Archive for May, 2010

Evaluation Fail

Well it has finally happened…my witticisms have failed me. I have sat here for about an hour researching about how to evaluate my research (get the pun?) and nothing remotely facetious has entered my mind the entire time. As a result the following will appear as a promiscuous concoction of sarcasm.

While sitting in class I was trying to do the exercises listed in the hands on section of my professor’s blog, I could not keep my focus on the evaluation. To keep my mind from exploding I went in search of pictures that would suit my blog’s purpose. Not much came from that endeavor so I went back to my aforementioned task.

It turns out there are five key things to remember when choosing a website for your research paper. 1: Know who wrote the article. Well now, who would have thought that you needed to know the author? I thought I would just claim it as my own. (*cough*plagiarism*cough*) 2: Know the author’s credentials. Why on earth are those important? I thought it would be perfectly fine using an article about the mating habits of lions written by the local dry cleaner. 3:Notice objectivity. I was not aware that you were able to escape such a thing. Doesn’t everyone interject their opinion into everything? 4: Currency of the article. I have to pay for reading something online?! Oh wait, you mean how current the information might be. Oops. 5: Coverage. Now you want me to pay? I refuse. You want me to use a different browser? Dislike. I have to download more software in order to view the material? Obscene!

Now for a moment of being serious. Evaluating a website is a very important part of writing a research paper. If the site you choose does not have the proper credentials, then your professor might discredit your entire paper.

I apologize for the incoherent babble that was just produced.

Imaging Credit: Flickr

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 26th, 2010 |Comments Off on Evaluation Fail

Google: Every Researcher’s Dirty Little Secret

Now as a college student, researching topics has become second nature. As you stare at your screen, typing the mixture of words that you hope will produce something of substance, have you ever stopped and wondered how it all worked? How exactly does Google magically gather all the necessary (and not so necessary) sites that help us get to our final destination? Me neither.

I for one, have never bothered to take time out of my day to try and discover the inner workings of my research tools. I just log in, type in some words and Behold! The information I need is right in front of my eyes. Thank you Google.

As part of the Now Generation, I simply expect what I try to produce the results I want automatically. It is something that I have come to adore about the internet. Anything I might want to look at is simply at the mercy of my fingertips.

As fingertips tend to do, they can wander from idea to idea, typing in the vast subjects that can be found all over the web. Mine especially like to dabble in the images section of Google. I type in things dealing with photography, since that is a little hobby of mine, and stare in wonderment at the images which mollify my eyes. In this aspect, I enjoy the older pictures or ones that take a different bearing to something.

Whatever your reason for entering Google (or perhaps you prefer Bing or Yahoo), it is sure to manufacture the essential articles before your eyes. Delightful.

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 25th, 2010 |Comments Off on Google: Every Researcher’s Dirty Little Secret

It’s a Wiki Wiki World

When I first heard of Wikipedia, I had no idea what the purpose of this site could possibly be. I stumbled through the new online encyclopedia looking up every random thing that I could possibly think of at the moment. Usually there would be a summary of the item I entered into the search space with a few links that led to other pages. But sometimes, there would be nothing under the name and I would be asked to add my own entry. I never did take Wikipedia up on its offer to make my mark on its surface.

However, I did discover, quite recently might I add, the Wikipedia Game. Now with this game, you have to decide on two random items that have nothing to with each other. Let’s take Squirrel and…China as an example. You then start with the first word, type it into the search engine on Wikipedia and try to follow the links on the following pages to end up on the second word’s page.
Here I will outline the map of one word to another:
Squirrel => Asia => China

Well that ended up being much easier than I had anticipated. Who knew you could link Squirrels and China so easily?

Anyway, with Wikipedia, students are able to look up just about anything for any reason. I have find it quite useful when deciding on what to make a topic for a paper. Just this last semester it helped immensely with deciding what to write for my Islamic Civ paper. I was torn between Sabbatai Sevi and the Hashashin Assassins. I ended up choosing Sabbatai Sevi because the summary on Wikipedia seemed so captivating and I thought it would be rather easy to find sources and write a paper on him.

Now I suggest you try the Wikipedia Game. Either right now or the next time you need to procrastinate…do it.

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 24th, 2010 |Comments Off on It’s a Wiki Wiki World

Let Us Be Social


We all remember the days when, as high schoolers, we fawned over this new and booming website that allowed us to communicate with our friends in a completely new way. This site was called Myspace. We allowed this site to consume our time while we blogged our little hearts out and were able to decorate our profile as we saw fit. Personally, I changed my profile approximately 58,382 times – give or take a few hundred times. However, Myspace soon turned from a great way for kids to communicate to a new way for people to take pictures of themselves in provocative poses and make “booty calls.”

At the perfect time, when Myspace was being overrun by preteens and spam, Facebook  emerged and offered us a new forum for communication. Although this new site does not allow for extreme personalization like before, it is a clean platform for socializing. The privacy settings allow you to choose who can and cannot view your profile which makes it more appeasable to the cautious minded. It certainly allows the college students a way to procrastinate through exams or term papers.

Here is an interesting video comparing parts of the two networks:

Now in class we watched two videos about social networking. The first video the guy tried to explain how our socialization is decided by genetics. He used the example of obesity giving three causes for the spread: induction, homophily, and confounding. By labeling these the reasons for something such as obesity, he is taking all the blame away from people and laying it on something we cannot control. I think it an ill attempt of making people feel better for the way things are. You cannot simply claim genetics is the reason we gather around the people whom we call friends and you cannot blame those friends for being obese.

Yet who am I to argue with someone who has a doctorate in physics?

Imaging Credit: Coffee Talk with Dan and Scoti

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 23rd, 2010 |1 Comment »

All a-Twitter

Today I was forced to join the mass of drones pounding out their useless thoughts into minuscule articles that others may devour for mindless pleasure…in other words, I joined Twitter. For the past four years, I have prided myself in the fact that I have not caved in towards the micro blog that has turned into a frenzy. It seems absolutely useless to take time out of your day and constantly upload a thousand posts on what you are doing at that moment. Let’s be honest for a minute, I do not give a hoot whether you are sitting on a bench eating Wheaties or standing in line waiting for tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert. If I did; however, I would expect you to send that to me via text or phone call. I do not find it necessary to log onto the internet so I can see everything that you did during the day. I am perfectly busy myself without having to deal with every detail of your life.

However, since I am forced to have a twitter and follow people that share my interests, I suppose I shall stop my incessant ranting. As an exercise in introducing parts of the class to this trend, we were suppose to look up news about something happening outside of our country. Seeing this as an opportunity to feed my interest in Egypt, I quickly typed the country into the search field and awaited my results. You can imagine my dismay when the majority of what was not written in Arabic had to do with Mariah Carey’s concert that happened sometime this month. This site could not even give me a little respect when it comes to a plausible search about a country.

I did find one user, for lack of a better term, that gave me more of the intel that I was looking for. The Israeli News has a twitter, which I found both disheartening and edifying. You can find their site here: The Israeli News

I find it hard to believe that others find this site to be so addicting. Maybe it feeds into the narcissistic tendencies that everyone tries to hide. It brings to light every nuance of someone’s day and people actually read the mundane facts. Well Jane, I don’t care if you are going to the grocery store.

But if you are of the category who finds this site enlightening, you may want to check out this site for tips on shortcuts: 
16 Commands and Shortcuts

But I see absolutely no use for this site whatsoever.

Imaging Credit:

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 19th, 2010 |5 Comments »

Blag, Blag, Blag

In a world that revolves around technology, blogs have become a household name. Nearly everyone you meet has either written their own or read a blog by someone else. I do not fall into either of these categories. Although I have grown up being taught to express myself thoroughly and clearly, I have always strayed away from the blogging crowd.

With that, let us delve into the dynamics of what makes a blog. Perhaps we should start with discussing what exactly is considered a blog. Short for “Web log,” it is a chronological, or sometimes reverse chronological, compilation of entries. These entries are usually filled with personal opinions and links that may lead to other blogs or websites. Each blog should allow others to comment on the articles and usually allow for trackbacks (linking one blog to another).

Blogs are an easy way for people to allow themselves to be heard. However, what is included in a blog may be biased or inaccurate leading the readers to an uneasy viewpoint. Because blogs are unmediated or filtered like so many other forms of mass communication, they can lead to many complications. The proper use of material is a major concern; the most important of these is the use of copyright. It is important to make sure that you are careful to not use a photo or anything of the sort that is not labeled for reuse in order to avoid possible repercussions of a copyright violation.

Although copyright laws may scare people away, it is key to remember that it is not hard to make the postings legal. Blogging is something that should be easy. It is a simple way of allowing the world to enjoy your outlook on whatever you choose to write about.

Some helpful sources:

7 ThingsYou Should Know About Blogging:

How Blogs Work:

Introduction to Blogging:

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 18th, 2010 |Comments Off on Blag, Blag, Blag


The Decay of Knowledge

{Exercise on uploading a photo.}

Published in:Comp Sci |on May 18th, 2010 |Comments Off on Photograph