A couple of days ago I got a call from an elderly (77 y.o.) neighbor who asked if I could come by his home to set-up his fax machine. I went over to his home yesterday and, upon inspecting the machine, discovered that it was missing the ink cartridge. When I asked to see the manual, so that I could find out what type of cartridge needed to be bought, he replied that someone had given him the fax machine “as-is” and that he did not have any manuals. It, suddenly, occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity for me to fulfill this homework assignment and help my friend, all at once. Therefore, I told my friend that I would try to find out
Upon returning to my home, I went online and found a site (http://www.retrevo.com/support/Sharp-UX-A1000-Fax-Machines-manual/id/310bh145/t/2/ ) from which I was able to download the manual. After perusing the manual I was able to get a pretty good idea of all the parts that it should have and how to set-it-up. I also discovered that it uses a Sharp UX-C70B cartridge.
I found the manual to be well written and its descriptions and illustrations of the parts and procedures easy to follow. It is not full of technical jargon and gives, step-by-step instructions on set-up and usage. I can’t imagine that anyone with a sixth- grade education and some common sense would have difficulties understanding how to set-it-up and use it.
I will take this pdf file to staples, print it, and give it to Ralph so that he will know how to use the machine after I set-it-up for him.
There is no question that writing an outline is essential to producing a coherent paper at the end of our research. Unfortunately, some of us lack the discipline to follow a “process” and, usually, jump into researching whatever it is that we have an interest in , learn a lot about it and then have the hardest time putting our ideas down on paper.
I think that it is good that we have been asked to write, and submit, an outline for our final paper. I say this because writing the outline will force us to begin building the framework of our papers. I, for one, am accustomed to, and feel most comfortable, taking a “stream of consciousness” approach to writing. Unfortunately, this is not an approach that can be applied, very well, to the writing of research papers. Hence, I’m “suffering” through this experience.
Now, switching to another topic:
I noticed that some of you wrote that in doing your research you found it difficult, at times, to discern between “real” and “fake” data/sources. Sadly, this is a problem that we all face and what motivated me , in part, to chose Critical Thinking as the topic for my paper. Here is a link to a humorous take on the “news”. Look at how well produced it is, and consider how someone less sophisticated and cognizant of American culture than you would react to these reports. I hope you enjoy it!
Over the past few weeks we’ve been exposed to new ways of doing research using the internet. While I was aware on the existence of search engines, such as Google, Bing, etc. I was not aware that there were search engines, such as Google Scholar, that do specialized searches that allow us to narrow our search so that we may hone-in on the specific aspect of a topic in which we are interested.
I was familiar with library catalogs and knew that I could search under the name of authors or books, but I discovered that with the advent of computers, these searches can now be done much faster and that I could cross-reference many of the entries that I found, or look- up information or excerpts from the books mentioned.
The existence of article databases also facilitates the search for information and enhances our ability to find much more information on a subject than we could just ten years ago.
I believe that the skills that I am learning in this class will empower me to do better research in any area of endeavor.
I am not sure if discovering new search engines that may offer a more focused approach to my search for additional data on our research subject will make my life easier. So far, it seems like the more digging I do into the subject the more I find aspects of the subject that pique my interest and make me want to explore them too. I looked at Google scholar and it provided me with a wealth of information on books and articles on my subject. I have had a chance to look at a few of the books and now I can see that I’m going to have to limit the my research to a much narrower scope.
We are told that knowledge is power, but I am afraid that too much knowledge can be incapacitating because we become fatigued and overloaded and feel powerless to do anything.
At first, I thought that I would research and write about the shaping of public opinion through the use of the media (propaganda), but as I began to look into the subject, it occurred to me that a better subject for research would be to investigate why so many of us are able to be manipulated by the media. So far, I’ve been focusing on looking at the teaching of critical thinking skills in our educational system and what effect does the teaching methodology used in our schools has on the way in which we process information and, ultimately, view the world.
I think that it is obvious in my previous posting why I am interested in critical thinking. However, we were asked to indicate the following:
1. Why am I interested in the subject?
I believe that too many people respond like sheep and follow/believe whatever they’re told. I wonder what can be done to get more individuals to think.
2. I would like to know why so many people are so gullible.
We have covered a number of interesting topics in this class. However, I believe that the discussion of critical thinking, prompted by Martin’s piece, is the one that should have the greatest impact on all readers. I say this because the article it points to the importance of our understanding that our knowledge of any subject is shaped by the information that we receive regarding that subject and that that information is made available to us by “gatekeepers” who determine what research is funded and whose interests are furthered by the propagation of this information. The result if this is that much of what we read is nothing more than propaganda intended to sway our opinion in one direction or another.
History is replete of examples of how the masses have been manipulated into advocating, defending and even going war over issues that they barely understand and that are not in their best interests. Nevertheless, these people are convinced that the positions they hold are based on irrefutable facts. “Facts” that, upon careful intellectual or physical examination, would prove to be untenable. Here are but a few examples:
1. The preamble of our constitution states ” we hold these facts to be self evident, that all men are created equal….” YET, the majority of the people had no problem with the institution of slavery (which flies in the face of the statement on equality and could not be held if LOGICAL/CRITICAL thinking were applied.
2. We launched a war against Iraq based on sketchy (often, manufactured) evidence and the strong belief by most of our populace that Iraq supported Al Queda and had something to do with the attack on the World trade center. Anyone who had studied history of our relationship with Iraq and analysed the facts critically would have been unconvinced by the flimsy connections that were made by those arguing in favor of war.
3,.The people running around claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States and, therefore ineligible to be President (not tho mention their belief that he is a Muslim). Has anyone stopped to think how elaborate a ruse would have had to be planned and worked-on for over FORTY years to get him accepted into the “right” colleges, elected to the Senate, selected as presidential candidate by the Democratic Party, and have him elected president at a time when there is an explosion of Muslim fundamentalism around the world.
Anyone who can THINK would conclude that it is necessary to have alternate sources of information and NEVER assume that anything that we’re reading is completely true or that it is being reported in a “fair and balanced” manner. If we take anything from this course and the time we spend in a university it ought to be the knowledge that there are entire organizations dedicated to “manufacturing consent” and that we should develop critical thinking skills so that we may not fall prey to their lies and fabrications.
I believe that everyone who has had to make a speech or write a research paper has struggled with the urge to copy thoughts that reflect our ideas and opinions in words so expertly and eloquently put together that we are sure that we will never be able to attain such level of proficiency. However, we have been taught that to use someone else’s ideas without giving the author proper credit is tantamount to stealing and colleges have very serious penalties for those whom are discovered to have engaged in plagiarism.
I have always looked at the rule against plagiarism as one that should be followed (in theory), because I believed that plagiarism was stealing other people’s ideas. Of course, this is not to say that I’ve not used other people’s words without giving them proper credit. However, after reading this piece, I come to agree with the author that “it is a bad thing because it takes the place of and prevents learning”. After all, we come to school to acquire an education and, as difficult as it may be, we need to struggle through the process of learning to speak with our “own” words because this will empower us for the rest of our lives.
The Politics of Research brings to our attention how we have been taught to accept that the methodology used to arrive at certain scientific “discoveries” is unbiased when, in fact, it is very influenced by funding sources and political considerations.
We also realize how those who possess specific technical knowledge are able to control how their field is perceived by the public because if they make it seem difficult they enhance their standing in society (think astro-physicists, mathematicians, economists, etc) , while if they were to explain things in a manner that truly showed how simple some of the principles are, they would be de-mystifying their field and could, in turn, lower the perceived value of their knowledge.
I read this piece with great interest because I am a frequent user of Wikipedia and, as such, I have encountered instances of “vandalism”. To be honest, Some of these entries can be quite funny, but they also highlight the fact that the medium cannot be fully trusted because anyone can post content and, as we know, not everyone has the best intentions. This poses a very real danger that one may “research” a topic and gather “information” that one believes to be factual, when, in fact, it may be slanderous, extremely biased, or just false.
Wikipedia is easy to use and a source of information on, practically, everything. It is an ” experiment” that enables us to get a look at the possibilities for cooperation among people all over the world who can share their expertise on any subject with the rest of us. It allows us to explore the serious and the banal and to have all this data at our fingertips at all times.