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Posts by Notoman
Joined: Apr 24, 2009
Last Post: May 13, 2014
Threads: 20
Posts: 419  

From: USA

Displayed posts: 439 / page 11 of 11
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May 5, 2009
Letters / Job Portfolio: What do I include? [7]

I'd include anything that has been published . . . letters to the editor, newspaper clippings (high school, college, or whatever you might have), magazine articles, and website copy (other than Facebook, *grin*)

Papers or essays that you are especially proud of (especially if you haven't been published much and they fit the style of the writing you hope to do). I wouldn't go too heavy here. Editors do not enjoy reading ten-page missives on The Scarlett Letter. Most local media doesn't publish poetry or short stories-I'd skip those (unless they have been published).

Possibly a sample article in the style that you would want to write in the job you are applying for. A current subject would be best. If you want to be a sports writer, for example, I'd include a sample piece on a recent game. Some publications will assign you a sample article to see your take on things and your ability to turn things on a deadline.

A brief resume that can fit onto one page. Highlight any professional writing (paid or volunteer), writing/editing experience, and advanced coursework that can establish you as a trusted writer.

A cover letter stating what position you are applying for and what makes you a good candidate for that position.

If your portfolio is a little weak in some areas (nothing published to date), you could include letters of reference as well.

No, I didn't come up with all of this on my own. I asked a professional editor.
May 5, 2009
Writing Feedback / CLEP Practice Essay - effect of computers on work now versus 100 years ago [4]

VERY well written. You use some interesting words that give it just the right combination of spice and readability. Your sentences have varied cadence, length, and beginnings. Your grammar is just about perfect as well. I did notice just a couple of issues with commas . . .

produce information, direct work flow, and provide inspiration. You don't usually use that last serial comma. The comma here isn't wrong, but the use of the serial comma should be consistent throughout the essay.

Cash registers track sales volume, compute change amounts and generate receipts.

These improvements are quite drastic at the personal level, but our advancement in technology has also changed the way we conduct commerce. Technically, you could do without this comma because the two parts of the sentence have equal weight, but I think that it is a helpful pause to the reader.

You did this as a 45-minute TIMED essay?? I am impressed.
May 5, 2009
Writing Feedback / "Our desire to conform is greater than our respect for objective facts." - Essay [15]

Home from school! Yes Kevin, I am still in high school-I'm just finishing my junior year. I have to admit that I am glad that I come across as a little bit older. It must be because I am so apt, astute, discerning, perceptive, perspicacious, sage, and all the other words I can look up in a thesaurus, *grin* I am a bit of a "word nerd," but I am still learning English (aren't we all?). I enjoy the well-turned phrase and I am trying to master the comma (and the colon, ellipsis, em-dash . . . ). I am enjoying this site. It is wonderful how everyone plays so nicely together. Ummmm . . . did I say that right? Is it "nice" or "nicely?"

xOvicksz . . . Here are the only things that I would change. It is a very well-written essay. If the AP teacher does end up reading it, I am sure you won't have an issue being admitted to the class:

"fitting in"; all punctuation (assuming you are using American English and not British) goes inside the quotation marks. It seems counter intuitive-especially here-but you gotta tuck that semicolon inside the quotation marks.

that wait for her that await her . . . I was thinking that there was a bonafide reason that I would use await instead of wait. There isn't. Not in this case. There are rules that spell out when to use "wait for" with an intransitive verb, blah, blah, blah, but you are fine here. I like the way "await" sounds better. Don't consider this a correction. Hey, I had to say *something,* It isn't exactly like your essay is rife with errors.

I've experienced firsthand conforming to something I didn't believe in. I must ask you to forgive me. I am being a brat. In this sentence, I would take the word "firsthand" and move it to the end of the sentence. Again, it isn't wrong. I just think it breaks up the words "experienced" and "conforming," and I want to see them together.
May 5, 2009
Writing Feedback / "Our desire to conform is greater than our respect for objective facts." - Essay [15]

I have been mulling over this essay (in fact, I am *still* mulling it over). I think that it is well written (there are just a few issues with the grammar, but I will come back to that after school), but I love Sean and Kevin's suggestions. The Russian Roulette example is right on the money.

There was something about this essay that was bothering me, and I finally figured out what it was! I was having a feeling of deja vu when I finished it. It is because the last line is a lyric from the Fray:

We'd never know what's wrong without the pain
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

Did you get into AP English? I gotta tell ya, I didn't even try. I am a wimp. I didn't feel like I had the time to devote and the workload scared me. I am hoping that I won't regret my decision. Good luck with it!

I'll be back after school with some grammar.
May 4, 2009
Grammar, Usage / Memorising beautiful phrases to learn English [7]

I agree that poetry and song lyrics can use non-standard English that can confuse the ESL student, but there are some that are helpful.

I memorized all of the Catholic prayers in Spanish and I am surprised at how often I rely on that to remind me of Spanish grammar constructions. Dios te salve, Maria, el Senor es contigo. Bendita tu eres entre todas las mujeres y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesus . . . literally it is "God you saved Maria. The Lord is with you. Blessed you are among all the women and blessed is the fruit of your womb . . ." It may sound silly, but I have found that a prayer I will say without thinking about it can really help me to consider how those words are put together in another language. Now if I were trying to write an essay in Spanish (you really wouldn't want to see that), I would never be able to use words like womb, death, pray, or sinners, but knowing the prayer does help me to remember some of the verb conjugations and when to use tu, tu (imagine this one with an accent), te, and ti.

English is such a complex language that I would think it would be very helpful to put together a few sentences and memorize them ahead of time. I like Kevin's idea of constructing a few sentences that can be changed to fit different situations.
May 3, 2009
Research Papers / Essay on No drinking on the beach in San Diego [11]

"drinking on the beach" ban

"alcohol on the beach" ban

"alcohol ban" beach

There are a TON of hits with these three searches. Most of them pertain to San Diego even. If you want more that deal with San Diego, then put that in your search as well.

Or . . . try this:

May 2, 2009
Letters / Rinor: My first CV for a job application [6]

I think that you could make a few changes to make your resume not only more "Americanized," but make it stand out when compared to other applicants.

Nme Spell out Name. That one extra letter isn't going to make too much difference in the length and your name is a pretty important part of a resume

- the American Army Base "Bondsteal" Bondsteal Army Base-if you are applying with the American Army, they already know that it is an American base.

Environmental science skills: Would you be working in the environmental field? I am not sure how important the titles of your research papers would be to the people doing the hiring.

- Expected graduation Grade Point Average: 3.90 to 4.00. Expected Grade Point Average at graduation:

- According to some personality tests in Psychology my personality is agreeableness, which means I am an easy going, friendly, and cooperative person in everyday life. It sounds awkward when you say, "according to some personality tests," almost like there were other personality tests that disagreed with this assessment. I think I would just say, "I am agreeable, easy going, friendly, and cooperative."

- Team worker, participated in scouting events. Participated or are you a Boy Scout? Does the World Scouting Organization use the same ranks that I am used to in America? If you are a Life Scout or an Eagle, the American Army would be very impressed. They give Army enlistees an automatic rank advancement if the person had been an Eagle Scout as a youth. Even being a Boy Scout could go a long way with the people doing the hiring.

Voluntary work: Volunteer Work
- Worked more than two weeks in a Family Medicine Clinic in Vitia, each day seven hours. I think I would word this differently: Seventy hours in a Family Medicine Clinic in Vitia.

- Went to a kindergarten in Prishtina to take care of kids; I spent more that 25 hours there which gave me credits at school for voluntary work. When you say that you got volunteer credit for school, it sounds like it was mandated. Even if it was mandated, you want the American Army to think that you were doing it because you have a heart of service and you like kids. I might just say: Twenty-five hours at a kindergarten in Prishtina.

- Participated in cleaning the mountain close to the school. Hmmm . . . Environmental preservation and clean-up work in the mountains near my school. ??

- Recently I made a commitment to tutor some Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian Children till the end of this school year. Tutoring of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian children. They don't need to know that you haven't started yet or when the commitment will end. Children doesn't need a capital letter either.

- Experienced the job as a translator, staying with U.S soldiers in my community and being a student of an American high school. You might want to spell this out a bit more. Who did you provide translation services for? The U.S. soldiers in your community? Were you paid for your services? Did you live with American soldiers? A home-stay experience can be a powerful tool when it comes to learning another language. What about the American high school? Does that mean that all of the classes are taught in English? Are the teachers American? Are your classmates American? Forgive me for not knowing what is meant by "American high school." Working as a translator, having close contact with American soldiers, and attending an American high school are probably the strongest indicators that you are ready for a job on the base. I'd move these qualifications to the top of the resume to let them be noticed right off the bat.
May 2, 2009
Research Papers / Drinking age, lowering age to 18 - research paper [21]

Time to pop some popcorn and enjoy the entertainment! I *love* this kind of discussion!

When does a person become an adult? At what age should they be allowed to sign a binding contract, serve in the military, be charged as an adult with a crime, take out a loan, drive a car, be married, vote, consume alcohol, drop out of school? When I look at this list of civil liberties, the consumption of alcohol seems to be the most innocuous!

As long as you aren't combining drinking with driving, the consequences of alcohol use are relatively minor. Driving while sleepy is a major cause of accidents (as is driving while eating, driving while distracted, and driving while being an idiot). The thought that young people, if allowed to consume alcohol, will automatically climb behind the wheel and embark on murderous rampages holds only a small amount of weight in my mind when it comes to setting a drinking age.

Yes, binge drinking is dangerous, but taking anything to extremes is dangerous. Remember the suburban mom who died after participating in the radio promotion to "hold your wee for a Wii." Her death was caused by bottled water.

Many substances that people consume can be mind altering. Sugar highs could cause people to become risk takers. Caffeine, especially in the quantities found in a venti misto with two extra shots of espresso, is a strong stimulant. Should we ban driving on Thanksgiving Day because of the tripafan in turkey? Maybe delis should only be able to sell turkey sandwiches to people over the age of 21.

I am not advocating selling alcohol to minors, but I do find the arbitrary age restrictions on many of our civil liberties to be an interesting topic.
May 2, 2009
Research Papers / Essay on No drinking on the beach in San Diego [11]

Maybe you could talk about how the authorities need to focus on the problems associated with the use of alcohol on the beach instead of instituting a blanket ban. Deal with glass bottles, underage drinking, public intoxication, urinating in public, operating a motor vehicle (including watercraft) while under the influence, as being separate and legitimate offenses to be dealt with, while keeping the consumption of alcohol legal.

This reminds me of a situation my younger brother faced at our local rec center. The facility has a blanket ban on children under the age 15 using the running track because there had been a history of trouble from younger kids on the track. The claim was that kids couldn't hold a line when they were running and their shorter stature and slower gait created a hazard for the adult runners. My brother is a serious runner with an impressive mile time and an even better 10K finish. He needed a safe place to run in the winter when it gets dark early and the sidewalks ice up. He appealed the rule saying that the rec center should be concerned more with misuse than chronological age. He's now allowed to run there.

I can't think of any other reasons for your essay. It would be easier for most people to come up with reasons to institute a ban. You have already hit the reasons that I can think of for preventing a ban-the loss to local businesses and the loss of personal freedom.
May 2, 2009
Essays / In general, how to write a term paper? [15]

My history teacher gave us an assignment this year that I found helpful. We had a huge paper due, but he guided us along the way. The first thing that we had due was an outline with a topic sentence for each paragraph. This helped to solidify the direction we wanted our papers to go and what points we would need to research further. We turned in a rough draft before the final was due as well. My final paper looked a lot different from the original outline with topic sentences, but it still helped to give me direction.
May 2, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

I tried to do a little research on the ibid thing last night because I was curious. Now I know even less about it! The Owl at Purdue is a highly regarded authority on writing and citing (it is the one that my teachers defer and refer to), but the Owl doesn't say a thing. There are other sites that tell you how and when to use ibid. and op. cit., while others say NOT to use it at all.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers says:

Gibaldi (313) does NOT recommend the use of these old-fashioned abbreviations: ibid. (from the Latin ibidem meaning "in the same place") and op. cit. (from the Latin opere citato meaning "in the work cited.")

For Footnote or Endnote citations, if you should see the term ibid. being used, it just means that the citation is for the second mention of the same work with no intervening entries:

3 Ibid. 12-15.

More commonly, author and page number or numbers are now used instead of ibid., e.g.:
4 Miller 12-15.

For second or later mention of the same work with intervening entries, where previously op. cit. was used, now only the author and page number or numbers are used.

BUT that was a 2003 edition and things can and do change in our constantly evolving language.

Obviously, Kyle should use ibid because that is what his teacher told him to do (and they are the demigods in a student's world).

Sorry about the rambling. I guess I am just in one of those moods today.

Hey Kyle, are you from Colorado??
May 1, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

The thing with "ibid" is that it doesn't really tell the reader *which* reference you are referring back to. Does your school have some kind of style manual that they want you to use? My high school has a link on their website to a manual that they want students to use on all papers (one-inch margins, Arial or Times New Roman in 12pt, MLA citations). My school is a little uptight when it comes to those things though. Some teachers at my school don't care too much about the formatting, but most will take off major points if your margins are off or your Works Cited page isn't double-spaced.

I like that your teacher corrects your rough draft and gives you the opportunity to clean things up and meet expectations before handing in the final! My biggest complaint with my English teacher this year is that there are *rarely* any comments! I'll get an 85, then a 98, then a 95 without ever really knowing WHY. He doesn't circle grammatical errors or anything.

Hey, thanks Sean! I don't know if I want to give too much weight to my opinions with a title. I'm just a seventeen-year old kid who is tripped up by commas, stumbles over verb agreement, and would rather be playing video games than writing essays for English class.
May 1, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

Okay, I am awake now. Well, as awake as I ever am in the morning.

Here are a few corrections and suggestions.

Though both nickel based- batteries and lithium- based batteries

immense advantage lithium- based batteries have over nickel- based batteries.

Imagine smaller, lighter, longer lasting laptops, cell phones that may last weeks or even months per charge. Envision clean, environmentally conscious vehicles that can meet the demands that only internal combustion engines where were capable of. Imagine having cordless tools that are not only lightweight but powerful and seemingly everlasting. Visualize not having to worry about charge or discharge rates. (These are just thoughts)

In layman's terms

the effective amount of said work (energy? the output? "said work" sounds overly scientific especially when there is already so much science talk in this paragraph) that is produced

The standard equation for energy density is simply I don't know about the word "simply" here. If your audience is your English teacher, he might think that you are patronizing him. What about something like: The energy density is stated using the equation . . . :

lithium- polymer batteries obtain an energy density between the average ranges of approximately one-hundred and ten to one-hundred and seventy watt/hours per kilogram This might be better is you separate some of the numbers so as not to overwhelm the English teacher's brain. The brains of English teachers aren't always configured for handling numbers. I think I'd restate it something like this: On average, polymer batteries obtain a energy density of . . . In fact, I'd take out the word "approximately" because you have already stated that it is an average and you don't want it to feel like a formula.

Nickel- based cells

produce approximately omit approximately again

(Ibid) I am not sure what style you are using for your in-text citations, but I think that most call for the author's name again instead of an Ibid.

Why is energy density important? It shows the amount of energy per weight that a voltaic cell (a battery) can produce. Why is that important? Instead of asking your reader questions and having them feel like they are taking a quiz toward the end of the essay, TELL them why energy density is important. Energy density is important because it shows . . . A battery that weighs less has advantages when it comes to . . .

Again, why is this important? Again, TELL the reader why it is important

Well, batteries The "well" feels pretty casual here, more conversational than needed

is either uneconomical inefficient? "uneconomical" is technically fine, but it is an awkward word because it isn't used often and is a bit of an ugly duckling or inaccessible.

a battery- operated device must be transported, so a light battery that can achieve sufficient power has the ability to be utilized. I'm not sure what this sentences is saying. Hmmm . . . Generally speaking, battery-operated devices are designed to be portable. Light-weight batteries with sufficient energy to power up electronics away from outlets allow portable devices to be more efficient. Lithium-polymer batteries can be very light weight and have a profile similar to that of a credit card.

Now you need a conclusion.

Reiterate some of your main points and restate why lithium-based batteries are better than nickel-cadmium batteries.

*Lithium cells have lower profiles and weights
*safe for the environment
*longer lives without loss of memory
*great for high-drain devices like laptops and portable video players

It is coming along nicely! I can tell that it means a lot to you to do well on this. Is your teacher open to going over your essay prior to turning it in? It would mean staying after school one day or giving up a lunch, but it would show great initiative to try. My high school has teachers available after school one day a week. I went once for help with a paper and came away with some of my best writing to date. English can be a tricky subject because it is so subjective! Don't feel berated by any of my comments here. I am just trying to help you play the game of pleasing an English teacher.
May 1, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

MUCH better! I'm too sleepy to do any corrections right now (there are only a few small ones), but I did want to say that the paper is reading much better.

You are still missing a few hyphens. Your English teacher will notice if you aren't consistent in that regard. Are you doing parenthetical citation in MLA style? Your citations are pretty long. If your teacher specified MLA, then you would need much shorter in-text citations-just long enough for people to connect them to the longer citations on your Works Cited page.

I think it would be helpful to state WHY people use more nickel-based batteries. Is it because they are cheaper? More accessible? Which one is easier on the environment? Is this a similar argument to halogen lightbulbs versus compact florescents? Make a STRONG case for the lithium-based cells.

In the second paragraph, you are asking your reader to "imagine" a lot. There might be a better way to word this so that the reader doesn't drift off into their imaginary happy place with no hope of returning to your paper.

It still needs a conclusion. Just reiterate your points and make a strong case for the newer technology.

The improvement is impressive though!
Apr 30, 2009
Writing Feedback / IELTS writing: email and text messaging threats written language [6]

I agree. I think that your statement isn't very clear in your introductory paragraph.

With this situation, some people believe that they may be factors decreasing the position of written language.

This sentence is awkward. With what situation? Maybe rewrite it to look something like this:

With the increase usage of texting and email, some people believe that written language is declining.

I am in favor of that idea because of their advantages and the fact we can see today about the use of these new means.

Again, this sentence is awkward. Because your argument seems to be that texting/emailing is both a good and a bad thing, I would state that right up front (if the assignment allows for it). Maybe rewrite that sentence to look something like this:

While emailing and texting increases the speed and volume of communication, the quality of that communication appears to suffer.

Then you could talk about the conveniences of electronic communication and well as the way that people use the language in those conversations follows a lower standard. With your conclusion, you could talk about how people can better use texting/email when they hold themselves to a higher standard of writing.
Apr 30, 2009
Essays / "Ambition" essay - how to start it? [14]

Ambition is a pretty broad topic. Think about what kinds of things interest you and see if the topic of ambition would fit into your interests. Like music? The Beatles were considered very ambitious-especially John. History? Napoleon was a pretty fascinating figure. Technology? Bill Gates. It might be interesting to look at how ambition has made people make bad choices or how it has helped people to overcome obstacles.

Good luck with it!
Apr 30, 2009
Grammar, Usage / Using an ellipsis in the middle of a quote [6]

Thanks Kevin and Sean! Your examples are right on the money Kevin. It seems like teachers used to specify either APA or MLA style, but now everyone is wanting MLA. I am thinking that academic writing will be standardized to MLA style in the future.
Apr 30, 2009
Faq, Help / Tips for Being a Quality Contributor [9]

*grin* You must be pretty influential around here, Kevin. I see that I can use the red letters now. I think it will make it easier to show people corrections that are being made to their original text.

I'll have to go to Amazon and check out those books. My parents pretty much let me buy whatever I want in the way of books on their credit card. With summer around the corner, I'll have more time for reading.

Apr 29, 2009
Essays / What role has cutural difference played in the lives of 20th century europeans? [6]

Affected Europe as a whole?

There was a great shift in population. Not only did Europe lose a large number of its men to war, but they lost a very large percentage of their Jewish population to the Holocaust. Not only that, but many Jews immigrated following the war. Elie Wiesel talks (in his later books) about how the Jews were looked down upon as a burden to society in European countries following the war-most notably France where he lived before coming to the United States.

With cultural differences, I imagine that various cultures were affected by the war (and the Holocaust) very differently. The end of World War II established boundaries (and spheres of influence) that determined future political and economic systems for those regions.

It might be easier to limit your topic to two group talked about in the novels-Jews and Croatians. Croatia has had its own issues with ethnic cleansing. Not having read the book, I don't know how much the author explores those issues. As Croatia seeks admittance into the EU, Croatians are experiencing discrimination from Europeans who believe that Croats will bring them down. Croatia wasn't a democracy until the early 1990s . . .

Again, not having read the book, I don't know what the main points were or how they relate to Night.
Apr 29, 2009
Faq, Help / Tips for Being a Quality Contributor [9]

Kevin, do you mind me asking which book by Diana Hacker you recommend? A Writer's Reference or Rules for Writers? There is also one called Successful College Writing. I already have her style guide and the Strunk & White book.
Apr 29, 2009
Essays / What role has cutural difference played in the lives of 20th century europeans? [6]

It *is* a broad topic! I have read Night, but not Cafe Europa. Lay out the basic themes of the books (maybe in list format?) and decided which ones you want to focus on. Night is about the Holocaust and how the Jewish population was systematically subjugated under the Nazis. Cafe Europa (I believe), is more about how Eastern Europe fell into ruin after the fall of Communism. It might be interesting to focus on how one was a program design to eradicate a population through government action and the other was the suffering of people through lack of action.

Sorry I can't be of more help! Having only read one of the books puts me at a disadvantage.
Apr 28, 2009
Speeches / "World Rights" ; Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech [5]

MLA formatting requires you to use in-text citations. You have to let the reader know where you found your resources.

The citation for your first quote would look like this in the text:

"I believe that what self centered man has torn down other centered men can build up" (King).

And then it would have a corresponding citation in your works cited page that looked like this:

King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech." 10 December 1964.

nobelprizes.com. 28 April 2009. <nobelprizes.com/nobel/peace/MLK-nobel.html>

(The nobelprizes.com would be underlined, but I don't have that ability here)

You wouldn't need to cite the Declaration of Independence because you have already introduced it in your sentence and it is common enough that the MLA says you don't have to cite it anymore.

When talking about your organization, omit the quotation marks. They are not needed for the name of an organization and they could be read wrong. "World Rights" Organization is like saying that the organization really doesn't stand for world rights-in this instance it is akin to making air quotes around the words and winking at the reader.

It is very well-written. I can picture you in a tux in Oslo giving your speech.

There are a few other minor errors (you don't need that apostrophe on the end of the word colleagues, for example), but I will leave those for another person or another day.
Apr 28, 2009
Grammar, Usage / Using an ellipsis in the middle of a quote [6]

I have a question about how to write a quote using an ellipsis in the middle to indicate that I omitted part of the quote. If I end with one sentence and then pick up on a new one, would I use four dots-one for the period and three more for the ellipsis? Is there a better way to do it? My Word program is kind of freaking out on me and underlining everything in green.

If, for example, I were using this quote from Eeyore, but I wanted to shorten it, would this be the right way to do it?

I'm not saying there won't be an Accident now, mind you. They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them.

I'm not saying there won't be an Accident now, mind you. . . . You never have them till you're having them.

Not that the Eeyore quote is the best example because it doesn't make a lot of sense, but my question is more about the grammar and formatting of the quote.

Apr 28, 2009
Essays / Who I would (if I could) nominate for a Nobel Peace Prize and why [15]

I think that Bono would be a fine topic. Not only would you be able to garner lots of information, but he has worked for peace in a unique way. If your assignment requires books as one of your sources, it might be a little more difficult to find the information you will need.
Apr 28, 2009
Essays / Stuck on intro to my essay (the creative process effect on commercial contents) [7]

That sounds like an interesting topic! I hope that you post the final product here for us to enjoy.

The first few sentences could be something like:

Writers are creative people, but they cannot always allow their creativity to run rampant. When writing professionally, the final product is constrained by the commercial context. When making a movie, audiences, reviewers, producers, and commercial appeal play into what hits the cutting room floor and what is seen on the screen.
Apr 28, 2009
Faq, Help / Tips for Being a Quality Contributor [9]

Hello. I am new to this site, but I enjoy reading other people's writing and commenting. I want to ask how I can be a quality contributor. Are there guidelines-written and unwritten-that help this site run smoothly?

I noticed that many users are learning English (we are all still learning English, but you know what I mean). How much correcting/explaining is beneficial for these users? Out of curiosity, about what percentage of members would you guess have a language other than English as their primary language?

I like how Kevin uses the red letters in his post. Is that a feature that is reserved for moderators? How do I find that? Is there a way to make my corrections green?

Speaking of making corrections . . . what is the most user-friendly way to do that?

I am not a professional writer. Should I specify that in every post I make so that people know that I am not perfect (or even all that close to being perfect)?

Is it okay to just take a paragraph or so of an essay and comment on that? Some of the essays are really long and my stamina wanes.

Is there an expected ratio of praise to criticism?

I would love to hear from the regulars how they approach giving feedback.
Apr 27, 2009
Grammar, Usage / How to use quotation marks at the end of a sentence. [14]

Yep, they always go inside for American English. One of my teachers wrote a book for an American publisher. She spent hours going back and correcting all of her quotation marks and words like "colour."
Apr 27, 2009
Writing Feedback / Persuasive essay (Lithium based batteries>Nickel based batteries) [33]

Technically speaking, your first paragraph is pretty good. I would add a hyphen between a lot of the words-generally when you have two adjectives before your noun, you will put a hyphen between them . . . nickel-based batteries, lithium-based batteries, etc.

The word provide should be provides . . . lithium-based technology provides.

Although your sentences are technically correct, I find them hard to read. It could be because I don't know enough about battery technology or it could be because the sentences are long and sometimes repetitive. Seems how this essay is for an English class instead of a science class, it might help to put some of your terminology into layman's terms. For a persuasive essay, I think it would help to lay out the benefits of lithium-based batteries in your introduction and save the comparisons with other technologies for later in your paper. (Unless it is a compare/contrast essay . . .)

If you want to focus on the advantages of lithium-based technology, your introductory paragraph might read something like this:

There are many types of batteries to supply power for a variety of electrical devices, but the advantages of lithium-based technology far outweigh other batteries. Lithium-based technology is superior in terms of capacity, energy density, cycle amount, internal resistance, and effective discharge rates. Being the future of battery technology, lithium-based batteries provide advantages to consumer electronics as well as in the industrial sphere. Proactive research along with advancements in batteries will help mobile electronics to evolve to the benefit of mankind. By studying hard data and in-depth information on a variety of battery chemistries, the immense advantage of lithium-based batteries is apparent.
Apr 26, 2009
Book Reports / help on thesis statement: Thousand splendid suns [8]

It depends on what you want your essay to be about. Your thesis statement introduces the topic of your essay and lays out what you will be talking about. It looks like the essay is supposed to be about struggle and control. So . . . the thesis would state very briefly her struggles and the fact that she does overcome. It might look something like this:

In Kahled Hosseini's novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam struggles against abuse in her arranged marriage and the subservient status of women in Afghan society to achieve the freedom to live her life as she wants.
Apr 26, 2009
Writing Feedback / NASA Spinoff Technology [5]

Thanks Kevin. I added the sentences, corrected a few word errors (powered/powdered, premiere/premier, subcommitteE), and I am calling it DONE.

I the article on thespacereview.com. That's where I got the Katie Couric quote. I got some of my other numbers from the Wikipedia page that you directed me to (and then I had to go and track down the original sources so as not to cite Wiki).

I haven't read too much about the Reagan administration and NASA, but now my interest is piqued. I'll have to go back and do that.

Again, thanks for your help and input. I appreciate it more than you know.
Apr 25, 2009
Writing Feedback / Critique my current event paper (English Critical Thinking class) [5]

I am going to tackle your first paragraph. I think that it could read a little better with some minor changes . . .

On March 19, 2009 an undersea volcano next to the Tonga islands, erupted. It released clouds of volcanic smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet above the South Pacific Ocean. Spectacular columns gushed out of the sea about 6 miles from Tonga's main island of Tongatapu (NG). Several weeks later another volcano erupted but this time it was in the Galapagos. This volcano is called La Cumbre and it erupted on April 13, 2009. Thousands of wildlife were threatens because of this natural disaster (CBS). Many volcanic activities hurt the environment on and off land. It also causes many fatalities.

*Instead of saying "next to" the Tonga islands, I'd say "near." "Next to" implies in my mind that the volcano was either to the left or the right of the islands on a map. Seems how there are many islands in the Tongan Kingdom, "near" feels better to me. I'd also say Tongan islands . . . with "Tonga islands" I want to capitalize the word islands, but that isn't really a part of their official name.

*One of your sentences is a little too close to the writing on the MSNBC site. Their site says, "Spectacular columns are spewing out of the sea about 6 miles from the southwest coast off the main island of Tongatapu - an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered, geologists said." You'll need to make that sentence your own. Even a close paraphrasing can be construed as plagiarism by teachers.

*Along those lines, I don't know what the (NG) is in your parenthetical citation. If you are quoting the article on the MSNBC site, I think that the citation would be (Associated Press) because it was the Associated Press that released the article and MSNBC that picked it up. If you have the author's name, the citation should be that. Don't take my word on this though. Check your source and make sure it is clear to your teacher when you do your Works Cited page.

*Write out the word for any smaller number. 6 should be six.

*Then I'd combine some sentences just for flow (I'll rewrite it at the end of the post. I just thought I'd tell you why I would make changes)

*Your verb, "were threatens" isn't in agreement. It would need to be either, "were threatened" or just "threatening." I noticed some other verb agreements issues later in the paper, but I am only tackling the first paragraph for now, *grin*

*I am assuming that your thesis is the threat from volcanoes to the environment and to human life. You might want to state your thesis just as clearly as you can. Really lay out what your paper is about.

Here's my rewrite (I cannot guarantee that it is free of errors. I am just a high-school student and a human one at that):

An undersea volcano erupted on March 19, 2009 near the Tongan islands releasing clouds of volcanic smoke and ash thousands of feel above the South Pacific Ocean. The eruption caused columns of steam and volcanic matter to burst out of the ocean about six miles from Tonga's main island of Tongatapu (NG). Several weeks later on April 13, La Cumbre, a volcano on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos, erupted threatening the wildlife in the area (CBS). Volcanic activity not only imperils human life, but it damages the environment in our oceans and on land.
Apr 24, 2009
Writing Feedback / NASA Spinoff Technology [5]

Thank you Kevin! I think my head grew an inch or two with your first line. The name Kevin means, "gentle and lovable," and I do think I love you. Wait! That didn't come out quite right (he blushes). I didn't mean it [i]that[i] way.

The argumentative aspect of the assignment has been tripping me up. It would be easier just to spit back what I learned in my research. Besides, I am a little ambivalent about the spending. I had wanted to stick to the Space Race, but another kid beat me to the punch so my teacher suggested I do NASA spin-off technologies instead.

We were told to form an essential question and then include it on the title page. My topic and essential question (without rewriting everything) are: NASA Spin-Off Technologies:

Have American taxpayers received their money's worth from NASA?

Would it work better if I added these couple of sentences to the end of the introductory paragraph:

Not only has society profited from NASA advances over the history of the agency, but NASA's future holds promise for generations to come. Continued funding for NASA is imperative to unlock unseen gains in space and spin-off technologies.

But . . . if my thesis is "As a premiere research and development agency, NASA has generated spin-off technologies impacting myriad fields from medicine to safety and manufacturing to sports," does adding those sentences to the end of the paragraph obscure the thesis. Or . . . is that really my thesis?? Man, writing is HARD.

This paper is a huge grade. I have the tendency to freeze up on tests so I will need to do well here to pull an A in the class.

Thank you for your input. I appreciate you taking the time.
Apr 24, 2009
Writing Feedback / NASA Spinoff Technology [5]

This is a research paper assignment for my history class. We were told to pick a debatable topic from the 20th Century, pick a side, and then support our opinion. It needs to be six pages long and have at least seven resources. I've gone a bit over on that. In fact, I worry that there are too many facts plopped onto the page without really making a point. The document lost some of its formatting when I cut and pasted-paragraphs are indented, the long quotes are indented, and a few of the words are italicized. I have moved paragraphs and sentences around so many times that I can't see the forest for the trees at this point. I would love critical input. Thank you.

The launch of Sputnik in 1957 signaled a dawn of a new era, a time where the world's eyes were turned to the starry skies. There was no starting line and no finish line, but it was a race-the space race. In this epoch, technology shaping day-to-day life was changing at a dizzying pace. Many of these new technologies were the direct result of National Aeronautical and Space Administration-NASA-developments. With .5% of the National budget going toward NASA (Government Printing Office), have taxpayers received their money's worth? How have the American people benefited from NASA? The answer may surprise. As a premiere research and development agency, NASA has generated spin-off technologies impacting myriad fields from medicine to safety and manufacturing to sports.

Myths and misconceptions exist which can detract from NASA's true value. Asking the average man on the street to name some NASA spin-off technologies, the first things that would probably come to mind are the beverage Tang, Velcro, and Teflon. Even though these inventions are commonly linked with the space program, none of them are actually NASA spin-off technologies. It is not surprising that people have these misconceptions. In her book, A Cultural History of the United States, Gini Holland says, "the space industry gave the world new products and technology, from powdered 'orange juice' called Tang and Velcro closures" (120). Tang was invented as a powdered drink in 1957 for General Foods Corporation. First marketed in 1959, sales fell flat. When astronauts used it on the Gemini space flights in 1965, the beverage quickly became associated with space travel and American kids drank it in droves to emulate their heroes (Tang). Velcro was invented by Swiss Engineer, George de Mestral, who gained a patent in 1955 as a replacement for the zipper with no forethought to its use by NASA (Bridgman 218). Teflon, a compound consisting of carbon and fluorine known for its ability as a non-stick coating, was accidentally invented by DuPont engineer Roy Plunkett and patented in 1941-long before NASA's existence (Bridgman 201).

With the impression that NASA spin-off technology consists solely of a powered beverage, closures for kids' shoes, and non-stick cookware; many Americans fail to understand NASA's merit. CBS News anchor Katie Couric concluded a 2006 broadcast on the 49th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik by saying:

NASA's requested budget for 2007 is nearly $17 billion. There are some who argue that money would be better spent on solid ground, for medical research, social programs or in finding solutions to poverty, hunger and homelessness . . . I can't help but wonder what all that money could do for people right here on planet Earth (Brooks).

NASA publishes Spinoff magazine annually in an attempt to help Americans like Couric understand that NASA's spending does benefit people here on Earth (Spinoff 3).

Perhaps the most apparent benefit from NASA-developed technology is the medical field. NASA robotics research has led to wheelchairs that respond to the user's voice. Using 35 one-word commands, the wheelchair helps users accomplish many everyday tasks, such as picking up packages (NASA Spinoffs). The same technology developed for robotic tools on space vehicles has been incorporated into artificial limbs for amputees (Cray). When NASA engineers faced the difficulty of locating a safe landing spot amidst the dust fields of the moon, they developed a scanning system using high-frequency sound waves, magnets, and computers. This new scanning technology translated into ultrasounds, MRI machines, and CAT-scans widely used by doctors (Angelo 191). Technology used by the Viking craft that landed on the planet Mars can be found in automated pumps that deliver insulin to diabetics replacing the need for numerous daily injections (Space Exploration 56). An estimated 1.3 billion people wear glasses. Many glasses and most telescopes are equipped with scratch-resistant lenses developed by NASA (NASA in Your Life).

In addition to medical advances, NASA spin-off technologies have made life safer for American workers and families. The lack of Earth's atmosphere presents challenges to astronauts in space. With temperatures ranging from -150 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit in space, astronauts require spacesuits to maintain their body temperature, provide oxygen, and allow for movement (Space Exploration 63). The technologies developed for spacesuits are now used by firefighters here on Earth. NASA technology led to the development of smoke detectors used in most homes and public buildings. Fire-retardant fabrics used in the manufacture of furniture, mattresses, and children's sleepwear are also a result of space program research (SPAACSE). NASA spin-off technologies have provided faster response to emergencies because of Global Positioning Satellite technology and better communications with satellite radios (Spinoff). Although people may not always heed warnings, NASA technologies have vastly improved weather forecasting and advance warning of dangerous storms (Angelo 161). NASA knowledge has increased road safety by adding safety grooving to highways (Conger).

NASA spin-off technologies have also helped to improve manufacturing practices and productivity. Iron, nickel, cobalt, chromium, and manganese are the only magnetic solids, but NASA was able to develop magnetic liquids. Using dissolved iron in an aqueous solution, NASA scientists synthesized a liquid attracted to magnets causing it to move uphill, or even stand up in the form of a pyramid. These magnetized liquids are capable of forming airtight seals. Magnetized liquids are used in the manufacture of electronic products, industrial processes, visual displays, and medical equipment. Most computer memory disk drives use magnetic fluids for exclusion seals and they are useful for dampening motion in car's shock absorbers and on bridges (Amazing Magnetic Fluids). Companies have incorporated NASA technology into their manufacturing processes making food more nutritious. When NASA was faced with the problem of food storage in the environment of space, engineers developed a process to preserve food by freeze-drying while maintaining the food's important nutrients. The food designed for space travel provided a boon to backpackers. Before the advent of freeze-dried foods, backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts struggled to find foods that wouldn't spoil or weigh them down (sti.nasa.gov). In the early stages of human development nutrients are key to healthy development. Nutrition and food safety in baby foods are enhanced using NASA methods (sti.nasa.gov).

NASA technology has benefited consumers in other ways as well. NASA research into aerodynamics and fuel efficiency for spacecraft has been implemented by the auto industry. A solar-powered car using European Space Agency advancements won the World Solar Challenge Race across the Australian continent-1,870 miles-in 32 hours and 39 minutes (Space Exploration 62). American consumers have enjoyed flat-screen televisions and gamers have benefited from joysticks honed in NASA labs (The Space Place).

NASA technologies have even found their way into the world of sports. Michael Phelps made a big splash in the 2008 Summer Olympics in high-performance swimwear made of NASA-engineered technology and honed in NASA wind tunnels. In a world where hundredths of a second count, swimsuits engineered to reduce drag can mean the difference between medaling and going home empty handed (Speedo). Although swimwear the highest profile NASA contribution to sports, other technologies have had an impact. Or should we say that spin-off technologies have decreased the impact that sports have on the human body? NASA materials have found their way into tennis shoes that provide more stability and higher performance for athletes. Temper foam developed by NASA is used in mattresses as well as for crash protection in sports helmets and in racecars. NASA has helped to develop thermal gloves and fog-free goggles that have aided the comfort of skiers (Conger).

Taxpayer expenditures on NASA have not been free of controversy. The most notable adversary is the Taxpayers Union that would like to see NASA "put on the auction block" and all assets sold off to the highest bidder in the private sector (Klerkx 338). The Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit organization concerned with government waste, is especially offended by the $1 billion windfall NASA will receive to pad its budget under President Obama's stimulus plan. "The first thing you do when you're digging a hole is to stop digging," says Taxpayers Union vice president Pete Sepp (Boudreau and Zamost). Representative Bart Gordon, Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology along with Representative Brad Miller, Chairman of the Subcommitte on Investigations and Oversight, called for the firing of NASA's Inspector General Robert Cobb for being "one of the least productive IGs in the federal government" (Gordon and Miller). Cobb resigned on April 11, 2009 (Associated Press). Other industry insiders argue that NASA is underfunded. In an article published on Space.com, Miles O'Brien says:

We have done nothing to equal (much less top) the accomplishments of Apollo. And even worse, we haven't tried. We did something truly great, but then walked away from it. We had lightening in a bottle-and we opened the lid. Our country has been pulling the rug out from NASA ever since Apollo (O'Brien).

O'Brien is not alone in his view that NASA needs more funding. Brian Dubie, Lt. Governor of Vermont and Chairman of the Aerospace States Association, calls for an "increase investment in NASA's space science and aeronautics research, especially in the area of propulsion, energy and the environment." Dubie would like to see NASA receive 1% of the budget "to keep the technology engine of America moving strong" (Dubie 42). When you consider that a non-stop flight from Washington D.C. to Los Angles takes longer than the time it took John Glen to orbit the Earth three times in 1962, it becomes obvious that there are still gains to be made in the use of NASA technology-especially in the arena of commercial aviation (Traylor).

Since 1958, American taxpayers have fueled NASA to the tune of $416 billion (NASA Budget). The sum is staggering, but considering NASA's fifty-year history of research and development, it is money well spent. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, for comparison's sake, have cost the United States $604 billion over a seven-year period (NASA Budget). In its nascent year 1958, NASA had 8,000 employees and a budget of $100 million (Lanunius, Fries, and Gibson). NASA's currently employs about 17,000 people with the 2009 budget at 17.9 billion dollars (NASA.gov). Has the American public gotten its money's worth from the space race and resulting spin-off technologies? With NASA spending a mere .5% of the United State's national budget, it is arguable that the American public has indeed gotten their money's worth. The investment in NASA has paid dividends to the public in the form of spin-off technologies. Every person whose life has been saved by an MRI, a smoke detector, or the safety grooving on our highways would most certainly be in agreement.
Apr 24, 2009
Faq, Help / Question about EssayForum - How does this site work? [100]

I have just stumbled onto this site and I am looking forward to taking part. I feel like I will be able to benefit from feedback on my own writing as well as by looking at what others are writing.
Apr 24, 2009
Book Reports / 'Inequality is wrong' - The novel "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini [2]

You have a nice writing style, but I think that some changes in formatting would help it to flow better. Perhaps it lost the formatting with cutting and pasting, but I thought I would mention it anyway . . .

I'd italicize the title of the book

It is my understanding that when you are writing an essay about just one book, you don't need to put the author's name in each of your parenthetical citations-a page number will suffice.

Paragraphs would make it easier to read.

"the [Taliban] won't give [her] what [she needs]" . . . it seems that if you need to put in so many of your own words, you would be better off paraphrasing the sentiment instead of having the reader stumble through the brackets.
Apr 24, 2009
Grammar, Usage / Can I get away with recycling an old paper for a new assignment? [9]

I would say that you could probably use an old paper as a jumping-off point for a new paper, but you will need to bring it up to the college level and make it fit the assignment. I have found that most of my teachers have such specific assignments that there is no way I could use anything that I have ever written before. Most of my assignments have started with a prompt or have very limited parameters for how they need to be written. The FIRST thing you should do is read the assignment and make sure that you are able to meet the criteria whether you start with an old paper or not.