Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learn To Program

Just think of it like a puzzle.

Academic advisers have told me that if I ever expect to work under them in a lab, I better learn to code, or expect to be taught how to code. I have found a couple of resources since then to help me out. The most likely one to hold my, and your attention alike is codecademy, which treats learning to program in Java more or less like a game; you are taken through stages, given achievements, and there are even hints available. This is how I have been spending my Saturday nights as of lately.  

Another option is the book Invent Your Own Computer Games With Python:

This is a trend setting programming book
simply for the fact that it has a cool cover.

I purchased this book when it came out, only to realise that the book was released under Creative Commons, and you can download the PDF for free. (I command you, go forth dear readers and succeed where I have once failed!) It honestly is a good book, although it is actually geared more towards children. I have also read books in the "Dummies" series, such as "C For Dummies", and as expected; these books move at a boorish pace.

The website Coding Tortoise is another place to learn Java. I believe the person running it has cut back to posting once every two weeks, but there is still a backlog of posts.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parrots Receive Thier Names From Thier Parents

I once attended a lecture by a guest speaker at UMASS. He talked about his research recording monkeys, pointing out parts that might be considered grammar or syntax. At the end of his talk he admitted that all of his research could be for nothing, and that he could be completely wrong.

In under six minutes this video conclusively covers something more fascinating. An ornithologist from Cornell was able to conclusively show that parrots receive their names from their parents by switching eggs in nests. Even after this is done, the newborn parrots' names more resemble their foster parents' names.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Is Darkpsychology.co ?

It is usual for study abroad programs to spam the comments section on this site. I usually respond to them by writing on their Facebook page and telling them that if they want to advertise on my site, they can buy ad space like everyone else. Earlier this week I offhandedly mentioned that I thought the website Darkpsychology.co was a spam blog. The next morning I received these two comments on the post:
Dear AAA,
Good Morning AAA, My name is Dr. Michael Nuccitelli and I'm a NYS psychologist and forensic consultant. I have my Google Alerts set up to send me posts and information on "Dark Psychology" and received your post this morning titled "Dark Psychology." I notice you write asking for the definition of Dark Psychology. Having an interest in Theoretical Criminology and a forensic psychologist, I've attached my link to academia.edu that I've posted my theory on all criminal and deviant behavior I've termed Dark Psychology. I hope this provides you the definition. http://psychology.about.com/library/bl_psychosocial_summary.htm Thank you, Dr. Michael Nuccitelli, drnucc@hotmail.com
Dear AAA, Good Morning and my name is Dr. Michael Nuccitelli and I'm a NYS psychologist and forensic consultant. I have my Google Alerts set up to send me posts on "Dark Psychology" and I received you post this morning. I notice in your post you ask what the definition of Dark Psychology is. As a theoretical criminologist, this year I finalized my construct on all criminal and deviant I've termed Dark Psychology. Provided is my link to my theory of Dark Psychology I've posted at academia.edu. Good Luck and Thank you. Respectfully, Dr. Michael Nuccitelli, drnucc@hotmail.com Dark Psychology Academia.Edu Link: http://independent.academia.edu/DrMichaelNuccitelli/Papers/1233777/Dark_Psychology

A website I accused of being a spam blog spammed the article I wrote about them being a spam blog. Sometimes life will write the jokes for you. The first time I heard the term Dark Psychology was through a Lavender Hour podcast, apparently this guy has crated his own definition and is trying to create a business model out of it. I read through the academia.edu article, and then googled "Dr. Michael Nuccitelli". He also runs iPredator Inc, a company that shares a name with The Pirate Bay's VPN service:

Apparently the term "troll" was not sensational enough as "iPredator" is.

When I was a kid I remember "Internet police" web pages on sites like Geocities and Expage. Their whole premise was that if you put their "protected by the cyber police" banner, disclaimer, or whatever on your site, they would protect you from somebody copying your site, or god knows what else. How is this any different?

I found a late night radio show where Michael Nuccitelli as a guest. Right at the beginning the radio host mispronounces diploma as "diplomat", at forty minutes he says "computer swaby". At 56 minutes Nuccitelli says that if we don't create "methodologies" then cyber terrorism will create something "fifty times worse than 9/11". At 64 minutes a listener starts reading from The Talmud of Jmmanuel. Honestly, this show is like public access Coast to Coast AM for rednecks.

Anything Michael Nuccitelli talks about in his Theory of Dark Psychology article, or on that radio show, you can learn in Psychology 100 class. As far as I can tell, he is trying to monger fear into getting people to purchase his useless product. What is the service he is providing? Protection from cyber bullies? A defence against cyber attacks? What is that supposed to mean?! Snake oil? I'm not even sure. I tried to access their ipredator site, but the domain is currently up for sale.

So what is What Is Darkpsychology.co? I stand corrected, I have no fucking idea.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Not many of the articles on this site pertain to the site description under the title: "A site concerning language learning and the influence of language on non-linguistic behavior." I leave it there because... well what else would I put?

I figure that this article on American Propaganda by Noam Chomsky belongs here because it has a lot to do with that title description, sans learning:

"The Vietnam War is a classic example of America's propaganda system. In the mainstream media--the New York Times, CBS, and so on-- there was a lively debate about the war. It was between people called "doves" and people called "hawks." The hawks said, "If we keep at it we can win." The doves said, "Even if we keep at it, it would probably be too costly for use, and besides, maybe we're killing too many people." Both sides agreed on one thing. We had a right to carry out aggression against South Vietnam. Doves and hawks alike refused to admit that aggression was taking place..."

"During the Vietnam War, the U.S. propaganda system did its job partially but not entirely. Among educated people it worked very well. Studies show that among the more educated parts of the population, the government's propaganda about the war is now accepted unquestioningly. One reason that propaganda often works better on the educated than on the uneducated is that educated people read more, so they receive more propaganda. Another is that they have jobs in management, media, and academia and therefore work in some capacity as agents of the propaganda system--and they believe what the system expects them to believe..."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Livemocha Unlimited Free Content

I posted about this before, unfortunately in that case the premium content was limited; you had to spend points that you were rewarded through grading other users' submissions. There is however, a way to receive unlimited premium content:

Hi Carm,

Thank you for applying to become an Apprentice Livemocha Expert! It is definitely not too late and we are pleased to invite you to join our force of Expert Reviewers. This is a special type of Livemocha membership that gives you unlimited access to our premium learning content in exchange for helping others on the site.

Expert Reviewers provide a consistently high caliber of feedback that students can trust. A key part of the position is providing words of positive encouragement to remind students that they are on the right track. Language learning can be daunting, which makes it hard to stay motivated - so you will play a key role in spreading enthusiasm and confidence.

Another important aspect of an Expert Review is helping the student improve grammar and pronunciation. Sometimes free reviewers provide incorrect suggestions, and it can be difficult for language learners to decide whose suggestions they can trust. Your feedback will be marked as an Expert Review so the student knows they can count on your accuracy.

Now for the nitty gritty details:

You will receive unlimited, uninterrupted Gold Key as long as you complete at least 10 quality Expert Reviews each month. An Expert Review typically takes anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes depending on the complexity of the student's exercise.

This of course, means that you have to spend some time grading users until you get to this point, but in the meantime you can practice whatever language you want to learn as well. This is "free" in the sense that you do not have to pay any money, and the fact that other users will be evaluating your submissions as well makes the system seem more fair than, "hey, come work for us for free!"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Dark Psychology"

As far as I can tell there is no definition for the term "dark psychology". If I had to guess, I would say that it is something along the lines of; "the influence on people to do things they normally would not do in the first place through exploitation of irrational and unconscious fears". Does anyone else think this is also a fitting description for advertising? (Recently a new website popped up called "darkpsychology.co", but as far as I can tell it is a spam blog. How appropriate.) Quebec's ban on Fast-food advertising reduced fast-food expenditures by 13 percent per week in French-speaking households. Even the price of a product may affect your perceived quality of it.

Woman in particular have been assaulted with ads, informing them of problems they did not know they had until the they were told so:
The gist of the article is that U.S. women were browbeaten into shaving underarm hair by a sustained marketing assault that began in 1915. (Leg hair came later.) The aim of what Hope calls the Great Underarm Campaign was to inform American womanhood of a problem that till then it didn't know it had, namely unsightly underarm hair.
Another example: vaginal cleansing advertisements. I am certain your vagina is not supposed to smell like a fresh meadow.

There is a BBC documentary called The Century of The Self which touches upon all of this. It is about Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud's American nephew that; helped tie smoking to the woman's rights movement, increased Betty Croker sales by adding an egg to their instant mix, worked for Woodrow Wilson, and established the idea that people needed objects to express their inner self to others. Simply put, he was able to influence large amounts of people through linking products with the unconscious fears of people.
This is the exploitative foundation that modern advertising has been built on top of.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Verben Mit Präposition Übungen

Last week my Schriftlich Übungen professor gave us a work packet that he printed off from the Internet in order to have us practice German prepositional verbs. The file can be found here, and is hosted at Universitas Pendidikan, and Indonesian university.

Unfortunately, there is no answer key, so I have taken it upon myself to provide one at the bottom of the post! Have fun!

Previously: List of German Prepositional Verbs

Übung 1: 1.f,c 2.j,e 3.i,k 4.b 5.g,a 6.h,l 7.l,d  Übung 2: 1.darüber 2.damit 3.dafür 4.danach 5.damit 6.darum 7.darüber 8.daran 9.daran,darüber 10.daran Übung 3: 1.an ihn, 2.an ihn / daran 3.darauf 4.damit 5.darauf 6.darüber 7.dafür 8.darüber 9.nach dir 10.danach, damit an  Übung 4: 1.über, mich, auf 2.auf 3.damit / mit ihn 4.Woarn, An, über 5.bei 6.Worüber, Auf 7.darüber 8.mit ihr 9.darüber 10.bei, auf