Improvement

I try to improve myself in everything I do. Every class I have taken has made me better at something and this class is no different. Although I loath writing and plan on doing the absolute minimum professional writing I can, this class has given me an opportunity to see where my writing struggles lie. I have become more confident in my writing and I have a better understanding of how I should organize my thoughts. I already had a good understanding of how to get a good flow in my writing and how to make my writing clear. What I struggled with is focusing my supporting paragraphs on my thesis while also making them all connect together. Often my paragraphs would make sense but were either repetitive or the transitions from one thought to another was difficult to follow.

The narrative paper we wrote first was my favorite project simply because the freedom to make a story up is a nice change to the lab reports I’ve had to write that demand factual information. I was able to exaggerate on what really happened in order to make a better story. If I exaggerated on my lab report, I would be torn apart by my professor.

Writing in the Future

I don’t think you will ever get away from writing. There will always be a point where you will need to communicate in a non verbal way. There are many situations where the best way to get your point across is to write it down instead of speak your mind verbally. I do not have any interest currently in sharing my writing with any broad audience or publisher.

As an engineer, I will have to communicate with other engineers and technicians. Much of this communication is done through email so I will have to be able to write out my thoughts in a clear way so whoever I am emailing can understand me. In addition to emails, lab reports have the potential to be a significant part of my daily work. Often the research an engineer does can lead to large changes in the direction a project is going. I will need to be able to communicate what my results are showing and explain the significance of my results. Persuasion will be important when telling having to tell someone something they designed is wrong or broken.

Writing for me has always been my weakest subject and I do not see anything major changing after this class. The writing I do now is for simple communication purposes. I do not typically need to understand the inner intricacies of the English language in order to get my point across.

The First Will Be Last And The Last Will Be First

Dear Dave Deckard,

Your article Tim Tebow, Luke Babbitt, and Expressions of Faith in Sports resonated strongly with my faith and how I react to the expressions of faith in sports. I have a hard time seeing anyone getting a closer relationship with God through some hot shot athlete pointing to the sky after doing something well. Your point on the impression these actions make other fans is strong and needs to be taken into consideration when athletes are wanting to celebrate. God should not take sides and thanking him for your success in the current game makes it look like God is on your team and not on the other team. In addition Jesus preaches in the bible saying the first will be last and the last will be first. This is the opposite impression given off with these expression. Christ hung out with the losers and we should replicate that in our lives.

I don’t quiet see how your first point fits into this situation. The one size fits all type of Christian message is frustrating but I don’t think that is the impression given off by these people. They are showing their appreciation for God but not preaching a message to the people watching them in the same way that the billboards are trying to convey a small piece of scripture and make a difference in someone’s life.

I like how you explained your hesitation on these situations. The only fruit I see coming from these tributes to God is arguments and a new topic for angry internet trolls to fight about. If your goal is to honor God, you should stop these expressions after you do something good because the only thing you’re bringing from them is fighting.

Is it Christmas or Xmax

I remember back in high school when I felt like I was championing the Christian faith while attempting convincing my fellow classmates that the nativity scene and “Merry Christmas!” signs should be all over government buildings. Now I look back at high school Matthew and see a naive ignorant kid trying to fight a holy crusade without knowing how this country or my faith works.

To be clear, I am a huge fan of Christmas and the decorations we see everywhere. I am not a fan of the Christians trying to make the arguments that the government should be displaying Christian specific decorations. Christianity should be set apart from the world and the government is part of “the world”. This debate over a war on Christmas is ridiculous. A Christian should not be waging a war over something that will cause a divide between Christians and non-Christians. If you are wanting to honor your God during the holiday season, don’t fight with others over this. Instead show them love and you’ll honor Christ and avoid making an enemy.

As a citizen of the United States I do not like the idea of the Government getting involved in my religion or any other religion for that matter. The constitution is very clear on the matter of religion and the governments role in it all. They should not have any part in it. This annual fight over Christmas and what the Governments role should be is harming the Christmas feeling and resulting in no one being happy.

Plagiarism is the worst

Author Alex Haley wrote a novel called “Roots” in 1976 based on his families history going back to the days of slavery. The novel found a lot of success and even won a Pulitzer Prize in 1977. The research and conclusions written in the novel were eventually called into question. A lawsuit was filled claiming 81 passages from “Roots” were copied from the novel “The African” by Harold Courlander. The story written by Haley would not have had the same effect and build up if the passages were removed or rewritten. Haley continuosly claimed he had to read “The African” before writing “Roots”. Later this claim was found to be false by the witness of minority studies teacher at Skidmore College. After five weeks of trial the two settled for a financial settlement and a statement by Alex Haley acknowledging and regretting that pieces of “The African” found their way into his novel.

From the common consensus on this issue, most would argue this was in fact plagiarism and Haley is at fault. I would be inclined to agree given the 81 passages common between the two novels. It seems like there are so many stories and written pieces out there these days, it is just a matter of time until your works is going to be similar to someone else’s work. This case specifically has the same wording, which makes it a solid example of plagiarism but the argument that the ideas and themes being similar shouldn’t give significant substance behind the plagiarism claim since this novel is a common theme you could find in many books written today.

Citation:

Lescaze, Lee; Saperstein, Sandra (December 15, 1978). “Bethesda Author Settles Roots Suit”. The Washington Post. p. A1.

“The Roots of Alex Haley”. BBC Television Documentary. 1997.

Stanford, Phil (April 8, 1979). “Roots and Grafts on the Haley Story”. The Washington Star. p. F.4.

“Fast Facts”

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/11/health/ebola-fast-facts/

The recent Ebola outbreak has freaked out many people in the last few months. This article seeks to bring some light on what the true facts about Ebola are. It gives the statistic that “According to the World Health Organization, “there is no specific treatment or vaccine,” and the fatality rate can be up to 90%.” so 9 out of 10 people who get Ebola die to it! The key words in that line is “can be”. Statistics are used as a numerical and factual way to draw truth out of a situation. When you say the fatality rate can be that high but don’t mention what the more common or average fatality rate it people are going to think that it the normal fatality rate. The article goes on to show how many people of different countries have gotten Ebola and how many have died from it.

Guinea – 1350 cases, 778 deaths (58%)

Liberia – 4076 cases, 2316 deaths (57%)

Nigeria – 20 cases, 8 deaths (40%)

Senegal – 1 case, 0 deaths (infection originated in Guinea) (0%)

Sierra Leone – 2950 cases, 930 deaths (32%)

Spain – 1 case, 0 deaths (0%)

United States – 1 case, 1 death (infection originated in Liberia) (100%)

The data here may not be perfect since some of the people who have Ebola may die from it at some point. Therefore these numbers may increase but at this point they are not near 90%. Also at this point couldn’t you also say the fatality rate in the United States is 100%? That sure would scare many people who don’t realize only one person has been infected and it originated in Liberia.

I disagree with the author of  Five Ways Statistics are Used to Lie to You Every Day. He claims that our brains do not work with numbers and statistics. There are many people who find truth in numbers and their minds are wired in a way that these numbers clarify what is actually going on in the situation. Many people try to make the world into numbers and statistics.

Dr. Gary Spivey

I have had the pleasure of studying under the guidance of Dr. Gary Spivey during my time here at Fox. Dr. Spivey is a professor in the electrical engineering department. He specializes in the world of digital logic and microprocessor design. I find him so fascinating because he is the complete stereotypical engineer. There is a logical flow of ideas coming out of his head that just seem to fit exactly into the architecture of my mind. As a Christian he takes his faith and shares it in a logical straight forward light that resonates with understandings of scripture much more then the abstract touchy feely sort of faith.

Before entering the world of academia Dr. Spivey worked for the NSA doing secret intelligence work. Unfortunately he can not tell us much about what he actually did because if he did, he would be forced to kill us. Regardless of that morbid thought, Dr. Spivey worked in labs where high tech eye scanners were used to keep the information being discussed safe from prying eyes. The main idea was to take a process that would take a super computer days months to complete and design a system that could do it in a matter of seconds. While a super computer could do many different things at a quick rate, this device would only have one function, but it could do that function blindingly fast.

Dr. Spivey is still one of my advisers here at George Fox and research on his life would be as simple as visiting his office. I think this is part of what interests me so much in him. I have constant access to him but I don’t know very much about his life before Fox.