An Analysis on the Power of the Internet and the Worldwide Web

The foundational commitment in both the Internet and the World Wide Web is the same: both are built as “open, permissive” structures (to use Naughton’s words). These structures are not unlike the distributed (neuroplastic) design of the brain itself, one that, as it happens, permits all the higher orders of cognition to emerge, higher orders built of “adjacent possibles” and “liquid networks” that in turn enable even higher orders of cognition to emerge. From this open, permissive, distributed structure emerges our distinctiveness as a species. And our links within the World Wide Web enact this emergence, represent this emergence, and thus stimulate further emergent phenomena as we create and share even more powerfully demonstrated ideas about shared cognition.

– Gardner Campbell

Over the past few days, I read a number of various articles detailing what the worldwide web means to open communication and where it is expected to go within the future. In reading an article by Gardner Campbell, I was able to find a paragraph that really stuck with me about the power of both the Internet and the World Wide Web. The Web itself could be thought of as a collection of links interconnecting many similar ideas, posts, and themes together to create a cohesive digital environment. The article highlights the benefits of open network sharing and relates it to the analogy on the brain’s neural network. What stood out to me so much about the passage, however,was the the mention of how both the Internet and the Web both have a “neuroplastic” design. A brain’s neuroplasticity is defined as the ability for the brain to adapt and add new neural linked pathways and essentially reorganize and adapt itself to better fit the needs of an organism (something I learned in a Neuroscience class I took). By this definition, the brain is constantly being fed new information, and alters itself to process and respond to change, much similar to how the internet itself processes and expands as new web content is created.Brain Computer Network

What is so great about both the Internet and the World Wide Web is the fact that they continue to build and evolve. Campbell uses writings from author John Naughton to support his stance on how an “open, permissive” structure can promote a higher understanding and experience of the information distributed between sources. Campbell emphasizes “cognition” to refer to the advancement of an information being more than just what one can “perceive”. He does this by first clearly defining the differences between the Internet and the Web. He explains that the internet is a means of transmitting information from one area to another across the digital world, and the web to be a set of interconnected “links upon links” woven together over particular subjects and ideas. These “links upon links” is something that I feel accurately relates to the discussion on how information can resonate and allow users to experience new knowledge more so than ever before. With increasing technology, the emergent phenomena that Gardner explains in his writing is something I find very promising and exciting for the potential of where the web itself could take us.
Brain Neural Network
In the end, however, that depends on where the movement of the digital
Connecting-the-worldsharing goes. Some may argue, as stated in the article, that certain applications from sites like Facebook and Twitter might lead to a movement where closed, more “walled” digital environments with limited information and data sharing will prevail over the more open approach from the web. This, however, is something that I would argue with. Although there could be a concern of limited control of personal information and data posted on such sites, applications and programs like these have been known to promote sharing and make connections with others all across the world as well, similar to that of the web. In addition, accessibility worldwide with such programs has also allowed for many users, who may not have been as familiar with the power of interconnected web use to find an interest in such in the modern digital world. Regardless of whatever stance you may be on such a subject, there’s no denying the potential and vast opportunities that an open sharing system could bring to a digital experience in the future!

Digital World

Source: The Web is not the same as the Internet, and why that matters – By Gardner Campbell

Associative Trails of The Web

Recently, I did an assignment that pertained to finding relevant links to a topic or theme that I found interesting. Being a biology student interested in the field of Neurosurgery and the process it takes to get there, I decided to research specific statistics on medical school admission, MCAT results, research opportunities, and the process of applying for a Neurosurgery residency. Pictured below is a “trail” of links that I ended up searching through when focusing on these search themes. What I ended up finding very interesting was the fact that I was able to see a series of interconnected websites that all relate to the medical field itself. From specific MCAT test taking advice and tips, to medical school and residency application information, admission statistics, research specialties, and program guides, these topics really painted a picture regarding how interconnected the web itself really is.

You can relate this picture to the Brain’s neural network. The brain itself is an organ composed of approximately one hundred billion neurons each comprising of axons, dendrites, and a cell body. In addition, surrounding glial and schwann cells also exist (Glial cells to hold the neurons closely together and Schwann cells insulate the axons of a neuron). All the parts of the the neurons are essential in activating and controlling synaptic activity through electrical signals known as action potentials in order to allow necessary functioning of the brain itself. One could say that the brain is the “control center” of the human body, necessary for directing all thoughts, emotions, and actions from various specific locations within the organ. In other words, the brain is extremely vital to the identity of who a person is.

Similar to that of the neural network analogy, the web collects several different website sources and connects them all together to provide a proper flow of information that relates with one another. As a premed student who is interested in eventually specializing in the field of Neurosurgery, I felt it appropriate to research more into what it takes to pursue such a career field. What surprised me the most was how resourceful searching a general topic could bring me to such specific articles and sites focused on the process of applying to medical school, the details of the medical entrance exam (MCAT), and finally the requirements needed to apply for a residency program for the specialized field of Neurosurgery. The “web trail” that I followed was a backwards approach. First, I was able to learn more about the specific residency process of applying for a position in Neurosurgery. Next, I was I was led to the specifics of medical schools requirements, then to information on the MCAT specifics and accompanied tips/advice for test preparation for applying to medical school, and finally, specific information on various medical schools themselves with respective admission statistics and research opportunities offered. Each site that I had visited was very informative on my future career interests. The assignment overall allowed me to appreciate how helpful and accessible the worldwide web can be when looking for information or data.



About Me

Hello, my name is Steven Jacob and I am a recent graduate from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in the Biological Sciences at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. I aspire to work in the medical field someday, and am actively striving to learn more about what it truly takes to work as a physician. I am very outgoing and sociable, and love public speaking, as well as volunteering. In addition, I strive to seek new volunteering opportunities, grow both personally and academically, learn new skills, and help my community the best way I can.

One of my passions in community work are Medical and Social Work volunteering. I have thoroughly enjoyed having many experiences throughout my high school and early undergraduate career. I have had the opportunity to be a part of many great organizations such as the TAMS Medical Society, Cook Children’s Summer Junior Volunteering Program, Christus St. Michael’s Junior Volunteering, The Good Samaritan Society, and most recently, The Austin College Pre-Health Society. Through these experiences, I was able to gain a better understanding of what drives many physicians and other healthcare professionals to work with their patients and ensure them the best experience that they can. Having the pleasure of interacting with many of these patients personally was another highlight that I appreciated.

In addition to volunteer work, I enjoy public speaking. During my time at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS), I was an active leader for the TAMS Medical Society.  It was through my experience there that I learned the importance and value of teamwork and open communication. Our organization operated with a board of executives, and each of us had a crucial part in running it. I was responsible particularly managing the budget and making sure all of our general assemblies, volunteer events (Cook Children’s Medical Center and Good Samaritan Denton Nursing Home), and fundraisers were operated within our budget. Collectively, we all had to communicate all of our goals that we had hoped to accomplish daily. As a member of both my High School’s student council and TAMS Ambassadors program, I learned the importance of representation. During my time in both organizations, I met notable alumni and many important figures from the board of education in Austin Texas. As a representative, I learned that I was not only representing myself, but my school, peers, and professors as well. My time in both organizations helped me develop professional communication skills. I continue to utilize these skills as a member of the Austin College Students Today Alumni Tomorrow organization as well as through my position as the Class Representative for the Austin College Pre-Health Society.

I find that participating in research to be extremely rewarding. As an undergraduate student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, I worked as part of the research team over the course of the summer of 2014 as part of the TAMS Summer Research Scholarship Program. I had been worked under Dr. Guenter Gross and graduate student Jason Gibson on studying neurotoxicity of pancreatic cells and cellular stratification of neural cell culture at UNT’s Center of Network Neuroscience. There, I also learned about laboratory procedures that deal with handling cell culture and measuring action potential changes within a system. In addition, I studied various excitatory and inhibitory drug effects on the central and peripheral nervous system, preparation skills with handling neurons in cell culture and reading their respective signals with an oscilloscope, and programming techniques with a cell dispensing robot known as Precision 2000. Considering the amount of extensive topics covered, I attended  many demonstrations and lectures from my graduate student. My time there allowed me to learn more about the amount of work it takes to be apart of a competitive research experience. Working efficiently to meet deadlines, problem solving, and teamwork were among the many skills that I came to value from the research project itself.

Some of my other interests include ministry work, reading the bible, playing my electric guitar and traveling. I also love socializing with my friends. Occasionally, I enjoy a pickup game of Basketball or a good recreational run. Many of these activities help me to appreciate my life more. As an Indian American, I value visiting my relatives in India and connecting with my culture. My mother is from the state of Uttarakhand (Northern India), while my father is from the state of Tamil Nadu (Southern India). Because my heritage comes from opposite ends of the country, I have been able to witness two very different cultures (in music, language, clothing styles, food, etc.) My travels to India have opened my eyes to the vast diversity that constitutes the country as a whole.

India is just one of the many countries that I have visited over my lifetime. Others include various parts of Canada and Central Mexico, Dubai, London, and Frankfurt. Most recently, I traveled with a Medical Mission team to Guatemala. There, I traveled from Guatemala City to a small village known as Huehuetenango for one week. Under an Internal Medicine physician, I worked in a health clinic. My work included distributing and monitoring basic medication supplies, observing diagnoses of patients that visited, and spreading the message of Jesus Christ through witnessing. Working under the ministry was a true blessing, and allowed me to connect my passions of ministering, volunteering within the medical profession, and traveling into a memorable experience!

Over this January Term, I am taking a course on web design and electronic portfolio management. The primary reason I decided to do so was to educate myself on creating my own personal web hosting domain. As a result, I am now be able to share my thoughts, opinions, ideas, and experiences with the world around me and get connected to many others who share similar interests such as mine. As a current undergraduate student in this day and age, I feel that it is important to be able to express one’s own thoughts and become more aware of the experiences that make each person the way that he or she is.

If I could change one thing about the world, it would be for more people to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and learn what he means to the world. To me, nothing is more important than believing in what he did on the cross for me. Getting to know him and finding joy in my life through him makes me want to share that blessing with as many people as I can. Reflecting back on my life, If I could change one thing about myself, it would be to be more appreciative of all the experiences that I have had the opportunity to live through. I believe that all moments, whether grand or small are equally important in shaping the people that we grow up to be. It is sometimes easy to take these experiences for granted, but reflecting on the beauty of life that God has given us is something to think about and be thankful for.

In addition to the information provided, you will also be able to find me through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn simply by Googling me.  You can learn even more about me through the TAMS Medical Society Website as well as an old newspaper article of me from my younger years. The links to my social media contacts can be found below!

TAMS FunAashu