Technological Concepts and Solutions for Human Space Travel to Mars

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Writing Assignment 2 | No Comments

One way both astronauts and mission control at NASA are preparing for a Mars mission is a fully functional simulation with an underwater space craft, affectionately called NEEMO, or NASA Extreme Environmental Mission Operations (Chappell et al., 2016). Using different buoyancy levels, NEEMO can simulate any range of gravity expected of a Mars mission, from zero gravity during the trip to the gravity on Mars. Six subjects carried out 4-hour tests in NEEMO under the closest conditions to the actual mission, including a 15-minute communication delay between the astronauts and mission control (Chappell et al., 2016).

The Evolvable Mars Campaign, or EMC, was a program created by NASA to focus research and technological advances towards the goal of sending humans to Mars by the mid-2030’s. EMC has designated the goals of constructing three conceptual structures supporting 4 crew for the Mars mission: a Mars moon habitat for 300-550 days available in 2028, a transit habitat for up to 1100 days in space available in 2032, and a Mars surface habitat for 300-550 days available in 2035 (Simon et al.,

2015). These structures will all be equipped with solar panels, an Electrical Power Control Unit, life support, thermal and radiation shields, and an array of items for the crew, including computers, food storage systems, vacuums, treadmills, utensils etc. (Simon et al., 2015). Two of the most important characteristics of these structures are that they are as light and small as possible, sacrificing mass and volume of any unnecessary item or material where possible, and that they are reusable for future Mars missions, meaning they’re durable and recyclable.

Figure 1: Global map of Mars with coordinates of all the proposed landing sites and exploration zones for NASA’s Mars mission, with topography indicated by color.

Figure 1: Global map of Mars with coordinates of all the proposed landing sites and exploration zones for NASA’s Mars mission, with topography indicated by color.

NASA has already begun selecting proposed landing sites and base locations based on regions or interest, or ROI, which are determined by certain preferred characteristics such as their elevation and proximity to geographically and chemically unique places for sample collection (Bussey and Hoffman, 2016). Figure 1 is a global map of Mars with all of the proposed landing sites based on ROI, with elevation indicated by color.

Figure 2 displays the interactions between solar radiation and Mars’ upper atmosphere by translating the energy of escaping charged ions to color (Fang et al., 2015). The interactions are also responsible for the auroras that can be seen both on Earth and Mars, though Mars’ lack of a global magnetic field means these solar winds are able to strip off the remnants of its atmosphere.

Figure 2: Computer simulation of solar winds interacting with ions in the upper atmosphere of Mars. The spectrum of colors is scaled in reference to the relative energy in electron-volts of the charged ions.

Figure 2: Computer simulation of solar winds interacting with ions in the upper atmosphere of Mars. The spectrum of colors is scaled in reference to the relative energy in electron-volts of the charged ions.

Studying the movements and energies of these escaping ions is one of the best ways to visualize solar winds during a long-term and immobile mission on Mars because they can serve as a forecast of radiation, almost like indirectly observing the humidity of air by looking at the condensation of water on a cold object. Satellites like the MAVEN, which recorded the data to construct Figure 2, would constantly monitor the solar winds to let astronauts determine whether it is safe to leave the protection of their shielded base and where to travel (Fang et al., 2015).

The only effective way to combat muscle atrophy aboard a long-term space mission is vigorous exercise, which is particularly important for potential Mars astronauts who will live in microgravity conditions for months before having to suddenly adapt to the gravity of Mars. In one study, nine astronauts aboard the International Space Station for six months were monitored for calf and skeletal muscle loss before and after their missions along with their total exercise methods and durations (Trappe et al., 2009). The three exercise methods were cycling on stationary bikes, running on a treadmill with a harness pulling down from the waist, and lifting using elastic bands. The study concluded that there remained a substantial decrease in calf and skeletal muscle loss even after the exercise routines, with an average muscle loss of about 13% (Trappe et al., 2009). The study shows the urgency for finding better exercise methods of combatting muscle atrophy for a Mars mission.

Works Cited


Fang, Xiaohua, University of Colorado, MAVEN Science Team. “Computer Simulation of Mars’ Polar Plume.” Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at The University of Colorado Boulder. (June, 2015) [Cited 23 September 2016].


Bussey, Ben, Stephen J. Hoffman. “Human Mars Landing Site and Impacts on Mars Surface Operations.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (March, 2016) [Cited 23 September 2016].


Simone, Matthew A., Larry Toups, Scott A. Howe, et al. “Evolvable Mars Campaign Long Duration Habitation Strategies: Architectural Approaches to Enable Human Exploration Missions.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (August, 2015) [Cited 23 September 2016].


Chappell, Stephen P., Kara H. Beaton, Trevor Graff, et al. “Analog Testing of Operations Concepts for Integration of an Earth-Based Science Team During Human Exploration of Mars.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (July, 2016) [Cited 23 September 2016].


Trappe, Scott, David Costill, Philip Gallagher, et al. “Exercise in space: human skeletal muscle after 6 months aboard the International Space Station.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 106, no. 4 (April, 2009) [Cited 23 September 2016].

Use of Visualized Media to Expedite Recovery in Mental Health

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Writing Assignment 2 | No Comments

As the internet currently dominates most forms of media in today’s society, there is no doubt many internet users are also involved in social media – especially the millennial generation. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 teenagers on the internet use some form of social media. (Madden 2013) However, there are obviously going to be negative effects such as “Facebook Depression”, cyberbullying, and other adverse effects as a result of using social media on a normal basis. Supposedly, “Facebook Depression” is what researchers describe a phenomenon that causes preteens and teens to feel bouts of depression. (O’Keeffe, et al. 2011) Fortunately, where computers can also contribute a solution to upkeep mental health. Computerized therapy is proving to have a lot of potential when dealing with patients. There has been many successful tests for different issues regarding mental health including depression, anxiety, and addiction. (Helgadottir) While artificial intelligence isn’t at the point where natural language processing can be done with ease, adaptation to the client is just as important. By personalizing a treatment program for a client, computers can do much to form a model around specific circumstances of the patient. (Helgadottir) In the future when robots are more plentiful with advancements in technology, they can act as therapeutic entities. Using face recognition software, perhaps emotion can be detected to better adapt to a patient that requires attention. Currently, computerized therapy seems to be effective. Computerized cognitive behavioral therapy has been tested against conventional cognitive behavioral therapy and the results came out about the same. (Andrews, et al. 2010) The major difference is that computerized cognitive behavioral therapy would prove to be cheaper because it requires less time with a therapist, cutting on costs. Furthermore, this opens treatment to those who previously cannot afford an expensive therapist.

Figure 1: Depression Scores on Hamilton Scale for subject groups (Wright 2005)

In figure 1, we can see that those who received computerized therapy were rated to be less depressed than those who were on the wait list (no therapy) and treated by a therapist. (Wright 2005) The future of computerized therapy has a long way to go despite its current efficacy. As we can see with the rise of virtual reality and other technology, there are going to be many possibilities for computerized therapy to expand upon in the near future.


Works Cited (MLA)

Andrews G, Cuijpers P, Craske MG, McEvoy P, Titov N. “Computer Therapy for the Anxiety and Depressive Disorders Is Effective, Acceptable and Practical Health Care: A Meta-Analysis.” PLoS ONE 5(10): e13196. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013196 (2010)


Helgadottir, F. “The Future of Computerized Therapy.” Psych Central. n.p.: n.p., 9 . 26 Sep. 2016. <>.


Madden, Mary, et al. “Teens, social media, and privacy.” Pew Research Center 21 (2013).


O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” American Academy of Pediatrics (2011): n. pag. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.


Wright, Jesse H., et al. “Computer-assisted cognitive therapy for depression: maintaining efficacy while reducing therapist time.” American Journal of Psychiatry 162.6 (2005): 1158-1164.


Motivation and Its Effect on Student Learning

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Writing Assignment 2 | No Comments

Teacher instruction can be either utterly useless or entirely effective depending on a student’s motivation to learn. A student “who is intrinsically motivated undertakes an activity for its own sake, for the enjoyment it provides, the learning it permits, or the feelings of accomplishments it evokes.” On the other hand, an “extrinsically motivated student performs in order to obtain some reward or avoid punishment external to the activity itself” (Lumsden, 1994). It is both the teachers’ and students’ responsibilities to keep motivation levels high throughout instruction.

A teacher’s teaching method is probably the best way to keep a student motivated. Part of the reason why students will lose the will to learn comes from the class becoming too stale or boring. The ARCS Motivation Model is a strategy developed in order to prevent situations like these from occurring. According to this model, “there are four general requirements to be met in order for people to be motivated to learn, and there are practical strategies to use in achieving each of the four requirements” (Keller, 1987).


Figure 1: The ARCS Motivation Model and its four underlying principles to keeping students motivated to learn (Keller, 1987).

The student himself can do several things to stay motivated. One of these things is to set yourself a mastery goal rather than a performance goal. In other words, strive to be the best in the subject area, rather than pursuing for an A grade. According to a study conducted by Carole Ames, “when students perceived their class as emphasizing a mastery goal, they were more likely to report using effective learning strategies, prefer tasks that offer challenge, like their class more, and believe that effort and success covary” (Ames, 1988). This is further proved by another study conducted by Jason Colquitt, “learners with a trait pattern that was highly conscientious, highly learning oriented, and less performance oriented were 30% more likely to perform well on the first exam and 28% more likely to perform well on the second” (Colquitt, 1998). The best advice for student motivation would have to be this: “Whenever students are drawn to learning out of curiosity, for reasons of self-improvements, to understand the world in which they live, or for the sake of valued personal goals, they act in ways we admire and wish all students might emulate; They become absorbed, committed, and oblivious to the passage of time” (Covington, 1992).


Ames, C., & Archer, J. (1998). Achievement Goals in the Classroom: Students’ Learning Strategies and Motivation Processes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 260-267. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from

Colquitt, J. A., & Simmering, M. J. (1998). Conscientiousness, Goal Orientation, and Motivation to Learn During the Learning Process” A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(4), 654-665. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from

Covington, M. V. (1992). Making the Grade: A Self-Worth Perspective on Motivation and School Reform. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

Keller, J. M. (1987, October). Strategies for Stimulating the Motivation to Learn. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from$FILE/Keller_1987a.pdf

Lumsden, L. S. (1994, June). Student Motivation To Learn. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from

Investigation of the Value of the Internet in Linguistics and Language Based Research

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Writing Assignment 2 | No Comments

Not many could argue the fact that ‘the Information Age’ is in full swing. The main tenet of such an age consists of widespread data storage and transmission possibilities afforded by an institution such as the world wide web. Considering this, the internet can be utilized to understand our world on a larger scale. In short, the Web can be seen as a microcosm of the physical world and its underlying structures. As such, the internet allows us to study language, its use, and its spread in ways never seen before.

In the 1990s, the realm of languages on the internet (or more concisely the World Wide Web) was composed almost entirely of English. This is because the internet originated in the United States. At that point in time the internet was not such a good microcosmic model of the world. However, some now predict that in the near future the Web will be largely non-English. Between 1995 and 2000 alone, the number of people with internet access in non-English speaking countries increased from 7 million to 136 million (Crystal, 2001, p. 216). Now, in 2016, it can be surmised that this number is significantly larger. This means that the study of language use and spread through the internet is only beginning.

According to Brenda Danet in The Multilingual Internet (2007), the U.S. does still have the largest portion of internet users with a 20% figure. However, this may be a rather accurate reflection of the world of language around us. Increasingly, scholars have grown concerned over the fact that English may soon dominate the world in terms of language, resulting in a sort of ‘linguistic imperialism’. The internet has only provided a new arena for English to indeed smother other languages. Nevertheless, the number of non-English speaking internet users continues to increase – with Chinese, Japanese, and Indian projected to accelerate rapidly in the coming years. Therefore, the internet is increasingly becoming a valid resource for language study and the acquisition of data on language usage.

The study of language through the internet has social repercussions as well. For example, conclusions as to the lasting effects of European Imperialism can be drawn through this sort of web-based examination. Take the case of Tanzania, a small East African country that was first colonized by Germany, eventually becoming a British mandate at the end of World War I. British rule ended in 1961 but the effects of colonialism can be still be felt even through simple language use. Swahili (the official language of Tanzania with actual African origins) is only used for instruction at the elementary level, forcing almost all people to know English (Danet, 2007, p. 17). Furthermore, while internet use in the nation has grown in the last five years, only the ‘elite’ have access. These elite, as a rule, speak English almost unwaveringly. As such, webpages in Tanzania are almost entirely in English, reflecting European imposed issues of class and Western elitism.

Taken further, the internet can be used as a way to explore the general connections between specific languages (whether this be through imperialism or not). Babel (2012) is a program developed by Hannes Mühleisen to seek out and quantify the way languages are connected on the Web. Without going too much into the methodology, the program sifts through webpages in order of popularity and determines the language they are written in. Then the program follows any links on these webpages and determines their language. By compiling this information one can get a generalized snapshot of what languages are often spoken together. For reasons discussed earlier, English has been removed from the data, as have outliers. The following is a table listing the most commonly connected languages quantified by a percentage of connections out of all examined pages in that language.


Figure 1. Babel 2012 Web Language Connections. This table represents, by language, the percent of pages that link to the other specified language. For Example, if the original language were Bulgarian, 6 percent of the time a Bulgarian page contains a link to Russian.

As a visual representation of how numerous these connections are, the creators of Babel have also created a chord diagram.


Figure 2. Babel Chord Diagram. This diagram is a visual representation of the previous figure. Each set of chords is denoted by an original language (in abbreviation) with percentages of connections represented by the thickness of each chord. For example, the thickest chord in the diagram represents the 53% connection between Farsi (fa) and Danish (da).

As represented in both the chord diagram and the numerical chart, the connection between Farsi (one of the major languages spoken in Iran) and Danish is by far the most pronounced. To explain, Denmark and the area that was formerly Persia have an extensive trading history that extends back to 1687. In closely related research, a linguist from Amsterdam has been similarly combing through internet data to draw conclusions relating to ‘preferred multilingual usage patterns’ (Dorleijn, 2016). Her research focuses specifically on the connection between Turkish and Dutch, which are also connected through a trading history extending to the 17th century.

The Internet provides us with a truly amazing way to collect linguistic data. There is no field-work involved and data can be collected over a long period of time as the internet remains in its own realm, waiting to be used for research. Moving forward, further research into the dominance of English in the world, developing language connections, and the changing face of language as part of the information age is made possible and relatively accessible thanks to the internet.



Crystal, D. (2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Danet, B., & Herring, S. C. (2007). The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dorleijn, M. (2016). Can Internet Data Help to Uncover Developing Preferred Multilingual Usage Patterns? An Exploration of Data from Turkish-Dutch Bilingual Internet Fora. Journal of Language Contact, 9(1), 130-162.

Huang, X., Acero, A., & Hon, H. (2001). Spoken Language Processing: A Guide to Theory, Algorithm, and System Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR.

Mühleisen, H. (2015, April 28). Babel 2012 Web Language Connections. Retrieved September 11, 2016, from—Web-Language-Connections



The Power and Consequences of Media Convergence

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Writing Assignment 2 | No Comments

The technological revolution of the 2000s to the present has allowed for the expansion of the modern-day system of communication and feedback, yet targets the inadequacies of traditional media. In particular, print journalism has experienced a sharp decline in marketability and utility because of its restricted breadth of reach. The apex of the digital age has shown the versatility of online media, with users being able to download and watch their favorite television programs online while also allowing advertisers free reign on promoting their products and services through video format (Fan, 144). This heightened accessibility has allowed the consumer to bypass traditional media barriers and interact directly with the content that is provided.


Figure 1. Platform convergence across various media.

Since it is only limited to the one-way communication path dictated by the author, print journalism relies on media convergence—the integration of one platform to another as means of adapting to technological advances—to effectively reach an audience that has now been normalized to digital content production. The product of convergence has not only been users flocking to read news online, but also responding back to the content that they are given: writing comments on articles of interest, publishing user-generated blog posts, creating communities with people across the world who share the same interests (Thompson, 141). Digital convergence has also seeped into the education sector, with teachers now implementing a multi-media system of learning that involves digital presentations and online assignments in order to adapt with the changing landscape (Barone, 292).

However, digital convergence has also come with its own unique set of problems, and ones that have no clear solutions thus far. For instance, platform convergence has made a renowned impact on the new generation of millennials, who are conditioned to finding the material that they want in the easiest, most inexpensive way possible. This is has led to tech-savvy youth using their knowledge about online systems to streamline content and services directly to them without having to pay for it; the most common example being illegal downloading of copywritten music (The Reading Teacher). In addition, the production of digital media has grown more complex as interdisciplinary teamwork requires a collection of workers in different fields (i.e. production, design, marketing, financing, etc.) to work cohesively on one project. This differs from traditional media businesses in that there is an added element of content marketing and convergence analysis that must be understood by all in order to successfully promote and sell a product or service to a technologically-nuanced consumer (Steinheider, 315).


Works Cited (MLA Format):

  1. Fan, Ming, Kumar Subodha, and Whinston Andrew B. “Selling or Advertising: Strategies for Providing Digital Media Online.” Journal of Management Information Systems3 (2007): 143-66. Web.
  2. Thompson, Mark. “Digital Media and the Future of Quality Broadcasting.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society2 (2009): 140-46. Web.
  3. Barone, D., & Wright, T. (2008). Literacy Instruction with Digital and Media Technologies. The Reading Teacher,62(4), 292-303. Retrieved from
  4. “Majority of Youth Understand Copyright but Continue to Download Illegally.” The Reading Teacher 1 (2004). Web.
  5. Steinheider, Brigitte, and Legrady George. “Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Digital Media Arts: A Psychological Perspective on the Production Process.” Leonardo4 (2004): 315-21. Web.

E-Cigarettes: Safe Alternative, or Dangerous Gateway Drug?

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

E-cigarettes have increased in popularity in the last 5 years, and many people are unsure about whether they are safe to use. Recent studies show that e-cigarettes pollute the air with dangerous chemicals, and that their use has sparked greater likelihoods of poisoning and tobacco use. However, there is also some evidence that supports the claim that e-cigarettes can act as a good substitute for traditional tobacco cigarettes, and even that e-cigarettes emit far fewer pollutants than traditional tobacco cigarettes do.

For example, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine provides very strong evidence that e-cigarettes produce dangerous compounds. The study found that at the high voltages (5.0 V) at which e-cigarettes can function,

“a mean (±SE) of 380±90 μg per sample (10 puffs) of formaldehyde was detected as formaldehyde-releasing agents … [and] an e-cigarette user vaping at a rate of 3 ml per day would inhale 14.4±3.3 mg of formaldehyde per day in formaldehyde-releasing agents” (Jensen et al., 2015).

In comparison, conventional cigarettes only deliver about 3 mg of formaldehyde for every pack of 20 cigarettes. Therefore, a conventional cigarette smoker would have to smoke approximately 100 cigarettes to inhale as much formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents as an e-cigarette smoker would with just 3 ml of e-liquid, which is the average amount that an e-cigarette smoker uses in a day.

Research conducted by R.E. Bunnell et al. studied middle and high school students’ likelihood to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes and its correlation to whether they had ever vaped e-cigarettes before. The study showed that “intention to smoke conventional cigarettes was 43.9% among ever e-cigarette users and 21.5% among never users” (Bunnell et al., 2014). Therefore, there is a great social impact being made by e-cigarettes, and its widespread use is shown to lead many young people to use traditional tobacco cigarettes, therefore deeming e-cigarettes as more of a gateway drug than a safe alternative.

In an article published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, researchers collected date involving calls made to the CDC involving exposure to traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. In their research, they found that “E-cigarettes accounted for an increasing proportion of combined monthly e-cigarette and cigarette exposure calls, increasing from 0.3% in September 2010 to 41.7% in February 2014” (Chatham-Stephens et al., 2014).

It is clear that the number of calls due to e-cigarette exposure have increased exponentially in recent years.

It is clear that the number of calls due to e-cigarette exposure have increased exponentially in recent years.

Of course, this increase can be attributed in part to the increase in widespread e-cigarette use, and therefore increase in probability that inept people could hurt or poison themselves. However, “Cigarette exposures were primarily among persons aged 0–5 years (94.9%), whereas e-cigarette exposures were mostly among persons aged 0–5 years (51.1%) and >20 years (42.0%)” (Chatham-Stephens et al., 2014), which proves that regardless of age and cognitive ability, everyone is susceptible to the dangers that e-cigarettes pose.

Despite evidence provided by various sources and researchers, some people feel that e-cigarettes are a harmless hobby. And there is some evidence that suggests that this argument about e-cigarettes is true. For example, a study conducted by T.R. McAuley et al. involved collecting data and comparing amounts of harmful compounds like VOCs, carbonyls and glycols emitted when e-cigarettes were vaporized in a room versus when tradition cigarettes were vaporized in the same room. The results concluded that e-cigarettes produced far fewer harmful emissions than traditional cigarettes did, hence showing that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes (McAuley et al., 2012).

Furthermore, a study conducted by J. Brown et al. for the Society for the Study of Addiction tested people’s likelihood of quitting when using e-cigarettes as a crutch, using nicotine replacement therapy, and using no aid. Their research concluded that “the adjusted odds of non-smoking in users of e-cigarettes were 1.58 (95% CI = 1.13–2.21) times higher compared with users of NRT bought over-the-counter and 1.55 (95% CI = 1.14–2.11) times higher compared with those using no aid” (J. Brown et al., 2014). This proves that e-cigarettes can function well as a traditional cigarette replacement, and can even help those struggling to quit to finally do so.

I feel that the sources that I have researched provide a solid array of information to help guide my video. I am on the fence about my goal of the video, however after doing research I am leaning toward presenting both sides of the argument about e-cigarettes and allowing the viewer to make their own decision based on the evidence and analysis that they take away from the video.


Brown, J., Beard, E., Kotz, D., Michie, S., West., R. Real-world effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross-sectional population study. Society for the Study of Addiction. Vol 109, p 1531-1540. 2014.

Bunnell, R., Agaku, I., Apelberg, B., Caraballo, R., King, B., Arrazola, R., … Dube, S. Intentions to smoke cigarettes among never-smoking U.S. middle and high school electronic cigarette users, National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2011-2013. Oxford University Press Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Vol 18. 2014.

Chatham-Stephens, K., Law, R., Taylor, E., Melstrom, P., Bunnell, R., Wang, B., … Schier, J.G. CDC Grand Rounds: Global Tobacco Control. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vol 63, p 277-297. 2014.

Jensen, R.P., Luo, W., Pankow, J.F., Strongin, R.M., Peyton, D.H. Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols. New England Journal of Medicine. Vol 372, p 392-394. 2015.

McAuley, T.R., Hopke, P.K., Zhao, J., Babaian, S. Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality. Inhalation Toxicology. Vol 24, p 850-857. 2012.

How Digital Media is Taking Over Print Journalism in 140 Characters

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments


The technological boom of the past decade has restructured the foundation of how American society communicates. In particular, the machine of mass media has evolved from that of printed copy distributed weekly across the nation to a digitized, online platform where information can be searched, shared, and saved within the click of a button. This new age renaissance has forced traditional media companies to re-evaluate long-held concepts of lucrative business practices and amend them to align with a tech-savvy generation.

The New York Times, one of the most well-established print publications and one that has survived the arrival of the technological coming, has experienced the side effects of maintaining an outdated medium, “And therein lies a problem that has no easy solution: how to fully transform for the digital future when the business model – and the DNA of the newsroom – is so tied to the printed newspaper” (Sullivan).  This is the primary anchor to the progression of print publication: the linear model of communication between the writer and the reader is no longer the norm and has been replaced by a multi-dimensional network of two-way interactions (Abramson, 39). Moreover, digital media is now regarded as the only way forward, due to its emphasis on storytelling as a catalyst for conversation and the accessibility it provides to not only media professionals, but everyday individuals as well (Coleman, 488).

Figure 1. Print-to-digital magazine reader turnover.

Figure 1. Print-to-digital magazine reader turnover.

Nevertheless, the Times has still managed to keep up with the ever-changing climate of content creation through establishing a digital platform as a supplement to their print publication. This method of convergence is the safety net that traditional media requires in order to stay relevant in a digital-oriented world (Marchese, 434). Merging written word with an online platform also allows for a stronger connection between audience and content through means of interactive storytelling. In order for linear-based media (i.e. newspapers, magazines, books, etc.) to remain afloat in a content-saturated market, companies must remember the fundamental principle of media: connectivity (Mamber, 121). Reading articles online and catching up on breaking news through the web has become the standard for accessing information because of its simplicity. The immediacy of the Internet and the fluidity between search and receive means that people stay more connected with world around them and the people that inhabit it (Emmott, 78). As long as publications like The New York Times and TIME are able to keep people connected, then the future of print publication remains alive.


Works Cited:

  1. Abramson, Jill. “Sustaining Quality Journalism.” Daedalus 2 (2010): 39-44. Web.
  2. Coleman, E. Gabriella. “Ethnographic Approaches to Digital Media.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (2010): 487-505. Web.
  3. Emmott, Bill, and Kramer Gina. “INTERVIEW: All That’s Fit to Print: Journalism in a Globalized World.”Harvard International Review 2 (2001): 76-79. Web.
  4. Mamber, Stephen. “Teaching Digital Media.” Cinema Journal 3 (1997): 117-22. Web.
  5. Marchese, Suzanne M., and Marchese Francis T. “Digital Media and Ephemeralness: Art, Artist, and Viewer.” Leonardo 5 (1995): 433-35. Web.
  6. Sullivan, Megan. “A Paper Boat Navigating a Digital Sea.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 June 2014. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.




“World with no traffic fatalities” – possible reality or a fairy tale title? “Vision Zero is working, ” says de Blasio.

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

The number of vehicles on roads is constantly increasing, which means that there is always need for changes in traffic laws to ensure safety and mobility. However, the capacity for change is limited if the behavior of traffic units is modified within an unchanged medium. The world needs to reach the perfect harmony between street design and motion within the streets, and that is why the multi-national “Vision Zero” project was adopted.

Vision Zero is a multi-national project that is aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities or injuries. It was first approved in Sweden in 1997.  The main ethical principle of the project is that human life is the paramount concern of the road traffic system and takes priority over convenience and mobility. Deaths caused by traffic are preventable, and, therefore, none are acceptable. Vision Zero was brought into New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014.

One of the key components of New York City’s Vision Zero efforts is the reduction of city speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. Furthermore, NYPD enforcement was increased to discourage signal violations, speeding, failure to yield, improper turns, and texting or using cell phone while driving (Gelinas, 2014). Even though these violations are causing a significant number of accidents, most of pedestrian deaths appear to be failures of street design (White, 2016).

At locations with major engineering changes in NYC, fatalities are down by about 34% (NYC DOT, 2015). About 63% of all injury crashes were eliminated at Jackson Avenue (11th street to the Pulaski Bridge) in Long Island City, Queens. This is due to new high visibility crosswalks, reduced crossing distances, turn restrictions, and clearer lane designations (NYC DOT). The diagrams below show the intersection before and after the changes were made.

 Figure 1: Jackson Avenue intersection before "Vision Zero" changes were made Source: NYC DOT

Figure 1: Jackson Avenue intersection before “Vision Zero” changes were made
                             Source: NYC DOT


Figure 2: Jackson Avenue intersection transformed by "Vision Zero" Source: NYC DOT

Figure 2: Jackson Avenue intersection transformed by “Vision Zero”
                                                                     Source: NYC DOT

Another example is the redesigned road in the Bronx, which demonstrates the use of so-called “pedestrian safety islands,” which shorten the crossing distance. The changes lowered the amount of crashes with injuries by 41% (NYC DOT).

Figure 3: Macombs Road, the Bronx - before "Vision Zero" changes were made Source: NYC DOT

Figure 3: Macombs Road, the Bronx – before “Vision Zero” changes were made
                                  Source: NYC DOT


Figure 4: Macombs Road transformed by "Vision Zero" Source: NYC DOT

Figure 4: Macombs Road transformed by “Vision Zero”
Source: NYC DOT

Finally, the redesigned streets of Manhattan demonstrate the use of bus lanes and the use of parking spots to protect and separate the bicyclists from the cars (NYC DOT).

Figure 5: First and Second Avenues in Manhattan before "Vision Zero" changes were made Source: NYC DOT

Figure 5: First and Second Avenues in Manhattan before “Vision Zero” changes were made
                                                 Source: NYC DOT


Figure 6: First and Second Avenues in Manhattan transformed by "Vision Zero" Source: NYC DOT

Figure 6: First and Second Avenues in Manhattan transformed by “Vision Zero”
                                                                      Source: NYC DOT

According to the Department of Transportation, pedestrian deaths in NYC fell to a historic low in 2014, the year when “Vision Zero” project was adopted. This is the lowest number since 1910.


Even though law enforcement by NYPD was significantly increased with 117,719 speeding tickets and 18,723 “failure to yield” summonses issued in 2014, the “zero” goal seems unreachable to the majority of NYC’s population (Tangel, 2016). Cars and other vehicles are still the leading cause of injury-related death for kids under 14 and seniors (Stuart,  2014). Raymond Walter Kelly, the longest serving Commissioner of the NYPD, shares the viewpoint of impossibility of getting to zero: “We do have 8.4 million people here. We do have a daytime population that’s over 10 million people, so you’re going to have a lot of traffic. And you’re going to have accidents (Stuart, 2014).”

Only time and effort can tell us whether traffic deaths can be eliminated. Work towards safer neighborhoods is a process that is still far from complete. All of us have to get involved. Convenience and mobility will never be more important than human lives; therefore, it is in our best interest to forget about “the times when we could drive faster in the city” and to participate in the process at least within our neighborhoods. We can make fewer people turn into statistics.



Works Cited

Gelinas, Nicole. “New York’s Next Public Safety Revolution.” City Journal. CJ, Spring 2014.

NYC DOT. “Street Design and Regulation.” – Vision Zero. DOT, 5 Jan. 2015.

Stuart, Tessa. “It’s Too Easy to Kill Pedestrians in New York City.” Village Voice. Village Voice, 5 Feb. 2014.

Tangel, Andrew. “Traffic Ruling Could Cloud De Blasio’s ‘Vision Zero’ Push.” The Wall Street Journal., 1 July 2016.

White, Paul. “Vision Zero Cities.” International Journal of Traffic Safety Innovation. 1 (2016): 14,46,56+.


Connections Between Art and Mathematics Through Education and Aesthetics

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

On the surface, the fields of mathematics and the arts do not seem likely to fit well together.   The former is known more for its logical composition, and the latter for aesthetics and design.  However, this is not always the case.  More and more, many people are coming to realize the connections that can be drawn from one subject to the next.  Some schools are becoming more focused on STEAM education, which attempts to blend more technical fields like science, math, and technology to the realm of the arts for a more complete learning experience.  Even so, this is not the first instance of art and math coming together, as artists and mathematicians alike have dedicated themselves to this union between subjects.

Many schools have converted from STEM education to STEAM.  STEM education is primarily focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, and was used to remedy low performances of youth in these fields.  However, this type of teaching practice was seemingly unbalanced, which ultimately lacked in teaching the arts and humanities.  Therefore, the implementation of the arts into these programs became known as STEAM education.  The use of STEAM education was to improve creativity of students to problem solving skills.  This creative approach in modern education is highly valued, giving children a more rounded education.  The STEM education system tended to implement ideas that art and science do not mix, that “art is illogical and science is not creative” (Ko et al.).  This new education system benefitted the students, which resulted in more student achievement in respected areas, along with more creative solutions with regards to real world problem solving.  Through this blend of STEM fields and arts, it is clear how they tend to help each other.  Mathematics and the arts go hand in hand with one another, as proven by this more enriched learning experience.

Outside of the realm of education, math and art have also made significant progress when used together.  Computer generated fractals are heavily based within mathematics.  These images contain roots that branch off and reach into infinity, that create an aesthetic that bridges the fields of art and math.  These fractal images range from a smooth look to one that is more intricate.  A study found that those that closer to the smoother end of the spectrum generally had more aesthetic appeal (Spehar, et al. 813).  Furthermore, fractals can be used to analyze works of art, such as analyzing the fractal density present in some of Jackson Pollock’s works (816).  Artwork can be analyzed in this way by finding varying fractal dimensions, or varying intricacy, throughout the piece and then conducting a study that ranks what dimensions are seen to be the most aesthetically appealing.  Some artists are even known for their extensively math based works.  One example of this is MC Escher.  His study of tiling and regular divisions of a plane was unknowingly a form of mathematical research, which he then used to turn into an art form.  Much of his work is grounded within mathematical structure and geometry, all of which helped promote his credentials as an artist.


Fig. 1: A transition process by Escher, transforming the 2-colored tiling into another by an intermediate step (Schattschneider).

Many more examples of math and art coming together exist. However, the fact remains that these two subjects are not something completely apart from one another.  The use of one field into the next is something that should be promoted within the education system, as STEAM is currently trying to do.  The notion that math and art are oil and vinegar is one that should be we should seek to end, as the benefits of having them mix clearly should not be passed up.


Works Cited:

Ko, Yeonghae, Jaeho An, and Namje Park. “Development of Computer, Math, Art Convergence Education Lesson Plans Based on Smart Grid Technology.” Communications in Computer and Information Science Computer Applications for Security, Control and System Engineering (2012): 109-14. Web

La Haye, Roberta, and Irene Naested. “Mutual Interrogation: A Celebration Of Alternate Perspectives For Visual Art And Math Curriculum.” Canadian Review Of Art Education: Research & Issues 41.2 (2014): 185-201. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

Quigley, Cassie, and Dani Herro. “‘Finding The Joy In The Unknown’: Implementation Of STEAM Teaching Practices In Middle School Science And Math Classrooms.” Journal Of Science Education & Technology 25.3 (2016): 410-426. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

Schattschneider, Doris. “The mathematical side of MC Escher.” Notices of the AMS 57.6 (2010): 706-718.

Spehar, Branka, et al. “Universal aesthetic of fractals.” Computers & Graphics 27.5 (2003): 813-820.

E-learning: A Revolution in The Way We Learn

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

The internet is a giant library of information. Whether it be for news, research, or entertainment, the internet has almost everything anyone would ever need. One of these things is education. E-learning is short for electronically learning. It means learning by means of electronic devices, such as the Internet. E-learning is a widely controversial topic. Those who argue for it will tell you it provides consistent worldwide training, increases learner convenience, as well as the use of different types of multimedia. A learner can learn at his own pace, focus on lessons he/she needs rather than the “one-size-fits-all” we see by instructors, and attend lectures miles away in real time (Clark, 2016). Those who argue against it will tell you the up-front cost is impractical as investments in information technology, staff, the courses themselves, as well as hardware and software are too high. In addition, the lack of peer-to-peer networking in e-learning arises another issue that includes the social networking we see in physical schooling today (Welsh, 2003).

A study was conducted at Konkuk University’s Seoul Campus of South Korea. With a population sample size of 6,953 students who participated in at least one e-learning course, 628 decided to participate in this questionnaire (Park, 2009). The results are shown below:



Figure 1: Results of an e-learning questionnaire answered by 628 South Korean University students

As shown above, a majority of students agree that e-learning is easy to use and e-learning has an overall positive effect on their academic careers.

But this also raises the question of: how subjective are these students in questionnaires? Studies vary heavily, where some find e-learning to be more effective while others find classroom instruction to be more effective. Results can highly vary according to the effectiveness of the teacher and the student’s preferred method of learning. Studies show that method of delivery has little impact to student performance, but rather it is the learning environment, how accessible the instructor is, feedback, etc, that really matter (Bell, 2013).

E-learning is a revolution in the way we learn. Today’s demographic of students consumes more content than ever, taking in information from multiple sources at an almost instantaneous speed (Downes, 2005).  Active learning is essential where students need to be actively engaged with the key roles of communication, participation, and consumption (Downes, 2005). Whether e-learning can accomplish this method in the same, if not better, way than today’s method of classroom teaching remains to be unraveled in the future.


Bell, B., & Federman, J. (2013). E-Learning in Postsecondary Education. The Future of Children, 23(1), 165-185.

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Downes, S. (2005, October 16). E-Learning 2.0. ELearn Magazine. Retrieved September 12, 2016.

Sung Youl Park. (2009). An Analysis of the Technology Acceptance Model in Understanding University Students’ Behavioral Intention to Use e-Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(3), 150-162.

Welsh, E. T., Wanberg, C. R., Brown, K. G. and Simmering, M. J. (2003), E-learning: emerging uses, empirical results and future directions. International Journal of Training and Development, 7: 245–258. doi:10.1046/j.1360-3736.2003.00184.x