Archive for Rant

The Day Brazil’s Citizens Stopped Faking They’re Blind

Protesto-Rio-de-Janeiro

Without a doubt in my mind I am who I am today because of what I’ve experienced in Brazil. As a foreign resident I’ve had the opportunity to attend both a Brazilian school for a few years in elementary school and the American School of Rio de Janeiro in high school.

Those that know me, know that I am a person that adapts really quickly to my environment and manage to “mask” myself as a local within a very short period of time. Unlike most foreigners I met in Brazil, I consider part of myself being Carioca. From going to the Maracana watch Flamengo play to the sambodromo for the “Desfile das Campeãs”, Globo na praia to the post-beach açaí to the crazy “night”, A I had the chance to experience a lot, meet all kinds of people, and the one conclusion I reached was that it seems that Brazil just doesn’t care.

Brazil operates mainly under one principle: “Jeitinho Brasileiro” translated purely means “the little Brazilian way”. What does it mean? many things… but among the things it means, some of the ways things happen are more known as corruption, thievery and selfishness.

 

Here are three basic cases of things I know as a FOREIGN individual (who’s mixed himself among Brazilians) which most citizens know about but do NOTHING:

  1. December is the time where you’ll get pulled over for anything just because the cops want a Christmas payoff.
  2. If you know a higher ranked in the army, you don’t need to worry about ANYTHING regarding your military duties, which exist by the way.
  3. Politicians hire even their newborn babies(exaggeration for any family member, friend, etc…) for bogus positions just to funnel government money.

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America, Get Rid of The Penny!

It’s common knowledge by now (I hope) that a penny (1 cent) costs more than 1 cent to make. With that being said… WHY DOES AMERICA STILL PRODUCE THEM??

pennies One of my favorite youtubers John Green (who’s also an amazing writer) had the opportunity to hang out with President Obama on Google+ today and he asked him the same exact question. The discussion about the penny prompted this article on Yahoo! which quoted most of the important parts of President Obamas answer like “It’s one of those things where I think people get attached emotionally to the way things have been,” the president said. “We remember our piggy banks and counting out all the pennies and then taking them and getting a dollar bill or a couple of dollars.” (More quotes and detail in the article and video of the hangout – links above-).

To be honest, the United States is holding on to too many things because they’re “attached emotionally” to them, to a point where common sense doesn’t matter. After all, the two biggest concerns I hear with regards to getting rid of the penny are: 1) “will prices of products be rounded up or down?” and 2) “The ‘change problems’ that says: if you owe $2.97 and paid $3.00, do you get 5 cents back or no change at all?” While both concerns aren’t something to be ashamed to ask, after all I believe that it would be nice to have an answer for these questions if the people truly wanted them… but they don’t. These “concerns” aren’t really that critical to the American population… Most people don’t care for change. Just today I found over 8 cents in pennies and nickles on the street… These seem like a couple of excuses more than actual concerns. So I decided instead of trying to answer these questions rationally, to depict a few scenarios in which these problems arise in some shape or form and provide a reaction to these scenarios in similar ways to the ways most people would handle these scenarios:

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Medical Insurance

As crazy as it may sound, I cannot stand the one thing that’s saved my life quite a few times: Medical Insurance. As an International student I was required by Florida Tech to enroll in their Medical Insurance program for students, which would expire every year. At around $500 a semester ($1,000/year) I was ensured under two different companies within 3 years… Had to replace my medical insurance card every year, and in the gap the old card expires and the new one arrives, you literally don’t do much, just in case.

 

Unfortunately I tend to raise the average of “Number of visits per 100 persons” in the United States (45.1 visits), and one way or another end up at the ER at least once a semester… some reoccurring cases of pneumonia which were more negligence from my part to my health, but it was finals week, and unfortunately my priorities were school and not health (never thought I’d say that). The latest of my stupidities was a legit freak accident… Long story short, I dehydrated at an event, lost consciousness and dropped on the ground like a plank (so I have been told at least…). By the time I made it to the hospital I was feeling a lot better but just in case, came to the ER who cleared me from any drugs, alcohol, any blood related problems, etc… just a severe dehydration case from sweating at this concert or something of the sort, I am not entirely sure but it was ruled an accident by the insurance company’s standards… And from there the actual story starts.

 

Insurance usually works as followed: you give your insurance information while at the ER and you’ll get a bill for your part of the payment; However this process isn’t always that easy. This time around, the insurance company changed their policies requiring me to “file in a case” in order for them to process the incident. If you don’t “file a case” with them, they send you an “Explanation of Benefits” telling you to “file a case” or else “this” is what you’re going to pay; Once you do “file a case” though they send another “Explanation of Benefits” with the correct deductions, etc. However, this change in policies wasn’t announced anywhere, which led to the “War of BC” (Bureaucratic Crap) between me, the insurance company and the payment company.

 

The insurance company only stopped the payment company from billing me the full amount after they already did, which led them to resend me a bill(supposedly, haven’t seen it yet) and in turn led me to disregard the previous bill after talking to the payment company (I’ve been keeping up with them and the insurance company so they don’t sneak fees on me or even credit warnings). But honestly, I am a 21 year old international college student! and I don’t really want lose my modesty here, but unlike a lot of other students my age, I am much more experienced dealing with these situations… but what about the rest?

 

The current case is still open… I haven’t officially received a bill yet, but I am expecting 2 bills based on the explanations from the insurance company… now imagine this happening to an international student that’s struggling with English, how are they suppose to figure this out?

 

It shouldn’t be this hard… and I guess it depends on the insurance company you choose (clearly Florida Tech did a great job with that), but again, why would anyone have to go through all this?

 

Cheers.

The Israel Situation From My Perspective

For years I’ve kept myself far away from my home country’s problems, and didn’t really care to opinionated on the situation in the Middle East. As an Israeli citizen I obviously care for my country, my people, friends, family, etc. but at the same time, getting involved and engaged in conversations about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict often leads to arguments, disagreements and overall just causes unnecessary tensions. It seems that people have lost their own personalities, formulating opinions based on what they’re being spoon fed rather than doing their own research… and that’s not entirely their fault! we’re being led to believe that the media is objective, that what the Internet says is true… time to wake up.

 

The Israeli Palestinian conflict has been going on for decades. In the past 5000 years, Israel had been declared the Jewish state 3 times while it has never been considered officially part of any Muslim country. While talking about history, some of the biggest empires in the world (England, Portugal, Spain, etc) have created settlements outside their countries which later on became independent forming all of South America and the US. But these settlements didn’t just get the land for free… they had to fight battles with natives, annihilating cultures in order to establish themselves; Some heard of (Incas, Mayas, etc) and some less heard of (amazons, native Americans, etc), either way independence wasn’t blood free.

 

Discrimination by religion was something quite popular back then as well, however the Jews didn’t really “step up” as they should have… Believe it or not, the Jewish religion is filled with struggles, to the point where every Jewish individual learns that its best to keep your head down, not get into unnecessary arguments and enjoy what we have. All that changed after WWII, where it was clear the Jewish people needed a refuge.

 

In 1948, After the UN agreed to it, Israel became an independent state, dividing the land between Jews and Muslims… While the Jews agreed to the terms the WORLD agreed on, the Muslims didn’t. Immediately after the proclamation (a day after), Israel fought the war of independence against 7 Muslim nations. Some of these nations had full blown armies while Israel barely had a gun for every 5 militia soldiers… However, will power and brains allowed the Jewish state to defend itself and defeat 7 nations! These kinds of events happened a lot after that… Israel has fought quite a few wars where it seemed like we had no chance of survival but then will power and careful planning kept us alive.

 

And here we are in 2012… One of the fastest developing countries which has influenced enough around this world is still fighting for its legitimacy. Unfortunately, the neighbors surrounding Israel have found a way to bash on Israel: the Palestinians. To be honest, these people aren’t really a nation… Some are refugees, some have been exiled from countries like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, etc. These individuals found refuge in Israel, where they essentially got “kicked out of”. This video (With subtitles) shows a high rank Hamas member admiting that the Palestinians really belong in their own countries and all they’re doing is steer trouble… He admits his family is in Egypt… so what are you doing in Israel? They never proclaimed independence, never really owned the land… just lived on it and now they want it back, when their actual home is across different borders.

 

Israel has done all they can to attempt to help these people… Israeli citizens were kicked out of their homes to give them to Palestinians ..but these people don’t want help… they want everything. They don’t care for anything but making a point: Israel is theirs. Now don’t get it wrong… not all of them want this. Israel has millions of Muslim citizens and Arabic is an official language in Israel. All of our street signs have Arabic on them, news have Arabic subtitles… Israel takes care of its Muslim community by allowing those that are willing to become Israeli citizens equal opportunities for jobs, housing and a life in Israel… While they don’t receive any extra benefits, they’re treated as ISRAELI citizens, disregarding their religion. However, the Palestinians don’t want it.

 

If you ever raise a baby, you’ll get to a point where you give the baby a finger and he won’t want it… he’s going to want the hand. He won’t be satisfied with ANYTHING ELSE BUT THE WHOLE HAND, no compromises. That’s the Middle East conflict.

 

Something people don’t know about Israel is that we’re a big family. When one of our soldiers or citizens dies, it hurts us personally. I’ve cried before for someone I haven’t known, and so has every Israeli citizen. We take care of our own. We want to live in peace, but when you threaten our family, we need to take the proper precautions to ensure our safety.

 

The Palestinians are led by Hamas, a known terrorist organization who’s vowed to destroy Israel. These terrorists have a mission, and are willing to sacrifice their own people for the end goal. While they place hundreds of rocket launchers across their territory, they intentionally position them around kids, families, elder, pretty much use them as shields.

If Israel was to get even, for every missile they launch we launch one, Palestine wouldn’t exist anymore… But Israel do their best to protect themselves and the small Palestinian community that just want a better life by pin pointing attacks to such precision that is unheard of. However, people look at statistics, they see Israel is 10000001 times stronger with more weapons, resources and less casualties. But what they don’t see is that these statistics are fake.

Israeli soldiers are constantly teased by kids!! These people use any weapons they can to reach their end goal, while really their place is in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, etc… They might portray themselves as the underdogs, they might look miserable, but they choose to be! they choose to suffer to make their point and the worst of it all is that the world buys it. Millions of people are mistreated across the globe… Africa, China, Russia, India and even in the US, Thousands of native Americans are being bullied and mistreated… why is Israel everyone’s focus?

 

If the Palestinians were willing to share the land, enjoy life rather than fight for BS they wouldn’t be living the way they are. Israel is willing to help with supplies, provide jobs, housing, etc… But they don’t want it. They rather stay miserable and have the world crying for them until one day the boiling pot will finally blow up… and last time that happened World War I started.

Let the search begin…

Every year thousands of college graduates start the tedious task of finding their life after college. its mind blowing for me to think I’ve been at Florida Institute of Technology for more than three years. As I sit in this Programming Language Concepts class, I realized how much work is ahead of me. To be honest, I don’t really know what I want to do with my life. As a Computer Science major, I was told that the major is so broad that I could go into many different fields… that’s a trap.

 

The problem I found with Computer Science is that it’s too broad. I can become a web developer, software engineer, mobile developer, IT staff, System Administrator, etc… So what do I want to do? I don’t know. I spend a lot of time online, so you’d think that it would have to do with web development or something of the sort, but every time I think about it I question my abilities to work for a big company.

 

It’s crazy how one day comes and you’re forced to make some huge life decisions… what If you picked the wrong major? what if the last four years were just a waste of time? As the days go by, you keep searching around for jobs and all you can hope is that some ad will interest you enough, and hope you manage to land a job… which is what every senior college student is going through right now. For me however, Things aren’t as black and white, getting a job isn’t the most important part of my next chapter. The most important part of the next chapter is to get involved in a field that I am passionate about. Getting a job isn’t everything… while money runs the world, making millions miserably sounds a whole lot worst than making a couple of hundred thousand and enjoying every moment..

 

The real problem starts with finding something you enjoy doing. Computer Science (for the better or worst) is one of those majors that leave your opportunities open ended, allowing you to do all sorts of crazy things. and since I stated the real problem, the real question is: what the hell do I want to do with my life?