Stuff I Found

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Earth Art (Pictures)

I didn't read the article, I just thought the pictures were awesome.

read more | digg story

In case of Moon tragedy

There was already a speech for the president drafted, just in case.

Good thing there was no tragedy... the speech is pretty bad.

read more | digg story

Friday, October 26, 2007

Students Today

For the most part, I don't like this video because I think it can be misrepresentative, misleading. If you have students saying things like "I visit thousands of Facebook profiles" and "I don't open all of my textbooks" and "I eat for two hours", even if such things are true, most old people that support modern day education won't be too impressed by such statistics. They might generalize and say or think things like "students today are Facebook internet junkies, which is why they need more education" or "students are lazy, not opening their textbooks and not paying attention in class and eating too much! Oh, students today! Argh!" and they miss the point completely.

And that's the point that the video does include, albeit for a very short amount of time: it's not important! A grade on scantron test, coming to class, opening a textbook, writing that essay, studying throughout the semester instead of right before the exam. In the long run, it's hard for any students (including myself) to see how any of these things matter because they just don't relate to real life at all. But most professors won't see this; it's their job not to. They get paid for the tests, the scores, the essays, the lectures. And employees need that degree if their going to trust you with a job, though you'll probably learn a majority of what you need to on the job.

But... why would professors and employers want to change their ways if students make videos about how much time they spend on Facebook, eating, and sleeping? Professors will think like that high schooler I mention in this post, who claimed high schoolers would just play Halo 3 all day if high school was abolished.

I suppose this is much like "The Provervial Vicious Cycle" shown in Dr. Robert Epstein's book, The Case Against Adolescence, on page 52. The cycle is that "teens act out" (they disobey their parents, become smart-mouths, etc) causes "more restrictions" (a curfew, being grounded, getting chores, etc), which causes teens to act out, which causes more restrictions, which causes teens to act out... it's a cycle. The same sort of thing may be going on in education: "students ignore" (they don't come to class, they sleep in, they browse the Internet for too long) causes "educators educate more" (thinking students are just lazier today, they extend the number of classes required, they give more tests, more homework, etc), which causes students to ignore more, which causes educators to educate more, and the cycle continues.

So, if you can understand that cycle and understand that the uselessness of many college classes is what causes a student's apparent laziness and not that the students are just dumber than the previous generation, then the video is fine... my fear is that many won't understand the cycle and see it as one way; that students today are lazier and dumber and need to be in the classroom for their own good. :(

Case in point: I found this said about the video on another blog:

I'm not sure if this is what we were supposed to take away from this clip but we're left with the impression that today's students are whiny babies.

And, by clicking on the video, you can take a look at the YouTube comments. Many are blaming the laziness of the students for the education problems...

Letting the Car Roll Away...

There she goes... oh well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Information Revolution"

Here's what I said about the video on a forum (easier to copy and paste myself than reword my thoughts):

That video was quite thought-provoking, even if I don't quite understand what it was about...

From what I can tell, it's not the organization with hierarchies and taxonomies that's experiencing a paradigm shift, but the notion that such taxonomies should be designed to be permanent. When dealing with tangible items, like books in a library, it's hard to not be permanent, because otherwise you'd have to physically move all your books around everytime you reorganized.

But digital information has no physical location, and the ability to link one entity to another (such as a YouTube video to a similar video, or a Wikipedia article to another article, or a blog post to another blog post) completely eliminates the need for us to create any sort of hierarchies or taxonomies as they will emerge themselves from all those links (well, we still aid in their creation since we have to create all the content and links). This is a much more efficient form of organization because when organization is an emergent property we don't have to worry about it becoming outdated because it will always update itself with the changing of the information!

Is that right? At least that's what I see in the video... pretty fascinating!

I'll have to put the book Everything Is Miscellaneous on my "To Read" list...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Computer composes Mozart

David Cope, a professor at UC Santa Cruz, has created software that analyzes music and composes new pieces in a similar style. Some can't even tell the difference between a real Mozart piece and a piece produced by his computer program.

digg story

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Robot on Conan

Conan talks about an article I mentioned earlier:

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Extroverts should stop bothering introverts because introverts are smarter and need time to think about complex things...

"The Outsiders" still makin' money

Well, actually the article is more about what the author's up to now, but it does mention some book sales figures... but I have to wonder, how many buyers of the book buy it because they actually like it? The book is required reading in many classrooms, I think a majority of the buyers are buying it for that reason (that's the reason it's on my shelf). And I've always hated that... required reading that is. Reading with a deadline and being tested on fictional facts and having themes forced down your throat that don't matter to you that completely destroy the book's value. I'm a wannabe [published] author myself, and, even though I'd lose money, I'd have a very hard time condoning the use of a book for "educational purposes." I wonder if that would make it even harder to get published? Publishers of "books for young readers" must be making a good amount of money from school purchases... but I guess it really all depends on how the teachers teach it.

"Family Guy" sued... *gasp*

I wish had permalinks... do they?

Anyway, the creators of the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" (are they still alive?) are suing Fox for a parody of the song that appeared in an episode of Family Guy. They say the parody's lyrics are anti-Semitic, though, having seen the episode myself, I can say that the lyrics are satirical more than anything else.

Robot Suit

I wouldn't mind having one of these... I wouldn't wear it too much in public though.

Robots May Aid Aging Japanese Population from

(AP) -- If you grow old in Japan, expect to be served food by a robot, ride a voice-recognition wheelchair or even possibly hire a nurse in a robotic suit - all examples of cutting-edge technology to care for the country's rapidly graying population.

Sensors attached to the user's skin detects when muscles are trying to lift something heavy - and signals to the air pumps to kick in to provide support.