DFPQ1

The sentence I found the most appealing in the Gardner Campbell article was:

“Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes. . . . The ‘message’ of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.”

This very succinctly summarized what the internet is.  Activity and input are what define it. Simply by its use does the internet change behavior and social patterns. The propagation of a medium shows it true impact, whether that is millions watching TV, millions reading newspapers or millions writing blog post.

For example, Youtube exists based on the input of millions of people around the world. The message really is that millions of people have a tool that enable them to communicate globally.

Game Changer

Allied News-Stream Network

Border War Update

Dallaustin, Texas

Paranoia and desperation are running through the American South. Since the start of hostilities with the Republic of Mexico, tens of thousands of Southerners have been displaced. The refugee situation has worsened in the Mid West and Northern states since the advance of the Mexican Republican army over the Texas border.

US President and former Texas governor George Hernandez  stated in a national address today “Texas is my home and an indispensable part of these United States. The battle is not over and she will not be lost.” He added in his colloquial manner “Y’all don’t mess with Texas.”

The Texas megalopolis of Dallaustin has become the frontlines of the conflict. Hyper sonic bombers and mechanized Army troopers have been strategically redeployed to Dallaustin and other cities in the southern United States for operations against Republican forces.

Since Mexico’s full industrialization and recognition as a first world nation 40 years ago, US intelligence reports indicated that it was mechanizing shock troops in secret to match the technological level achieved by US and Chinese forces. Sightings of power-suited Republican soldiers have been confirmed by US Army Headquaters here in Dallaustin.

New intercepted intelligence suggests that the servo mechanisms used in the Artificial Articulated Limb Reflex Systems (AALRS)  of the Republican suits are copies of the Chinese version. The revelation of the possesion of such advanced robotic technology is startling to US forces as they believed only America and her ally China had been able to develop nano-mechanical bionetic tissues.

With US and Republican conventional forces so evenly matched, the fear of nuclear exchange grows larger. The US and Mexico hold the largest nuclear arsenals in the world.

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This is the Wiki Game assignment. You pick two random words that will start and end some sort of written article of your choice. Starting on the first word’s wikipedia page you click on links in the article until you get to your finish word.

I went to watchout4snakes.com, which has a random word generator. It gave me “paranoia” and “mechanical.” Starting on the “paranoia” wiki page, I clicked the link “colloquial.” Then on the “colloquial” page I clicked “y’all” and so on. My words in total were:

paranoia/ colloquial/ y’all/ southern United States/ industrialization/ mechanization/  servo mechanism/ robotics/ mechanical

It was fun to find the words and I thought it would take a long time but it was about ten minutes. Once I had my word collection, I decided to do a kind of war report set in the future.

I was inspired in no small part by George Friedman’s book The Next Hundred Years where he tries to forecast the future.  He bases alot of the premise of the book on how geography determines international relations. He proposes that the North American continent is the center of gravity for world politics because it straddles two oceans. Sea power is required for world power as demonstrated historically by Britain and Rome. So who ever controls North America can control the sea and dominate the world. But will future control reside in Washington DC or Mexico City?

Cyberbullying

I am writing a blog post about the Rutgers cyber bullying case as reported by CIS class student Alison.

A Rutgers student, Dharun Ravi, set up a webcam in order to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, who was conducting a homosexual relationship in their shared dorm room. He streamed his roommates encounter live on the internet. His roommate committed suicide when he learned he had been exposed.

Upon his roommates suicide, Ravi was arrested and charged with a hate crime. Ravi is seeking a not guilty verdict and rejected a plea deal that would have required 600 hours of community service and anti-bullying counseling.

It’s interesting that had his roommate not killed himself there wouldn’t be much to charge Ravi with. Perhaps Clementi would have been able to sue Ravi for libel or invasion of privacy. He certainly would have had some level of recourse open to him. Did he think there was no way justice could be found in the situation? Or was he simple embarassed to the point of mortification, unable to cope with the exposure and couldn’t continue.

There has been significant social progress for homosexuals and it’s not as stigmatizing to be gay in America as it once was. It may not be easy to be exposed, and clearly Clementi was the victim of a crime, I find it is suprising he found it nesecary to commit suicide.  He may have been able to find the support he needed to continue his life and find acceptance in who he was. It is extremely unfortunate and saddening that he decided to take his own life.

An update on the case against Ravi. He was found guilty of hate crime and invasion of privacy.

 

Privacy Arms Race

Google, Twitter and Facebook are mining our data. Our data is taken and sold to advertising companies who then can create highly specialized advertisements based on our personal interests as suggested by the contents of your online accounts. This information can range from email addresses in your gmail account to contacts in your smartphones to your credit card number. This information is collected and stored indefinitely and is not deleted when you close an account.

This invasion of privacy is limited in Europe. New laws may be passed to require companies to delete collected information upon request.  In America the only legislative restrictions are in place to protect medical information and children 13 and younger.

Is this kind of specialized advertising  necessary? Email providers existed for years with traditional advertising.  Facebook provides chat and online photo albums. What necessitate privacy intrusion for this service? More likely it is not necessary and the fact that they had access to hundreds of millions of peoples personal information. Greed caused this abuse.

People make a decision to use the service. They agree to the terms of service and must abide by it. However the companies that require your compliance with these agreement do not hold themselves to such constraints. Google was caught  rewriting tracking cookies for Safaris browsers something not allowed by Apple. Twitter was caught collecting address books from users cellphones without their permission. These violations won’t be reversed until companies are punished.

If an Anonymous hacker did something similar, he’d be labled a thief and a criminal. Maybe get arrested by the FBI. But Google does it and when caught promise to never do it again and nothing happens. What a joke.

 

Sprawl City

I like this image. It’s suggesting that if you take suburban sprawl into account, then US cities are more massive than is popularly believed. I think it’s really cool. I like the idea of a gigantic mega city spanning from Boston to Atlanta. The setting in the Gibson book Neuromancer was called BAMA, the Boston- Atlanta Metropolitan Axis. The Star Wars franchise has various incarnations of the monolithic city planet. America’s not quite there yet, but with the current trends in US immigration, population growth is likely. Urban growth would trend along the same lines. I like living in the big city.

I think I like it because of my love for Tokyo and the massive sprawl resultant from limited space.  Not that Tokyo is the only example of this. Singapore, Hong Kong, Osaka and Souel are all crowded, compact, clean with ultra modern architeture. People are also largely considerate of others and crime is low.

I think the ecological impact would be fairly significant in the sense that it would damage woodland areas and dislocate indigenous wild life. However with a higher concentration of people, a higher demand would be created for localized supply distribution. This could make electric vehicle use in the United States more feasible, helping to drive down CO2 emissions.

As for electric consumption of households and the manufacturing sector, my favorite alternative energy concept is the Orbital solar collector. Massive  satellites placed in geosynchronous orbit collect sun light without atmospheric interference. The energy would be transmitted via microwaves to ground based collection dishes. Microwaves do not degrade in the atmosphere like sunlight which is the problem of solar collectors on Earth. This transmitted energy would power a series of massive batteries. The actual distribution of electricity would be the same as today .

Image from here

Old Kansai

Caption – “Ronin mercenaries track down known cattle russler T. Wright Hickens. He was arrested  on charges of kidnapping, extortion, russlin cattle and uncivilized barbarism.”

This is the Culture Clash assignment where you show how two cultures would mix. I thought it would be funny to do a picture with samurai and cowboys in it.  I took a picture of two samurai and a still from the 1946 film “Duel in the Sun”. I spliced it together in Pxler and it was fairly simple. I hope it doesn’t look like they are trying to kill the girl…

16 Bit Dreams

 

I did the Your Dreams Out the Window assignment. I wanted to do something fantastical with pyramids in a jungle on the coast. It came out looking more like a 16bit video game landscape. You got polygons, jaggies and animation sprites. You can almost hear the Mario World music. I’d like to vacation here.

I drew the image in Gimp. I used to lasso tool to make the pyramids. I painted the waterfall river and used airbrush to make the mist. The horizon and the mountain are repeating rectangles. The hardest part was removing the original view from the window frame. I used Pixlr to do that because my Gimp opens in Japanese and I couldn’t figure it out.

I got the frame here and the wall here.