Monthly Archives: September 2015

” A Negative Mind makes a Negative Life” By Darien Laurencin

Hello, my name is Darien Laurencin, and I’m pursuing a major in Computer Systems Technology at New York City College of Technology. A topic I would like to discuss that is personal to me is the impact that negativity has on the mind. It is personal to me, because as I walk through life I have dealt with a great deal of negativity, and learned to withdraw from it, but unfortunately for others, things turn for the worst. I believe that negativity weakens the mind mental capacity in which it is not able to function properly. There are different variations of negativity in the world. As I progress through life from a young boy, to becoming a college student, negative influences, or thoughts, changes the mind as a person ages. The human mind is like a super computer, but like everything else, there is a limit to what something could take, and like a computer, the mind can only take a certain amount of negativity, then starts to turn against its carrier by embracing the side effects of what negativity causes. Like negativity in the physical world, in this generation the digital world is also very important, showing how negative variations can be exemplified across the world, by Facebook, Twitter, CNN and other media, which can then alter the state of mind. By preserving my mind with positive thoughts, and emotions I’m not only nurturing a healthy mind, but also strengthening it to fight against negativity when it comes my way.

The human brain is an amazing thing. Age however changes the human brain as we grow. During my transition from a young boy to a man, my mind gradually developed, based on my life experiences. One important experience that changed my mindset as I grew up was in middle school. Throughout my time in middle school, I was a straight “A” student. I worked hard, studied hard, and tried to the best of my ability to stay in my high level class. Marine Park was the name of my middle school, it is a dominantly white school with both staff, and students. The class level ranged from 8-1 to 8-12, 8-12 being the highest level. The level of classes was based on academic performance. I was in 8-8, which meant I had privileges classes 8-1 to 8-4 didn’t have, such as band class, art, and music. One day during my walk to math class, one of my friends got in trouble, so I asked him, “What’s wrong?” The teacher standing by him told me to mind my business, and then I told her to “watch who you talk to.” After that incident the “white” principal, and “white” dean of the school demoted me from 8-8 to 8-4. The teacher who I had the conflict with was not one of my 8-8 class teachers, therefore that punishment was invalid. In addition to that I also lost my 8-8 privileges. Being one of only three black students in my 8-8 class, and now I’m being forced to leave, something felt wrong. Even though I was demoted to a lower level class, which included mostly African-Americans, I maintained my 90 average, but still wasn’t able to move back up to a high level class. The negative value of that situation created a dramatic change in my minds view point on education. I believe that I was targeted as a black man doing well in a dominantly “white” environment. This belief made me think that in education, African-Americans are being downgraded no matter how much they try to achieve their goals. The negative mindset I had in the past still haunts me till this day, because now that I’m in college, I’m scared to even talk to my professors, thinking that they only want me to fail. Negative thinking like this weakens a student’s mind ability to function properly when confronted by their professor, or teacher. It does not only weaken the mind ability, but also weakens the connection between teacher, and student because of the distrust from the student.

Have you ever watch a commercial about some sort of drug? The commercial starts saying the positive values about the drugs, but then a few seconds before the end the commercial, it talks about all the side effects such as nausea, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Negativity is similar to these commercials. Negativity feeds the mind into thinking that whatever negative circumstances a person is surrounded by, must happen. To elaborate on that, 2 years ago in 11th grade at Acorn Community High School there was this student by the name of Danny. Danny loved to fight from boys his age, to even the school safety agents. At only age 17 I’ve seen Danny in three fights, so one day I approached Danny to ask him, “why do you fight so much?” Danny simply answered, “I like to fight.” In Danny’s case he feels the negative attribute of fighting is a part of him. Like the commercials I stated earlier, fighting was like Danny’s pill, and soon after he will have to face the side effects. When it was time to transition from 11th grade to 12th grade, I didn’t see Danny in the senior orientation. 3 months pass by, and I finally saw him in school. Danny didn’t seem that he was fighting anymore, but did seem depressed and sad. I soon realize that the negative influence of fighting consumed Danny’s mind. Danny wasn’t able to focus in school, and eventually I stopped seeing him in school. What I learned from this experience is to get out of your negative influence, pleasure, or emotions before it’s too late. People are surrounded by negativity every day; we do not have to embrace it. The side effects of negativity are much more drastic. Similar to Danny case, after negativity consumes the mind to the limit it can take, the mind starts to give up on its carrier. Danny kept on fighting, and fighting until soon after he couldn’t bare the sight of fighting anymore. He faced the backlash of the constant fighting, by falling under depression and sadness. Don’t let your mind give up on you. The biggest side effect of the mind turning against its carrier is suicide, and everyday an increase in suicide is shown on the news. If we stop those negative influences, pleasures, and conflictions early we are giving our minds a second chance to not only function better, but to also help the mind distinguish from what’s right, and what’s wrong.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all share one major thing in common, they are all connected to the internet. All these applications and websites are able to share news and information quicker. Some news are loveable such as a picture of a kitten to a dog getting rescued, but as I observe the activity on these sites, the information people are more attracted to is rather negative. Negativity is generated faster, and easier through the internet without someone even leaving their home. When I’m on Facebook, I would usually see funny videos, lovable videos, but the more viewed videos are negative videos, such as fights, bullying, and gossip. The negative videos would usually get the most likes then the uplifting videos. A few weeks ago I decided to conduct my own study on Facebook. On the first week of September, I wrote positive uplifting statuses for example, “Keep pushing no matter how much you fall down,” “Remember to love yourself,” and “You are amazing never forget that.” The likes I got for these statuses were around 10 to 14 with no comments. The week after I wrote negative statuses such as, “I’m tired of people, they get on my nerves,” “I hate this girl,” and “Ready to fight someone.” The likes I got for these statuses was around 17 to 25, which is above average for my Facebook. As I observe the negative statuses outcome, I had got many comments, including inboxes asking for more information about them. The comments and inboxes seemed to be more nosey, and trying to gossip, then caring comments to help me. This led me to the conclusion about what negativity on the internet have done to the mind. People, mainly the youth minds are being program to react to negativity, and withdraw from positivity. The human minds adapts to what a person do every day. If someone is consistently flooding their mind with scenes of fighting, arguing, and other negative things, then the mind will be program so that negativity is all a person be attracted to. I also being a victim to this form of programming, the mind want to be able to find out more on the negative interest a person is watching, that is why drama shows gets more, and more views each episode. I’m always watching fights, and arguments, not because I love watching fights, but because my mind have been program to be focus on only negativity on the internet. The mind have been so used to seeing negativity, it is unable to distinguish the positive aspects of something on the internet, making it unable to function properly. So whenever you see something that looks like any form of negativity, KEEP SCROLLING!

The mind needs to be preserved with positive thoughts and emotions. Because of continuous negativity, one cannot love or feel love the way a positive person would. The minds functionality is based on what you see, hear and feel. When I filled my mind with the negative environment I stated in my previous paragraphs, my mind was unaware of the positivity I was surrounded by. I have a wonderful family, and great friends. My mom would be always there for me, no matter how much I annoyed her. When I’m feeling down, or angry, I have good friends to cheer me up with laughter, hugs and food. With these positive aspects in my life, I was able to now withdraw from negativity, and pull in positivity. Knowing that I am surrounded by an army of positivity, it relaxes that mind to a state of peace and calmness which helps the brain function properly. One day while walking down the streets of Manhattan, I came across two homeless brothers asking for food. At first I passed the homeless brothers and went in Dunkin Donuts. While I was on the line, I was thinking to myself what if that was me, and my brother. I decided to get them a sandwich and orange juice. When I gave the two brothers the food and drink, they broke down into tears, then started thanking me a lot. That moment filled my heart with joy, and so much love, I wanted to do more. If I ever come across a homeless person, I would try my best to give them what I can, even if it’s the only change I have. I am not only filling my mind with positivity, but I am also passing on my positive vibe to anyone I help. The same way this positive chain works, a negative chains could be created. If I didn’t help the two homeless brother, other people would take notice and not help them either, but because I decided to help the homeless brothers, people took notice of that and gave them money. With a great deal of positivity, one is putting less stress on the mind, and giving it a healthy antidepressant. Ways that I keep my mind on the positive side is by helping others, writing positive statuses on social media, and listening to uplifting music. When I do those things my mind stay worry free and functions better.

Peace, happiness and good vibes should be in all of us. Positivity comes to those who stay positive through it all. In the future I seek to gain a deeper understanding of the mind connection to negativity. By learning this I am able to overcome all obstacles. As technology advances, the sight of negativity will increase in the minds of the youth. I want to be able to speak to the youth and share my experiences with them, so that I’m able to shield them from the negative world. It is a harsh world out there, and the mind is too important to waste. The mind is your overall control center that guides you through life. We need to be able to say at the end of the day, “I lived a good life.” On quote that I made for myself to stay positive is, “Be kind to your mind, because with that, positivity you will find.”



“Computers and Me” Rolando Barredo

My name is Rolando Barredo. I am 18 years old, and I am currently enrolled in City Tech. I am planning to get an Associates in Electro Mechanical Technology. In my life, computers have made a great impact in my life. This is something that defines me. One reason is that the idea of a machine that is intelligent fascinates me. Also, the fact that video game consoles and handhelds are computers is a topic that I think of every time I play games. I have built my own computer, and I can consider it a defining moment in my life, which made me realize what I can do with that knowledge. Lastly, the fact that I have been surrounded by computers, or things that I now know are computers in itself is something that has impacted me the most. Those are reasons that computers, in general, define me as a person.

Computers are intelligent machines, whether or not we realize it. Computers are made up of many components. The basics are, a processor, or the brain, the chassis, or the body, and the monitor, where we can see the processes. One way that I saw this was when I was in elementary school, we had the old style Macs. This was the first year I used computers. They had the giant monitors with the large chassis, and they still accepted floppy discs. There were so many different colors, and I always liked the blue, since it’s my favorite color. Then, we started using them. Note, this is in my 2nd or 3rd grade mind. They did so many things like play YouTube videos, or listen to music. We can use Paint to draw. I had no idea that a machine could do such a thing. I saw a computer as if it were a person. It thinks, it has a body, which can be different, and a monitor, where we can see what it’s thinking. If it has a webcam, the computer has eyes. I was fascinated by this idea, as childish as it seems, but this is the way I laid a foundation in my mind of how computers work at the most basic level. It really sounds ignorant now, but that is how I now have that mentality of a computer being an intelligent machine. Now I know how those processes happen, what they actually are, and obviously, it isn’t a human with a brain. It is a machine we have developed that can do so many things. Being around one makes you feel like you are around something powerful. In other terms, a strong computer is equivalent to a car with a lot of horse power. This shows how an elementary school experience really impacted my view on computers.

Video game consoles and handhelds are computers as well. This idea is something that deepened my interest in computer hardware. Everyone has played on a Playstation, an Xbox, or a handheld such as a Gameboy or PSP. Obviously, we see them as devices in which not only we can play games, but at a certain age, our full entertainment system. We wouldn’t focus on the other things a handheld or a console are. They process info and handle graphics as well, just like a computer. Why? Because they are a computer. I remember when I broke my PSP, and I wanted to see what was wrong. I removed the screws holding it in place, and what I saw inside was another world. I saw a bunch of little components and chips, just like a computer has. I honestly thought all handhelds were just a screen and a game cartridge. I never knew how similar the complexity between a computer and a handheld are. That opened a whole other world for me. I started to investigate what else these handhelds can do that a computer can do as well. In that little research I did, I also saw the insides of an Xbox. I saw a green board and more chips inside. I realized that all the devices we use to game and entertain ourselves are also computers. My view on gaming devices changed completely with what seemed like the demise of my PSP. Who could’ve known? That realization of gaming devices being computers changed the way I viewed technology overall.

FB_IMG_1443627914387I see building my own computer as a defining moment in my life, since it made me aware of what I can do with my knowledge. Around 2 years ago, I watched a YouTube video on how to build a computer. It was several videos as it was a series of 3 videos. It was purely out of curiosity, because in that moment, it wasn’t even an idea in my mind to build a computer. Before that, I heard that building a PC is complicated, and not everybody can do it. While watching these videos, I saw how every component came together, like a puzzle. Each part complements the other, in terms of the functions that they do. I also saw how you can change the parts used to build the PC, depending on what you want the computer to be more efficient for. The specifications can be changed, and so on. It got me wondering, “What if I saved up the money to build my own PC? Would I do it?” I decided to take on the challenge to save up and build. I researched a lot in order to know what to get to build a gaming PC. Now that I reflect upon that, I see that it didn’t require so much reading. It took me 6 months to save up the money and buy all the parts. When everything came, it was so many boxes, I couldn’t believe it. When I started to build the PC, I didn’t need to re-watch the series, as the whole process was embedded in my mind. While I put everything together, I realized that I can do so much with this knowledge that I gained and put in practice. I wanted to go deeper, so I asked myself, “How is a computer part made?” Looking at a CPU (or processor) made me wonder how that individual component is made. That turned on a lightbulb for me in my mind. It wasn’t just a lightbulb for a temporary idea, it is a lightbulb that is still on, because now I’m actually learning how these components are made. That is a huge reason why I am currently studying in the field that I am and some of the questions I had before have been answered. For example, one part of a motherboard that is used in its production is a resistor, which I have already done a lab for. It’s like now, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together again, only on a smaller scale. That is why building a computer, in my eyes, is a key part to what defines me as a person.

Being surrounded by computers and things that I now know are computers has impacted me the most. You can say that it still influences me now, as we see how more and more technology is released. Just recently, the new iPhone 6S was released. The release of the iPhone had more people wait outside the Apple Store than people waiting outside Central Park to wait for the pope. That is impressive and we can see how many people carry computers in their pockets. We live in a city where big things happen, after all, we do live in NYC. We have areas like Times Square that attract so many people. My high school was around Times Square, so I got to see it everyday. The way I see it, though, is quite different. The amount of LED billboards and lights that are on all day is quite mesmerizing. The amount of computers surrounding us just in that area is surreal. You wouldn’t believe the amount of hardware that goes behind every electrical equipment that is used there. Going back to the anecdote of the Apple Store, I remember the first time I went to the Apple Store in Grand Central. It was when it just opened there in my freshman year of high school. That was an amazing experience being surrounded by all those computers. All those iPhones, iPads, and Macs… Wow. This impacted me, by making me think that not only would it be cool to work with computers, but to always be surrounded by any type of computer is what I want to do as a career.

Overall, computers were, and still are a huge part of my life. I plan on keeping it that way for a long time. There are many things I still want to achieve in my life that revolves around computers. For example, I would like to start off by successfully getting my Associates of Electro Mechanical Technology. That would be a huge step in my life, whether or not I choose to pursue a Bachelors. A Bachelors would be a degree in Computer Engineering Technology, which would go more in depth into what I studied the previous years. Also, I would like to go to a convention called CES, or the Commercial Electronics Show. In that convention, manufacturers display the prowess of their hardware in terms of them being the next best thing. Seeing the YouTube videos for that really shows what the future looks like. It makes us see the phones we will use, the TVs that we will watch from, etc. Going to such convention is a dream. In general, using my career opportunities for something revolving around computers is what I would like to do. That is my dream and I won’t stop chasing it.

Beginning of Class Writing: John Medina’s Brain Rules, “Stress”

For today’s class, you read the “Stress” chapter from John Medina’s Brain Rules. Spend the first ten minutes of class summarizing what you remember from the reading in your notebooks. Before our class on Monday, you will want to type and save copies of your summaries for today’s reading and the previous one on the “Sleep” chapter. Then, copy-and-paste your summary on “Stress” as a comment to this blog post, and copy-and-paste your summary of “Sleep” to the previous blog post that is specifically about that chapter. You will not receive credit for putting your work in the wrong place. Read the blog posts carefully and post your work accordingly. This is building your digital literacy and professional attention to detail. Your summaries for both chapters are due before we come into class on Monday.

Beginning of Class Writing, John Medina’s Brain Rules, “Sleep”

During the first ten minutes of class today, let’s continue your regular writing and summarization practice. In class, write a summary of your reading of the Sleep chapter from John Medina’s Brain Rules. After class, type up your summary, save it, and copy-and-paste it into a comment to this blog post. You have until class on Monday next week to complete this. As you write your summary, you can write about how the reading relates to things that you have experienced, learned, or read before.

Beginning of Class Writing: John Medina’s Brain Rules, “Exercise”

During the first ten minutes of class, write a summary of today’s assigned reading from John Medina’s Brain Rules: “Exercise.” Before we meet again next week, type up your summary, save it someplace safe, and copy-and-paste it into a comment to this blog post.

Some questions to consider: What is the relationship between exercise and cognitive function? What are some of the ways exercise help us think better than if we are inactive? How convinced are you by Medina’s argument (and of course, explain why he is or is not convincing to you)?

Beginning of Class Writing: John Medina’s Brain Rules, “Introduction”

During the first ten minutes of class, write a summary of your reading from the “Introduction” to John Medina’s Brain Rules in your notebooks. Before we meet again on Monday, type and edit your summary. Then, copy-and-paste your summary into a comment posted to this blog post.

Also, I would like to remind you of the companion website for Brain Rules, which you should check out for references and explanatory videos:

Beginning of Class Writing: Background on the Brain and John Medina

During the first ten minutes of today’s class, write a summary in your notebooks of the two readings assigned for today’s class: Seven, “12 Rules to Boost Your Brainpower,”, and Medina, “About the Author,”

Before our next class, type up your handwritten summary, save it some place safe (e.g., the Cloud, flash storage, email, etc.), and copy-and-paste it into a comment added to this blog post. Moving forward this semester, these beginning of class writing assignments from one week are due before the first class of the following week. This gives you ample time to type and post your daily writing to OpenLab.

Beginning of Class Writing: Introductions

During the first ten minutes of class, I would like you to use your own notebook paper to write a brief essay of introduction. Tell me your name, your major, what you hope to make your career, and some things tell me something unique about you (clubs, hobbies, interests, activities, etc.). The important thing about this and all beginning of class assignments is that you use the full ten minutes of time for writing. Unlike your future beginning of class writing assignments, which you will post here on OpenLab, I will collect this assignment when the ten minutes are up.