Measuring Humans Emotions? | MIT Technology Review

Two Wrist-Worn Devices, From Neumitra and Affectiva, Could Help Monitor PTSD and Other Anxiety Disorders | MIT Technology Review.

My Comment to above article:

You are trying to deal with human emotions through only biology. In western civilization they consider humans as only biological machines or animals. They can’t understand that emotions , spirituality and feelings are things that are not measurable through body signals data. Humans are more than biological animals. They have souls and spirits . And these things have no connection whatsover to the human mortal body that vanishes after death. Spirit and Soul are eternal not like the body. At least that’s what some people -like me- believe.

The comments section of the above article contains some interesting discussion : http://www.technologyreview.com/news/508716/wrist-sensor-tells-you-how-stressed-out-you-are/#lf_comment=48803362

Why We Can’t Solve Big Problems | MIT Technology Review

The following article is in my view one of the Most Interesting Read I’ve been able to read since years. A very thoughtful article by the editor in chief and the publisher of MIT Technology Review in person : Why We Can’t Solve Big Problems | MIT Technology Review.

This article was thoughtfully written and the author was successful in tackling the issue from many angles. However some replies to this article disappointed me as i saw many are having unrealistic illusions about the power of technology and science. That’s why i wrote my comment that i quote below:

My education and career were mainly scientific and i believe in the power and utility of science and technology .However i think that technology is not the ultimate solution for human kinds. it gives us some power but man has always abused and misused this power and rarely technology has brought happiness to the human kind.

The Big Problems that we need to solve are Greed, Arrogance, Abuse of power , hatred and selfishness. our big problems have nothing to do with technology. technology gives us tools and gadgets to help us live better and do things more easily. But it doesn’t solve the most hard problem of humans: their bad nature and ego which is the real cause of all our troubles in this world.

OpenStudy : a Big Idea or just another Q&A system ?

I Recently read a blog entry at CACM: Our Big Idea: Open Social Learning .  The article mentions a project OpenStudy.com which is a a start-up company spun off by Georgia Tech and Emory University. Its Web site is the latest effort to create a social platform for independent learners who want to help each other study the huge trove of educational materials published free online by universities like MIT. Another way to describe this Project is as a Open Social Learning aka Massively Multiplayer Online Learning

The Idea sounds Great But is it really innovative? .  as it stands now , openStudy is merely another Q&A website . There exists new modern Q&A systems like the popular Stack Exchange web sites network which is

a fast-growing network of 51 question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming.

many students , researchers and scientists use now extensively the Stack Exchange network sites to conduct open study collaboration on various scientific topics like mathematics , physics , programming and many other STEM topics.

In your opinion what makes OpenStudy really a Big Idea as their founders describe it? will it really take its promise to revolutionize the STEM learning process in the world and become the Facebook of schools? what is your evaluation of the OpenStudy project ?

About "The Complicated Issues of Computing Education in Qatar"

When i Read the blog post by Mark Guzdial The Complicated Issues of Computing Education in Qatar i was not surprised by the writer conclusions. Simply because most of Westerners Minds suffer from this dangerous insufficiency to understand the implication of the privacy of every nation’s culture. This misconception is part of the new Globalization Ideology that is still problematic and raises critics from many thinkers and scholars. Globalizing cultures is a project that is deemed to failure. And i’ll try to explain why briefly.
Mark Guzdial talked about a “complicated” issue of computing education in Qatar. I don’t see where is the complication in this issue? there is what we can call “The Humanitarian commons” and the “cultural privacy”. Science and technology are humanitarian commons that all cultures can Integrate within their society without much implications. However there are cultural privacies that any culture won’t sacrifice. For example in the age of the Renaissance in Europe; europeans copied and translated most of arabic books on medicine , mathematics , chemistry, astronomy etc.. but Renaissance Europe didn’t translate muslim books on Quran , Islamic law , islamic philosophy etc.. why? because these knowledges are a cultural privacy for Muslims. so Europeans were not interested in integrating these knowledges into their western (mainly christian) societies. on the other hand, islamic mathematics , medicine and astronomy of the middle ages were Global Commons so Europeans took them without much problems.
In Fact, Muslims followed this same process when they were to become a leading world power in the middle ages. When the Islamic empire established itself and absorbed the old cultures of the byzantine and persian empires ; it began a big process of translating the old knowledges of the ancient greeks , persians and Hindus. Muslims Again were selective in their knowledge translation process . they took ancient greek sciences of mathematics and part of philosophy but they rejected other disciplines like the greek poetry , drama and greek gods literature because these were not consistent with the islamic new culture.
So here we can recognize a pattern In civilizations’ emancipation process. The culture privacy of the emerging society should be kept as a Constant in this process. The other aspects of knowledge that have a global humanitarian common aspect could be absorbed and developed without conflicting problems.
You know, we can hardly talk about a muslim math and an american or russian math. math is math and it is a deterministic and exact science and has no connection with the culture within which this math discipline is practiced. However we always talk about american literature, arabic literature , french literature etc..So literature ,as a human science, is tightly coupled with the culture where it is developed and practiced.

We should respect the privacy of other different cultures. Westerners current superiority in Science and technology doesn’t give them the right to change other nations’ cultures. A Muslim woman should not sacrifice her religious beliefs and duties To become a real computer scientist woman.
I hope westerners could understand this important issue of cultural privacy and stop their attempt to impose forced cultural changes to other nations under the pretext of bringing them the so called enlightenment of Western culture.

Is Software Engineering Engineering?

I remember back in the Mid 90ties I integrated University for a Major of Computer science Degree. I was coming from a Mathematics background having spent about two or three long years studying Maths; and in which solving hard and complex math problems was my sole activity. I was told that mathematicians were the first to write computer programs and were the best ones to do that. So I came with a certain confidence and serenity that i’ll be doing well as a Software Engineer Student. Needless to say that the first three or four months were so frustrating for me. Almost all the computer programs i wrote in Lab assignments were broken. My confidence began to shake!
I remember at a certain time during this semester, I felt a deep need to Talk to my adviser. I told him:

Sir, before i came here i was told that software writing is merely doing mathematics. why is it ,then, I’m capable solving hard math problems but yet incapable writing a correct computer program ?

My advisor smiled and told me :

Well, try to think about a computer program as a Dynamic Math problem. A Math problem in which all variables and data are constantly moving and changing. Before, you were doing Static Math. Now it’s time for you to start doing Dynamic Math!

I admit this advice helped me start thinking differently about computer programming. However, It didn’t gave me the full answer. I was feeling that the Software Engineering discipline couldn’t be easily categorized as being Science or Engineering or Art or any other known field. It turns out I was not the only one facing this dilemma. Recently I read an article by Bruce Eckel in which he claims that Writing Software is Like … Writing.
While i do agree with most of what Bruce said in his article; Yet i still tend to believe that software is more than writing. In my view, it’s a complex mixture of disciplines involving at the same time pure science , Engineering, Art , Writing and probably many other disciplines. A good software developer -for me- should be Many Men in one Man. He must be able to switch his mind pattern of thinking between different modes (To say disciplines). There are circumstances where the programmer should act as a pure scientist. In other situations he should behave as an Engineer; and In other times he has to think and feel like an Artist.
I Read an article in ACM Magazine (CACM , issue March 2009) by Peter J.Denning and Richard D.Riehle ; in which they are -too- complaining that

software Engineering Is Not Engineering !

They Note that :

software Engineering may suffer from our habit of paying too little attention to how other Engineers do Engineering.

In their article they propose :

we need to encourage system thinking that embraces hardware and user environment as well as software.

It seems that each discipline veterans are trying to adapt software writing to make it fit their own field. For me, I would love to see software continue being an obscure and undefined profession. It’s this obscurity that makes the beauty of this field. It is this nature of such a Multi-discipline , Multi-skill, Multi-facets activity that makes software an exciting , rich and continuously evolving discipline.