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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utf6HbNqidk] With Hurricane Sandy, which you might know better as the Frankenstorm, pounding the East Coast, it got us thinking about the weird practice of naming hurricanes after people. It was odder still in the not-too-distant past, since from 1954 to 1979, <a href="http://www.history.com/news/why-do-hurricanes-have-names">hurricanes only received ladies' names.</a>

You can educate yourself about candidates, but at the end of the day, most people will vote along party lines. That's just the way things are. But in most elections, there are other things at stake than just who will take office. The times democracy really gets to chance to shine are with propositions (or ballot initiatives or measures or whatever your state calls them).

<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/vote.jpeg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1066" title="vote" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/vote.jpeg" alt="Vote pin on an American flag" width="540" height="230" /></a>I was an out-of-state student. For four years, my family and mailing address were in Virginia, but I spent the majority of the year up in Massachusetts. I kept my voting registration in Virginia, mostly because I'd rather cast a vote in a swing state than in one that tends to lean blue.

<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/supremecourt1.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1052" title="supremecourt" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/supremecourt1.jpg" alt="The Supreme Court of the United States" width="540" height="364" /></a> The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/10/justice/court-affirmative-action/index.html"><em>Fisher v. University of Texas</em></a>, a case that could potentially change the way our country handles affirmative action. Here's the bare-bones facts of the case. Abigail Fisher, a student whose application to the University of Texas was rejected, sued the school for discrimination. She's white, and arguing that if she had been a racial minority, she would've been accepted.

<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/florida.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1041" title="florida" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/florida.jpg" alt="The Florida State Flag" width="500" height="301" /></a> In its official strategic plan, Florida's Board of Education projected its goals for the next few years. The document set targets for the percentages of students the board hopes will be at grade level in the near future. But then it further breaks down those targets. By race.

I have news that's incredibly disappointing to my younger self, age 3 to 9. Sadly, we'll never be able to build a real-life Jurassic Park, because of the half-life of DNA strands.

<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/cb12592f2b7e461b1c0f6a7067003efa.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1019" title="cb12592f2b7e461b1c0f6a7067003efa" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/cb12592f2b7e461b1c0f6a7067003efa.jpg" alt="A sample ballot for the 2012 presidential election" width="539" height="366" /></a> <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/why-i-refuse-to-vote-for-barack-obama/262861/">This article</a> from <em>The Atlantic </em>is surely one of the most hotly debated articles I've seen lately. In it, writer Conor Friedersdorf declares flatly that he will not vote for President Obama because of moral objections to (a) drone strikes in Waziristan, (b) the President's "kill" list, and (c) how Libya was handled. In <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/the-responses-to-why-i-refuse-to-vote-for-barack-obama/263057/">a follow-up</a>, Friedersdorf shared some of the responses he received from the article, particularly framed around the question of having certain issues be "dealbreakers" for candidates.

Copyright protection is <em>not</em> Gangnam Style. The most liked video in YouTube's history, "Gangnam Style" by South Korean pop star Psy, <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/24/gangnam-style-south-korean-pop">has been given away to the masses</a>.* [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0]

<p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/rosalindsm.png"><img class="size-full wp-image-993 aligncenter" title="rosalindsm" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/rosalindsm.png" alt="A comic on Rosalind Franklin from Kate Beaton's webcomic &quot;Hark! A Vagrant&quot;" width="540" height="405" /></a></p> <em>Source: <a href="http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=240">Hark! A Vagrant</a></em> The fact that women aren't paid as fairly as men isn't news to anyone. But this is the first time I've seen that stat approached as a highly controlled purely scientific study, and directed at the very people conducting the study.

<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/9emer.jpg"><img class="alignright wp-image-985" title="9eMER" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/9emer.jpg" alt="" width="324" height="433" /></a> There's an art to designing the perfect college schedule. It's a delicate balance between leaving time for your responsibilities while leaving ample time for a total lack of responsibility. It's a way of spacing things out enough that you don't overburden yourself, but keeping it tightly clustered enough that you can have long stretches of no work at all. Your perfect schedule is a set of fingerprints, totally unique to you. That being said, there's a handful of horrible mistakes I made (or at least observed) when mapping out that elusive perfect schedule, so here's a handful of caveats of things that might sound like a good idea, but really, really aren't. <strong>Don't cluster your classes together (too much). </strong>Here's something that at first seems like a bad idea, then seems like a counter-intuitive great idea. Stick with your first instinct. Some people will try to cram all of their classes into as few blocks as possible, but that's just a one-way ticket to exhaustion. The more you cluster classes, the less downtime you'll have to process information after the class ends.

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