Laws and Theories Among the Common People

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I guess it’s fair to say that the scientific community has not done so well in constructing its jargon vocabulary. That being said, it’s actually kind of sad how little people know outside of the scientific community, but are so prepared to argue for or against topics that they don’t know much about.

I came across an article today that talks about the discovery of a new dinosaur, from which birds may have evolved. You can read about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/29/world/asia/dinosaur-discovery/index.html?iref=allsearch

I always like to scroll through the comments just to read what others have to say about the topics I’m reading; but reading these comments was worse than nails on a chalkboard. Before I go on, I would like to point out that this post is not about whether or not the Theory of Evolution is true, but rather attacking the arguments that those outside of the scientific community make to justify their points. Here are just a few of the comments that I read on the article today:

“Technically reality itself is a theory.
We cannot prove conclusively that we are not all just programs running inside a big virtual reality machine.”

“[S]o is gravity, for that matter. whoops, dropped my drink, wait no I couldn’t have, it’s right here on my table in spite of the evidence of broken glass and water on the floor because it’s just a theory.”

Yes, technically it is a theory, because it has not been (and probably cannot absolutely be!?) proven – but the evidence is overwhelming, and its a lot better than the fairy tales that other people chose to believe.”

Just stop for a second and read those comments. Can you figure out what is wrong with what they are saying? All of them seem to be under the impression that a “theory” is something that can’t be proven, hence why we can argue that it doesn’t exist. Before we distinguish what a “theory” and a “law” is in the scientific community, let’s consider what society seems to think they are. The biggest misconception is that a theory is a guess; a hunch of some sort. Such as, “My theory is that she jumped from her bedroom window, and wasn’t pushed.” That, according to the English language, is indeed a theory; a guess (whether educated or not) as to what had actually occurred. In the scientific community theories are FAR from educated guesses, or a hunch. The next misconception is that theories are not proven, and thus they are not factual. The last main misconception is that once a theory is proven, then it becomes a law; so only laws are scientific fact.

FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. So let’s set the record straight.

A scientific law is a description of an observed phenomenon. For instance, let’s take a look at Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, that states that every mass in the universe is attracted to each other by a force that is directly proportional to their mass, yet inversely proportional to the distance between them squared. Or in more visual terms:

F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}\

This law describes how point masses will interact with each other by the force of gravity. It is a physical observation of the phenomenon. It tells us that the apple will fall from the tree to the ground, and gives us a means of calculating that, but it doesn’t explain why the apple will fall from the tree to the ground.

Theories, on the other hand are an explanation for the physical observation of phenomenon. For instance, unlike Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity explains why we observe the phenomenon seen in Newton’s laws. Both laws and theories consolidate a lot of research and successful testing before being categorized as such. Both can be proven and unproven. Take for instance Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity; which is a theory that was proven by predicting and observing the bending of light in an eclipse. To argue that theories are not facts is not necessarily true either. Did you know that the equations in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity are used in GPS tracking, otherwise your GPS would be off by a number of kilometers. If you’re ever interested, here’s an awesome read about it: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

Long story short, scientific laws are meant to describe how things behave in nature, while scientific theories are meant to explain why things behave the way they do. Theories and laws go hand in hand, such that your theory must be able to accommodate the laws that are associated to it. It is false to think that theories become laws when they are proven, because laws and theories are two different concepts. Not to mention that both theories and laws can be (and generally are) proven and challenged. Arguing against a certain theory (such as the Theory of Evolution) because you believe that theories are not proven, scientific fact just makes you look like a fool…to us science folk at least.

Stay educated my friends.

The Hallowed Halls of Ivy and the American Crisis

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During my down time at work today, I stumbled across a CNN article about a surge in the student loan rates. According to the article, on July 1st interest rates on student subsidized loans are set to double to 6.8%. If you want, you can read more about it here: http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/28/pf/college/student-loan-rates/

This article got me thinking about the education ideology in the United States and how it’s affecting the American future. The question that started this train of thought: Is it worth attending an Ivy League school? I believe that much of the education you receive as an undergraduate can be found at the same level at schools that are not necessarily Ivy League. Going off my own experiences, I remember being told in my Chemistry recitations by tutors and professors how the Chemistry curriculum is comparable – if not more challenging – than that of schools such as Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania. Although those may not be the top tier of the Ivy, they are still nonetheless Ivy status and you’ll be paying far more for an education in those schools than at Penn State. Although I think Penn State has excellent academics, there are definitely many other non-Ivy schools with the level, if not higher, of education as Penn State.

So if you’re paying that much more for an Ivy league education, are you really getting anything more than those not in Ivy? Is it actually worth it? I believe to some extent, yes; but this depends on the situation you are in. First is the name recognition. Of course everyone would LOVE to put an Ivy League school on their resume, because everyone knows the Ivy’s. One thing you are guaranteeing by attending an Ivy League school is absolutely receiving a good education; and I’m sure employers know that, so they’re are probably willing to take a chance on someone who was taught at an Ivy rather that someone who was taught at some unknown university…but still, that’s only to some extent. Call me hypocritical or not, but if I had the money (and motivation) to attend an Ivy League school I would be there in a heart beat. In the long run, name recognition is something that can only help you, not hurt you; but at the same time it still doesn’t mean that the level of education you receive is necessarily superior to that of another non-Ivy university.

I know a few people back in middle/high school who are currently attending Ivy League schools; people who weren’t (and probably still aren’t) much different than me. Does it mean that when they graduate with an undergraduate degree, they will instantly be multi-millionaires? Is it not possible for me to be at the same level, or even higher, financially and socially than they are in the future with my Penn State degree? I think it is. Let’s consider this: A friend of mine, who is also majoring in engineering (regardless of discipline) attends an Ivy League, while I attend Penn State. When we both graduate in four years with our undergraduate degree, will both of our jobs not be entry level positions? Because he was Ivy League, does he get to jump several promotions from an entry level when he first starts out? Are there specific engineering jobs that only require an Ivy League degree? I don’t think so. So it’s fair to say that if I play my cards right I can end up somewhere similar, or better, than my Ivy League friend.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “WELL LET’S ALL ATTEND COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTEAD!”, because now you’re getting into the quality of education. I’m saying that one can be successful without an Ivy League degree, and to the same standard; but you still need to choose your education wisely. Attending a school that doesn’t offer a very good education in your field, and lacks in recruitment opportunities is probably not going to get you very far. So my advice: Do your homework, because there are plenty of good schools out there that can take you far in life.

All that aside, I still believe that Ivy League schools have their advantage; and that comes especially in education past the undergraduate degree. When it comes to graduate school, law school, med school, or anything else past your undergraduate degree, Ivy League schools are a good route to go. I think that once you continue with your education, the jobs that you’ll be landing with that graduate degree will be looking at what school you came from. For example, a Harvard Law student vs. a Temple Law student. I think there are two main reasons for this:

1. Because in graduate school your education is more specific, as compared to undergraduate which is more general; in my opinion.

2. Nowadays, undergraduate degrees are too common among the young population.

I’m not going to go on about 1. anymore, because to me 2. is a more interesting topic. It’s obvious that the amount of students continuing their education, and going to college after high school has increased substantially over the past decades. With so many degrees floating around out there, employers now are requiring college degrees more than they have in the past. Nowadays, it’s as if you can’t do much without a college education anymore. College tuition is on a rise year after year, because the demand for a college education keeps increasing. Now you have those who can’t afford a college education calling for subsidies from the federal government; and as the government complies, colleges and universities across the nation increase their tuition to fight the subsidized loans instead of setting competitive rates. Then the students go out with these loans; some of them succeed, others waste their time and money studying useless majors, and some don’t have the motivation to plan their future after college.

Don’t take this the wrong way; if it wasn’t for government loans it would have been extremely difficult (if possible at all) for me to attend Penn State even with the in-state tuition, so I am grateful that I had this opportunity. But where do we go from here? How do we create a program that still gives opportunities for individuals to succeed with higher education, while weeding out the ones that won’t? How do we bring back competitiveness in a college education? As time goes on, the value of an undergraduate college degree is diminishing. Sooner or later, it will be as common as a high school education. When that happens society will crumble. Everyone will be overqualified for the jobs such as cashiers, clerks, store managers. Demand for a college education will trickle down to these jobs that, in the past, needed only a high school education to obtain full time.

I’m a strong believer of capitalism; I believe this country was formed on its ideas. We need people to work the lesser jobs in the market that don’t require a college degree, because without them society will fail. But even if you weren’t born wealthy, my ideal capitalistic views say that you can be more successful than what society has in store for you with hard work and motivation. I realize that is easier said than done, but possible nonetheless. However, our country has been far from a pure capitalist nation for quite some time, and we just keep drifting further and further away as the government takes over control. So what’s next: Communism? Totalitarianism? Socialism? Who knows; but regardless of what economic system you follow, the truth of the matter is that they never last. Eventually, they all transform into something else; whether better or worse. It’s the inevitable path of society and economics. So if I were you, I would be scared for what the future has in store; because whatever it is – either good or bad – it’s going to hit the majority of us hard.

Back to college loans, I think that those attending a college or university (especially those receiving aid from the federal government) need to be smarter about the plans they make in college. Way too many students are going in as “undecided” majors and spending more than 4 years in a university. Although college is the right time for you to find yourself, you can’t just go in there without a plan hoping that one unfolds for you; because by the time it does, you will have wasted a good amount of time. Go in there with a plan (however small), because then at least you’ll have something to go off of.

As for me, I’ve racked my a good amount in college loan debt; but I can tell you right now that I plan on having that all paid off before I’m 30. I lived off of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a broke college student for 4 years; I figured I could handle a few more.

How I Lost Myself to Krewella

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Krewella is one of those artists that I’ve recently become obsessed with! For those of you that don’t know, Krewella is an electronic dance music group that released their first EP, Play Hard last year.

Two of my friends have been telling me about Krewella for months, but I thought their name was so weird, I didn’t give them the light of day. One of my friends – who is usually the source for upcoming music – put their EP on my iTunes a while ago. It wasn’t until one day that I was shuffling through my iTunes library while doing some homework, that I stumbled upon their song “Alive”. I have heard this song before because it was always played at parties, and was recently getting a lot of attention; but I had no idea that the artist that sang this song was Krewella. I decided to check out the rest of their EP, and after the second song, “Can’t Control Myself”, I instantly fell in love.

About a month later I actually went to see a Krewella show in a club/venue called Levels in State College. The way this worked out was actually pretty funny. It was the Friday of Blue and White weekend at Penn State. Levels had actually announced the show that Friday afternoon…the show was set to go on the next day, so they gave us a little over 24 hours to purchase tickets for this show. I had no idea this was going on, but a friend of mine happened to check his Twitter while he was in a waiting room at the end of his 9 hour interview process for a full time job position. Levels tweeted the announced, and within seconds of my friend seeing that tweet he texted me (more like yelled at me) to buy tickets. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, but sure enough when I went on Levels’ website, there was the link to purchase tickets for the Krewella show the next day. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the wisest decision to make this purchase considering it was the end of the semester, and I was running low on cash; but at the time I bought the tickets without hesitation. I texted me friend images of the tickets when I purchased them, but he didn’t see it until after he got out of the interview so I’m sure it was a nice surprise.

Well, we ended up going to the show just as planned, and my God it was absolutely amazing! First off, the show was practically sold out in less than 24 hours. I didn’t think that it was possible, but I guess Krewella had a big enough following in State College to sell out a venue that fast. The place was packed! It was an amazing performance, and probably one of the best shows I have ever been to. By the time the show was over, everyone in the place was covered in sweat and champagne from head to toe. At that point, I was perfectly okay with that. After I left, I relived that concert in my head for the following two weeks.

What motivated this post, you ask? I stumbled upon this today!

**This is a live recording when they played this for one of their shows, so the quality isn’t that great.**

I’m hoping this is in on their new album. But for now, listen and lose yourself to that drop. If you haven’t listened to the Play Hard EP, you should definitely check it out and give it a shot!

Let your mind go to the awesomeness that is KREWELLA!

Demi Lovato and the One That Got Away

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I have no shame in saying that I’ve recently become obsessed with Demi Lovato’s new album, DEMI. I first started to like Demi’s music back when she released “Skyscraper” back in 2011. It was such a hard hitting song, and I fell in love with it almost instantly. That love was only boosted by Matt Bellis’ cover of the song. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you should definitely check it out!

Anyways, Demi’s newest album has been all I’ve listened to since I’ve arrived in Connecticut. It helps me keep my sanity since I’m going through a lot at the moment with this big move. In a way, it seems as if her songs define my life at the moment. I know that sounds weird, but every time I listen to her album it takes me through an emotional roller coaster, and makes me think about the changes that I’m going through in my life right now, and the events that led up to this moment the past 8 months. Sometimes I’ll just lie here and stare at the ceiling while listening to the album from start to finish. As depressing as that sounds, by the time it’s over it gives me hope that things here in Connecticut will get better soon.

Two of my favorite songs (which is a difficult category, since I love them all) on the album are “Really Don’t Care” and “Shouldn’t Come Back”.

This song, I believe, was written about Demi’s father. Although this song isn’t about young love, it sort of has a different meaning to me. Some of lyrics in the song (…tired of being so mad, …you’ll only let me down, etc.) has recently got me thinking about someone that I’ll refer to as “the one that got away.” I won’t bore you with unnecessary details; so long story short I had a HUGE crush on a girl back at school Fall semester. As we became closer friends, she would start to do and tell me things that in my eyes you don’t do/say unless you’re interested in the person. I guess I started to think of her as more than a friend because I thought she felt the same way too. But when I finally made the move and asked her out on a date, I was rejected (in a rather unfriendly way). It was a rough time. I became angry at her because I felt led on; and at the time I really just didn’t want her back in my life.

In the process of getting over someone, there’s always that hatred period before you and the other person can become friends again. That’s the period that “Really Don’t Care” makes me think about. After the rejection, I was so angry I practically stopped talking to her for a while. I wasn’t so much mad at the rejection, as I was the feeling of being led on and the manner at which I was rejected. I knew that she knew how I felt, so I wish she would have just told me instead of me slaving to figure things out. After some time I got over it, and that anger at her turned more into anger at myself. Anger for allowing myself to fall into such a stupid situation in the first place. I’m not usually one to fall for anyone. I live my life by myself without the need or desire for a relationship with anyone; but every once in a blue moon there comes that one person that knocks me off my feet. But all this is in the past. It’s been months since I’ve been over this, but listening to these songs brings back some memories.

Back to Demi! I truly respect her as an artist because of everything she’s been through. I find her to be an inspiration. So I’ll continue to stare at the ceiling and listen to this album as it helps me get through the next 3 months. I guess you can call me a Lovatic now, although I’ve never really liked labels…

Stumbling Across the Cheney Silk Mills

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The other day at work I was having a conversation with the gentleman who had interviewed me for my internship during the Fall career fair. As he was welcoming me to the company, he mentioned how he used to live in Manchester, CT when he first started with the company. He continued to tell me how the town became famous back in the late 1800’s from the Cheney Silk Mills.

In 1838, the Cheney Brother’s developed the Cheney Silks Mills. As the business prospered, it became the largest manufacturer of silk in the United States during the second industrial revolution. During that time the Cheney Brother’s not only built the mill buildings, but also constructed firehouses, gas companies, schools, and reservoirs. By 1920, 25 percent of the town’s population was employed by the Cheney Silk Mills. Unfortunately, the silk industry began to decline around the 1930’s (partly because of the Great Depression), and the Cheney Silk Mills were hit hard. The last operation, the Velvet Mill, closed in 1984.

As I was talking to my fellow coworker, he mentioned the location of the mills in Manchester, and it seemed all too familiar to me. Then it hit me, I live in one of the buildings that used to be part of the Cheney Silk Mills! After the late 1980’s, the old mills were renovated and transformed into apartment buildings; and I seem to be sitting in one now. I guess that would explain the brick walls, wooden ceilings, and overall depressing historical feel of this place. Oh, and I supposed it explains what this is doing displayed in the hallway of my apartment building!

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I figured that these buildings were some sort of factory back in the day, but I didn’t imagine they would have so much history behind them. Not going to lie, it’s pretty cool living in a historical building such as this one. It has made me look at things different when I walk through the halls now. I guess that makes me feel a little better about living in this shithole. Not to mention that two of my friends came to visit me yesterday and told me they LOVED my apartment. I’m not really sure what they saw in it, but that – along with the Cheney Silk Mills – has made me appreciate this place a little more.

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Kate Hunt’s Deal and the Rest of the World

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The other day I read a Facebook status that one of my friends posted about this Kate Hunt girl that the world seems to be going crazy about. The status read this:

“If the police in Florida are going after Kate Hunt, they should go after every other teen couple who are sexually consenting outside of the legal limit(s).

Heterosexual teens are not exempt from the law.”

I don’t watch the news much now that I don’t have a TV, since I can’t really find the motivation to search online. I had no idea what was going on with this Kate Hunt girl, so I did my quick research. For those of you that don’t know the story (or those of you that do and want to correct me), here is what is going on:

Kate Hunt is an 18 year old high school senior from Indian River County, Florida. She was apparently in a homosexual relationship with a girl in her school that was 14 (or 15, I’m not really sure). The younger girl’s parents found out and decided to press charges against Kate Hunt. Kate was arrested on two charges of lewd and lascivious assault on a minor. Now supporters of Kate’s cause have popped up all over the place with a ‘Free Kate’ outcry to stop her prosecution.

Let me just start by saying that I, in no way, endorse her prosecution (just so we’re clear). I just feel as if majority of people in this world are unable to look at things from a different perspective. Now everyone’s going on about how she’s only being prosecuted because she’s a homosexual, and that they were targeting her specifically, and that this is an attack on the homosexual community…you know, all that jazz. Yes, I do think that this was STARTED because she was involved in a homosexual relationship; but that was the parent of the younger girl’s doing, not because there’s some conspiracy out there to demoralize the LGBT community.

Let’s stop and consider this for a second…

The law in Florida states that the age of consent is 18, and that sex with a minor between the ages of 12-16 is considered a felony (I think that’s right…). So let’s just imagine that Kate Hunt was a guy instead of a girl. If the younger girl’s parents still pressed charges, do you think the police department can just say, “We’re just going to drop the case because they’re in high school, and we don’t see anything wrong with that.” UHMMMM, NO! Because they have a legal responsibility to pursue the matter if the victim (or victim’s parent in this case…and I’m using the word victim in strictly a legal way, not because I think she’s a victim) wants to press charges.

Now the LGBT community, and its supporters, is out there demanding injustice and that we start hunting down all heterosexual couples who are not within the proper age limits. I don’t understand why people think they can be above the law when it suits them. Do they not understand that if charges were dropped for Kate Hunt’s case, that would shatter the entire legal process on that matter and provide a gateway of counter arguments for any future potential sex offense involving a minor, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Legally, we cannot allow for that to happen.

This whole ‘pot stirring’ from the LGBT community just annoys me, because it’s as if they’re always looking for a cause to defend. Do remember a few years ago when that kid who was bullied for being a homosexual by his college roommate committed suicide by throwing himself from the George Washington Bridge in NYC? And suddenly everyone goes wild and creates a nationwide event to wear purple in remembrance of him, and all those that were bullied into suicide? Why. Why. Why….By wearing purple you’re practically telling those who are being bullied that if you commit suicide, then you’ll be remembered by the community. How is that going to help anyone? On that day I wore green, for the living. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think it does. I truly felt sorrow for that kid. What they did to him was just awful, and he didn’t deserve that. I wish he would have lived; but wearing purple is not going to change that.

Now if that guy had been bullied for other reasons rather than being gay, would we still have worn purple on that day? I think not, because when you isolate yourself like that, you tend to only care about people within your own group. I know it seems wrong, but you know it’s true. The LGBT community isn’t the only one that does this. Not that I need to disclose any more personal information on here, but I come from a diverse background; and I do not agree with ‘African American communities’, or ‘Hispanic organizations’, or ‘Asian Societies’. My ideology is that when you separate yourself into a group like that society views you as different, and you begin to view others in society as different as well. But we’re not really that different. We’re all still people, regardless of your background and sexual orientation. So I like to walk around being who I am; and my friends come to love who I am, without the need of support from outside organizations. I’m really not a bad person. I’m more of a rather simple person. There’s no need to isolate yourself within a group of people because they’re just like you. Be who you are, and people will love you for it; and if they don’t they can go fuck themselves.

Wow, this was ALL over the place. Well, if you got anything from this post I hope it’s these two things:

  1. Don’t conform for others; be who you are because you are no different than anyone else in this world.
  2. Follow the legal system.

As for Kate Hunt, I sympathize for her. It’s awful that the other girl’s parents are pursuing this, most likely because their daughter is a homosexual. I hope things turn out in her favor – if she truly wasn’t violating the young girl, that is. That being said, it’s rather sad to think that society is giving her so much sympathy because she’s a female and a homosexual.

WHERE’S THE SYMPATHY FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD?

REMOVAL OF SPONGEBOB FROM NETFLIX: The Story of My Rage

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Yes, you’ve heard right…Netflix has officially removed Spongebob from their instant stream.

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WORDS CANNOT BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW FURIOUS I AM RIGHT NOW! As a 22 year old male I have no shame in saying that I love Spongebob. In fact I watch Spongebob practically every single day on my Netflix account (I guess I should say “used to watch…”). It sort of acted like my getaway; a stress reliever when I was feeling down, and pretty much a remedy for anything imaginable. I consider Spongebob the most quotable show in history, since you can literally find a Spongebob quote that will fit any life situation – or at least I can. I even started a GroupMe with three of my friends, where all we do is talk in Spongebob quotes.

So maybe my obsession is rather concerning. But I DON’T CARE…that’s one addiction that I’ll probably never part ways with. So you can see why I’m furious that I can no longer watch Spongebob when I want on Netflix, like I have been doing for the past four years. Not to mention that this situation comes at the worst time since I’m all alone in CT, and all I do is watch Spongebob when I get home after work.

So here I am, sitting on my couch with a bowl of Mac ‘n Cheese when I pull up Netflix on my web browser and notice that Spongebob is no longer in my instant queue. I couldn’t believe it. So I did a little investigating (and by investigating I mean google search), and found out that today Netflix’s licenses with Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, and BET expired; thus all the shows belonging to those networks can no longer be streamed online. Not that I particularly care for any of the other networks – because let’s be serious it’s been years since anything good came out of MTV; the last good thing to come from VH1 was probably Divas Live back in the 90’s; and BET is just…BET – but Nickelodeon is going to be a big hit. Not only because I love Spongebob, but also because Nickelodeon had most of its awesome 90’s TV shows available for streaming, like Rugrats, Angry Beavers, etc. It’s sad to see all of this go now.

I just don’t understand whose genius idea it was to let this happen! According to the LA Times, Netflix “has been moving away from broad, multi-year deals with networks and cable channels, in favor of more selective licensing arrangements to carry programs that will work best for its subscribers.” BULLSHIT. I don’t know how accurate the LA Times can be on this matter, but if what they’re claiming is true then what it sounds like is Netflix growing an ego too big for its own good. They are under the impression (as well as a few of my friends) that online streaming, like Netflix, will take over cable in the years to come; as can be seen from their release of the Netflix original series House of Cards. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s going to happen! Especially if Netflix keeps removing movies and TV shows from their instant stream. I’ve always been an instant stream and one DVD at a time customer, but I know that most of Netflix’s subscribers come from solely the instant stream; and if they keep cutting movies and TV shows like they have the past couple of months, they won’t be lasting much longer.

Four damn years it’s been since I first started my Netflix account; and you know what, it’s done me pretty good up until now – even after tripling their prices over the last four years. I think it’s about time I ended with them. Unfortunately I already told my roommate for the summer that I had a Netflix account that we could use since he didn’t want to get cable (despite my best efforts). So I guess I’ll have to continue paying these morons for the next three months. Come September they will be gone…unless of course they bring Spongebob back, then maybe I’ll reconsider.

VIVA LA SPONGE!

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