Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are Ohio Elections Rigged?

It seems like every day you hear about how elections are rigged, usually in favor of those who have more money. For example there were 435 US House of Representatives elections in the 2012 cycle, but did you know that candidates that outspent their opponents won 95% of time ( Less than 1% of Americans contribute 68% of all election funding.

When I started school this fall, and ran for the 2018 class president for Muskingum University, I was quite surprised by how they ran their elections. Each candidate gets ten dollars to spend on their election. That's it. Now these funds could be spend for various different things, but that was all that was provided. I was told it was limited to keep things fair. It got me and a few of my fellow class mates talking about the funding of elections and how our families had never donated to a campaign. Simply put many middle class families don't give money to elections. But the Supreme Court recently stated that money is free speech, so I assume that some just have more free speech than others.

We joked and then one of my friends asked me, "Jason do you think that local and state elections have the same results?" It was at that moment that the light bulb went off in my head. I guess I should back track for a second and say how I've always loved politics and my dream is to be a politician, but that question peaked my curiosity.

Some day I want to run for the Ohio House of Representatives and the question that started me on this journey was simple, does the candidate with the most money in The Ohio's House of Representatives elections always win? For my research I used a site called This is a great site for finding election funding information. I painstakingly went through all 99 Ohio House Elections and what I found was disappointing.

Of the 99 elections in 2012 for The Ohio House of Representatives,
87 out of the 99 won having spent more money.

87.9% of Candidates won because they had more MONEY

The below chart is a list of those who won,
but had spent less money

Now lets put those in order

So if we take the eight below elections...
If the candidate can match 67.5% of the funding then they still have a chance of winning
So 96% of the time a candidate HAS to spend at least
 67.50% of what their opponent spent for a CHANCE to win

But wait there's more...

If we look at district 61...
if the candidate can match at least 54.20% of the funding they
still have a slight chance of winning
So 97% of the time a candidate HAS to spend at least
 54.20% of what their opponent spent for a CHANCE to win

Now lets look at the two remaining elections...
In district 60 and district 99...
if the candidate can match at least 30.5% of the funding they
still have a very slight chance of winning
So 99% of the time a candidate HAS to spend at least
 30.50% of what their opponent spent for a SLIGHT CHANCE to win

Now I know what you're thinking, I forgot district 92
well not exactly..
See district 92 is a rare one...
Two Republicans and One Democrat ran in the General Election

But here's the problem, Bob Peterson dropped out of the General Election

Now the only thing I can say is between the 
2010 and 2012 elections, the State of Ohio had to redistrict
But I think the above graph speaks for itself

...but if you need a hint look at how much he spent in his 2010 election...

Hello, my name is Jason Schaumleffel. I am a Political Science, Economics, and Communication major at Muskingum University. I also happen to be class president. If you found this interesting, please share as I spent many hours of research to bring this information forward. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting HD for YouTube

Do you pay for expensive internet yet when you go to watch YouTube or Netflix find yourself questioning why the video looks so distorted and fuzzy? Well my friend it is because of a little thing called bandwidth throttling. What is bandwidth throttling exactly?  The process of intentionally slowing down internet by the provider. But why would they do this? Well with subscription based internet, you are not actually paying for the speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sells. You are paying to be lumped into a group of users all allocated to that specific bandwidth. It's simple really, the ISP buys or owns fiber lines, which are dedicated lines. A dedicated line is one that if you pay for 100 Mbps then you will always get 100 Mbps assuming that no one else on your network is utilizing that bandwidth. You might ask, why don't I just buy a dedicated fiber line? Well the problem is twofold, first of all good luck getting a fiber line run to your house (go ahead try) and second it would cost you a vastly more amount of money. Not only is that fiber line dedicated but it has a very high up-time rate, meaning if your internet is down, either your provider will be paying you back a portion of your bill or you could even sue them for failure to provide service.

But why exactly does last mile providers (the ISP's that deliver to homes) throttle? Well think about this five years ago, no lone was watching Netflix and YouTube was there but wasn't really that popular yet. Most of home user's bandwidth came from P2P software like BitTorrent or just simply downloading a file. Now fast forward and the users of today are the bandwidth hogs of yesterday. Netflix will use 3 GB for just one hour of internet viewing at 720p and 7 GB for an hour at Ultra HD. Assuming that average family of four today watches more digital movies than cable. Think about that, in less than five years the average American went from watching more cable to watching more internet videos.

So I know your position, your saying well that isn't fair I'm paying for X amount of bandwidth for service like Netflix or YouTube, so that I don't have to wait for my video to buffer or for my video to be so distorted that it isn't worth watching. Exactly, I agree, so let me help. There are a few things you can do, first if you want to stop getting throttled you will need to buy a VPN. This is pretty simple go onto Google and search for a "VPN" choose which one fits you best and voila no more throttling for you, and most importantly better quality, non-buffering videos. One last thing, do you hate having to switch YouTube from the default 320p to 1080p every time you try to watch a video? Well I got the program for you, this extension for Google Chrome will automatically set the highest available quality to start playing, go check it out.

Using HTTPS to become Secure Online

Have you ever heard stories about peoples credit card information being stolen? Well one way this could happen is the way your computer connects to a web server that host the store you are buying from, like Amazon. When you open your web browser and it connect to a website there are two ways that your computer makes a connection, HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, but that isn't important, what is important is what it does. HTTP is the core code of the internet, this blog your reading right now is at its core encoded by the HTTP format. So what makes HTTP different from HTTPS? Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) was invented to prevent wiretapping and man-in-the-middle attacks. Now I'm going to assume most of my readers know what wiretapping is but some of you might not know what a man-in-the-middle attack is. So lets say you are at Starbucks and you are sitting in one of those nice chairs and doing some shopping on your laptop. Well without HTTPS, that guy sitting on the other side of the room could read and see not only your credit card information but anything you do online. HTTPS encrypts the data before it leaves your computer. This way anyone between you and the web server (store) can't see any of the data or information. Hence preventing a man-in-the-middle attack. Now most websites that you visit today will automatically tell your web browser to connect using HTTPS, but not all. So my solution? There is an extension for your web browser that is produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that is called HTTPS Everywhere. The propose of this software is to essentially, if possible force your computer to use HTTPS and encrypt your data. So go check out this software and give it a try.

Getting Google Chrome and Ad Block Plus

Have you ever had the desire to protect your privacy? Well you are not alone. Many Americans every year do just that. Protecting yourself online can seem like a daunting task, today I’m going to show you how to retake your privacy and stop those pesky data mining companies from stealing information about you and selling it to the highest bidder.

For this discussion we will be assuming that you are using the Google Chrome web browser. If you do not have this browser it is recommended that you go to the like below and get it.

Now you might be asking yourself, why do I need the Google Chrome Browser? Well in studies comparing the major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari) it has been shown that their ability to protect your privacy with the default settings changes very little. So it would be only logical then to select the browser with the best results, when compared to other browsers in its tier class. One addition, yet very important reason why we choose Google Chrome was because each tab has its own process within the computer. This simple means that instead of all the tabs being run in the same process, Chrome separates each tab into its own process to create a faster browser and browsing experience. 

So you have the Google Chrome Browser? Great, now we can get started protecting your privacy and making your internet viewing experience better. For today’s task we will be getting a program called Ad Block Plus. This program will make all of those pesky ads that you see go away. Which in its own right seems like a great deal, but how does this protect your privacy? Well ad companies want to use something called a targeted ad, this simple means that instead of a college student seeing an ad of house loans when they are on a website that he might see an ad for cheap textbooks.  Sounds like a great thing at first glance doesn't it? Well, let the buck stop here. Ever wonder how they target those custom ads at you anyway? Well my friend it is not by sheer luck, they search your computer for cookies (not the yummy chocolate chip ones) that tell the ad company various things like the sites you visit, things you do on those sites and links you click on. Getting scared yet? Again let me emphasize this isn't some National Security Agency (NSA) computer deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, this is an ad agency that uses your computer against you to see what you do online, just so they can try to sell your mom a cheap pair of shoes. So go ahead and go to the link below to download Ad Block Plus for yourself.