Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five sources

So I have five sources that *might* be useful in my paper.  I'm not if they will all be useful but I'm sure at least one of them will be.  I'm hoping to write my paper on something to do with Antisocial Personality Disorder [(APD) commonly called Psychopathy].

Source #1 This is a letter to the editor of some journal of psychology. They compliment the the author of the article on how well they covered certain topics and how they didn't really cover others. Ideally I'd like to find the original text that they are referring to.

Source #2  This is a book with some ideas about how to treat APD; this would be very useful as there are only theories on how to treat APD.

Source #3  This is DSM IV. It is THE book for diagnosing personality disorders; I happen to have a copy under my bed at the moment. The link is just to Google Books' preview.

Source #4  This is just a book about psychopathy in general. It looks like it could have some good information in it.

Source #5  This is pretty much the same deal as #4 except it focuses more on the criminality of people with APD.

So there you have it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Sleeping Experiment

Just FYI guys I am starting what's called the Uberman Sleep Schedule, which involves me only sleeping two hours a day broken into six 20 minute naps.

I've created a new blog so people can track how this experiment is going.

Hope you find it interesting!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rhetorical Analysis

There are a lot of nations that pose a great threat to American security.  The frightening images of 9/11 were called back into our minds just over a month ago, with the tenth anniversary of one of the most devastating terrorist attacks this country has ever seen.  A helicopter carrying several Navy Seals from the famous “Seal Team 6” was shot down a few weeks ago.  Violence continues to grip nations across the globe, as revolutionary fires burn bright in the Middle East.  It is no secret that America has many enemies who are chomping at the bit to take a slice at this great nation.  Most people would agree that the American public needs to be made aware of these threats.  However, actually helping people to become aware of these threats is very difficult.  I recently read a blog post aimed at informing the American public about the top ten threats to American security. While the post only listed five countries, the author did say that he would continue the article at a later date.  The post has some very valid points in it; however, I do not feel that Reid Smith, the author of "The Top Ten Greatest Threats to American Security", does an effective job of convincing the American public that the countries he lists pose an immediate threat to the United States, because the language he uses is far to flashy for his audience, he does not give any backing for many of the incredible claims he makes, and though he tries to incite fear, he comes across almost as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, therefore causing his audience to dismiss his argument.

Reid Smith is clearly an academic writer; this is evident in the way that he writes, and the flashy language he uses.  For instance, in his first sentence he says, “I wanted to provide a cursory analysis of the most significant threats to American territorial security, national sovereignty, and interests abroad, as evidenced by foreign state actors.” Last time I checked, about half of the words in this sentence were not used in everyday conversation.  Something like, “I wanted to talk about some threats to American security,” would have been more than sufficient.  If he were to have used more simplistic language his audience would know exactly what he’s talking about.  For example, most people don’t know what a “state actor" is, and he refers to them several times without offering any explanation for what they are.  Though out his post he continually uses words that are far to complex for your average American.  “Interventionism,” “oligarch,” and “erstwhile” are just a few of the flashy words that he uses through out his article.  From what I can tell Mr. Smith is trying to inform the general American people of these threats, however, his use of language not only fails to inform the public properly, but may confuse them even further, therefore completely failing to accomplish his goal. 

Another way that Reid Smith fails to properly inform the public of these threats is through the incredible claims he makes in his post.  Mr. Smith repeatedly makes claims that, while they may be true, require some sort of evidence or citation for them.  As it is a blog post, in-text citations are not really common or necessarily appropriate, but he still could explain where he got his information.  For instance he says that Russia owns, “Some 4650 nuclear warheads….” First of all, that is a huge number and would shock most Americans.  I for one would like some sort of evidence to back up such an astonishing claim.  He could say something like, “according to a recent estimate done by the department of such-and-such” but he just throws it out there with no citation whatsoever.  Mr. Smith then goes on to make many other claims though out his article that are very questionable when left without a citation.  He says that the Somali government is openly funding al-Qaeda; he also claims that subsection of al-Qaeda is now committing piracy on the high seas, and that Sudan is one of the top countries on the U.S.’s terrorist watch list, and has been since 1993.  Whether or not these statements are true isn’t really the issue.  What matters is the fact that they are not common knowledge and therefore, ought to have some sort of citation.  Mr. Smith is unprofessional, and weakens his argument when he offers no citation or backing for the information he is throwing at his audience.  In the end, he leaves his audience wondering if he might be making things up.

Not only does Mr. Smith sound as though he could be making things up, he also sometimes comes across as incredibly paranoid—almost to the point of a conspiracy theorist.  While this is a similar mistake to the one mentioned previously (not citing sources), it is still different in the fact that these claims are causing Mr. Smith to weaken his argument in a different manner (sounding paranoid).  Mr. Smith says that Russia is run by “billionaire oligarchs and their political pawns,” suggesting that the whole country is run by crime lords, or that the elected officials are merely political puppets of the upper class billionaires.  He also says that Vladmir Putin, who is apparently “set to return to the presidency next year” is “no friend of the United States” and will make things as difficult as possible for the U.S. when he becomes president again.  He also claims that American citizens are joining jihadist terrorist cells. “Recently,” he says, “two New Jersey men were arrested at JFK airport for planning to travel to East Africa to join the terror network.”  He goes on to talk about how many other American citizens have been caught sneaking out of the country to enlist in terrorist groups.  He then talks about innocent civilians being ruthlessly beheaded by gangs in Mexico, and the possibilities of rogue scientists working with foreign nations, and asks what governments might funding terrorist organizations.  Mr. Smith is obviously trying to incite fear in his audience with this article.  However, through all this he just comes across as paranoid.  Not only that, but some of his arguments are also downright false adding to his image as a conspiracy theorist.  For instance the Russian government is completely legitimate; their government is actually not too different from ours.  Also, Vladmir Putin may not be America’s number one fan, but he was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2007.  He’s not about to start blowing things up.  Through making these ridiculous claims, Mr. Smith again, not only weakens his argument, but also comes across as a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

Through out Mr. Smith’s entire article he repeatedly tears down his own argument by using language that is too far above his audience, not citing his claims, and coming across as a paranoid conspiracy theorist.  Reid Smith does not effectively convince his audience that the countries he lists pose an immediate or serious threat to American security, because he simply does not sound legitimate. 

NOTE:  I apologize if there are a few "proofreading" or spelling errors. (I know there were in my OpEd). I have dyslexia and it's really hard for me to spot those sorts of mistakes, but I did my best to get them!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Peer Review

So I'm writing about what I think of the way we did peer reviews in class today.  I feel as though it was a much better way to do it (as opposed to the way we did it for the OpEds).  I think that because we had more than one person reading our essay we got a wider range of opinions.  We were also given time before class to read over the work we were going to be critiquing.  This enabled us to be able to give more accurate feedback.

So basically, I think that the way we did peer review today was much more effective that the way we did it previously.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


In the post I'm analyzing the author says, "Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (CBRN) threaten American lives, both at home and abroad, and state actors aren't the only one with their fingers on the trigger." (For those of you who don't know what a state actor is, they are a person acting on behalf of the government: acting for the state)

This sentence creates an interesting mental image.  It first sets the stage by trying to frighten you with scary weapon terminology, then paints an image of the people who act on behalf of our government poised and ready for battle. Not only this, but it leaves the lingering idea that there are many other countries who are just itching for a fight. 

I think the author does this to make us believe that we are on the brink of a global war, and create the idea that everyone, everywhere is looking to start a fight.  He is definitely trying to appeal to the audience on an emotional level because of the frightening terms he uses when talking about weapons.  It effectively generates fear and concern for the safety of American lives, pulling his audience into the rest of his article.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So the post I'm currently analyzing doesn't really have a lot figurative language.  Thus I was thwarted in my efforts to find some good similes, hyperboles, or onomatopoeias. I was looking forward to finding some good ones because I love saying those words.  But never fear: I did find some; they're not so great but nonetheless I did find them.

The first one is a metaphor.  At first I thought it might be a vague simile, but doesn't have "like" or "as" therefore I don't think it can technically be a simile.  So I'm pretty it falls under the classification of metaphor.

The author says, "... in a country run by billionaire oligarchs and their political pawns..."  Basically the author is saying that the true rulers of Russia are a few very wealthy people who are controlling the "leaders" of the nation through manipulation. Now, I don't know if this really counts because it very well could be true.

Later on in that same paragraph, we find a much better example of a metaphor. The author says, "Cold Peace remains chilling." This is a wonderful example of a metaphor. He is saying that even though the Cold War is over we are still threatened by the dangerous arsenal of Russian weapons and equates this to a cold chill.

Other than that, I didn't really find any figurative language.  I guess the author isn't really into the whole "Rosy fingered dawn creeping over the hills" stuff.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Microsoft Word's suggestions

So I'm working on my Rhetorical Analysis and I typed the sentence, "He talks about innocent civilians being ruthlessly beheaded by gangs in Mexico and the possibility of rogue scientists, and governments funding terrorists." Microsoft word underlined this sentence in green, meaning it thought there was a grammar error. When I looked at the suggestion it said that the sentence should read "Gangs in Mexico and the possibility of rogue scientists and the governments funding terrorists ruthlessly behead he talks about innocent civilians." 

I am baffled and amazed by MS Word's powers of... I don't even know what....

Anyway, just wanted to share this amusing anecdote with you!


Thesis statement

So I'm supposed to post my thesis statement for the Rhetorical Analysis (just FYI I had to use spell check on both of those words), so here goes.

NOTE: this is just a first draft of my thesis statement and this therefore subject to change without prior notice.

Reid Smith, the author of "The Top Ten Greatest Threats to American Security" does not effectively convince the American public that the countries he lists pose an immediate threat to America because though he tries to incite fear he come across almost as a paranoid conspiracy theorist, the language he uses is far to flashy for his audience, and he does not give any backing for many of the incredible claims he makes.