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The chapters also provide a variety of ways to make certain that the information is understood: Tips for Thriving, Focus Questions, Through the Adjuncts' Eyes and Review of Key Points reinforce specific ideas and concepts. This is an easy book to read. There is a clarity and conciseness which I found very appealing. It reads like a novel to me in that I am eager to read what is next! It truly is a step-by-step guide to a positive teaching experience.
I recommend this book to any and all who have a desire to share their expertise in a classroom setting. Just as "When the student is ready, the teacher appears, so too, when the teacher is ready the book appears." This is a book that ranks high on my list of favorites.
I will undoubtedly consider this text as an integral part of my instructor's toolkit. It is very easy to read, straight and to the point. It's methodical approach makes it easy for the adjunct professor to understand and apply the information provided. The format and content is arranged to provide for quick reference and gives additional reading sources for a more in-depth perspective on the topics covered. The information provided offers sound practices for the college professor, as well as, for teachers at all grade levels. As a part-time teacher, I have used the text on many an occassion and have found it to be valuable in developing a win-win learning environment for both the students and myself. I would most definitely recommend the"Adjunct Professor's Guide to Success" for those teachers who want to be more effective and successful at their trade.
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What Kuzweil means by computers someday becoming 'spiritual' is that they may become conscious, and 'strong A.I.' is the view that "any computational process sufficiently capable of altering or organizing itself can produce consciousness." The first part of this book is an introduction to all of the above views by Kurzweil, followed by criticisms by four authors, followed in turn by Kurzweil as he refutes these criticisms.
Personally, I found most of the views expounded by the critics here to be either non-sensical, or 'beside the point'. One critic says that the life support functions of the brain cannot be separated from it's information processing function. Of course it can be, even the effects of hormones can be programmed into a downloaded brain, as well as other chemicals used by brains. Another critic states that possibly evolution is in error, and yet another criticism is that our machines will not be able to contact a divine entity and would thus be inferior.... give me a break, well...perhaps this is all true and maybe pigs will one day fly over the moon unassisted. I could go on and on, but this is the job of Ray Kurzweil and he defends himself admirably in the final chapters of this volume. Kurzweil does mention in this book that brain scanning machines are improving their resolution with each new generation, and eventually will reach a point where they should be able to image individual neurons and synapses in large areas, and allow the brain 'software' to be transferred to a suitable non-biological computing medium, my only criticism of Kurzweil here is that I think he should discuss this technology more, and where it is headed, his next book would be a great place for this.
One final point, it seems to me that when a new idea appears to be difficult and complicated to achieve, the pessimist says: "This is difficult and complicated, and may not work", whereas the optimist says: "This is difficult and complicated, but may work". Only time will tell for sure.
The controversy behind Kurzweil stems from his recent book "The Age of Spirtual Machines", which is a detailed accounting of his predictions and beliefs regarding artificial intelligence. Many individuals objected to his visions and predictions, and he answers a few of them in this book. In particular, he attempts to counter the arguments against him by the philosopher John Searle, the molecular biologist Michael Denton, the philosopher William A. Dembski, and zoologist Thomas Ray. With only a few minor exceptions, Kurzweil is successful in his refutation of their assertions.
But even if Kurzweil completely refutes the arguments of these individuals, and possibly many more against him, the countering of arguments will not by itself solve the problems in artificial intelligence research. The fact remains that much work still needs to be done before we are priveleged to see the rise of intelligent machines. Kurzweil is well-aware of this, for he acknowledges this many times in this book. He points to reverse engineering of the human brain as one of the most promising strategies to bring in the robotic presence. The success or failure of this strategy will take the mind-body problem out of purely academic circles and bring it to the forefront of practical research in artificial intelligence. The 21st century will thus see the rise of the "industrial philosopher", who works in the laboratory beside the programmers, cognitive scientists, robot engineers, and neurologists.
Each reader of this book will of course have their own opinions on Kurzweil's degree of success in countering the arguments of Searle, Denton, Dembski, and Ray. But one thing is very clear: Kurzweil is no arm-chair philosopher engaging in purely academic debates on the mind-body problem. He is right in the thick of the research and development of artificial intelligence, and if the future turns out as he predicts, he will certainly be one of the individuals contributing to it. He and many others currently working in artificial intelligence are responsible for major advances in this field in just the last few years. Their ingenuity and discipline is admirable in a field that has experienced a roller coaster ride of confidence and disappointment in the preceding decades. All of these individuals have proved themselves to be superb thinking machines.
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Starting with "The Beggar's Opera" of 1728, the history of the genre is traced up to the time of writing, meaning "Les Miserables." Along the way, we consider operetta, the English Music Hall, American vaudeville, the review, the book show, the familiar, the off-beat, the dead ends, the highly influential. And the London stage gets a good deal of attention also, thereby introducing a lot of material not very well known to those better versed in the American musical.
As with any good effort of this sort, a strong connection is drawn between the changing times and the changing concepts of what a musical should be. The importance of "Show Boat" is not glossed over, for example, nor is the other shock caused by "Pal Joey." The reliance of Lloyd Webber on staging is mentioned but not his lack of more than one fairly memorable melody per show. In general, the tone is upbeat and positive.
But this is a recording. While it could never include all the information found in a book, its dozens of recorded examples are what makes this set priceless. Where possible, the oldest "original cast" recordings are used. On the other hand, there are some strange exceptions such as "Hey there" from "Pajama Game" being sung not by John Raitt but by Ron Raines on the Jay recording. I suspect this is because Criswell is in the cast of that set.
Again, this set is in tape and CD formats. For educational purposes, the CDs offer direct access to any show under discussion--and the CDs are very generously divided into nearly 200 tracks! Very considerate of the producers. The booklet offers a nice little personal essay by Criswell. So if I have any complaint about this set, it is that I wish it were twice as long.
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It's worth an out of print search.
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This book, however, is quite good. It takes the time-slip convention and turns it into a scientific "fact" by giving it a fancy sounding name: dechronization. Just the fact that it uses a pseudo-term like that would make it a favorite with me even if it was written in gibberish, but I have a thing about neology. Since reading this book, I have started slipping the word "dechronization" and all its variants into conversation whenever possible. It is my hope that one day this word will be common koine.
The other notable point of this book the reaction of Magruder to the dechronization. Since he is a chronologist, he knows that the chances of his being re-dechronized are beyond impossible. So he has absolutely no chance of seeing another person. Ever. But he doesn't give in to the hopelessness that I know I would feel. He continues to live. He takes a lesson from Robinson Crusoe, and makes a good life there in the middle of nowhere (or in this case nowhen).
All in all, I think this is a must-read for wannabe time travelers like myself. Or maybe just anyone who likes the linguistic oddities inherent in time travel.
The famous paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson penned this short story, apparently for his own amusement, but it is a masterpiece. Considering Dr. Simpson's field, I would have assumed that this story would be entirely about what Sam found in the Cretaceous, but that's only part of the story. As the opening chapter tells, this is the story of a modern (OK, future) man's coming to grips with his situation, one containing only danger and isolation.
I am sure that my words do not do justice to this story. This work is complex and fascinating beyond some lengthy works produced by noted authors. I recommend it to everyone.
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