The Gutenberg Printing Press: A Great Enabler of an Information Renaissance

Information Renaissance refers to the rebirth of information that made a significant impact on society. One example of an Information Renaissance was the invention of the printing press. It drastically changed how information was disseminated and affected culture. Before the printing press, all writing was done by hand. As most books were religious, scribes, who worked in monasteries, mainly wrote the copies of writing. If a family even had a book, it would mostly likely be a copy of the bible.

During the 1300s to 1400s, a basic way of printing was developed that involved letters or images cut on blocks of wood, then dipped in ink, and then stamped onto paper. Johann Gutenberg realized that if he could use cut blocks within a machine, the printing process could be a lot faster and he would be able to recreate texts in great numbers. His design used metal blocks instead of wood blocks and used movable type, since the metal block letters could be moved around to create new words and sentences. Using his new method, he produced a bible has his first printed book.

This invention greatly impacted the public. Printed texts allowed information to be spread quickly and cheaply to many people. With printed materials becoming wildly available, more people had a chance to read and become more educated. Politicians took advantage of this new technology, by getting pamphlets printed to share their platforms and academics could spread scholarly ideas more easily. Information became widely available because of this invention. The impact of the Gutenberg printing press created an Information Renaissance during that time. Information was disseminated faster and more easily than before the invention was made.


Learn Morse Code Without Trying: Studies of Haptic Passive Learning

One interesting article I recently came across described a study where participants learned Morse code in four hours without trying. This experiment was conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where participants would wear the Google Glass and without paying attention would play games while feeling the taps and hearing the corresponding letters. This past year I was told by a fellow classmate that Google Glass works by the wearer having vibrations sent to the bone behind your ear from the device. This is the same method that was used to have participants learn Morse code. The Glass was used in the study because it has both a built-in speaker and tapper (Glass’s bone-conduction transducer). With a very low-frequency of less than 15 Hz, the signal is played very slowly and the sound is felt as a vibration.

This study conducted at Georgia tech had impressive results. The group of participants with the Google Glass had a 94% accuracy rate keying a sentence that included every letter of the alphabet and a 98% accuracy rate when writing codes for every letter. The control group felt no vibration taps to learn the letters and were only accurate half the time.

A series of these studies in passive haptic learning (PHL) have been conducted at this university with similar positive results. The same method where these vibrations were being used when participants aren’t paying attention resulted with multiple skills being learned. Participants were taught Braille, how to play piano, and even improved hand sensation for those with partial spinal cord injury. A future study the leader researcher plans on is teaching people how to type on the QWERTY keyboard.

It’s interesting that a piece of technology used for entertainment has resulted in studies on passive haptic learning with positive results. The results of the experiment show that learning a new skill or form of communication can be done with this new technique. Some may say that Morse code is a dying form of communication, but it’s still interesting that people can learn it without trying.

Scientists teach people to learn Morse code in four hours without trying

When in Doubt, Cite!: Plagiarism Examples and Repercussions

Plagiarism is taking someone’s ideas or work and passing them off as your own. This can simply be paraphrasing or quoting an author without citing or as serious as submitting a work that is completely copied from another source. As a scientist, plagiarizing can have many negative outcomes; the biggest thing a scientist will lose is their credibility. If a scientist steals ideas from a colleague, there can be serious repercussions. I found two examples that show what can happen when a scientist is caught plagiarizing.

At Columbia University, Bengü Sezen had spent a decade manipulating and falsifying research data. Sezen was found guilty of 21 counts of misconduct, with at least nine papers found to contain plagiarism among other falsified and fabricated information. It is “likely that Columbia University will revoke her PhD” as a result of her deception.

At the University of Kansas, two computer scientists, Mahesh Visvanathan and Gerald Lushington, had published three articles with an international audience; later it was discovered that major portions of their research were plagiarized. They worked with the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, which “found them to be ignorant and complacent about plagiarism in their research program at KU.” This was an unlikely case where Visvanathan and Lushington were allowed to keep their jobs, but only under an agreement with the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, where KU has to carefully monitor the research that they put out in the next few years.

Plagiarism usually doesn’t end well, especially when you are caught plagiarizing as a professional. Students should be taught at a young age what plagiarizing means and how to avoid it. This way students can maintain good habits that they carry on through their education and career. When a student plagiarizes and gets caught, they can fail an assignment, fail a course, or get a warning. When scientists are caught plagiarizing, it can have very bad repercussions. It’s easy to find information on the Internet about scientists who have plagiarized. When it is discovered that they plagiarized, it will be harder for them to get employment or get grants to conduct for research. The best rule of thumb is that when in doubt about citing an idea, quote, or work from another author, it’s better to cite and give credit to the author.

CICS: My Perspective on the Program

The Center for Information and Communication Sciences is a graduate degree at Ball State University. In this program, students are taught professional, business skills and learn telecommunication and other technologies. This program can either be completed with a two-year track or an 11-month track. This program requires 38 credits to graduate: eight required and four elective classes.

Students are taught valuable skills that are desirable to employers in this field. Some companies that hire CICS graduates include Accenture, Orange, Lilly, IBM, and many more. CICS has a 93% job placement rate by graduation. The alumni support is very strong and many alumni are actively involved with the program. This program produces information and communication scientists who are problem solvers and can critical thinkers that work all over the globe.

CICS has many opportunities for students to interact with alumni and learn more about the field. CICS has a student social learning program where students are given the opportunity to learn different skills that are relevant in the business world with fellow students, alumni, and staff. Some examples include a golf outing, a career development day, a wine dinner, and a ski trip.

There are other opportunities for students to get involved in organizations. We have an IEEE student chapter and a Women Working in Technology organization that students can be involved with. Students can also work with faculty by assisting with various research projects.

Another important aspect of CICS is that a lot of the work that is required is done in groups. There are always people around you that can help and there are many people in the same situation as you. If parts in class are unclear, the faculty is willing to help you. I have found that study groups have been one of my best tools for understanding the new material in CICS. Even when the class load may be overwhelming, everyone is in it together. Finding support is essential to being successful in this program.

Paintings of the Renaissance: The Trends with Materials, Themes, and Techniques

The period of history between the 14th and 17th Century was the European Renaissance. The “Renaissance is seen as a period of rebirth from the dark ages of Europe to the more enlightened and progressive ages of Europe” and was associated with a wave of new artistic, scientific, an cultural achievements. I personally enjoyed the artwork that was produced during this period. Some of the better-known artists who excelled in painting were Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. (Unfortunately Donatello isn’t listed to complete the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gang, as the artist was primarily a sculptor.) The materials, themes, and techniques used connect the paintings in this time period.

Many Renaissance paintings were done as fresco, or “murals painted onto plaster walls.” Pigments were mixed with water and directly painted onto the wall for frescos. When painting on wood, some artists used tempera paints. Tempera paints are pigments that use egg yolk as a binder and dries very quickly. Near the end of the Renaissance in Northern Europe, especially in the Netherlands, oil paints were popular. With oil paints, the paint dries for evenly and the colors don’t bleed or get a yellowish tint that tempera paints sometimes end up with.

Many of the themes in Renaissance art revolved around Christianity. Many people in the Renaissance believed “people that were able to experience God directly and should have a personal, emotional relationship to their faith. God had made the world but humans were able to share in his glory bub coming creators themselves.” Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper depicts the last meal of Jesus with his disciples, and Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam depicts Adam being touched by God representing the personal nature of faith and the diving potential of man. Italians rediscovered the writings, philosophy, art, and architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans and artists were inspired by the days of antiquity. In Raphael’s School of Athens, philosophers Plato and Aristotle among other scholars are features in this painting.

Another way that Renaissance painting can be defined is by the techniques used in more realistic artwork. Perspective in Renaissance art was improved by adding three-dimensional depth and space to work using linear perspective, a horizon line, and a vanishing point. Artists also used shadows and light to direct the viewer’s eye to a particular part in the painting. Painters also wanted viewers to have an emotional experience from their work. This was accomplished by having the subjects in the paintings displaying real emotions, allowing the viewer to connect with what the depicted subjects were thinking and feeling. Renaissance artists also studied human anatomy and measured proportions to make their objects, especially people, look more realistic.

One way to highlight all of this is from a piece by Raphael. Art from the Byzantine period, like Madonna and Child on the Curved Throne, lacks the feeling of depth and space and Jesus as an infant looks like a miniature adult. Raphael’s Madonna del Cardellino depicts Mary, Christ, and John the Baptist and utilizes perspective, shows Mary with real expression on her face, and the babies look like babies, not miniature adults.


Facts about the Renaissance






Human Communication: Defined by its Elements

The McGraw Hill textbook on human communication defines it as “the process by which meaning is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior” (Harter et al., 2016). Although this is one textbook definition, there are other areas of human communication that can be incorporated to help define it. There are various categories that human communication can be broken down to help define it overall. These categories may include, but are not limited to, verbal and non-verbal communication, culture, and conversational components.

Verbal communication is one of the more common methods of human communication. When speaking to another person, information can be gathered from different components of speech. Some examples of the components of speech include emphasis, inflection, tone, pitch, amplitude, and syntax. Sounds, noises, and meaning can be interpreted without much difficulty due to verbal communication. Non-verbal cues are also important in human communication. When words cannot be said, the non-verbal methods of communication are used in interactions. Body language, facial expression, sexuality, gestures, actions, signs, and symbols are some common ways that humans can communicate without speaking. Often, more meaning can be interpreted from non-verbal cues in addition to verbal communication.

Culture encompasses a broad range of components of human communication. By understanding a culture, more can be conveyed when communication is being exchanged. Tradition, history, and heritage are the more pronounced areas of culture. The more vague, but equally important areas of culture include communication that is inferred and is subjective to the culture. Some examples of this kind of culture include gossip, humor, gender, and slang. By understanding different parts of a culture, intentions can become more obvious and messages can be less misinterpreted.

Lastly, the conversational components sum up the remaining aspects of human communication. These components encompass the broader ideas and parts that do not fit in the other categories. Some examples include ability, absence, presence, and silence. Even if human communication is broken down into categories and studied, it’s still difficult to define this concept simply, as it encompasses so much information. As stated in the McGraw Hill textbook, the important idea to understand about human communication is that it refers to the meaning that is exchanged between individuals. Its interpretation is a result of verbal and non-verbal communication, culture, and its conversational components. Overall, human communication cannot be defined easily, and definitely not by one simple sentence.