Blogs

Missouri Outlaws Student-Teacher Facebook Friendship

I just read this article, entitled, "Missouri Outlaws Student-Teacher Facebook Friendship." Again, it seems like these discussions about social media effects and applications seem to gravitate towards me. But, I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts. As new technologies develop, new laws sprout up governing the use of such technologies. Don't believe me? Is sexting inappropriate? Would making it illegal be an infringement of privacy? What about spam? Shouldn't it be protected under the 1st ammendment? What if the one doing the spamming resides outside the United States? I had the pleasure of exploring these topics a few semesters ago in my Media Law & Regulation class. Neat stuff, right?

The Visuals of Video

I dig musician/songwriter Bill Callahan. He's been at it for a long time - working under the "Smog" moniker for many moons before shedding that skin and performing under his own name for the past few years. He's run the gamut from lo-fi home recording (long before GarageBand) to his current, more polished sheen. "America!" from his new album Apocalypse is filled with great imagery of a nation past and present - shifting gears from name dropping some of his songwriting heroes, to pop-culture references to war and the political. 

Just watched the video and it really struck me with its lyrical style and amazing visuals - separately unique, but also equal to Callahan's songwriting. It's the kind of piece that I hope that the talented people here at A&S can explore making - a great example of blending cool illustration/animation with narrative. Not only complemeting it, but enhancing it to new heights. It's pretty inspiring stuff - to me at least. Major props to the team behind this - Okay Mountain/Dave Bryant. 

Customer Service

     I recently bought some items from the internet and they came to me damaged due to various shipping problems including it having sat in the post office’s warehouse for a week.  At first I was very worried, thinking that the company would be resistant to help me since it was legitimately the post office’s fault that things had been damaged.  I called them and explained what happened to one of their representatives.  Thankfully, they were exceedingly nice about it and very helpful to me.  Immediately they sent out new products and even overnighted it to me to try and make up for the time I had been waiting.  I was highly impressed by how they handled the situation and it will make me continue to buy things from them.

Off DeWall: A Tale of Two City Blocks

            Opulence and squalor usually seem worlds apart. Country clubs usually don’t border low-income housing, designer clothing stores purposefully keep access to their goods limited to only a certain clientele (if you haven’t seen the movie Pretty Woman, watch it and you’ll get the reference), and the checking accounts that most people take for granted are a privilege offered only to people who have quality credit. Yet, I just experienced an exception to this rule.

            I just landed in Kunming, which is a town in southwestern China. My hosts Xinyue Zhou, Ding-guo Gua, and I flew here to attend the biennial Asian Association of Social Psychology conference. (We’re usually in a town called Guangzhou, which is located in south central China.)

            Kunming is simply gorgeous. I’m staying at a beautiful resort called the “Crystal Place.” It has a huge pool, waterfalls, and the biggest koi pond (and koi fish) I’ve ever seen. They call Kunming the “Spring City” because the weather is like spring all year. It’s about 26 degrees Celsius, which is about 78 degrees back home. That’s quite a difference from the 36 degree (97 degrees Fahrenheit!) days I had back in Guangzhou.

Woah!!! I got ahead of myself...

How terribly rude of me!!! I jumped into the story without giving you character details! I sincerely apologize for rambling to you without telling you who I am. I shall remedy the problem straight away.

Hi All! My name is Marshall Herbst, I am currently a Graduate Student enrolled in the College of Education’s MIC Program at UK. What does MIC stand for you may ask??? Why, it is the Masters with Initial Certification program for secondary education. Basically, it is a one year, intensive, masters program which will provide me with a Masters in Education as well as a Rank 2 teaching certificate in Kentucky. My area of concentration is Social Studies, and my focus is WWII, Classical Greek and Roman history, and Psychology.

Effective use of search engines or: How I became the family tech support guy

You might be surprised how many questions already have answers, simply floating in the internether. As a person who's grown up alongside the world wide web, I've come to rely on internet queries to quickly answer a question or offer instruction. The key to finding this information is to be able to effectively use search engines to navigate the web. For this post, I'll be talking about methods I use for a Google search. If you're using a different engine, your search results may vary. I will also be using square brackets and italics to denote example queries, such as this [ query ] for the word query.

Phrase searching

When you search for a phrase, such as [ which seat should I take ], you may notice that you get a variety of results with the words in any order. While in many cases this is fine, it can also be very helpful to use double quotes in your search to contain a specific phrase. The results will contain the keywords in the exact order. This can be used to find a reference, song lyrics, and is especially useful for finding information on an error message. The query [ "which seat should I take" ]  will give you more specific results.

Site filtering

Reading Ahead: A Help or a Hinder?

Around this time, with classes just around the corner, I’m usually tempted to look up what books I need for each course and start reading them to get ahead. However, after reading an interesting article from ProfHacker, it looks like reading ahead might not always be all it’s cracked up to be. Check out the article at this link!

Off DeWall: Happiness Across Cultures

On my way to class this morning, I saw one of my students gazing at the beautiful scenery surrounding the classroom building. His English name is Garden (he’s next to me in the attached photo). We talked for a bit and then Garden asked me a question I had never been asked, “Are all Americans happy?”

I didn’t know how to answer. I told Garden that his question intrigued me, and I asked him what led him to ask me whether all Americans are happy. He told me that I seemed quite happy, even happier than most people he sees every day. Because I’m the first American he’s ever met, he wondered if most Americans were like me. Garden said that he believes Chinese people don’t wear a smile on their faces that much, possibly because they have a lot to worry about.

There are cultural differences in happiness. People from France are happier than people from America, whereas Americans are happier than people from Finland. But what I think is more important is how similar people are in what makes them happy. Whether you live in China or America, having positive and lasting relationships – the sort of strong social connections that Wired seeks to cultivate – is a key to happiness.

Computer Graphics: Topology

Topology

When referring to computer graphics, 3d models and the like, topology is the wireframe of a given object. The wireframe is comprised of all the vertices (where lines meet to form a point), edges (the lines made up of two connects vertives) and from that information the faces can be made (generally have 2-3 connected edges per face). Now, as I pointed out in a previous blog I said that optimization was immportant for computer graphics. Today, I will go over "proper" topology.

Proper Topology?

Proper topology is the arrangement of the wireframe so that enough detail is present in the model while also keeping the polygon (faces) count to a manageable number (as low as possible while keeping necessary detail). In animation, proper topology goes one step further because it allows the model to deform more naturally when moving. (Bad topology example) (Good topology example)

Computer Intelligence

I've been working on a system for recommending courses to students based on the past performance of similar students. Hopefully the system will be a useful tool for students wishing to gain some idea of what courses they might do well in. However another purpose of designing this system is to compare it with an artificial intelligence advising system that is being worked on in the computer science department. The comparison would be to see how artifical intelligence does with planning for students versus a netflix style advising system (technical term is collaborative filtering).

What is amazing about this to me is the possible use of a computer as an advisor. I think of advising decisions as complex and personal. To think that artifical intelligence has come so far as to be considered for this type of process shows just how far computing has come. Think about early computers. They filled entire rooms and required intensive set up to perform very simple computations. Now we use computers in the military (automated drones), selecting movies (netflix), playing chess, winning jeapordy, and finding love (match.com, eHarmony, etc). The early computer scientist would be astounded by how much has been done in such a short time. So the question is: what is possible in the future?

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