mercoledì 20 maggio 2009

let's end it with a bang!

When I listen to music I always try to understand the words, to get and to learn the pronunciation, but I don't care much about the meaning.

The meaning, I believe, is something more personal, something that is subjective, a feature of the song that is not immediately clear, but needs time to take some kind of form . If an artist explains the meaning of their lyrics, they ruin that touch of magic present in it.
Sometimes excerpts of a song without any kind of meaning have a great potential. Interpretative potential, I mean! Everybody may give a personal interpretation to it, and that's amazing.
It is clear that this doesn't happen with every song, and that's even more amazing!

Let's start talking about "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. I like it, but with some kind of reserve. I'll explain later.
What does this song talk about? Well, at first sight... ops, listening... this song talks about kings, castles, Jerusalem...
I may over-generalize a bit, but basically almost all songs talks about love and/or drug! Both are addictive and make one feel better. Pay attention! I'm not talking about the consequences...

I think that this song talks about a love story finished in a bad way. Everything was fine, going right. Then something happened, in a blink of an eye and apparently without a clear reason. He (I'm almost sure that the song is about a man. It's women that tend to leave men without clear reasons! :-P ) discovers that everything he believed in, such as faithfulness, was just an illusion and that nobody around him wanted to tell him.

Well, the part about Jerusalem is not so clear!

As the song goes on, he tries to find some kind of relief in someone who will have to be for him a sort of shelter (be my sword and shield), but at the same time also an advisor (be my mirror).
In the second part he admits in a certain way that he, too, may have made some mistake, but it is not so clear.

The song finishes with the refrain repeated many times and a lot of ooh ooh, too!

Oh, if you have some more minutes to waste, take a look at these videos! Listen carefully, because the first one regards plagiarism! :-)

The second one is about misheard lyrics... Well, sometimes it is very hard to catch every word of the lyrics, but the author of this video did a great job! ^_^

That's the last, but not the least. I love this song so much! I'm really curious to see how an English speaker would interpret this song! :-)

martedì 19 maggio 2009

mercoledì 6 maggio 2009

how can I protect myself from web hazards?

Ignorance is bliss! Definitely... It is true for so many things, unfortunately! One's life goes on so peacefully until they realize that the World is evil and everyone around them is bad... Am I too pessimistic? Well, I strongly believe that too many times we are so powerless against the events that gets in our road.

Sometimes I think about what happens to the information I put on the Internet, but after awhile I rather stop my mind from wondering. The only solution is assume good faith from the Entity who rules over the Web. It is clear that if one surfs over peaceful waters, maybe staying away from "nasty" sites [oh, yes... the sirens of the Web! ;-) ] they can consider themselves quite safe. I want to underline the word "quite". There are sites more reliable than others, sites that we can trust, always assuming good faith on their part anyway.

What's the solution? To self exile myself in my beautiful (and full accessorized) ivory tower? Mmmh... I really think this action is completely useless. The fact that one avoid the Internet doesn't prevent them from being victim of it! A friend of mine doesn't use the computer at all, but he is a celebrity on the Web (and I'm the reason for his success!).

The only good solution (that is not really a solution, after all) is to surf the Web carefully, maybe with the help of a good anti-virus, a good anti-spyware, a good anti-malaware... a lot of anti-something, to sum up!
I pointed out that this is not a real solution, since I myself became victim of the evil web... Right one hour ago a technician called to tell me my PC didn't work properly because of a virus...

What shall I say? Surf safe... and may God guide your mouse! ;-)

domenica 3 maggio 2009

reference corrections and google docs

Bibliography is a recurrent nightmare for me! Well, I'm joking (for real?), but I have to say that this week the task wasn't effortless. We had to correct a list of references according to the APA. It is not a matter of confusion, rather a matter of details: APA style is so precise and detailed! There are so many different ways to write an entry in a reference list!

I had some problems correcting my references. I tried to google the name of one of the authors of the list, a certain Karain, but the search engine gave me no results! Well, except the name of a cave in Turkey (or somewhere in the Middle East, God knows!), but I guess it's not what I was looking for! :-(

Google Docs seems to me quite useful. I still have not tried it properly, since I just started clicking here and there trying to discover more about this tool. Up to now, anyway, I consider it better than Wiki, for it is "private" (you can access it only by logging in) and for you have not to wait for someone to finish their work before starting editing the document. Uhm... I guess I could explain better the second reason! I meant that it is better because the shared document can be edited by more than a person at the same time! Ok. Now it sounds better!

See you soon!

mercoledì 22 aprile 2009

handout 2

I have to admit it... I'm still not so sure about what I'm going to talk about in my final thesis. I'm still waiting for a divine intervention, a good inspiration! ;-)
at the moment the best idea that came to my mind is doing something about the economic crisis. it was really hard to find some interesting articles about this topic, even though it is a present world problem. the reason of this lack of material may be because of the difficulty of dealing with this topic. maybe in some month time there will be more. I really hope so, otherwise I'll change my topic.

· Does it follow the hourglass structure?
- the article isn't actually written with a hourglass structure. it is more correct to say that it starts with a general description of the topic, then it goes on discussing different topics divided into different sections.
· Is there a logical flow of ideas? Give reasons, and examples, for your answers.
- yes, the article follows a logical order. it starts with the descriptions of different economic models and its risks, then in the following section it describes the wrong assumptions about these models. The last two sections before the conclusion underline the importance of data, since economics is like a circle, everything returns like a loop.
· Is the text cohesive? What is done to make it cohesive? Provide examples.
- yes. there is a great number of "linking words" which help to make the text fluent. the sentence are not there alone, but connected with words such as "moreover", "after all" and so on.
· Is the writing clear or complex? Again, provide examples.
- eh eh... it depends! I'd say complex, since the article is written in a language specific for this kind of topic! (external consistency, conceptual reductionism...)
· Who is the text’s assumed audience? What indications of this do you have? How does
this influence how the text is written?
- the assumed audience is made of people that in a certain way are expert in economics, and that it is indicated by the technical language of the article. this style used makes the article slightly difficult to understand completely.


Well, as I said yesterday plagiarism is bad, it's a bad habit, something that has to be avoided because it is definitely unfair. the solution is citing whatever you didn't write but that you feel interesting for the work you're working on. I've already spent a semester some years ago "fighting" against bibliographies and quotations and I lost my battle. that experience was anyway very useful, because after I got burned I started being more accurate in writing down the entries in a bibliography.
mrs Ackerley helped me a lot while I was writing my BA thesis and she gave me clear instructions on how to compile a good bibliography. I think I did a good job. in my opinion what really matters is being coherent: each entry has to be written in the same way, with the same style.

I took a look at MLA and APA and I got struck! there are so many examples of style in the MLA! are they really needed? there are seven pages full of descriptions of ways you can write down an entry. I really think that it's a good job, very useful, too... but isn't it a bit exaggerated? I do believe that so many (slighty, it has to be said!) different manners of writing down a list of quotation may be confusing. I don't want to limit anyone's inventive or choice, but personally I got lost among all those charts!
While MLA focuses more on bibliographies (it dwells just a little on in-text quotations), APA is more generic and discusses on different kind of quotations and references. APA is also less schematic in its explanation, but it is divided in different sections.
APA goes beyond the simple explanation on how to point out the source someone uses, but it gives also suggestion on how to adapt or fix the quotation to make them look better in the whole text. The amount of information in these pages is huge and I think it is better organised thanks to the hypertextual links that take you straight to the point you need.

martedì 21 aprile 2009


good afternoon everybody. today's topic is plagiarism! what does this word mean? well, I'll give you an example immediately! :-)

Plagiarism is a delicate matter which can regard everybody, not necessarily students. I have to admit that its concept is not very clear to me. I think that no one in the world is not influenced by other ideas or creations: from painters who belong to the same artistic movement, to poets who use the same sytle of writing being inspired by the same poet, to musicians which grew up listening their favourite band. The line of demarcation between influence and plagiarism is not so clear-cut. For this reason, I consider plagiarism the intention to misappropriate other's work pretending that it is your own work.


I think that before publishing some material in a blog, one should always:
-control if the resource is under license or free
-read in what way a free resources can or cannot be modified
-quote the author or also create a link to the original source, even if the source is modified.
But, I suppose that it is impossible to avoid palgiarism, because we tend to share and publish things with a certain ease, without worring about the original author!


The basic idea is that when writing anything, be it an academic essay, our final thesis, or any kind of research work, we can not use someone else's thoughts without pointing out that we are doing so. This is worth both in the case of quotation or reformulation of someone else's words, but also in the case of the use of images.

ok! now take a look at some of the blogs of my peers... yes, did you notice? I copied and pasted some parts of their work!
my deepest apologies, ladies! ;-) this wanted just be a funny way to introduce plagiarism.
in plain words plagiarism is stealing someone else's work and pass it off as your own work! it is a really nasty way of doing things, and it is very annoying for the real author who put a great amount of effort in writing something.
plagiarism is present in any field related with artistic creations such as music, art, whatever...

I think it is acceptable to draw on someone else's work, but I want to underline it! draw on! not copy and paste. it is clear that two person may have the same opinion about something, but come on, please!!! there are so many way to express it! can't you use different words to say it instead of stealing it? you can, at least, cite the source of a very good sentence if you want! I would be happy to find a quotation of mine somewhere (well, if it is one among my "good" quotations!)

sometimes plagiarism may also be accidental, and this happens (quite) frequently with music. ok, there are so many artists that stole (and keep stealing) music from other artists, but I want to believe that most of the times this happens without malice. the web is full of examples of musical plagiarisms. if you don't believe me (and if you want to have some fun) have a look at this site!

to respect IPR and avoid plagiarism in my blog I always try to write things of my own, to use pictures of my own and, if I need to put a quotation in a post, I will put the sources of the quotation. in my long (too long, maybe) school career I never (I swear!) copied during examinations, texts, exams, quizzes and things like these (also because I'm not good at it) and I'm not planning to do it now.

during last lesson I learned about the existence of Fairshare, a very useful tool to find out if someone copied your own work. it is used by some teachers to check their students' works.

[the blog excerpts at the beginning of this post are from Francesca's blog (red), Sarah's (green) and Valentina's (orange)... I hope they're not bothered! :-P ]