Ruan Lingyu: An Artist’s Profile

I created a website this past spring for my final project in Chinese Literature 130: Screening Modern China. It was an interesting class that surveyed a great deal of Chinese cinematography, ranging from the first silent films up to modern day talkies. The site was created from the perspective of Ruan Lingyu, a Chinese silent film star of the 1920s and early ’30s. Check out my personal statement for a detailed description of the project.

» Personal Statement
» Live Website

Ruan Lingyu Website Screenshot

How to Display Russian and Other Languages with PHP MySQL

I recently had to code a little web application that would interface with a MySQL database and display data on a webpage via PHP MySQL queries. The application had to support many international languages – the most difficult of which to deal with was Russian. Many forums suggested changing my character encoding to CP-1251, which is a standard Russian encoding in Windows. I needed support for all international languages, though, and using multiple character encodings wasn’t a headache I wanted to get myself into. It turns out that you can display all these characters using a UTF-8 encoding, provided you get the PHP and MySQL right.  Read on to find out how to display Russian and other languages with PHP and MySQL. Continue reading…

How to Use Custom Fonts with CSS3

One of the most common challenges any web designer faces is ensuring that their work appears as intended. Print designers have the advantage of creating the physical designs themselves, but web designers depend upon user environments (read, browsers) to render their designs correctly.

In the past, browsers could only render the fonts already installed on a user’s computer, which meant that users without a good library of fonts would miss out on designs that made use of uncommon fonts. CSS 3 introduces a new fix called @font-fact that could be the future of web design typography.  Continue reading…

Xoco Gourmet Site Re-design

This was my first ever website contract.  I designed and coded a site re-design for a Central American cocoa company called Xoco Gourmet.  It was built on Drupal 6 for easy content management, and supported internationalization (was localized for English and Spanish).

See before and after screenshots below.

xoco-comparison

The Ethics of Genetic Engineering

This term paper was prepared for Ethical Reasoning 24: Bioethics, a Core Curriculum course taught at Harvard College.

Abstract

This paper seeks to examine the ethical questions surrounding the intentional manipulation of genes to achieve phenotypic modifications in humans. It is not concerned with distributive justice or the ethics of research, but rather with the debate over whether the technology of genetic engineering itself, once it is to a reasonable level proven both safe and effective, is ethical to use. The study begins by motivating the discussion and introducing some key concepts related to the technology. After establishing the scope and structure of the analysis, the paper proceeds by reviewing the most commonly presented arguments against genetic engineering and demonstrating that all fail to establish a legitimate ethical basis upon which such a criticism could stand. Finally, the paper concludes with a short discussion outlining possible areas for further study and discourse.

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Predictors of Violent Crime Rate in the United States

This regression analysis was prepared as part of a final project for Statistics 104: Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Economics.

Abstract

The following report seeks to provide explanations of the variation in violent crime rates throughout the United States by analyzing the statistical signi cance of relationships between the violent crime rate and seven potential predictor variables. A multiple linear regression showed that two of the seven potential predictor variables, teen birth rates and the percentage of the population living in metropolitan areas, proved to be strongly signi cant (p < 0:001). As each of these variables increase, the violent crime rate rises. This fi nding suggests that states with greater teenage promiscuity and larger cities exhibit higher violent crime rates. Despite demonstrating a strong statistical correlation, these results cannot be used to support a causal relationship. Still, though, the results of this report provide important insights into violent crime rates and potential ways to address them.

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How Hindu Attitudes and Institutions Shaped India’s Economic Growth

This term paper was written for Economics 1776: Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, an undergraduate course taught at Harvard College by Benjamin Friedman.

Introduction

Hinduism has no single authoritative scripture from which its believers derive meaning. Unlike the Christian and Jewish traditions, its history does not begin at a singular point or event in history (á la “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”). Neither does there exist in the religion a single mode of worship or even a single object of worship. Its disciples draw upon numerous canons, and as a result, within the umbrella term of Hinduism myriad contrasting schools of thought have existed. For this reason, if it hopes to reach meaningful conclusions, an analysis of Hinduism’s effect on India’s economic development must refrain from a holistic study and must focus on specific components of the greater religion. Vikas Mishra writes of this intricacy, “It is almost naïve to treat Hinduism as one entity. For instance, the economic implications of the ‘Dayabhag’ School of Hindu Law are vastly different from those of the ‘Mitakshara’ School.” Polarizing features can also be discovered in countless other comparisons of Hindu belief sets. For example, the Carvaka school championed materialism while the Ascetic tradition emphasized an aversion toward physical comforts. Interestingly, both beliefs find basis in Hindu scriptures. This disparity between schools of thought in Hinduism complicates the issue at hand.

This study attempts to establish an analysis of the correlations and possible causations regarding certain Hindu beliefs and India’s economic history. It seeks not to make sweeping generalizations about Hinduism, but rather to concentrate on specific aspects of the religion as they relate to the nation’s secular development. To that end, this paper will examine various attitudinal and institutional characteristics of Hinduism and will be generally structured by the enumeration and discussion of these concepts. In doing so, it may be enlightening to also examine within this context other closely related religions such as Buddhism and Jainism. This is by no means an all-encompassing study, but it does address many important connections between Hindu beliefs and structures and India’s economic development.

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