Memory Mechanics

In my quest to understand how human capacity for memory has changed over time, I started by investigating the mechanisms behind how memory is formed, as well as reading primary research papers on factors that could influence memory. This research yielded a plethora of information, and to adequately explain all that I have learned of the details of memory framework here would be daunting to say the least. Instead, I will give a brief overview of some basic concepts; more complete information will be available in my final project.

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Psychoanalysis of LGBTQ Video Game Characters: Update 1

I know it’s very late in the summer, but hopefully this is all worth it. When I first began my project, I had a very clear idea of what I was going to be doing. As I’ve done my research, especially through my analysis of my first video game, I seem to have ended up with more questions than I answered. I intended to see if historical ideas on sexuality were still relevant in video games today, but I began to see how vague, subjective, and confusing this could end up being. Thus, I’ve decided to lean more towards a Freudian psychoanalysis of LGBTQ characters through his ideas, as well as the historical sexologists he was influenced by. To be clear, my analyses are not reflective of my ideas or beliefs, but are simply an interpretation through these historical frameworks.

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Update #2: High School Fraternities and Sororities

As I mentioned in my first post, the majority of the remaining articles I found are from educational research journals. The articles are by administrators who are against or ambivalent towards high school fraternities and sororities. These papers gave me an insight into what administrators at the time were thinking and doing to try to stop or work with the organizations. The remainder of the papers I found are from newspapers that discuss actions of administrators/parents.

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Update 1 on Political Discourse Analysis

It’s pretty late in the summer, I know, but great progress has been made. All of the data has been collected, I’ve analyzed it for power and solidarity, and what remains is to do the statistics and type up the report.

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Update 2: How the popular music during the Vietnam War reflected the political climate in the US

For my second update, I will be discussing the rest of my research for my investigation. The second half of my research was on the background information, political climate, and popular music during the Vietnam War era in the United States. While I talked about the unity in the United States during WWII in my last update and how that affected the music of the time, I found the Vietnam War to bring an entirely different side out of the American public. It was because of these sharp contrasts in political climate during each of these events that I chose to study them both in the first place, but I will discuss more about the comparisons and contrasts in my next post.

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Summary of Research – “Producing an Album”

Here we are. It is almost the end of the summer, and I have been plugging away at ProTools for about three months now. The progress that I have made is tangible. When I first purchased the recording software after I came home from school, it took me about an hour to figure out how to record a simple track. My perspective on my initial struggles and tribulations can be found in my first blog post, “Initial Research and Some Faltering First Steps.” After diving farther into my books and online video tutorials I became increasingly comfortable, and when I worked in person with my lovely music mentor Cathy Fink for a long weekend, most of my ProTools knowledge was cemented and/or enhanced. Cathy not only filled in the gaps in my understanding of the music software, but she also taught me tricks of the trade and manual professional recording techniques that have been priceless in my progression as a recorder and producer of music. My days with Cathy were summarized in my second blog post of the summer entitled “Finding My Stride.” After working with Cathy, I was left to my own devices to practice, record, edit, and master the rest of my tracks for my Extended Play record. The greatest lessons that I learned throughout this process were mainly related to the subjectivity of what makes a “good” recording and the necessity of dogged practice in order to make the most efficient use of one’s time the recording studio. It doesn’t matter how much reverb an artist prefers on a track if they make constant fingerpicking errors. No amount of editing can mask mistakes, and it is extremely easy for the trained ear to tell when a musician attempts to cover up an error they didn’t want to go back and fix.

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Dragons and Data: Update #2

The most wonderful thing about computer science is that the smallest change to a program can throw the entire thing off balance.

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Using LSTMs for Music Composition – Update

If you haven’t read my project’s abstract, you can find it here.

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An American in Paris, a Romanian in Bucharest – Methods (Romania)

Bucharest

Unlike Paris, I had been to Bucharest twice before, once in 2005 and then again in 2013. And yet, when I arrived on May 22, whether it was due to being older, spending more time there or simply paying more attention to the city as part of my research, it was like I was seeing the city for the first time.

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U.S. Foreign Aid and Donor Motives – Final Post

So, about 87 hours and 10,000 words later, I’m finally done with my research project/paper! The process spanned over most of the summer because I could only work at night after my daytime job on-campus at AidData and I had to balance this project with another Charles Center Summer Research Project. Over the past several weeks, I explored the history of systematic U.S. foreign aid (mostly bilateral aid) and the underlying international relations theory that tries to explain why states give aid. I learned about the motives donors have for giving aid, how these motives are organized into theoretical frameworks, and how they influence how aid is allocated around the world. Specifically, I wanted to understand how the motives for giving aid have changed through history. I learned that motives change across international political eras (the Cold War, interwar 1990s, and the War on Terror) to reflect the top economic, security, and political priorities of the United States. After spending so much time examining the past, I then moved onto understanding the present; with the ramping down of the War on Terror, is there a new international political climate which is influencing how the United States allocates foreign aid?

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