Why I Am an Information Science Major

Originally, I began schooling at Albany as a Biology major. Unfortunately, after a few semesters of biology classes, I found that I was not very interested in those science courses that I took. So, I began taking classes in both Computer Science and Information Science. I took these classes because I found that I am very interested in computers, technology, and information itself.  After speaking to a few advisors, I found that Information Science held the most interesting computer related classes. Informatics is incredibly interesting, and I very much enjoy coding and web development. I would also like to take classes that deal with software development, the study of social media and how it influences the spread of information. Obviously computers and technology are very integral to Information Science, and computers would likely be at the center of any job that requires an Information Science degree. I would likely use them to sort information, program, and/or code.

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Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz is best known as the co-founder of the social website Reddit and the developer of the popular web feed format RSS. Sadly, he reportedly committed suicide by hanging at age 26 (Schwartz, 1). He was found dead in his apartment on January 11, 2013. Swartz had recently been the subject of several criminal charges over the past few years. Known as an Internet Activist, Swartz pushed for a much more open World Wide Web, and the publication of many files. In 2001 he was federally charged for gaining illegal access to the academic journal repository the JSTOR and making several academic journals publicly available. He was also charged with wire fraud and 11 violations of Computer fraud. He was potentially facing up to a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines. This shows that the Justice System is currently corrupt and the charges that were levied against him were far too severe for crimes that really barely hurt any one. They were making an example of him. They also began investigating his friends and colleagues, putting even more pressure and stress on him. The government and the way they handled it is directly responsible for Swartz’s suicide. 

 

Works Cited

Hamilton, D. (2012, April 10). Watch Aaron Swartz’s ‘Last’ Video Interview [Video]. ReadWrite. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://readwrite.com/2013/04/10/watch-aaron-swartzs-last-video-interview-video#awesm=~olThC1lKELcE2B

Schwartz, J. (2013, January 12). Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide. The NY Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/technology/aaron-swartz-internet-activist-dies-at-26.html

 

STEM Subjects

STEM subjects are essentially subjects that are related to the four fields Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM is usually used in discussion and reference to educational and curriculum policies. According to the Economics and Statistics Administration, job growth in STEM fields over the past ten years was three times as much as non-STEM, arts jobs (esa.doc.gov 1). STEM jobs are also known to pay very well, averaging 26% more than their non-STEM counterparts. It seems incredibly worth it to pursue a degree in a STEM subject, as they tend to earn higher wages regardless of whether they have a career in STEM fields or not. This graph from newgeometry.com illustrates that in 2011, STEM jobs earned greater hourly earnings than non-STEM jobs in all surveyed states. The only concerning downside to STEM jobs is that they are heavily dependent on government funding. STEM jobs are essential in innovating in all fields and sustaining advancement.Image

 

 

Works Cited

STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future. (2011, July 14). Economic and statistics administration. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.esa.doc.gov/Reports/stem-good-jobs-now-and-future

Wright, J. (2011, September 30). States with Largest Presence of STEM-Related Jobs. Newgeography.com. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.newgeography.com/content/002463-states-with-largest-presence-stem-related-jobs

 

 

MOOCs

MOOCs are Massively Online Open Courses. It is a form of online education that is taking the scholars and the internet by storm. MOOCs follow the model of “distance learning,” first adopted by the University of Phoenix in 1989 (Rushkoff, 2013, p. 1). The reason these online courses are becoming so popular is due to their ease of access and, in most situations, a much cheaper alternative. MOOCs have been known to be much cheaper than average college tuition and in some instances is even free. However, while people taking MOOCs may not receive college credits for the courses, participants can still receive certificates confirming that they understand the information presented in the course. Several colleges are also coming around to the idea of MOOCs, offering courses taught by graduate professors from the University of Irvine, Washington, Virgina, John Hopkins and Vanderbilt (Kolowich, 2013, p. 1). The reason more Universities are accepting MOOCs into their curriculum is that they are another way to generate revenue. MOOCs can be viewed as both good and bad. On one hand, the education is reaching places and people that regular university education just could not extend to.  On the other hand, some people view the education as less valuable, and sorely lacking human interaction necessary for adequate learning. One of the more positive aspects of MOOCs is that, as someone in class today pointed out, you can learn at a pace more comfortable to yourself vs the forced pace of university curriculums. A great example of this is presented by Time reporter Harry McCracken. McCracken, in researching for his report on MOOCs, took an online course in gamification, and decided that the video lectures of the professor lecturing were too slow for him (McCracken, 2012, p. 1). So, understanding that he could still learn and retain the information presented if it was presented faster, was able to increase the playback speed of the video by 1.5x, a speed more comfortable and efficient to him. 

Do I believe that online education can replace college as a form of higher learning? Partially, yes, but not entirely. I personally believe that for more broad, introductory courses containing general information online alternatives would be more effective. Large lecture center classes tend to be the classes that, in my personal experience, you end up retaining the least knowledge. I learn better in smaller environments, where the student-teacher interaction is much more intimate and hands on. I think a good balance would be for general education and exploring to be done via online classes, and than once you’ve found the study that you are passionate about you could THEN proceed to take smaller, more classical college classes for further advancement.

Works Cited

Kolowich, S. (2013, May 1). Coursera Eyes Teacher Training With New MOOC Partners – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education. Chronicle. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/coursera-eyes-teacher-training-with-new-mooc-partners/43679

McCracken, H. (2012, October 11). MOOC Brigade: Free Online Classes, Speeded Up a Notch. Time. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://nation.time.com/2012/10/11/mooc-brigade-free-online-classes-speeded-up-a-notch/

Rushkoff, D. (1013, January 15). Online courses need human element to educate. CNN. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/15/opinion/rushkoff-moocs/

Syria

Syria is in the middle of a long growing conflict. The. U.S. has felt the pressure to intervene. The country very nearly did just days ago. President Barack Obama has publicly declared his “red line” against using chemical warfare being employed by Bashar al-Assad. In a Presidential address, Obama  justified U.S. military intervention in the interest of preserving freedom and democracy and the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction (original.antiwar.com 2). Other reasons for United States intervention include Syria’s continued external aggression towards U.S. allies and partners, and dismantling terrorist networks that could endanger the country. Obama’s own advisors believed that if the U.S. did not retaliate with violence we would appear weak. However, as soon as Obama addressed the stance on Syria, there was public outcry nationwide for peace. Therefore Congress informed Obama that he would likely not relieve congressional approval to retaliate. But he would not have to. As fate would have it, on September 9th Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Obama that Syria surrender all of its stockpiles of poisonous gas to the international community (www.nytimes.com 1). The President has currently accepted this proposal because it pleases the public, is a possible peaceful resolution of the conflict, and means that he would not be rejected by Congress, which would have negatively impacted his presidency. Congress was pleased, but Obama’s personal advisors remain skeptical on the deal as whole, citing Russia’s recent disputes with the U.S., such as temporary asylum of Edward Snowden. Hopefully Syria will ratify the decision to ban chemical weapons and find a better way of dealing with the jihadists.

 

References

Baker, P., & Gordon, M. (2013, September 10). An Unlikely Evolution, From Casual Proposal to Possible Resolution. The New York Times, pp. 1-2. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/world/middleeast/Syria-An-Unlikely-Evolution.html?pagewanted=all

Smith, J. (2013, October 4). US, Syria, Iran: What Just Happened?. Antiwar.com. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from http://original.antiwar.com/jack-a-smith/2013/10/03/us-syria-iran-what-just-happened/

 

The Government Shutdown

After much deliberation, at midnight on September 30th, the United States government went into a shutdown. According to The New York Times, the shutdown is a result of the the House of Representatives and the Senate unable to come to an agreement about how to spend the national government budget (Weisman 1). It was only a few hours before the deadline that the Republican House leaders gained the upperhand in the vote with a majority of 228 to 201. Apparently, The House leader has met with President Obama and they have been unable to negotiate and agreement. This shutdown will furlough approximately 800,000 of the 2 million government jobs. All federal offices and facilities that are deemed “non-essential” are closed until the shutdown is over. However it isn’t as bad as it sounds. According to econonomiccollapseblog.com, over 65% of the federal workforce will continue to work (www.economiccollapseblog.com 1). Several groups such as Social Security recipients, Medicare and Medicade recipients, and unemployment will continue to receive benefits in light of the shutdown. The Supreme Court however, will only be able to fund itself for two more weeks. There needs to be an agreement, so the shutdown can come to an end the government and the economy can get back on track.

 

References

Snyder, M. (2013, October 2). Government Shutdown? 36 Facts Which Prove That Almost Everything Is Still Running. The Economic Collapse. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/government-shutdown-36-facts-which-prove-that-almost-everything-is-still-running

Weisman, J. (2013, September 30). Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse – NYTimes.com. The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved October 4, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/us/politics/congress-shutdown-debate.html

 

 

Computer Science Citations

In this blog post I will be writing three citations. The first is from a book. The quote I will be using is, “These JUMP instructions appear in two varieties: unconditional jumps and conditional jumps,” (Brookshear 95). The second will be a journal article from the schools library database. The quote is, “Clustering is a well-known mining technique,” (Firouzi 237). The third citation is from a news source. The quote from the New York Times is, “The war against cancer is increasingly moving into hyperspace,” (Patterson 1).

 

Works Cited

 

Brookshear, J. G., Smith, D. T., & Brylow, D. (2012). Chapter 2 Data Manipulation. In                                                     M. Horton & M. Hirsch, (Eds.), Computer Science: An Overview (pp. 73-100). Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

 

Firouzi, B. B., Niknam, T., & Nayeripour, M. (2009). A New Evolutionary Algorithm for Cluster Analysis. International Journal of Computer Science, 4 (4), 237-241. Retrieved from www.ebscohost.com

 

Patterson, D. (2011, December 5). Computer Scientists May Have What It Takes To Help Cure Cancer. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com