Due to the nature of the data analyzed this post contains strong language.
The pseudo-anonymous messaging app Yik Yak has been making waves in high schools and college communities for the last year, with officials and community claiming that the application promotes bullying and hate speech. In March of 2014, Dr. Keith Ablow wrote an opinion piece for Fox News stating that "Yik Yak is the most dangerous app [he'd] ever seen." SUNY Geneseo, a small rural college with a campus population near 5,000 students, has a burgeoning Yik Yak community with hundreds of users. Like other college campuses, Geneseo's campus is in the debating the social pros and cons to the type of anonymous forum that Yik Yak provides.
Regardless of the rhetoric and vitriol surrounding the app and cherry-picked examples to be lambasted by the media, very few people have put their money where their mouth is in terms of the content on Yik Yak. Is Yik Yak really as socially dangerous as Dr. Ablow would have people believe, or is it simply a diverse and vocal community like other social networks?Read more...
In a continuation of understanding models of life, one of the most interesting cellular automatons is a two dimensional "life-like" automaton. The first life-like automaton was created by John Conway in 1970, and was published in the October 1970 release of Scientific American. The intrigue that surrounds the automaton comes from the emergence and self-organization of highly complex patterns as the simulation evolves. As a result, these automata have attracted the interest of computer scientists, mathematicians, biologists, and physicists.
Let's examine the rules of Conway's cellular automaton and see if we can implement a simple life-like cellular automaton in python.Read more...
Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to create it. If I want to learn about an interesting subset of mathematics, eigenvalues perhaps, the explanation of the math can only go so far. I must let my pencil do the talking as I learn through construction. Programming is no different. So, when I became interested in cellular automata, I decided to make some examples of different types. Today, we can go over elementary automata.
Elementary automata are particularly interesting for two reasons:
With these two characteristics, elementary cellular automata have become a tool to explore emergence, chaos, and complexity in a non-linear system.Read more...
In preparation to some travel abroad to Ivrea, Italy, I decided that I needed a secure way to connect back to my server at college. SUNY Geneseo is kind enough to provide a Cisco IPSec VPN into their heavily firewalled network and, with a little work, we can VPN in without an issue.
Cisco provides a proprietary VPN client for users, however this application lacks official linux support, and remains unstable on Arch Linux. The open source community has created an alternative to the Cisco VPN client called the OpenConnect Client. Arch Linux has a package in the official repositories called openconnect To install, open a terminal and run
pacman -S openconnect
Once installed, we can configure and initialize a VPN instance using the
It has become commonplace for today's universities to release faculty evaluations to their students as a way to assist students in choosing classes. Recently, however, Yale decided that public access to this freely available information should not be allowed when they blocked university access to Yale Bluebook+, a student-made service to view faculty evaluations along with course registration information. At my alma mater, SUNY Geneseo, our faculty evaluation are obscured from view as non-searchable pdf files never to be seen by students again. As shown in Figure 1, this approach has consequences.
When students are unable to see the results of their evaluations, participation drops. When participation drops, the data become less valuable and the cycle continues. On the flip side, if the data were to become useful again -- as a metric for students to choose future professors, perhaps -- we could restore the worth of the SOFI data. My question is, what would happen if this data were to be place directly in the hands of the people who need it the most, exactly when they need it?Read more...