Category Archives: conceptexperience

Conceptual Network

Life happens. We evolved from single-celled bacteria into bipedal mammals and we dominate the world today with our big brains and unparalleled intelligence. This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society. Science has provided the swiftest communication between individuals; it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual.

How did we survive without knowing what everyone is up to at all times? These connections stood out to me because I love social media but I really need to stop reaching for my phone all the time. Man-computer symbiosis is an expected development in cooperative interaction between men and electronic computers. Nowadays the “final frontier” seems to be creating a machine that is at least as smart as ourselves, and maybe even smarter.  We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human “feel for a situation” usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. With that being said, Licklider’s vision has been fulfilled.

This assignment really got me thinking on a completely different level. “The question is not, ‘What is the answer?’ The question is, ‘What is the question?'” I started off knowing the answer to my search, but I ended up with something so much deeper that the obvious. It’s hard to translate inquisitive, “mind” questions to “Google” questions, especially when we are so used to having Google complete our questions for us.  If my computer had known exactly what I was asking I could have gotten a better answer. But my failure at reproducing perfection taught me a very useful lesson: to lower my expectations. My brain never stops thinking.  It always amazes me how my brain works on solving problems when I’m not even aware of them. Vannevar Bush would certainly approve!

It saddens me to think that, just as you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, we can expand our human knowledge as much as we want, but it is up to individuals to be interested in it. I personally don’t believe Google is making us stupid, perhaps just a bit lazy? Since I am not from the United States, I’m always interested in learning tidbits of American culture whenever I can. By learning more about our country and its culture I start to think of myself as a part of it and not just an observer. As you read and find the answers to a question you automatically find new and different information that leads you to many other questions. As a researcher I learned that the more interested I am in the subject, the more diligent I am in capturing the full picture.

I’m still relying on good ol’ pen and paper to take notes, because I feel retain information better that way – and science agrees with me.  It’s full-blown utopia, of course, because the real world is nothing like that.


Analyzing the Obvious

Obvious statement: ice is cold.

Question: Why is ice cold?

Here’s a screenshot of my search:

I started with a pretty obvious statement that led me to an interesting answer: ice is “not really” cold but it feels cold to our human touch because of our body temperature. This response made me wonder if there’s a species to which ice does not feel is cold as to humans. I googled “does ice feel cold to all animals” and the answer is “it depends.” Some animals, like seals, sea lions and walruses have physiological adaptations to cold climates, while others have behavioral adaptations, like whales and dolphins. However, I feel like the answer I got didn’t really answer my question, but I imagine is pretty hard for scientists to figure out what a nonverbal animal is feeling.

Maybe I didn’t get the answer I was looking for because the verb “feel” is very ambiguous and I should have found a better way to ask that question. It’s hard to translate inquisitive, “mind” questions to “Google” questions, especially when we are so used to having Google complete our questions for us. I feel that, the longer and more subjective a question is, the least helpful/straightforward will the answers be. In a way that’s good because it encourages me to research and read more, but on the other hand it takes a lot of time.

Still under the same question I clicked on an article that explained why dogs’ paws don’t freeze when they walk on ice or snow. According to the article, dogs have a lot of fat on their paws that helps insulate heat in their bodies, and they also have a special adaptation called a “counter-current heat exchange system.” Basically, the arteries leading blood to the paws are surrounded by veins, that bring the blood back to the heart. The heat contained in the arterial blood emanates to the neighboring veins, thus making it slightly warmer as it would be if this network was not in place. However, the article explains that domestic dogs may lose this adaptation to cold due to living in heated houses with their humans, so owners should take special precautions to make sure their dogs don’t suffer when taking walks in the winter.

Learning this about domestic dogs made me wonder if people living in different environments have different reactions to cold weather. I googled “do some people feel colder than others” and the Cliff notes version is yes, some people are naturally inclined to feel colder than others in the same environment. But again that’s not I meant to get at with my question. I wanted to know if someone from Costa Rica would feel colder in the same room as someone from Norway, for example. I just didn’t know how to formulate this question. I felt compelled to simplify my question as much as possible to get a lot of possible responses from Google, but then I got none that answered my question. Of course, it’s my own fault for not being clearer and more specific, but I feel that Google should have predicted what I really  meant because, well, that’s what it does!

The reason I wanted to know if someone from a warmer climate would feel colder than someone from a colder climate is because I used to feel a lot colder when I first moved to the US but now I have “adapted.” I don’t need 6 layers of clothes in the winter anymore, only 4. So I changed my question and googled “can humans adapt to cold weather.”  Well, of course we can because we have already. The Inuits live in one of the worst climates and they’re still kickin’ it under their fur coats. But the long article I ended up reading didn’t really answer my question, because I meant adaptation on an individual level and not a population level. I should’ve known better because obviously no research is done on a single subject, duh.

What I learned from this experience is that 1) I need to ask more specific questions; 2) I need to be more patient when looking for answers, and 3) I need to be able to interpret general answers to my own experience if I am to get a straight answer that means something to me. Unfortunately we do not have full “man-computer symbiosis” yet, because if we did I think my search would have been more complete and straightforward. If my computer had known exactly what I was asking I could have gotten a better answer. But for now I’ll need to work on research skills to get more out of Google.

How it feels when I think

I think constantly. It is sometimes even hard to concentrate  because I am thinking about so many things all at once. I feel like sometimes I drown in my own thoughts, and sometimes I feel like I can’t come up with any thoughts to save my life. It all depends on the day and mood I’m in. I think there is a huge difference in the way humans and computers “think.” Computers are meticulous and have been programmed to function a certain way. While there may be a similarity between humans being taught how to act by their parents and programmed computers, I think that’s where the similarities end. We, as humans, feel emotions and act on impulse and think freely. I definitely know that I am an emotional thinker, and my heart and mind are connected at all times. Humans are empathetic and have the ability to sympathize with others, something computers cannot do. I do not believe there could even be a way to program computers to do that without it ending like some crazy action movie with robots taking over the world.


Two of a Kind -Concept experience 3

I weaved through several peer related blogs and discovered two interesting and attractive posts. Hannah Vester’s associative trails post herself apart, she visited a few sites(
) about problematic issues associated with Donald Trump. I’m an African American male and these potential allegations, some good and bad are not in my favor. I think this is why I was particularly drawn to her relatable post. Hannah expressed the same frustrations I’ve felt when encountering bigotry, ‘I felt like my IQ was dropping.'(Vestor). Next, I explored Hosna’s associative trails post, very interesting. Hosna’s exquisitely mapped his randomness ‘since it starts with digital media and ends with the FDC.'(hosna). Something I experienced as well, initially with digital media, intermediately with Ted Bundy(sicko) and finally at fire worship.

Hannah Vester



Concept Experience 3

After looking through and reading everyone’s blog post on Associative Trails, I found that my post was similar to Insight,Opinions,Me…. We both start off with social or digital media and then we searched and chose our links by clicking on what we had the most interest in. For example after starting off with digital media she clicked on different interest like Avatar, Trojan War, and Helen of Troy.  She has a passion for history which is what determined the links she chose. Its similar to mine because even though I started off with social media, I clicked on things like Apple Inc, Ford Motor Company, trucks, and then several topics relating to sports because even though I do enjoy social media and things relating to technology, I also have a passion for sports.

I found similarities in kdurante and hosna’s posts because they both also start off with digital and social media. Not only are they similar because they chose topics that interests them; they both ended with topics that deal with the career or future they plan to work with. kdurante ended with dentistry and she plans to do something in that field. Hosna plans to join the Peace Corps, and as stated in her post the topics she chose like FDC and refugees have something to do with what she plans to do in the future.


Connect Colleagues Concept Experience

I choose Jaffeywang’s blog and Insight, Opinions, Me’s blog for this assignment. Their associative trails and reflections suggest that one is driven by her predetermined topic while the other is “free spirit”, who went with the flow. With such distinct motive,  even though they both started off with very similar key words, their final hits ended up way different than the other. As Jaffey is more focused on security issues of the social media, the author of Insight, Opinions, Me’s blog is more passion in history. However, they both share interest on the virtuality (virtual community, virtual self) at first before their paths started to split up.

Concept Experience 3

These two bloggers have started their search with “social media” but what they found during it ended up being completely different. Hector‘s search had several links related to entertainment: football, soccer, pickup trucks, and Facebook. On the other hand, Khanh’s trail focused on more serious topics like internet addiction, personality disorders and mental disorders. Notice I say “focused” because this author meant to make her search about the negative side of social media from the beginning, as she mentions on her post.

Concept Experience 3

These connections stood out to me because I love social media but I really need to stop reaching for my phone all the time. The “Fear of Missing Out” is real. And I notice this behavior on others around me all the time as well. How did we survive without knowing what everyone is up to at all times? And, most importantly, do we really need to? Sure, social media can be a great source of entertainment, just like sports are. But we can also become addicted to it and lose focus of what really matters, like paying attention to your family and friends who are sitting next to you (and not to your middle school acquaintance who just posted a great pic on Instagram). As with anything in life, social media should be used in moderation.

Concept Experience 3

Associative Trails

Here’s my associative trail with some screenshots I found interesting (I’ve circled the passages I liked in red):

Yik Yak –

Erodr –

University of Missouri –

Tennessee Williams –

Vivien Leigh –

Associative Trails

Gone with the Wind (book) –

Southern Belle (archetype) –

Associative Trails

Southern Hospitality –

Minnesota Nice –

Seattle Freeze –

I started with Yik Yak because I use this app a lot. As a nontraditional student, reading what other people from VCU are talking about makes me feel more in the loop of college life. Reading more about Yik Yak on Wikipedia I found out the bots on the app actually downvote posts that mention their competitors, and one of them is Erodr. I had never heard of this app before, so I clicked and read more about how its creators met at the University of Missouri (UM). VCU is a an urban school so I’m always interested in how life is on schools that are more isolated, so I went to the UM page, which had a long list of their famous alumni. Among them is Tennessee Williams, the famous playwright. I remember reading A Street Car Named Desire some years ago in a theater class, so my familiarity with the author is probably what led me to click on his page. He had an interesting but tragic life. I was surprised to read he was gay – I can only imagine what it was like to be gay when he was alive.

One of William’s best known plays is A Street Car Named Desire, and the movie adaptation had Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois. I haven’t watched a whole lot of classical movies, but I’ve heard of Leigh so I went on to her article. She was considered a great actress, trained in one of the best acting schools in England, but she resented that most critics only saw her for her beauty (the woes of the privileged). She won an Oscar for her portrayal of Scarlett O’hara on the screen adaptation of Gone with the Wind. I’ve never seen this movie or read the book, so I was curious to read what happens in it. Scarlett was a “Southern Belle,” and I hear this phrase a lot these days but I was curious to its original meaning. Some people have very strong opinions on Southern Belles as you can see on the screenshot above. Since I am not from the United States, I’m always interested in learning tidbits of American culture whenever I can. That’s what led me to read more about Southern hospitality (which I think is totally fake, but ok), and the so-called Minnesota nice and the Seattle Freeze. It’s funny how stereotypes get popular like that. I can’t say if there’s any truth to it because I’ve never been to Seattle or Minnesota, though.

I found it interesting that my search stayed more or less confined to the South of the United States, as if my wandering through Wikipedia had a theme to it. Yik Yak is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and from its page I ventured through other pages that were related to the South in some form or another, with the exception of the last two. I can’t say I was 100% responsible for my choices to go to these pages, because I had to click on links that had been made available to me by Wikipedia. But I still had some choice on the matter, because some of these articles were really long and had several links on them. I followed my interest of learning more about parts of the American culture I am not familiar with yet. If you think about it, my initial page had this tone too: I am not a traditional American college student, but I still want to know what they talk about, how they think, what interests them. By learning more about our country and its culture I start to think of myself as a part of it and not just an observer.

“Associative trails” concept experience 2

Topic Question: How secure are people on social media?

Starting word: Social media


  1. social media 
  2. virtual community
  3. social networking service
  4. computer security
  5. secure by design
  6. sandbox (computer security)
  7. web browser
  8. private network
  9. anycast
  10. packet drop attack


“Associative trails” concept experience 2



From social media ends up with packet drop attack. All these researches stay on the trail which I want them to be. Wikipedia provide too much information. It’s really easy to get lost and ends up on a random picture which has nothing to do with the topic.

I keep my research topic in mind when I am choosing the link. However, I didn’t click on the link which I already knew because I want to learn more concepts which I’ve ever heard of or think of, but it still provide a variety of information.

I think these links show how I think and how I follow my topic questions. The last link I end up is a totally new term to me. I even looked it up in Chinese before I clicked on it to better understand what it means. It’s a pretty good ending because I can see the connection between “packet drop attack” and my original question. It does surprise me just because the meaning of this term. If it’s not the computer and the Wikipedia. I think i won’t never think of “packet drop attack”. It makes feel like that the social media is not secure in any ways.

I think the computer was in charge of exploration but i was in charge of the computer. The computer provides me information and i get to choose which information i’m going use. It’s like the computer gives me many options about the topic and I put it in order to become an outline. Now I found a better way to use Wikipedia.

How It Feels To Think

I’ve always found it very interesting that a thought cannot be measured. This concept was brought to my attention by one of my favorite wacky scientists, Terence McKenna. We know it’s there because we can experience it.  We can’t transfer thoughts between brains, but a brain can create its own thought based on the original. Our thoughts have an internalized affect on our body, and can have an external affect through movement and speech. Thoughts do not feel made, but discovered. Thinking feels like exploration, like stumbling upon a new place. Terence McKenna also said that if you can imagine it, it must have existed at some time in some place. I’m sure that statement will never be proven, but it has stuck with me all the same.

(an illustration of a few thoughts)