re doing this as a way to understand it. And why not be a little insensitive? People are terrified in talking about death.”
Fifteen students signed up for the workshop which looks closely at suicide ethics from antiquity to present-day. Suicide notes themselves, Critchley says, are a relatively recent innovation. “In antiquity, there was no need to leave a note,” he said. “It would have been obvious why you killed yourself.”
Notes examined include those left by Adolph Hitler,Virgina Woolf, Kurt Cobain. After analyzing a variety of suicide notes, from both the infamous and “ordinary” people, the class was asked to write their own last words. They were given just fifteen minutes to do so and the goodbyes had to be contained to a 4″ x 6″ index card. One woman wrote this for her children: “When you inevitably discover those things I kept secret, let these not diminish the reality nor the magnitude of my love for you.”
It is an interesting way to think about communication, especially since these last words, when not a classroom exercise, come from people who largely failed at communicating.