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Depression, loss of aid spurs dropping out
Source: http://www.610wiod.com/cc-common/seasonal/health/sub.html?feed=104679&article=8207334

WIOD 6.10 is a news radio station in south Florida and they recently talked about how depression and lack of financial aid may be the reason for 40% of college students “fail to graduate” in 6 years. According to this article, the study has a mathematical model that analyzed 1158 freshmen surveys that listed crucial events, or “shocks,” and asked if any of these events had occurred. Then, the students were asked if they planned to leave college.

The study conducted by Pleskac and Keeney looks at possible reasons as to why college students would withdraw from college. They believe that a “shock,” something out of the everyday life, can influence a student’s desire to withdraw and they measure this by indexing how sensitive the students are to such events. Four paths are considered when looking at intent to withdraw and if and when certain “shocks” took place.

The radio station handled referencing the study somewhat efficiently but poorly. A mathematical model was briefly mentioned but nothing was really said as to how the connections were made, probably because the general public would either have no interest or know little as to how to interpret said model. So while the methods were used accurately as they could have been for a given audience, the conclusions were not sound and consistent with what was being reported.

This may be a semantics issue, but the article talked about the study looking at why students fail to graduate in six years. This concerns an issue with both the reference and the study itself. The study is based off of a statistic from the National Center for Education “that in 2007, only 57% of bachelor’s or equivalent degree-seekers who began college in 2001 had within six years graduated from that same college” (Pleskac & Keeney, 2010, p. 1), which reflects only those that remain at the same university for their bachelor’s degree, rather than all students who are seeking a degree. Furthermore, it is later revealed in the study that withdrawing from a university, which is their focus, also includes those that leave to transfer to another university. So while the study may not be flawed, since it is just looking at why students choose to leave the universities and stated such, the reference connects it more to graduation rather than originally implied. Transferring may negatively affect graduation rate but the study did not implicitly state such things as part of their conclusion.

That being said, it may have been beneficial to see what the future educational plans are for the students that did fall in the group of students that were leaving that university. For those that transferred or left, did they come back or graduate on time at the new university? The researchers did try their best to get individual insight with their surveys, with actual positive enforcement for completing the survey, but without any comments to the five-point-scale, it is hard to actually correlate how exactly the events impacted the desire to withdraw. There is a chance that the desire or need to leave is what caused some of the events to occur, such as depression. It is also possible that a third factor caused both to occur simultaneously, showing nothing but correlation between the “shocks” and the intent to withdraw.

An issue with the procedure of the actual study could be the result of keeping one of the “shocks” gender-specific. While pregnancy affects the life of a female more directly, it could also affect a male in the sense that he has custody or has or wants to take care of the child. The statement should have been kept there for males who had that “shock” as well, even though not physically, but emotionally or financially. Also, throughout the study, there was a “probably 1” that was being mentioned, which could mean 100% probability but it was unclear exactly how to interpret that phrase. Otherwise, considering that it was a behavioral study and not a controlled experiment, this study seems to have used most statistical methods well.

Seeing it has yet to be published in the Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes journal, I am referencing the actual paper that is available from the university website:
Pleskac, T., & Keeney, J. (2010). A detection model of college withdrawal. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Retrieved from https://www.msu.edu/~pleskact/research/papers/shockdetection_pleskac_fandre_etal_20100616.pdf

What the reference would look like if I referenced the in-press article:
Timothy J. Pleskac, Jessica Keeney, Stephanie M. Merritt, Neal Schmitt, Frederick L. Oswald, A detection model of college withdrawal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 13 January 2011, ISSN 0749-5978, DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2010.12.001. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WP2-51XWW3K-1/2/27bf72334a93c62ed254d9f941ef4f72)
Current Music: TV On The Radio – “Will Do”
 Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=mediation-correlated-with-structura-11-01-22
60-second Mind is a periodical podcast from Scientific American that briefly mentions psychological studies or research relating to the mind. In this episode, they went over a study done at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where 16 individuals had their brains scanned (MRI) 2 weeks before and after an 8-week meditation course. There were 8 weekly meetings that lasted 2.5 hours each, and then one full day during week 6. There was also a control group of 17 that was scanned twice as well, but the difference in the two scans was 2 months for them. They noticed that in the group of individuals who attended the course, there was an increase in gray matter density in specific regions of the brain.
The Scientific American podcast/article handled referencing the study well. For the most part, the methods were used accurately and the conclusions were sound and consistent with what was being reported. When looking at the statistical methods, there was little done to acknowledge the gender or age differences in the groups. While they tried to keep the focus on just the course enrollment and the changes in brain density, other factors could have played a role and it would have been nice to see that somewhat considered. They had criteria for only accepting new or beginning meditators but since this study is about the role of meditation, it may have been beneficial to see if this course affected certain level of meditators more than others. Also, this podcast episode/article talked about the practice being roughly 30 minutes per day but that can suggest that it was not through a course but on personal motivation. If it comes off as less structured, it could imply that if you just meditate at least 30 minutes per day, you could potentially increase your brain matter overtime, which may or may not be the case. The study itself had meetings that lasted 2.5 hours each and after averaging the homework time and the course time, that’s how 27 minutes was calculated.
When looking at the study itself, could it be the meditation course structure rather than meditation alone that actually increased gray matter? Everyone participating had a much more rigid schedule with the course and so the mere act of meditation does not seem like the focus of brain changes. If the changes are directly caused by meditation alone, would this change in gray matter be consistent if meditation was to increase or would it vary and the size of insulan would increase if one meditated for years? I wish more was mentioned about the control group and why they had, what seemed like, a decrease in posterior cingulated cortex.
The actual study referenced:
Britta K. Holzel, James Carmody, Mark Vangel, Christina Congleton, Sita M. Yerramsetti, Tim Gard, Sara W. Lazar, Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density, Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, Volume 191, Issue 1, 30 January 2011, Pages 36-43, ISSN 0925-4927, DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006.
21 November 2010 @ 10:07 pm
Jimmy: Did you just say mind-bottling?
Chazz: Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?

It's still mind-boggling that I know some who are offended by gender inequality when it comes to females but still criticize men for not being "manly" enough. It's not gender equality unless you treat BOTH genders equally. By putting down men for being "feminine," it's just as bad as the situations that upset you guys concerning women. It wasn't until this weekend that the whole thing started bugging me. I appreciate the whole women power feeling we have in common but I've also started to realize the difference in our views concerning men... and not to mention, sometimes I just don't feel as superficial and it's hard to feel like I'm part of the group when I just want to argue the other side because I truly can't agree. Gosh, this really makes me think of Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy.

Technically, one could argue that both genders are being treated the same, since in a girl or a guy, femininity is bad and weak and masculinity is better. Well, I guess I have a problem with it because I hear a lot more criticism concerning men than women despite the so-called equality of putting down femininity all together. Plus, I do feel that emotions are a human trait. I just am personally uncomfortable with too many emotions, especially in public. I personally believe some things should just depend more on the situation, location, and surrounding group. That's all personal though. I don't want to correlate emotions with a gender though, because then it just continues the idea that women are supposed to be known to be the nurturing/loving/more emotional gender, since men are put down for showing "feminine" traits as either being "weak" or "gay." Ugh. 

I guess I still have yet to get completely understand wanting to be one gender or another because in my head, I want the genders to combine and just be one. Plus, I realize that some things I find normal for girls is just because I am way too used to seeing it with girls... and that alone bothers me. It's just harder to accept guys doing certain things, and girls doing certain guy-only things, when I keep thinking in two distinct genders. When I think of everyone as just people, it seems a lot more natural. If I want to wear something, I tend to think of its feminine or masculine, but then I divert my thinking to if it's form-fitting or if it's loose and tend to focus on just that aspect. With the issue of emotions, I tend to just personalize the whole experience or generalize it but once again, feel both genders should be allowed to experience the same range. If I mostly feel anger/frustration, that does not make me any less of a woman. If a guy feels sadness/love, that does not make him any less of a man. Either way, yay for another rant on gender-related issues.

Oh, and this is slightly a random thing but how creepy is it that guys can just, literally, creep up on you while at a dance club?! I mean, if a girl did that, it'd probably be seen as stalkerish or actually creepy, but because it's a guy doing it, it's somewhat normal or less creepy? Girls actually look forward to this happening? Really?! I mean, it's amusing see this happen, as if it's like a show on animal planet, but wow. Just wow. Way too funny.

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Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Stars - We Don't Want Your Body | Powered by Last.fm
12 November 2010 @ 08:23 pm
It bothers me how much of a role sexuality plays but it really bothers me how heteronormative our society is. Somehow it's dating if you hang out with the opposite sex alone but it's just friendship when you're with the same sex? What bothers me more about this is how in a sense you sort of have to lay yourself out sexuality-wise to state an interest. Some people just easily come off heterosexual/homosexual but in order to like someone other than how you come off, you have to show that you really do like people of that sex.

I think that's why I always hated labels, because people tend to box you into that. Why can't someone easily like a girl at one point and a guy another point, despite really just having a preference? I realize that may be naive but whatever. Then again, I am sure me being raised a girl probably makes me more likely to accept such possiblies, since girls are sort of taught to be more comfortable with each other and not think twice about different behavior, unless it's from a guy and then all hell breaks loose.

The point of this was how some guys are more comfortable hanging out with a girl if she seems more like a lesbian (from either masculine traits or lack of apparent feminine traits, or even lack of hetereosexual-based discussions?) but there is a small chance she could like them if she comes off straight? It's like how as children, you rarely hear of kids of the same sex "possibly liking you" based on insults or attacks but oh yeah, that guy or girl (opposite sex) probably likes you because s/he keeps hitting you. Why is it hitting on someone when you're just joking around and they happen to be the opposite sex? I realize that's why some people are not comfortable with same sex homosexual friends, because if they like the same sex, they may possibly like me! Of course, because every hetereosexual guy/girl likes every other girl/guy, respectively.

The more I think about sexuality, relationships, and dating, the more I wish I never liked anyone.Here's something though... just because I like someone does not mean I want to be with them. It could just mean that I like them like I like my friends, except I may find them emotionally or physically attractive too... big woop. I just had this rant in me that I had to let out.

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Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: INXS - New Sensation | Powered by Last.fm
06 September 2010 @ 11:45 am
 Here’s a fun and surprisingly accurate (a la Cosmo Quiz) test of your personality and morality. Read the following story and then rank Robin, Maid Marion, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John from most to least moral. Then check the interpretation below to discover your innermost personality secrets.

The sheriff of Nottingham has finally caught Robin Hood and Little John! Instead of killing them immediately, he makes the mistake of all storybook villains in simply stashing them in the dungeon. Despite their track record of heroics, there the two benevolent outlaws rot–until Maid Marion shows up pleading her love for Robin and begging for his release. Sure, says the Sheriff, if Marion will sleep with him.

She does. Robin and Little John are released. But when Maid Marion tells Robin the truth of how she earned their freedom, Robin dumps her faster than a leprous leech. Little John defends her behavior and offers his lifelong devotion if she will ride away from Sherwood with him forever.

She does. The end.

What do you think? Who’s most right and who’s most wrong? Don’t forget to rank the characters before checking the interpretation below.
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Taken word for word from http://garthsundem.com/
Current Mood: amusedamused
09 July 2010 @ 07:44 pm
So, it seems to me that there is no universal clicker. I mean, most schools are using clickers of some sort but they either are using CPS or i>Clickers. The latter = much cheaper, and I don't understand why there isn't a middle-ground where you only pay once (i>clicker) but can still get numerical data (CPS). I found a few comparisons online and it seems PollEverywhere.com has a decent idea. Why not integrate cell phones to providing responses? This way, it's numerical or multiple-choice and most people already own one!

Granted, I am only thinking as the consumer, specifically a student, but I really think it'd be the best interest for everyone to have something affordable but something that has both multiple choice, as well as numerical data. I don't think you want actual word responses in a classroom or meeting setting, but numbers help in case you want to see what the common ranking/rating is in a room ,or if you want to quiz the class concerning a specific value. Okay, actually, you don't even truly need numerical, so then why aren't more schools using i>clickers? I'd rather pay less than $30 once (to buy an i>clicker) to register my clicker online (for free) each semester than pay more than $40 to buy a clicker (CPS) that needs a payment for either lifetime registration or for certain semesters. It's just a lot more money going out of my education pocket, and I don't like it! 

I guess it aggravates me because most students use clickers, of any sort, maybe once in their school lifetime... and yet still had to fork over the ridiculous amount. One of my favorite classes of all-time had successfully involved student responses (specifically through CPS) and most of the questions were multiple choice or true/false; it was an awesome experience comparing classroom results for opinion, to some degree, and having some sort of electronic quiz that everyone took at once. Oh, I should note, University of Nevada (Las Vegas), states that you cannot integrate i>clicker with powerpoint as a weakness. Since I know someone who has been successful at doing such, I consider that one less weakness for i>clicker!
Current Mood: curiouscurious
I like how you can't be a girl who does not want to just succumb to local/cultural/family gender roles. You can't actually like living those stereotypes but not being forced to. You can't be anything remotely masculine unless you counter it with extreme femininity of that group. Somehow, you can't just be yourself without compromising your sex identity.

Damn you Mad Men for making me think of what was expected of women back then as if it was second-nature, and darn you mother for reminding me that some things don't change in some places.

It's all about options and choices, not forced ideals. Why is that so hard to get?
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Dragonette - I Get Around | Powered by Last.fm
06 May 2010 @ 01:21 pm
Why is it that females have to go through so much effort to show that they are adults or responsible enough or any of that sort where males don't really have to do much? They just look older? Why don't females just look older? I mean, they do, and yet females still have to go out of their way to accentuate certain features to feel that they would be less regarded like a little girl. I never understood that either, actually. Females can't be adults without losing their sexuality? Actually, do you need to make men/women aware of your sexual interest in order to feel like an adult woman? Despite that, society still prefers innocent girls (ie. sexually virgin or a girl who just seems clueless or prude-ish in a sense).

The most criticism I've seen in the media for males is when a fairly young boy starts singing about love (ie. Justin Bieber) and people wonder if it's even appropriate, since he looks like he is 13. Actually, he's 16, and it's just about love. Jojo got some similar reactions, I believe, so maybe it's just at a certain age, men get this invisible pass to adulthood, while women who have been in the media for a while sort of have to prove that they are no longer just a child. Rarely do guys have to break out into a song or video where they emphasize their "manly" features. Male songs about sex are just seen as that... yet females even hinting at being into sex, or wanting to please a man, or whatever, gets special treatment.  It's almost like a never-ending cycle. I obviously am not interested in sex or feel that part of my adulthood because I don't wear very revealing clothing. Actually, it's not even about revealing clothing, it's just certain things that are emphasized, like breasts/cleavage and flirtatious behavior. I need some input, if there is any.

What brought up this? Miley Cyrus's new music video "Can't Be Tamed." Oh, look, she's a rare bird, who can't be tamed, who just happens to be wearing a lot of make-up and an outfit that reminds me of Britney Spears and Rihanna combined. I have no problem with her trying to show that she does not want to just be a Disney kid and forever be thought of as a child. I have a problem that she has to have this "controversal" video that gets everyone talking, in order to do that. It reminds me of Britney Spears "I'm A Slave 4 U." Bah, this is all just me rambling.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Miley Cyrus - Can't Be Tamed
05 February 2010 @ 03:07 am
So while I was reading up on the whole publishers raising their prices for e-books despite Amazon's attempt to keep a flat rate news, I got a nice reminder on why I have a love-hate relationship with Apple. They seriously do everything right! They know how to perpetuate capitalistic desires but at the same time, come off as the good guys. I mean, isn't that better than a company purely controlling you? Yes, but it's still incredibly disappointing.

First off, I still have no idea how to feel about the app store. I like how developers get 70% revenue for their product (major plus!) but at the same time, when you look at how many applications Apple has, 30% of all apps add up fairly quickly. Regardless, they still don't really allow EVERY app possible. It's understandable because you want to maintain some sort of reputation but when apps for boobs are allowed and you're not allowing Google to set up actual applications (but live with web-apps), I have to question the restrictions. Yes, I realize they are not as restrictive as they could be, like China with it's special Google results, but it still really bothers me how well they get away with the restrictions they do have set up. I know (now!) iPad isn't supposed to replace the netbook or even iPhone but rather be there for those who want something in between but when I realized it was still going to be mostly based on apps, rather than OS X or something similar... I was highly disappointed. Apps help keep things consistent but do you really need a store for that where you have to approve the things?

Second, there's "an app for that." That slogan always bothered me and amused me, because I always did end up looking up apps for almost everything, just to see if it was true. It almost seems useless because an app just makes a website or service easier to access, yet it allows both Apple and the developer to earn some money. Remember when services were traded or even performed for free? Yeah, I can appreciate that someone can earn money from simple applications they made but it also does bother me. Not every app charges and those that do, usually are the apps that required more work. It's just... for a small item like that, how can you be willing to pay so much for apps that do add up? Instead of just going to a site, or not even relying on technology so much and saving up money for something more hands-on, people are easily giving in. I still find it insane how iPhones are so popular and how apple is still making a lot of money even when the economy is so bad.

Third, the so-called flexibility with pricing that Apple has. For iTunes, they offer different prices for songs that was considered to be a privilege because they finally are DRM-free. Even though Apple "just" gets 10 cents, most of the money (around 70 cents I believe?) per song still goes to the record label. From there on, it depends on purely the label on how the money gets distributed with the artist, but that concept seriously always bothered me. Once I realized that most album sales goes to labels, not the artists, I stopped caring about buying albums. I still do every now and then but usually it's rare. As for the iBooks, which set me off on this rant, it really bothers me that they set the price higher, helping publishers, than Amazon had originally. Amazon was trying to keep a flat lower rate so more of their customers would be satisfied. Sure, it was mostly because they wanted to keep majority of the customer base coming back to them but they still knew what to do that would be better for the customers. There's also bias from me because I've been buying books from Amazon for years... much less now than before but still, they never did anything to upset me. Same thing with Borders but apparently Barnes and Nobel are doing a lot better... but that's another story.

Finally. the freakin' updates. I honestly still cannot believe how many people rush out to either sell their old Apple product for the new one or just flat-out buy the new one. You really can't somehow find a way to update the stuff while not having the consumer pay more? Is that too much to ask? Some people have been apple fans for ages, and will continue to buy products whenever they can, but to actually perpetuate it by having a new model every year?! Really?! You've got to be kidding me. So many apple fans even know that a new product will be coming out and yet they still will go out and buy it or try to somehow obtain money to get it, despite them knowing a new product will be out the following year.

Ugh, this is not a big deal because Apple is not the only one doing it, but they just happen to do it so well that it really bothers me. I love Apple, obviously it's relative in comparison with others who love/hate more, but man I wish I wasn't in such a capitalistic society where money is valued more than the person. Also, the whole Amazon not succeeding to keep prices low really got me sad, so I figured I'd turn the sadness into anger to let go sooner. I think I've grown up with HP/Compaq, Amazon, and Borders... and this economy has been making all of it so hard. School Box, where I would buy all my school supplies for years, went out of Virginia a couple of years ago and every since, it's been sad seeing every older/amazing company disappear. Oh, and Zany Brainy turned into a Wine place. Ugh. I'll get off this depressing memory lane now seeing those were big companies too and it's just the damn cycle of life.
31 January 2010 @ 03:46 am
Fresh Orange: We Have Band - Honeytrap

It's not winter without snow.
However, too much snow or snow too often just sucks
...especially if you only get snow on weekends, when it doesn't really affect any work.
When you do have to deal with any outside activity, you have to deal with walking/driving in the snow...
which means getting your car out of the snow.

Maybe we're just used to getting snow at least once each winter.
Damn traditions.

I tried to build an igloo with someone last winter to change things up.
It was fun but never again.

Anyone got some new traditions for this winter?

Squeezed Orange: Smash Mouth - Walkin' On The Sun
Current Mood: boredbored
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