How Technology has Changed Education

By: Stephanie Brooks

Technology in education has made it possible to learn outside of the old-fashioned textbook methodology. While education originally relied largely on reading from textbooks, completing assignments, and memorization, online media and technological devices have cleared the path for far more interactive education with a multimedia slant. The United States government personally advocates the implementation of technology in school in attempts to engage and inspire students in a 21st century context via the No Child Left Behind Act.

When technology was first making its way into schools, it took the form of a specific computer class, mostly where students practiced typing and played basic educational games to make the learning process more enjoyable. However, technology has now become an integrated part of education, exceeding the bounds of a single class and leaking into the conventional classroom. The rapid advancements in technology create a constant need to adapt in our educational system. This can be problematic for schools that can’t necessarily afford expensive upgrades to technological platforms. But by and large, technology has changed education for the better, appealing to students that have grown up alongside developments in the internet, smartphones, online courses, and YouTube.

Broadcasted Seminars

Broadcasted seminars are any kind of lecture or instructional guide streamed on the internet rather than in person. They may take the form of a regular lecture, streamed with a built-in computer camera, or they may be demonstrations enacted from the desktop or specific software of the instructor. The latter is usually referred to as a Webinar. Webinars often function like a chat room module where demonstrations are held alongside a live question and answer session. A student may be learning how to use a valuable, complex tool such as Photoshop, and will get the rare ability to ask an Adobe representative how to utilize certain functions within the program. This is great for any kind of class that is of pure instructional content, imparting the student with a specific skill. You could also argue that it’s really only conducive towards “trade” techniques, unlike the broader concepts taught in English literature classes or the scientific concepts illustrated in biology classes. Instructors use webinars to train students in a specific technique, with instantaneous solutions for any troubleshooting the student may experience along the way.

On the other hand, an instructor could utilize the internet to broadcast a seminar as though they were speaking in person to an audience that otherwise cannot make it to a regular classroom. Online colleges often implement this format and there are many advantages to it in terms of being able to access the lecture from any location. Seminars are occasionally pre-recorded and broadcast at a specific time. Students need merely to have a relatively dependable internet connection with streaming capabilities. Another example of a broadcasted learning environment is the language learning program, Glovico. With Glovico, students can learn a new language from a native speaker in another part of the world, mainly through Skype videoconferencing. The student gets one-on-one time with the native speaker provided they have a webcam and headset or built-in microphone. The price of the class provides for struggling teachers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Learning a language in a classroom can be more difficult because there are so many students, each with varying proficiencies. However, with Glovico, the student gets the teacher all to themselves, and focuses on actual dialogue rather than memorizing vocabulary out of a textbook.

Tablets in Class

Imagine how much time could be cut down between classes at a high school if students didn’t need to lug their heavy textbooks back and forth to their lockers. A fifteen minute gap between each of the seven class periods results in an hour and a half of time devoted in the school day simply for commuting to and from a locker. If each student were required to have a tablet with eBooks for each class already installed, the student would be able to access their material all from one device. They might need a spiral notebook and a pen to visualize concepts out on paper, but investing in a stylus for their tablet can accomplish the same purpose. Cutting down on paper trails would have an eventual, if slow, effect on the environment.

Some schools are already utilizing eBooks and tablets. In most cases, the textbook is simply converted into a PDF where it can be easily downloaded onto the tablet. However, some eBooks are more interactive, with hot spots, hyperlinks, and integrated videos. A Kindle device has a function in which the text will be played as audio, for students that are still learning to read, suffer disabilities that prevent them from reading, or students that simply learn better when they can absorb material both visually and audibly. Passages in the books can be bookmarked and highlighted seamlessly, without fear of damaging the book since it is merely a virtual copy. Of course, portability is also a major benefit to an eBook, which can be toted anywhere and is usually no bigger than half of a standard sheet of paper and nearly as thin.

Tablets are also a great platform for utilizing educational apps while at school. In reference to Apple’s coined term, there literally is an app for everything, including academics. Apps could be used for minor needs, such as a calculator for math projects or a world map for reference in a geography lesson. There are basic calculator apps as well as full-functioning graphing calculator apps, saving hundreds of dollars that would otherwise have been spent on an expensive TI-83 or similar model. Apps could also be used to understand larger concepts. Frog Dissection is an app for iPad in which students can conduct a full, virtual dissection without needing the actual supplies, frog, and smelling up the classroom with formaldehyde. Apps like Edmodo put education in the students’ own terms, with an interface that is strikingly similar to the social networking platforms that they are already intimately familiar with. Such apps close the gap between students and teachers, taking them from the sterile teacher acquaintance to a lovable mentor that they can learn from both in and outside the classroom. Gaming apps such as Lemonade Stand could be used by teachers to illustrate the basics of capitalism, supply and demand, and consumerism.

Online Colleges

Broadcasted seminars and tablets are just a faction of the broader technology used in online colleges. Students can now get a degree without ever leaving the comfort of their home, taking classes usually at their own pace and schedule. This is especially helpful for students that must work during the day and need to access their coursework at night, or single parents that are struggling to raise a child alongside the demands of college. Online degrees come in every shape and size, ranging from an Associate’s degree to a Ph.D. degree, and are offered in every subject imaginable. Many online schools have much lower tuition than regular schools, which could help a student that would need to take out a loan if they attended a brick-and-mortar school. They also don’t need to factor in commuting costs, as they can literally do their coursework from any location with a viable internet connection. Lastly, students can opt for a hybrid of online courses and in-the-flesh classes if doing so enables them to have a slightly more flexible schedule.

Ithaka S&R released a study in May of this year evaluating whether or not online colleges were as effective as traditional colleges based on performance. In the study, 605 students at six public universities were instructed to take either a traditional course or a hybrid course combining an hour per week of face-to-face instruction with online coursework. The study found that the pass rates, final exam scores, and standardized test scores of the hybrid school students were just as good as those enrolled in the regular class. The hybrid-format students also took less time to complete the course than the traditional students without sacrificing their grades.

Furthermore, if you’re under the misconception that online colleges are somehow less prestigious, it should be noted that Carnegie Melon conceptualized the Open Learning Initiative, also referred to as OLI. OLI is a grant-funded organization for online courses inspired by Carnegie Melon’s expertise in cognitive tutoring, and it uses advanced cyber intelligence to deduce areas that a student is struggling or excelling in. The OLI is used both stand-alone and in adjacent to regular courses, depending on the student’s individual needs. The artificial intelligence can help close the gaps in understanding for the student, quizzing on topics that the student doesn’t readily grasp.

Problems with Technology

The main argument for technology in the classroom is that emerging students should be able to apply classroom concepts to daily life, and a large part of daily life revolves around technology. Students today are apt at using technology, and tools such as laptops, smart phones, and tablets are already second nature to them. Taking technology out of the learning equation would be alienating an integral part of the students’ abilities. Likewise, even if the student isn’t already technology-savvy, that’s even more of a reason to embrace the skill. Understanding technology is becoming more and more important in the workplace and other areas; competing with peers in the 21st century simply necessitates the need for technological finesse.

Digital innovations can be a source of problems for schools as well. Not all schools can keep up with the rapidly changing technology. Upgrading equipment is often costly and schools may not have the manpower to handle the equipment. Most classrooms contain at least twenty students, which can take up a great deal of internet bandwidth in the instance that they all must access their laptop or tablet at once. Likewise, new hires may be necessary for teaching students how to use the newer digital media, yet another expense to the school. This could be as complex as needing an IT staff to work out potential glitches in the system to hiring teachers with a comprehension for various software instead of teachers that are somewhat less skilled with technology. If a student is required to do homework using the tablet, their parents may not be able to help them with any questions they may have if they are not familiar with the software or equipment. Furthermore, an online school doesn’t offer the same social benefits of a regular school. Without a classroom where students can form friendships and relationships with their peers, they may not learn the same social cues as regular students. Without any real face-to-face time with their teacher, they may take the classes less seriously.

Many teachers believe that smartphones and tablets, with internet connectivity and text messaging services, can merely be a source of distraction for students as opposed to a learning tool. It may be difficult for a teacher to monitor her students so closely in class as to determine whether they are utilizing educational apps on their tablets or browsing Facebook. The teacher must decide whether or not to use filtered browsing on the devices to cut down on distractions, which might not be an option if the child owns the device. There are also discrepancies as to how much of a crutch technology can be to a student. Schools once debated about whether or not certain types of calculators should be allowed in class, as they essentially solved the problems for students that struggled with math. The same may be true for apps that supply quick, accessible answers for problems that a student should actually be thinking about in greater depth.

The New York Times article “In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores,” discusses a school in the Kyrene School District that has fully implemented technology in the classroom. Since 2005, the school has invested around $33 million in technology, par a passing vote. Children use laptops and tablets for their work and integrate things like Facebook groups into regular projects. Unfortunately, the school is also suffering from low standardized test scores. While statewide test scores have risen, Kyrene School District remains stagnant in the face of all of their innovation. Teachers worry that while the technology is engaging on a creative level, the students may be missing out on basic concepts like math and language. Other proponents of technology point out that standardized test scores may not be the best gauge of student intelligence and creativity. Still others yet reason that there’s no reason to spend millions of well-earned tax dollars on a system before knowing whether or not it is sincerely helpful for educational growth.

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Throwing Down the Gauntlet: History’s 7 Most Famous Duels


In the modern world, we’re taught to apologize when we hurt someone’s feelings and be the bigger person when we are wronged. It’s really no fun at all. Remember the good old days when you could challenge someone to a duel with guns or swords over the smallest insult? “Are you insinuating that I’m fat? Duel!” You never knew when you entered a duel whether either of you would end up dead, which is what made it so exciting. These seven famous duels will get your blood pumping and, even though they sound pretty cool, maybe make you glad we don’t exchange gunfire anymore over Yo Mama jokes and stupid arguments.

  1. Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr:

    Politics in the U.S. used to get a lot dirtier than a few mud-slinging campaign ads. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had long been political rivals back in the days of early America. They’d had run-ins in the past, with Burr beating a Hamilton supporter for a Senate seat and Hamilton making sure Burr didn’t win the presidency. But in 1804, the two had had enough. Burr was running as an independent (rather than a Republican) in the New York governor’s race, and Hamilton kept him from taking needed Federalist votes. Burr lost the election and, after some insults were published, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton was shot and died the next day.

  2. Abraham Lincoln vs. James Shields:

    A petty duel seems like it’d be beneath good old Honest Abe, but in 1842, backing down from a challenge just wasn’t an option. Lincoln and James Shields had been in the Illinois state legislature together and gotten along fairly well despite being from opposing parties. But when Shields became State Auditor and started making controversial decisions, Lincoln reacted by writing letters to the editor of the newspaper full of satire and mean words. Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel in 1842, and the rest is history … that you probably never learned in history class. Since Lincoln had been challenged by Shields, he got to decide the terms of the duel and arranged a totally ridiculous scenario that would allow him to disarm Shields without killing him. They were to use broadswords on an island in a pit where they couldn’t cross onto the opponents side. Shields realized just how bad of a situation this was for him, with Lincoln being much taller with longer limbs, and the two settled things peacefully instead just before the fight was supposed to occur. Lincoln agreed to write an apologetic letter to Shields and all was forgiven.

  3. Stephen Decatur vs. James Barron:

    Stephen Decatur was an American naval hero, famous for protecting U.S. waters from pirates in the early 1800s. He fought alongside James Barron, who was later court martialed (by a board Decatur was a part of) and suspended from the navy for allowing his ship to be taken over by the British. Barron hung out overseas to wait out his expulsion, but even though it ended during the War of 1812, he didn’t try to return to his post until after the war. Decatur, in the meantime, had become a war hero again, and criticized Barron for his selfishness. Barron answered the criticism with a challenge to a duel, and the two ended up shooting each other. Barron was able to live with his wound, but Decatur died the following day.

  4. Lady Almeria Braddock vs. Mrs. Elphinstone:

    Duels are almost exclusively the game of prideful men, but this duel, known as The Petticoat Duel, was an exception. And boy, was it a pointless one. Back in 1792, Mrs. Elphinstone visited Lady Almeria Braddock at her home and insinuated that she was much older than she claimed to be. Those 18th century ladies don’t mess around, so they arranged a duel. They first used guns at 10 paces, but both of them missed so they moved on to swords. Braddock slightly injured Elphinstone’s arm, and they called it a day with very lady-like curtsies.

  5. Andrew Jackson vs. Charles Dickinson:

    Listen, guys, it is never cool to insult someone’s wife. In some cases, doing so can end in death. Andrew Jackson, before he was president, had a bit of a reputation for being a hot head and, according to some estimates, may have been involved in as many as 100 duels. Charles Dickinson, not to be confused with Charles Dickens, was an attorney and a rival horse breeder to Jackson. Dickinson accused Jackson of welshing on a horse-racing bet and then called his wife a bigamist (she had married Jackson unaware that her first husband hadn’t finalized the divorce). Jackson wasn’t going to take this lying down. He challenged Dickinson to a duel, Dickinson shot him in the chest, but Jackson was able to shoot and kill Dickinson. Jackson lived with the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

  6. Ben Jonson vs. Gabriel Spenser:

    We might think of Shakespearean times as a more gentle, romantic era, but that doesn’t stop men from wanting to defend their honor. Ben Jonson was an actor and playwright. He even featured William Shakespeare in the cast of his plays, and was lauded as a great writer by the renowned playwright. But early in his career, he got into a scuffle with fellow theater company member Gabriel Spenser. No one knows the exact cause of the fight, but the two dueled, and Spenser was killed. Jonson was charged with murder, but escaped death by using his knowledge of Latin to appear to be a clergyman, who under the law of the time couldn’t be punished in secular courts.

  7. Henry Clay vs. John Randolph:

    U.S. Senator John Randolph was well known for his insults, which he seemed to fling at anyone he didn’t agree with. In 1826, Secretary of State Henry Clay became the target of one of these remarks on the Senate floor. Randolph accused Clay of bargaining for his current position by allowing John Quincy Adams to have the presidency, and then made some confusing statement Clay took as an insult. Randolph wouldn’t explain what he meant exactly by his statement, so Clay challenged him to a duel. The first shots of both men missed their targets, and Clay’s second shot also missed. Instead of aiming at Clay, Randolph fired his second shot in the air, the two made up, and became good friends. Now why don’t more macho battles end that way?

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7 Moments We Don’t Want to See Mike Tyson Reenact

If you haven’t sent Spike Lee a thank you card in awhile, now’s your chance. Mike Tyson is headed to Broadway to star in a one-man Spike Lee joint, called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. Tyson’s wife scripted the show of anecdotes about the heavyweight champion’s life; Lee calls it a “roller coaster of human emotion.” Tyson has been named the hardest hitter in heavyweight history, and there’s no truth to dispute about that — of the boxer’s first 19 fights, all were won by knockout, with 12 of those occurring in the first round. And of his 50 career fights (more than Ali, Foreman, Holyfield, Lewis, Frazier, and Liston), he won a whopping 44 by knockout. It’s sure to be a heavyweight retrospective, but this boxer’s had more than a few technical fouls. From prostitutes to pigeons, check out the seven moments from Tyson’s life that don’t belong on stage. Break a leg, Spike and Mike!

  1. Prostitute Hunting

    On the Today Show, Mike Tyson and Spike Lee were interviewed about their upcoming Broadway project. When speaking about sober and vegan living, Tyson referred to himself as a former “prostitute hunter.” That’s a mental image you can’t un-see.

  2. Venereal Disease

    Tyson also exposed on Today that he had “too many venereal diseases,” and went on to explain how difficult it was to have to sleep with his prostitute girlfriend every time she came home from a trip. Sorry, Mike. Can you just talk about Punch Out!! some more? No one wants to see you: get VD, have VD, learn that you have VD, or get rid of VD. Take your Cipro on the sly, Tyson — just like everyone else.

  3. Rape

    In 1991, 18-year-old Desiree Washington accused Mike Tyson of rape. After an extremely public trial, where a defensive, standoffish Tyson took the stand, he was convicted of rape on Feb. 10, 1992. He served three years of a six-year prison sentence before being released on probation.

  4. Impregnating A Prison Official While Being Incarcerated

    How much sex can one man have? Has the heavyweight champion learned that quality trumps quantity? Tyson has been married several times, and has eight children with almost as many partners. But this one is one for the boxer’s books: while an inmate in prison, Tyson impregnated a prison official. What happens in jail stays in jail, right? Do it for America’s sake, Mike.

  5. Biting Off Holyfield’s Ear

    He’s a man of many stunts, but 1997 saw Tyson become infamous. During the pair’s championship rematch, billed as “The Sound and The Fury,” Tyson bit off a chunk of heavyweight Evander Holyfield’s right ear. Catapulting him from superstar to stuff of legend, it’s an indisputable truth. But not one we’d like to see recreated on a Broadway stage.

  6. Pigeon Farming

    Mike Tyson had a reality show on Animal Planet called Taking On Tyson, where he raises homing pigeons for racing. His birds, much like Celebrity Rehab and brothel alumna Heidi Fleiss, are his therapy. Though “Mike Tyson found atop roof befriending sky rats” is a hell of a headline, it’s not a scene we care to see in Undisputed Truth.

  7. Getting A Face Tattoo

    Because nobody wants to see that. Tattoos are uncomfortable to get, and difficult to watch become. And because he might get sued — when Ed Helms awoke groggily in The Hangover 2 with some Tyson-inspired face art, the champion’s original artist sued. No one wants to get served while dishing out a Broadway hit.

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6 Pieces of Fatherly Advice College Students Should Really Follow


Fathers are full of wise advice that we sometimes follow, and almost always wish we would have followed later on. Like most college students, you’ve probably spent much of your adolescent years ignoring Dad’s warnings and rolling your eyes every time he starts a story with “back in my day.” Had you been listening, you might have avoided some serious heartache and headaches. This Father’s Day, why not give him the surprise of a lifetime — for once, actually follow his advice? Face it: Dad knows best, and if you’re smart you’ll follow these six pieces of fatherly advice that will help guide you through the best four years of your life.

  1. Follow your heart:

    Fathers want their kids to be happy. Sure, they may not always approve of your area of study or choice of partner, but no matter the reason for their opposition, they want to see you happy. When it comes to choosing a major and making career decisions, Dad would advise you to follow your heart and do what you love. If you’re going to follow your dad’s advice about following your heart, make sure you have a plan. For example, if you’re going to switch your major for the third time, have a plan ready before talking to your dad and be prepared to answer his questions.

  2. Go to class:

    It’s such a simple demand, yet so many college students don’t follow their fathers’ advice to go to class. Being a student should be your top priority, so if you’re not going to class then you’re not holding up your end of the bargain. Don’t let laziness get in the way of going to class and earning good grades, especially if Dad is paying for your college education.

  3. Be safe:

    Although they may not always show it, dads worry about their college kids just as much, if not more, than moms. Stressing safety is probably nothing out of the ordinary for daughters of worried fathers, but this advice is also directed at college-age boys. Being safe doesn’t mean just wearing a seat belt and locking your doors; Dad’s advice also means don’t drink and drive, and don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking. Don’t take rides or drinks from strangers, and don’t go out to unfamiliar places alone or late at night. The list goes on and on. Be safe and smart — for Dad.

  4. Don’t fall behind:

    College may be the best four years of your life, but they can also be a big waste of time and money if you fall behind in school. Heed the advice of your old man and don’t fall behind in college. Go to class, keep up with your reading assignments, take good notes, and you’ll be OK. When you’re trying to decide whether to skip class to sleep in or go out the night before an exam, hopefully you’ll remember your father’s wise words and do the right thing.

  5. Study hard:

    When dad says “study hard,” he doesn’t mean study for 30 minutes and then go play video games, but rather do more than you are asked. You don’t necessarily have to pull an all-nighter or put your social life on hold, but you should make an honest effort. If you know in your heart that you worked hard and gave it your all, then your dad will notice and appreciate your dedication to school.

  6. Go to the library:

    You’re smart to heed Dad’s advice to go to the library to do your school work. College libraries are designed to meet your needs and help you succeed in school. No matter what any of your friends say, the library is the only place you can actually study. Here, you can escape dozens of distractions and study in a nice, quiet setting. After all, you and/or your dad’s money goes toward the college library, so you’d better get some use out of it.

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8 Amazing Travel Destinations You Should Totally Avoid

Choosing where to take your next vacation is not only a tough decision, but one that could cost you more than a plane ticket and hotel expenses. Some of the most beautiful and popular destinations in the world are also the most dangerous places for U.S. tourists to visit. Every time you flip on the TV or read the news, you are likely to hear about vicious crimes against U.S. citizens in popular travel spots. And does that stop us? No, because we take the “it will never happen to me” mentality. Sometimes it works and sometimes you don’t get so lucky. Do yourself a favor and check out the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs before planning a vacation at one of these beautiful but potentially dangerous travel destinations.

  1. Mali:

    If you’re thinking of traveling to the West African country of Mali to see the magnificent marvels of Timbuktu, think again. Mali is currently embroiled in political strife and conflict that restricts U.S. citizens from traveling to certain regions of the landlocked country. There have been several kidnappings and attempted kidnappings of foreign tourists throughout the Sahel (including Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Human, drug, and weapons trafficking is commonplace in the semi-desert zone. Even the less violent areas of Mali are prone to petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, theft, and muggings.

  2. Acapulco:

    Acapulco has long been a favorite of celebrities and foreign tourists alike, but things are looking a lot less glamorous for the Mexican Pacific resort city these days. Drug-related crimes have claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people in Mexico since 2006, many of which have occurred in Acapulco. Gangs and drug cartels are to blame for the rise in grisly crimes, including several decapitations and dismemberments. Don’t fall for claims that crime is declining in Acapulco; check the headlines to see for yourself.

  3. Antigua:

    The West Indies island of Antigua might sound like a luxurious escape from the daily grind, but not if you don’t come back in one piece. In recent years, Antigua has been at the center of several high-profile murders, including the horrific killing of a British couple on their honeymoon. In addition to Antigua’s uncomfortably high murder rate, roughly tripling that of New York, the island has seen an increase in the number of violent crimes against tourists. It’s not uncommon for visitors to be targeted on isolated beaches and even attacked in hotels and busy tourist venues.

  4. Pattaya, Thailand:

    Just 93 miles from Bangkok lies the ever-popular Pattaya, Thailand. Known for its wild nightlife and sex shows, Pattaya is more likely to cater to single males than families. If you dare visit this seaside destination, prepare to experience cramped beaches, infamous jet-ski scams, and countless sightings of overweight old men with young Thai women. Even if you’re not here to engage in sex tourism, it’s not unheard of for tourists to get robbed, assaulted, or be involved in drug-related crimes in nightclubs and bars.

  5. Trinidad and Tobago:

    Don’t let the beautiful waters fool you. The Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago have their fair share of violent crimes and foreign visitors are often the targets. According to the U.S. Department of State, tourists are especially vulnerable to pickpocketing and armed assaults in areas of metro Port of Spain. Robbery, assault, kidnapping for ransom, and sexual assault against expatriates and tourists are common. Trinidad and Tobago criminals are also notorious for scamming tourists out of money and endangering their personal safety.

  6. Aruba:

    Aruba’s gorgeous beaches and pleasant year-round weather brings flocks of tourists from all over. But no matter how idyllic the climate is, Aruba is not immune to crime. Just take the highly publicized disappearance of Americans Natalee Holloway and Robyn Gardner in the resort town of Oranjestad, Aruba. The Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela has seen an increase in drug and human trafficking, and incidents of hotel and car theft are very common in resort areas. The legal drinking age of 18 is not always strongly enforced, and, in the case of Holloway, young travelers are prone to kidnappings and other violent crimes.

  7. Jamaica:

    Known for its beautiful beaches and rich culture, Jamaica has been a popular tourist hotspot for many years. But Bob Marley’s home country is not exactly the place of peace he imagined. The Caribbean island has one of the highest murder rates in the world and the towns continue to face gang violence, drug trafficking, and robberies. Those who venture out of resort areas and travel into high-threat towns, such as Mountain View, Trench Town, and Tivoli Gardens may find themselves in a heap of danger. Unless guarding your belongings with your life and walking around in paranoia sounds like fun, you might want to cross Jamaica off your vacation list.

  8. Dominican Republic:

    The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and bright blue waters, but this popular travel destination is also a hotbed for criminal activity. Foreign tourists are often targeted in violent crimes, petty theft, and police briberies. Traveling over land between the Dominican Republic and Haiti is strongly discouraged due to an increase in crime along the Haitian border after the earthquake in 2010. According to the U.S. Department of State, many public transportation vehicles in the Dominican Republic are unsafe and have been known to overcharge and pickpocket passengers.

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8 Pride Parades Worth a Road Trip

This summer, you’ll be seeing a lot more rainbows than you did in the spring. It’s National LGBT Pride Month, and if hundreds of thousands of gays love one thing, it’s a big, shiny parade. If this is your first pride season, you’re 40 years late to the party. Better late than never, but you have some catching up to do. From combat boots to thigh-high ones, we’ve found eight pride parades worth a road trip. And if you prefer armchair travel to, um, “coming out,” you can learn something, too.

  1. NYC Gay Pride March

    It’s not a parade, it’s a march, as any gay New Yorker will tell you. Better still, they take this stance: the NYC Gay Pride March shall remain a march until there is full equality for the LGBT community. But, let’s be real — it’s the oldest gay pride parade in the country.

    What Will Be There: It comes as a package deal. The Gay Pride Parade March is part of New York’s Pride Week, which also includes PrideFest and Dance on the Pier.

    Who Will Be There: In 2012, Cyndi Lauper is on the schedule (R.I.P. Whitney, who also once performed). Connie Kopelov and Phyllis Siegel (New York’s first legally married gay couple) will be there as well.

  2. PRIDE Chicago

    It’s only a few weeks older than New York’s, making it one of the oldest pride parades in the country. PRIDE Chicago rounds out Pride Month, and is held on the last Sunday of June. As LGBT groups gain mainstream acceptance and rights nationwide, PRIDE Chicago is truly a citywide celebration.

    What Will Be There: The brilliantly named Chicago Gay Hockey Association had a few professionals and a visit from the Stanley Cup in 2011. That’s something, right?

    Who Will Be There: The entire Midwest. The 2011 parade had 250 official entries and a whopping 800,000 spectators. While size shouldn’t matter, 2012 is an election year in the home state of the sitting President (who recently became the first to endorse same-sex marriage). Chicago can, should, and will have some pride — their festivities will be even larger this year.

  3. San Francisco Pride

    If you’re looking for a rainbow connection, you’ve come to the right place. The rainbow flag that has become the symbol for safety and LGBT acceptance was created for San Francisco Pride in 1979 by Gilbert Baker. And in the 30+ years since, a two-day festival surrounding the parade has grown out of sheer popularity.

    What Will Be There: There are informative and artisanal booths, performance stages, and thousands of sun-kissed gay people milling about.

    Who Will Be There: Everyone. San Francisco claims their pride parade is the “largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation.” This pride festival also hosts pansexual leather and BDSM groups, making it great for kids.

  4. Capital Pride

    If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C., have some pride! The parade in the nation’s capital is the fourth largest gay pride event in the U.S., and perhaps the most geopolitically impactful.

    What Will Be There: The neighborhood of DuPont Circle is one of the oldest progressive (read: gay) neighborhoods in the country, and during Pride it’s home to the Drag Races (that’s drag queens in full costume running down the street, in all their glittery glory).

    Who Will Be There: All the gay cuties from Lambda Rising, the DuPont Circle bookstore that started Capital Pride in 1975. Kristin Chenoweth will also perform during the parade weekend.

  5. Houston Gay Pride Parade

    The Texas-sized parade, founded in 1979, simply takes over the uber-hip Montrose neighborhood. Like Chicago, the festivities are held on the fourth Saturday in June.

    What Will Be There: Marching in the Texas heat in glitter and heels and a weekend of parties — what more could a boy want?

    Who Will Be There: Everyone, and their wigs. There’s a great drag community in Houston that’s unknown to most, which means the parade packs some Southern punch. This year, 200,000 participants are slated to join in the sun-riddled fun.

  6. Atlanta Pride

    They say “pride cometh before the fall,” but in Atlanta, pride comes right in the middle of it. Like other American cities, Atlanta’s pride is not technically a parade — it’s a week-long celebration of all things LGBT.

    When To Be There: If you’re planning a road trip, this one won’t be in June. In an expression of solidarity with National Coming Out Day, Hotlanta holds their festival in mid-October. Very cool.

    Who Will Be There: The entire Dirty South. One of the oldest pride celebrations stateside, 200,000 revelers are expected to attend this year.

  7. New Orleans Gay Pride

    Come for the parade, stay for the decadence. New Orleans Pride began in 1971, a banner year for the beginnings of LGBT parades nationwide. Also home to Southern Decadence, skip the parade this year and head down to The Big Easy for Labor Day. The three-day event is billed as the “gay Mardi Gras,” and, trust us — it’s the definition of decadent, gay, and fun.

    What Will Be There: The entire French Quarter, at your disposal.

    Who Will Be There: No one. They’re all waiting for Southern Decadence.

  8. Austin Pride

    It’s a sleeper parade that will one day be a hit. Another late fall parade, you can’t blame the “weird” Texas city for scheduling to beat the heat. Though not as large or diverse as Houston’s, Austin’s Pride parade and street festival brings out 40,000 incredibly freaky people.

    What Will Be There: The best part about Austin’s Pride? Seeing everyone’s Halloween costumes two weeks early.

    Who Will Be There: Lots of protestors. The hippie city in the middle of the Bible Belt has its own brand of queer, but detractors need all the “we’re here” and “get used to it” messages they can handle.

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7 Academic Hacks for Underachievers

It’s that time of year again: the time that you realize that your grades are universally hosed. Have you been skipping class to soak up the sun (and some alcohol)? Have you been eschewing your academic responsibilities because you have cooler things to do than get an education and provide for future you? If you’re worried about your grades, worry not. Pop an Adderall, put on some lingerie, and fire up Ferris Bueller, because we’ve got seven academic hacks for all you derelict underachievers. Some are much easier than you’d think.

  1. Pills

    Maybe you’re not an idiot. Maybe you’re flunking college because you have awful ADD (or its hyperactive cousin, ADHD). Whether you just need to stay awake for that extra three hours of cram time or you’ve got a bona fide upper addiction, taking stimulants (called “study drugs”) is a common strategy for college kids, and could chemically help you make the grade. Pro Tip: You’re better off going to a real doctor with fake symptoms than you are buying stims off of some no-account university street pharmacist. If you’ve simply got to buy them black market, have some pride. And don’t forget about Pill ID.

  2. Plagiarism

    If you’re not going to make good grades, you might as well go out in a blaze of glory. Steal like an artist, but do so super smartly. Mix up sentence structure and have a thesaurus by your side, and no one will ever know that you didn’t write the Gettysburg Address. (Let’s be honest. Everyone will know. Your teachers have software that detect that stuff, you know. Wait, didn’t you try that pill thing? Maybe don’t plagiarize, you ingrate!) Be careful exactly how you steal and plagiarize, as you don’t want to jeopardize your reputation for academic integrity, even if you’re not going to pass your classes.

  3. Tutoring

    If pills and plagiarism aren’t your thing, (pat yourself on the back for being a decent human being, and) try getting a tutor. These helpful academic mentors can aid you in identifying where your blocks are, and can even help parse difficult problems that you’d never be able to understand in class. Having a tutor is a show of good faith; your professors may be more than willing to work with you if you’re working hard to understand course content.

  4. Pay Someone

    Paying someone to do your work for you (or, better yet, to pretend to be you while you Ferris Bueller through college) is a surefire way to ensure that those assignments that you’re never going to do get properly finished. If tutoring isn’t cutting it, and you’ve got the cash, there are plenty of resources for finding an academic stand-in available via Internet. While this could be a decent solution for your academic worries, and good money for whatever poor sap you hire, make absolutely certain that privacy and originality are your primary concerns. You don’t want to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Or with someone else’s hand in the jar that’s supposed to be filled with your cookies. Or, well, you get it.

  5. Drop Out and Become an Internet Entrepreneur

    It’s like your mother always said: quit while you’re behind. And you don’t want Kanye West to be the only college dropout that achieves international recognition. If you’ve got some promise but can’t seem to make the grade, consider completely abandoning your hopes of a successful college career. Not all will be lost — if you’re a self starter and you’re as smart and capable as you say you are, make friends with some venture capitalists and try your hand in the big, scary business world. If you’ve got the chops to make it, trade that ivory tower for a corner office, stat.

  6. Sleep With Your Professor

    One sure fire way to get the grade that you need is to have sex with your instructor and then blackmail them for an A. While not the most ethical (or aesthetically pleasing) of possible college experiences, there’s something to be said for the intestinal fortitude of a student that will straight shack up with those responsible for their academic success. Although every professor won’t be amenable to your advances, do a bit of schedule shuffling and you’re sure to find an easy route to sleep your way to the top of the class.

  7. Be A Star Athlete

    If you can represent your school on the court or the field, don’t worry too much about showing up for class. If you’re going to be an academic underachiever, you’ve got to have some other skill that’s worthy of good (fake) grades. Michael McAdoo, a former defensive lineman for UNC, was able to make top marks in a graduate-level writing class after doing so poorly on the verbal SAT that he was pegged for remedial reading classes. And don’t think that he spent his nights self-learning writing by candlelight; the athlete was one of several that year that was penalized for academic dishonesty. The lesson here is this: if you’re going to be dishonest, be careful. Or sack up and win a Heisman, already.

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7 Tips for Surviving Summer Music Festivals

The temperature is rising. School is out. Can you feel it coming? It’s music festival season. The line-up for ACL was released this week, and it’s time for you to get super jazzed and start planning your three-day sweat-fest. And while you’re seeing 30 bands that people will wish they saw in three years, we want you to have some fun in the sun. There exist a few shortcuts to music festival life, and you can’t afford to forget them. Don’t leave home without these seven tips for surviving summer music festivals.

  1. Hydrate

    You knew it was coming, so we’re giving it to you first. Drink some water. Drink some more water. And drink more water after that. Music festivals are often held in the nation’s hot spots — and we’re not just talking about their cool factor. Add alcohol, adrenaline, and sunshine to the mix, and you’re truly hosed. Pro tip: Bring your own water bottle. Buying plastics is cumbersome and expensive, and fortune favors the prepared.

  2. Ca$h is King

    If you’re at ACL, ATMs will go down. It happens so often that it’s become a fact of music festival life. Bring a credit or debit card if you think you need to, but realize that everything you really want to buy will be best bought with cash.

  3. Don’t Take The Brown Acid

    Speaking of cash, if you’re at a music festival and you’re even half cool, you can bet that someone will try to sell you drugs. There’s plenty of alcohol and sober fun to be had at a music festival, but if you’re looking to score, make sure you know what you’re buying. It’s all well and good to have fun, but your smarts should go farther than the streets. Don’t be “that guy”: avoid danger, know your limits, and always party responsibly.

  4. Make Friends

    If you’re a fan of music, you can make 80,000 friends in three days. For the most part, those that attend music festivals are exceedingly kind. If you’re having trouble setting up camp, or just want someone to hold your spot while you pee, ask the people next to you to help out. It’s always best to roll with a crew, but if you’re flying solo, you can make friends, too. Start with a smile and reciprocate kindness; karma points are always good to rack up (and cash in).

  5. Don’t Make a Checklist

    There are two strategies to music festival zen: either have your days planned out by time bracket, or wander around aimlessly and hope to stumble onto something cool. Both are legitimate experiential methods, but it’s wise to have a vague idea of who you most want to see, and where and when they play. You’re bound to encounter scheduling conflicts, but be cool — there are often late-night encore shows at neighboring venues. Keep your ear to the ground and your wits about you. You won’t be disappointed.

  6. Download the App

    Almost every music festival has a free app to help you navigate your sun- and tunes-filled days. Download the app and let it be your guide, and don’t be afraid to use social media to find out about insider festivities. Don’t be annoying and marry yourself to your phone, but do allow technology to remove some of the guesswork for you.

  7. Put Your Wristband On Loosely

    And make a stink about it if you have to. When you enter the fest, docents will often try to fasten your wristband tightly, but that’s no way to sneak in your friends. If you’ve never passed a broke friend a wristband through a chain-link fence and met them at the Cat Power stage so you can see The Flaming Lips together, you’ve never experienced a music festival the way it was meant to be done.

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9 Business Lessons From The World’s Top College Dropouts

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that you’ve got to have a college degree to achieve success in business and in life. But there are other ways around it. If you didn’t find the answer to the mystery of market success in college, take heart. Some of today’s top industry and thought leaders have made it big after forgoing higher education in search of success in the real world. And we’ve learned some of their secrets. Consider these nine business lessons from the world’s top college dropouts, and don’t be surprised if you learn something that you’d never find in the classroom.

  1. Be Good and Be First

    “First!” The annoying cry of Internet commenters is actually a commonly successful tech strategy. If you’ve got a knack for tinkering with gadgets and the intestinal fortitude to learn several programming languages early in your life, going to college to refine your craft may prove too slow of a pace for those who wish to be at the top of the technorati. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard halfway through their college careers, and Steve Jobs dropped out of Portland’s Reed College after just six months. If you’ve got your eye on being a tech mogul, consider forgoing a formal education. If the tech world values one thing, it’s being the person who gets there “First!”

  2. People Will Listen To You Anyway

    Whether you agree with him or not, shock-jock conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh proves that you don’t need a college degree to get the world’s ear. The long-time stalwart of political media dropped out of Southeast Missouri State University after just over a year, claiming that his only passion was radio. And 40 years later, Limbaugh remains one of radio’s most passionate (and extremely controversial) practitioners. If you’re worried about falling into oblivion because of your lack of academic credentials, worry not. If you talk loud enough and long enough, the people will listen.

  3. Real World Experience Can Win The Day

    Master of his craft and the granddaddy of organic architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright dropped out of the University of Wisconsin at Madison to find work in Chicago. After working for Joseph Lyman Silsbee as a draftsman for just under a year, Wright scored an official apprenticeship under Louis Sullivan, the father of modernism. He obtained a loan from Sullivan to buy and build his first private home, and secured an office next to the industry giant when their offices were relocated to a building Wright had worked on.The master architect’s corpus of work includes more than 500 works, most famously New York’s Guggenheim Museum. He also penned 20 books, and has been aptly named “the greatest American architect of all time.”

  4. Defy All Odds

    “Don’t listen to the haters,” is another way to say it. There will always be detractors on your road to success, but you’re better off putting on blinders and keeping your nose to the grindstone. Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, created a database for the CIA after dropping out of two different colleges, and parlayed that project into the second largest software enterprise company in the world. After a few false starts and enduring many legal battles, the software giant became the third richest person in America (just after his friend and wedding photographer, Steve Jobs). He made some unpopular choices and believed he would succeed, and Ellison didn’t get started until his 30s. So much for taking the road most traveled!

  5. Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants

    Had he not dropped out of Fullerton College to see Star Wars and follow his dream, James Cameron would probably be a pretty bad physicist or English major today. After dropping out of college, he took a job as a truck driver and studied special effects, ultimately quitting his job to make movies after seeing George Lucas’ first masterpiece in theaters. While Lucas’ career path itself is an inspirational business story, James Cameron knew epic filmmaking when he saw it. And he rode this wave straight into movie legend, heading up the two top grossing films of all time (Avatar and Titanic). Cameron saw something great in Star Wars, and truly used the work product of an elder contemporary to catapult his own work into cinematic history.

  6. Start Early. Really Early.

    Native Texan Michael Dell thinks outside the box. And he started young. The billionaire computer giant made more money in a year than his economics teacher by creatively targeting potential customers for Houston Post subscriptions during high school. Years later, Dell dropped out of the University of Texas, as he was making plenty of money building computers when he wasn’t in class. During this time, Dell applied for a vendor license and was able to win bids for computing contracts for the State of Texas. At the age of 27, Dell became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500company. And he’s been growing his hardware and computing empire ever since.If you don’t want to waste your time on college, take a page from the diligence of Michael Dell, and, besides your business, don’t waste your time on anything else.

  7. Be Better At The Basics

    His designs and life are the stuff of every American prep’s dream. Studying business at Baruch College, fashion emperor Ralph Lauren dropped out after only two years. He’d already been selling neckties to students in high school, and his career path seemed clear cut from there. He scored some early investors and a memorable brand (Polo), and the rest is history. Lauren’s net worth is estimated at more than $6 billion dollars, and there’s a good chance that you’re wearing a shirt or tie either designed or inspired by the mogul himself.By focusing on what he believed in, the designer cut his own path to notoriety by providing solid, basic products, and capitalizing on the youthful hope of Americana style.

  8. Be Careful Who You Work For

    NYU dropout and entrepreneurial commodities trader Marc Rich has made and lost several fortunes, and yet still ranks as a bona fide billionaire. Working as a trader at Philipp Brothers (now called Phibro, LLC), Rich dealt metals and raw materials, and eventually formed his own company, called Glencore. In the business world, Rich is known for revolutionizing commodities trading, but he did so in a way that directly defied United States embargo laws on Iranian oil in the ’70s — he worked with Ayatollah Khomeini, and struck other deals with Middle Eastern dictators. Indicted by then-U.S. Federal Prosecutor Rudy Giuliani, the billionaire trader remained abroad (and on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted List) for many years.Although he was officially pardoned for alleged tax crimes on President Clinton’s last day in office in 2001, Rich’s life choices remind us of this: there are things worth more than money. When a country is holding hostages from your country of citizenship, striking a lucrative oil deal is not the best policy. Unless you want to retire as a billionaire art collector and live in Spain. Wait. What were we supposed to learn again?

  9. Diversify

    She’s the most influential woman in the world, and the richest African-American of the 20th century. And that’s just the beginning. The talk show host turned market leader has her hands in lots of pies: talk shows, radio, her OWN network, a magazine, acting credits, a production company, and more. She’s one of the world’s greatest success stories, and one of the most inspirational people to ever walk the planet. And she dropped out of Tennessee State University in 1976 to begin her own career path and create her own life trajectory.Oprah went from rags to riches by utilizing her emotive style and focusing on helping people, no matter their plight. Of the many lessons we can learn from her, one great one is this: diversify, diversify, diversify. The influential guru and cultural icon has so many things going at once, that she’s not only the recipient of millions in residual and passive incomes, she’s also got the means to invest wherever her heart takes her next. And if one thing fails, there’s always something else. In this way, Oprah can never be dethroned.

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8 Celebrity Judges Who Should Stick To Their Day Jobs

As reality TV competitions attempt to stay cool in a seriously over-saturated marketplace, networks keep aiming for bigger and bigger names to sit at the judges’ table. With Fox recently signing Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, and Howard Stern making his judging debut on NBC, it’s clear that the celeb status of judges is reaching new heights. But how many of these are actually qualified to give criticism on the matter at hand or know how to do it in an entertaining way? Whether you love these celebrities or hate them, they need to stick to what they do best: anything but judging.

  1. Britney Spears

    Maybe we’re being a little unfair by deciding Spears will be awful as a judge on The X Factor before she even starts filming, but we’ve just got a feeling. There’s no doubt that she’s got a name known the world over and had considerable talent in the prime of her career. But considering the spectacle she made when she lost her marbles (and hair), and the fact that her recent hits show off the talent of producers and synthesizers rather then her singing ability, we’re not sure she’ll have much constructive criticism for the talent show’s hopefuls. Honestly, most of us would rather judge her than watch her judge someone else.

  2. Howard Stern

    His premiere on America’s Got Talent wasn’t a disaster, but he also didn’t make much of an impact. We’re torn between arguing that the renowned shock jock’s just not a good fit for the family-friendly talent show or that he really should’ve brought the heat and envelope-pushing jokes a little bit more. While he did comment on a male stripper’s man boobs and small package, he was mostly what many celebrity judges end up being: a nice, boring seat-filler. Even if you’re not a Stern fan, you have to at least give him credit when he’s on his radio show for being memorable. We doubt we’ll be able to say the same after his stint on America’s Got Talent.

  3. Ellen DeGeneres

    When Paula Abdul left American Idol, presumably to spend her days drinking spiked Coca-Cola in the comfort of her own home, beloved comedian Ellen DeGeneres took her place. Most people thought she would be great as a new judge — she’s funny, spirited, and entertaining. But something about that Idol stage took away her sparkle. Ellen’s definitely talented, but she had no background in singing, so she had very little feedback to give to contestants. She was also afraid to give any negative comments, even when a performance was obviously bad, so you could always expect her to say something sweet, followed by a funny little joke if the audience was lucky. Ellen saw the mismatch and left the show after just a season to concentrate on her delightful talk show, Ellen. Thank goodness.

  4. Jessica Simpson

    You would think the celebrity judges (or mentors, as they call them) on the fashion design show, Fashion Star, would be people the public consider fashion icons. So why choose Jessica Simpson, a girl who is routinely blasted in the media for her poor fashion choices? Her comments on contestants’ designs are far from insightful, often just saying that she wants the outfit for herself — not necessarily a compliment since the outfits she wears are normally criticized. We’ll admit she’s got a great line of shoes, so maybe she should stick to that and … well, whatever else it is that she does.

  5. Katie Holmes

    We haven’t seen much of anything good from Suri’s mom since her Dawson’s Creek days, so it wasn’t too surprising when she left a lot to be desired as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. She was pretty, of course, but couldn’t give technical feedback that the dancers needed. She could’ve just as easily not been there and had the same effect. Luckily, the show’s format has celebrity judges on for just one or two episodes each, so no one was subjected to Holmes’ feedback for more than a night. We’d like to say we’re glad she went back to her day job of making movies, but considering her most recent role was the Adam Sandler movie, Jack and Jill, we’re thinking she just needs to take a break from everything.

  6. Tyra Banks

    Technically, America’s Next Top Model is pretty much Banks’ day job, but can we just get her to stop already? She started out annoying and has only gotten more ridiculous as the show has progressed through 18 (yeah, you read that right) seasons. Banks makes up new words to explain what she wants contestants to learn (smize, anyone?), pretends to be a photographer, and generally just gets on everyone’s nerves. Considering the show’s winners really haven’t achieved any fame, we say it’s time to take the show and Tyra off the air.

  7. Adam Levine

    Especially when combined with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is hard to take. The four celebrities on the show act as both judge and coach who choose singers for their team. Since they are in competition with each other’s teams, Levine and Aguilera are prone to bickering on stage, talking over each other, and just generally acting like children. All the singers have a wealth of knowledge about technique and the industry, to be sure, but Levine and some of the other coaches could use some coaching on how to be entertaining without crossing the line into irritating.

  8. Judge Judy

    If there’s one celebrity judge we definitely want to stick to her day job, it’s Judge Judy Sheindlin. Her day job is shutting down sassy idiots with ridiculous legal problems, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. The other reality show judges on this list could learn a thing or two from Judge Judy about being smart, classy, and tough when it’s called for. In fact, why don’t we get Judy on one of these talent competitions?

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