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Messages - GorgonlaVacaTremendo

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Everything Else / Re: Barak Obama's Stimulus package
« on: January 25, 2009, 06:21:15 AM »
Besides, if you're worried about debt, you want deflation.  If you borrow $100.00, but when you pay back the $100.00 it is worth less, you've technically made money.

And if $250 doesn't help you, as you claim it doesn't, then what good is it to spend it on bills instead of spending it on the economy?  I know it sounds stupid, but it really just sounds like a pessimisetic statement to say it doesn't help at all, but then to go out and use it to help your financial situation.  I don't know enough about the package to support it or argue against it, but it certainly seems like you're arguing two sides by saying it is unhelpful to you personally, but you also need it so badly you can't use it in the way it is theoretically most useful to the economy.

Everything Else / Re: Barak Obama's Stimulus package
« on: January 24, 2009, 03:01:13 AM »
$20 a month doesn't help you, it's not supposed to.  $20 a month for every person moving into businesses, however, helps the economy quite a bit (in theory).  That's why it's a stimulus package and not a "bail-out the working-class" package.  The idea is when you get the $20 a month, you are supposed to spend $20 more than you normally would that month.  It doesn't really get you anything special, but it could help businesses (especially local businesses, if people spend their money smart) quite a bit.

Writing Group / Re: Looking for Someone to do a Read
« on: January 23, 2009, 03:23:35 AM »
Despite the fact that I've been here for years, I've never paid attention to some of the new additions.  That's a good idea--thanks Reeves, consider this thread closed: if you're interested, check out the reading excuses area of the forum, apparently.

Writing Group / Re: Writing combat
« on: January 22, 2009, 11:48:39 PM »
Yeah, I've been doing various martial arts for over a decade, and I've never been in a sparring match or fight that wouldn't have been over in thirty seconds if people weren't pulling punches.  It takes two good hits, one to stun and one to down, and you're done, or one good lock if you're the wrestling type.

Even in Judo, which is a very structured sport, a lot of matches last three or four seconds.  If they last the full time it's mostly sitting around, with lots of unsuccessful throw attempts of lots of semi-successful holds.  This situation wouldn't happen if punches and kicks were thrown, too, because people wouldn't wait around for a successful throw.

And when you're in a fight, it goes by fast.  Everything is a flash, and (especially if you're trained) you don't really remember what happened afterwards.  At least that's my experience, and I've met many others with similar experiences.  It's all just reflex and muscle memory.  So, when I read long fight scenes, with the exception of magical fight scenes or gun battles, etc. I find it less interesting than long dialog, usually.

Writing Group / Looking for Someone to do a Read
« on: January 22, 2009, 11:41:23 PM »
I've spent the better part of the last couple hours sitting in the library writing a short story.  I'm going to try and finish it after class and band practices tonight, and before I edit it for content or grammar myself, I'd like to get a few opinions on it.  It looks like it will be about 4-6k words when I'm done, and I feel it is moderately decent.

Anyway, if anybody would like to read some amateur sci-fi/historical fiction and give me some feedback, preferably some people with writing experience, I'd be pretty happy about it.  I also wrote a less than 1,500 word short surrealist piece I don't feel is too great, but could be good with a little improvement (it's short, though, so like a five minute read if that).

So, if you're feeling like you'd like to do me a favor or you'd like to have something to chill with, I'd like the feedback.  Preferably people who think they could read it in the next two or three days and let me know.  I promise it is at least readable.


Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 19, 2009, 05:25:23 PM »
Well, the reason people don't realize that, I think, is because it is taught as part of "Earth Sciences" in public schools (to my knowledge).  Honestly, I think Geography should have its own semester long course in school science because you are right, it is an interesting science.

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 16, 2009, 03:14:04 AM »
I think, because by the very nature of a public education system, we have to, in large part, have a one-size-fits all education, I'd rather see everybody become well-rounded, with an emphasis on the subjects that have strong ties to specific parts of brain development, such as puzzle solving.  Sciences, specifically math theory, are the best way to stimulate this.  The way we currently educate our children makes them, in theory, a jack of all trades and a master of none.  I prefer this to handpicking people to train for specific jobs.  I want children to have the time to develop while not being inherently trained for a job in their public education years.  They can then choose what path THEY want to go down, once they've had a bit of exposure to everything and they've had the subject exposure to organize their brain into logical machines capable of handling the academic world and capable of solving problems in their everyday lives.  There's no point in rushing kids into a decision (funnily enough, I feel I was rushed into choosing a to go to college for psychology, and while I absolutely love the material, sometimes I wish I had been given more time to decide my path--imagine if I was being trained for it when I was thirteen instead of seventeen).  If we start focusing on what children say they want to do, or what we think children will be best at, at a younger age, what will happen when a large portion of them inevitably decide they don't want to take that route once they hit eighteen or nineteen?  They wont have a general support of knowledge to launch into other fields like they do now.

I would love to see more elective courses offered in schools to give students a little bit more "pre-training" options for a career they believe they would be interested in.  But, again, it all comes down to resources.  How much should taxpayers give in order to help out the small percentage of people who inevitably become fiction writers for a living?  What about stand-up comedians?  I would love to see these types of programs offered, but it is something students will have to learn, to a great degree, on their own.  But, again, perhaps this is what makes these activities so enticing--the fact that they are hobbies, and not work.  This could be why some people do what they do, because they learned to love it instead of being taught to do it.

Of course kids are pushed into college--on average, kids who go to college have a higher standard of living.  There will always be kids who don't want to go to college and decide to do a trade instead, just as there will always be people who decide to go into the military.  The way I see it, if there is a shortage, then we are advancing as a people in the amount of education the average person is getting, which is a good thing.  There will always need to be plumbers and carpenters, and if there is a shortage now, there will be a surge later as kids find out, "hey, I can just go be a plumber without going to college and there's a lot of room to work!"  It's cyclical like that, and I'm honestly not worried about it.

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 15, 2009, 07:57:15 PM »
As far as the foil method, when solving algebraically you can use it anytime you have a multi-part phrase (polynomial).  Technically, you can use it anytime, since if you have 2 x 5 = 10, you can also do (2)(5) = (2+0) (5+0) = 10+0+0+0 = 10.   Or (2)(5) = (1+1)(3+2) = 3+2+3+2 = 10.  But, that is a really roundabout way of doing things, and you usually would only use it if variables are involved, otherwise there are simpler ways to solve.  But, yeah, technically you could use that method for any multiplication problem, at least as far as I can think of right now.  Also, on an amusing note, I was just typing this up and realized I, at multiple points, accidentally typed "2x5=15."  Whoops.

I think we need to get foreign languages in our kindergartens, if not our preschools, because that is really the most applicable time-oriented brain development area.  Learning to speak is very time-oriented as well, so is learning to recognize faces (ever wonder why if you lived near white people your whole life, black people tend to look the same, or why someone who lived on a farm can tell which cow is which without effort, while you struggle to tell them apart?).  But, I've never seen anything to say learning science, math, rules and regulations of grammar, or reading is time-oriented.  That doesn't mean it's not, I just haven't seen anything to show so.  So, yeah, especially in the early years we need a more well-rounded curriculum based, probably until somewhere between third and fifth grade, around language (especially non-native language) and art--in my opinion.  But in high schools, a more science-based curriculum makes sense, I feel, despite how much I would love to see more arts in schools.

Also, the brain has a tendency to double-up in some cases.  It is just like the stroke victims who could sing words but not speak them, because that capacity was in a different area of the brain, in a lot of cases an activity which uses a certain thought-process a lot (such as poetry with rigid numerical structure) will be able to continue without the area of the brain which normally does that function.  I don't know if this is the case with the examples you gave, but from what I do know, I would say it's very likely to be the case.  Another interesting example of this is motor-memory against other types of memory, where somebody who can't remember his wife's face could get out of bed in his home, go to the kitchen in the dark, make a cup of coffee, clean up, and go out to get the paper without actually being able to to tell you where he is, or how to get where he needs to be.  Because the brain needs to call upon memory to perform motor tasks, it has a separate area for that specific kind of memory.  I'd suspect that if the brain needed a specific kind of math for poetry, it would have a more effective way of doing this math than by firing up all cylinders and wasting a ton of relative time with computations in two very different parts of the brain, including a back-and-forth of information.  For good reason, it doesn't like to do that much, especially when involving the outer layers of the brain.

The reason I've been, up to this point, so adamant about students doing their artistic learning on their own time if resources aren't available in schools is because the question was originally asked about high schools (or, rather, in interpreted it that way because of the talk about "English class"--not something which existed in my elementary experience because all my classes were one).  More art in young children, less history and memorization of facts, way more foreign language--and I'd like to see our math and science at this stage to become more "understanding and puzzle" based than "memorization of rules" based.  I'd like students to, instead of learning multiplication tables, learn the process of multiplying very well.  Tables should come after a really solid understanding, rather than as a quick-cut to speed.  Subjects which require a lot of memorization and little else should still be taught, but as the minority rather than the majority in young students.  If you make them smart, they'll be able to memorize later.  It's not like their memories aren't already getting enough work from life that they wont develop...  But that's just me.

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 15, 2009, 05:00:51 AM »
This is a generally a discussion of public schools.  Private schools are a much different situation because they have more resources, generally a more motivated student population as a whole, and can set their own standards of education.

Gorgon, please send me some links to the studies you are using.  I am always interested in this sort of thing, especially now that I have to young children.  You say that music affects different areas of the brain, yet it is shown that those who learn music and listen to complex musical compositions actually show greater intelligence.  It is also well known that you remember things much more easily if you sing them, make them rhyme, or create Mnemonics (which I dare say is artistic, in a way).  We still know so little about the brain, it could be possible that the pathways enhanced by music and art help the brain better access the memory needed to more effectively use the logical centers of the brain.

I don't have any specific sources seeing how much, if not all, of what I've been saying is just a general overview of some common knowledge within the field of psychology.  I'll do a little research and pull up some specific studies or papers when I have a little more time in order to get to you who found what and when.  It's something I should know, anyway.

I would definitely recommend discover magazine, though ( if you're interested in anything the brain.  They do a good job putting out articles covering some big-name psychologists (I recently read a great one covering Antonio Damasio's research) in pretty simple terms.  There was one specifically, that once I find it I will tell you what month/year it was, about the healing capacity of music for stroke victims.  It appears that music is so removed from language in the brain's function that stroke victims who suffered a left-side stroke to their Brocas area (which handles speech and is only found on the left side of the brain in the posterior region) and had difficulty speaking or could not speak could actually, to their delight, sing without effort.  Because the brain registers music so differently, musical words are actually created and sent out through the opposite side of the brain in many cases.

Listening to music, learning music theory, and playing musical instruments does raise intelligence, creativity, among many, many other benefits.  I could talk for days about the importance of music to brain development, personal development, cultural development, etc.  But it still doesn't impact the brain in the same regions or in the same ways that science does and doesn't create the same outcomes.

Everything from Here Down is Mildly Unrelated, except partially related to what darx said.  You may not be interested if you don't want to get off topic--I'm writing this only after I've accidentally drilled out a few paragraphs...

The Method of Loci, in which you imagine items which need to be remembered in a familiar location, then walk through the location in your mind to remember them, is widely known to be one of the oldest and most effective memory devices.  Yet, we wouldn't say studying architecture or geography would be an immense help to every area of study.  One of the primary reasons memory devices like this work is they ingrain a piece of information to a chunk of knowledge already held, such as a song or place, and thus create a "cognitive path" to this information.  It is the same principle that allows you to smell your ex-boyfriend's cologne and have memories of him--it is not inherently because of the music itself that this works, but because of the created relationship between two items which become "filed" together.

As far as short handing or using Mnemonic devices--these again play on a principle separate from the actual use of creativity to memorize.  The idea is instead of remembering nine things, such as the planets (there was nine when I was younger--I know that since there have been ten and now there's eight), I can remember one phrase, such as "my very educated mother just serves us nasty pickles."  Our brains can hold in our working, 0r active, memories between five and nine items, depending on the person (on average seven, hence the phrase in psychology "Seven Plus or Minus Two"--see Miller's research).  The size of items is irrelevant as long as I understand them, which means I can think of Freudian dream analysis and the 1998 Pistons in whole if I understand both well.  The trick here is I've taken nine things I don't know and linked them to one item, thus allowing me to put the entire chunk of information into my long term memory at the same time, and creating a link between those separately filed planets and this phrase.  Later, when I think of the phrase, my brain will automatically be able to link to the planets, which will all count as one piece of information in my working memory.  It really has very little to do with the creativity of the process and has everything to do with the capacity of the brain--in this manner, someone else can create a device which I can use without being creative at all (such as Oh, Be a Fine Girl, Kiss Me ordering the classes of stars--I didn't come up with it, but I'll remember it forever).

Our knowledge of the brain is truly mid evil when compared to our knowledge of, say, our digestive system.  That being said, we have a much keener idea of how the brain works than a lot of people seem to think.   More on this, if you want it, later.  I've written a lot out of context with the general area of discussion, I just realized.

I'm way off topic.  Sorry.

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 13, 2009, 07:12:24 AM »
The fact is that language and arts do NOT cause the brain to develop in the same ways, not even remotely the same regions, as sciences.  Just because you believe they should doesn't mean they do.  If you read even the most basic research on brain anatomy or development, you'll see a huge difference between the uses of arts and creative analysis and sciences or logical analysis.  Just as a different area of the brain is used to distinguish the motion of an object and its distance, different areas of the brain are stimulated (sometimes in different ways) when talking about lingual code against mathematical code.  The skills learned aren't inherently what I'm talking about when I talk about brain development.  There are physiological changes in the brain as it develops, and these changes allow you to perform certain tasks better, whether or not you're actually learning anything at all.

Also, I'd like to point out that, while I may not have made this clear, one is just as capable of teaching oneself math and science as the arts.  However, people are, in general, more compelled by the arts on a personal level.  This is why people don't have advanced calculus as a hobby as often as they do composition or still life photography.  Students not given a required mandate of scientific material are likely to let it fall by the wayside, which is not as much the case with the arts.

I would put foreign language requirements that we aren't meeting far above creative writing in priority, and for several reasons.  Not only do foreign languages enhance a world-view and encourage multiculturalism, they, also, have a separate impact on the brain--and the longer you don't learn a foreign language, the less likely it is you will be able to.   I'm not saying there's a certain age you can't learn a language anymore, but it does become more and more difficult as your brain develops.  Also, it's simply more useful to a larger portion of the population to know a second language.

I don't think school has "become" more repetition and memorization than learning and understanding, I am under the impression public schools have been like this, in the majority, throughout the entirety of their existence.

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 12, 2009, 06:18:03 AM »
I'd like to point out that while I am a working artist (a musician), and I am studying a "soft science" (psychology), I understand that a majority of what you learn in math and science can be unused in later life.  However, in the process of learning these things, my brain had physical, notable changes which do not occur when studying arts.  These changes allow me to think more quickly on a day-to-day basis about problem-solving, data reading (including social datums, my surroundings etc.), and the ability to remember and quantify larger amount of materials and numbers.  The arts affect different areas of the brain and do other impressive changes.  However, the goals of our educational system are in a large part to raise our skills in the areas I already listed, which are related to the sciences.

I think the arts are more important to me in my day to day life.  In fact, I know they are.  I feel like the arts are more important to most people, be they film, music, literature, etc.  But learning them doesn't achieve all of the goals we would like achieved as well as learning the sciences does.  There should be more arts in addition to the sciences, even if they are after-school programs.  But it comes down to resources--fortunately, students now have the internet to learn from, and you can get a jump start in any artistic setting by lessons you can find on it.

Video Games / Re: Pinball
« on: January 09, 2009, 06:04:12 PM »
What tables do you/did you have?

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 09, 2009, 06:03:05 PM »
I feel like we may be arguing the same thing.  I don't think rigidity is a good idea in education, or really in nearly any aspect of life.  But I do feel as though there is room for a standard base to spring from in a person's education.  Whether or not we continued to study Shakespeare, we DO need to continue to study literature the way we study Shakespeare.  I could really care less if the writer himself was dropped from curriculum--it is the process of studying, and not inherently what is being studied, that has the proper psychological outcomes.  If you would rather see kids read and study more literature of a different kind, that is fine.  But studying literature and writing achieve very separate outcomes on a neurological level.

I don't know the story.

No Child Left Behind has a lot of problems, I feel, many of which are as bad or worse than the rigidity it causes.  As I said before, creative writing should have a place in curriculum, and if the resources are available (which in a lot of places they are not) it should be also offered as an optional class.  But I don't support the addition of it to schools at the expense of other important programs, such as the sciences.  I also feel there are more important optional classes many schools do not have, such as multiple foreign languages, Asian and African history and arts study, etc. that I would rather see as optional curriculum than a creative writing class in high schools.  A good example of this is I went to a very good high school, but as far as foreign language goes there was not a single Asian language offered, and which you could take Russian, French, Spanish, or German, only the Spanish branch was really taken with any seriousness by both most faculty and most students.

Video Games / Pinball
« on: January 09, 2009, 08:59:14 AM »
I've spent the last several months working as a manager at an arcade, which is partially devoted to pinball.  I have always enjoyed pinball, but I find myself absolutely enthralled with it now, more so than I am with most modern video games.  Does anybody else still play the game (I know some of you must have been around in the golden age of arcades).  Does anybody have a favorite machine, or know any interesting tricks on any specific tables?  I feel like older games like pinball are completely cast aside in the last decade for more "impressive" modern games, despite their actual challenge, complexity and social aspects...

Everything Else / Re: Public School Writing Teachers
« on: January 09, 2009, 08:53:09 AM »
Indeed, it is pretentious to think that studying Shakespeare will somehow enable an individual to communicate in ways that learning how to write creatively will not, and the same goes for many other silly (but perhaps interesting) things we are taught in school, such as how to multiply matrices.  It is also a false dichotomy to compare creative writing with non-fiction writing:  There is also such a thing as creative non-fiction (which is quite popular in literary circles, to be honest).

It has been my experience that the school districts which foster environments where students have more options and more freedom tend to promote excellence than those which emphasize only core classes.

Studying Shakespeare may not enable an individual inherently to communicate in ways that creative writing would not also teach.  But learning and studying classic literature does stimulate different areas of the brain, cause different neurological connections to be made and enhance different areas of logic, rhetoric and other abilities.  Reading does a very different thing to students than writing overall.  That being said, writing, creative fictional, non fictional or academic non-fictional is a huge booster to a person's ability to communicate, specifically using written word (obviously).  I've also seen research which suggests it can help people become more social, imaginative/original, and even intelligent. 

But we have other programs which are intended for these purposes, and partly because of logical reasoning, and mostly because of tradition, we have those programs at a higher priority than creative (specifically creative fictional) writing.  Adding creative writing at the cost of other programs is, I believe, a negative policy, considering most other programs we have exist for a purpose and help develop the brain in specific ways.  If we could add creative writing at a non-loss to every school, we should without question.  But it comes down to resources, not the least of which is time.  Students spend only a certain amount of time at school, and will spend only a certain amount of time doing homework.  Writing takes quite a bit of time for the average individual, and this would subtract from students' other studies if just tacked on to the current curriculum.

I maintain students who are interested in creative writing beyond their school's basic programs (which all schools should have, and some do not), they will pursue it on their own time as a hobby.  I'd also like to point out a lot of students have a polarized reaction to subjects they are introduced to by schools, disliking it simply because it is suddenly "work" instead of "enjoyment".  This is the case with me, for example, and reading for school.  Even today, in my senior year towards my bachelors degree, I hardly ever read my text books or periodicals for class, despite the fact that I fill my time reading similar materials on the same subjects for my own enjoyment.  I'm not saying we shouldn't offer it, but definitely we shouldn't make it, or any art, mandatory in upper level education.  I don't think anybody was saying we should, but I thought it warranted saying. 

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