21 February 2013

the energy challenge.

Next time you flip the switch, turn the dial, or clap your hands to turn on the light, think about the origin of electricity. Where does electricity come from? If you took it upon yourself to seek the truth via Google or if the answer was a no-brainer, then pat yourself on the back because some people believe that electricity comes from the wall. Blogger may be the wrong social medium, but #literallynotjoking #knowledgeispower #justsayin

The condensed answer: electricity can be derived from a variety of energy sources. Commonly, power plants in the United States burn coal, oil, and natural gas (fossil fuels). The combustion of fossil fuels causes an exothermic chemical reaction to release heat. A boiler converts this heat energy into high-pressure steam for turbines to create mechanical energy. Finally, generators use the mechanical energy to produce electrical energy.

Around this time last year, while I was conquering the final academic semester, one of my professors offered me the opportunity to initiate a challenge. Along with my fellow colleagues, we developed the first student-derived, student-taught, general education course at James Madison University. I'm not an expert of energy, but I am a proud graduate of JMU who believes in sustainability and pursues environmental stewardship. Read about me and my green friends --> ISAT students to teach class challenging their peers to save energy.

26 January 2013

the worthiness of being random.

Hello world!

Today I was asked to explain the meaning of randomness in statistics. The textbook definition that my brain forced out of my mouth reinforced that I know why. Although the question was answered precisely, the lack of understanding why didn't sit too well with my inquisitive nature. Instead of just knowing, I love the satisfaction of understanding things! So why is randomness important to understand in statistics?

In statistics, random selection is crucial because it's like a shield that protects us from unwanted biases or influences. Before the cards are dealt for a nice game of Go Fish, the deck is shuffled so that no player can guess which cards they'll receive. Don't like Go Fish? Think of the lottery! We know the possible values that may be picked, but they are randomly picked so that no player has an advantage. Randomness is essential and most important to keep things fair. I came across an awesome quote from a post titled Random Thoughts on Stats Made Easy.
Designing an experiment is like gambling with the devil: only a random strategy can defeat all his betting systems. -- R.A. Fisher

22 January 2013

true words.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. 
I'm a bit late with this post, but these words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will always be relevant. As a national icon in our history, King led the African-American Civil Rights Movement and fought for what is right.

He supported equality among people and promoted nonviolent civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man and we have him to thank for the progress we've made towards equality and a better world.

I love this quote because it's a beautiful reminder that we must continuously improve ourselves. Whether it is learning in class, or at a job, or about yourself and others, learning is a life-long process that can only improve the quality of life.