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Out with the old, in with the… old?

Posted by Ryan on September 2, 2016 in Transworld, Transworld Policy |

So my department lost a classroom.

Not physically lost, mind you. It’s still there (kind of). Rather, it was taken away from us, along with the other classrooms. Let me explain. Read more…

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CLaSIC 2014

Posted by Ryan on December 8, 2014 in Conferences |

Just got back from CLaSIC 2014 in Singapore. What a great conference! I highly recommend everyone go. It was very well organized, but much smaller and, thus, friendlier than I had imagined. It was also very nice to meet Dr. Michael Levy and Dr. Rod Ellis and listen to their keynote speeches.

If you are interested in my papers, the presentation can be downloaded here and the full paper can be downloaded here. They are also available on my Resume page under each respective section.

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And now a step backwards…

Posted by Ryan on November 16, 2014 in Technology, Transworld |

It is often customary when an item breaks to replace it with an item of similar functionality (a lateral transition) or an item of enhanced functionality (an advance). Not so in Taiwan, however, and not at TransWorld. Case in point: our old water machine.

I do not have a picture of the old water machine, but it looked much like other watch machines do: several buttons, two spigots, and the option of hot, warm, or cold water. I loved this, because I always drink cold water. Why Taiwanese like to drink warm/hot water is something I will never understand. I do, however, fully see the benefit of hot water for tea, coffee, noodles, etc, but I just don’t use it for drinking that often. I prefer cold.

However, I rarely got cold. Our water machine was old and often broken. When it wasn’t broken, the cold water would come out at 30+ degrees, the same as warm water. Finally, someone has done something about this, and we have a new water machine. HUZZAH!

New water machine

New water machine

Or, maybe not. You will notice right away the presence of all mentioned before: several buttons, two spigots and options for hot, warm, and… err… wait a minute. Hot, warm, and WARM?

Someone please explain the logic of this to me. Let’s keep in mind ONE THING; It is IMPOSSIBLE to use both spigots at the same time. I’ve tried.  No combination of button presses allows you to get water from both spigots at the same time, so why the hell is there no cold option? I cannot possibly get warm water out of both spigots at the same time, as if there was ever or will ever be such a need that we need that much warm water at once. So where has my cold water gone?

This is what I was talking about earlier. They could have made a lateral transition and gotten a water machine of similar functionality, but no. They didn’t even advance with better functionality. Instead, in true TransWorld style, they went BACKWARDS. They actually LOST functionality, because now we don’t even have the option of getting cold water. What’s more – they PAID to lose functionality. TransWorld at its best.

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How to read a scholarly paper + literature review matrix

Posted by Ryan on November 15, 2014 in Learning |

Last night, I came across a great paper by S. Keshav entitled “How to read a paper.” It’s freely available on his website (http://blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/keshav/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) in (http://blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/keshav/home/Papers/data/07/paper-reading.pdf). I highly recommend you read it – it’s only two pages, but offers a great methodology to approaching the art of reading scholarly articles.

At some point, another person, Iain McLean (http://www.psychologyinc.org/), created a literature review matrix to go along with Keshav’s paper. That is also available on Keshav’s website (http://blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/keshav/home/Papers/data/07/paper_review_matrix.pdf). Both are a great resource to every academic.

However, I found the quality of the literature review matrix to be lacking, so I made my own. It’s the same format as Iain’s, but much higher quality and with more space for writing. I’ve also added a space for the publication year. I’m making it freely available here for anyone to download and use as you see fit. If you have any recommendations for how to improve it, I welcome your comments and can easily make it a “living document” much like Keshav’s article.

Download the literature review matrix here!

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How learning a new language changes your brain – at any age

Posted by Ryan on November 15, 2014 in Learning |

This new research from Penn State University shows us that learning a second language strengthens your brain by increasing the integration of your brain network, increasing the density of gray matter, and strengthening white matter.

http://news.psu.edu/story/334349/2014/11/12/research/learning-languages-workout-brains-both-young-and-old

Read more…

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