Friday, 12 December 2014

How did I repair my system? e2fsck -f /dev/sda7

This webpage made my day:

I corrupted my /dev/sda7 partition (by checking disk speed on a boot partition) and was unable to boot my system, but after booting Linux live (ubuntu 12.04) and executing:

e2fsck -f /dev/sda7

then pressing "y" or yes many times - voila!!! my file system was repaired and I could boot my beloved linux!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

How to enable USB debugging on Android 4.3?

Go to Settings >- General -> About Device. Next, locate the Build number entry in the list and quickly click on it 10 times in a row. You should see a little message popup each time you click the list item. It's very intuitive! ;)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Why do I love science?

Jan Kramers wrote: “Science is for those who study it as a source of exultation. It is as if a force outside ourselves, say an angel, pulled us away from our previous level to a higher level in an indescribable, incomprehensible manner.” More info about that can be found here:

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

About catholic chastity

Chastity is like a pearl which is waiting for you here and now. Find it and it will enrich your life.  

Source of inspiration:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

GRE writing - analyze an argument: The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist.

"Twenty years ago Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This research proves that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture is false, and thus that the observation-centered approach to studying cultures is invalid. Because they are using the interview-centered method, my team of graduate students working in Tertia will establish a much more accurate understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other island cultures. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
It is rather a challenging and difficult task to fully understand other cultures. The article presents two methods that allegedly led to two different conclusions. The main aim is to explain in which way children are nurtured on the island of Tertia. While both methods of scientific experiment shade more light on the issue, probably we can trust neither of them. Perhaps, we need specific evidence and more information to comprehend the problem in a thoroughgoing way.

First, Dr. Field visited the island twenty years ago. It might be the case that the way of upbringing children was altered on the island and this is why the previous observations are not in line with current results of the interviews. Maybe, many new people, for example, from western countries, came to the island and significantly influenced its culture. This fact could certainly weaken Dr. Karp's argument. In that case, the original study could have been accurate, and Dr. Karp's research could be correct, as well.

Moreover, Dr. Karp's investigation covers group of islands that includes Tertia. It is possible that the way of rearing children is different on each of the islands. To cogently refute Dr. Fields conclusions, Dr. Karp should narrow his area of research to the island of Tertia exclusively. Thus, if Dr. Karp's students interviewed none or only a few children from the island of Tertia, then the presented conclusions would be unsupported. Maybe, Dr. Fields research based on observation was more detailed and focused, thus provided better results, what would weaken Dr. Karp's stance.

Let' take into account children who were interviewed. We can learn nothing about them from the article. We are not provide with any information about their age or sex. The children could talk more about their biological parents, because they are very young and their vocabulary is very limited, for instance, they have just learnt how to speak the main two words like “mum” and “dad”. Thus, first it should be determined what range of age we consider. Furthermore, Dr. Karp should provide us with transcript of the interviews. Then, probably it would be reasonable to select group of children and measure precisely how much time they spent with different people, especially with their parents. If the time spend by children with their parents would be substantially greater, for example, than 80%, then Dr. Karp conclusions would be valid. Contrary, if the time spend by children would be evenly distributed between different people, then probably Dr. Fields theory would be correct.

A difficult task is to judge of the merits of the two scientific methods. Certainly, one unsuccessful result of observational method could not undermine the whole idea. Maybe, other scientists managed to prove that this method is valid and can bear fruitful results, what would abate Dr. Karp's conclusions. Besides, the final favourable outcome of Dr. Karp's approach would bolster his method significantly. For example, it could be proven that lingual description is more precise and does not omit vital details that are crucial to fully understand the upbringing process. It could occur that, during Dr. Fields observations, the people who cared for children were precisely instructed by parents and followed specific rules. Maybe, children spend time in sui generis kindergartens during daytime when they parents had to work and spend remaining time with their parents.

In conclusions, Dr. Karp argument has a few weak points and unsupported claims. Both experiments reveal their weaknesses and should be improved. The evidence that could resolve the issue should be based on a specific experiment narrowed to the island of Tertia, which would be able to measure accurately the time spent by children with various people. Otherwise, it is impossible to draw any convincing conclusions.

GRE writing - Issue Task: The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
There are many ways how to educate and teach. Many schools prefer one system or the other but still nobody was able to come up with only one and the best method, even though many philosophers and teachers used to contemplate on the topic. Nevertheless, in my opinion, I cannot agree that praising positive actions and ignoring negative ones is the best approach to teaching. The recommendation gives too strong "all or nothing" impression.

Fist, we should consider current educational system which offers wide range of marks. Different countries apply various measures but probably none of the systems incorporates only good marks. For example, there are marks from 1 to 6 in Poland educational system from primary through middle to secondary schools, where 1 is the worst one and 6 is the best one. The better the student, the higher mark she or he can obtain. On the other hand, one of the British systems uses letters from A to F, where A is the highest mark and F the lowest one (fail). The main aim in these methods is to provide students with a measurable feedback that can help them understand their abilities, draw their attention to weak points and encourage them to work on them. At the same time, it points out positive facets and praise or inspire students to repeat merit behaviour. Merely positive marks would leave lazy students confused and without any motivation or support.

Second, from the psychological perspective there are many examples that show different approaches. There was a famous experiment called “Pavlov's dogs” in which a dog was awarded a bowl of food if it carried out a given task properly, otherwise was given nothing. This was a simple 0 or 1 system that included both negative and positive aspects. More sophisticated outlook on the issue is given in the book by Anthony Robbins: “Awaken the giant inside”. The author argues that there are two basic forces that influence each of us. One of them is to gain pleasure, whereas the other one is to avoid pain. Moreover, it occurs that in many cases the force to get rid of or eschew pain is more powerful than the one to pursue happiness or bliss.

Personally, my opinion is that it would be rather improbable to discourage children from drugs only by giving them positive feedback. One of the most powerful way to teach children about the consequences of alcohol and drug addiction is to take them to a detox ward and show them the miserable effects of such conduct. It is dreadful but at the same time memorable and powerful experience. Furthermore, when children start drinking alcohol or taking drugs, there is no other way but one – to reprimand them and force them to shun the addictive substances.

In conclusion, current situation and psychological experiments prove that a human being is driven by both praise and punishment. If we are only praised all the time, we usually become complacent. In contrary, the ongoing and eternal punishment can harm us deeply and prevent from any development. Thus, we should search for a golden rule and apply these two forces in the right proportions to strike the balance.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

GRE writing argument task: The following was written as part of an application for a permit to congregate by a religious group in the city of Gustav

"We plan to meet at the Hunter Pavilion on the north side of the park. We expect about 200 attendees. Although we do plan to celebrate our message in words and song, we will be mindful of others who are sharing the park on that day. We have found that in the past, when our group meets in a public space, we run the risk of harassment by those who do not agree with our message. Therefore, we would like to hire five security officers to protest our congregants from religious intolerance. We would like to post one guard at the entrance to the park and others who will dress in plain clothes, at the perimeter of our gathering. We hope you understand and will endorse the request."

Write a response in which you describe what specific examples or evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and how those examples or evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

The analyses has to be carry out if the city of Gustav should issue a permission for a congregation by a religious group. Specific cases ought to be taken into consideration to either support or oppose the arguments. Then the application will be assessed in a thoroughgoing way and justly.

First, it should be verified if the group has a right to gather in this public place. We can learn from the application that the group indeed gathered in the past. Thus, historical and legal precedents should be examined which could assure that the group can organize the gathering. On the other hand, it can be discovered that the group is not allowed to meet in public places. For example, the reason for this prohibition would be that the group meeting was too loud or violent previously.

Second, the main purpose of the group's application is to obtain a permission to be protected by a private security guards. If the group had really experienced serious perilous harassments in the past, then this request is legitimate. On the contrary, maybe the group has never had reason to worry about security and safety, therefore private security officers are not required.

Third, the usage of the private security service should be considered. It can be the case that the police force is not sufficient in terms of number of officers or not equipped enough to patrol the park in the way the group demands and so additional help is necessary. However, it should be checked and probably consulted with the local police as it may occur that the police is capable of maintaining the peace without additional support. Moreover, it should be inspected if using private security in the park is legal. If there are rules or laws that allow private security, then this request can be accepted, but if the issue is unprecedented then perhaps it has to be investigated by a lawyer. Besides, maybe the local police are better trained and this would weaken the argument that the private security guards have to be hired. Nonetheless, it might be that the group has plentiful funds to employ top-notch security specialists.

In conclusion, there are three main issues that have to be scrutinized to assess the argument. Hence, it has to be verified if the group has a right to gather in public places. Next, the previous meetings of the group should be checked to assure that there were cases of harassment. Finally, it should be decided if either the police force or private security guards shall be appointed. After these steps, the decision about the permission should be made.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

GRE writing issue task: salaries in the arts and sciences

Issue task:
People who work in the arts and humanities should earn less than those who work in the sciences and economics because the benefits of the arts and humanities to the population is less important than that of scientific or economic endeavours.

Write your own response to the recommendation in which you discuss why you either agree or disagree with it. Support your response with evidence and/or examples. Use a hypothetical set of circumstances to illustrate the consequences of accepting or rejecting the recommendation, and explain how this informs your thinking.

There are as many path of careers as there are people in the world. Everybody has his or her own vision of life. One of the main demarcation between these outlooks on life can be noticed in the case of choosing either work in sciences and economics or work in the arts and humanities. The main issue here is if people who work in the arts and humanities should be paid more or less than people who work in the sciences and economics considering the importance of the result of their work. In my opinion, the current situation shows clearly that people who work in the sciences and economics receive better salaries on average. In my view, this situation will continue, but the reason of the current state is not because of the importance of the work.

Firstly, considering the current situation, without any doubts the jobs in technology and economics are well-paid. The demand for these professions is increasing each year and this is a highly valued position but there is not sufficient number of students who want to pursue this path. This is why many prominent people like Larry Page, Sergey Brien (cofounders of Google) or Mark Zuckerberg promote so called STEM studies. Technology and economics changed the way we live dramatically in the last 100 years. These branches provided us with tangible effects and as a result we lead longer, more comfortable and healthier lives.

Secondly, from the economical perspective, the market regulates the salaries and demands for different jobs. Governments can invest part of their funds in the art or humanities but this can bring only a minor effect. The sciences and economics have bigger influence and can reach more people on the whole. In the current situation, especially in European countries, we can detect a stable growth of the whole societies. This situation does require to produce goods on a global scale and technology can handle this demand, whereas art is rather more original and customized to specific needs. The art is a luxury that most people cannot afford.

Thirdly, the STEM studies are more demanding and burdensome. Even from my personal experience, I am studying computer science and have to study and work on my projects much longer than my friends who studied the arts and humanities majors, for example, classical music. Undoubtedly, people who are pursuing the arts and humanities in the framework of their studies have passion. Thus, we should not be afraid that by paying them less we would find nobody who would like to study the arts. On the other hand, the higher salaries for the sciences and economics would persuade people who hesitate between these the arts and sciences. Eventually, they would select the STEM studies or economics studies and contribute more to the society, at least fulfilling the current global need.

In conclusion, there are many compelling reasons why those who work in the sciences and economics should be paid more than those who work in the arts and humanities. Furthermore, it is rather impossible to judge the benefits and importance of work in these cases. Increasingly, there can be greater synergy from combining scientific pursuit with the human insights from the arts.

BTW, another great essay can be found here:

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

GRE writing argument task: The following appeared in a letter from a homeowner to a friend.

"Of the two leading real estate firms in our town—Adams Realty and Fitch Realty—Adams Realty is clearly superior. Adams has 40 real estate agents; in contrast, Fitch has 25, many of whom work only part-time. Moreover, Adams' revenue last year was twice as high as that of Fitch and included home sales that averaged $168,000, compared to Fitch's $144,000. Homes listed with Adams sell faster as well: ten years ago I listed my home with Fitch, and it took more than four months to sell; last year, when I sold another home, I listed it with Adams, and it took only one month. Thus, if you want to sell your home quickly and at a good price, you should use Adams Realty."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

While it may seem correct at the first glance that Adams Realty is a better real estate firm than Fitch Realty, there are a few unsupported assumptions which can undermine the statement. This issue requires a thoroughgoing examination. In my opinion, the given arguments are not cogent enough to prove that Adams Realty is clearly superior.

Firstly, The number of estate agents is not a direct factor which can unambiguously point out a better company. Event though there are only 25 estate agents working for Fitch Realty, they can be much more productive, impassioned, determined, qualified, trained, and experienced. On the contrary, these 40 real estates agents from Adams Realty can lack these essential and vital qualities. As a result, if we were able to compare the amount of work done on average by a person during a day in both of these companies, we would find out that Fitch Realty's workers are simply better and more efficient.

Secondly, considering revenue holistically is not a proper approach, for the reason that Fitch Realty is a smaller firm than Adam Realty. Thus, once again, we should search for another factor or a parameter that would be more objective and commensurate in this case. For instance, we could divide the revenue by number of hours devoted by all employees. Furthermore, although Adam's revenue was two times higher, Fitch's home sales where only about 15% less than Adam's home sales. This indicates that probably Adam's charges are higher than those of Fitch's. It might be the adequate reason for the gap in revenue of both the firms. There is also another possibility that Adams sells only high priced houses, which brings more income. Hence, the argument cannot be concluded without all this information.

Thirdly, the argument that home listed with Adams sell faster is not fully developed. The case with the author's homes is not objective. The crucial flaw here is that these were two totally different homes. The first home sold with Fitch could have been in very bad condition or it could have been overpriced. Moreover, the market conditions could make the sell much more cumbersome. On the other hand, in the case of the second home, the market conditions could have been much better, the home could have been keenly priced and in prominent district. In fact, these are only two very specific cases and an element of randomness can play here a great role. It could have been the case that Adams found a buyer by accident. A more pronounced property would be an average time per sell.

In conclusion, the arguments given by the author are raft of fallacies. There are many unstated and unwarranted assumptions. Finally, without further details on this matter we are not able to state unanimously which company offers a better service. Besides, some arguments can prove even a contrary statement which would clearly show that Fitch Realty is better.

Monday, 1 September 2014

GRE writing issue topic: Governments must ensure that their major cities receive the financial support they need in order to thrive.

Claim: Governments must ensure that their major cities receive the financial support they need in order to thrive.
Reason: It is primarily in cities that a nation's cultural traditions are preserved and generated.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.

The distribution of financial support is a challenging task which requires thoroughgoing analysis. Nowadays we have to invest more and more money into institutions that are responsible for maintaining national culture and identity. The claim posits this kind of support only for major cities and does not mention anything about other parts of the country. Probably, we can assume that the financial support for major cities is the first priority. According to the further statement, the main reason for this approach is that traditions are preserved and generated primarily in cities. In my opinion, this view is not fully developed and requires further consideration.

First, we should carefully examine the current state of main cities, let alone the problem of defining what the major cities are. Thus, many of the major cities are humongous multicultural melting pots, for example, London or Paris. These is truly a mix of cultures and traditions. It is sufficient to go by an underground from one station to another in order to get an impression as if somebody were in a different country. The big cities are no longer places where the national heritage can be easily preserved. The major cities are palimpsest where clashes of modern and old culture appear on a daily basis.

Secondly, I have to admit that I am aware of the specific situation regarding projects. This aim of preserving and generating cultural traditions requires a concentration of funds in one special area. New projects should be commenced and realized efficiently. In my opinion, this action might be planned for many years and finally each citizen should receive comparable support. It is crucial to distribute the financial funds evenly because each citizen pays taxes and ought to be given a possibility of development. Otherwise, we can face a situation that people from villages will start migrating to major cities and the final result can be that most of the cities will be overpopulated whereas the remaining land will be undeveloped and ultimately wasted.

Thirdly, many countries in the European Unions receive subsidies for small cities which cultivate traditions, still produce local food and strive to preserve the folk music. These endeavours show quite a different if not a contrary approach. Moreover, many universities are based in small or average-sized cities. For instance, Oxford or Cambridge are not the major cities in the UK, however, they host two of the best universities in the country. The community which lives in the cities is composed mainly of young and open minded people who care about the traditions and shape new society. To my mind, this regions should be supported abundantly.

In conclusion, there are some pros and cons but in my humble view the financial support should be evenly distributed. National traditions are formed by each citizen and nobody should be marginalized. We have to ensure that this approach will be taken into account and eventuall realized.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Favourite quotes: LEON (movie)

"Is life always this hard, or is it just when you're a kid?"
"Always like this."


Life is hard, after all, it kills you. The only thing that you can do is to think differently and perceive it as an endowment.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

GRE argument essay: Skateboarding in the Central Plaza

The following appeared as a letter to the editor from a Central Plaza store owner.
"Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

While it may seem obvious at first glance that the increase in skateboarding in the Central Plaza is the main reason why the number of shoppers there as well as the whole business decreased, a more thoroughgoing examination should be conducted. General rule of thumb says that there is usually more than only one cause for a situation, not so many things are definite and happen in one to one ratio. There are always more variables involved and more influences. It demonstrates a classical case of improper causation.

Firstly, a situation in the whole district, especially in places that are located near to the Central Plaza, should be taken into account. Chances are that the whole area experience similar problems and it is not only a case for the Central Plaza. Proper inquiries should be made into the matter. Maybe, the municipal government stopped investing funds in the district and as a result the whole area suffers the aforementioned situation. Possibly, the inhabitants of this place became poorer due to inflation and stopped buying in the shops or it might be the case that the Central Plaza became an expensive shopping place with respect to other alternatives.
Secondly, a survey should be carried out amidst the shoppers to reveal the main explanation for their actions. The survey should contain questions about their main goal in changing the location along with a new place of destination. It can occur that the shopkeepers found a better place to run their business, for example, a new shopping mall was built in a posh or more prominent part of the city which offered keenly priced shopping area for rent. The general economic situation of the country could have influenced them and they found a better job or simply discovered a better profession that was paid much better.

Thirdly, the skateboard users should be asked why they altered their previous location. It should be made sure that this is the group that causes the vandalism and is belligerent overall. Do they really litter the Central Plaza? Are there sufficient number of baskets? Is the Police active enough in the area? Did the Police take responsibility for the violence in the Central Plaza? Perhaps, more policemen should visit the Central Plaza frequently. Another way to prevent the vandalism is to set up a camera system (CCTV) or video surveillance. Probably, a good solution would be to provide the skateboard users with other places to do their sport, for instance, the municipality government could build the required facilities in parks or in special zones in the city.

In conclusion, in my opinion this problem can be resolved and the current situation can be explained. The municipal government together with shoppers would take concerted action and at least alleviate or mollify the issue. The skateboard users should be granted with a new place, the police may control the Central Plaza regularly and shoppers shall advertise their place extensively. Finally, the writer could have supported his argument with more substantial evidence and render stronger reasons to clarify why there was correlation between increasing the rate of crimes and the number of skateboarding users.

GRE argument essay vocab

Plan your essay:
  • There is only one way to write an essay: to plan it.  
  • The plan helps to keep you focused.
  • Leave the gist or your main message for the crunch, that is the third body paragraph. 
  • K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Who conducted the research?
  • When was the research conducted?
  • Who participated in the study?
  • What were the age, gender, profession of the participants?
  • What are the relations between the two or more groups?
  • Was it an economic or medical study?
  • What was the type of the study?
  • Where do the participants of the study live?
  • Was the research published?
  • Was the paper peer-reviewed?
  • Is the paper still valid?
Typical paragraph:
  1. Describe the fallacy (błędne przekonanie). 
    1. Appeal to novelty fallacy - a proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new or modern
    2. Cherry picking fallacy or the sampling assumption (suppressed evidence, incomplete evidence) – act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. The argument assumes the sample is representative.
    3. False analogy fallacy - in which the analogy is poorly suited.
    4. Hasty generalization fallacy - (fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, leaping to a conclusion, hasty induction) – basing a broad conclusion on a small sample.
  2. Tell and explain why it is a fallacy.
  3. Give examples.
  • However, this argument seems specious on several grounds.

  • The argument does not present enough evidence in support of the claim that ...
  • ... is inversely related to ...
  • ... is positively related to ...
  • Allegedly, ... (przypuszczalnie: Allegedly, the number of skateboarders is positively related to the amount of litter and vandalism in the area.)
  • The argument states that there is a causal relationship between ...
  • A recent study shows that ...
  • It might indeed be the case that ...
  • However, the conclusion cannot be drawn automatically from the presented facts. 
  • The argument overlooks other factors that could contribute to ...
  • Firstly, in order to determine the true cause of the decline in ....  it is necessary to ...
  • It is by no means certain that ...
  • The writer posits that ... but ...
  • As a result, ...
  • As a matter of fact, ...
  • In fact, ...
  • The argument should be supported with further studies.
  • In general, ...; On the whole, ...
  • That being said, ...
  • The author has concluded the argument too hastily without considering all these possibilities. 
  • The second point that the author has raised is that ...
  • Hence, the argument seems very unconvincing.
  • Hence, the argument cannot be concluded without all the information.
  • ..., that is (to say), ... - said when you want to give further details or be more exact about something: I'll meet you in the city, that is (to say), I will if the trains are running 
Common words & synonyms:
  • and: along with, together with, as well as,
  • However, ...; On the other hand, ...; 
  • Moreover, Furthermore, In addition, Besides, 
  • instead of == in lieu of
  • flawed agruments - błędne argumenty
  • fallacy - błędne rozumowanie
  • cogent - przekonujący
  • In conclusion, ...
  • All in all, ...
  • In summary, ... 
  • Hence, ...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

GRE writing - issue task: Scandals

Scandals are useful because they focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
Scandals occur in many places from schools through companies to governments. The word scandal itself indicates a negative thing and something that should not have happened. In my opinion, by definition, a scandal brings only unnecessary and harmful consequences and it is rather very hard to find any positive or useful aspects of it. This is often the case that we are distracted by scandals and our attention is drawn from vital issues. Thus, in my view scandals are not useful and should be eschewed.

First of all, it is worth considering a few scandals that took place in recent years. The one that stuck to my mind was Bill Clinton's sex scandal (or so called Monica Lewinsky scandal) which ensued many debates in the United States. Indeed, Bill Clinton's private misconduct drew attention of many Americans. Although the nature of this affair was not strictly political, many politicians were engaged in it in lieu of taking care of more important cases that more meaningful influence on the whole nation. As a matter of fact, probably teachers or preachers who harangue about proper behaviour and faithfulness would not have been able to show in a more expressive way what would be consequences of such misconduct. Anyway, this showed to other politicians that they should avoid such issues and conduct their private life prudently. Moreover, citizens no longer want to put their trust in politician who were involved in scandals.

In many scandals, there is shocking information which can arouse our emotions for a short time. Nowadays, even small issues are called scandals by media. We are bombarded with new heinous news and sometimes we come to the level of saturation. Some can say that thanks to these events our lives are more interesting and full of excitement but, to my mind, the proper and effective way of life is a stable development based on moral conduct and righteous deeds.

There were many scandals regarding racism in the United States and many of them ended up with more tensions between people and a lot of regret. On the other hand, most people remember the speech by Martin Luter King: “I have a dream ...”. This was a very powerful and unforgettable message that influenced many human beings and altered the race relations for better.

Conclusively, in my opinions sandals are rather useless and should be prevented. We can introduce new laws and rules which can make sure that nothing improper will be overlooked or evaded. There should be harsh consequences and nobody would be able to eschew them. The main purpose is to achieve transparency. Furthermore, we should listen to our great leaders, speakers and reformers who have crucial messages for us that can boost our lives and make them truly invaluable.

Friday, 22 August 2014

GRE essay: The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.

The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.

"Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to our news programs and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should expand our coverage of weather and local news on all our news programs."

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

While the argument may seem to be correct at fist glance it is rather too vague to be fully accepted. There are a few fallacies and lack of information which do not allow us to agree with this argument. A more specific evidence as well as more accurate data are needed.

Firstly, the exact time allocation for national news, local news and weather is not given. We do not know whether the time increase for national news was really significant or if it was maybe only a matter of a few seconds. Moreover, a scrutiny should be carried out to find out in which moment during the year an increased number of complaints of time devoted to local news was substantially greater.

Secondly, we do not know the nature of the complaints. It could have been the case the the viewers did not complain about the duration of the local news and weather information, but their concerns pertained mainly to the quality of the news. Maybe previous reporters who prepared the local and weather news have resigned and new reporters are trying to catch up on the former quality. Furthermore, it could have happened that money invested in the local and weather news was not enough to deliver top-notch level of information. It is possible that most of the local population work in the agriculture and they may require extended and precise information about weather conditions.

Thirdly, local businesses could have resigned from the advertisement during the late-night news program due to a difficult situation on the market and chances are they started seeking for other ways of advertisement that would be of a low price. We do not know the cardinal reason for this situation. It could also have been the case that they found a better place for their advertisement. Nowadays, many companies migrate with their adverts from TV programs to the internet. Ad companies, such as Google of Facebook, offer keenly priced services that are customized for clients and able to match companies with potential customers with a high level of accuracy. Besides, the local news could have given information which were against the local businesses and maybe undermined their reputation. Contrary, the local news could have promoted companies from other states or countries which was a contradiction to the advertisements. Probably, the best solution would be to carry out a survey among the local businesses to reveal the main aspect that caused their resignation and at the same time find out what whould attract them to put their advertisements in the late-night news program once again.

Hence, proably the most valuable evidence would be to precisely specify the main reason why the local businesses canceled their advertising contracts in the late-night news program in the television station and determine the nature of the complaints. To take into account its future situation, the television station should consider in a thoroughgoing way how to improve their programs and attract more companies to advertise during the programs, especially the news programs.

Another example of this essay can be found here:

GRE issue task writing: A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.

A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
There are many educational systems in the world and we can easily find pros and cons for each of them. However, we should search for the best possible educational system which can shape and educate noble people. This is a challenge, but it is worth taking. Generally, according to many different studies on education, we can notice a trend which indicates that the most customized and individual approaches to each and every student generate the best effects. Thus, I do not agree with the statement that a nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.

First of all, it is recommended considering advantages and disadvantages of such an approach. The standardized approach can be honed on and after years of iterations such a national curriculum can be excellent and impeccable. On the other hand, each student is different and usually one size does not fit all. Having the same national curriculum for every student is like requiring the same school uniform size for every student. Children live in diverse environments and a student from a rural part of a country probably would be more directed towards different subjects than a student living in a big city. Hence, the program in schools should be adjusted to every student so that it could reveal a student's talents and assist him or her in pursuing a career in a specific field or niche.

Let me consider this problem from an economical point of view. The same national curriculum is a relatively keenly priced solution for the reason that we can summon the best teachers and specialists in a given country, then allot a time of few months for them to prepare initial version of such a curriculum and finally the program could be iteratively improved every year. This solution would be of interest for poor and developing countries that can not afford to spend massive amount of money on education. Conversely, a program that would be adjusted to every student would be very expensive and probably only affluent countries would be able to accept such a solution. In my humble opinion, it would be a great investment and without any doubts this approach would benefit not only students but the whole society as people would be educated in a better way and perhaps would be able to find their passions faster. At the same time, the latter solution requires a plethora of resources. Undoubtedly, some students would have to travel from their home town to other places in a country to match them with proper schools and teachers. It would be more cumbersome to compare students and schools. However, this additional struggle would pay off abundantly.

Personally, I find the national curriculum sufficiently good up to the point of 12 years old. Every person has to master basic skills such as writing and reading. After this period, I was able to find my niche and pick and choose books that were of value for me. It was a pity that my school did not provide individual path of teaching and sometimes I was forced to learn things that were of no value for me, instead of pursuing my passions. The first time when this limitations were really removed was the time when I left my high school and entered university that offered a flexible plan. I could have selected the subjects in which I was really interested. Nonetheless, it was a bit too late.

All in all, there are pros and cons for the same national curriculum for students before they enter college. Nevertheless, my final opinion is that it is much better approach to provide each student with tailor-made curriculum. This could help them find their real passions faster and hone on them. My personal experience, social issues and even economical benefits confirm this solution.

Other essays on this topic can be found here:

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

GRE analytical wirting - analyze an argument: A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation.

The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a scientific journal.

"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring."

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.

While the reasoning of this letter may seem correct at first glance, there are some unwarranted assumptions that should be considered and there are lacks of proper correlation between the two main facts. The individual's level of stimulation can be a result of not only a birth order, but also other factors. The author of the letter concentrated only on a birth order and did not take into consideration other possibilities of these effects. Furthermore, what has been concluded for monkeys’ does not demonstrates that humans must possess the same characteristics.

Firstly, the wording of this letter should be taken into account. We cannot find an exact information when the study was carried out and the term 'recent' is rather vague and maybe the research is already obsolete. The author did not inform readers about the selection process of the monkeys. The chances are that this type of effect is common only for this specific group of monkeys and can be a result of an environment in which these very rhesus monkeys were nurtured. The question should be asked how the researchers made sure that the unfamiliar monkey was not met beforehand. Another question worth asking is how the stimulating situations were chosen. The conclusion was based on a sample size of eighteen monkeys. This was not justified why this number of monkeys was sufficient. A sample size is generally a large number and should contain a wide variety of individuals. Moreover, it wan not specified how many of the eighteen monkeys were parents, first born or younger siblings.

Secondly, we can argue that there are other reasons of the increased level of the hormone cortisol. Generally, probably this consequence can appear whenever there is a stimulating situations, especially the one that has to be handled for the first time. It could have happened that during the experiment the oldest sibling was always of a different sex than the unfamiliar monkey. It could have altered the first-born monkey reaction and, for instance, if it had been a male monkey it could have reacted more passionately for the unknown female monkey than its younger sister. We can call this a sex-oriented result.

Thirdly, we do not know all the simulating situations that were checked in case of firt-born humans. The example given with a parent coming back after a long absence can also analysed in terms of sex differences. For example, a reaction of an older daughter can be passionate, whereas a reaction of her younger brother can be even apathetic. The upbringing of children can also be influential for such feedbacks. Perhaps, a mother could have read slushy stories to her first-born, while a father could have read stories about valiant and almost unemotional knights to his younger children. This kind of conditioning could have influenced the following children's reactions to simulating situations.

The last issue to be considered pertains to first-time mothers. The higher level of cortisol could have been caused by conditions in which the monkey was kept or the type of food which was given to her. Maybe, the mother with several offspring were kept in much better or worse conditions. At the same time, an elder mother with several children could have produced more cortisol as a result of her awareness of being too old to be able to deliver health children.

Hence, the birth order may be relevant to some extent in the stimulation level of individuals. However, there may be certain other factors that are more relevant than the birth order such as those discussed above. Further studies and a larger population data maybe more convincing for that matter. The study was concentrated only on one type of causation and there are a few fallacies and inaccuracies in the argument. The author should have provided us with more information about the research process and give more cogent arguments for his or her theory.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

GRE essay: Educational institutions have a responsibility to dissuade students from pursuing fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed.

Educational institutions have a responsibility to dissuade students from pursuing fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
Each and every person is unique and searches for the most appropriate path in her or his life. Some people have the impression that the educational system confines their abilities and talents whereas its cardinal purpose should be to broaden horizons and give a hand to students who are lost in the maze of choices. The educational institutions are not omniscient. The institutions ought to persuade and encourage students to identify and follow promising fields of study. Without any doubts, the institutions should not dissuade anybody.

Personally, I experienced this inappropriate approach to education a few times. When I was 12 years old, I had my first lessons on physics. To write the truth, my teacher was rather a sad person and even a bit curmudgeon. She discouraged many students from learning physics. Even though the situation was inauspicious, generally I was interested in different experiments and the coursebook was the most pragmatic among all my books in that time. Once our teacher called me for an oral exam. I knew formulas and was able to answer most of her questions but it was not sufficient for her. She simply chastised me for a lack of preparation and graded me unjustly. I was very disappointed. She recommended me to concentrate on other subjects. Next year, I went to a middle school and had another teacher. Contrary to my previous experience, this teacher was totally different. She was a bubbly and optimistic person. She put her trust in us and believed in our potential. As a matter of fact, three years later I reached the final of a physics contest in my voievodship.

Socially, not every person is a genius and aware of his or her talents. There are many role models in our society and some children can select one that is improper for them. For instance, when I was a child I admired Michael Jordan and wanted to emulate him. I used to play basketball every day for many hours. However, I understood that I was too short and would never be selected in an NBA draft. The essential problem was that there was no advisory board in my school that would assist children in the search for a sport in which they could attain a good outcome.

From the perspective of our history, we can find many examples of people who were able to succeed even though many preached doom and gloom about their future. Probably, the best example is Albert Einstein. His teachers perceived him as a loafer and many of them predicted for him rather placid, humdrum and fruitless career path. As we all know, his story was diametrically different. Moreover, undoubtedly Walt Disney was one of the most prolific writer who altered the American animation industry. He was rejected by many editors and struggled with many problems. Nevertheless, his persistence and ingenuity allowed him to break the moulds and achieve a tremendous success. The same story can be narrated about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Anthony Robbins and many others.

All in all, I fully disagree with the statement that educational institutions have a responsibility to dissuade students from pursuing fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed. In my opinion, they should advise, inspire and encourage students to pick and choose suitable fields from a wide range of possibilities.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Woven baskets (GRE analytical writing - analyse an argument)

Woven baskets characterized by a particular distinctive pattern have previously been found only in the immediate vicinity of the prehistoric village of Palea and therefore were believed to have been made only by the Palean people. Recently, however, archaeologists discovered such a "Palean" basket in Lithos, an ancient village across the Brim River from Palea. The Brim River is very deep and broad, and so the ancient Paleans could have crossed it only by boat, and no Palean boats have been found. Thus it follows that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean.

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

While it may be true that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean, the final conclusion should be evaluated deeper since this author's argument does not make a cogent case. We can find fallacies in the presented reasoning. The text should be analysed in a thoroughgoing way as the argument is rife with holes and assumptions.

First of all, we cannot be 100% sure that there are no specific types of baskets in other regions. Probably, in some regions the excavates were not performed sufficiently enough and we are still in the period before discovering them in other parts of the world. The case of baskets in Lithos can be such an example. On the other hand, there are many possible ways in which the baskets could have been exported from the village of Palea.

One way in which the same baskets could have been woven in Lithos is that a person who lived in Palea would have been able to swim across the river, for example, with a help of a tool that was not a boat. They could have used a wooden board to ameliorate the distance that they could swim. Moreover, they could have used an animal to transport the basket, it could have been a dog. There are also humongous birds that can be tamed such as eagles or falcons which are able to carry heavy items.

Another possibility is that the basket could have been traded to other people. Those people could have gone to far away places where the river was shallow and was able to be crossed effortlessly. The traders could have gone even further and did not have to cross any river since there was somewhere a source of the river.

In my humble opinion it is not only a matter of the basket but also a skill of producing the basket is crucial . Maybe, the basket itself has never reached Lithos, but a person who had a skill of weaving such a basket was able to arrive to Lithos or passed the skill to other people and the same process was continued from generation to generation. Eventually, a person with such a skill entered Lithos.

Probably, it would be worth checking the age of the baskets found in Lithos and Palea. It may occur that the baskets were first created in Lithos. In contrast, the baskets could have been constructed independently in Lithos and Palea. The villages were in close vicinity and the environment there was very similar. It is possible that people who were weaving the baskets imitated the nature and both places could have given the same inspiration to their inhabitants.

To sum up, the presented reasoning can be questioned and it can be proved that there were ways in which the baskets could have been transported from Palea to Lithos. As aforementioned, there are many other ways in which the baskets with the same pattern could have appeared in both places. This author's argument is not cogent and does not prove that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

I fully support the view that one must study the major cities to understand the most important characteristics of a society. In my view, every city in the world exemplifies at least one characteristic of a society. Benjamin Disraeli, a British politician and author said: “A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; Faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, Art.”

Firstly, people has gathered in groups since the times we can reach back in our history. The first prominent civilizations such as ancient Egypt and Babylon erected cities whose remnants can prove their existence. Furthermore, many cities are palimpsests and even though many years passed some signs of their previous forms can still be discerned. The long history of many cities confirms a permanent nature of their societies whereas the changes, for example, in cities' architecture can illustrate a dynamic quality of a society. The way people built the cities, lived in them and the type of work which they used to perform on a daily bases gives us profuse insights in their way of organization, law, hierarchy of a society, types of needs, beliefs and religious practices, philosophy and politics, customs, mores and tradition. Generally, this is what constitutes a culture.

Secondly, all major events in our history, apart from some battles, took place in cities. Undoubtedly, ancient Greece is an exemplar. Before Persian wars, Greece was rather a loosely connected group of poleis. “Polis” literally means a city in Greek or can be translated as a city-state. The poleis were famous in various ways. For instance, Spartans were conceived as bilious people and inhabitants of other poleis strived to avoid them. The city of Athens was a popular meeting venue for philosophers and renowned for their politicians. These examples demonstrates likeness of people from a city.

Thirdly, many contemporary cities depict different characteristics. Many European cities have long history and can tell us a story about their past. Warsaw has a war inscribed in its name. The Warsaw Uprising in 1944 can exhibit the determination of the dwellers of the city. They fought fiercely and mercilessly to be able to feel the freedom for at least a few days. The city was totally destroyed after the Second World War and probably in this aspect one can search for the etymology of English version of its name. Even today, the city of Warsaw exposes a very fast pace of life as it was in a war time. Paris is a symbol of culture. The Eiffel tower established the cultural trend in the development of Paris. People who live there conceive themselves as very creative and all developing artists yearn for an appreciation in Paris. Last but not least argument is the tendency of visiting a country. Indeed, many travellers do not leave city borders.

On the other hand, current humongous cities such as New York and London become similar to each other. The main reason for this situation is globalisation. People travel from one place to another and there are few cities that remained homogeneous. For example, probably Tarnów, a city in southern Poland, reflects the main characteristics of Polish society while it is rather more difficult to discern the characteristics of British society in London.

To sum up, the main characteristics of a society cannot be understood without a thorough analysis of its cities. The cities are indispensable to comprehend many aspects of societies and have been present since the beginning of our history. A city as a place of living for a society is also important for the smooth functioning and continuity of the society. Hence a city itself is a characteristic of society. Famous Greek Philosopher, Aristotle remarked that 'Man is a social animal' and a city is where this need is fulfilled. A city transforms an abstract concept of a society into a tangible evidence.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Childhood is NOT the happiest time of a person's life

Many people look back on their childhood. It is a very important period in our life as then we lay the foundations of the rest of our days. However, we are not fully independent. In my opinion, childhood is not the happiest time of a person's life. I prefer to be in my twenties. The bases for my view are financial, personal and social.

Financially-speaking, I could not afford many things having only my pocket money. My parents fully decided about the most important and at the same time the most expensive expenses. Currently, I am in my twenties and can earn money. I know what I want to buy and what I want to invest my money in. When I was a child, I was able to discern good investment opportunities, but my parents never gave me money to do that, because I was too young and they were afraid that I could lose everything. Now, I plan my budget myself and am fully aware how much I can spend. 

Personally, as a child you cannot select a place where you live and with whom. You have to live with your family and meet with friends only from your backyard, since you are not allowed to wander too far from home. Some of your friends might be kind, but frequently there are older boys who behave like bullies and think of themselves as rulers of the backyard. Nowadays, I can choose where I live, where I go and with whom I spend my time. I can find people who have similar interests to mine and I can enjoy my time fully. 

Socially, I can vote and am citizen whose voice is audible. People no longer treat me like a child who is not responsible for its actions. They have to take my opinion into account and I have more influence the world I live in.

In conclusion, we should not think too much about our childhood and be aware of its disadvantages. My point of view is that we should make this very moment the happiest time in our life.

People say that a good sense of humour is one of the most important human qualities

For many people life is challenging and even tough. Many times we have to confront injustice or simply complaints from other people even when using public transport. In my opinion, in many cases it is better and healthier to just smile and turn an accusation into a joke instead of beginning a quarrel. Thus, I fully agree that a good sense of humour is one of the most important human qualities.

Considering the general public, we can notice that we generally do not like sad people and many public figures, especially the successful ones know about that and use the knowledge on a daily basis. The best speakers in my country usually insert in their long speeches some jokes and that makes people more concentrated on the content of the speech because they wait for the next joke. Furthermore, the most popular professor at my university starts his lecture with a joke and even if his lecture commences early in the morning, nobody is late because everybody wants to listen to his jokes.

Personally, I found that many times my sense of humour can express my internal thoughts and feelings. Moreover, when I meet a friend of mine who is cheerful and full of happiness, the person can make me feel happy as well and transfer his or her internal good state into my mood and feelings. On the other hand, if a person is sarcastic then the effect is opposite, even though a joke can be funny. I hate black humour and my point of view is that we should avoid this kind of humour. 

Socially, it seems to me that most women like funny men. My friend prepares some new jokes before every date and he always has a good time with his girlfriends. A good joke is a good ice breaker and especially at a beginning of a new relationship. It works not only in our personal life but also in business. I remember that my first manager recommended me to 'crack a joke' from time to time. Once, we had a lot of work and had to stay a bit longer in our office. There was a beautiful sunset and he complained that he had to be still at work. Then I said that fortunately it had not been a beautiful sunrise. We laughed at it and instead of complaining we finished our work faster.

All in all, the sense of humour is very important. We should use it judiciously and avoid laughing at others. We should try to find a positive element in every aspect of our lives. A good sense of humour can help us in many fields, even in accelerating our career success and enhancing personal life.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Touching picture

Sometimes Warsaw can bestow on you a touching picture ...

Agriculture era invented wheel, today's information area invented computers and internet.

We live in the world of information. The information is handled using computers and the internet. There is no field in science or even in our everyday life that has not been influenced by computers or the internet yet. Is it true that these two great inventions nudged other great inventions and achievements?

When we come to think about it then we can come up with many ideas confirming this statement. Far and foremost, access to information as well as better and faster communication have enabled us to live a happier and longer life. Currently we can find solutions to our problems just by typing a few words in a search engine like Google. In many cases we no longer have to go and look for specialists or find a relevant book because modern algorithms can process information and return helpful results faster. In addition, people can communicate using emails, online chats, twitter, hangouts, skype and many other services. Social media give us an opportunity to stay in touch with our old friends and maintain professional and business connections.

The computer and the Internet were made by scientists for scientists. These people still use these technologies heavily and most effectively. Thanks to them we were able to build space crafts and calculate many things to eventually land safely on the moon. Recently, we have also landed the curiosity rover on Mars. Computers enable us to store and process information in many subject areas. Financial instruments are very complicated and without computers and the internet it would be rather impossible to trade them effectively and invest money in the areas that really need financial support. Besides, we store human genome in big databases and are close to finding solutions to many genetic diseases. Furthermore, physicists at CERN can notify all interested people of the latest results of their experiments via World Wide Web which actually was invented at CERN.

All in all, there have been many inventions but these two, namely computers and the internet, were milestones that laid the foundations of many other inventions and have enabled us to achieve such great results. We still can improve computers and the internet and make our mother earth an even better place to live.

Social settings in “Stones for the rampart”

A new war movie based on the book “Stones for the rampart” is a story of two lads in the Polish underground movement in 1944. The film, directed by Robert Gliński, perfectly shows the social settings in Warsaw during the Second World War. The main focus is on the youth who have to live in this severe circumstances. In addition, parents of the young people and Polish society as well as German soldiers are presented.

First of all, the film is about young, well-educated, brave, decisive and companionable young people living in occupied Warsaw. Rudy is one of the main characters who speaks German fluently. Not only that, but his sister plays piano well and amuses everybody during a party at home. This clearly demonstrates a high level of education in the interwar Poland. Furthermore, the movie depicts small acts of sabotage carried out by Polish underground movement, the Gray Ranks. The young people do not hesitate if there is any occasion to weaken or lampoon the enemy. For example, they hang a German uniform filled with straw on a street lamp in the city centre. The scouts are very brave and determined to fight in any possible way. Moreover, they value their friendship very much. They rescue their friend who was interrogated and tortured by German soldiers. This is when the film reaches its climax.

On the contrary, the remaining part of the society is frightened and generally they do not want to confront the German army. Parents of the scouts want to save their lives as well as their children's lives at all costs. They try to discourage their children from fighting. Also they strive to find any source of income which is very tough during war. Most of the Polish citizens are very poor and they suffer starvation. Children kill pigeons to eat meat whereas some adults trade guns and other arms. On the other side, German soldiers are very cruel and brutal. What's an example of this? They organise raids on the streets of Warsaw and torture many people in prisons.

In conclusion, the film illustrates different groups of society living in occupied Warsaw during World War Two. It was done in a clever and touching way. The whole movie does come across as true and convincing story in which the society is shown from different perspectives.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Emacs - set alt as meta key

I had Esc key set as the meta key in Emacs and wanted to change it to have alt key as my meta key. It was done by putting this command to the end of my ~/.emacs file:
(setq x-alt-keysym 'meta)

It wasn't straightforward to find this answer, so this is why I put it on my blog. Enjoy!

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Jeżeli coś wymaga specjalistycznego know-how, trudno to skopiować, a wówczas konkurencja na rynku jest niewielka i można dobrze na tym zarabiać. Naprawdę nie dziwi dlaczego Chiny stają się potężną gospodarką, bo nie każdy może sobie pozwolić na produkcję samolotów czy superkomputerów. Polska nadal nie ma zaawansowanego towaru lub usługi, dla której nie ma konkurencji. Ileż można chwalić się świetną kiełbasą, jabłkami czy innymi mało przetworzonymi produktami. Specjalistyczne know-how można przełożyć także na mniejszy kaliber. Zakładając firmę opartą na prostym modelu łatwym do skopiowania możemy tylko zacząć odliczać godziny kiedy pojawi się silny rywal, a może wystarczy spojrzeć za rogiem, bo pewnie tam nasza konkurencja już jest. Nie pozostaje zatem nic innego jak zacząć wgryzać się w zaawansowane technologie i posiąść właściwe know, a potem wymyślić how.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

How did you implement a shooting algorithm for the game of Battleship?

Let me describe it a little bit. I took a course on Java programming at my university. I had to implement the game of Battleship in the framework of my project.

The application was divided into 3 parts: model, controller and view (traditional MVC). You could play the game in console using only the model part. The model package (module) contained the main class Model. The Model class contained two attributes of type Player (two players: fist and second) and shotPlayer attribute that denoted the player who could shoot (of type PlayerState). When a shot arrived, the PlayerState object routed the shot to the player that was shot. For example, if first player shot, the PlayerState object routed the shot to the second player.

The PlayerModel class contained the "opponentHit(Point point)" method. Point had two attributes: (x,y) coordinates of the shot. In the method, the shot was sent to the player's board called Sea. The Sea board consisted of fields. Each field had a state:

    /** Field is not used. */
    /** Field has been hit and it was a miss. */
    /** There is a mast and the field has not been hit yet. */
    /** There was a mast, but the field has been hit. */
    /** There was a mast and the ship (which contained the mast) was sunk. */

Each stated of the field decided on the transition to the next state and the new state was returned. I used the state design pattern here. The coordinates of the point determined the field of the Sea. If the previous state of the field was UNUSED then there was a miss. If the previous state of the field was SHIP then there was a hit. Otherwise, the shot should be repeated.

The code can be found here: