You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Emerging’ category.

22816When Paul Moon’s Grandfather died, he had already seen several dead people. Paul’s father was a Funereal Director and as with many sons, he became familiar with his father’s work.

Moon’s reflections in his New York Times article, A Father’s Livelihood Imparts Lessons on Death, are meaningful to those of us to think and talk about mortality.

Being a child with funerals as the family business have impacted his mind in a broader scope;

“I gained an understanding of death that has shifted my outlook on life.”

Most of us experience death primarily when it happens close to home; when a friend or relative dies. It is instructive to contrast that perspective with another view that comes from contact with death people in less personal conditions. Moon’s experiences lead him to an observation that is significant to us all;

“Death shouldn’t be swept under the rug. It’s the most certain thing to happen in our lives.”

This thought is consistent with the modus operandi of Death Café Corvallis at which individuals meet weekly to converse about topics related to death. By facing the reality of death in thought and talk, we are addressing truths that are typically veiled in fear and avoidance.


Conversations on topics such as in this post are common at Death Café Corvallis. You are welcome to participate. Information at Death Cafe Corvallis.

Advertisements

turkey_circleA dead cat.

A rafter of turkeys.

The turkeys circling the dead cat.

Some will blame this on Obama (keep an eye on Twitter).

No one else knows why.

 

See the video

Image Acknowledgement

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/02/518200840/turkeys-circling-a-dead-cat-are-probably-wary-not-working-dark-magic

 

 

catrin_o_ferainSome philosophers have argued that being conscious of death is a path towards living authentically with personal integrity and self-determination.

In Being and Time Martin Heidegger writes’ “Death reveals itself as that possibility which is one’s ownmost, which is non-relational, and which is not to be outstripped.” In other words, my death is personal, individual, and inevitable. Fear of death stems from rejection of these facts. Recognition of these facts is part of taking total responsibility for one’s own being – authenticity.

Elizabeth Seto (Psychology,Texas A&M) and colleagues set out to test this philosophical position empirically. They found a correlation between the vividness of thoughts about death (e.g., memories) and attitudes related to personal authenticity.

Their paper is insightful for anyone, particularly the Introduction and Discussion sections.

Study finds link between vivid thoughts of death and authenticity
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-016-9556-8

An interview with Seto at PsyPost is also a valuable read.

The association between vivid thoughts of death and authenticity
http://www.psypost.org/2017/02/study-finds-link-vivid-thoughts-death-authenticity-47692

The drift of this philosophical/psychological issue is: if you want to get real in life, get clear about death.

Image Acknowledgments

Catrin_o_Ferain.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorick#/media/File:Catrin_o_Ferain.jpg

_________________________________________________________________

Conversations on topics such as in this post are common at Death Cafe Corvallis. You are welcome to participate. Information at Death Cafe Corvallis.

Intake Survey

 

 

 

 

nc bc cc 10%Our national election occurs on Tuesday November 8 and I urge you to vote however your heart and mind lead you, but I also want to tell you who will be our next President and one significant reason why I believe that candidate will succeed.

The important point I want to demonstrate is far beyond a single election because the matter at issue is the future of American democracy.

In 2008 the Obama campaign produced an unprecedented combination of data analysis, social media and campaign outreach to win the Presidency.

The data analysis aspect used new techniques in what is commonly known as data-mining or big data analytics.

Both Democrats and Republicans have long kept databases of voters; you and I and every other eligible voter in the US is in these data-sets.

What Obama’s campaign innovated was a 100 item index that pulls from public and for-sale data sources such that every voter is categorized by education level, home ownership and value, permits and licenses, magazine subscriptions, charitable contributions and much more.General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump

The campaign also buys data from companies such as Facebook to track which ads you click on and who your friends are.

The Democrat campaign knows more about you than you know about yourself in the sense that you may forget some of the details while their database, called “Catalyst,” does not.

The campaign technicians render all this data into a 1-5 scale that assigns probabilities to 2 behaviors for every voter: whether they will vote and who they will vote for.

What the campaign does with those ratings is the key to their electoral strategy because those individual profiles based in huge correlations of personal data are used to produce campaign tactics aimed specifically at you and voters like you; this tactic is called micro-targeting.

One way that micro-targeting is used was revealed when the Obama campaign recruited 2 million volunteers through Facebook and then provided each of them with instructions for door-to-door visits with specific individuals based on their ratings in Catalyst.

Another use of micro-targeting is to assign campaign ads to individual social media users. The political ads that you see on social media may well have been crafted uniquely for you, at least if they are from the Democrat campaigns.

Moreover the reactions of micro-targeted individuals are gathered and fed back to the database creating a dynamic loop that is capable of measuring large group responses based on tracking behaviors of individuals within the group.

After the 2008 election victory Obama directed the data analysts on his campaign to develop ways to use that technology for conducting White House policy efforts and called the resulting system “Legacy.”51i-UovOAYL._SY346_

This ultra-sophisticated use of data analysis to conduct a political campaign is studied in a fascinating book, Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters by Yale political scientist Eitan D. Hersh.

In addition to describing how political data-analysis and micro-targeting work, Hersh postulates that the sources of public data that campaigns draw from are likely to skew the data-set to preference some voter characteristics over others; for instance consider the data sources in which individuals are classified by race.

Why does any of this matter to you?

It matters because human beings have a peculiar relationship with our own thoughts in two ways.

The first is that it is hard for us to distinguish between our subjective feeling of certainty and the objective degree to which a claim about the world is certain.

For example, in this column I am claiming to know who will win the 2016 election.

In fact I cannot know that for certain because all sorts of events could occur to prevent that from happening, so I am really asserting a probability of an outcome based upon assumptions about the conditions.

LW268-MC-Escher-Hand-with-Reflecting-Sphere-1935Still, in my gut I feel totally certain about it despite being a skeptic about most things, and cannot convince my subjective sense to entertain more doubt.

The second peculiarity of human thought is while you and I know what we think and believe, we typically do not know where those thoughts and beliefs came from.

Try it yourself; consider some of the ideas (thoughts and beliefs) that you feel strongly about. Where did you get those ideas? Were you born with them? Were they taught to you? Did you inherit them? Did you discover them or make them up yourself?

If you are like most of us, then even the thoughts that you feel most certain about do not provide you with signs of their origins.

I am confident that you have reasons in favor of those ideas, but are those reasons actually the causes from which you formed the belief in the first place or are they premises that you developed to justify a belief that you already held?

Attend closely and I think that you will find that it is not easy to be sure about the workings of your own mind.

Why does this matter? Because there are interest groups who work hard to put ideas into your mind and once an idea is in your mind it is likely that you will experience it as certain and true, largely because it presents itself as your own idea.

To put it as clearly as I may: if I can get an idea into your mind and also get you to view it as your own idea, then I have succeeded at manipulating your mind.6914441342_605f947885_z

The manipulation of beliefs – the deliberate changing of people’s minds – is an ancient practice that we find today in advertisers, propagandists, magicians, preachers and teachers.

This mental manipulation is what the data-driven campaign is designed to do.

To be fair, politicians have sought to understand the public mind and put ideas into the minds of the people since at least ancient Greece.

Data-driven campaigning is not new, although the technological sophistication produces an unprecedented level of control over messaging.

That brings me to my prediction that Clinton will be elected President by a wide margin with the Democrats taking the Senate and making gains in the House.

That may not seem like a bold prediction to you because it has become common wisdom on the eve of the election, but I am basing my view on the uses by the Clinton campaign of whatever the Catalyst data-base has become.

One point to draw from this observation is that a candidate’s campaign foreshadows what their administration will be like.

Clinton’s campaign, like the Obama campaigns, are highly organized, disciplined and data-driven.

I view organization and discipline as positive attributes of an executive administration and they stand in stark contrast to the Trump campaign which spent more money on “Make America Great Again” hats than on data analysis.

However you evaluate these facts the reality of contemporary political dynamics calls for rigorous critical thinking about the messages that you receive and believe, if you care about your individual freedom as a thinker.

The future of the American political system is all about data and the more that you know about those processes, the better equipped you will be as a citizen and voter.

 

Image Acknowledgements

nc bc cc 10%.jpg
http://apps.cytoscape.org/media/cytonca/screenshots/nc%20bc%20cc%2010%25.jpg

General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump.svg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump.svg/1280px-General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump.svg.png

51i-UovOAYL._SY346_.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y37Z5OW

LW268-MC-Escher-Hand-with-Reflecting-Sphere-1935.jpg
http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/italian-period/hand-with-reflecting-sphere/

6914441342_605f947885_z.jpg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/75279887@N05/6914441342

Images are found via CC Search for Creative Commons licensed content.

aerial-displayHave you ever heard the rhetorical question; “What will they think of next?”

Viable answers to that question may be gleaned by perusing applications filed with the US Patent Office (USPTO).

A patent is an assignment of exclusive intellectual property rights by a government to an inventor for a specified time period, in the U.S. and Europe for 20 years.

When someone files a patent on an invention or process, others are prohibited by law from creating and selling products derived from that intellectual property.

Inventors cannot patent ideas alone, they have to demonstrate how the invention will work and that it is feasible.

The word patent stems from the Latin word “patere” meaning “to lay open.”

This etymology reflects the public nature of patents and distinguishes them from trade secrets which are kept private and guarded.

In addition to sheer curiosity you can make powerful uses of the information at uspto.gov.

Some investors make profitable uses of that information in deciding what industries to put their money into.

Writers can gain excellent topics for analysis and writing from patents because successful future products are communicated to us in the present.

For instance, students may develop presentations and papers based on patent information.

infectious-diseaseSuppose that you have a class presentation or paper to prepare and need a strong topic.

Browsing through recent proposals at the USPTO you find a patent filed in 2015 by Boeing Inc. for “Infectious Disease Detection.”

This proposed invention would use sensors to detect traces of specific pathogens; bacteria and viruses.

Why would a company that makes airplanes invest in disease detection?

Because infectious disease is spread significantly by air travel leading to pandemics which are global outbreaks of illness

To turn this idea into a paper or presentation, think through the conditions and implications of effective disease detection at the primary points of transmission.

Detecting disease allows for intervention and preventing its spread which may dramatically impact the global health situation.

Think of other situations where the spread of disease is significant, such as hospitals, daycare and University residence halls where the Norovirus runs rampant.

The analytic strategy of turning a proposed patent invention into a top-rate paper is to produce a reasoned analysis based on the problem, the proposed solution and the implications of a successful solution.  Break it down like this:

1. The problem: describe the circumstances that occur without the invention; e.g. infectious disease spreads rapidly and is hard to control leading to deaths, illness, increased health care costs and other economic impacts.

2. The proposed solution: explain the proposed invention and how it will solve or change the problem; e.g., a system of disease agent detection and intelligent alerts will recognize when a severely contagious disease is present and allow for immediate interventions to help infected people and prevent further contagion.

3. The implications of a successful solution: speculate on the social impacts that will occur if the invention works and is used effectively; e.g., by detecting and managing disease at the primary points of transmission the spread of infectious disease can be significantly contained and prevented.  The gains to human welfare in terms of health will be great and economic benefits from lower health care and otherwise lost productivity will add significantly to the general welfare.

cardboard-bicycleYou can totally make an interesting paper or presentation with a strong analysis and argument from this by filling in the details and backing up your claims with facts, such as the current costs of infectious disease to the economy.

You might also think of potential negative effects of such inventions, which is how writers like Michael Crichton make great stories (Jurrasic Park, Prey) and tons of money.

Now that you see how such analysis and future-casting works, try your mind some other fascinating recent patent filings.

Multi-Part Navigation Process by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Navigating to a Medical Situation”: Google filed a patent for a drone with navigation and flight control processes capable of reaching an emergency with appropria1te reinforcing-photosynthesis1medications and medical equipment. Imagine in the future subscribing to a medical response service that responds immediately to your crisis based on your medical profile.

“System in Space for Reinforcing Photosynthesis and Method”: Airbus, a European airplane maker, may have a way to collect sunlight by satellites in orbit and retransmit the energy to Earth to re-enforce photosynthesis and crop growth. I wonder whether this technology can also boost solar energy collectors.

“Fact Checking Using and Aiding Probabilistic Question Answering”: IBM filed a recent patent for a use of its Watson artificial intelligence program that won the Jeopardy game show. In its role as fact-checker Watson will “decompose a statement into sets of question and answer pairs for each of which it then determines a confidence value from which is calculated a probability that the statement is true.” Imagine this at work in newsrooms and Presidential debates.

“Gamma Secretase Modulators”: Pharmaceutical giant Merck filed a patent for a compound that “targets amyloid beta, a metabolite of amyloid precursor protein which is considered to be of great importance regarding the degeneration and loss of neurons in Alzheimer’s patients.” This may lead to a treatment and even prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

It does not follow from the fact that a patent was filed that the proposed concept will really work, be practical and economically feasible.

Patents do show us the realm of the possible driven by human imagination.

Here are some titles of patents filed in the last few years to peak your interest.

“Method and Apparatus for Delivering Energy to an Electrical or Electronic Device Via a Wireless Link.”

“Devices and Methods for Transferring Data Through a Human Body.”

“Method for Personalizing an Appliance User Interface.”

“System and Method for Targeting Customers Who Invite Other Customers to a Business.”

“Apparatus and Method for Sharing User’s Emotion.”

“Recyclable Cardboard Bicycle.”

“Foreclosure Prevention and Protection.”

“Seawater Desalination System.”

“Foreign Currency Solution.”

“Aerial Display System With Marionettes Articulated and Supported by Airborne Devices.”

“Fabrication of Products On Demand.”

“Self-propelled unicycle engagable with vehicle.”

“Telescopic Contact Lens.”

“Virtual Universe Teleportation Suggestion Service.”

Find many more filed patents at: uspto.gov >Patents >Patent Search (Search for Patents) > Seven Step Strategy.uspto_logo

For patents filed since March 2001 be sure search the AppFT: Applications database.

Understand that patents are legal documents and not designed for easy reading, but you are smarter than the average duck and can hone in on the key points, especially the “abstract” or ”summary” sections.

Make sure that you access the images linked at the top and bottom of the patent text.

Learn to access these ideas directly from the USPTO and you will gain a wealth of future potentials that you may talk and write about.

 

Source Acknowledgements

USPTO
http://www.uspto.gov/

The Top 10 Patents Issued in 2015, Steve Brachman
http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015/12/28/top-10-patents-issued-2015/id=64025/

Image Acknowledgements

aerial-display.jpg

infectious-disease.jpg

cardboard-bicycle.jpg

reinforcing-photosynthesis1.jpg

77aa99b53b82d17d5f03ca8a3fcbfe35All learning is a form of research as we test our mental models of reality against the cold hard facts of the world.

When someone keeps making the same mistake we can say that they have not learned what that mistake is and how to avoid it.

Humans have evolved the ability to keep track of our successes and failures in order learn.

Keeping track of and analyzing what happens is the basis of research, which I claim is the foundation of learning.

It follows that treating your education as a research process will make you a more capable learner.

Technology can help you to become a more capable researcher and to better understand the relations of information and reason to knowledge.

Zotero is an OSU supported no-cost application that assists with collecting, organizing and citing research sources.zotero_logo_300x300

You should be using Zotero or a similar tool because when you write a paper or produce a project the sources upon which it is based are critical.

Your sources are established by citations which follow formats including APA, MLA, Turbian and IEEE.

If these are not familiar to you, then you are at a distinct disadvantage when developing a paper or project for a class as many instructors place significant grade value on well-formed citations in the correct format.

Check your syllabus and assignment description to ascertain the citation format then install Zotero and access the OSU Library resources to learn how to use it well.

Zotero has a stand-alone version to install on Windows or Mac and also as plugins for FireFox, Safari and Chrome and apps for iOS and Android

Build your Zotero “Library” by creating a “Collection” and adding sources as you search for sources.

A Collection may be for a project, a class, a topic or whatever you need to gather information for.

The sources can be books, articles, websites, videos and other forms of information that you have used in developing your work.

While developing your work, such as a paper or project use Zotero to retrieve sources and then to cite those sources for your bibliography.

A bibliography is the part of a work that lists the sources that form the research upon which the work is based.

The purpose of a bibliography is so that readers can retrieve the sources in order to check on the accuracy of the claims in the work.

Bibliographies consist of references which provide the information that anyone needs to find and retrieve the source referred to.

Citations are the expressions embedded in the text of a work that indicate the reference on which that portion of the work is based.

In my work as an Editor I have received submissions that included bibliographies that contained numerous references that were not cited in the text of the paper.

I sent those submissions back for revision because the relevant references are those that are used in creating the work.

It is an error to pad a bibliography with books and articles that you did not read or use in your writing.

If you did use a source, then cite and reference it properly.

If you did not use a source, then do not refer to it.

2447112317_b1f13112cbIf any of these aspects of research puzzle you, then you should visit the OSU Writing Center at 123 Waldo.

Writing Center assistants will help students, staff, faculty and community members with all aspects of writing from brainstorming to writer’s block to bibliographies and beyond.

Once you understand what citations and bibliographies are and know what formats are required for your papers, then you are in a strong position to use writing tools like Zotero effectively.

A powerful feature of Zotero is the capability to create Collection items contextually from your Web browser so to gather relevant reference information from whatever web source that you are viewing.

This contextual sensing feature is amazing when researching journal articles, news articles and books in the OSU Library; see the Valley Library tutorial “Using Zotero with 1Search.”

I emphasize again that finding likely titles and capturing reference information is not research unless you read the sources and use them in your work.Research-Illistration-4x4

Once you have a collection of sources Zotero helps you tag, sort, move, copy, annotate and edit your sources.

Organizing and connecting your sources, which are prior information about a topic, is a powerful way to construct knowledge out of your research.

Knowledge constructed from intentional collections of sources may involve finding patterns, drawing inferences, producing new research questions, identifying problems and much more.

A research-based paper and project is designed to communicate the knowledge that you have constructed, your findings, from the sources that you have collected and analyzed.

That is a basic description of how research and learning work.

Zotero supports sharing collections online which vastly increases its power as a research tool, for instance when working on a group project designate a role for “research managerin the group and have them curate the Zotero collections.

With your thesis, narrative, and references accomplished you then use Zotero to produce the bibliography which can export to Word and OpenOffice documents.

With a collection and bibliography created it is easy to re-format your references to different citation standards.

Valley Library has many resources including workshops and online tutorials for becoming proficient with Zotero at guides.library.oregonstate.edu/zotero

In addition to Zotero I have used Citation Machine, a web-based citation creator, to create bibliographies for publications – citationmachine.net.

Both tools provide a form in a selected citation style that prompts you for necessary information about a source such as author’s name, book title, publication date, page number and publisher.

Both tools allow switching citation styles for already created references.

Zotero is the more powerful of the two, but Citation Machine is handy.

Social bookmarking is a technology that is related to the research-oriented tools.

Diigo and Delicious are powerful social bookmarking applications, also called “social tagging,” with browser extensions that support tagging, annotating and highlighting web sources including pages, PDFs, blog posts, images and videos.

The social character of these tools is changing the way that information and knowledge works.

Think of the efficiency with which disinformation such as rumors spread.Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge

Now imagine similarly efficient information but grounded in referenced sources.

Our information environment is changing fast and you will be better equipped for that change when you are able to use social bookmarking and referencing tools.

Most important is your understanding of how information constructs knowledge and how references provide evidence.

Of immediate value to you is how you can use these tools to do a stronger job of writing papers and projects.

Image Acknowledgements

77aa99b53b82d17d5f03ca8a3fcbfe35.jpeg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/551409548100840461/

hBQdLi.png
https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/482247447293337601/hBQdLi_-.png

2447112317_b1f13112cb.jpeg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/12662957@N05/2447112317/

Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge.jpeg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge.jpg

I am deeply troubled by the recent tragedy in Roseburg and recent atrocities in Yemen and Afghanistan, so I want to share with you ways that I have been exploring for responding to horror without becoming numb to its significance.

I am learning to implement a technology by which you too may sustain yourself while also acting effectively in a tragic world.

First consider how we commonly respond to news of a horrible event.

When I heard of Thursday’s Umpqua massacre I felt a cold weakness in the middle of my chest.

Shortly after I stood before a class of first-year students, some of whom I knew were from Roseburg, all of whom reminded me of the dear people we had just lost.

It seemed apparent to me that they did not yet know what had just happened and I struggled with a sense of unreality as I reached for something meaningful to say.

After that class I wept.

Perhaps you also have physical reactions to awful news.

Next I did what many parents do when we hear of a disaster; call our children just to make sure they are ok.

Then come a series of predicable messages from predictable sources.

People start sharing rumors and reports as if possessing the latest bit of information can impact the gravity of the incident.

Leaders hold press conferences and send email denouncing and consoling.

Some people immediately seize the shock of the moment to advance or defend their political and personal agendas, often in ways that increase the harm.

Then comes a barrage of angry and speculative verbiage about who to blame.

Experts weigh in with analyses, statistics and opinions.

That evening people with gather with candles, put personal items at the site of the harm and set up memorial scholarships, every detail shared by constant repetition through many media.

Then we go on about our business in wait for the next appalling event.

In our present age all of this reaction happens with blinding speed and tends to race past the reality of the moment, as if the attendant information and spectacle is more significant than the event itself.

This set of reactions may be called a “viral cycle” because the activity builds on itself and has a predictable path as social phenomena.cue_routine_reward.fw

Do you recognize the parts of this viral cycle and most important, your roles in it? Do you have characteristic reactions to news of a horrible occurrence?

If you do, and I think that we all do, then there is a habitual pattern in you that guides your reactions automatically.

What concerns me about these habitual patterns is that they typically leave us individually and collectively in a negative mental state and with a sense of impotence about effecting any change for the better.

When there is nothing that we can do about suffering except feel bad, it is natural to seek emotional distance and I suspect that much of transpires in the social viral cycle are various ways of gaining that distance.

Yet we really can do something to make things better in the face of horror and it starts with our remarkable ability to modify our own habits.

There are techniques – a technology – for changing our own habits. By using those techniques we can teach ourselves to react with care and kindness in the face of horror.

This capability matters because increasing care and kindness in the world is the effective means to preventing future tragedies and because acting with care and kindness sustains your self when the worst happens.

Here is how you may modify your gut reactions to tragedy (and any other habits that you want to change).

Learn the technique of habit modification such as that developed in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (2014) by Charles Duhigg. the_power_of_habit

In Duhigg’s analysis every habit consists of a cognitive/behavioral loop in which a cue triggers a routine which elicits a reward.

Think of the cue as an event that happens to us, the routine as a behavior pattern that we perform in response to the cue, and the reward as a perception that the routine was successful.

Habits are self-reinforcing and habit change is most effective when we associate the cue and reward with a different routine.

When we learn of a horrific event it is a cue that triggers routines (such as those listed above) which reward us by reducing negative feelings.

Following this analysis of habits, the effective means to changing your reactions to shocking events is to associate the cue (horrible events) and the reward (feeling less badly) with a new routine (patterns of action).

A routine that is relevant to the cue of horrible events is to increase your feelings of care and expressions of kindness

I am serious that expressing kindness from a feeling of care provides an effective counter to shock and frustration

Treating others with kindness from care through words and actions will change how you feel.

I’ll not suggest how to be caringly kind because in order to effect personal change those feelings and behaviors must be uniquely yours.

I will show how to develop those feelings and behaviors for yourself.

Step 1: Every day for two weeks practice caring kindness for yourself and turn them into a habit.

You already know how to be mean to yourself and maybe have a strong inner critic.

Now add to that self-judgment an inner advocate that throughout the day acknowledges positively you for simple accomplishments and voices value for you as a person.

In second week scan the news for a horrific tragedy, it won’t take long, and when you find it make yourself aware that the fact that you care about it is reason enough to be kind to yourself (just some inner kind words are enough).

Step 2: Every day for two weeks practice caring kindness for others.

People are all round you so opportunities for care and kindness abound.

Start with people whom you know and tell them what you value about them, then expand into kindness to strangers.

Repeat the news-scan activity in step 1, this time responding to tragedy by increasing your caring kindness to others.

Step 3: Every day for two weeks practice caring kindness for people whom you dislike or who irritate you.

Caring for enemies may be as simple as wishing them well in your mind instead of wishing them harm; i.e. that they suffer the same as they cause.

Replace signals of irritation (scowls, gestures and words) with quiet patience until you are practiced enough to muster a smile.

Repeat the news-scan activity in steps 1 and 2, this time responding to the tragedy by increasing your caring kindness to people who irritate you.

Now put the three steps together so that you perform all of them at least once per day and please note that in order to work you need to make this a practice in action, not merely a thought.

I base this formula upon the psycho-spiritual technologies developed and taught by Lao-Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Śāntideva, King and Gandhi among other luminaries.

I believe that using the technology of habit modification to transform your feelings of hurt and frustration into actionable change will benefit you because the resulting patterns of behavior make you more effective and positive in dealing with tragedy.

I also believe that this practice will contribute to preventing some horrific events because as the practice of care and kindness grows – by you joining it – the people who potentially cause harm will encounter care and kindness.

The killers at Umpqua, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Northern Illinois and so many others expressed their perceptions of social isolation as a partial motive for the horror they inflicted.meditation-651411_640

If a potential killer experiences even momentary kindness from strangers, their path of destruction may be altered.

We have the technology to change ourselves, our actions and the people around us.

You and I are not helpless in the face of horror and tragedy as long as we have the will to become the change that we want to see in the world.

 

Oregon State University Support Resources

OSU has resources for students, staff, and faculty for addressing grief and stress.  The centers of these resources is:

CAPS
http://counseling.oregonstate.edu

Student Health Services
http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu

 

Image Sources

Sépulcre_Arc-en-Barrois_111008_12
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadness#/media/File:S%C3%A9pulcre_Arc-en-Barrois_111008_12.jpg

cue_routine.reward.png
jon dorbolo

the_power_of_habit.jpg
http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/

meditation-651411_640
https://pixabay.com/en/meditation-compassion-presence-love-651411/

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the following individuals who contributed to this essay.

– Jennifer Knaus

beaver-46221_640A campus full of Beavers makes my heart glad. If you have returned, welcome home. If you are new to OSU, we are so glad that you have joined this community.

I am Dr. Tech and this weekly column covers issues in technology that are important to OSU members and maybe of interest to you; students, staff and faculty. Write to me anytime with questions and ideas to investigate and address; drtech@oregonstate.edu.

“All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday.”

Learning Innovation Center (LINC)

The big news this term is the Learning Innovation Center (LINC). This astonishing facility seats up to 2,300 students in 15 classrooms of widely diverse styles.

The unique design of the building, classrooms in the center with perimeter walkways, provides 600 study and collaboration spaces on all 4 floors. Conversations with students consistently identified the need for more informal learning space and now you have it.

parlement_roomSome of the class rooms such as the in-the-round spaces are totally unique to OSU.

Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC), The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Boora Architects have launched a study of these spaces titled “The Geometry of Learning.”

This study is a research framework initially seeking to measure seating choices by students in order to correlate location to learning outcomes.

We also aim to map the social networks of learning spaces by following seat choices over time.

This research is original and has potential for discovering how to design learning spaces for optimal learner performance.

This research is supported by Academic Affairs and Information Services.

Thousands of students have consented to participate in the research and if you are among them, we appreciate your foresight.

Fourth floor LINC is home to the Honors College and the Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC) which brings together the units of Academic Technology (AT) and CTL. My office is there if you ever have time to stop in to say “hi.”

Clickers

There is a new Turning remote in town, the QT, sold in the Beaver Store as OSU’s clicker solution.

The QT has a qwerty keyboard which makes it equivalent to the ResponseWare mobile device clicker interface.turning_qt

The QT bundle costs the same as last year’s NXT clicker and no new costs are added to clicker-using students.

Please note that students who own a NXT from previous years are fully supported and do not need to buy a new clicker.

Students who registered an NXT in 2014-5 (last year) do not need to register again. Students who own a new QT must register the device and their license.

Registration licenses your QT and apps which are downloadable at no cost from the Apple Store and Google Play, as well as the web service at rwpoll.com. All of these will work as a clicker if your instructor enables the ResponseWare.

Check your course syllabus for the ResponseWare Session ID because some instructors choose not to enable ResponseWare for mobile devices.

TAC’s Clicker Registration Station is located outside of LINC100 Monday through Friday in week one for everyone who needs to register their clicker or wants to check on it.

The Turning clicker system at OSU is part of a comprehensive strategy intended to steadily increase learning/teaching power while containing and reducing costs to students.  I will cover details of this strategy in columns to come.

How about a raffle contest for the quickest classes to register? Some of you may remember last year when I took the ice bucket challenge in December to promote clicker registration. Now TAC with support from Turning Technologies is launching a raffle to encourage fast and total clicker registrations by classes. The prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in the following amounts and denominations:

10x$10
4x$25
2x$50
1x$100

All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday. To qualify you need to be an Oregon State University student and have a Turning NXT or QT remote with a redeemed license, which is listed as a participant in the Canvas system.  TAC will randomly select Beaver Store gift certificate winners from the active participants listed in Canvas.  Winners will be contacted by ONID mail.  Certificated unclaimed four weeks will be awarded to an alternate student. Send your questions about this F15 raffle to Jon.Dorbolo@oregonstate.edu.  

Canvas

Fall 2015 is the last term for Blackboard at OSU and Canvas is performing well as a strong successor.canvas_panda

Three new features are available in Canvas: Studio Sites, Turnitin, and Canvas Commons.

Studio Sites enables OSU members to create Canvas areas for non-course uses such as student clubs and department resources.

Turnitin is a text pattern-matching tool that may flag different kinds of plagiarism and inappropriate reuse. Instructors must inform students that Turnitin will be used on course assignments, preferably in the syllabus. The tool may be used to let students check their drafts for pattern matches before submitting an assignment, which turns Turnitin into a learning tool.

Canvas Commons facilitates sharing of selected course content among instructors both locally and globally.

Office365

Every OSU student gets Microsoft Office365 for use on 5 devices at no cost.  Download yours at oregonstate.edu/office365

Walkup Computer Help Desk

No one could ask for better technical support than available to OSU students at the OSU Computer Walk-Up Helpdesk on main floor of Valley Library. There is not enough room on this whole page to list all of the services that they provide, so check my blog for links.

Game On!

Dr. Tech’s Top Ten Technologies Countdown is an interactive live game show c3_spin_gamethat uses clickers and student’s brains to compete for knowledge and prizes. Three sessions of the game are reserved for U-Engage first year students and other sessions will be open to the collective Beaver colony. This game and yours truly will be featured at the upcoming Unizin Summit conference.

My forecast is that F15 will be an action packed term with you being especially successful. I advise you to read “Ask Dr. Tech” weekly to stay sharp on the edge of tech.

Image Sources

beaver-46221_640.png
https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&q=beavers&tbs=sur:fmc#imgrc=9VCpr2lGN0kD8M%3A

canvas_panda.gif
Canvas

linc_parlament.jpg
Boora Architects

spin_game.jpg
c3softworks

metropolis_lenaTechnology Across the Curriculum (TAC), my OSU home, has the charge to explore how changes in technology may affect the pursuit of knowledge by students and instructors.

This effort is called “futurecasting” and is based on forms of analysis that I’ve taught in my ALS199 course “FutureTech”; what I offer here owes much to what I have learned from the remarkable students of that course (hi you guys)!

Futurecasting is not merely guessing or a form of science fiction, though I think it fair to say that science fiction is not merely guessing either.

Science fiction is a literary genre that uses speculation about possible derivations of science and technology to comment on the human condition.

Quality science fiction does more than merely imagine some fantastic new technology, it connects the imagined technology to our present condition through extrapolations from existing science.metropolis_poster

Writer Arthur C. Clarke’s third law of literary speculation is; “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I take this to mean that magic in literature is sheer imagination and needs no explanation, while the speculative technologies of science fiction require some plausible relation to known reality.

The technologies in science fiction films vary between the speculative and magical.

We may distinguish these in retrospect depending on how closely actual changes in culture maps to past representations of the future.

Judge for yourself as I briefly survey the history of science fiction film from its onset through the 1960s.

Le Voyage Dans la Lun [A Trip to the Moon] (1902): French artist Georges Méliès apollo_moon_landingstarted the science fiction film genre with his fanciful adaptation of a novel by Jules Verne.

Melies’ technology is almost wholly inaccurate although he did introduce space travel and a moon landing to the public imagination at a time when the existence of motion pictures alone was a mind-bending technology.

Robert Goddard launched the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926 and 43 years later a rocket did send people to walk on the moon, which much of the world watched live on television.

Metropolis (1927): The first great science fiction film is by Fritz Lang whose vision of occult robotics and mechanized society driven by vast social inequality anticipates the digital divide that faces us today.

The Jetsons (1962): I grant that this goofy cartoon series was not intended as serious social commentary, but watch a few episodes and you will see remarkably approximate representations of video chat, tablet news readers, jetsons_pill_camflying cars, dog walking treadmills, robot chefs, a medical pillcam, and the smart watch; all of which are with us now in some functional form (as demonstrated by the links in this post).

The Jetsons was a spinoff of the popular cartoon series, The Flintstones (1960), which depicted a fantasy stone age world in which modern machine technology was accomplished by uses of imaginary animals; for instance a can opener operated by a living bird with a long beak.

Both The Flintstones and The Jetsons provide a mid-twentieth century view of society by substituting everyday processes with imaginary methods – in one case magical and in the other science fiction.

I point this out because for some people the fact that we are talking about cartoons and movies designed for entertainment rules out any serious meaning to be derived.

I disagree with that exclusion because all reality has some meaning and often the significances that are hard for us to recognize occur in the form of the seemingly trivial; in history the jester has often been the sole agent who may reveal undesired truths to the powerful.

If one approaches the task of understanding from a position of already knowing what is and is not meaningful, then the effort will be short and simple, but not more truthful.

Alphaville (1965): Technocratic totalitarianism is a modern anxiety that continues to inspire depiction in film and most follow the lead of the film by Jean Luc Goddard which presents a society dominated by an artificial intelligence that outlaws emotion and the irrational.

Star Trek (1966): The relatively obscure TV series which became a phenomenon star_trek_transporteris a gold mine of speculative technology which anticipated applied science such as the cloaking device, the medical tricorder, the communicator and the replicator.

Most remarkable aspect of the original Star Trek was its premise that the human species would survive to thrive in the 23rd century.

In the 1960’s most of us assumed that the human species was on track to annihilate itself through nuclear war or some other apocalyptic technology.

Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry showed us a human future that had not committed species suicide, transcended racism, sexism and nationalism, succeeded in peaceful collaboration with alien species (except for Klingons and Tholians), progressed with an economy without money but based on human excellence and operated by consensus with a moral principle of universal respect.

The original Star Trek may look comical by current production values, but it presented a unique conception of hope in humanity at a time when the human prospect appeared dim to many and the stories of the series are better than much of what is sold as science fiction today.

fahrenheit-451-largeFahrenheit 451 (1966): François Truffaut adapted Ray Bradbury’s novel about a future where books are banned “firemen” are a kind of SWAT team who find and burn the hidden libraries of resisting bibliophiles (451F being the burning point of paper – sort of).

The film ably depicts a world without reading, even the film titles and credits are spoken, and human relationships are mediated via ubiquitous room-sized flat-screens.

If we stripped all text from YouTube it would look a lot like the world of this film and given the contemporary push for video over text in education, the issues raised in this story about the future of cognition remain relevant.

The film music is by Bernard Hermann who asked Truffaut why he had not chosen a “modern” composer and was answered; “They’ll give me music of the twentieth century but you’ll give me music of the twenty first!”

Planet of the Apes (1968): The idea of non-human apes supplanting humans is a popular culture phenomenon that started with a film based on the 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle.palent_of_the_apes

The film script was written by Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone (which itself is a wealth of futurecasting), and at center is a reversal of evolutionary science in which chimpanzees and gorillas progress to the dominant species while homo sapiens devolves to non-sentient brutes.

The concept continues to flourish via remakes, sequels, tv series, and more because the story confronts viewers with the problem of: what does it mean to be human?

This month a federal judge rules that two chimpanzees caged in NY have the legal right of habeas corpus (the right to legally challenge one’s imprisonment), which is remarkable in a decade where some human beings have been officially denied that same right.

2001_dave

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A milestone for science fiction film as art was Stanley Kubrick’s enigmatic masterpiece which futurecast a rich environment of emerging technologies including the space shuttle, the space station, artificial intelligence, artificial gravity, video conferencing, digital photography, smartpens, zero gravity meals and zero gravity toilets.

Consider that the film fairly accurately shows a moon landing and walk which in fact occurred a year later when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface in 1969.

2001 remains a great science fiction film because it raises vital questions about interrelations of humanity, history, technology and the scope of human understanding.2001_monolith

2001 contains magic as well, as defined by Clarke’s Law, so that separating the technically plausible from the merely imaginable remains a present challenge for interpretation.

Science fiction does not predict the future, it describes possible futures and explores the implications of them.

How the possible near futures of technology may impact learning is the area of concern in Technology Across the Curriculum at OSU and you are welcome to write to us and visit for exploration of these matters – tac@oregonstate.edu.

Next week this column will overview SciFi films of the 1970s to present and you are invited to make additions, comment and corrections below!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 327 other followers

RSS thought currents

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Advertisements