Older blog entries for amars (starting at number 374)

It has been almost a year since my last post, and reading the last entries topic, the topic of this post has much relevance. In four weeks I graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science from The University of Texas at Dallas specializing in Intelligent Systems. My final project is a neural network that can recognize and classify speech data. I trained it to recognize spoken digits between one and ten and will be presenting it before a number of groups in the coming weeks.

After school is out, I have a month or so vacation before I start the Masters Program in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience at UTD. During the break, I will be going on a cruise to Mexico, Cozumel and Belize with my girlfriend at some point. When school starts back up again I will probably be looking for a job or internship in my field.

25 Nov 2003 (updated 25 Nov 2003 at 03:14 UTC) »

I just realized that the trustmetric is very much an Artificial Neural Network. It also serves the purpose of an ANN, the idea is to look at someone and predict a certain level of competency, or trust.

17 Nov 2003 (updated 17 Nov 2003 at 18:07 UTC) »

I checked and determined that the word, "patrioterrorism" does not yet exist, or at least, has not made it's way into common usage, so i'm taking the opportunity to take credit for it's definition. However, it can be seen in two ways, depending on your perspective. Some could call what we do overseas acts of patrioterrorism, as thousdands of soldiers commit acts of terrorism in the name of their own country. The other way to look at it, is in times of the USA PATRIOT Act and Victory Act, a patrioterrorist, or act of patrioterrorism is a patriot labeled a terrorist for standing up against the government and speaking out against it.

The United States Government is very much actively monitoring it's citizens and political groups for signs of "terrorism," the FBI and other organizations have been attending peaceful assemblies of politically-minded organizations for the purpose of monitoring them. In these times when you are either with us or against us, those who oppose things like the USA PATRIOT Act and VICTORY Act can easily be labeled anti-american by assholes in high positions and a history of political dissent can be enough of a reason to raise suspicion as a terrorist.

Under the USA PATRIOT Act and VICTORY Act, there is a fine line between patriot and terrorist.

10 Nov 2003 (updated 10 Nov 2003 at 22:09 UTC) »

I hadn't heard about the DREAM Act until deekayen pointed it out. Though, I disagree with his position.

I have always been a firm believer in the necessity of education. On the surface, it is easy to dismiss the DREAM Act as free money for illegal immigrants and suggest that it encourages and supports the violation of law and is a burden for society, but it's really more complicated than that. As future presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich puts it, education is the only proven method for reducing poverty and the DREAM Act is designed to do just that and give immigrants the opportunity to pursure an education and become productive members of society.

There are some provisions though. The DREAM Act is not designed merely for any illegal immigrant that makes their way to this country, it is intended for the children of illegal immigrants, who have not only established residence for 5 years but have also graduated high school in the United States. This provision is designed to recognize the fact that many children do not have a say in the decision to come to the U.S. and it is wrong to hold them fully liable for the immigration status derived from their parents and thus should be given as much an opportunity to succeed in this society as their classmates.

Also, the DREAM Act does not necessarily mean free money for immigrants. DREAM Act beneficiaries are ineligible for Federal Financial Aid Grants, Pell Grants and Federal Special Education Opportunity Grants. Instead, the DREAM Act returns to states the right to decide who is eligible for in-state tuition and provides eligibility for Federal Loans and Federal Work-Study Programs.

I was surprised to find that Orin Hatch was responsible for introducing this bill to the Senate, at least now he's done some good. Another surprising bit of information is that this bill is bipartisan and supported by both parties. I believe the DREAM Act can do some good and will support it. In the long run, it may actually end up saving money, it's a far better solution than, say, denying someone access to quality education and waiting for them to become a burden to society in other ways. But even if it doesn't save money it's worth doing, education should be a far higher priority in this country and we, as a society benefit more from educating people than by not, at any cost.

Some people still do not believe we really are at war with ourselves... kids now have to face weapons, held by adults in authoritative positions who hate them and assumed to be guilty before innocent just to get an education. Can't we just legalize it? (and no, i'm not suggesting children have legal access to marijuana) do we really need to treat our nations greatest natural resource like a criminal threat to society? Think about it. link

I found this to be particularly interesting. Last Spring, I wrote a paper for a Intro to Cog Sci class and one of the topics I bring up include the very same scenario, and by reading the article, the same method was used. Granted, my essay is speculatory and simplified, and that their research began ages before I wrote my essay, but it was a big boost to the ego when something I foresee actually becomes proven science.

10 Oct 2003 (updated 10 Oct 2003 at 05:17 UTC) »

So much to do, so little time, i can't seem to figure out where all my free time goes.

I finally "get" the idea of a smart playlist in iTunes. I'm now able to kee ptrack of songs i have and haven't rated by maintaining a smart playlist consisting of unrated songs. Then, when i have some free time, i can start at the top and once i rate the song at the top, it's automatically removed from the list. When a song is added to the library, it is automatically entered into this smart playlist, this way i have a constant reminder to rate songs. I'm sure there are some i haven't ever listened to.

I like LaTeX. I know it sounds cliché, but but I like being able to write without having to worry about formatting. Whenever I write, I just write and when everything is written, I go through the long and boring task of making it look presentable, with LaTeX, I can write and let it do the formatting. I wish they'd actually introduced students to LaTeX in a professional/technical communications class, which was primarily M$ Office oriented.

It's interesting to watch the campaigning done on Google. So far, it seems Clark (or perhaps his supporters) have embraced Google the most. A query for "Clark" yields a sponsored link at the top, no other candidates do this, not even Bush, additionally, there is a sponsored link on the right for Clark when you search for Gephardt and the link for Gephardt is a generic link for someone selling democratic campaign supplies for all candidates. Searching for Kucinich yields some more generic links not necessarily dedicated to Kucinich, which i find unfortunate, since he needs more attention, even if he has no chance of winning. Kerry yields nothing, not a damn thing, except the typical google search results. Sharpton has the most sponsored links, appropriately, for satire and such. Lieberman has nothing either.

Bush has nothing, but then again, why would he? Historically, he's shown that you don't need support from a majority to be elected President, and being the incumbent works to his advantage. Kind of makes me wonder why this already rich white illiterate drug-addicted draft-dodging warmongering liar needs so much money for his campaign this time? could it be because he's fucked up so badly that he needs to buy his way into the white house again?

Anyways, I hadn't intended on turning this into yet another Bush criticism, but it's hard not to do when i get on the subject.

After a lengthy conversation discussing a math problem with a friend, i realized it would be cool if there were an instant message client that supported TeX or MathML. seems like it would be reasonable to have an architecture to allow the user to run their conversation through a user defined filter, and then build MathML or TeX into that filter.

stevey: With the exception of the grid stuff, iChat does all of that. The contacts are integrated with the Address Book where yo ucan add all of that additional information and have contacts shared between groups. Unofrtunately (unless you have a mac) iChat is OS X-only, but i remember Trillian providing so much utility back when I used windows, i'm pretty sure it at least let you make aliases for your contacts.

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