Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teach Your Child How to Think

Today's kids have life-and-death choices to make.

Are you going to wait until schools start to teach thinking directly to your children? That may be too late. Thinking is the most fundamental of human skills but education does very little about it. Where is 'thinking' in the curriculum?

The belief that intelligence and thinking are the same has led to some unfortunate conclusions:

Students with high intelligence are automatically good thinkers.
Students with low intelligence can never be good thinkers.
The more information you have the smarter you are.
Wisdom can't be taught...it comes with age and experience.
Our increasingly complicated lifestyle demands clear and constructive thinking: making decisions, making choices, taking initiatives, and being creative. Watching television for twenty to thirty hours a week, as many children do, results in a passive mind that can only copy what others are doing (including drugs, sex and violence). Give your child a better chance in life. Thinking is a skill....even a superior brain is wasted without it. You can start to teach your child how to think now.

With examples, exercises, games, and drawings, Dr de Bono, a Rhodes scholar and leading authority on the direct teaching of thinking, demonstrates the difference between intelligence and thinking, and provides a step-by-step method for helping children develop clear and constructive thinking. Even one or two thinking habits taken from his book and given to your children may strongly affect their life.

Edward De Bono's CoRT programme is the most widely used international method of direct teaching of thinking in schools.

Source (http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/tyc.htm)

The Cherry Tree

Kindly check one of the legends and stories of George Washington, "The Cherry Tree." It is a very meaningful stories and I like it very much.

When "the father of his country", George Washington was younger, he accidentally copped his father's favorite tree, the cherry tree. His father was angry when he knew that the tree was copped. He would like to know the mischievous person who has copped his tree.

When he reached home and said with an angry face and angry voice, "George, do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree? "

It was a very hard question. George Washington cried, "I can not tell a lie. Father, you know I can not tell a lie! I did cut your tree with my little hatchet."

The anger died out. His father took George to his arm and he said, "My son, you should not afraid to tell the truth. I am very glad to have you as my son. Your value to tell the truth is better than having 1000 trees. "

"You make a mistake.  I forgive you.  We should forgive everyone who make a mistake and his intention to change to become better."

I am impressed and I always follow the rules of thumb to work for a better world. Somehow, in reality, especially when you have grown up, you have to talk politically and you have to tell white lies to be free from dangers.

Through my experiences, telling the truth will bring risks and disaster for myself because some of the powerful people not happy to listen to the truth. I need to choose either to keep quiet or talk politically.

Let's go through the story. Assuming that it is at these modern days and the situation is not applying to father and son.

Assume that it is a stranger's and another stranger's story.

There are many possibilities.

1) The tree owner kept quiet because he had many things to do. He did not want to find out who has cut the tree. He just forgive and forget.

2) The tree owner asked around, but, no one answered. The one who cut the tree keep quiet.

Do you know the whole situation or scenario, so that you can judge correctly?

If you know something about an individual, will you verify with them?

One is not wrong till he/ she has found guilty in a court session.

Hey people! It is time to improve ourselves. Stop, being a busy body!

You shouldn't not comment anything when a case is not call for hearings.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Notes On The PhD Degree

Notes On The PhD Degree

Last week at the department colloquium coffee hour, several students engaged the faculty in a discussion about our Ph.D. program. It became clear that many of the students did not understand the basics; they were surprised at some of the questions and confused by some of the answers.
These notes provide basic information about the purpose of a Ph.D. program in an attempt to help students decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. degree.

The Basics

A Doctor of Philosophy degree, abbreviated Ph.D., is the highest academic degree anyone can earn. Because earning a Ph.D. requires extended study and intense intellectual effort, less than one percent of the population attains the degree. Society shows respect for a person who holds a Ph.D. by addressing them with the title ``Doctor''.
To earn a Ph.D., one must accomplish two things. First, one must master a specific subject completely. Second, one must extend the body of knowledge about that subject.

Mastering A Subject

To master a subject, a student searches the published literature to find and read everything that has been written about the subject. In scientific disciplines, a student begins by studying general reference works such as text books. Eventually, the student must also search scholarly journals, the publications that scientists use to exchange information and record reports of their scientific investigations.
Each university establishes general guidelines that a student must follow to earn a Ph.D. degree, and each college or department within a university sets specific standards by which it measures mastery of a subject. Usually, in preparing for Ph.D. work in a given field, a student must earn both a Bachelor's and Master's degree (or their equivalent) in that field or in a closely related field. To demonstrate complete mastery of the subject, a student may be required to complete additional graduate-level courses, maintain a high grade average, or take a battery of special examinations. In many institutions, students must do all three.
Because examinations given as part of a Ph.D. curriculum assess expert knowledge, they are created and evaluated by a committee of experts, each of whom holds a Ph.D. degree.

Extending Knowledge

The essence of a Ph.D., the aspect that distinguishes Ph.D. study from other academic work, can be summarized in a single word: research. To extend knowledge, one must explore, investigate, and contemplate. The scientific community uses the term research to capture the idea.
In scientific disciplines, research often implies experimentation, but research is more than mere experiments -- it means interpretation and deep understanding. For Computer Scientists, research means searching to uncover the principles that underlie digital computation and communication. A researcher must discover new techniques that aid in building or using computational mechanisms. Researchers look for new abstractions, new approaches, new algorithms, new principles, or new mechanisms.
To complete a Ph.D., each student must present results from their research to the faculty in a lengthy, formal document called a dissertation (more popularly referred to as a thesis). The student must then submit their dissertation to the faculty and defend their work an oral examination.

Relationship To Products

In some cases, the results of scientific research can be used to develop new products or improve those that exist. However, scientists do not use commercial success or potential commercial profits as a measure of their work; they conduct investigations to further human understanding and the body of knowledge humans have compiled. Often, the commercial benefits of scientific research are much greater in the long-term than in the short-term.

Research Activities

Computer Science research can include such diverse activities as designing and building new computer systems, proving mathematical theorems, writing computer software, measuring the performance of a computer system, using analytical tools to assess a design, or studying the errors programmers make as they build a large software system. Because a researcher chooses the activities appropriate to answer each question that arises in a research investigation, and because new questions arise as an investigation proceeds, research activities vary from project to project and over time in a single project. A researcher must be prepared to use a variety of approaches and tools.

A Few Questions To Ask

Many of you are trying to decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself.

1. Do you want a research career?

Before enrolling in a Ph.D. program, you should carefully consider your long-term goals. Because earning a Ph.D. is training for research, you should ask yourself whether a research position is your long-term goal. If it is, a Ph.D. degree is the standard path to your chosen career (a few people have managed to obtain a research position without a Ph.D., but they are the exception, not the rule). If, however, you want a non-research career, a Ph.D. is definitely not for you.

2. Do you want an academic position?

A Ph.D. is the de facto ``union card'' for an academic position. Although it is possible to obtain an academic position without a Ph.D., the chances are low. Major universities (and most colleges) require each member of their faculty to hold a Ph.D. and to engage in research activities. Why? To insure that the faculty have sufficient expertise to teach advanced courses and to force faculty to remain current in their chosen field. The U.S. State Department diplomatic protocol ranks the title ``professor'' higher than the title ``doctor''. It does so in recognition of academic requirements: most professors hold a Ph.D., but not all people who hold a Ph.D. degree are professors.

3. Do you have what it takes?

It is difficult for an individual to assess their own capabilities. The following guidelines and questions may be of help.
In your college and graduate courses, were you closer to the top of your class or the bottom? How well did you do on the GRE or other standardized tests?
Are you prepared to tackle a project larger than any you have undertaken before? You must commit to multiple years of hard work. Are you willing to reduce or forego other activities?
Research discoveries often arise when one looks at old facts in a new way. Do you shine when solving problems? Do you like ``brain teasers'' and similar puzzles? Are you good at solving them? In school, did you find advanced mathematics enjoyable or difficult?
Intense curiosity:
Have you always been compelled to understand the world around you and to find out how things work? A natural curiosity makes research easier. Did you fulfill minimum requirements or explore further on your own?
Most students are unprepared for Ph.D. study. They find it unexpectedly different than course work. Suddenly thrust into a world in which no one knows the answers, students sometimes flounder. Can you adapt to new ways of thinking? Can you tolerate searching for answers even when no one knows the precise questions?
By the time a student finishes an undergraduate education, they have become accustomed to receiving grades for each course each semester. In a Ph.D. program, work is not divided neatly into separate courses, professors do not partition tasks into little assignments, and the student does not receive a grade for each small step. Are you self-motivated enough to keep working toward a goal without day-to-day encouragement?
If you choose to enroll in a Ph.D. program, you will compete with others at the top. More important, once you graduate, your peers will include some of the brightest people in the world. You will be measured and judged in comparison to them. Are you willing to compete at the Ph.D. level?
Compared to coursework, which is carefully planned by a teacher, Ph.D. study has less structure. You will have more freedom to set your own goals, determine your daily schedule, and follow interesting ideas. Are you prepared to accept the responsibility that accompanies the additional freedoms? Your success or failure in Ph.D. research depends on it.

A few warnings:

Students sometimes enroll in a Ph.D. program for the wrong reasons. After a while, such students find that the requirements overwhelm them. Before starting one should realize that a Ph.D. is not:
Prestigious in itself
Almost everyone who has obtained a Ph.D. is proud of their efforts and the result. However, you should understand that once you graduate, you will work among a group of scientists who each hold a Ph.D. degree. (One faculty member used to chide arrogant graduate students by saying, ``I don't see why you think it's such a great accomplishment -- all my friends have a Ph.D!'').
A guarantee of respect for all your opinions
Many students believe that once they earn a Ph.D. people will automatically respect all their opinions. You will learn, however, that few people assume a Ph.D. in one subject automatically makes you an authority on others. It is especially true in the science communicaty; respect must be earned.
A goal in itself
A Ph.D. degree prepares you for research. If all you want is a diploma to hang on the wall, there are much easier ways to obtain one. After you graduate, you will have occasion to compare your record of accomplishment to those of other scientists. You will realize that what counts is the research work accumulated after a scientist finishes their formal education.
A job guarantee
When an economy slows, everyone can suffer. In fact, some companies reduce research before they reduce production, making Ph.D.s especially vulnerable. Furthermore, once a person earns a Ph.D., many companies will not hire that person for a non-research position. As in most professions, continued employment depends on continued performance.
A practical way to impress your family or friends
Your mother may be proud and excited when you enroll in a Ph.D. program. After all, she imagines that she will soon be able to brag about her child, ``the doctor.'' However, a desire to impress others is insufficient motivation for the effort required.
Something you can ``try'' to find out how smart you are
Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. Unless you make a total commitment, you will fail. You will need to work long hours, face many disappointments, stretch your mental capabilities, and learn to find order among apparently chaotic facts. Unless you have adopted the long-range goal of becoming a researcher, the day-to-day demands will wear you down. Standards will seem unnecessary high; rigor will seem unwarranted. If you only consider it a test, you will eventually walk away.
The only research topic you will ever pursue
Many students make the mistake of viewing their Ph.D. topic as a research area for life. They assume each researcher only works in one area, always pursues the same topic within that area, and always uses the same tools and approaches. Experienced researchers know that new questions arise constantly, and that old questions can become less interesting as time passes or new facts are discovered. The best people change topics and areas. It keeps them fresh and stimulates thinking. Plan to move on; prepare for change.
Easier than entering the work force
You will find that the path to successful completion of a Ph.D. becomes much steeper after you begin. The faculty impose constraints on your study, and do not permit unproductive students to remain in the program.
Better than the alternatives
For many students, a Ph.D. can be a curse. They must choose between being at the top among people who hold a Masters degree or being a mediocre researcher. The faculty sometimes advise students that they must choose between being ``captain of the B team'' or a ``benchwarmer'' on the A team. Everyone must decide what they want, and which profession will stimulate them most. But students should be realistic about their capabilities. If you really cannot determine where you stand, ask faculty members.
A way to make more money
While we haven't heard any statistics for the past couple of years, graduate students used to estimate the ``payoff'' using the starting salaries of Ph.D. and M.S. positions, the average time required to obtain a Ph.D., the value of stock options, and current return on investments. For a period of at least five years that we know, the payoff was clearly negative. Suffice it to say that one must choose research because one loves it; a Ph.D. is not the optimum road to wealth.

The good news:

Despite all our warnings, we are proud that we earned Ph.D. degrees and proud of our research accomplishments. If you have the capability and interest, a research career can bring rewards unequaled in any other profession. You will meet and work with some of the brightest people on the planet. You will reach for ideas beyond your grasp, and in so doing extend your intellectual capabilities. You will solve problems that have not been solved before. You will explore concepts that have not been explored. You will uncover principles that change the way people use computers.

The joy of research:

A colleague summed up the way many researchers feel about their profession. When asked why he spent so many hours in the lab, he noted that the alternatives were to go home, where he would do the same things that millions of others were doing, or to work in his lab, where he could discover things that no other human had ever discovered. The smile on his face told the story: for him, working on research was sheer joy.
Source: http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/dec/essay.phd.html

Being Superficial

"It might not be true to say that those who has never gone through challenges, attacks and obstacles will think very superficially." ~ Ms. Wong Hui Shin

Make A Difference

“The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely - hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference! ”

—Sasha Azevedo
(1978-); Entertainer

Quote of the day from The Foundation For a Better Life

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”

Joseph Addison (1672-1719);
English essayist, poet, playwright and politician.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grammar Checker

If you need someone to edit your grammar for a piece of writing, you may try www.grammarly.com.  

"Family" Talks

18th March 2008, the St. Patrick's Day was celebrated at Trafalgar Square yesterday. About twenty of  my "family" members were there for the celebration. I did not turn up as promised because a friend from Malaysia suddenly gave me a visit on that day.  I apologized to my "family" members for not able to join the fun. Well, I hoped that I had not disappointed anyone. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The "family" members were not related to each others, however, we were living under a same roof, a five-story building in central London. We were from different parts of the world. The people who were living here were family oriented and quality individuals. We normally would have our snack time in front of a TV around 9.00 p.m. everyday. We were very close to each other, and we shared our daily stories, food and something interesting about our countries. It was interesting enough! We just treated everyone like brothers and sisters. We had different education qualification. We were lawyers, associate professors, real estate agents, medical doctors, world travellers, students, cooks, waitress, drivers, cleaners, programmers, nurses and many others.  We were young!  It was a combination of graduates from the Ivy Leagues universities to high school dropped out. We were international compatible, having dreams, and we were fluent in English.

We had only a few Asians. We had only one Indian, one Malaysian, one Filipino and two Koreans. The Asians were normally quiet at a communication period except the Malaysian and the Indian. The popular communicators were the German, the Australian, the Canadian, the Italian, the Portugal, the Danish and the Belarusian. We had a few South African, Spanish, American and French. The "family" talks were not gossip, however, we exchanged ideas and cultures to know more about our country and ourselves. It was all about friendship. We had fairy tales, the success stories, Oxford University, Microsoft, Law, London Police Force, our family background, our parents, European Union, the country politics and etc.

The fairy tales started with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian wife, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, the Malaysian Princess and the French and .......

"Go! Mary! Go! Go! Mary," said the Australian. The Australians were very supportive on Mary and the Danish Prince's marriage. "They met at a Pub and Mary did not know that he was a Prince. All Australians  were very proud of her, a Tasmania lady," he continued.

We moved on to St. Peter's college, Jesus College and Trinity College at Oxford University. A handful of them graduated from there in Law, Art History, Geography, Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

"How did you guys get into Oxford? It is amazing, right? I just wonder what food you guys eat every day.  How can you be so smart?  I want to attend schools in Oxford too," said the Canadian.

"What are you eating? I am extremely hungry. Can I have some? " said the Norwegian.

"These are the cauliflowers and leeks mixed with tomato paste and extra virgin olive oil. Also, this is a cup of green tea with lemon flavour. You may have some if you would like to," said the Malaysian.

The TV showed the "Hairspray", and it had created a history for a resolution for the blacks on the dancing stage.

"This is my private trip. I would like to stay here because I love this place when I first check-in 3 years ago," said the Nigerian professor in Pharmacy.

Later, it was about the country politics in Belarus and Cyprus. They were not sure about their political stand. Are they joining European Union? Belarus is an independent country which has some relationship with Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Cyprus is an independent country related to Greco-Turkish relationship. The Belarusian and the Cyprusian were very concern about their countries' politics, and, they had reminded me about the relationship between Singapore and Malaya years ago before Malaysia achieved the independence from the British.

The German was very concern about her look, her dress and her career. She was the most popular lady among us, and she was an interesting lady. She was very hot. We loved her very much.