Friday, March 18, 2016

Spanish and Music

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today's topics are Spanish and Classical Music.


The verb Ser (to be) is a basic example of an irregular verb. Most verbs, when conjugated, follow a certain set of rules. However, a handful of verbs (including Ser) are irregular, meaning that they don't follow these rules. Ser is conjugated like this: 

  • Yo (I)  Soy (Am)
  • Tú (informal "You")  Eres (Are)
  • Usted (formal "You")/Èl (He)/Ella (She) → Es (Is)
  • Nosotros (all-boy/mixed-gender "We")/Nosotras (all-girl "We") Somos (Are)
  • Vosotros(informal all-boy/mixed-gender "You guys")/Vosotras (all-girl "You guys") → Saís (Are)
  • Ustedes(formal "You guys")/Ellos (all-boy/mixed-gender "They")/Ellas (all-girl "They") → Son (Are)


Everyone's heard of Johann Sebastian (J.S.) Bach, right? But does everyone know that the Bach family was a musical dynasty of sorts? It's true! Also, J.S. Bach was thrown in jail for a whole month merely for trying to quit his job. Back in the Baroque period, it was illegal for someone to quit a job without their boss's permission. So when Bach got a job offer as Kapellmeister (a very prestigious musical job) in Cöthen, he needed to quit his original job. However, the time was worth it, because his salary doubled.

Most people may not have heard of Vivaldi's "Spring" Concerto by name. Once they hear the "ba-ba-ba-ba-bada-da" of the introduction, though, chances are they will recognize it. Vivaldi, composer of over 450 concertos, may not be a household name like Beethoven or even Bach, however, he is a oldie but goodie.

Thank you for tuning in to School Stories, and I hope to see you again soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

All About Game Theory

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today's topic is my newest course (and the reason I didn't post Tuesday & Wednesday).


My newest course is Welcome to Game Theory from University of Tokyo. Taught by Michihiro Kandori, this course does NOT focus on video games, which I originally thought it was. In fact, game theory doesn't even include video games. Game theory is the process of using a mathematical model to turn a game-like situation into a game in order to see all the possible outcomes. According to game theory, a "game" is anything that what's best for 1 person/group depends on what the other person/group does. Some examples of this are politics, poker, and traffic control. Game theory also has found uses in:

  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
Poker demonstrates game theory, so roulette gambling does too, right? Wrong. Roulette gambling has a machine, so one player's actions are definiteAccording to Professor Kandori, things have to meet 3 requirements in order to be made into games:
  1. Who are the players?
  2. What possible strategies can the players take?
  3. What is the payoff (reward) of each strategy?
Requirement #1 is pretty straightforward, since you just need to identify the participants in the "game"; for example, Democrats and Republicans. Requirement #2 is more complex, because each player has a range of choices. Each player's strategies make up that player's "strategy set". Finally, Requirement #3 returns to being straightforward, because the payoff is the reward; for example, the presidency of the United States.

Thank you for viewing this edition of School Stories, and I hope to see you again!

Monday, March 14, 2016

I'm back to my blog!

Hello and welcome back to my blog. I am sorry I have been away. I was taking another English course until recently. I was taking  Introduction to Essay Writing through UC Irvine and just finished this course. Because I had multiple essays for Essay Writing, I took a break from my blog. I am happy to say that I got an A in my Essay Writing course!

This post is all about the latest courses I have been taking since my last post. Now that I am done with my other writing courses, I will be blogging every day once more.


The first course we will be talking about today is my Genetics class. It is called Introduction to Genetics and Evolution from Duke University, taught by Professor Mohammed Noor. Let's talk about DNA and RNA bonds. In DNA and RNA, there are 4 different nucleotides, which are basically just pieces of the strand. They all have specific bonds. For example, nucleotide A always bonds with nucleotide T in DNA, while A only bonds with nucleotide U in RNA. Nucleotide C only bonds with nucleotide G and vice versa in both DNA and RNA. Nucleotide T is specifically found only in DNA, while nucleotide U is only found in RNA. The other nucleotides - A, C and G - are found both in DNA and RNA. More from genetics in another post.


Next up, let's talk about my Greek and Roman Mythology class. This is from the University of Pennsylvania and is taught by Professor Peter Struck. In the course, the professor often introduces rules that he calls Universal Laws that pretty much hold true across all of antiquity. By antiquity, I mean the time of Ancient Greece. When I talk about these Universal Laws, I will introduce the law an explain what I think it means. Comments as to what YOU think the Universal Laws mean are always welcome. 

Without further adieu, here is Universal Law #1:

Nostalgia is the most powerful force in the universe. This Universal Law was introduced in the course when the professor was discussing what exactly myth means. I believe that what he meant is that memories often get clouded and oftentimes when these memories get clouded, we misremember things and make these falsehoods become true. As I said earlier, what you think this law means would  make an excellent topic for a comment, so please, feel free!


This course, offered through Emory University is taught by Dr. Bernard Lafayette, who is a prominent Civil Rights Activist. I just completed this one with a final grade of 90.0% (90). Throughout the course, they consistently reiterated the concept that when faced with a potentially hostile situation, respond with peace and love. 

This idea is further enforced when Dr. Lafayette gives an example of an all-night sit in at a lunch counter. The owner of the shop locked the doors and locked the protesters inside. This was a place that was supposedly opened 24 hours, so it was where cab drivers went to get their coffee. Since the doors were locked and nobody could get in or out, the cab drivers had to wait to get the coffee, hence being delayed in doing their work. Eventually, there were 13 cab driver lined up in their cars sitting and waiting for their coffee. When it became clear the owner would let the protesters out but not back in, the group nominated Dr. Lafayette to go out to the phone booth for people to come and pick them up. When in the middle of the call, one of the cab drivers came up to the telephone booth, ripped Dr. Lafayette out with force and took turns with his dozen friends punching him, kicking him and beating him up in general.

Dr. Lafayette did not strike back. When they finished, he dusted his shirt off and said, "Gentlemen, I have a call to make." He went and tried to finish his call and the police came. They arrested the cab drivers, but they also arrested Dr Lafayette. The two officers who went to respond to the call were arguing whether or not to arrest him. One said that Dr. Lafayette should be arrested for fighting. The other officer said he should not be arrested because he did nothing wrong. They argued for a bit and decided to take Dr. Lafayette to the jail house. However, he was released the next day because they interviewed the witnesses and it was clear that Dr. Lafayette had not laid a finger on the cab drivers. He was released and the cab drivers were left in the jail house.


I also just finished What is News?, a journalism course offered through Michigan State University. It was taught by multiple professors from the Michigan State School of Information. What I will be discussing with you today is sensationalism and propaganda. 

Sensationalism is making one event seem much bigger than it actually it is. One example would be having a pin drop being a front page story. It does attract readers or viewers, however, this lowers accuracy and diminishes your reputation. It can be useful if you are searching for getting clicks. However, a good news site would never just go for clicks.

Another more extreme form of sensationalism is propaganda. Propaganda is often used by politicians and in times of conflict. It is often biased and one sided information used to persuade or dissuade people toward or against certain things. Propaganda is often used during elections. We have seen it in the 2016 election season. It is used by politicians or allies of politicians to either cast someone in a good light or the opponent in a negative light. For example, if Donald Trump were to put out something saying "Hillary Clinton can't follow rules with emails, why should we trust her to become president?" This would be putting Hillary in a negative light without giving all the details. That is another one of propaganda's key traits - not giving the whole story.


We will be discussing my Classical music class and my Spanish class. Until then, goodbye and have a good day!