Is Google Making Us Stupid?


Link to the article:

funny-facebook-fails-mail-then-and-nowA tension exists between progress and content. Simply because something is new or more efficient to use does not mean that it has better content or greater value. Sometimes the simple things in life are more meaningful and beneficial. In this article, Nicholas Carr is explaining the effects that the Internet has on the human brain. He says that although it can be beneficial in doing research, the Internet causes the reader to have a low concentration level when it comes to reading. Instead of reading a full article, the average person would skim it and never come back to it. They don’t read for the deeper meaning or spend time contemplating what the text is actually saying. Internet articles may be useful for getting facts, but not for getting understanding.

Technology is not bad in itself. Because technology is changing cultures and lifestyles, one must face this new reality and adjust to it. This is important in the field of education. One can complain about the impact that technology is having on the way children are learning or one can utilize this technology to teach in new and creative ways. This point is made in the article, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky. In the same way, immigrants needed to learn how to function in a new culture, so too educators must learn the new culture of technology. Only then will they be able to effectively instruct the “Digital Natives”.

Question for thought: What reading skills are useful to analyze and comprehend digital content?


Evaluating Electronic Sources


photoPeter Suber (the author of the website) is the “Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Senior Researcher at SPARC, Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge, and Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College” (Suber). He also wrote a book about Open Access. To find his credentials are not hard because he provides a link to his biography. The fact that he provides that information for the reader establishes ethos with his audience. It is clear from his biography that his stance on the issue is to support Open Access. He first published the website on December 29, 2004, so it’s a bit outdated. He does not cite any other sources, but I don’t think he needs to because he is an expert on the subject.

uaharnadUnlike the other source, Stevan Harnad does not provide information about himself. However, after doing some research, I found out that he is a “Professor in the Department of Psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal, [holds] the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Sciences and is also Affiliate Professor in Electronics and Computer Science at University of Southampton, UK” ( He wrote many books on Open Access – most of which were collaborations. It is clear from his background information that he opinion is well respected for supporting Open Access. Also unlike the other source, his article was published between 2011-2012 so it is more current. He did not cite any other sources mainly because he is the one other sources cite.

Rhetorical Analysis on Open Access


The websites analyzed:

One thing that all three of these websites had in common was that they all started with the definition of Open Access. The very first sentence you read would tell you what they were talking about. In a way, this establishes ethos with the reader because this communicates that the author knows what he/she is talking about.

about-oa-OA-orange-squareAll three websites make several but similar claims about Open Access. The first website claims that researchers think that the information they are accessing is free. But in reality that information is paid for by the institution providing the information. It goes on to claim that it is illogical to pay for digital information since anyone with Internet can access it. It concludes its argument by appealing to the audience by listing three ways Open Access can benefit research.

The second website (written by Peter Suber)starts by appealing to the audience with the definition of Open Access. It tells the audience that it provides information free of charge and copyright laws. This appeals to people who had to go through the long and painful process of asking for permission, citing, and always checking back multiple times to make sure they didn’t plagiarize. That sentence reassures the audience that they no longer have to worry about those things. It then goes on to say that Open Access is “compatible with peer review” (Suber). This is important because Suber claims that literature depends on peer review a lot. Without it, authors would never get criticism for their work. Suber then ends the article with two ways to use Open Access in research articles.

Lastly, the third website opens with the “two roads” (golden and green) of Open Access. This article mainly focuses on the “green road”. The green road talks about Open Access self-archiving. Stevan Harnad (the author of the article) adds that self-archiving is not the same as self-publishing. He then goes on to appeal to his audience by stating that everyone benefits from Open Access. He calls Open Access an “accelerated research cycle” where information can get around easier and faster because researchers would have access to what they need. He appeals to his older audience by saying that Universities and teachers can also benefit from Open Access. He ends his article with a call to action: create Institutional Open Access Repositories.

Transcendental Journal: The Fallen Tree


Once again I went on my deck today. I looked out at the trees when my eye caught the tree that was uprooted. I remember that it fell during the hurricane last year. Even though the tree wasn’t standing, it didn’t touch the ground either. It’s caught on a smaller tree that is still standing. Beside it there were two trees that have also fallen due to the hurricane. Because it is held at such a strange angel, you could see its roots above ground. When the roots were uplifted, it took a huge chunk of dirt with it. Dead leaves have fallen off of the remaining trees and covered the dead tree. It almost seems fitting that a dead tree would be surrounded by dead leaves.

20121030_171225_resizedLooking at the tree, I felt relieved. Relieved because of the direction that it fell. The tree could’ve very well fell on the house, but instead it fell away from the house. If it had fallen on the house, all of our belongings would’ve been destroyed in a second. All that was broken were branches and leaves – things that could grow back. Remembering the swaying trees that stood firm and tall no matter how hard the wind blew, I pitied the tree. Because while the other trees stood tall, this one was laying on the ground.

When we do not have firm roots, we will get blown over. We become like the foolish man in Luke 6:49 who builds his house on the sand, and the waves come and wash it away. If we do not plant our roots in God’s Word, we will no be able to withstand the trials of the wind. We will become dead in our sins. And like this tree was eventually covered with dead leaves, so too we will be covered with the sins and regrets of our lives. However, unlike the tree we still have hope. If we ever find ourselves dead and lying on the ground, we can always count on God to pick us back up. It’s not hard to spot a fallen tree in a forest. In the same way God sees those who have fallen amongst those who are standing tall. He cares for the fallen and helps them get back on their feet with their roots deeply strengthened in His Word, so that the next time the wind blows, they will not fall.

Transcendental Journal: The Swaying Trees


Today I was sitting on my deck overlooking my back yard. There’s nothing special about the yard. We don’t have any flowers, furniture, statues, or anything to decorate it. It’s not even that big. That’s mostly because it’s fenced off by trees. Big, tall, skinny trees. They always stand perfectly still except whenever the wind blows against them. Then they sway back and forth like crazy. I’ve always wondered how they never fall down. No matter how hard the wind blows they always manage to stand tall. I was told that they never fall because of their roots. When the trees were first planted they grew up with the harsh winds. As a means of survival, they dig their roots deep into the earth to add more foundation.

UntitledWatching them sway back and forth, I am filled with awe and wonder. I admire their strength and resiliency in not wanting to fall. But at the same time, I am frightened because every time they sway in the wind, they always creak. And the creaking noise makes me imagine that they will fall on the house. It’s crazy to think that our house is in so much danger because it is completely surrounded by those trees. If any of them were to fall, they would destroy the house and everything in it. As a result I sit on my deck in both fear and awe. It is an odd combination of feelings to have.

Looking at the trees remind me of the trials and tribulations of life. Even though we may face hardships (wind) in our lives, we must not be afraid. If we have planted our roots deep into the Word of God, we will not fall. The only way to do that is to make sure that we first read it every day so that we grow up with the Gospel and everyday our roots can grow deeper and deeper into the Word. That way, we are prepared and have a firm and strong foundation in the Gospel so that hardships and trials will not take us by surprise and destroy us. Also, it serves as a reminder that the only reason we have not fallen is because of our roots in the Gospel and we only have the grace and mercy of God to thank for that.

Transcendental Journal: The House Still Standing


After visiting the burned house, I walked for a couple minutes before arriving at the other all-so familiar abandoned house. Like the burned house, I also visited this house my freshman year with my father. The path leading up to the house was a bit overgrown, but it was still visible. When I first visited it, the path was covered with wet leafy plants. This time, it was covered with dry dead branches. Upon arriving at the house I could hear a bird chirping in the distance. After listening to the bird, I noticed that the bird would sing the same pattern every three seconds without delay. Like the other house, this one is two stories. I remember the first time I was in the house, my dad and I heard something upstairs and thought the roof would collapse on us. But once we were outside we looked back and saw a vulture fly out of the house and perch on the roof. It was a magnificent sight.

Abandoned_house_in_White_Marsh,_VirginiaUnfortunately this time there was no vulture or sign of life anywhere. The house was painted white and had many dead vines grow around it. All the windows and doors somehow managed to disappear for there was no sign of wood or glass anywhere. Outside I could see a power box with wires still in it. This proves that the house was built sometime after electricity was invented – that narrows it down a lot doesn’t it? The whole left side of the house was destroyed. It looked like the roof had collapsed on top of it. Entering the house, I noticed that the ceiling was low, but it was still in tact. In the middle of the room there was a plastic garbage bin, but it had nothing in it. As a walked around the ground felt a bit unstable, but never the less it held my weight. There was a perfectly circular shaped hole in the wall with tree vines growing out of it. Next to the hole was a rusted radiator that looked like an ironing board. On the floor you could still see traces of the once red (or was it brown?) carpeting. I also found a piece of a baluster, but there wasn’t any other trace of a staircase. On the ceiling there was a rectangular hole. On one end of the hole was a hook, and on the other end were marks of where hinges used to be. This indicates that there used to be a door where the hole was, and it was the kind of door you would pull down to go up to your attic. Through the hole I could see very little of the upstairs, but it mostly looked clean and well… old. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to get up there. In the next room, I could see another hole in the ceiling. This one was circular and led directly up to the sky. I have absolutely no idea what that could’ve been. On the walls there were writings of names and dates. On the ceiling there was a hole where the lightbulb for the room would’ve gone. Also on the ceiling there was a gap that led to a dark attic. My guess was that it was dark because there weren’t any windows in it. Because it was dark I couldn’t see very much of the attic. The next room was completely destroyed. It was part of the left side of the house where the roof collapsed. Outside of the house, there was a broken cushioned chair and a rubber tire. There were many bottles of motor oil everywhere. Just as I remembered, there was an abandoned shed behind the house. The only thing new about it was there was a sign that said NO TRESPASSING. The sign was like one of those signs you would see on the woods in front of my school. Behind the shed, I saw another big metal cylinder thing. Beside the house was an interesting looking tree. It was as if the tree was made up of other trees. It looked like many skinny trees all eventually converging into one big one at the top. Some of the mini trees even twisted around the whole thing. It was one of the most bizarre trees I have ever seen.

After visiting the abandoned house, I felt a sense of relief to see this house still standing. At least this part of my memory still exists. But at the same time, I felt like I was in one of those movies where the house has a secret behind it and the murderer is about to pop out at any second and kill me. Throughout the whole visit I was a bit skeptical. And the strange noises of branches breaking in the woods didn’t help with the feeling either. But never the less, I did not get killed and nothing very exciting happened.

Things may cause a feeling of uneasiness. Sometimes it is an experience of someone dying before our eyes. Other times it may be of change or unfamiliarity. But it is important that we do not let this cause irrational fears in our heart but instead we realize that no matter what our situation is like, God has a plan for us. He is watching over our coming and going. He is our loving Father.

Transcendental Journal: The Burned Down House


I just came home from a walk. Today I went to a burned down house. It was weird seeing only scraps and pieces left of it. Standing there I could still imagined the purple house that used to stand there. I remember the first time I saw the house. It was freshman year and I was with my dad. I remember driving pass the house everyday when I went to school and when I came back home. I kept on begging my dad to take me there someday, and he finally did. There were two floors to the house. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. It looked exactly like what one would expect an abandoned house to look like. There was rubble everywhere, cups and bottles from parties that went on in the house. Upstairs was cleaner, except for inappropriate drawings on the wall. Typical college students. But now all of that was gone. Burned to the ground. I don’t even know how it happened. All I know was that it was there before I left for a choir tour, and gone when I got back. It’s strange how my mom (who notices everything) didn’t know the house burned down considering the house is only minutes away.

durhams-house-burnedI still drive past it everyday on the way to school, but today was the first time I really got to examine the rubble. The first thing I noticed was a line of bricks. It looked like it used to be a chimney. Everywhere I looked there was burned wood. Everything was black. How could something like this go unnoticed? Was it an accident? Or was it on purpose? Walking around the site, I realized the ground was softer whenever I walked on a burned area. Beside the house were pieces of a tree, but the strange thing is that the tree was cut down by a chainsaw. Why would someone cut down a tree next to a house that no longer existed? Looking at the rubble, I could still see traces of where the floor used to be. There was a hole in the floor caused by the fire, but there was nothing special under it. From what I could see it was mostly dirt and leaves with the occasional plastic water bottle. Then I noticed something strange. On the ground there was this strange material that look like it was made up of cobwebs, only the material was thicker than that. It certainly had the color of the cobweb. Based on the piece it was attached to, it made me believe that it was a remnant of a carpet. However, as I examined the ruins more, I saw more “cobwebs”. This time, they took the form of what soggy pieces of paper would look like. Looking back I still have no idea what they could’ve been. On the ground I could still see a piece of the roof that was still in tact. Most of the tiles were burned black, but the wood under it was preserved. Behind the house was a big metal cylinder thing. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it looked like some sort of rusted boiler? The most fascinating sight, however, was the tree next to the house. At first glance it looked like a normal tree. But after inspecting it some more I realized that half of the tree was burned. The half facing the house was completely black, but the side facing away from the house was untouched.

Walking through the remains of the house caused my heart to wonder. It is eerie to see that the house was completely destroyed. There must have been many memories made in that place. But now it is no more. It was depressing to be there. I remember how pretty it used to be. But now it is all burned and black and destroyed.

To me, the house was a good reminder that nothing lasts forever. Eventually everything must go. We all think that everything we see today will never go away. As a result, we are surprised and very sad when we see something we love disappear. It also was definitely a cool experience to have two memories of the same house. To remember it when it was still standing and to see it once it has fallen. Only the memories of that house will keep it alive in our minds.