Author: Firat Soylu

  • Inception: How I ruined it for myself

    I watched Inception. I talked to people and read reviews before watching it. It seemed like there was a general consensus about it being a good science fiction movie. I used to love science fiction movies, but I have lost interest in them because every time I watch a movie, I find millions of things that do not make sense scientifically. For me, good science fiction should show what current science can’t, and may even lead or direct scientific endeavor.

  • Digital Cameras: Freezing the Unlived Now to Remember in Future

    We all have some moments in our life that we don’t want to ever forget. Since its invention and prevalent use, photographs helped us freeze a beautiful moment and look back to it whenever we wanted to. With digital cameras, keeping a record of memories became even easier and cheaper. Not only do most people have a digital camera, but also probably have a cell phone, or some other gadget that has the capability of shooting images.

  • Can Internet Become an Addiction?

    A couple weeks ago I read a terrifying news story reading “A South Korean couple who were addicted to the internet let their three-month-old baby starve to death while raising a virtual daughter online, police said.” It was difficult to believe what I read, however on retrospect I realized that a shift on how I look at Internet addiction can make this story believable (als

  • Does Google Make Us Smarter?

    We often read articles informing us about new research on human brain, with some spectacular results. This is relatively a new trend. The invent of fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology in 1990s revolutionized brain research, making it possible to explore the dynamics of human brain without use of invasive methods. At the beginning of this revolution fMRI was available only in few laboratories. Then, it became more and more prevalent. Now, there is a fMRI imaging facility in almost every research university.

  • The New Democracy and the Stories Objects Tell Us

    For many, democracy only means to vote once every couple of years. The process is more or less the same around the world. People go to polls, every three or four years, to elect public officials. Durıng the remaining time, it is the public officials who make decisions about every aspect of the citizen's life.

  • What will happen to the Book?

    “Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re are thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.

  • Acknowledging Our Cyborgness in Education and Beyond

    Two weeks ago the Danish government started a pilot program allowing college students to use Internet during exams (see the news article here). They are planning on extending the program to all of schools in the country by 2011. At first look this seems like a simple policy change. However, when I read the news article it seemed to me more than this.

  • Video Games: Entertaining, Educational or Dangerous?

    Video games are fun and addictive. I cannot argue against this. I have my own troubled past with them. When I was in college I wasted enormous amounts of time playing games. Later, this interest with games became a professional interest and I began graduate school with the hope of doing research on how computer games can be used for educational purposes. Ironically, the graduate school experience entirely transformed my perspective about video games. As I learned more about human cognition, I realized that video game playing might have some long-term unwanted effects.

  • The Impossibility of Having a Mindful Day

    I think having a “mindful day” is more important and more impossible than ever before. When I look at my daily routines, I spot a billion things that counteract against my will to be mindful. Before ranting about these, I will first provide a definition of mindfulness.

    Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept/practice. In The Embodied Mind, Fransico Varela and co-authors define mindfulness as “…to experience what one's mind is doing as it does it, to be present with one's mind.” One definition I heard from someone was along the lines of “… a non-judgmental awareness of the immediate experience.” My definition is “Being present at the moment.”