To the Graduating Class of “We Made It”

My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways.

Shane Koyczan

To every Pork Chop, Dog, Cabbage, and Frog. To every Marshmallow, Spaz, Foureyes, Geek, Dweeb, and Nerd. To every Gimp, Fag, Swot, and Mole. To anyone who had the audacity to be different. It Gets Better.

 

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Trouble Down t’Mill

Updates to Readmill for iPad

 

 

I just did a guest post for ReadMill on how all the choice we’re given around ebooks boils down to no choice at all.

 

If you haven’t heard of ReadMill, their software tries to turn ebook reading into a kind of virtual reading group with shared highlighting, commenting, and conversations centred around your reading.  Although the reader is only available for iPad, there are ways to use the site with Android and iPhone applications and your Kindle highlights.

I’ve found it invaluable for cataloguing noted during my psychology MSc and it’s fun to see what other people highlight as important. At the very least, it’ll estimate for how many hours you’ll have to endure that statistics textbook.

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Level Up +2 Psychology

A little over five years ago I had a crazy notion – I was going to study psychology part time.  After several months of feeling completely burned out at work without any idea why I got into computers in the first place it was time to look for something more interesting to do.  Thankfully the burnout left along with the job but I kept the idea.

I was told I was crazy, told I’d never see it through, told that The Open University is actually just a society of house-bound, stressed-out recluses who can’t deal with the real world. In reality, it was hard work, but the OU has over forty years of experience in making higher and further education available and accessible to those who can’t afford traditional university (pretty much everyone now thanks to the Thatcher Con-Dem government).

All degrees are taught using a modular system, where each course counts for a number of experience points and when you gain enough you get to level up you’re awarded a degree. Imagining I was playing a very painful and boring Role Playing Game was enough to struggle through and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology for Christmas.

So that it, right?  School’s out, no more teachers? Turns out all a Diploma means is that you can read a textbook and join the BPS, so I’ve signed up for an MSc this April.  The race is on the see if I can get a PhD before I reach retirement age.

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“HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.”

Argumentum Ad Verecundiam
Image by ShedBOy^ via Flickr

You Are Not so Smart is a blog about the many ways we delude ourselves based on psychological and economic research.  In a similar manner to the Freakonomics Blog it takes pot-shots at the conventional wisdom such as wine snobbery, the usefulness of meetings, and caffeine buzzes.

The Misconception: You know why you like the things you like and feel the way you feel.

The Truth: The origin of certain emotional states is unavailable to you, and when pressed to explain them, you will just make something up.

(via Kottke.org)

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I blame Maggie Philbin for having to learn second-order integration.

Tomorrow's World Logo

Image by Damien Ryan via Flickr

It’s safe to say that Tomorrow’s World was responsible for the careers of most of this generation’s scientists in the UK and Ireland.

The show was oftentimes ridiculed for being out of touch and it was joked that having your product featured there meant it would never be seen outside of a research lab, but that half-hour on Thursday evenings gave a love of science to myself and many others over the years and is sorely missed.

While rumors of its return turned out to be nothing more than a cynical branding exercise, the BBC has finally released some old episodes from its archives.  Unfortunately, the SDI simulation that I mistook for reality isn’t one of them.

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Elbow Patches, Redux

corporate logo

Image via Wikipedia

This is the time of the year when the excitement of a new set of books and a new course with the OU fades with the onset of the first Tutor Marked Assignment.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been leaving these to the last minute, which has ended up with me writing all night before it needs to be in and trying to buy time travel delivery from the local Post Office.

This year, however, I’m trying to be grown up so I’ve decided to get cracking a week and a half early. I’ve used Mind Maps before when taking notes so tried this
open source application
. I’ve managed to create my entire outline in the time it’s taken the boss to have a bath. Maybe I won’t be sneaking envelopes through my tutor’s
door this year.

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Send them down the mines

In a Grumpy Old Man moment, I previously remarked the young people today seem to have too much self-esteem which leads to an inflated sense of entitlement and general rudeness. While I had nothing to back up my opinion it turns out that my rant was at least close to the truth.

An extensive study of 16,475 college students from the United States has revealed narcissism has risen steadily among that population since 1982 due to the last couple of decades’ obsession with promoting self-esteem.

Is it my turn to call for national service to be reintroduced?

The study is due to be published in April and, of course, the author has a blog. Ironically the blog is hosted on Livejournal – home of the narcissistic, illiterate, and rude youth she highlights.

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