User:Bradley Monakhos

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Hello, my name is Bradley Monk. With the help of a few bright and motivated friends, I started this site in 1999 (just a mere 13 years before the predicted end of the world), and probably responsible for most of the error messages you find while navigating around the site. If you find something that isn't working, you can post a link on my talk page, and I'll give you an eward. You can also send me a message if you need help editing or if you would like to set up a secure area for your lab. If you have science-related questions, I might be able to help you depending on whether it's something I have done before; otherwise this guy or this guy or this girl knows.


When I'm not fumbling around with OneSci I can be found working having fun at the SDSU Center for Behavioral Neurobiology. However, I just finished my masters thesis and plan to work as lab tech (in New York) for a while and then try my luck applying to PhD programs in neuroscience.

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blog

DEEP-ISH THOUGHTS RANTS and MUSINGS

Just Published

Prenatal choline supplementation mitigates behavioral alterations associated with prenatal alcohol exposure in rats. Thomas, Idrus, Monk, and Dominguez 2010


Looking at Labs

Good Stuff

My First Computer

Well, not exactly, but it's the first computer I built myself.


A Gold Star for Wolfram Alpha

How should I put this... the idea behind Wolfram Alpha (WA) is to make every math student's dream into reality. It's the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. Enter your math question and out comes the answer. For instance, I entered: 11 plus 23 and out came 34. Not impressed? Well check this out, on a whim I entered "what is the meaning of life" and I shit you not, it told me the answer -

File:Wolfram alpha meaning of life.png

Thus I proclaim thusly<ref>thusly ˈðəslē - adverb informal - USAGE The expansion of the adverb thus to thusly is usually considered unnecessary, but it can serve a distinct function, as in introducing a direct quotation: He answered her thusly, “your evidence is lacking and your conclusions are just plain wrong!”</ref> "Bravo developers of Wolfram Alpha, while the meaning of life will forever remain a mystery we are fortunate to have the capacity for humor and should use it much. A Gold Star for you my good fellows!"

Seriously though, what's taking so long. This should have been invented right after the internet. Also, shouldn't someone figure out how to put these things together: OCR Text Recognition, Photosynth image recognition, and 3D Modeling. Pfffft.


Neuroscience 2009 Neuroblogger

OneSci has been selected an official Society for Neuroscience Neuroblogger site. Yep.

I am Me

I wake-up every morning, and much to my indifference, I am still me. At least it seems like I am. What's even more peculiar is that I've been me for as long as I can remember. However, I've been thinking about this for the last few days, and I've come to the realization that this is indeed a phenomenon worth addressing.

You don't agree? Well think about this - We are probably the most intelligent living organism in the universe. Maybe that is a bold statement, but from the info we've gathered about life on other planets, we know that we are the most intelligent in our solar system. Astronomers have reported info on only several planets that might be earth-like; but they are in far away solar systems, such as the one orbiting a star in the constellation Libra. We know that much.

The Earth is 1.00 AU from the Sun (~150 million kilometres). Good for life. Neptune on the other hand, is ~30 AU from the sun and with a mean temperature of 72 degrees above absolute zero, it's a giant ball of ice. Not so good for life, but then again, Neptune is like 5 planets away from us. What about Venus and Mars, the next closest planets to Earth. Venus is 0.7 AU from the sun (not bad), and it is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" because they are similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition. Venus is also covered with opaque clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing visible light from reaching the surface. The water has most likely dissociated, and, because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field, the hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by solar wind. Shucks.
At 1.6 AU, Mars is cool. Literally, the hottest Mars gets is -5 C which is probably the result of having almost no atmosphere and 10,000 km wide meteors hitting the surface.

So maybe those Earth-like planets in other solar systems are between 0.9-1.5 AU (we can't tell precisely), which might result in that key temp for liquid water, a vital element for the spontaneous generation of life. This doesn't come close to implying that there are creatures as intelligent as we are. There are still other obstacles; one being - the spontaneous generation of life. It took Earth about 4.53 billion years to produce humans. Also, evolution is not very good at yielding animals with "human-like intelligence." I was reminded a few days ago that bacteria is as evolved as we are. Bacteria has also been able to reproduce and sustain itself longer than humans. The species with the next closest intelligence to humans lives right here on our own planet - Apes. These guys are locked into the alpha-male system of reproduction, meaning the biggest most baddass ape gets to spread the most seeds. Every once in a while there might be two equally baddass ape, and the smarter one may win, but that doesn't happen very often, and it also doesn't necessarily mean it will have ofspring any more intelligent than the other ape. So basically what I'm saying is, a human-level intelligence is an unusually high level under the laws of nature. We're lucky.

That's not all though. If there were creatures out there just a little further along in evolution, they would have contacted us by now. We obviously want to be contacted. We are obviously of no threat to them. Maybe they aren't interested in us, because we're too primitive, but still, we want to be contacted damnit!

But, that's not my main point anyway. My point is, I am me; one of the few humans that have existed in the infinite history of time and space. Somehow a me was woven into my mental capacity, and every day I've woken up since I was a child, this me-ness has been the facilitator of my own actions. I am not a passive observer, and although I know more about the world, I am no different from the person I was a decade ago. Somehow, in all incalculable fate, I exist as a human in this universe, but if only for a fleeting moment.


The Psychology Major

I graduated from San Diego State University with a BS Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. The SDSU psychology program has only several classes that are actually practical, but one of them is statistics. Here's an example of what I learned: The median income of a new CSU student graduating with a psychology degree is $34,095 [1]; whereas, the 2000 National Census found that individuals with only a GED earning on average $32500 [2](so suck on that GEDrs!).

But really, I'm on a quest to uncover the rational for the psychology degree. It didn't take me long to discover my first piece of evidence. According to this [3] (somewhat dated but still relevant as ever) Daily Aztec article republished in HighBeam Research: San Diego State U. statistics say career choices aren't about cash.

  1. if:
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width="20" valign="top" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:{{#switch:20px 10px=20px 30px=60px 40px=80px 50px=100px 60px=120px SAN DIEGO -- Money -- does it draw students to their future careers?

The answer is no, according to statistics and students at San Diego State University. These days, it seems that money is not the top priority when choosing a career.

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And man are they right. Psychology is the lowest on the totem when it comes to raking in the bucks, right below - Sociology $35,434 -- Visual and Performing Arts $35,073 -- and English $35,453 you will find Psychology $34,095 students with an average loan debt around $14,245 [4]. However, it's true, it shouldn't always be about the money. There needs to be a balance between job satisfaction and a competitive wage. Thus, it is my contention that a description of what a University should provide to its students can be formulated in one sentence: it's the duty of a University to provide an education that instills the knowledge and tools that valued by employers within the particular job market the student had in mind when choosing their major. For instance, if a student is thinking they would perhaps like to one day work in the rent-a-car industry, they should choose psychology as a major, because Enterprise is one of the biggest employers of psychology graduates. Universities have done a great job providing psychology majors the knowledge and tools that are appealing to the car rental industry.

(stay tuned - more updates will follow!)

Updates:

  1. Now anyone can go to M.I.T. for free [5]



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