Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

This Week I Learned 2019 - Week 01

Happy new year 2019! Another year, another new TWIL post.

For those who miss out the previous post of the series, check out the last TWIL post of previous year or the whole year review. As usual, go through some legacy TWIL posts as well.

What else I learned this week in separate posts? First, ornamental fish culture in terms of overview, industry, popular tropical fish species through our local online MOOC. Second, the literature review of the paper on the effect of salinity and diet on Betta fish growth and survival. And lastly, the start of Perl Module(s) of the Week (plMOTW) series which we review the Data::Money Perl's module.

What is a mental model? According to Wikipedia, mental model "is an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world." In other words, a mental model is a systematic thought process that helps you to make better decisions. There are several list of mental model catalogues, Gabriel Weinberg's list (for Anki as well), Kent Beck's list, Slava Akhmechet's list, and Farnam Street's list. Similarly, there are cognitive tricks or  "brain hacks" that you can use on daily basis to manage your life. Contrary, the discussion on these "brain hack" is more philosophical rather than systematic to approach any issues. Nevertheless, good mental exercises for anyone, especially those on writing which I should adhere strictly. This reminded me of a research on when is the best time to write.

What is the morning writing effect? (via HN) Discussion and research on what is the best optimum hours to write. Not surprising, morning is the preferable schedule but because for those who were interviewed, they worked as a full time writer or writing is a major part of their works. Hence starting to work or write in the morning is obviously answer. Discussion at Reddit seemed to have different opinions. For those who have a day job and write casually, night time is the most suitable hours, where everything have slow and quiet down. The discussion on best hours to write relates to our sleep hours and quality.

What is circadian rhythms? It's our internal biological clock responses corresponding to external environment factors like light, temperature, and others. Your health and productivity will be affected if there are any disturbances in your circadian rhythm, for examples, jet lag or blue LEDs light (mobile phone or PC) which affects our sleep (secretion of melatonin hormone which regulates circadian rhythms) leading to drowsiness. To achieve good health and improve our quality of life, not only we need to eat well and exercise adequately, we also need to sleep satisfactory. Does fishes have circadian rhythms? Not really but there was a research suggesting that fishes may have.

Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 8

Continue with week 8, the final unit of this course.

8.1: Talking with the media
The main objective if you've published your paper which caught the attention of the media or journalists? Basically the media needs something for them to write a clickbait title (or newshook) to drive readership. You, as a researcher should focus on what is the take home newsworthy message and how that message will affect people.

When giving number, use whole number instead of percentage or fractions. For example, instead of "20% increased risk" (sounds alarming), it's better to write it as "eleven cases in ten thousands per year may be affected".

8.2: Panel Interview
Discussion with her three ex-students, Dr. Kit DelgadoDr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, and Dr. Eran Bendavid.

Each university has their own media relation person who are in charge of press release. Practice the interview with them if possible and go through the list of documents needed for the interview. Also, good to do background check on journalists who are interviewing you. On the safe, you can ask for the questions ahead of interview session.

Don't let the journalist mislead you to speculate on something. Refocus back to the original topic.

8.3: Writing for general audiences
There is a career in science writing. When writing for general audience, be concise, clear, and engaging (telling a story). Focus on the take home message (this has been stressed repeatedly over the course).

8.4: Writing a science news story
There is a format for this type of writing according to this structure.
(1) Lead. First paragraph (1 - 2 sentences) that is catchy and short.
(2) Nut Graf. 5 W's (who, what, where, why, and when) and 1 H (how).
(3) First quote (3 - 6 paragraphs) and bring in the human element (evidence or opinion).
Use noun-verb for attribution. For example,
Do this. "Blah blah blah...," Professor X said.
Don't do this. "Blah blah blah...," said Professor X.

(4) Body which includes what was done before, what was done in this study as in key experiments or key findings, and last implication or caveats.
(5) Kicker. Create parting thoughts for ending. Use quote if necessary.

8.5: Interviewing a scientist
Lecture given by Amy Adams, Directory of Science Communication at Standford.

How to interview and write for general public. For a start, no jargon.

What kind of questions that elicit good quotes? Here are a few.
(1) What is the significant of this work?
(2) Who will benefits from this work?
(3) What do you think when you got the result?
(4) What made you look into this question?

Use the quote as it. Don't modify the quote.

Anatomy of a interview. The steps as follows:
(1) Can you describe the key finding?
(2) Why is this important?
(3) How does that work?
(4) Is there anything you want to add?

8.6: Social media
Why we need to engage in social media? Promoting yourself, cause, brand, or institution. It also connect with other like minded person.

Effective of social media depends on what you want to measure. Focus on this before that using social media.

Engage but don't teach. In other words, create awareness.

8.7: Concluding Remarks
Effective writing and communication is essential to fence off an increase number of science

Learning Objectives
(1) Recognize the importance of communicating science with broader audiences.
(2) Be prepared to be interviewed by a journalist.
(3) Recognize the difference between writing for scientific audiences and writing for lay audiences.
(4) Understand the structure of a science news story.
(5) Learn tips for how to interview a scientist.

Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 7

Continue with week 7.

7.1 Writing a review article
Why you need to write a narrative review article or literature review? It lets you understand the current primary literature in your field of study. And by doing so, learn to read, organize, and summarize papers, and lastly write it out. By doing so, you will get an overview of the field of study. Furthermore, the review paper is a good resource for anyone to quickly dive into the the are of study.

There are three types of review articles.
(1) Non-systematic review. Also known as "narrative" review, not comprehensive, and is also a qualitative review.
(2) Systematic review. To summarize all relevant studies in a systematic way following pre-defined criteria. This is also a quantitative review.
(3) Meta-analysis. Basically a systematic review but using statistical techniques to pool data. This is something that I've never heard before.

What is the structure of a review articles?
(1) Abstract. Write this last as discussed in the previous week.
(2) Introduction. Define the aim.
(3) Method. Search strategy.
(4) Body. Main content of the review. Group it by methodology or theme. Upon this, analyze, interpret, critique, and synthesize these studies.
(5) Conclusion and future directions. Discuss recommendation and gaps. What's next for this field of study you've identified?

7.2 Grant I
Why you need to write research proposal? You're applying for grant for your research. Certain research need significant fund to proceed ahead. There are committee that review and approve this, learn the application and review process.

For successful application, you will need to identify the gap or niche in the area of research. Some questions to ask yourself.
(1) Is the question important?
(2) What is the overall goal?
(3) What specifically can be done?
(4) What is the expected payoff?

Note you're not a sole research. Research grant will be used and allocated for a whole research team. Build your team.

Plan your research. Ask yourself.
(1) Is there a need.
(2) How will be the specific aims be accomplished?
(3) How long will the project take?
(4) What is next?

Read the editorial post, "Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Postdoctoral Fellowship".

7.3 Grant II
Whole section focus on tips and strategies on writing Specific Aims document. Again, write the document follows these four key questions.
(1) Is the question important?
- Attention grabbing first sentence.
- Bring reviewers up to speed.
- Frame the knowledge gap/need.

(2) What is the overall goal?
- Big-picture goals.
- Objective of this proposal.
- Best bet / hypothesis.
- Supportive preliminary data.

(3) What specifically can be done?
- Aims.
- Working hypothesis.
- Methods.

(4) What is the expected payoff?
- Return on investment.
- Related to goals of the funding announcement.

7.4 Grant III
Further investigation and key questions to ask yourself before proceed ahead.
(1) Is there a need?
(2) How will the project be accomplished?
(3) How long will the project take?
(4) What is the payoff and what is next?

The outline of the research plan.
(1) Background/Significance.
(2) Aims.
(3) Timeline.
(4) Conclusion and future directions.

7.5 Writing letters of recommendation
When a student ask you to write a letter of recommendation, request below information from him/her.
(1) CV / resume.
(2) Information about the position / award.
(3) The dateline.
(4) Specific information on how to submit the information.

Note this is academic type recommendation letter, so the format of the letter should be following old-fashioned letter.

One interesting note. When you're asking for recommendation letter, you should avoid recommenders who ask your to draft your own letter. I wonder why?

7.6: Writing personal statements
Why we need this? Scholarship (usually), internship, or jobs.

Some tips.
(1) Make is personal (duh).
(2) Give specific examples and stories.
(3) Don't read your CV line by line.
(4) Avoid big words or cliches.
(5) Show interest in / flatter your readers. Do your homework!
(6) Explain gaps and failures.

Learning Objectives
(1) Understand how to write review articles.
Nothing much into the details of how to write review articles. The meta-analysis review article was quite new to me.

(2) Become familiar with the grant-writing process.
Always a long winding process. Lots of red tape.

(3) Understand how to write a strong letter of recommendation.
Both sides should prepare well. Rejection is understandable.

(4) Understand how to write a strong personal essay.

Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 6

Continue from week 5.

6.1 Plagiarism
How do we write something original like your ideas or thoughts? You can to different materials on the said topic and understand it before you can form your opinions on it. From there you then convey your ideas in written words. In short, read a lot and differently, copy and quote the materials, and write from memory. Why? plagiarism is not really just word for word copy, we can subconsciously copy the author's sentence structure or word choices.

Self-plagiarism is also not acceptable. No need to republish something old as new. If the manuscript have been published in other journal, it's illegal to republish in other journals due to copyright rules.

There are tools that detect plagiarism like CrossCheck, Turnitin, PlagScan, or iThenticate. I've personally used Turnitin before and quite accurate to a point.

Be careful with miscitation and inaccurate citation as well. The issue with primary and secondary source, especially when we did literature review.

To be safe, just quote your writing in you are not sure.

6.2 Authorship
If you're collaborating a paper with multiple authors. Discuss this upfront.

Don't put your name in any papers as co-author if you don't want to take full public responsibility or fully responsible for the paper. You can put those who help in acknowledgement section.

What sequence of names should be placed in the paper.  First name is the primary author. Last name is the senior author or team lead like your advisor. But the sequence order may be different from one journal to another journal.

Ghost or honourary author is actual writer that draft the paper but no authorship in the paper. Guest author someone that lend his name to boost the paper, usually research done or sponsored by an organization, especially the medical literature. Example is the incident of Merck's Vioxx medicine scandal.

6.3 The Submission Process
(1) Pick the journal you want to publish.
(2) Follow the write style and convention.
(3) Get all copyrights sign off and submit your paper.
(4) Feedback from the publishing journal. Rejected but still able to resubmit. In other words, you should revise based on the reviewers feedback and resubmit again.
(5) Resubmit and comment on the reviewer's feedback.
(6) Final proof reading on the final print.

How to handle criticism will determine your success in publishing your paper. Separate your ego from the review.

According to the book Guidebook to Better Medical Writing Revised Edition by Robert L. Iles, good writing and good presentation (tables or figures) are essential for getting your paper published.

6.4 Interview with Dr. Bradley Efron
According to Wikipedia, he is an American statistician. So his opinions is based on statistics papers. Some of his key points.

(1) Statistics papers have both philosophical and technical side.
(2) Paper is written not only for publishing but also for reading as it's an essay for communication. Follow the writing style of journalist. Good heading that piqued the interests of the reader to continue reading the story.
(3) Send your paper to the right journal.
(4) Treat journal like a magazine (which is true) and it should be fun to read.
(5) Focus on the abstract or introduction (the beginning) and add in good figures and styling. Make it easy (dumbing down) and fun to read your paper.
(6) Go read papers published by good writer in your field.
(7) If you're publishing for the first, let editors know so they will be more understanding.
(8) Even himself have his papers rejected.
(9) Less papers is better. Quality over quantity.
(10) Rejection is common. Don't take it personally.

6.5 Interview with Dr. George Lundberg
According to Wikipedia, he is a pathologist, writer, and editor. He will share his opinions on publication process and getting your paper published.

(1) Journal wants papers that make it looks good. Hence, quality and ground breaking papers are well sought.
(2) Pick the journal that fits your goal. Want to improve your CV or get funding, go for high impact journal. Want to influence the industry, something else instead.
(3) Use the publication process to improve your research and writing.
(4) Don't write too long. Short and clear. Following the instructions for journal.
(5) Don't draw conclusion beyond the data.
(6) Edit your writing, be as mean as possible and ask for reviewers to review before submitting.
(7) No one like rejection. Everyone experience it.
(8) Eugene Garfield created the impact factor. He disagree with the usage of impact factor on journals on readership and citation counts. To him, impact means does it change the field.
(9) Don't resubmit the same paper to different journals, it maybe be sent to the same reviewer.
(10) If the research were funded using public fund, then the paper should be released to the public and not locked behind a publisher payment gateway.

6.6 Interview with Dr. Gary Friedman
Can't find much any information on him

(1) Don't submit repeating finding research paper.
(2) "Salami problem". Splitting your research into multiple papers.
(3) Don't over-evaluation your research or paper.
(4) Don't write a publication paper like a thesis.

6.7 Doing a peer review.
Peer review is good for your learning and understand the whole publication process.

Young peer review is a better reviewer because they are more up-to-date in the current field and more careful in reviewing.

Watch your tone in your review. Be tactful. Instead of identifying problems and criticizing the author(s), suggest a better way of doing it.

Reviewing is not lecturer. It may be condescending.

Reviewing types:
(1) Single-blind review where the reviewer knows who is the author are but not the opposite.
(2) Double-blind review. Both parties don't know each other.
(3) Open review. Both parties are aware of each other.
(4) Post-publication reviews. Done after the publication of the paper in the form of blogs or online comments.

What or how to review?
(1) Write one paragraph on the key finding and importance of the paper.
(2) What are the positive of the paper? Be specific.
(3) What are the limitation of the paper? Be specific.
(4) Don't focus on grammar or spelling issue. Focus on the research or the content itself.

6.8 Predatory journals
Bogus open access journal that was created to make money through scam. This was exposed by John Bohannon in this article, Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

Learning Objectives
(1) Identify and avoid plagiarism.
Be careful of accidentally copy the writing structure.

(2) Understand the peer review process.
Read the publication process and talk to your peer.

(3) Understand criteria for authorship.
Find the right co-author and use acknowledgement when necessary.

(4) Recognize common pitfalls for new authors.
Follow the publication rules and processes. Follow up with the feedback. You are not your research or paper. Differentiate between these two separate things.

(5) Recognize predatory journals.
Seek your advisor or peer advise on these fraud journals.

Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 5

Continue with Week 5.

Way more delay like a year and two months ago. Good I've keep a todo-list and revisit it from time to time. One good lesson when come to learning, the key thing here is not the distraction but the recovery from interference. One bite at a time. One step at a time. One paragraph at a time. You will not feel the task daunting. Otherwise you will procrastinate and won't be able to get started.

5.1: Tables and Figures
Did I wrote my thesis in the wrong sequence? Dr. Dr. Kristin recommended that you should write in such order:

(1) Tables and Figures. No shell table but actual collected data. These are the core idea or story of your paper.
(2) Results. Basically high-level summary of each table and figure.
(3) Methods. What you have done to achieve the results.
(4) Introduction. Background story of your research topic.
(5) Discussion. Probably the longest part of your thesis. If you've done (1) till (4), then this part should come naturally to you. You should already know what to say.
(6) Abstract. "Abstract means to pull out". Yes, that sounds a bit weird. Pull, in the context here means to extract summarized details from other sections.

In the past, my sequence is reverse from (6) to (1). No wonder I spent so much time rewriting the (4), (5), and (6). In other words, focus on the results first and write the other parts later. What about reading a manuscript, the sequence should be (6), (4), (5), (3), (2), and (1).

Some additional reading.
(1) Clinical Chemistry Guide to Scientific Writing.
(2) Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers. Second Edition by Mimi Zeiger

Why tables and figures are important? Because these are the foundation of your manuscript. The two items should be self-explanatory without looking around the elaborated section like method and discussion.

Between tables and figures, which one should you choose? If you need to visually show trends, patterns, or distribution, pick figures. Otherwise, use table when you need to show precision (like number of decimal points), many values, or multiple variables. However, a table or figure may not be need, sometimes a single sentence is sufficient enough.

It's crucial to understand the anatomy of a table which includes title, legend, data, and footer. Likewise for the anatomy of a figure which contains title, legend, picture (primary evidence), diagram, graph, and label. Best to follow the journal guidelines on layout and styling. One trivial rule in styling, remove grid lines from a table (doesn't look professional), just three horizontal lines. Also, add unit of measurements to your variables, for example, Age (years) or Age (months) for toddler. Lastly, don't add unnecessary columns which clutters the table.

Next, graph. There are may types of graphs.
(1) Line graph shows trends over unit of measurement (time, age, or others).
(2) Bar graphs compares group of data at a time point.
(3) Scatter plots shows relationship between two variables or linear correlation (does A causes B?). This graph shows all the data.

If you graph is too complex or cluttered, maybe you should use a table.

When should you use diagram or drawings? If you need to illustrate an experimental set up, workflow (causal diagram), or anatomy of a human or an animal.

5.2: Results
The main focus in this section is to summarize the data by showing relationships and trends through citing data from tables or figures. Do not repeat the raw data from tables or figures data by data. Just focus on the high level summary or take home messages. Pay attention on complementing (not repeating but may highlight) the data in the tables or figures. In summary, result section tells the reader of what you've discover with the supporting data from tables or figures.

Additionally, one key point is result section is what your data shows and discussion section is that your data means.

What verb tense should you use in this section?
(1) Use past tense for completed action like experiment result. Example is "We found that ......"
(2) Use present tense for what is still to be true like showing the table data. Example is "Table 1 shows ......"

You can mix both in the same paragraph. For example, "We found that ...... as Table 1 shows ......".

5.3: Practice writing results
Revise and edit those part where the author is just reading the table, repeating the result line by line in writing. Only pick and highlight important and interesting statistics.

5.4: Methods
Overview of what have been done and instructions for someone else to replicate the study like recipe. Use who, what, when, where, how, and why checklist to guide you to draft the content. These questions should tell in details of material, participant/subject, experimental protocol / study design, measurements of the research, and analyses.

To make your life easy, reference to other papers if the approach is a general well-known method. Also, use flow-diagram to simply your approach, like participant flow again.

What about verb tense?
(1) Use past tense to report method. For example, "We measured ......".
(2) Use present tense to described how data is presented in the paper. For example, "Data are summarized ......". Why? When you read the paper, the data are still being summarized to you.

Is okay to use passive voice or mix of passive and active voice in this section. A lot of emphasis is on the method or the variables.

Read the BMJ Christmas issue or archive for some humourous and light reading.

5.5: Introduction
Some general rules, typically 3 or 2 to 5 paragraphs, don't focus on general ideas but hypothesis or aim of the paper. Read the details rules recommended by Thomas M. Annesley in his paper, "It was a cold and rainy night" : Set the Scene with a Good Introduction. Following this top-down structure to plan the content.

(1) Background, known information.
(2) Knowledge gap, unknown information.
(3) Hypothesis, question, purpose statement.
(4) Approach, plan of attack, proposed solution.

Or a similar structure.

(1) What's known or background. (paragraph 1)
(2) What's unknown or limitations and gaps in previous studies. (paragraph 2)
(3) Your burning question, hypothesis, or aim. (paragraph 3)
Example of phrases are "We asked whether ......", "Our hypothesis was ......", "Our aim/s were ......".
(4) Your experimental approach. (paragraph 3)
(5) Why your approach is new, different, and important to fill in the gaps. (paragraph 3)

5.6: Introduction practice
Find any papers that interests you and mark these three sections from the introduction section.
(1) What's known or background.
(2) What's unknown or gaps or limitations.
(3) The aims of approach of this specific study.

5.7: Discussion
Start this section by following these four rules.
(1) Answer the question asked.
(2) Support your conclusion (your data, others' data).
(3) Defend your conclusion (anticipate criticisms)
(4) Give the "big-picture" take-home message.

In the discussion section, your writing should answer the question that why should anyone cares?

For further breakdown of the structure of this section as shown below.
(1) Key findings that answers the question(s) asked in the Introduction section.
(2) Key secondary findings.
(3) Context.
(4) Strengths and limitations.
(5) What's next.
(6) The "so what": implicate, speculate, and recommend.
(7) Strong conclusion.

And what verb tense to use? Past tense for any discussion of the result of completed experiment (we found that ......) and present tense for the suggestion of the data (the result suggests ......).

5.8: Abstract
Abstract is the combination of "ab" (out) and "trahere" (pull). This means to "pull out" key point from each sections. Length wise, the paragraph should be around 300 to 500 words. The structure as follows:

(1) Background or context.
(2) Question / aim / hypothesis.
(3) Experiment(s) details on materials and methods.
(4) Key results.
(5) Conclusion or the answer to the question. The take home message.
(6) Implications, speculation, or recommendation. Why should reader cares?

Learning Objectives
(1) Understand how to write the sections of an original scientific manuscript.
The key take here is to understand the anatomy of the manuscript (more on this in future post), tables, and figures. Understanding each part and the visual styling will lead to professional looking and readable paper.

(2) Critique poorly formatted tables and figures.
Use the standard good practices.

(3) Practice writing strong Results and Introduction sections.
You will need to read good papers on these two sections.

(4) Summarize the elements of a Discussion section.
Following the steps in the structure.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 45

Last week post or something else from the old archive.

手写的温度还在吗?放慢生活节奏,回归朴实。

What would happened to Red Hat after IBM have acquired it? (via HN) I'm not sure Red Hat will be still Red Hat (you can work your own FOSS stuff even if it detriment to the company) since IBM is well-known for aggressive creating and protecting its patents portfolio. FOSS is not its core business values, it's just another department. But question remains, why purchased Red Hat? They need to control and be a major player as a cloud vendor compare to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Red Hat, with its full FOSS stack, libraries, or tools, provides a platform for them.

Build your own professional-grade audio amp on the sort of cheap (via HN), worth it? Not really, unless you're really into learning (great things to do with your kids) and assembly the whole thing. Most of the DIY kits are way too pricey (Cmoy is the exception) and not worth the effort of getting the whole thing from Ali Express. Again, it's not the audio equipment itself, you still needs to manage the audio room or environment with acoustic panels. Be warned, stop when you can and don't buy into the whole system, cables, furniture, panels, and misc. Unless you can hear the differences (doubt so in my case), you're making money from audio, or friscking rich, don't join the audiophile madness.

Why does privacy matter or I'm not motivated enough to take privacy seriously? Well, if you want to prevent something like Social Credit System from the big brother.

Why kick timing is important in swimming? I intrigued by so many coaches overlook the kick timing aspect in the swimming drill. It seemed the focus was on building the stamina through drill rather than the technique and style. With the right kick timing that syncs with hand actions (catch, pull, exit, and recovery). Sun Yang, is a well-known swimmer which utilizes all three kick timing techniques depends on his breathing patterns as shown in his 1500m freestyle world record in 2012 Olympics race. 2-beat or 4-beat kick for the first 1400m and 6-beat kick for the last 100m.

So You Wanna Be a Chef? (via HN) Why the world need more honesty so young people can calibrate their own expectation in their career of choice? If not, we're setting them up for unreasonable failed expectation and brutal honestly about life, especially when come to financial (high student debt) and emotional reality (unreciprocate passion) . While having passion is good for your career of choice, but this does not means you can work for free or being undercharged.

Was Hindu god, Ganesha created to curb Buddhism? Debatable view but one thing for sure, Buddhism influence was limited by Adi Shankara in the 8th century.

When should you go to bed? The right question to ask is what time you want to wake up instead.

What is your books reading strategy? This approach is probably the most comprehensive I've seen so far.


This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 44

Last week post or something else from the past.

如果女人的情敵是男人?【誰先愛上他的】接近年尾发现的一套好戏,题材新鲜,值得推薦。自从台湾合法化同性恋后,值得一看的一套喜剧。我们应该同情他,还是指责他呢?感情之事,谁可定论呢?

What is GNU Kind Communication Guidelines? (via HN) The first comment (shown below) caught my attention of effective communication. However, there are always exceptions.
This is excellent; using love and persuasion to help someone improve is so much better than by force, compulsion, and fear. How many children rebel against restrictive and domineering parents? but a child who is loved and taught, but allowed to make choices and pursue independence usually ends up much healthier and happier.
Why digital detox is still more than essential these days in digital era? Repeated interruption leads to lost concentrationDiscussions at HN thread proposed several ways but is there a way to reduce this impact? Yes, but without discipline and life style changes as we're too digitally connected. For a start, take life slowly and be more patience. For example, reading a dead tree book is harder these days we have alternative and faster way to do so. But, isn't it nice to just slow and enjoy the smell and texture of the book while doing so?

When does education stop? (via HN) An essay of justification for studying liberal arts against the practical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Regardless the choice you made in your life or career path, love what you do, and do what you love, provided you don't starve yourself and your family to death. Note the article is hosted in David Bull's site, a very dedicate gaijin woodblock printmaker on preserving and populating Japanese woodblock printmaking.

How to write a technical paper (pdf)? (via HN) The advice on writing good abstract was the best I've read so far. Easy, step-by-step, and straight to the point. Not to mention several other ways such as rules, formula, or algorithm as recommended for further reading.

What do you do in your 1-on-1s with your direct reports? Build trust.

How to check the React version of the app using it? There are many ways (depends on the ReactJs library was minified or not). The simplest way so far (may not work for all) is as follow. Is Facebook is using the latest greatest version? Seemed so.


This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 27

Last week post or something from the archive.

How does we diagnostic aquarium tropical fish diseases? There are many ways and this diagnostic website (there is another one with better graphic) provides a quick way to identify the actual disease based on several symptoms. Aquarium Co-Op recommends three medications besides all quarantine any fishes into this aquarium store. MSR also used similar way. We're a bit concern on the usage of Erythromycin (which is an antibiotic) as it may cause antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, we're not sure about the side effect of long term exposure towards human to this medications. Unless you're managing a aquarium store, it's best to use natural ingredients (garlic or Indian Almond leaves) instead.

Buying new headphones? I've been asked this question numerous time for the past week. Just visit Audio Guide. One thing I've learned is that budget aside, you can pick the head phone based on different sound signatures such as V-shaped, bright, neutral, dark, warm, and mid-forward (names can be different). I was wondering how does this apply to Hi-Fi system? More posts on this in coming future regarding these audio signatures.

What sound track for testing your audio equipment? I recently rediscover Yosi Horikawa. His Vapor album is a good start. A mix of nature sounds, human voice, and music mixed together.

Can you suggest one way to improve your writing? Vary your sentence length. Gary Provost gave a good example in his book "100 ways to improve your writing" as shown below.

Monotonous 5-words sentence.
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. 
Varying sentence length.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals--sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Picking up React? What the best way for seasonal developer to start? React from zero (via HN). Note that web components (custom HTML element) may seemed to overlap (some part of it) with React.

Is this capitalism? Regardless how much you earn, there should be a threshold amount where you will reach an equilibrium of having enough and not being a slave to your money.


How will the 2018/2019 NBA season looks like? This comic said it all (via 老崔愛叭噗). The weird thing was the NBA free agency was way more bizarre and shocking than the FIFA world cup. Talked to a few people and the general consensus was that FIFA this time was quite boring.

NASA and FBI, what the difference? The former is an abbreviation where you can pronounce it as a word. Meanwhile, the later is an initialism or alphabetism where you pronounce it as individual alphabet. 

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 23

Last week stuff or something from the archive.

We're half way through the year of 2018. Some new adjustment to my weekly blogging. Starting from this week, more question and answer style of writing.

Old school or just plain hipster? It seemed that the newly appointed important person does not or will not use a mobile phone. Interesting indeed.

What happened when the town beats the land in a sweep? It will get boring and expected, the usual classic rags to riches story line. We need more competition, super teams, and nemesis within the NBA league for the next coming seasons.

What happened when your stakeholders want to start a project that requires "seven red lines" ? Brutally honest or diplomatically tactful?

Does open office have a big impact towards deep work? And does it matters? The discussion in HN yields a few interesting points but the main question remains, why organization still insists on open office and expects deep work?

Is QBASIC a good beginner programming language? The sentiments in the HN members believed so, so do I. Simple (yes, even simpler than Python) and easy to get it up with a good TUI. For a modern equivalent, load81 is probably the closest thing.

Should you use your ISP's DNS server? Hell no. Switch to either Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 or Google's 8.8.8.8. Not only you gain faster domain resolving speed, you also have privacy (debatable). When comes to implementing privacy in DNS, it seemed we have three protocols of DNSCrypt, DNS over TLS, and DNS over HTTPS.

Should you learn multiple programming languages or master one? Depends. Different people have different motivation, learning strategies, and priorities in life. Either one should works. Do what you love and love what you do.

How do you improve your writing skills? Measurement and volume. First, "you improve what you measure", a very metric-driven way of doing it. However, this may backfired as according to Goodhart's law, "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.". Second, just write, deliberately, in fixed amounts of words. How? First, don't judge your works, forget grammar and spelling, just churn out words. The Emacs's typewriter mode is a good strategy.

When come to superheroes, how do you justify the existence a character without any special super powers? They have better soft skills and less ego than more powerful super heroes. Watch A critical component for a better visual answer. I almost chocked myself laughing non-stop while watching this, repeatedly.

How do we implement operator overloading in Perl? Use `overload` package. Example of good implementation is the `Data::Money` package.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 22

Last week post or something else instead.

为什么同级相斥,异级相吸呢?这不是指磁铁的原理,而是可以用来形容两个同样作风的领袖都会同样排斥。客观的见解来看待各国领袖的作风。

It actually dawned to me that `eval` is quite similar to try-catch block. If your language did not have the support of try-catch exception handling, `eval` (yes it's evil) is your friend. Even Try::Tiny have its own issues. Perl is really a f-up programming language.

VS Code can do that? (via HN) I still haven't have time to install VS Code in my lappy and set up all the necessary configuration and settings.

What's the point of Perl's map? To transform list without using for (each) loop. Is as simple as that and yet we still having hard time understand that? Another good discussion on different between `map` and `grep`, the former is to process a list, the later is to filtering a list.

Containers according to xkcd. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

30 is too old for tech job in China. (via HN)

REST API tutorial. Yes, I've done a few wrapper for third parties API and two common issues are not up-to-date documentation and inconsistency, especially when handling different HTTP responses.

Block EU users from accessing your site due to complication of implementing GDPR. Brilliant or just simply crazy. And then you have the GDPR compliance checklist or search through the whole GDPR legislation document instead from the original source or community curated info. GDPR is probably the best things that happened to protect user privacy and reduce the abuse of any organizations on handling our personal data.

"Just write. You'll find your own voice". Probably the best common advice given to anyone who wish to become better at writing. For something related to writing, Janki Method, an approach to learning. When you learn something new, write it down but in an approach of question and answer. Maybe you can use a flash card or something.

Stack Overflow for Team. Interesting, very interesting indeed. I chuckled when I saw this feature was released. Wonder how it likes to re-implemented someone else features. Yeah, we should see things from both ends. DRY can be violated if necessary, only if necessary.

Yeah, making money is nothing but how much you care about making money (emphasis added).
Caring a lot about specifically making money is, in my opinion, absolutely key to making money, because otherwise you just end up focusing on other things (family, pleasures, ideals, etc.). If I wanted to make money, I'd design a very different thing in a very different way compared to if I wanted to make something me and my circle of friends would find useful. These things are practically disjoint.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 14

Something from the archive or last week post.

We have been doing blood pressure measurement wrongly for all this while. You must measure blood pressure from both arms. Yes, both arms and find the differences. According to Harvard Health,
"A blood pressure difference of 10 to 15 points or more between arms also boosted the chances of having a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease. "
Personal data and GDPR: practical guide for developers. Shaking my head while reading through the whole post. I was wondering how a software team going to ensure data anonymization in development environment when handling production data? When come to this, the US/Canada software houses are doing a better job than the EU/Asia counterpart.

What if we apply this to our life instead? Rearrange your line of thoughts in your writing. Intriguing discussion when come to writing.


"The Surgical Team" (chapter 3 in the infamous book, The Mythical Man-Month), a different software development team structure which it's similar to the surgery team where,
"The idea was to construct development teams in a way similar to the surgery teams - one lead developer, one assistant developer (these two "adult" and very good), and a 3-4 other people who 's job is to make the life easier for the main devs - someone to manage documentation, someone else to do detailed testing, one average dev to do the simple and boring stuff, and so on."
Maybe an alternative approach where the Agile methodology like Kanban or Scrum cannot be applied successfully or productively. Why so? Cargo cult software engineering, as coined by Steve McConnell where software development houses try to imitate successful processes or approaches without understanding why such methodologies works for them. What works well (may due to luck and timing) for an organization or team may not be suitable for another organization or team. Don't uses Scrum for the sake of using Scrum. Another good example, the reinventing of office space, open office, pool table, ping pong table, gaming corners, and the like. Yes, the startups starter pack.

Fork and Pull Request Workflow. While version control system have been available since the 70s, till today, amazingly, some companies still refuse or slow to adopt it. Everyone have their own workflow and branching models.

Quite a number of MySQL Gotchas this week. Fair enough, it will happen to any of the DBMS out there. My tolerance towards MySQL have increased along these years. Must be something to do with getting old.

How do you order a list of items where the NULL data is at the bottom of the list? It's actually quite easy, just use ORDER BY ISNULL. See the example below.
SELECT * FROM table ORDER BY ISNULL(field), field ASC;

NULL, NULL, NULL, 1, 2, 3, 4
1, 2, 3, 4, NULL, NULL, NULL

Creating a function in MySQL. That was rare but somehow we may need it to reduce or shorten the SQL query. Yet, we kept encounter this idiotic error of "You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'DELIMITER |' at line 1". Just add a BLOODY space! Yes, a BLOODY space before the semicolon!
DELIMITER //
Create function or procedure
Write your function or procedure here...
End (without semicolon)
//
DELIMITER ; (semicolon with space)

Write UPDATE SQL query with multiple joins and SUB-SELECT but the query won't work in SUB-SELECT? Wrap the SUB-SELECT condition with one more join!
DELETE FROM story_category
WHERE category_id NOT IN (
    SELECT cid FROM (
        SELECT DISTINCT category.id AS cid FROM category
        INNER JOIN story_category ON category_id=category.id
    ) AS c 
)

How many ways to insert a not found record in MySQL? Plenty of ways. Not sure these works cross database systems.

Career do-over? Either moving to management and if you don't like it, restart your development career again.


This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 13

Last week post or something from the past. This going to be a very long weekly post. So many things written down this week and might as well put everything together.

又是那个季节。每当这个时候,都会想起唐代杜牧的著名诗句。以前倒是没什么去注意了解,但是没想到,根据百科解说,每一句都是诗者高明的写法。随着年龄增长,是时候重读起唐诗宋词,陶冶性情。
“清明时节雨纷纷”。第一句,交代情景、环境、气氛。
“路上行人欲断魂”。第二句,写出了人物,显示了人物的凄迷纷乱的心境。
“借问酒家何处有”。第三句,提出了如何摆脱这种心境的办法。
“牧童遥指杏花村”。第四句,写答话带行动,是整篇的精彩所在。
The Nightmare Letter: A Subject Access Request under GDPR (via HN). GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the new data protection law coming into force on 25th May, 2018. Ironically, an article posted in a site that making profit from our shared data. There always this saying I read online many moons ago regarding privacy, "If you have done nothing wrong, then why you need to worry about people tracking your Internet usage?". And the counter argument to this question is "Everyone knows what we did in the toilet, then why we still need to close our door?". Corporations have long monitored and tracked our daily movements and behaviours and people needs to be educated and aware of such activities and their right to erasure, also known as "the right to be forgotten".

Off course, all these discussions was due to the recent social media data breaching. And usual things was, some noises were made, another call for deletion of your social media account, and things will cool down, and live goes on. Nothing drastic will happen, people still will keep their social media account and no one will delete it. Social media site will be replaced by another social media site, somehow or another.

Surprising to find out about this on feeding Betta fish (emphasis added). And we were feeding the Betta fishes with more than 2 to 3 pellets! Pellets will expand in their stomach. No wonder some of the Bettas were having constipation issue.
Adult bettas can be fed once a day and babies (young) can be fed twice a day. It may not seem enough, but many pellets expand to more than 2x their size when they get wet. To put this in a further perspective, the stomach of a betta fish is about the size of their eye! Additional power supplies may be necessary depending on the level of activity and personality of your betta.
Read the story about the origin of Giant Betta. Most of the new Betta type was due to anomaly of breeding and continuous selective breeding.

Reality when comes to management as described below:
In this case, it's management giving the impression that they are "doing something." We see the same thing with, "can we add more developers to speed this up?" The answer is almost universally "no" and, presumably, any manager in the modern era should have read (or at least be familiar with) the over 40 year-old book, "The Mythical Man Month." But, from a senior management position, there aren't many levers to pull--and when the heat is on, they have to be seen to "do something."
Write or build your own software projects. Yes, is a time waster to re-implement something from scratch, but you will gain valuable insights by doing so. Build your own React is probably something relevant that everyone should look into if they wish to understand what the hype about front-end development using React and the like.

Thought provoking post on how Lisp, the programming language ruined a person development career (via HN). Are you a software plumber or software developer? The comment did raise an interesting question on how once see his or her software development career. If you're doing mostly business software or glorified spreadsheet, then you're a plumber, not the later. If remember correctly, long ago, there was this discussion about software developers who are producer and those who are consumers.

Is the ability to focus the key skill that separate successful and unsuccessful people. This HN user think so. The next question is how to increase your focus?
Pretty awesome! If I ever had to say the one thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people it wouldn't be intelligence, or even perseverance, or passion. It'd be focus. With focus, you can be amazingly successful in so many types of occupations.
(That being said, passion / perseverance / intelligence can often lead to focus)
How to tell great story? Feeling stuck or suck? Just follows the Pixar’S 22 rules of storytelling. Rule number 4 or the The Story Spine way is the most common and popular.
Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
Meanwhile, while reading about writing, saw this post about whether we can start a sentence with a conjunction? Definitely yes. Good examples shown below:
It’s a pretty smart and progressive budget. But do you think those changes go far enough?
Some people are calling this film the worst movie ever. And who are we to argue?
Dworkin’s answer is no. But why not?
Who would have thought it? And is it really true?
While we at it, this week vocabulary list. Lots of similar words and it was quite hard to link these words up into a cohesive paragraph.
When sedition (煽动叛乱) law have been applied selectively, societies will slowly disintegrated (瓦解) from within rather by external influences. Inconsistency and partially interpretation this law will result in serious crisis in the legislation and judicature (司法) of our country or worse, the ridicule (奚落) of our judicial (法庭的) system. Therefore, there should be a judicial review of the law should be an integral (整体) part of the to the rule of law. That was David, an adjunct professor (副教) of law, judicious (有见识的) closing statement before the class adjourned (休庭) for lunch break. While he was discussing remaining details with his fellow students, Mary, his personal assistant, interjected (插话) their discussion to remind Davis about his itinerary (行程) for today. He should be in the transit (中转) lounge at the airport in two hours and additional amendment of this law was not be the ambit (范围) of their discussion right now.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 11

Last week post or something from the past.

Another week, another compilation of vocabulary list. The list of words were a bit tricky to cohere (一致,连贯) together into a convincing paragraph. Just let your imagination go wild then!
The island have been inhabited (居住在) by the isolated indigenous (土著) peoples since long before it was discovered by foreign outsider. Strangely enough, the tribe was hospitable (好客的) and willing to embrace outsider even though there was some resistant initially. People in the island are not herbivore (草食动物) due to the climate and available food source. Within the cold climate with little greens available, tuna fish is their daily source of protein. Tuna fish, due to its distinct smelly fishy odor inhere (存在) can lead to to halitosis (口臭), which can be quite put off to outsider. The people in the island adhere (持有信仰) to a strange religious ritual where they don't inhume (埋葬) the death but instead leave it open in the wild wrapped in Tuna fish skin in a helical (螺旋) way. Everyone was inhibited (抑制) from getting near to the burial ground forever as it will bring bad luck for those who ignore the rule.
看了《港督最後一個保鑣》,戏中的一首“好诗”,搞笑令人佩服。有些戏你要重看几次才能深深体会戏中奥妙。看似喜剧,其实是在挖苦当时朝政。
小樓昨夜又春風,雲雨巫山數落紅。
花徑不曾緣客掃,蓬門今始為君開。
除清衫褲去游水,留得餘香有陣除。
游完上岸偷清晒,行路回家只為貧。
家中只得兩個人,乾柴烈火周身痕。
搵勻唔見杜蕾斯,勇者無懼打真軍。
古來薄幸是郎君,珠胎暗結你鬆人。
有緣千里能相會,可憐已是揼波人(可憐歲月已催人)。
Ask HN: Were we more productive 10, 15, or 20 years ago? The question raised was related to development works itself. Were we? When comes to web development, not really, more marketing hype and too many choices available. Furthermore, too many tools, and too many abstractions. In other words, paralysis by analysis or decision fatigue, which made us ends up doing nothing.  What worse, we were bombarded by so-called news these days which read like tabloid instead. Technology made things done faster but at a price, we're more disconnected and distracted. Or maybe we (those reaching middle age) are more grumpier.

The Pilot System rule. The first system will always developed incorrectly somehow due to lacking of understanding and edge cases. Focus on the programmer productivity instead of focusing on optimizing the system itself.

Lesson learned when breeding Betta fish. We've made a few mistakes by our self and pretty much can relate to the breeder himself.

While we're talking about fish, the best video so far on using salt in your aquarium or towards your fish. We must be using salt wrongly, no salts are created equally, even chemical components are different!

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 10

Last week post or something from the past.

More movement this week. Daily walking steps have increased from normal average. Most likely due to some extra house cleaning here and there.


Something new this week. I've learning two words on almost daily basis for the past few months. To further reinforce my understanding, I will start writing a small paragraph using all these words. It may sounds forceful but it's quite fun as it will test your creativity and understanding. Yes, the writing and word choice can definitely be improved.
Unusually fat, tall but handsome, nobody will suspect Dr. Lee was a habitant (居住者) of a athletes' village that produces world class gymnast. As the only doctor who specialized in gynecology (妇科) and obstetrics (产科) in that area, his clinic is thriving (兴旺) with patients and business is good. While Dr. Lee still remain unmarried, he is currently cohabit (同居) with his girlfriend, May, for last five years. When they first met, Dr. Lee was muscular, charismatic, exciting, and fun at first. But things have changed all these years. He was grandiose (浮夸的), self-centered, and controlling. Little she was aware or choose to ignore that her future Mr.Right is actually a misogynist (厌恶女人的人). Worse, her future husband does not believe in monogyny (一夫一妻制) but rather polygyny (一夫多妻制). A little birdie have told May that Dr. Lee have already married and have a few kids at his hometown. Yet, she choose to ignore it and treat it as rumour due to jealously.

New T5 LED light installation leads to outbreaks of aquarium algae in a few aquarium tanks. To rectify, the usual water changes, siphon, scrubbing, and turning off the light did help a bit. Our observation and suspicion leads us to believe that it may be caused by infected aquarium plants or fishes (not enough time for quarantine) and non-stop exposure to light.

Meanwhile, I've created and started a Betta fish spawn logs page. It's pointless where your notes were scattered all over the places and it's best to just consolidate all the information into one page.

Over-justification effect. That is what happens when your hobbies or passions become your work. Nothing but discipline to proceed ahead or just to move on to something else.

Best project management practice in 2018?. The discussion on Scrum itself is honestly so true that many organizations are just practicing cargo-cult agile. Also it also depends on the type of project, there are certain systems (health, military, and etc) that cannot be developed in an Agile way. Maybe the WhatsApp approach in the right way as shared by its Engineer? Reading through the The Mythical Man-Month these days again felt like reading a satire.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 44

Last week post or the past stuff.

SMS bulk notification is a sunset industry right now in MY. I doubt people are still using SMS for communication except to receive notification from the banks, telcos, or something else. Companies or these value-added service providers are struggling to sustain their business and finding ways to pivot their core business to something else. However, I still fail to see how they going to evolve from there.

I've been travelling to a certain part of KL these days and every time I'm around that area, these service providers will spam me with SMS message relating to the services in that area. Suspected my telco provider have been sharing my preferences and location to these third party value-added service providers. Not to mention recent mobile data leaked.

Diet change seems to work somehow. Will continue with it and keep monitoring the progress.

Recent events, unfortunately, reinforced my prejudice regarding certain beliefs. The research summary shown below (emphasis added) best described it. Lesson learned. Move on.
"People are quick to change their moral values depending on which rule means more cash for them instead of others, a study shows. The researchers conclude that the "Pursuit of self-interest is tempered by the constraints of coordination. People seek not only to benefit themselves but also to persuade other people that they are morally right in doing so."
The "Rules' of Writing. (via HN) Definitely agree with the minimize the usage of adjectives and adverbs or better, kill it. Overuse is a sign of lazy writing, for examples:
"The man moved slowly."

Where you can rewrite using more vivid and stronger verbs.
"The man sneaked."
"The man strolled."
"The man limped."

Mastery is the side effect of deliberate and constant practices. You may or may not achieve it but nevertheless, if you enjoy doing it, then just continue as it. You can always start with technical writing.

What Python stack should you use? AWS Lambda, Python, AWS Cognito, Postgres and ReactJS. Interesting conclusion that goes against the bare-bone frameworks like Flask or Bottle.

Nature is both brutal and weird. What will happen when these eggs grow into mature adult bettta fish? (emphasis added by me)
"During and after spawning, the male uses his mouth to retrieve sinking eggs and deposit them in the bubble nest (during mating the female sometimes assists her partner, but more often she simply devours all the eggs she manages to catch). Once the female has released all of her eggs, she is chased away from the male's territory, as she will likely eat the eggs. If she is not removed from the tank then she will most likely be killed by the male."

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 43

Last week post or the usual archive.

Lots of things I've learned and shared during the week. I sincerely hope the young lady who is starting a new chapter in her life is going to learn to invest her money wisely.

Seven years ago, there was one technical question that still lingered on. Due to some unexpected coincidence, I managed to revisit and solve it. The lesson learned here is given any web application performance problem,  if the bottleneck issue cannot be optimized further and the programming language lack of or stable support for asynchronous model, just delegate it to a message queue system.

Do you have the Learners Syndrome? Yes I do.

Where Do Old Programmers Go? The best, funniest, and sad answer is "They don't Go anywhere, instead they Rust?". But one question still remains, as Slashdot reader puts it (emphasis added by me). In the end of the day, is between money and legacy.
"Another who used to be self-employed coding for people on a consulting basis told me he got into woodworking, eventually. His reasoning? As you get older, you start asking yourself questions like, "What have I created that will be used and enjoyed by others even after I'm gone?" It's easy to sink years of your life into a software application, only to find that in a decade or two, nobody is using it anymore. It's become "old and obsolete". If you build good quality, hand-crafted furniture pieces? They're quite likely to be used for 100 years or more. Build a dresser for one of your kids and they may even be handing it down to THEIR kids."
How to write efficiently. Keep it short and simple.


Scott And Scurvy. Really long but worth going through the whole essay or you like the YouTube version of it. So much wasted efforts on focusing on the wrong stuff than we should just focus more on the medical and scientific research. Scurvy is a curable disease due to lacking of Vitamin C.


Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 4

Continue with week 4. I've been quite behind the schedule and needs to stick back the schedule. Managed to finally sit down and went through all the week 4 modules in one session straight which took me around 3 hours. For the coming weeks, I should be able to get back on track.

4.1 More paragraph practice
The key take away from this module is emphasis on paragraph. Two important things:

(1) What's the paragraph about?
(2) What's the main idea or important points?

Good exercise to learn this is to summarize the main idea of the blog posts, papers, or other published literature. Webshit Daily is a good example of such writing with humour and sarcasm.

When you've a paragraph with complex idea, we can represent the concept as table or diagrams. As they said, a picture is worth a thousand words. If there are repetitive words or ideas, shorten it to take away the repetition. Wordiness may also leads to ambiguity, rewrite it to become more specific.

When to use passive voice? When it doesn't matter who did it.

Use "However" when you want to contrast something in the previous sentence.

One paragraph should contains one main idea. If you have two ideas within a paragraph, rewrite it into two paragraphs instead.

A paragraph can contains 1 - 3 sentences. Yes, there a paragraph with one sentence. I always think that a paragraph should at least have four sentences. One topic sentence, two supportive sentences, and one final concluding sentence.

4.2 Overview of the writing process
The main point is how do you approach writing? There are three major steps:

(1) Pre-writing.
A process of collecting, synthesizing, and organizing your data and ideas of your writing.

(2) Writing the first draft.
Turn the ideas into complete sentences. Writing should be fast and quick. Fsck grammar!

(3) Revision.
Revise to make it sounds better.

As a writer, you should follow the three steps in a sequential manner. Don't do two steps in one time. Multi-tasking is always bad! For example, start writing without much research is a typical approach by most people but this is not recommended. Not only this will stress you out, you are also prone to distraction as you're busy googling and doing something else. As you all know, googling for information will often leads to other unproductive online activities like reading news, checking social media status, and others. Also, when you're focus on the details of writing, you will lost focus on the big picture. Therefore, invest more time in pre-writing step.

Similarly, do not carry out writing the first draft and revision at the same time. Fsck grammar! Just make sure you have written down the ideas in complete sentences. Is okay you've wrong grammar, spelling, or the sentences do not sound good. That is for the last step -- revision!

The next question is how much effort or time we should spend on each step? The recommended breakdown are as follows:

- Pre-writing (70%)
- Writing the draft (10%)
- Revision (20%)

See how important the pre-writing process is. While going through this module, I've realized that my approach to writing, especially writing for learning should follow in this sequence!

4.3 The pre-writing step
Again, remove the bad habit of writing and gathering information simultaneously. Focus on gathering information. Don't starting writing unless you've gather and organize the information. If you have a sense of overall structure of your writing, then you can proceed to the next step.

To have an overview, use several available organization system. For example, mind map or road map so that you've an outline of the overall document. By organizing the ideas, you will know what are the missing pieces and what to search next. This process will take a while. If you're stuck, do something else. Subconsciously, the missing pieces will come to you, eventually in one way or another. Always carry a recorder, a pen, or any capturing ideas tools. You can even put a water proof whiteboard in your bathroom.

When come to organizing ideas with different viewpoints, group the arguments. For example, you can group the ideas by those who support it, the counter arguments, and the rebuttals.

4.4 The writing step
Just write. Fsck grammar or spelling or what ever style. Convey your organized ideas into complete sentences. Focus on the logical organization of your ideas. Best to set a timer on this so that your priority is to finish the writing instead of doing any revision or editing.

Do not edit your writing. Just write it down!

4.5: Revision
Six important steps which will improve the revision process. These are:

(1) Read your writing out loud.
The main purpose is to identify awkwardness in your writing. When the writing sounds good, then the reader will appreciate the natural flow of the writing.

(2) Do a verb check.
To make sure your writing is expressed in a direct way, underline all the main verb in each sentence. There are three issues with verb:

(a) Lackluster verb. For example, "are".
(b) Passive verb. For example, "was".
(c) Burried verb. For example, the main verb is too far from the subject. We have discussed this in previous week.

(3) Don't be afraid to cut.
Identify these issues to improve your writing. Those marked in bold are my bad writing habit.

(a) Dead weight words or phrases.
(b) Empty words or phrases.
(c) Long words or phrases.
(d) Unnecessary jargons and acronyms.
(e) Repetitive words or phrases. 
(f) Adverbs. (very, really, quite, or basically)

(4) Organizational review.
Tag the paragraph of your writing. Each tag is a summed up main point of the paragraph.

(5) Get outside feedback.
As the reader with or without the domain knowledge for feedback. The reader should be able to identify the main point, the take-home message, or the significance of your writing. If they are unable to do so, ask them to identify the part which are hard to grasp. Their feedback is the focus of your revision.

(6) Find a good editor.
Someone know have the domain knowledge and good in writing.

4.6: Checklist for the final draft
Finally, before sending out the writing to the editor or journal, go through these check list below to ensure consistency and accuracy.

(a) Check for consistency.
You writing style and so forth.

(b) Check for numerical consistency. 
For example, is the writing match the result in the table? Sometimes, sloppy copy and paste can cause inconsistency between the numerical data and the writing.

(c) Check your references.
One main issue is citation propagation where the writer back his/her statements based on a secondary source instead of the main source. Always do fact checking and reference to the main source.

Learning Objectives
(1) Practice writing clear and concise paragraphs.
Some common tips.

(2) Describe the steps in the writing process.
Most important lesson learned here. Pre-writing is so crucial that we also neglect it and do it together with writing. There will be no writing until you have completed the pre-writing step.

(3) Recognize the importance of spending sufficient time pre-writing.
This learning note was done in such way where I jot down the ideas which took me 3 hours. The writing was fast and it took around 1 hour.

(4) Recognize that good writing requires extensive revision.
Read, review, revise, and repeat.