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Case Study Showing When a “Like” is Used Instead of an “Um” or “Uh”

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That’s right. I did my own case study on math classmates who were presenting extra credit projects on God knows what; it was difficult to decipher the topics from the frequently used “likes”, “ums”, and “uhs.” Excuse me for using crude stereotypes to categorize the individuals who were used as my lab rats, but it would be difficult to convey the data without clearly depicting who I was studying. We have an array of cliches represented in this math class. Several Jersey girls, New Yorkers, hipsters, a track star, and musicians were compiled into this one study.

What I concluded was that if people were using a script, they were more susceptible to say Um or Uh. If they were improvising or recalling their information from memory, the would say Like.


The “hypothesis” I began with was that people from the Tri-State area would be more likely to use one of the three words I was counting. I also thought that females would be more likely to use these words more frequently than males. This latter portion, I conclude, proves true for Like-usage. However, in some instances, Ums and Uhs came from males more than females. I was surprised that the females that seemed like they would use Like more frequently did not live up to my expectations.* I’m talking about the spray on tan (it’s December, no one is suppose to glow,) too much make up, and wearing yoga pants to class females. (I did apologize for my crude stereotyping!) And yes, to my surprise, these individuals did not drop as many Likes as I thought. I found that they used note-cards to avoid putting a script in their own words. This is when I realized that Ums and Uhs were used more often; both words seemed to be used on inhales after someone read an extremely long line with no coma breaks!

Data 2 Graph**

I found this graph to be interesting in that we get a sense of the rate at which college students are using Likes, Ums, and Uhs. Girl 1, who I apologize for not knowing her name (because she sits on the other side of the room,) was clocked at a total of 36 likes in 3 minutes. That’s like, 1 like in every 5 seconds! I also found that the average use for Like for the 13 students was 5 for an average presentation of 138 seconds. That’s roughly 1 like in 28 seconds.

For Ums and Uhs, the out-lier of my data was using one of those two words every 6.75 seconds. The class as a whole was at risk of saying Um or Uh every 1.5 seconds for that same 2 and fourth minute long presentation. Sounds absurd (literally!)*

I conclusion, I found that certain cliches that I had stereotyped as high-Like users were not at risk!

*Sometime during the presentations, I realized that LITERALLY was the new buzzword that young people use so absentmindedly. Literally is more likely to come up in conversations and is used emphatically in lieu  of terms such as actually, in reality, and physically. (Listen to an adolescent, you’ll like, literally hear it a lot. Like literally…)
**Data was also collected by Stephen Sollami.


Written by Jack Viere

December 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Map vs. GPS

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Today, there’s a readiness and willingness to accept information from machines at face value with no discernment. Technology is just a machine, a computer at best. There’s no human judgement values, personal experiences, or wisdom in technology. Specifically, GPS’s are not really giving you an actual destination. It’s a computer that is taking you from point A to point B in the GPS’s system. A simple equation. (We use to be able to solve it with a thing called a map.) The problem arises from our believing that the GPS is really depicting an actual, tangible place. It has the undetectable illusion that is presenting the driver with a real place by showing qualities of the destination. Just because a computer can intake data and spit it back out to the user does not mean it discerns like a human mind.

Google has the ability to run specific search engines that evolve regularly due to its tracking bugs that automatically find new data to intake.  A person had to preprogram the logarithm for that bug to have the illusion of working self-sufficiently. Technology is the extension of human discernment that is propelled by our seeming growing need for convenience. Technology is NOT its own entity that should outweigh or completely for stomp out the individual’s ability to make decisions, especially those affecting him or herself.

I felt motivated to write out the above reflection as a reply to a classmate’s self-righteous exclamation: “Do you even know how to use a map?” Directed at my professor, I couldn’t help but smirk at his idea that maps are already outdated. Maybe they are, but I thought it was quite the assumption to make. Anyways, to me, it sounded like someone saying, “Don’t you know that 2+2=4?” to a college professor. Of course it was said with the tone inclining some sort of rhetorical question. Our professor said he preferred maps over GPS’s; I concurred at which the classmate proceeded to say that maps are susceptible to being outdated. I don’t think you need Garmin and MapQuest to tell you that, buddy. I think the cartographers  back in the day were well aware of the fact their product was susceptible to change when new information and details were procured from further research. On reflection, this gradual process of receiving and editing new data seems more plausible (in my opinion) than the GPS saying, “Turn left now,” leading you into a ravine, which (I’d argue) most people would do as they have their heads down, texting away on their iPhone 4s’s. When the smoke clears, and we crawl out of the ditch, we would then proceed to say, “Stupid GPS! It did not update itself!”

So basically that argument is whether you trust a map that will become outdated or you trust a voice on a GPS. That’s really not my point because it boils down to preference. (I don’t think a map has ever misled its user into a ditch though…even if the roads are rerouted, we don’t follow the road as intently as a GPS, hunched over, waiting for Mr. Australian Accent to lead us to the next point within the list of directions.)

My point is to question why or how do we find ourselves so ready to accept information from technology. Why do we have a desire to let things take control (like machines) as we sit back and take the passenger seat? Is it really out of convenience? If it is, how are we any better than animals if our rationale is only to make our life more convenience? (Medicine, machines, weapons, computers-making everything a little easier for us, allowing everyone to take the passenger seat and let technology take us for a spin.)

I think Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity all point to being in control of one’s own actions and one’s own mind.

Buddhism: the Eightfold Path has a few points worth mentioning. Falling under a broader category of Mental Development, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration all speak of  self-control. There’s really no presence of those three in our lifestyle when we take the backseat with technology.

Hinduism: the Eight Limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga; I’ve been reading a lot into this in one of my courses. Pratyahara, control of the senses. Dharana, concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness. We might be shutting down our senses (and survival skills at that) when we choose to allow technology dominate our decision-making. We really have no shot of cultivating any type of awareness, more or less the inner perceptual kind that many faiths shoot for.

Christianity: this could prove to be a little more difficult since there aren’t many lists in mainstream Christianity. I’d point out that in the Catholic context (which has many a good list) the Seven Deadly Sins has a little something-something called sloth and gluttony. While that may be a bit extreme in the instance of the GPS, taking the back seat in faith (which is a part of every day life, even when we choose to make it not,) is still letting other people”’ and other things do our work.

On a final note, in summarizing, I don’t think technology is wrong at all; that’d be to argue that all the scientific advances (like medicine-that does fall under that category) were for the worse. Absurd. But in the field of something like medicine, it’s not the meds that are making advances on its own. Its the researches, scientists, and physicians that propel medicinal advances.

So why, then, do we take the back seat?

Written by Jack Viere

November 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Is Science Catching Up With Meditation or is Meditation Catching Up With Science?

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You be the judge: is technology finally able to measure the mind’s capacity to meditate, or is meditation finally of some worth as it can be explained in non-religious (scientific?) terms.

Written by Jack Viere

November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Posted in B.K.S. Iyengar, Buddhism, yoga

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