A great talk on social media’s role in Iran, MIT university.

Wandering in web sometimes leads to good results. I just watched a video on MIT university, discussing how social media has become an important player in Iran during and after protests for presidency election.

The interesting point in this video is that they invited two highly effective Iranian site owners to the talk, Mehdi Yahyanejad, the owner and one of the co-founder of Balatarin, and Cameran Ashraf, the manager of Accessnow , which makes the whole talk to point to what happened in Iran.

Although it’s more than two hours, I highly recommend it . If you don’t have enough time, don’t miss the first 20 minutes. Find the video here.

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Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Role vs. Personality: A shallow look on Milgrim experiment

Two days ago I read a post which was about Milgrim’s experiment. It was my second time I was hearing about it, so it piqued my curiosity to search the net and gather some information.

It is said that when Stanley Milgrim, the American physiologist, had seen how people had  been turning violent and brutal during WWII, especially  Holocaust, carried out an experiment, which has been honored as one of the most controversial studies on human behavior, as over the past few decades, has been the focus of many discussions and research.

The experiment consists of two people, one teacher and one student. Before it begins, one person is sit on an electrical chair, and the so-called professor who pretend to do some research informs the teacher about the process. The teacher is told to think of the other guy sitting on the next room as a student and ask some memory questions and every time he gives the wrong answer, press the “electrical shock”  button to give an impulse to him. Further mistakes leads to higher voltage shocks. The teacher knows nothing more.

The student, on the other hand, is an actor and from the experiment crew, and  Of course he is not going to get real electrical shocks. Instead, prerecorded suffering sounds (Aaaaaaa) are played for the teacher each time the button is pressed, making  him an illusion he really gave the shock.

Contrary to what had assumed and expected, Milgrim observed that majority of participants continued the experiment, although many of them, at some points,  rejected to carry on, but the “researcher”  kept insisting, reminding them the experiment require them to to finish it, and most did.

The video speaks for itself, and probably the first impressions are concerning how people can behave differently from what they are expected to when working under an authority.

There are two immediate results one can reach. First, these harsh behaviors are part of our instincts. We, as human beings, only need some sort of  motivation, some sort of proper environment to show what we can potentially. Second, people lose their self control when there is a force beyond what they do. They would have never torture the student if there hadn’t been any power compelling them to behave such that. They may even feel sympathy for the student. Keep in mind that this is not questioning what Milgrim observed. Actually this is the exact same result he reported.

But another way of looking at this experiment is from the student perspective of view (and not this one faking, but a real one). And by student it is obvious that we are talking about the victim of a system who suffers from inhuman afflictions.  Regardless of the idea behind why the teacher is punishing him, a victim think of him as a devil. He might most likely developing this sense of revenge to get it back, even harder, to the teacher. This is exactly what happens during a war; People of one side of the fight find themselves observing the cruelty and insanity happening to their families and compatriot by the soldiers of the other side. They can nothing to do, but to do the same. That is the point where a disaster begins to occur; The students and teachers change places, but with one difference: now the teacher has some background about the student.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

King of nothing*

Today, at information Retrieval class, Donald Kossman, my most favorite professor so far, was lecturing about how it would be different if we lived in middle ages. He came up with this controversial question : “Would you rather to live back in hundred years ago?”, and as he always do, he actually asked the question and waited for responses from students.

There was nobody whose answer was yes. All, including Donald, stated that they prefer to stay where they already are. But the real question was showed up when he asked about the reason. nobody could answer it persuading. The idea of writing this post came to me when Donald explained his reason. Let me go more into that.

He continued that in past, the “significance” and “potentials” criteria of a person was a direct factor of his/her birth conditions, meaning that when somebody was born in a royal family, his destination and future was defined to a very good extent. Putting it in other words, there was only dimension which was defining an abstract of a person and his upcoming life. A king’s child was probably going to have a more promising future rather than a usual worker family’s child. He was probably much happier that the latter one.

He added that in contrary to past, today the success factor of a person is more likely a higher dimensional variable. Compared to previous example, a typical person from a typical family has more power over what he is going to be.


* – A song by Metallica
Published in: on October 20, 2010 at 11:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hahaha, not that funny!

I believe that people behave differently when speaking different languages. This difference shows itself in characteristics, popularity and in general in the person you are trying to know and communicate with.  assume that you travel to a country where your knowledge of the local spoken language is dramatically low. You would be able to communicate and socialize with the locals, but when it comes to friendship, you would not be able to express yourself as you express in your hometown. So from the perspective of a local, you would not look as funny as you really are, and as friendly as you used to be. After a while, you would used to your new characteristics, unless you try to delve deeper in the language and find ways to convey what you have in your mind. It is very typical that someone is hilarious in his native language, but becomes more serious in a non-native environment.

So a recommendation would be not to judge foreigners or you would never have a chance to know their reals.

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment