I would like to start off by saying there were a few things in this article that I wish the author had elaborated on.  “The NII will create as much as 300 billion……and increase the GDP by 194 billion.”  That’s great, I am all for it, but how?

The article argues that schools should increase computer literacy.  There is no doubt that is true.  As a future teacher I would like to know how these schools use technology and teach students literacy.  Are teachers supposed to integrate computers into their curriculum in say, an English or Science class?  I think it is a great idea if that is the case. It is suggested that teachers prefer technology to “remain quiet and well behaved in the background of our lives.”  I agree that many teachers subscribe to this notion.  Whether anyone likes it or not, technology is here to stay, evolve and grow.  School systems need to get on board and start teaching students to use technology from an early age, so the student can grow and learn with new technology.

I did a little outside research in response to this article.  I just Googled high school curriculum and saw that computer classes are not required.  This is ludicrous.  Art appreciation is required and a computer class is not?  Psychology, MARINE SCIENCE for crying out loud?  I have never been trying to write a paper, or find research and thought, “man if only I had marine science I would find what I’m looking for”  or “if only I knew how to appreciate this painting, I know I could land that job.”  I am not against learning for learning sake.  Marine science and psychology has its benefits, but they are useless to 99 percent of the population.  Everyone uses computers.  Like the article said, more and more professions rely on technology.  The truth is, computers can make life easier and enable the user to be more productive.  That is more that can be said about some of these required classes. Integrating computers and technology in regular classes is not enough.  We need computer sciences to be required curriculum just as math, science, and reading.  It’s not like there is not enough time in a school day.  I’m sure we can move different things to electives or just cut out the bullshit classes like art and psychology to make room for something we use every day like computers.

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WIKIPEDIA

Finally I have something that looks like a Wikipedia article.  The process was a real pain in the ass.  I did not know that I couldn’t write it in word and paste it over as is.  To my classmates reading this, I might be showing how ignorant I am, but I don’t care.  I learned something.  I may never write another Wiki article again, but if I do, be assured it won’t end up crammed in a tiny little box.

I am supposed to write about the process of forming my Wiki article, so here it is.  I got the idea to write over Katherine Knyvet when her name was in a book I read, so I tried to find out who she was.  There is nearly nothing out there on her, but she was a pretty interesting person.  She was by all accounts a beauty, and used her looks for power.  She and her whole family was corrupt and money hungry.

The research was a little difficult because, like I said, there wasn’t much out there on her.  I looked in databases and encyclopedias and found very little.  Some of the stuff I found conflicted from source to source, so I am a little worried that the Wiki mods may give me a hard time.  If they delete my article I will re-post it again and again till they ban my name.  Maybe before I do that I should find out the consequences of pestering them.

After the research, the real fun began.  I made a wiki account.. no big deal.  I then discovered, that when you type in Katherine Knyvet, the site takes you to a stub under a different name.  It took me a while to figure out how to keep that from happening.  I am still not sure exactly what I did.  I pretty much deleted the stub though and created a real Katherine page.  After pasting my article, all my hard research was crammed into a box, on my screen about 1×2 inches.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get my work out of that box and onto a full page.  Again, I am probably showing my ignorance here to those of you who are computer savvy, but it’s not like I can hide it in the first place. (and I challenge all of you who want to make fun of me to a fight after recess under the flag pole)  It was the indents in my article that was throwing a wrench in the whole thing.  Who knew such a simple thing would cause me so much stress.  Here I am though, finally writing a blog that was due last week, on a project that was due before that.  I am a week late and limping from the experience, but as happy as can be that it is FINALLY fixed and now I can hear from the moderators.

“As We May Think”

This is a really neat and prophetic article about the path technology is taking.  Both world wars brought huge technology advances in just about all fields of science.  During WWII, Americans and Soviets snatched up brilliant German scientists as the tide of war changed.  Other great scientists migrated to America because the horrible path Germany was taking.

This article is a response to those conditions.  Both sides of the conflict pooled great scientific minds in order to develop devices to kill their adversaries.  When the war was over, scientists could turn their attention to technologies to improve the lives of everyone.

Several important inventions came from the WWII, and post WWII era.  The author of this article saw that, and realized the sky was the limit when it came to science.  Space travel was an extension of a ballistic missile Germany used to shell England.  The electronic microscope, nuclear power, and the jet engine were developed during this time.  (I’m a history channel junkie)  Computers were also starting their development during this time.

I think everything the author predicted has come to fruition.  He said someday photos could be instantly developed.  I wonder if even he could imagine that these instant photos could come from someone’s phone that they carry with them at all times.

The article also pointed out the fact that invention must be economical in order to be produced.  He used an analogy of a Pharaoh given the prints to build a car.  The Pharaoh might have it built, even if it financially ruined his kingdom only to have it break down half way across the desert. This is true, and it makes you wonder, what plans and inventions are we capable of right now that we do not have the funding to accomplish?  If we had unlimited funding, what would science be capable of now?  Yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality.

Here’s a link to a few technologies that were developed during WWII.  It’s interesting if you’re a history nerd like me.

Here’s an example of a technology we have now, but lack the funding to produce.  Ever hear of anti matter?  This is so cool.

The world wide web

This was a very informative textbook-like article written in 1994.  It explained how the internet worked, what it was, and told the reader how to access it.  The author predicted that the net would be huge.  He sure was right.  There’s not a lot of meat for critical response.

rape in cyberspace

Rape is a powerful word.  A real rape victim, I have heard, never feels the same after an attack.  Imagination can only carry me so far in understanding how awful it would be, and I can empathise with a victim. 

I cannot, however feel any sympathy at all for the people who were in these “MUDs” and were orgy cyber raped by a clown with voodoo dolls.  What?  I really am trying to understand the author’s point of view as well as the victim’s, but I just don’t get it.  I could see how a real rape victim who reads this article could be offended at the comparison. 

I didn’t know there were even virtual rooms until I looked it up.  If anyone is as computer un saavy as I, here’s a link to tell you what it’s about.  http://lambdamoo.info/  Apparently, it’s text base like a chat room, and people virtually walk around and talk to each other.  I guess you have to be careful and keep away from clowns or you’ll get virtually raped.  There are also dungeons called MUDs.  People get “cybernookie” in these rooms.  If it’s as easy as just typing seems like you could get all you want.  Not like anyone can prevent it.  I just don’t understand the appeal. 

One should remain open to new ideas and cultures.  To some degree I am now a part of the on line community through this class, and enjoy it, but a virtual world with virtual bodies open to pleasure and pain?  I don’t understand.

After the rape, people organized.  Dibbell gave the following description “you could almost feel the claustrophobic air of the place, dank and overheated by virtual bodies, pressing against your skin.”  Bet I couldn’t.  They held court, and unfortunately the results were untold in the article clip. 

It takes a strong imagination I would think, for someone to immerse themselves in this make-believe world.  How then can one user hijack another user’s fantasy, especially when these people have such a strong imagination?  I am looking forward very much to class discussion to hear what other’s make of this article.  It was beautfully written.  I must confess that I consider these people really silly to get worked up over someone typing things they didn’t like in the middle of their fantasy world.

Shirkey Ch 1

The course of action taken by Evan was great.  He was completely justified in posting anything he could about the thief.  The author of the article questions whether he should have allowed racial slurs or other unsavory comments on his bulletin board about the phone thief and her brother.  He definitely should not have censored his followers.  People were genuinely upset about the injustice over the stolen phone and the taunts directed at the phone’s rightful owner.

The question was raised whether Evan should have been able to influence police policy that resulted in the arrest of the thief.  The answer to me is an emphatic YES.  It wasn’t one man who influenced the police.  It was a whole community.  It’s not like Evan is a Rockefeller.  He did not use his money to influence the whole department, rather, he used his story and people responded. The police are public servants.  It is their job to serve the public.. it’s in the job description.  Police should be sensitive to the needs of the community.  We live in a Democracy where the majority rule, in theory.  The majority want thefts to be returned.  The thought that the police considered this theft beneath their attention makes me question policing philosophy.  This same organization who refuses to respond to a theft because it’s such a minor crime have no problem writing me a ticket for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.  I’ll bet if it was the detective’s phone he would have got it back immediately.

The use of technology in this way is a good sign we are progressing.  When someone is wronged they should be able to tell their story.  I hope the MP who made the threats was handled accordingly by his military bosses too.  Evan was kind to not press charges on the thief even after the taunts and racial slurs.

Hats off to the people who participated in the recovery of this phone.  The world would be a better place if people fought injustice when they see the opportunity.

Anthropological approach to youtube

This was a really cool video!  I won’t be able to cover all the things the video mentioned in one blog, so I’ll discuss just a few things that jumped out at me.  Let’s look at the quote “everybody is watching but no one is there,” as it relates to the “looking glass self.”  The looking glass self is the idea that one bases his identity on the way others perceive them.  The vlogger is only perceived by a cold, hard webcam that makes no judgement.  It is as if the vlogger is completely alone with his identity and must communicate without the benefit, or detriment of another person as the audience, however, there is a huge potential audience.  Everyone with access to the net could be an audience.

The quote by Lev Grossman that says “some of the comments on Youtube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.”  I mentioned this idea before after reading the comments to some blogs on Yahoo.  People can feel safe in the privacy of their own home to be as mean as they want to be.  They have the absolute power of a monarch in their little world on their computer to spew hatred toward the poor sap foolish enough to expose himself on camera.  Ok, expose himself is not the best way to put that.. I meant to appear on camera.  The “mean” users will face no recourse for their hurtful comments.  They can hide behind the mask of anonymity.  I would like a glimpse into the mind of the hateful user.  Would they behave in this manner in public if they could get away with it?  Is it the fear of social anxiety, as the video suggested, or is it the fear of retaliation?  I believe it’s more the fear of retaliation.  As a community, in any other setting than online, we would ostracize someone for this behavior at least.  There’s a good chance several victims of insult would answer with a few lumps to the antagonist’s  head.

Competition leads to a better product.  The experts don’t always know what will be popular.  There are countless talented artists and musicians who will not be picked up by a producer.  YouTube gives everyone a chance to be their own producer.  The user creates the art, and the user judges the worth of that art.  It’s a complete democracy.  Before we could listen to what the record labels offered us, or watch what the networks presented.   Those were our choices.  Now with programs like YouTube our choices are unlimited.

YouTube offers community we crave in an individualistic world.  People immerse themselves in this new community.   How emotionally tied to their computers and on line community are these users?  People seemed genuinely upset when they discovered some of their favorite YouTube actors were fake.  I could never value a virtual community in the same way as a more traditional one.