Defining Modern Terrorism and Resisting Stereotypes: Update 3

I can’t say that researching and writing about mass shootings and terrorism was an uplifting process, but it is an issue that I feel strongly about and something that must be discussed. The thing that struck me the most while analyzing the case studies was the sheer number of missed warning signs that proceed all of these incidents, especially posts on social media that were not taken seriously enough. While social media platforms come with their own set of issues, they can be used to identify many red flags before it’s too late.

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Ottoman Trade Final Update

The Ottoman Empire was the longest lasting single dynasty empire, surviving for roughly six centuries.  Despite its long life, according to traditional historical thought, it had been in decline for almost three and a half centuries.  This is over half of its existence, which does not quite make sense. Historians have focused on this curious issue and numerous reasons have been given for its deterioration, with one of the most significant approaches being through economic and trade policies. I compared the approaches of historians Cemal Kafadar, Donald Quataert, Ilkay Sunar, Avni Önder Hanedar, and Halil Inalcik on the fall of the Ottoman Empire, specifically focusing on issues surrounding Ottoman trade. While they all conclude that trade played an important role in the decline, the specific role is a point of contention.  These historians vary not only on the specific role, but also in terms of “big picture” / “narrow picture” approaches to their studies. While all contribute to our understanding of the connection between trade and decline, some are more successful than others.

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Dragons and Data: Final Update


After my research and development process, I have created a program that can play a simple text-based adventure game! In order to successfully play the game, the program will make random choices when faced with a decision in order to build a dictionary of words associated with winning and words associated with losing. Then, once it has played the game enough times randomly (‘enough’ here is defined by a decision tree algorithm that I will detail later in this update), it will start to make educated guesses as to which choice will lead to a victory, using a scoring system that I discussed in my previous update. Before I get into a discussion of the nitty-gritty of my program, I’m going to provide a brief summary of my research on machine learning and natural language processing.

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