May 5, 2009

Protest Photographs Reversing Social Control

Lucaite's article describes how the posted images correspond with the "civil contract of photography", wherein "the citizenship of animated by the logic of photography...and the ways in which it functions as a mechanism of social interaction (and control)". This contract certainly has many facets and interpretations, but the one point that stood out most strongly to me was that the two pictures (one of the CCTV viewing screens in London and one of protesters photographing riot police) are turning a mirror towards the those that initially sought control: the government.

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April 23, 2009

Google and the Future of Books

In 2004, Google came up with a new search engine to revolutionize the internet. They wanted to scan books online and put them in the search engine for everyone to find and read easily. However, in 2005, Google was sued by the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers for copyright infringement. The lawsuits were quickly settled and allowed Google to expand its library to many universities and public libraries.

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April 21, 2009

Reading will always be "reading"

Books have been an educational source and a filled with imaginations for the brain to picture. In the 21st century, technology has taken over many people’s lives and made the world busier. Now no one has time to sit down and relax with a book in there hand. People are always checking the there stocks in the market, checking e-mails, or simply on Facebook; Also known as screen reading. With our busy lives, are books slowly fading out of our lives?

Christine Rosler has taken on a topic that most people are too busy to realize. Books are simply just not that popular when comparing to the old days. I believe that though books are fading away, our society will actually be increasing the better readers than the past, because people have an easier access to the internet to read the news, emails, etc. We will have the world’s news within seconds when it happens. This generation is much well equipped to be smarter than the past generation. Just as Rosler states in the article “Just as our styles of reading have changed, so too have our reasons for reading and the amount of time we devote to it.”

I found the reports of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published a report, “To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence” ridiculous. It states that “People who read regularly for pleasure are more likely to be employed, and more likely to vote, exercise, visit museums, and volunteer in their communities; in short, they are more engaged citizens.” I think that people who read regularly for are smarter people but I don’t believe that that would make them more likely to vote, exercise, etc. I don’t read regularly for pleasure but I still do all of those things. It is just that I don’t have time to read regularly, I have better and important things to do in life.

I also highly agree with Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005). He argues against the NEA stating that when comparing the economic status of obsessive novel readers and obsessive computer programmers over the next ten years, who will be more successful? Steven Johnson is trying to say that in this society, novel readers play no big important role in the economic society. Others have found that screen reading is just as or more effective than book reading with educational use.

Comparing the two, they both play a different role in teaching especially to kids. Book reading is useful in a way for the kids to imagine in the mind of the places that the book takes place. When screen reading for example like reading from the internet, games, etc. The games are teaching critical thinking skills and a sense of you as an agent having to make choices and live with those choices. They can control the destiny of the characters and have them learn from their mistakes. In a novel, they would have to follow along with what the author has written in his book. These are the new ways of learning they both are valuable to the children who are at the perfect age for learning. This will give our children a broader experience when comparing to the past generations of just novel reading. This expands the mind to think in different ways. After all this is the new age filled with great technology. The chief executive of Scholastic Publishing said, “We’ll see more about the impact of technology and the interaction between graphics and words,” he said, but since reading is “visualizing in your mind, there could easily be a rebirth of intellectual activity, whether you call it ‛reading’ or not.”

With the fear of books going out of style, an newly item changed the way humans have read novels. It is call “Kindle”, launched in 2007, it is a portable electronic reader. This saves the readers the space and weight of the books that will be needed to carry around. This item has memories to save many books into the system for easy reading. I thought this was a great innovation, this save space and money for the readers. This also saves the trees from being cut down to become the pages for the books. This item will be a great use in this society where everyone is too busy to have pleasure reading time.

Facebook and Bebo infantilising human minds

I think lady Greenfield is taking some of theories to far. "Human brains are exquisitely sensitive to the outside world", but I don't think social networking sites are putting attentions spans in jeopardy and I don't think this should be an issues looked into. I have a facebook page and most of my friends have one too. From what I’ve noticed and from my own perspective I don't block the real world around me and spend all my time on facebook and neither does my friends. Facebook is a place where you can meet and talk to new people while your online at that time, but if someone spends all their time on these social networking sites then I think they have their own self confidence issues and made need to seek psychological help, but I don't think this effect everyone that visits these sites. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- also referred to ADD or ADHD -- is a biological, brain based condition that is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors and it can has been caused without the help of the popular social networking sites.

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April 17, 2009

People of the Screen

“People of the Screen,” is to me, a highly biased opinion piece on what Christine Rosen calls the death of “print literacy”. She believes that what she calls “digital literacy,” will soon completely take the place of books. I have to highly disagree with her. The internet and other such technologies have opened man kinds eyes to entirely new way of receiving, gathering, and sharing information, but no website, television show, or technological device will ever take over the place of a book. Books have been for hundreds of years the only possible way to track and record history. I can argue this because in the last hundred years books have continued to be printed and published in higher numbers consistently.
Christine also brings to light some studies that were done showing that an individual who does leisure reading is technically more engaged in every day life. I can agree that a person who reads more might possibly be more well versed in the knowledge that surrounds all of us, but I find it really hard to believe that there is a connection between leisure reading and being an engaged citizen.
I also admire her stance that reading for pleasure is a characteristic that is instilled at a very young age and the determining factor is ultimately the parents. The parents should be responsible for helping their children grow intellectually by reading to and providing books to their children. I think everyone can agree that you are more likely to succeed in life if you can read and write.
I say that this piece is biased because Christine throws some tid bits in the article about supporters of a “digital literacy” over that of “print literacy,” but she quickly disregards that which those supporters have to say as obtuse and misguided. She talks about the screen as some thing that has only brought destruction to the age of books. In many ways the Internet and TV have opened an entirely new and innovative way for people to learn. I can agree that reading on the screen can be somewhat distracting sometimes, but it is often useful to have several windows open doing multiple things at once. It is called multi tasking and it is the reason why human beings are at the top of the food chain.
I believe that reading from a book is a great and probably one of the best ways to learn about something, but Rosen describes it, as the end all, be all. When a supporter suggests that the screen also offers an innovative way to learn something based on putting yourself in the position of a character in video games or something of the sort, Rosen quickly denies this saying that when trying to learn in this form, the person in control and cannot possibly learn anything because of this. She suggests that in a book when must first surrender any consumptions that they might have had and accept that they are not in control, that they are the novice and the writer is the ultimate teacher.
I think the article is very well written and that she makes some good point that I myself can definitely back up, because I too am a firm believer in the power of the word in its oldest from. But to say that nothing is to be gained from the screen is absurd. I believe as some do in the article that the two can coincide and that they can build off of each other seeing as how things today are so utterly interdependent in the world we live in.

April 10, 2009

Mall of America

The countries biggest mall is in the great state of Minnesota. Although it’s not the world’s largest mall it soon will be when the future addition is added. The Mall of America is a huge building with the main building being a rectangle and a smaller rectangle in each corner. These four rectangles represent the four main stores of the mall. The author, Ian Frazier, talks about his different visits to the mall as a writer on his book tours, and how each time he comes back stores change from one thing to another. I think this helps prove the point that things in today’s society are constantly changing and being improved and people still continue to come to the mall and spend their money, so we need to grasp the concept of change and fast pace because fighting it will not help.
The mall isn’t just about the current new stores of today but it also has a rich history. Where the mall is located today is where the Metropolitan Stadium used to stand in from 1956-1981. I myself didn’t know this about the location of the mall. I’m sure generations before me are aware of this since this was where the Washington Senators blossomed into our Minnesota Twins and improved a great deal as well. This is also where game seven of the 1965 World Series between the Twins and L.A. Dodgers was held. This is now marked with the home- plate plaque. So many great players stood in the same place and played the game they loved, that now millions of people are walking on that same spot every year. I have only been to The Mall of America a couple times and I remember the commercials one TV about camp snoopy. It was every little kids dream to go and ride the rides all day, but that too has been replaced by Nickelodeon Universe just another addition to the mall only this time one that I can remember.
The thing about this mall that really intrigues me the most is that the name is The Mall of America, but yet as Ian so proved it doesn’t really seem that American to me. He walked around the different stores and looked to see where the products in each of them were made. Now anyone that pays attentions knows that most of the things in this country aren’t made in this country and he proved just that. I realize that the reason we have these little things made from foreign countries is so we can get them cheap because otherwise there would be no way that we could afford them, but it seems to me that the name really contradicts itself. That was never something I thought about until I read this article.
When we are talking about such a big place with so many people of different races and such the security in the mall needs to be sure that it is set up in the proper places and to the proper degree. As stated in the article the mall in probably the only place in Minnesota that terrorists would be looking to hit. After the terrorist attacks in New York on the twin towers people were scared to come to the mall because of risk of the mall being attacked in some way. That did begin to change not long after people started coming back to the mall and the numbers went back up. Since the attacks in New York the mall actually has a store that you can buy many different patriot things like mugs, hats, and t-shirts and this was among one of the many stores that had every item made from another country. I still think that our own colors and patriot things for the store USA American Pride should be made in the U.S. Afghanistan was likely one of the many on the list that made these items and Afghanistan is in fact the country that the terrorists of 9-11 were from, maybe a correlation there?
Mall of America is rooted back to the Southdale Mall that was built in the fifties, and in all its glory it still isn’t the biggest in the world but it is the most visited. With its fancy Nickelodeon Universe and its many different businesses from a chapel, restaurants, clothing stores, National American University, and its big rectangle with a small rectangle in each corner shape; to me it really is nothing more than a big building with many stores that technically has a counterfeit name.

April 9, 2009

Natalie Dylan, what is the price to pay?

There has been a lot of recent controversy regarding Natalie Dylan. Dylan is a 22 year old female who plans on completing a master’s degree in Marriage and family therapy. However, what has sparked a great amount of controversy has been her decision to sell her virginity online. At first glance, I thought it was in a lot of ways immoral, but after reading through the articles, I realized that this brings up a lot of social issues and in the end may actually be somewhat beneficial to the woman activist movement.

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No Caption needed

World leaders, including our very own Obama met in London to try and work together to solve our global economic crisis. They were not alone, but joined by thousands of protesters trying to demonstrate their opinions, and concerns. There were as many as 35,000 anarchists, anti-capitalists, anti-war, and pro-environmentalist protesters in London, that showed up for these meetings.

After looking through the photographs at the event, it seemed to be a type of circus. People were dressed in costumes of all sorts. Some of these included the Joker from “Batman,” a Storm Trooper from “Star Wars,” Jesus in a police helmet, a nightmare version of Mickey Mouse, a horse with a flower in his nose, a gorilla in a bathing suit, there was even protestors carrying a effigy of a giant dead canary. I seem to wonder if all of the costumes ended up undermining the seriousness of the topics they are protesting about. From the surface, when I look at the pictures all I see is a sort of angry Halloween in the spring. Is it possible that by going to such great lengths to catch the attention of the global press, the world then became distracted from the real issues.

The variety of costumes and outfits played out well for the cameras, the people protesting, failed to send out one main coherent message to the world. Everyone had a different concern about what was being done in this modern world. A man named Harry explained that he was dressed as Death to represent “the death of the economy” and “the death of the English pound.” He was also concerned with the micro-economic problem that he was in danger of losing the deposit he’d left on the grim reaper costume he’d rented, since the police had confiscated the mask that went with it, arguing that people with covered faces were trouble. He was side by side with people carrying a large dead canary. One of the people carrying the canary that he had brought the huge bird effigy to the demonstration “to symbolize the death of Canary Wharf,” a former dockyard area that was redeveloped to become a center of London’s financial industry, and also the death of “the current financial system.”

The large crowd of protesters were not left to roam freely in the streets, but were met by a crowd of the 5,000 police that were deployed for the event, that were armed and ready for battle. Using the photographs as evidence, we know that the clash between the protestors and the police resulted in scenes of dramatic bloody violence. A modern successful protest is an even that requires coroperation between the protestors and the police. Violence only happens when people no longer decide to cooperate. The people decided not to work together with the police, but that’s what got the world’s attention. I also find myself wondering, is this what people are resorting to, in order to get their opinion heard? Shouldn’t the common person’s opinion matter just as much as our world leaders?

As we can see, no longer are people just able to express their opinion. Well, they can, but it’s very unlikely that anyone will hear what they have to say. Now people have to show what they mean through their actions. Costumes and bloody violence may be going to the extreme, but that appears to be what is now necessary. After all, it worked. I am sitting here talking not about the decisions made in the G-20 meetings, but what the protesters did. So their efforts may have been extreme, but it captured the attention of the media, and was brought throughout the world. I am now listening to what all the protestors have to say, and what they want done.

April 5, 2009

Inside view by Jessica Dimmock on the 9th floor in NYC

In the position paper Jessica does a very good description of what it going on in the photos as well as on the 9th floor looking over Manhattan. At first when looking at the pictures you are very disgusted and disturbed on what was all taken. But then you have to ask yourself: why am I looking at these pictures? In today’s world we are drawn to violence; we like looking at pictures and hearing stories. Not only that but we also like to watch movies with violence like murder, wars, destruction, and death. We watch this because we do not see it every day and we become engaged in violence. With violence being the leading entertainment for the media and the world this is why we get amused. You think of how they could have money, space, or even veins left to afford the addiction to drugs. Why do the people turn to drugs on the 9th floor: to make it in order to live or just to get their next hit?

Heroin was a drug that was use in a photograph of Dioon who was addicted. Dioon stated the typical junkie seems to only have one thing on the mind when heroin is involved. When getting in the mind of Jessie who had the addiction, Jessie stated, “All I was thinking about was, I wanna get high. I wanna get high. You know, I wanna get high. I guess the junkie life was what I wanted. I had really no other aspirations. I just never tried to do anything. The only thing I really wanted to do was, you know, get loaded, and sit around and do nothing. So that's what I did.” We see by this statement that people are destroying themselves and the person they were before doing the drug. When the drug takes over someone’s body there is no feeling or personality left in the person; that person loses themselves and everything they used to have. When one’s only motivating force in life is heroin, long-term goals, passions, and even friends and family can be overruled by the pursuit of the next fix.

Becoming addicted may only be a psychological illness but once addicted, it is a physical illness as well. Addiction can take over your body and going through withdrawal can be an extremely painful process. Initially, however, it is all a matter of choice and if the resource is available. People today often just want to experience positive emotions and they find they can achieve this by becoming intoxicated or high. Even though I have watched many people recover from an addiction there are also some who have never recovered and continue to be addicted. This is when I think individuals choose this kind of path for their life – when they believe there is no way out of the hole they have dug for themselves. You cannot understand the insanity as you look in from the outside unless you yourself have been inside that hole attempting to put down the shovel and crawl your way out. Dioon later explained, “I'm not stupid. I don't think anyone owes me anything. I know that everything I did I made my own choice about it. And that's what sucks real bad”. This is why people have to take responsibility for their actions. People make their own choices, not the drug. This is when they decide if they want to be saved or not. Dimmock presented herself in a dangerous situation, but as Dimmock said at the end of her whole research article “You can explore further... you should explore further.”

I also have to admit that I am one of those people who are fascinated by the violence and death scenes that Jessica showed and explained. I find it entertaining because I do not see it on a daily basis. This is why you have to think about what it is really like to be addict to actually understand what Jessica is saying in this position paper.

March 26, 2009

Mall of America and Outsourcing

Ian Frazier’s article titled “The Mall of America” offers a writer’s story of how he has come to Minnesota several times and has found the Mall of America (MOA) to be very fascinating to him and it surely is. I’m sure most people from Minnesota may take the mall for granted because they have been there and heard about it so many times. I know I am sick of going there and sick of hearing about it even though it is a fascinating place when you stop and think about it. I never really took the time to stop and think about the history behind the mall and how it was originally the beginning of the Twins baseball team. The mall is a symbol of the past as well as a symbol for the future and where our nation is going.

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Madoff Made-off with Minneapolis

Bernie Madoff has made a name for himself by not only creating a safe bet for investments in a dwindling economy, but more so by being arrested for swindling over fifty billion dollars from his clients. Recently Madoff was arrested for his behavior, a Ponzi scheme that hit the Twin Cities particularly hard. How could this happen? I have to wonder to myself if these people that were investing with Madoff fully understood where exactly their money was going. With over twelve percent in returns on should be automatically cautious about where they’re throwing their money. However, some of the failures must also be passed onto government regulators who failed to understand Madoff’s scheme.

Madoff created a name for himself as a chairman of NASDAQ, and by being the middle man between brokers and investors, since NASDAQ has no selling floor where buyers can meet face to face with sellers. (Time) Over a number of years he created a persona about himself that led people to believe that his company was a reliable and safe bet for their money. The first thing that a thief has to do is gain trust. Madoff had the trust of all of his clients, and he used it to his advantage. His $50 billion Ponzi scheme landed in second place among a top ten list as the biggest scheme in history. (Business Pundit) So how did Madoff make it successful? Taking a look we see that he evidently “preyed” on Jewish communities and his investments often ran as philanthropies. These organizations worked on volunteer money. But we must also take a look at what exactly a Ponzi scheme is. Webster defines it as an investment swindle that encourages investors to take bigger risks by being paid off with money by later investors in a chain. But it seems evident that most Ponzi schemes end up as a collapse. However, Madoff sees incoming money, and of course he is going to continue, as long as he covers up his foot prints. It is issues such as this that make the Stock Market a dangerous investment. Upon sufficient research one may make a lot of legitimate money off of stocks, but people like Madoff and circumstances where the market can crash make it unstable. The nature of the stock market itself is what lured people into Madoff’s arrangement. He promised them double digit returns in a market that could rarely give away half that amount in today’s conditions.

Madoff’s crime hit Minneapolis particularly hard. Dave Kansas’s article explains why the Twin Cities fell such big victims to Madoff. We must look at why the Jewish families in Minneapolis-St. Paul were so willing to invest their money with an unknown investor. Kansas claims that this tightly knit group of golfers often trusted their friends, citing that “the people you golf with, after all, are usually people you trust.” This tight knit nature of the Oak Ridge country club left the members vulnerable to such fraud, and it’s easy to see why when investors see the results their fellow investors are getting. This is not even the first time that the Twin Cities have been hit. Two months before the uncovering of Madoff’s scheme, Tom Petters- owner of a local tycoon- was arrested for allegedly scamming almost four billion from investors. Petters also gained the trust of religious families. While there are reports of people regaining some of their lost money, there are still hundreds of people that sit with frozen accounts, some accounts holding children’s college funds or self-retirement funds. This scheme will surely set an example for any investors in the state of Minnesota, and it may be expected that they will turn to other forms of investment such as real estate. This is just another reactant in the economic downturn that has so many Americans already hurting in the pocketbooks.

In Kansas’s article, he claims that the only way that the affected families will gain money in return is if the government decides to start a fund, since some may say it is their fault for not monitoring Madoff’s behavior in a close enough manner. What is important is that the innocent people see some sort of refuge in this whole situation, whether or not the government subsidizes them. I think that we can’t blame the investors for what happened, and Madoff’s fortune should be dispersed among affected families. There has also been controversy about Madoff’s wife, Ruth, and his two sons, Mark and Andrew, and whether or not they had any involvement in the scheme. All three family members were part of the organization, and all held senior positions for over 20 years. Though lawyers of each family member claim that they knew nothing, and Bernie Madoff himself claimed that it was all his fault, I am skeptical as to just how much they did know. It seems very convenient that none of them dug their noses into Bernie’s business, and may suffer few consequences to his predicament. I personally think that they should all be convicted, regardless of what their convictions may be. It is obvious that they all played a role in the wrong doing, and last time I checked, wrong doing needs to be punished.

Works Cited
Gandle, Stephen. "Wall Street's Latest Downfall." Online posting. Dec. 2008. 27
Mar. 2009 .
Kansas, Dave. "Madoff Does Minneapolis." Online posting. Jan. 2009. 27 Mar. 2009
Gandle, Stephen. "Wall Street's Latest Downfall." Online posting. Dec. 2008. 27
Mar. 2009 .

March 19, 2009

Hymen or Prostitute?

There have been arguments between men and women in our society on who is the dominant sex. Both genders have equal rights, but it is very apparent in our history and even in our society today, that woman do not have equal rights. For Natalie Dylan to do something as outstanding as her [experiment], it shows the reality of what the United States society has been teaching young women, including the educated women. The experiment of Natalie Dylan of selling her virginity to pay off her tuition and doing it for research purposes is a degrading act, not only for herself, but for all women of the United States and all over the world.

Any kind of woman that sells herself is not a form of empowerment or self-respect; it is an act to prove something that does not exist. Our history has been proven to look at women in specific ways and treat them in certain manners that are discriminatory. This act that Natalie Dylan is attempting to prove is an act to reassure those who discriminate on women that they are correct. Natalie does not want young girls to look up to her on what she is doing; she is simply jumping on the bandwagon of society’s critical and discriminatory views on women. Instead of being a role model or teaching true empowerment and leadership, she is enforcing a degrading point of view for young girls all over the United States through a ridiculous act.

Natalie selling herself for $3.6 million may be a good way to pay off her tuition debt due to college, but the manner and ethical foundation this is based on is completely unfortunate for all young women. On television on TLC and CNN there are shows and arguments about women making money from prostituting; and we see prostitutes on the streets making a living off of pleasuring men and girls on craigslist asking for sex and money; this is exactly what Natalie is doing except has the (reasoning] that it is for experimental purposes. Instead of going out on the streets on a day to day basis to EARN well-deserved income, she is just bidding on a one time expensive sex call to last her for the rest of her life. Even illegal prostitutes on the streets in the United States are against what Natalie Dylan is doing; the prostitutes go day by day at least legitimately earning their income; hookers, prostitutes and strippers cannot even come close to making that in one life time.

Since the American society and big forturne 500 companies are allowing Natalie Dylan the right to sell her virginity out to anyone that is rich, it is implying that all women have the right to do such thing. Despite the fact that prostitutes do it every day in our streets and neighborhoods, because Natalie is doing in for [educational] purposes is appropriate. Everywhere in the world is going through an economical crisis and our society in the United States, willing to do anything for more money and more power, is looking for new opportunities to raise this idea of power. Due to this corrupt society, the generations from here on out will be influenced by this culture; the culture of materialistic luxuries and unnecessary things in life that do not make life important.

Women will go out and do the exact same thing that Natalie is doing and rich guys (in our hard living economic system) will have no problem buying their virginity and sex from them. The new culture of the United States has one more person to thank for the corruption; one woman is giving the right for all people to look at women in the same way as they did in our history. If researchers are willing to put time to see how much a girl can get from her virginity it is a massive letdown for all women and our future generation of what is to come for the society and culture of the United States. Researchers should be doing something progressive that would help our environment, or finding new technological purposes that can make good use for everyone, and help fix our economic crisis; not spend time researching about a virgin, college student prostituting herself for large amounts of money.

March 15, 2009

Bush Latest GOPer to Show Democrats Better for the Economy

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