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Net Neutrality and the Future of the American Economy

in Science & Technology by

On December 14th, 2017, the FCC (Federal Communications Committee), led by attorney Ajit Pai, voted to repeal the laws that mandated net neutrality. Unsurprisingly, their decision sparked public outrage, and garnered bipartisan opposition.

It wasn’t long before politicians began to fight for new laws protecting neutrality, and state attorneys general began to file lawsuits. To fully understand the effects of its repeal, it is crucial to understand what net neutrality is.

Net neutrality (or more specifically, Title II) was legislation adopted in 2015 under the Obama administration, which required that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) treat all data equally, regardless of “user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”* For example, this means that data being transferred to you from Hulu could not be intentionally slowed because the ISP has a deal with Netflix, a competitor. A metaphorical “fast lane” would be created for companies able to pay ISPs for prioritization, and the rest of the businesses who don’t pay would be put into the “slow/normal lane”.  Net neutrality ensured free and open internet to all, and allowed for smaller companies to grow because their content was treated the same as bigger companies. However, this idea of net neutrality came under attack at the end of last year.

This is our wondrous FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. He believes that repealing net neutrality would lead to the creation of “next generation networks”, and see “unparalleled innovation and investment going forward.” Essentially, by steamrolling small businesses, larger corporations would generate more revenue that they could then use to advance technology. Unsurprisingly, he has led the FCC in the fight against net neutrality. He sure looks highly qualified to do so… So, nevermind all that technical stuff, what does the repeal of net neutrality mean for you?

The New York Times argues that the repeal in net neutrality will lead to ISPs “bundling internet” packages, similar to how cable packages are sold right now **. If you want access to Facebook for example, you may have to purchase an internet bundle that has a social media package. Portugal already has a system like this, shown below.

Pretty scary right? It could well become reality in the near future for Americans. We may see the end of many smaller businesses, as they are unable to pay the fee to get put into the “fast lane”. Hopefully Congress can sort this mess out before we lose the free web entirely. Until then, enjoy these pictures of Ajit, our current Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee.

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*Gilroy, Angele A. (March 11, 2011). Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate (Report). DIANE Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-1437984545.

Our Exploration Declaration

in Science & Technology by

Exploration is a crucial part of America.  Manifest Destiny once took control of America.  Lewis and Clark’s lionized journey is a story every elementary school student could recount.   Then the Space Race held American eyes captive, cementing our country as the nation of exploration.  So why stop???  Recently, funding for NASA has slowed and American hopes of exploration are decaying.  Some say that NASA shouldn’t get funding because they don’t do anything.  That’s like telling someone to open a lemonade stand, not giving them any lemons, and then being upset that they haven’t sold any lemonade.  Research and development from NASA  has given the world scratch resistant glass, memory foam, cordless tools, Google Earth mapping, breast cancer detection technology, high capacity batteries, even the soft sole in your running shoes.  All of these things were developed from or based on NASA projects. Funding NASA isn’t just funding space exploration, it’s funding innovation itself.  Innovation and iteration aside, the money is what matters.  Currently, the military budget has over 35 times the amount of money NASA has.  Surely NASA could get some money from the government department that annually wastes over 100 billion dollars.  Maybe taxpayers don’t want to see their hard earned money go to space exploration.  Maybe you hate the fact that 10 whole dollars of your taxes goes towards NASA.  Let’s face it, while life on Earth is sensational, we all know the Earth is a finite resource.  Especially noting the lack of effort we have made to protect the environment, space exploration will inevitably be our only hope of survival.  We must not let short term problems distract us from our long term goals.  Colonizing other planets aside, allocating funds to NASA will inspire the next generation to join STEM fields, show the world we are working toward the betterment of the human race, and allow us to participate in the human tradition of exploration.  So why should we fund NASA? For Science.


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