Posted in Blogging

March for Science on April 22nd, Earth Day Movement on Washington

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

In My Own Opinion

 

March for Science – What is the Matter?

 

I’m not going to go marching anywhere at the moment, but I will voice an opinion on the matter.

The plan that is going forward at this time is a massive march on Washington D.C. on April 22 which is Earth Day to bring awareness to the changes under consideration on Capitol Hill where science is concerned. Some feel that a march like the one for women’s rights that took place on January 21, 2017, will make the scientific community appear as spoiled brats complaining that they no longer have any funding for their research. (FLEUR)

I have to agree with Robert Young. He said in his article, “A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea,” scientists would be better off marching themselves into schools, libraries, and such to teach the public about the matters of science that the public does not know. Educate the public instead of wasting time by marching on Congress. Science and politics don’t mix. Everyone has their agenda some of which is the opposite of science. The last time Robert Young brought up the fact about climate change in a political atmosphere he and his colleagues faced slander by those whose interest which was hurt by such knowledge, such as the real-estate market. (YOUNG)

Yes, there is talk about cuts under consideration to the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NOAA. Maybe funding can be found elsewhere by making the public aware of these agency’s needs. After all, do people know who is responsible for warning the public about tornadoes?

Maybe the suppression of information, the so-called gag orders are frightening the public. Then add the claim of the news media passing on the fake news makes many citizens want to scream about the outrageous allegations against reporting facts.

Another thought –

Could political policies be a wake-up call for the public? If NOAA does not warn about tornadoes and Hurricanes, thousands of people could die. Could political strategy involve population control?

Think about the Healthcare plan Washington almost passed the other day and the items slated for removal from being covered by Health Insurance including Medicare and Medicaid. The policy appears pointed in the direction of reducing the population of our country.

What do you think?

I will plant a tree instead of marching on April 22 to do my part in fighting climate change.

 

Works Cited

FLEUR, NICHOLAS ST. “‘Listen to Evidence’: March for Science Plans Washington Rally on Earth Day.” The New York Times (The New York Times Company), February 2017.

YOUNG, ROBERT S. “A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea.” The New York Times (The New York Times Company), January 2017.

 

 

Posted in Blogging

Will Artificial Intelligence Fill Jobs Left Behind by Deported Illegal Immigrants?

By: Esther VargasCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, robots in the workplace and now automobiles are automated. Are you worried?

I’m not. I probably won’t be around for Terminator to take place a hundred years from now. Maybe by then, colonies will be building on planet Mars and Earth will be left to the robots and cyborgs. Robots are supposed to make our complicated lives easier. By why hasn’t anyone made a machine that folds clothes and matches socks?

There are those sci-fi movies that tell stories of machines taking over the world and eradicating humans. I think we are doing an excellent job all on our own with causing our extinction. Those machines may be the ones who save us from self-destruction to validate their purpose of existence.

The threat of smart technology only depends on the reasons behind why we create the technology in the first place. Were the robots designed to replace humans in the workplace? Maybe that job was a dangerous job, and the computer is considered more expendable than a human life.

Most of the jobs that have been taken over by robotics have been dull or dangerous jobs that no one else wants to do. Plus, the automation can do the job faster for longer periods of time before breaking down.

By: Mixabest – CC by SA – 3.0

What reason would artificial intelligence have for outsmarting humans anyway? If they are smarter than humanoids, then they would not develop fear. Fear usually stems from not knowing and lacking experience. They may one day become our caretakers, and we will be their pets. I would be afraid of a zombie before fearing for my life from artificial intelligence. The machine immediately would know if you were a threat to its existence while the zombie would not consider why it wants to eat your brains.

I would trust a self-driving car before I would trust an intoxicated person getting behind the wheel of a car. – Just saying.

As far as losing jobs to computers, well that might be a different story. They are being used more and more for growingly complex jobs.

Think of it this way; recently thousands of illegal immigrants were rounded up and taken away, each immigrant was probably working in a minimum wage position. Most of those jobs were jobs that many American’s refuse to do, such as picking vegetable on a farm for farm wages. If the farmer can’t find workers to pick his crops, then he will either shut down or find another solution – buy or build machines to do the work those immigrants had once done. (Insider)

 

Another instance: Wendy’s is putting in self-serving kiosks in place of workers. Fewer workers mean fewer wages that need to be paid creating a higher profit margin for the employer.  (Taylor)

If the machines take over all the jobs where does that leave us?

We will become the pets of our machines.

I hope mine lets me have a dog.  

 

In the article “The Machines are Coming,” Ms. Tufekci writes: “It’s easy to imagine an alternate future where advanced machine capabilities are used to empower more of us, rather than control most of us. There will potentially be more time, resources and freedom to share, but only if we change how we do things. We don’t need to reject or blame technology. This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another.” (Tufekci)

 

I must agree with Ms. Tufekci when it comes to artificial intelligence. Not all people value human relationships the same way. Greed does get the better of some people which can lead to lying, cheating, and disrespect. If only humankind could set aside their differences then maybe peace and love would find a permanent place in our world. We build machines for many reasons, but when the cause behind the invention is to cause death and destruction, then life has no value to the ones behind the device. Humans will be more likely to destroy themselves or the world before machines will do the task for us. Their intelligence will tell them that if they destroy the world, then they will cease to exist.

 

Works Cited:

 

Insider, Tech. “Home Farming Robot.” YouTube. 6 August 2016. video. 04 March 2017. <https://youtu.be/uI7aHhy8tyU?list=PLxzJmNzonMVPhx58tQQmP-UloFEZwxMk6&gt;.

Taylor, Kate. Wendy’s CEO just revealed a terrifying reality in fast food. 18 May 2016. Business Insider Inc. Web. 04 March 2017. <http://www.businessinsider.com/wendys-swaps-workers-for-kiosks-2016-5&gt;.

Tufekci, Zeynep. The Machines are Coming. 18 April 2015. New York Times. Web. 04 March 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/the-machines-are-coming.html&gt;.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging

Learning the Gaming Way

 

Photo courtesy of creative commons license By: portal gdaCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via flickr.com

 

There is a little bit of buzz circulating in the academic arena that video games may become a new means of teaching students in the classroom. For years teachers have been incorporating one type of game or another to entice all students to participate within the classroom. I remember years ago, my third-grade teacher; Mrs. Toomey used flash card games to teach multiplication tables and division. We weren’t allowed to use calculators in the classroom. I challenge elementary teachers to try this concept sometime; it was a fun way to learn math.

 

A video game is just a game and should only be played during free time, or should it?

 

Let’s face it, teens and preteens love video games; this can’t be denied. Sometimes parents will use video games as a form of reinforcement when grades drop or they begin to display bad behavior by taking away video game privileges.

 

The common consensus is that video games are a waste of time, but are they?

 

What can be learned from gaming?

 

  • Critical thinking

 

  • Problem solving
  • Analysis
  • Judgements
  • Decision making

 

  • Communication skills
  • Time Management
  • Hand and eye coordination
  • Patterns

 

All these skills sets are necessary for even grammar school children to learn, but if the game focuses on school curriculum then will the game still be fun to play?

 

Why does anyone want to play games, especially video games anyway?

 

It is all about the reward system and instant gratification. We all love to reap the rewards and the instant gratification is a common concept these days. Most seek faster internet, higher pay, faster car, work less and earn more, and instant communication. It’s one of the reasons why we play the lottery or take a trip to the casino to play slot machines.

 

Have you ever played Candy Crush and couldn’t put the game down until you ran out of lives?

 

The rewards of making it to the next level kept you going. The faster you leveled up, the more you wanted to play until it became an obsession, which leads to just short of addictive behavior.

Many believe that the video game reward system can be used to teach students in the classroom. Maybe not the entire curriculum, but at least part of it in the same fashion as the flash card game was used in the 70’s.

 – The following is an excerpt from a recent essay written for my Composition II class, “Addicted to Avatars or Rewards: There goes another Candy Crush Life”

Tom Chatfield builds on the reward system found in video games during his TED Talk Presentation, “7 Ways Games Reward the Brain,” the great attraction to video games that pulls people in like that of a magnet is the reward system used coupled with social interaction. Video Games use more than a mere storyline to keep people coming back, probability and data feed information of the game to the programmer to maintain tabs on the want and the liking to keep people engaged. This data can be broken down to provide the information needed to capture the audience’s attention. Experience bars are used to show progress within the game along with a reward system that does not punish failure. Chatfield provided a staggering statistic about Farmville having 70 million players. Imagine a shift in the reward process used in the gaming industry to the educational system; Tom Chatfield believes the potential could be outstanding. (Chatfield)

 

Instant gratification seems to be one of the addiction properties associated with online gaming such as World of Warcraft. But according to Paul Roberts in his article “Instant Gratification,” instant gratification is the driving force behind today’s consumer culture and our social, economic system. Roberts wrote in his article appearing in The American Scholar an adaption from his book, The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification, “we are becoming a society ruled by impulse, by the reflexive reach for quick rewards.” He continues to say that our society has developed efficiencies to cater to our every desire. Many times, if cost is not the issue, anyone can purchase a product and receive that product in a short amount of time. Consumer culture is teaching the “Impulse Society that difficulty has no place in our lives.” Negative feelings of discomfort, depression, rejection, or delays represent errors and inefficiencies and need for correction. Everyone wants a faster phone, faster internet, or a more powerful car which is driven by how the consumer market meets our needs. Many individuals are trying to separate themselves from the Impulse Society by shutting off their smartphones and not visiting social media sites to reclaim the lost family time they have been missing out on for many years. (Roberts)

 

Online gaming can cause problems in the family life. According to Jason Northrup and Sterling Shumway in their article, “Gamer Widow: A Phenomenological Study of Spouses of Online Video Game Addicts,” relationships rank at the top of the list as the area of sacrifice in their lives to maintain the average amount of 24.7 hours a week playing an online game. This sort of sacrifice not only associated with online gaming; social media as well will compel a person to pick up their smartphone so that the individual can continue to feel connected to friends and relatives. Such as when Turkle states in her essay, “Growing Up Tethered,” in From Inquiry to Academic Writing, “Adolescents not only need to separate from their parents, they also need to learn to separate from each other,” (Turkle 432).

 

The reward system of the internet has caused a society that needs constant support from friends and family. The spouse of the gamer has a beef if the daily home chores are not met. Take out the trash, buy the milk and going to work or school on time. Everyone needs to learn to have space within a relationship, as Sherry Turkle goes on to say, “strong personal boundaries are reliable signs of a successfully maturing self,” (432). Eventually, many people will turn off their electronics for a time to find their solitude and space due to one word, “Stress,” (Turkle 442).

Both games and social media have their beneficial and problem sides to their equation. By doing a little too much of either can cause problems in day to day life. The need to keep in constant contact through email and social media stops people from learning to make their decisions without the need to validate someone else’s opinion before taking action. Gaming, on the other hand, can teach someone to make those split second decisions. If they attack the monster in the game will they wipe out the entire team on the dungeon run?

 

The idea of using the gaming reward system within the education system causes an inquiry of whether this would enhance a child’s education? For some reason, the possibility is there, according to Tom Chatfield. Comparing the reward system found in video games to the rewards we look for in our daily lives gives good reason why it is almost impossible to stay away from that next attempt at Candy Crush.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Bessi`ere, Katherine, A. Fleming Seay and Sara Kiesler. “The Ideal Elf: Identity Exploration in World of Warcraft.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing 2nd Edition (2012): 495-504. Print.

Chatfield, Tom. “7 Ways Games Reward the Brain.” Ted Talk Videos. TED Conferences, LLC, July 2010. Web. 13 January 2017. <http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain&gt;.

Griffiths, Mark. “Online Video Gaming: What Should Educational Psychologists Know?” Educational Psychology in Practice 26.1 (2010): 35-40. Print.

Johnson, Steve. “Why Games are good for you.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing 2nd Edition (2012): 481-494. Print.

Northrup, Jason C. and Sterling Shumway. “Gamer Widow. A Phenomenological Study of Spouses of Online Video Game Addicts.” The American Journal of Family Therapy 42.4 (2014): 269-281. Print.

Roberts, Paul. Instant Gratification. n.d. Phi Beta Kappa. Web. 13 January 2017. <https://theamericanscholar.org/instant-gratification/#&gt;.

Turkle, Sherry. “Growing Up Tethered.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing 3rd Edition (2015): 428-443. Print.

 

Posted in Blogging

Speech Recognition Software – Promising Future for Writers?


Someday, speech recognition software may become the norm and replace typing. I don’t see this change happening anytime soon, though. After reading the topic of my Microcomputer Applications discussion for the week, I decided to give Cortana a shot which is installed on my computer. I have heard of other writers occasionally using Dragon Speech while working on a manuscript. Some writers reported that they had positive things to say about Dragon and others not so promising. I can say the same about Cortana. This program ranks right next to auto correct on my cell phone, which I hate. If the program worked the way it was meant to work, writing stories would be almost as easy as reading a book, not to mention the many business managers who would be able to work without a secretary.

Speech Recognition software is already in use for many of the disabled and handicapped and has been for years. Another form of speech recognition software is used in the Amazon Echo. A funny story happened back at Christmas time that wasn’t so funny for the ones affected by the incident. Apparently, a six-year-old girl ordered a doll house and cookies from her parent’s gadget. The incident aired on the news station and when the newscaster spoke the words “Order a Dollhouse,” those who had an Echo automatically ordered doll houses.

 

http://fortune.com/2017/01/09/amazon-echo-alexa-dollhouse/

 

I would have been upset too if a dollhouse had been ordered without my knowledge.

First off, Cortana apparently does not speak my language. We were able to get a few words correct in the beginning, but the overall experience was horrible. I became frustrated when Cortana would not place periods where I wanted them. Instead, Cortana began adding to my sentence various words that did not make sense and had no resemblance to a period or dot. I understand that the program has to be taught to speak out language, but these were simple commands that were not responded when stated and are supposed to be preprogrammed. I had printed out the Windows Speech Recognition commands before playing with Cortana.

Someday in the future, someone may be able to perfect speech recognition software, but autocorrect needs fixing first. Right now I lack the time and patience to train my computer how to speak my language.

Posted in Blogging, Kibbles for Writing, recipe

Seafood Salad is a tasty treat no matter what time of the year

I love lobster, crab, shrimp, or almost any kind of seafood. After making those yummy Almost Authentic Crab Rangoon for New Years, I had a bit of imitation crabmeat leftover. I like changing up our weekly menu so we don’t have to eat the same boring thing day in and day out. Today we opted for Seafood Salad sandwiches.

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: Mark H. AnbinderCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via flickr.com

Simple Seafood Salad

Ingredients:

1 pkg. imitation crabmeat

2 stalks finely chopped celery

2 finely chopped green onion

1/2 – 1 cup mayonnaise (to taste)

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Instructions:

Chop imitation crabmeat into small chunks or bits and combine with chopped celery and green onion. Add mayonnaise and combine with crabmeat mixture. Mix in salt, pepper and old Bay Seasoning. Serve on sliced bread, hot dog rolls, or small hoagie rolls.

Add lettuce or tomato and you have the perfect light meal for a late night meal or Saturday afternoon lunch. Also great served as stuffing in a tomato or on a bed of lettuce in place of bread.