Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"What's on Monsieur Chak's Ingredient List?" - The Poet's Meaning, Line By Line.

The following are references of what the words refer to...

LINE 1: Monsieur Chak refers to another dimension of the author.
LINE 2: "Lady of Soldofsky" refers to Professor Alan Soldofsky's assistant.
LINE 3: "Juan Felipe" refers to Juan Felipe Herrera.
LINE 6: "English" refers to Professor Karen English.
LINE 7: "Stork" refers to Professor Nancy Stork.
LINE 8: "Maio" refers to Professor Samuel Maio. This line is meant to sound like "mayo" or "mayonnaise."
LINE 9: "Miller" refers to Professor Shannon Miller.
LINE 11: "Mesher" refers to Professor David Mesher.
LINE 12: "Mitchell" refers to Professor Linda Mitchell.
LINE 16: "Douglass" refers to Professor Paul Douglass.

Monday, October 19, 2015

INVESTIGATION: Weather Balloons, The Dirt on Hotels, And Killing Germs on Devices (SHORT BLOG)

Kickstarter - it's a website that people would go to in order to back projects, but for me, to a scale that would eventually connect both Wesley LaPorte, inventor of the PhoneSoap to CBC Vancouver meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe and even CBC Marketplace host Erica Johnson. My look at Kickstarter dated back to at least 2012 when I first backed the project known as the PhoneSoap, in which LaPorte noted that his genius work on a simple solution to kill germs on mobile devices have made their success. In this blog, I look at the comparison between the PhoneSoap to Erica Johnson's report on "The Dirt on Hotels" and even Johanna Wagstaffe's "Science Smart" 2014 report on weather balloons.

After the first backing of the initial project in 2012, and after my first trip to Vancouver, BC, on the last day of May 2014, I decided to surf the CBC website and found a couple of videos, starting with Wagstaffe's June 2014 "Science Smart" report on weather balloons. At the end of the video segment, she disclosed a Kickstarter project that indirectly caused me to back that project, known as the StormTag. I have plans to test the StormTag's use and report on that part in my blog.

Wagstaffe is not the only person that is the subject of this blog. In a CBC Marketplace episode known as "The Dirt on Hotels," including the follow-up episode a year later, Erica Johnson investigated the germs that plagued hotels and was trying to really get results for Canadians. However, alcohol wipes may not necessarily be the best thing for Canadians on certain items such as remote controls and cell phones, as new technology takes over.

Meanwhile, Wagstaffe's story toward the end of the segment has indirectly led me to test the device known as the StormTag, but the question to both Wagstaffe and Johnson more relates to LaPorte's PhoneSoap project. While LaPorte is trying to convince people in the United States to join the revolution of cleaning the phone that has a huge amount of germs, I personally find that Canadians may be left out, even long after Wagstaffe's story on weather balloons.

But whether PhoneSoap's latest Kickstarter project called the PhoneSoap XL will modify Johnson's advice on the Marketplace's follow-up episode on hotels (at the end of that episode) is unclear. Another question that remains unclear is Wagstaffe's knowledge on germs and the PhoneSoap project that LaPorte is leading the way. Now that Wagstaffe has apparently challenged me for the so-called StormTag, I do challenge her and Johnson to see what the PhoneSoap can do. But for those who don't know about the PhoneSoap to my knowledge, the company is based in Utah, but does have a deep connection to Southern Santa Clara County in California, specifically in Morgan Hill (approximately 20 miles south of downtown San Jose on U.S. 101).

EDITOR'S NOTE: The blog is written in American English as the blog originates from Santa Clara County, California - therefore, all measurements in this blog are in imperial units instead of metric. Images are unavailable for copyright concerns, as those are at the discretion of the author or organization. This blog contains external links. Any unauthorized use of this blog, including (not limited to) the reproduction or copying of this blog is strictly prohibited. The author reserves the right to delete this blog post at any time.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Chak's Take: Tackling The Issues on Academic Cheating and Plagiarism (Original Work)

"My first goal is to present fair, accurate, and newsworthy journalism on a daily basis - good enough to attract the attention of every student on campus." - Ron Gleeson, then-executive editor of the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University

For many years as a kid and now as a college student, the terms "cheating" and "plagiarism" is uniformly defined at schools. I've seen the policies regarding this at many colleges and universities, which takes those very seriously. However, I'm more stricter on what my own definition of plagiarism is when it comes to assignments, essays, and exams. Let me explain what I mean.

First of all, plagiarism in my definition is the serious abuse of looking at someone else's paper and copying word-for-word in any assignment, essay, or exam. When I see this happen, I tend to be very upset by asking the questions such as what makes the students cheat on an assignment or exam. I also take one more step further to even sometimes address the plagiarism issue to my family members and on social media.

Any news reporting on plagiarism use can hit home at San Jose State University very hard, which instructors are very aware of the issue. In the English, Foreign Language, Journalism, Math, and Science departments, assignments, exams, and/or essays are often given out with a fair deadline set forth by the instructor. Essays in English classes and writing stories in Journalism will often require verification of sources, ranging from a simple quote from a line with or without citing page numbers. With the exception of poetry and textbook citations, most outside sources require a separate reference page in either MLA or APA format.

The second reason is what some people may not notice. It comes from what my thoughts on what cheating in class really means in my philosophy. Plagiarism is a very serious nuisance to the learning experience. No student can learn from others that have written the same paper and then applying to one's own. Once a student is caught, it will be irreversible to make up. Not only that a student can be subject to serious disciplinary action, but the student can also face additional penalties by family members or other authorized people, if they so choose.

The third reason comes from my family's long standing tradition against plagiarism. I am a lot more disciplined from the moment that I first met my aides in elementary school; one of which is named Mrs. Hala Elmasu (pronounced as EL-MA-SUE) . Elmasu has set the high bar of what she expects from me, even for any disabled student like me. My parents have been always on alert to look for tall-tale signs of plagiarism, and I've been carrying that tradition since Elmasu and I last saw each other in high school.

Privacy also matters to the instructor and student, and most prefer to use their visual eyes.
However, some schools around the world are taking the extra step by installing closed-circuit television cameras in classrooms to assist in detecting any cheating due to the increasing amount of cheating during midterm and final exams. This is because that some students often wear a tiny device attached to their ear to pronounce both the question and answer, believing that the student can pass without instructors noticing such a device.

Many majors have huge expectations when it comes to dealing with plagiarism, regardless of major and concentration within a major. English and Journalism majors, for instance, have something in common - that one requires a lot of written work with less reliance on exams. Either way, both of them set the high bar for anti-plagiarism measures. Those two majors have high expectations from every student. Whether it's a journal article or an English essay, a lot of sources are used for verification.

I personally take plagiarism very seriously in my written work. That means that anti-plagiarism measures are in effect for all of my written work. This means if I am really caught doing as such, there are reminders of the severe consequences that can seriously hurt me in both the short and long terms.

I do have to admit, though, that I rarely do have permission from the instructor to have "open-book," "open note," and "open Internet" at the same time on any exam. Most of my exams are closed book and closed notes. Fortunately, instructors are there for help or inquiry at any time to obviously avoid plagiarism.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak

Saturday, October 3, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: VTA To Discontinue Paper Day Pass, October Update

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has plans to discontinue paper day pass use by the first day of 2016, and will be the first and only transit agency in the nine-county Bay Area region to implement an environmentally friendly take on riding transit. My blog was the first and only blog to announce the move after the discovery of a notice while reading VTA's "Take One" September 2015 publication. In this blog, I go over what is likely in store for the year 2016 and what AC Transit, SamTrans, and BART riders can do when no paper passes are available.

First, let's look at AC Transit and SamTrans riders, as this blog hopes to avoid surprises when transferring to VTA. The year 2016 is likely a surprise for AC Transit and SamTrans because of their day passes being slightly less than VTA. When VTA says "goodbye" to paper day passes, it's "hello Clipper" card, as the Clipper card will be the only way to put either monthly or day passes when riding VTA light rail or bus. This also brings back memories of the announcement of the discontinuation of monthly passes on VTA back in 2012, posted on YouTube.

The format for riders using Clipper card on VTA is straightforward, as outlined in the October 2015 "Take One" pamphlet. When I read the article, the only information provided are the instruction of how to obtain a day pass using Clipper, but did not provide any information on whether other forms of paper passes like the 8-hour excursion pass on light rail would be affected. Regular paper single-paper tickets and the excursion passes for light rail will continue for now, as questions still arise on whether VTA considers a limited-use smart card such as the one on San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA, or MUNI for short) light rail.

It is still unknown if SamTrans will be informing the public about the transfers policy to VTA starting on the first day of 2016, other than the fact that VTA will accept transfers on Clipper card for those who came from a SamTrans bus route. SamTrans riders who transfer from the Palo Alto Transit Center to VTA's bus routes will likely be surprised to find out about not having a paper day pass available. Those who find themselves without one will likely have to head to a retailer or a transit office to obtain a Clipper card.

The same question about the transfer policy to VTA also applies to AC Transit. While AC Transit has one of the most advanced farebox technology of any transit agency in the Bay Area (and in the United States), AC Transit riders who want to transfer to VTA for their final destination will also find themselves in a huge shock on the first day of 2016 stating that transit passes has "disappeared," and finding themselves in a huge hole to get a Clipper card from a transit office or retailer. Meanwhile, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) riders will likely be unaffected as the paper transfer is issued by BART and not VTA in regards to getting on one of the express routes to destinations in Santa Clara County. This is because the paper transfers are not in VTA's control, which BART handles the responsibilities under an agreement with transit agencies who continues to accept the transfers for rides to the final destination well outside of BART's jurisdiction.

In the event that riders who transfer from other transit agencies to VTA wishes to ride on buses or light rail, VTA has no plans to implement new adult Clipper cards at ticket vending machines at this point yet, as there is no funding available to have Clipper cards being dispensed like MUNI does currently. I did ask Caltrain back in 2013 about Clipper card functionality at their stations excluding those with Clipper add-value machines and/or machines that have Clipper card capabilities. Their response was that Caltrain currently has no such funding as of currently and that new machines would be needed to include such functionality.

So if the description of VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress's "Word to the Wise" is part of any rider's plan to transfer to VTA from other transit agencies for any reason, you may want to be aware about saying "goodbye" to paper day passes. None of the VTA spokespeople has made any public announcements regarding paper day passes, but this blog is so far the only blog to provide advanced warnings to riders. Instead of just "word to the wise," isn't that another reason why riders should be getting the Clipper card as soon as possible to avoid the repeat of a VTA 2012 commercial regarding paper day passes? You decide for yourself - send me an e-mail, tweet me, or comment below (subject to restrictions).

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak