All posts by chriscore98

The Future is Here: Audiobooks

My mom thinks it’s because I am lazy.

I, of course, do not agree with that statement.

I think it’s because I am creative, intelligent, sophisticated–

My mom disagrees.

Either way, I started listening to audiobooks.

Having a great love for books, I am the type of guy who will sit in a chair and binge-read. I have been known to read eight hours straight, and not even realize how much time has passed.

Being a college student with a part-time job and family responsibilities, I have precious little time to do anything other than study and work, which is extremely depressing for someone like me. I don’t have the time to dedicate a day to reading Game of Thrones or The Stand.

Audiobooks help solve this problem.

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Earbuds and a book—the secret to happiness.

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I spend countless hours in my car waiting–waiting for traffic to move, waiting for the lights to change color, waiting for pedestrians to cross the street.

With audiobooks, I can wait while listening to a book.

My first audiobook was “Paradox Bound” a interesting story about villains who are missing eyes and lips, and time travel. One of my biggest fears with audiobooks was that the narrator would be some monotone robot just reading words off a page.

Nothing is further from reality.

The narrator is energetic, emotional, and changes his voice inflections to match those of the characters in the book.

My adventure with audiobooks has caused my to think more broadly about myself, specifically how the fear of change affects me.

Change is such an interesting phenomenon. From a very early age in our lives, routine begins to build around us. The clearest example of this is school. At five-years-old, before we even truly realize what time is, we are bound by strict routines: 12:00 p.m.-lunch, 1:00 p.m.-recess, 1:30 p.m.-music, etc.. Do these boundaries help create character?

I would have begun using audiobooks a lot earlier, but the fear of change held me back.

If humans didn’t have the fear of change to deal with, how would this world be different? Would life be better or worse? Would we be happy or depressed?

If we weren’t afraid to break from tradition, how would that affect society?

Of course, I don’t have the answers, but I pose the question for you to think about.

Either way, I strongly recommend that you give audiobooks a try.

#BlogType6

 

 

Social Media: The Darth Vader of Society?

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My role model

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In this class, we talk a lot about how social media can be used for marketing. This makes sense since that is the objective of the course. But, with all of this talk about the positive influences from social media, I can’t help but feel that we are missing an important question: Is social media actually benefiting society as a whole?

This is the big question, and researchers have been looking at this since the iPhone first came out. It is no secret that a lot of experts believe that social media is negatively impacting our society.

How can this make any sense? We have examples all over the world where social media was the glue that held the foundation of society together. Castells writes about a lot of these societies in his book “Networks of Outrage and Hope.” The Occupy Movement, Iceland’s Kitchenware Revolution, and the Tunisian Revolution all survived because of social media. Social media caused a drastic shift in cultures, which benefited the people as a whole. So, which is it? Is social media a medicine or a curse.

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but this question gnaws at my mind.

Social media definitely has its uses, no one would argue with that. But at the same time, it is a breeding ground for narcissism and addiction.

Because of this, I’ll just offer my own opinion on the subject.

Let me start by saying that I agree with Castells that social media gives an advantage to  many modern movements and revolutions. It allows protestors to share stories and to create motivation and stay connected. I do not, however, agree that social media was necessary for these revolutions to occur.

The French Revolution occurred without any help from social media. So did the Spanish, Russian, Cuban, Chinese, and the American Revolution. The Civil Rights Movement was successful without any help from social media. The list could go on for pages.

It is because of this that I think that the Occupy Movement would have happened without the luxury of social media. So would have the Kitchenware and the Tunisian Revolution. It may not have happened the same way and with the same results, but they still would have occurred regardless of whether or not social media was present.  As long as there is outrage, and people are willing to act on that outrage, then a revolution is bond to follow.

No, Iceland would not have been able to have a crowdsourced constitution in a modern sense. It is important to remember, however, that even with social media, only 67% of Iceland’s population agreed with the document. Did social media really add that much?

I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of guy, but I can’t help but feel that social media is more of a nuisance than people realize.

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I've always been a glass-half-full kind of guy

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In the end, I do think that social media is draining our society. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits. But, like I said before, this is just my opinion on a question that has puzzled me for months.

#BlogType5

 

Free Knowledge

It has taken me exactly 1 hour and 3 minutes to come up with the next topic for my blog (yes–I kept track). For some reason, finding a worthwhile resource on the web is a lot harder than it sounds. You would think that with millions and millions of links, it would take me five minutes to get this blog done.

Well, I finally came up with an idea–

The library. No, I am not just talking about the physical building, although that is also a terrific resource. But, instead, I am referring to the online version of the library, which can be just as important as the physical library–especially for students.

The library is underrated and overlooked. As a community, we should value what the library provides for us: free knowledge.

Who doesn’t want free knowledge?

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Washington county library website

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For me, I live in Woodbury, so I use the Washington Country library. This website is so useful that I am baffled when I realize that most people don’t even own a library card. When I went to the Washington County library, it took me exactly four minutes to get a library card and to start checking out books. It is arguably the easiest thing that you’ll ever do.

It’s not just about checking out books, it is about the homework help centers, the free databases, the audiobooks, and the classes. All of these things can be found on the website and has the potential to be useful for every student.

I typically agree with T.S. Eliot’s opinion of  libraries.

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man

Everything in the library is free, but it is up to us to use the resources. We need to take the intuitive and learn. This will not only help our grades, but it will help our brains and will help us become better critical thinkers.

Who doesn’t want to be considered a critical thinker? As the old platitude goes: readers are leaders.

So turn off the TV, and grab a book. It doesn’t have to be long–25 minutes a day is a good place to start. You’ll be surprised how much reading can affect your life, your outlook, and your empathy.

Don’t take my word for it–Albert Einstein once said,

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.

We take libraries for granted, but we really shouldn’t. Many historical cultures and civilizations would envy us for our immense storage of knowledge.

So don’t take it for granted. Appreciate libraries and use them regularly.

Since we’re talking about books, I figured I’d add a picture of one of my personal favorites:

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Best book ever?

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Keep the library in mind when you have a homework assignment you are struggling with. All you have to do is check out the library website.

Ask, and it shall be given you.

#BlogType1

Feeling Like Superman

Power, confidence, optimism: These are words that most of us want to be known by. We desire to be taken seriously and be shown respect–it’s a basic human want. How can we accomplish this?

Before we answer that question, we need to know something about nonverbal communication.

According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, 93% of all our communication is nonverbal. In most cases, it doesn’t matter what we say; what matters is how we say it. Our facial expression, tone of voice, and eye contact are all factors in how our communication is received.

When people first hear this, they are shocked. That is because most of us already have misconceptions on how communication works.

Building off of this, Amy Cuddy did a TED Talk in 2012 that looks at our body language in the same way.

During the TED Talk, Cuddy shows that, in the same way that our communication mainly revolves around nonverbal gestures, the way we feel and our confidence are directly affected by out posture.

When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to feel powerful.

Amy Cuddy

Cuddy shows that the way you sit or stand can directly affect your testosterone levels. Our bodies have the ability to change our minds and the way we think, for better or for worse.

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Superman power pose

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There is a reason why Superman stands the way he does. Even though it sounds ridiculous, the research proves that it is true. Cuddy stated in her TED Talk that if we held a “superman” power pose for two minutes, our testosterone would increase and we would feel more confident.

Of course, just like kryptonite to Superman, if we curl up and use low-power poses when we sit or stand, then our testosterone levels will plummet and we’ll feel insecure and weak.

So, you want to be confident and powerful, then act like it. It’ll feel silly at first, but do power poses. I recommend that you watch all of Cuddy’s TED Talk because it does have the power to change your outlook on life and the way you carry yourself.

From these two sources about communication, we see an overarching theme: People are very social creatures, and our actions speak much louder than our words.

#BlogType2

 

Shakespeare Where art Thou?

As a writer, I have a great respect for the English language. Don’t worry, this blog post is not going to be an introductory course into grammar and the proper usage of pronouns. But, I do want to look at one word that has become popular in news outlets and social media sites. That word is hate.

Regardless of all of the negative connotations, hate simply means intense dislike for someone or something.  From this very simple definition, hate has become a word that describes groups or individuals who are intolerant, prejudiced, and fundamentally single-minded.

Languages evolve naturally through the ages. Pirates would be shocked to find out what the term booty means now. Obviously, none of us walk around saying “Thou shalt not procrastinate this semester!” Shakespeare himself believed in a changing language and was known for making up words to use in his plays.

But, when looking at hate, we see a different type of evolution that may not be the best for society.

“I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate,” President Trump tweeted.

An opaque statement against hate does not help society mature and grow; instead, it may cause the exact opposite. Because of how general the term hate is, it makes individuals within society afraid to voice their opinions for fear that they might be labeled as a hater. When this fear infects a populace, it causes the exact thing that we are trying to prevent. It creates a nation made up of narrow–minded individuals.

By ostracizing people who do not share our viewpoints and labeling them “haters,” it allows the people with the majority opinion to rule over a minority

This brings us to the main question: who has the right to label someone a “hater?” Do we as a society have the responsibility to give out these terms? If this is true, then we are subject to groupthink and mob rule.

I am not saying that society will collapse because we use the word hate incorrectly. I just simply want to prove that even little things like words and definitions can have a larger impact than most people realize.

#BlogType4

Put it off or Get it Done

 

I’ve been looking at a blank white screen for about 30 minutes now. During that time, I have tried every strategy I know to come up with an idea to do my blog on, including: brainstorming, meditation, taking naps, and banging my head on hard surfaces.

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Staring at a blank screen for 15 minutes.

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As I stare into the deep reaches of white space, my mind begins to wander to all of the other activities I could be doing right now. I could be getting paid, my boss called to ask if I’d come into work. Or, even better, I could fire up the PS4 and rot my brain cells in a mindless activity for a couple of hours. Anything other than staring at a blank screen.

At least now I know what I want to do my blog on: procrastination.

Procrastination gets a bad rap from most everyone. Take, for example, what poet Edward Young said–

Procrastination is the thief of time.”

Basically, what Young is implying, is that people who put things off till the last second end up getting very little done in their life.

This makes sense, but is procrastination really as bad as people say it is?

Frank Partnoy, a professor at the University of San Diego, has a different perspective on procrastination.

Historically, for human beings, procrastination has not been regarded as a bad thing. The Greeks and Romans generally regarded procrastination very highly. The wisest leaders embraced procrastination and would basically sit around and think and not do anything unless they absolutely had to,” said Parnoy in an interview.

Even though I appreciate the interesting viewpoint, this simply does not make any sense. For example, later in the interview Parnoy talks about active and passive procrastination and says:

Active procrastination means you realize that you are unduly delaying mowing the lawn or cleaning your closet, but you are doing something that is more valuable instead. Passive procrastination is just sitting around on you sofa not doing anything. That clearly is a problem.”

Sorry Parnoy, but I think you have confused your terms. Active procrastination, as Parnoy defines it, really isn’t procrastination. It is simply managing your time and assessing what needs to get done and focusing on that.

If we define procrastination as–to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done– then we see that there is no such thing as active procrastination. It simply doesn’t exist.

It is passive procrastination that everyone has a problem with. The need to see the next season of The Flash or the craving to spend a couple of hours shooting Natzis on Call of Duty WWII. This is what causes most students to procrastinate, and unfortunately, even according to Parnoy, this type of passive procrastination is a bad thing.

Sorry procrastinators, but it looks like procrastination is still jua bad habit. That’s okay, I personally like to follow Mark Twain’s advice:

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

#BlogType3