After watching “Why We Fight” I was compelled to look into a different aspect of the lives of our soldiers: that of their re-entry into the civilian world. One of the greatest obstacles that faces them upon their return… Read more
After watching “Why We Fight” I was compelled to look into a different aspect of the lives of our soldiers: that of their re-entry into the civilian world. One of the greatest obstacles that faces them upon their return is the reliving of the traumatic events that they faced in their time abroad is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The most common weapon used against our soldiers (IEDs) lead to brain trauma, an injury that has recently been linked to PTSD. In my journey towards a deeper understanding of how we reimagine past experiences and ‘remember’ them I came across an enlightening and interesting article in Wired called “The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever,” an article which offers insightful background on how our memories are recalled and eventually speaks about the protein called PKMzeta which deals with the recall of memories within our synapses. Before you get to an understanding of the ‘forgetting pill’ the background that precedes the article’s discussion of PKMzeta offers a better understanding of memories. One of the central beliefs behind the treatment of traumatic injuries is that talking about painful memories can help you recover from them. This is the cornerstone that lead to the creation of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), a method created by a firefighter Jefferey Mitch, after his experience with a particularly bad car wreck. The central idea behind this method is that “People who survive a painful event should express their feelings soon after so the memory isn’t “sealed over” and repressed, which could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.” This method uses trained facilitators, 30,000 of which are trained every year, who help those dealing with traumatic memories recover. After the events of 9/11, 2000 of these facilitators decended upon NYC to help those dealing with the events of the attacks.
However the method of CISD doesn’t take into account the way the mind works in the process of memory. The mistake is in the belief that our memories don’t change: the idea of the memory being a concrete form of information has been around since time of the ancient Greeks. However scientists have discovered that memories change in the act of remembering: we highlight details that seem more important and let go of those that don’t. This act is called memory reconsolidation and accounts for why in remembering events after they’ve happened our stories become tighter and narratives more coherent. The use of PKMzeta inhibitors has been successfully shown to be able to selectively able to delete aspects of a memory. This application does not only apply to those suffering from PTSD, because memory plays a central role in other ailments “driven by a broken set of memories” like chronic pain, OCD and drug addiction. With the outset of medical breakthroughs like PKMzeta inhibitors, we may be forced to rethink the commonly held beliefs surrounding human memories, perhaps one day be able to delete and update our memories like you move around files on a computer’s hardrive. This may represent another step towards the merging of man and machine.
Today, an interesting article headlined Wired’s website. Police in four South American countries arrested 25 participants in the Anonymous collective for alleged attacks on Columbian and Chilean websites. These attacks were tracked back to 2011. The article presents a… Read more
Today, an interesting article headlined Wired’s website. Police in four South American countries arrested 25 participants in the Anonymous collective for alleged attacks on Columbian and Chilean websites. These attacks were tracked back to 2011. The article presents a very interesting point – that people committing crime digitally, or via the internet, need to start being concerned by the possibility of tangible punishment. The Internet may not be as truly anonymous as we once thought it to be. Digital criminals are now at very much the same legal risks as other criminals. Perhaps theft in the form of a house robbery may be equally weighed to identity theft and information hacking online by courts. What does this mean for the future? As we learned from the Stuxnet situation, things occurring via the Internet and other digital technologies are no longer some intangible, “unreal”, distant concept anymore. As our world advances and progresses, we are continually integrating these technologies into our own physical lives. This is blatantly seen in the physical arrest of Anonymous members committing crimes on the Internet. The Internet, as well as many other technologies, is being involved more and more in our everyday lives. We need to treat them, as well as the actions we take with them, as tangible pieces of our lives. That being said, our technological responsibilities are becoming every bit important as our physical responsibilities.
Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but… Read more
Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but it stays strong. Is there a reason? Assange believes so.
Early this month Phylicia posted about how America receives watered down news in comparison to other countries and its true. Like Assange says Wiki-leaks is a site where you can get true information about things that are happening that we are not being told. Some may say that there is a reason we aren’t being told, that its to protect us or the people it involves, but shouldn’t it be our decision? This can also be tied to our discussion on the war in the Middle East. Although we know we are in a war, we don’t really know why we are there or what is actually going on, Wiki-leaks gives us actual information and gives us the option of knowing what is going on.
So is Wiki-leaks something that needs to stick around or to governments have the right idea in trying to shut it down?
So I just finished reading through Vanessa Grigoriadis article “4chan’s chaos theory. Two things struck me about the article. The first is how applicable Mark Poster‘s term netizen is. Anonymous is the perfect physical example of this… Read more
So I just finished reading through Vanessa Grigoriadis article “4chan’s chaos theory. Two things struck me about the article. The first is how applicable Mark Poster‘s term netizen is. Anonymous is the perfect physical example of this theoretical concept. Poster says that a netizen is a person who is has an “allegiance to the net”. I would say that Anonymous definitely does have an allegiance to the net. And they use the internet to fight for transparency in government and free speech. You also have to take the global nature of Anonymous into account. As I was reading the article what kept catching my attention was all of the different countries that were involved. The trolls are citizens of all different countries, and police forces in many of those countries are actively pursing them.
Poster also talks about how the internet is a decentralized web and exchanges cannot be controlled by the nation-state. Not that Christopher Poole is the government, but when he banned Anonymous’ calls to rally on 4chan, they simply moved off the site and had the same communications through other social media.
I think if anyone is worthy of Poster’s term it is the members of Anonymous and the trolls who have created a trans-culture on 4chan. Poster also says that there is the potential for netizens to create a global democracy. Even Grigoriadis admits that with their ability to shut down corporations websites and hack political leaders e-mails, “Anonymous is part of the democratic revolution”. But shes adds the caveat, “just don’t piss them off”. Because along with the ability to protect freedoms of speech and to demand that corporations maintain policies that are fair to their consumes, Anonymous also has the ability to viciously attack its enemies and not be held accountable for it.
There are several examples of the work of Anonymous in the article, but this is just another example of how Anonymous can work to the benefit of society. In this video, news reporters desrcibe how the arrest of pedophile Chris Forcand was made possible through Anonymous’ “internet vigilantism”.
But in other cases, Anonymous has used its power to harass individuals for the “lolz”. For example, Mckay Hatch is a teenage boy from California who runs a website called the No Cussing Club. Anonymous members made all of Mckay Hatch’s private information public so that he and his family could be sent hate mail and bullied. This video from abc talks about the death threats that Hatch received.
So the issue at hand, and I think the issue worth talking about is that, Anonymous is enjoying almost unlimited power. As netizens, there is no “net” law limited them or telling them what they can and cannot do. There is of course the laws of the nations that they live in, but Anonymous members have shown time and time again that they operate above the system and they are smarter than the guys trying to catch them. I think we’re entering into the global community that Poster described and right now is the tricky stage where netizens are actively establishing how that space will be defined. The overall power that Anonymous has is very threatening to me and the fact that they can use it to viciously, and sometimes idiotically, attack whomever they please is scary. But maybe in a way it is like the rights we have defined for us in the constitution. Americans have always had the right to speak out against their government and its leaders if they so choose. Anonymous is simply showing us a way to do that that has a little more weight. Its a whole new way of holding our politicians accountable. We don’t like what you’re doing, fine we’ll hack your e-mail and post it on the web. Maybe they are just shifting the power structure and giving more power to the individual.
In America there is a legal system in place to mediate disputes among people or groups of people. Lawsuits are declared by those who are unsettled and decisions are made by a judge and jury. While it certainly can be… Read more
In America there is a legal system in place to mediate disputes among people or groups of people. Lawsuits are declared by those who are unsettled and decisions are made by a judge and jury. While it certainly can be more complicated than that simple depiction, that is the basis of civilized decision making. However, external disputes between the United State of American and other countries do not have the same clean cut system of law. In some sense the United Nations tries to be that greater entity but it does not have the same effort. Therefore, countries go to war. As it is is depicted in the documentary Why We Fight, the executive government has complete control over what types of attacks are made on whom. The American people has given the executive government complete trust in its ability to take the right military action. However, we can not always clearly define the purpose of out military efforts.
After researching Stuxnet, it is evident that the hacking culture has the potential to become militaristic. Most nations are connected to one another via the internet. Therefore, as Stuxnett proved, it is easy for a virus to travel around the globe. A cyber attack can be more than bringing an irritating message to your computer, but it can interfere with the internal workings of a grander network–like that of the Iranian centrifuges.
This begs the question–who will regulate the future of war? Will the United States be responsible for attending to all potentially harmful hacks. One day will the four men who discovered Stuxnet be required to share their knowledge with the government? Or is the future of war truly in the people’s hands? Will cyber wars truly be fought among citizens of nations? What do you see for the future?
After an Anonymous attack against the Vatican failed, Imperva, a data-protection firm, began to analyze it in order to map out the attack methods. Below is a chart with the discoveries made by Imperva after a failed 25-day assault by… Read more
After an Anonymous attack against the Vatican failed, Imperva, a data-protection firm, began to analyze it in order to map out the attack methods. Below is a chart with the discoveries made by Imperva after a failed 25-day assault by the hackers.
This infographic shows the profile of an Anonymous attack (Credit: Imperva)
Perhaps the most interesting part of this article was its discussion of the first phase. In Phase I: Recruiting & Communication, social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) allow the hackers to gain access.
“The raison d’être of hacktivism is to attract attention to a cause, so this phase is critical.”
Personally, I rarely think about my use of social media sites as means for hackers to understand and find targets. However, this report by Imperva proves that without social media channels it would be much more difficult for hackers to find a target and justify their attack. On top of this, social media is used for recruiting purposes: getting volunteers to participate in the hacking campaign during the first phase.
After reading the report, the role of volunteers became clear:
” The Anonymous hackers are comprised of two types of volunteers:
• Skilled hackers – In this campaign, we witnessed a small group of skilled hackers. In total, this group numbered no more
than 10 to 15 individuals. Given their display of hacking skills, one can surmise that they have genuine hacking experience
and are quite savvy.
• Laypeople – This group can be quite large, ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred volunteers. Directed by the skilled
hackers, their role is primarily to conduct DDoS attacks by either downloading and using special software or visiting
websites designed to flood victims with excessive traffic. The technical skills required range from very low to modest.
In this incident, there was about a 10:1 ratio of laypeople to skilled hackers.”
To me, this is the power of groups like Anonymous: its ability to gain volunteers through promotional videos which justify their attacks. The truth is that people choose to support Anonymous. The group is not made up of a small, isolate population; the group is alive because of its ability to connect. Do you think this is what the founders of the internet foresaw for their creation?
In a recent interview that CNet conducted with an (get this) anonymous member of the group Anonymous, dubbed “Anon,” the reasons behind their organization and movement was revealed: it is the “will of the people.” Elinor… Read more
In a recent interview that CNet conducted with an (get this) anonymous member of the group Anonymous, dubbed “Anon,” the reasons behind their organization and movement was revealed: it is the “will of the people.” Elinor Mills, the interviewer, was questioning Anon about their collaboration with WikiLeaks to publish emails from the company Stratfor, identified as a “global intelligence firm that seems to have paid informants to monitor, among other things, human rights and environmental activists on behalf of Dow Chemical after the Bhopal disaster, and that allegedly considered using the intelligence it gathers from insiders to grow a strategic investment fund.”
When asked why take they take the risk of going to jail to uncover types of information like the Stratfor scandal, Anon replied, “There is a moral obligation for those who see injustices being committed by individuals who are purely driven by greed.” This type of hacking is completely different, in my opinion, from the malware Stuxnet. This type of hacking is meant to shed light on information or a hole in security that Anonymous felt compelled to unveil, while Stuxnet’s function was to slowly destroy from within a nuclear program in Iran. Anonymous’s goal was to move forward, while Stuxnet’s was to make someone take a step back. The corruption that Anonymous sees in companies like Stratfor is why they hack into their systems; they believe they are not the security company they say they are, and in the United States working with them, it becomes an issue of national security. A correspondent from London discusses this issue on Russia Today in this video:
I think Anon is correct in the interview when he says, “I’d argue that the people are beginning to wake up and realize the strength of their unified peaceful protests, both behind a computer, in the streets, or personal protest. Whether it’s the Arab Spring, Wall Street or BART, there needs to be someone saying ‘this is not OK.’” I believe that is exactly what Anonymous is doing. While reading the interview and watching commentaries on the Stratfor WikiLeaks, I found myself debating the positives and negatives of the type of hacking that Anonymous engages in vs. the type Stuxnet was. I believe in the “will of the people” and standing up for a cause (in the form of hacking) if you believe it to be a potential threat to national security. However, I’m not sure I’m totally sold on the idea of malware introduced so silently and specifically targeted at setting back a nation. I think my hesitation might lie in the fact that I’m feeling like it is only a matter of time before the United States is a target of something like Stuxnet.
What do you think about the motivations of Anonymous? What about the differences between the types of hacking? Do you agree or disagree with either cause for any particular reason?
This is a very interesting and brief RSA (Royal Society for the Arts) Animate which is adapted from a RSA talk given by Evgeny Morozov, a Belarusian writer and researcher who studies political and social implications of technology. The… Read more
This is a very interesting and brief RSA (Royal Society for the Arts) Animate which is adapted from a RSA talk given by Evgeny Morozov, a Belarusian writer and researcher who studies political and social implications of technology. The animate explores his take on the role of the internet in society and ultimately how the internet effects democracy. He recently (January 2011) published his first book: The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. I enjoyed this video because it provided a different perspective for looking at new media throughout the world.
Given the tremendous amount of attention hacking has received in the last couple years, especially due to groups like Anonymous and the Stuxnet virus last year, hacking has come to inherit a pretty negative stigma. Just tonight, Interpol released a… Read more
Given the tremendous amount of attention hacking has received in the last couple years, especially due to groups like Anonymous and the Stuxnet virus last year, hacking has come to inherit a pretty negative stigma. Just tonight, Interpol released a statement describing the arrest of some 25 individuals associated with the hacker group Anonymous, in a coordinated international operation across four countries in Latin America and Europe. The statement goes on to quote Bernd Rossbach, Acting Interpol Executive Director of Police Services: “This operation shows that crime in the virtual world does have real consequences for those involved, and that the Internet cannot be seen as a safe haven for criminal activity, no matter where it originates or where it is targeted.” The article seems to me to imply that all hacking is necessarily criminal, which is somewhat misleading.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the good guys, who use their powers for good and not evil. People like Charlie Miller, winner of the 2011 Pwn2Own hacking competition held at the annual CanSecWest security conference (and I know, how dare I link to wikipedia… but it gets the job done with only 1 link).
At the competition, hackers are offered cash incentives to exploit various software and browsers on both computers and mobile phones. But why would companies willingly let people hack their products, let alone pay them to do so? Basically, because these companies are then provided with information about the vulnerability that was exploited, so that the company can then attempt to correct the problem and prevent as much harm as possible from malicious hackers.
In fact, since nobody has been able to successfully hack Chrome yet, Google is offering an additional $1 million in “hacker bounties,” on top of the money already offered at the 2012 CanSecWest conference next week. Google wrote on its blog, “We require each set of exploit bugs to be reliable, fully functional end to end, disjoint, of critical impact, present in the latest versions and genuinely ’0-day,’ i.e. not known to us or previously shared with third parties.”
**Update**: a group of french hackers while finally able to hack Chrome at this years Pwn2Own
The point I would like to make is that, while hacking for monetary gain or to take down competition is usually the wrong thing to do, these same skills can be used to help companies fix up and improve their products. Are there any other instances where hacking could be beneficial, as opposed to criminal? Or is hacking something that should be always be considered a malicious act, regardless of the hackers intent?
Dr. Saskia Sassen spoke at the Theorizing the Web Conference in 2011 about how the internet shapes knowledge practices. Her lecture is extremely interesting and packed with information but one of the things I have retained from… Read more
Dr. Saskia Sassen spoke at the Theorizing the Web Conference in 2011 about how the internet shapes knowledge practices. Her lecture is extremely interesting and packed with information but one of the things I have retained from her lecture is the difference between formal and informal knowledge. Formal knowledge is hegemonic knowledge, or that which the people in power say is important to know. Informal knowledge is basically anything we learn outside of that realm. Sassen described knowledge as a possibility for action. As in, what will you do with your knowledge? Most of us restrict this to hegemonic knowledge and will apply that to a career of some sort. But what about informal knowledge? How can we use information we just kind of pick up on for action? In a previous post I brought up Britta Riley’s window garden, this is a fair example because window gardens are not exactly a huge part of school curriculum. Riley’s window garden is an especially good example in this context because the web was crucial to the development of her window garden, without all of that corroboration she may still have a noisy somewhat leaky window garden in her apartment. And this use of the internet brings up something else Sassen focused on in her lecture, that technology is the key to merging hegemonic and informal knowledge. As a sociologist focusing on globalization and economic restructuring Sassen of course related this to finances.
She described this pool of technology that is shared and results in greater knowledge. In the financial world this stays within one bureaucratic network of people that never circles back to technology. Whereas in the community, the cycle of technology, sharing, and knowledge is continuous and influential of itself. Sassen suggests that the merging of these two cycles would have a powerful result.
So what do you know? How can your knowledge result in action? And what will that action be?
Last week, we read a Wired article about Stuxnet and the havoc that it wreaked on Iran’s nuclear program. Although Stuxnet was found over a year ago and has since been removed from these computers, new information has come… Read more
Last week, we read a Wired article about Stuxnet and the havoc that it wreaked on Iran’s nuclear program. Although Stuxnet was found over a year ago and has since been removed from these computers, new information has come out about it within just the past couple weeks.
Here is a video demonstration on how Stuxnet works:
While many, including this article in Computerworld, called Stuxnet the best malware ever, new research has come out to say that this may not be the case for much longer. In a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, recent research demonstrates that Stuxnet was just the beginning of a long line of malware that has specific targets and missions and can bypass all forms of detection. According to the article, there are going to be more examples of malware that have the possibility of being much more dangerous than Stuxnet was.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Fox News reported that Iran stated that 16,000 computers were attacked. Although it is unclear whether this was worldwide or just in Iran, either way, that is a large number of computers that were attacked and no one knew for a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Stuxnet is awesome in the way that it is specifically targeted and can evade detection. It has been a break-through piece of malware that is incredible in its capabilities and ability to avoid detection and in the hands of people using it for good, it can be so beneficial. However, I can’t help but think what could happen if people start using this kind of attack for not-so-altruistic missions. A specific, pointed attack could be dangerous and cause serious harm to a number of vital industries in just the United States. An attack on the power grid, on air traffic controllers, or any number of other industries would not only be dangerous, but detrimental to our economy and our way of life. While I trust that these industries are protected as much as they can be (maybe I’m just being naive), I bet that the Iranians felt that their systems were secure. I believe it is the fact that I feel so defenseless against such an attack that makes me worried.
Are you worried about a possible attack on America? Do you think this is a possibility or am I just worried for nothing?
This is just for fun. I have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. James Fallon. He has a segment where he “Slow Jams the News” with Brian Williams and The Roots. Yesterday they slow-jammed about Super Pacs. I thought I would share it for those you who enjoy news satire and Jimmy Fallon like I do.
From 12-hour road trips to five-minute walks around the corner, I use my iPhone map for almost every journey I embark on. Its ability to show me either a satellite image of where I am or point out… Read more
From 12-hour road trips to five-minute walks around the corner, I use my iPhone map for almost every journey I embark on. Its ability to show me either a satellite image of where I am or point out landmarks like a road map, allow me to navigate like a pro. However, it is the map’s ability to combine the two features that makes it so valuable. The hybrid feature of the map also exists online through the use of Google Maps. And soon, it may exist literally right before our eyes.
Screen shot of Google Maps features
In Roberto Baldwin’s article on Wired.com, he explains that more evidence has been found to back up the rumors of Google’s HUD glasses. HUD stands for head-up display and the rumored glasses would look like designer sunglasses, yet allow the wearer to see more than a tinted view of the world. The HUD glasses would show what a normal pair of sunglasses would show with an overlay of information about the objects that someone is looking at. The HUD glasses would put the hybrid ability of the iPhone map right in front of the wearer’s eyes. Though there has been confusion about where the information would appear (either in a small screen in the corner of the lens or directly on the lens of the glasses) it is agreed that the glasses bring about some safety concerns for the wearer. Especially if the information were displayed across the actual lens, the viewer’s focus would have to shift back and forth, making it difficult to perform simple tasks such as walking and driving. Though distracting, this type of display would be futuristic and according to Baldwin, “much more sci-fi.” The glasses would include “augmented-reality data overlays” about streets, landmarks and even people.
How the display could look
There have been rumors of the creation of these glasses and Google’s recent search for a “special projects” front-end software engineer and a designer for local, mobile and social apps only propelled the rumors further. Aside from obvious safety concerns, there are other questions that may come up if the glasses are released and become popular. The technology would be extremely advanced and accessible without a computer or a Smartphone, creating a device that seems like futuristic spy wear. If street signs and landmarks were all that appear on the screen of these HUD glasses, they would be no more than a more mobile version of an iPhone app. However, if the glasses continued to advance and were able to give information on passersby- a possibility that has already been discussed- the technology may begin to invade the privacy of others. With these glasses, you may be able to learn a lot more about a person than they would normally want to tell. You may be able to drive by a home and know whom it belongs to, if people are in it and even where in the home they are. While potentially hazardous for the user, these HUD glasses may also become a dangerous invasion of privacy for the public, especially if they are in the hands of a dangerous person. Do you think these glasses would become popular if they were in fact released at the end of 2012? Are there other risks that experts have not considered, both for the wearer and the general public?
After examining the Stuxnet case I think it leaves a lot of questions unanswered for the future. Clearly, there is a new realm of warfare that can be used with hacking. In the case of Stuxnet it is something that… Read more
After examining the Stuxnet case I think it leaves a lot of questions unanswered for the future. Clearly, there is a new realm of warfare that can be used with hacking. In the case of Stuxnet it is something that American’s would view as positive because it’s goal was to shut down a nuclear weapons plant. The intriguing thing about this is the level of anonymity the creator/creators of the virus were able to achieve. This makes it easier for internal personal to revolt against the systems without being caught, the way protestors, demonstrations and riots have. While there is no evidence that someone from within the plant designed the virus, it is clear that the person who did had to know specific details about the location and daily processes in order to make it so effective.
Knowledge about code writing and programming is being disseminated across several cultural barriers. In the past this time of formal knowledge was not shared across social and geographical barriers as much, but with the prevalence of the online community this is now possible, as Saskia Sassen has explained. This is making these types of hacking skills readily available to more people, allowing for more types of internal revolt. While this seems inspirational, especially in the context of bringing down nuclear war lords, it is also scary.
One internal threat that I have been thinking about revolves around the upcoming elections. Much of today’s news focuses on the upcoming republican primary elections and the future presidential election. I have been thinking about the election process itself and how easily a hacker could infiltrate the system now that we are moving to 100% e-votes. In this case technology and hacking would serve as a threat to our democratic system. Thad Hall, a professor of political science at CalTech, researches e-voting and its influence on elections. In his book, Electron Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy, he covers the pros and cons to e-voting. Overall, he appears to support e-voting as it increases the amount of access people have to voting booths and decreases costs. At the same time he does warn the public that it is possible for one person, to single handedly alter the elections if they were able to hack into the system and manipulate votes.
With Stuxnet as a former example, we can see how hard it is to trace hackers when the virus they create are complex enough. If a hacker is smart enough he/she can prepare their code with tricks to keep spyware from detecting them. In this world where we are transferring our entire lives to an online system are we more vulnerable than we were before in the paper world?
In the March issue of Wired, I read an article about hackathons. If you’re like me, you had never heard of a hackathon until not, but these are competitions of just a few days when groups of individuals attempt… Read more
In the March issue of Wired, I read an article about hackathons. If you’re like me, you had never heard of a hackathon until not, but these are competitions of just a few days when groups of individuals attempt to create an app or software or something else and present it to the judges. The winning team can win anything from a trip to several thousands of dollars. Below is a short clip about a hackathon sponsored by Facebook in Madison, WI.
These are interesting events, because the people who have entered take an idea and bring it to fruition in anywhere from 12 hours to a few days, depending on the competition. Often they take code that someone else has written and work with it so that they may improve it or make major changes to it.
The whole idea of hacking is interesting to me. While in any other field you must cite your sources and there are strict rules about plagiarism and copying, this does not seem to be the case. It made me wonder, should there be some way that people can “publish” their code so that others may use it, but give them credit? Based on the answers given my many of the people entered into hackathons, it appears that they do not think so. Publishing software and apps is a race and the common belief is that whoever publishes first is the winner.
What do you think? Should it simply just be a race to see who can finish something first or should there be a way to protect your code from being copied without credit being given?
“The US has the world’s biggest economy, the most influential culture, and the most potent military machine, with a budget that equals that of all other nations combined. It is the only power with a global project defended and supported by more aircraft carriers, Fortune 500 companies, and more successful media-tainment conglomerates than any other. America’s post-Cold War optimism has given way to pessimism, forecasting a declining power and more crucially, the end of “the American era”. But the last decade has been problematic for the world’s only superpower. The rise of new regional and global powers, coupled with Washington’s recent war fiascos and financial crisis have worsened the outlook for the future of the US. So, is all this talk of the US decline premature? And if not, what role will the US play in a post-US century?
The first 20 minutes or so looks primarily at the military-industrial complex in America, and actually highlights many similar points outline in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, directed by Eugene Jarecki, detailing the rise and maintenance of the “American war machine.” The first major point that the program “The Decline of the American Empire” deals with is the idea of U.S. strategic overstretch. Using the U.S. implementation of carrier battle groups (consisting of “an aircraft carrier, cruisers, destroyers, scores of combat aircraft … and a multitude of long and short range missiles and other weapons… it is so large the entire thing requires roughly 10,000 military personnel to operate”), it is pointed out that while we have 12 of these groups, no other nation on Earth has one, and the question of “why?” is raised.
The answer comes from Nicholas Burns, former U.S. under-secretary of state: “We are absolutely keeping America safe. The world is so complex right now, there’s so many threats and challenges to our national security. You can’t meet them in Boston, in Los Angeles, you have to go out to meet them to defend the country.” This is where I tend to grow a little skeptical. To me, defense implies reacting to some threat or adversity, not going out and looking for, or meeting, challenges. In the following video clip, starting at around 2:40, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski echoes that sentiment by stating “If you join the military now, you are not defending the United States of America. You are helping certain policy makers pursue an imperial agenda.”
While certainly arguing a concrete political view, I think that Karen Kwiatkowski, among others in the documentary, makes a pretty bold statement about the military-industrial complex.
I think the root of the problem is closely related to the statement by Karen Kwiatkowski, that the military-industrial complex has led to a disastrous rise is misplaced power, with “people making policy who have no accountability to the voter.” This concept is elaborated on and really dissected in “The Decline of the American Empire.” Professor Andrew Bacevich states: “There is in a sense, a partnership, probably goes too far to call it a conspiracy, ’cause it’s wide open, but there’s a partnership between members of congress, the armed services and large scale defense contractors, all of whom benefit in different ways by maintaining very high levels of military spending.” This relates directly to the concept of defense, and whether we defend ourselves at home or out in the world, because, according to Nicholas Burns, “We can’t just retreat to fortress America you know and bring up the drawbridge and hope to defend our international security interests by bringing all the troops home,” and therefore, “The cycle is endlessly perpetuated. Wars need funding, funding creates jobs, jobs strengthen the economy. So perhaps the most important question of all, is whether geo-political instability is the excuse, rather than the justification. This is the essence of real politics.” I think it’s an extremely controversial topic and question, but it’s my opinion that this U.S. strategic overstretch, coupled with misplaced power due to policy makers acting more on an imperial agenda than strictly one of protection, is, in fact, contributing the the decline of the American empire.
An important thing to understand, however, is the current nature of this empire. Tom Engelhardt puts it into relative perspective by stating “There’s a kind of a madness to the situation which we’re discussing very rationally in a way, and that is this, I mean in the Cold War, a genuine major enemy, a giant nuclear arsenal, the Soviet Union, a giant army, an imperial power, that was that moment. Now, the Soviet Union disappears one day and the resulting period we end up with is a national security state, a Pentagon budget, a military intelligence bureaucracy, a national security state that’s staggeringly bigger in a world in which, at most, there are a few thousand scattered terrorists who wanna do something to us. We’re dealing unsuccessfully with a couple of minority insurgencies in the greater Middle East. I mean its extraordinary to imagine that somehow we ended up with this gigantic, call it what you will, imperial… behemoth.” I think our country has spent far too long attempting to deal with an actual threat (as in, the Cold War) to know how to handle even a minor threat (as in, “a couple of minority insurgencies”), let alone no threat at all.
I don’t want to come off as anti-American in anyway, but after watching these documentaries and programs, I feel as though we need to need to regain some perspective on the world and our particular role in it. While the general message of “The Decline of the American Empire” was that this decline is moving at slow speeds and might not ever lead to the downfall of our country, there are certain things that need to be done to ensure America remains a world superpower.
One of the things the program pointed out was the fact that both American education and American corporations are still dominating the globe, echoing the main idea behind the article “Are Companies more Powerful than Countries.” The narrator of the program states “But while America Inc. may have lost it’s AAA rating, American brands still dominate the globe. Coca Cola has a global revenue of $35bn per annum, Microsoft, $69bn and Apple a whopping $100bn.” Technology analyst Kate Bulkley elaborates by saying that “Rumours of the collapse of the US tech sector innovation is let’s say overblown. I think that there’s a lot of innovation still in Silicon Valley, there’s a lot of innovation in America full stop. You can’t count out the companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, you know they just keep coming.”
The last thing I want to talk about is the military-indisutrial-media complex. Starting at around 6:05 in the video below, the documentary delves into the role of the media in America’s wars.
Normon Solomon, in an excerpt from his book entitled “The Military-Industrial-Media Complex,” begins with “After eight years in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address on January 17, 1961. The former general warned of ‘an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.’ He added that ‘we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.’ One way or another, a military-industrial complex now extends to much of corporate media. In the process, firms with military ties routinely advertise in news outlets. Often, media magnates and people on the boards of large media-related corporations enjoy close links—financial and social—with the military industry and Washington’s foreign-policy establishment.” While we might not have propaganda films like the original “Why We Fight” movies, we still have the news media, which, as an extension of the military-industrial complex, manipulate their audience by controlling the flow and content of the information presented. While this has its advantages, such as sparing the audience of brutal, violent images or videos when possible, is it ethical or moral to attempt to control how we think about the events being presented by not presenting the whole picture?
Obviously there is a spectrum here, and these are just my opinions based on the documentary we watched in class and the program on Al Jazeera about the decline of the American empire. I think that the U.S. military-industrial(-media) complex is still struggling to find its niche in the current geopolitical climate, and by continuing to operate as though we still have a major threat against our country (like we found in the Soviet Union during the Cold War), our country is steadily heading towards a decline in our power throughout the globe. I would like to know how other people interpreted the documentary, however, and if anyone actually watches the entire program “The Decline of the American Empire,” let me know how you would connect the two, or whether you think that there is no link between the major ideas presented both programs. Lastly, although I think that the news media is doing what’s in their best interest by limiting the information they relate to us, I think that there is still an opportunity to become as informed as possible via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Do you think the general news media reports on too little information, too much, or somewhere in the middle depending on the topic? Furthermore, how will the rise in social media sites influence the reporting by the news media, and do you think one or both of them will have to evolve to compensate for the other?
After watching the documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki, I realized that the film was missing something very important. Why we support. The average everyday Americans aren’t fighting in the Iraq War nor… Read more
After watching the documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki, I realized that the film was missing something very important. Why we support. The average everyday Americans aren’t fighting in the Iraq War nor have we ever been. We go through our daily routines, with the war far from our minds. Unless you know someone in the war or work in some way to supply or fund the war, you don’t think about what’s going on. The documentary in some ways turned against the war, because at this moment we don’t know what we are fighting for; so what’s the reason we are fighting? And while that makes a valid point, there are over 100,000 American troops in the Middle East fighting for our freedom because that is what they are told to do.
They are not allowed to question what they are doing; they don’t even have the time to. They are busy protecting themselves and their companies. Their goal isn’t to win a war, it’s to get home safe and alive. So, we turn against it because we don’t agree with why we’re fighting? Weapons are continually getting more advanced and the United States feels this is a reason for them to show off their muscles. Is it becoming less of a war based on an actual cause and more of a war based on making sure no one will challenge the United States again? We have bombs that are guided by GPS coordinates, guns that can hit over a mile away, and robot technology that basically does the fighting for us.
But those are all definitions to why we might be fighting. Not to why we support. We support because there are over two million soldiers in the armed forces, and over one third of these soldiers are in active duty. We support because they are Americans. They are average everyday Americans that made a choice to fight for what they believed was right, the least we could do is support. We support for the families they left behind, for the injured who return, and for the ones who don’t come back at all.
There’s nothing wrong with asking the question of why we’re fighting. It’s a reasonable and needed question. But that doesn’t mean you can support the soldiers who are fighting for you. So next time someone asks you about the war, what will you say? Will you comment on how we don’t have a reason to be there? Will you talk about how the United States is trying to show off? Or will you simply say I don’t agree with why we’re there, but I support the men and women who are fighting for our freedoms?
After reading this article on wired.com about Stuxnet, the most sophisticated malware ever produced, I started to consider the ways in which this type of attack is novel and why it has gotten so much attention. First, the people… Read more
After reading this article on wired.com about Stuxnet, the most sophisticated malware ever produced, I started to consider the ways in which this type of attack is novel and why it has gotten so much attention. First, the people investigating Stuxnet were shocked at what exactly was being attacked. One of the researchers, Eric Chien, said, “We were expecting something to be espionage, we were expecting something to steal credit card numbers; that’s what we deal with every single day. But we weren’t expecting this.” The shock and awe had shifted from what was being attacked or stolen to how the attacks were being implemented. Below is a TedTalk by Ralph Langner, a German researcher who was heavily involved in decoding the virus of Stuxnet:
What shocks me the most is the process of discovering what exactly Stuxnet was setting out to do: a virus that had been specifically programmed to attack only certain computers in certain areas. The article from wired.com that details where Stuxnet was prevalent along with how it was choosing which computers to infect; essentially, it proves that specific, potentially extremely harmful attacks can be waged on just a simple USB stick. Still, however, the most shocking part about the article was the way in which Stuxnet accomplished its goal-- it was a slow, deliberate attack on certain physical components of Iran’s plant. Stuxnet was not only the most sophisticated malware yet (four zero-days? two stolen certificates??), but it was performing the most sophisticated cyber attack seen yet. It was introducing a hard-to-detect virus into certain computers, controlling certain functions, so certain physical components would malfunction over time. This clearly is much more than “stealing credit card numbers.” This malware had the ability to slow down the production of nuclear weapons. It slowed the nuclear arms race. All from a few lines of code.
This new form of attack has caused me to re-think not only the forms of cyber attacks, but also what exactly is becoming a target of attack. Are you shocked by what Stuxnet was attacking, as well as the impressive forms of attack it employed to get there? How do you feel this new form of attack fits in with the much-discussed globalization of technology? Do you think that putting a specific virus that is meant to attack a specific computer or set of computers has opened up a new form of warfare across the world?
Yesterday the New York Times published this article titled, “Behind the Google Glasses, Virtual Reality”. The article discusses google’s latest technology, thick rimmed sunglasses which will project information, entertainment, and advertisements onto the lenses. They may look something like… Read more
Yesterday the New York Times published this article titled, “Behind the Google Glasses, Virtual Reality”. The article discusses google’s latest technology, thick rimmed sunglasses which will project information, entertainment, and advertisements onto the lenses. They may look something like this:
Putting aside the fact that people will look absolutely ridiculous as they bobble around the street in these because they’re paying attention to where they are walking, to me this invention is the perfect representation of Mark Mcluhan and Bernard Stiegler’s ideas. Essentially Mark Mcluhan theorized that new media functions as an extension of ourselves, that technology is literally an addition to the human body and its capabilities. And similarly, Stiegler proposed that human evolution has always been tied to technology. Through cognitive distribution, we rely on technology to increase our abilities and help us develop. An example of cognitive distribution would be how people no longer remember telephone numbers because their phones do it for them. And the more information you can distribute the more information you can consume. Unless you are the word memory champion or spend hours everyday memorizing friends’ phone numbers, it is safe to assume that your phone allows you to store a much larger quantity of numbers than your brain.
The google’s are also proposing a type of cognitive distribution which the article explicitly discusses. One example is that the glasses “could remind a wearer of when and how he met the vaguely familiar person standing in front of him at a party”. So now you don’t even need to remember acquaintances, the googles will do it for you.
My initial opinion is that the concept of the googles is ridiculous. We already stare at our phones and text while we walk, frequently causing us to bump into things or ignore the people around us. Do we really require such instant gratification that we need information constantly available barely centimeters away from our eyes? But that thought gets me tangled up in another one of the theories of New Media which is that each time a new technology comes out, there are those who say we have gone to far. But then as time goes on, the invention becomes accepted and considered the norm. And then the next form of New Media is created and the cycle begins again.
So I think my opinion may be because conceptually, I am not progressing as quickly as the new media movement is. I just can’t help but wonder ( and I guess this is what other fellow nay-sayers have wondered as well), will there ever be a point where we actually have gone to far? That question just makes me think of this image from the Pixar film Wall-E where the humans are useless and they rely on technology for everything.
As a ponder the existence of a limit to technology, I have come to the conclusion that although I may never be receptive of all of the newest technology that comes out as soon as it comes out, I like technology which brings us up-to date information, which connects us to different networks of people, and which provides valuable aid in our lives (such as new medical technology for example. And I’m sure technology’s limit lies in a different place for a million different people but for me the limit is when technology takes away any of my basic functions as a human such as to love or to empathize.
Or another example is that there is a book called Born to Run where author Christopher McDougall talks about an African tribe which goes on weekly fifty mile runs. And everyone in the tribe goes including children and grandparents. The reason they can accomplish this is because our bodies are designed to run. They are utilizing a natural function of the human body, hence the title, “Born to Run”. So in a round about way, what I am saying is that if technology ever takes away my physical ability to run, (something my body is designed to do), like the fat people pictured above from Wall-E, then that is my limit. But maybe future generations will see it differently.
After watching “Why We Fight” I began to think about our country’s sense of nationalism. On a daily basis we criticize the motives of those who run the media and we check our sources to verify the facts; however, we… Read more
After watching “Why We Fight” I began to think about our country’s sense of nationalism. On a daily basis we criticize the motives of those who run the media and we check our sources to verify the facts; however, we rarely do this with our government. For the most part, as Americans, we accept what our nation’s leaders tell us to be the truth. Recently, more and more people have begun to investigate these truths. Insiders within these agencies have begun to come forth as well, as we see in the documentary, revealing to us that not everything we are told is true. Oftentimes the government misleads us and censors information to promote and internal agenda – especially when it comes to war.
In 2010 WikiLeaks became a sensation as several highly confidential, federal documents were released to the public. Some of these files revealed sensitive information regarding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, theWar in Iraq and the Afghan War Diary from the War in Afghanistan. A video released from a raid in Baghdad by the Apache helicopter fleet, which was titled “Collateral Murder”, received a lot of attention to the killing going on abroad. In the video I attached Stephen Colbert interviews Julian Assange about the video.
Colbert spends much of the interview asking Assange about his views regarding freedoms of speech. He chastises Assange saying that he has brought to light things that make American’s sad, reminding him of the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. Assange continues to say that several people were upset by the video from it’s title alone; however, 90% of the site’s visitors did not even watch the video. They accepted its content based on the title. This is indicative, to me at least, of our willingness to accept what is put before us. Even when we are being confronted with an alternative truth we do not take the time to investigate the lies that we have been formerly fed – we just accept the counterargument on face value (only 10% of us take the time to watch the Apache video and evaluate the evidence for example).
Americans have been raised to see our country as the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we fight go to fight a war it is because we are defending freedom and liberty – we do not ask questions because liberty is calling. If you do go against the grain you are considered unpatriotic and disrespectful of the founders who fought for your freedoms. While I do not believe that everything our country stands for is a farce I do believe that documentaries like “Why We Fight” and sources like WikiLeaks are necessary because they shed light on the questions we should begin asking.
Only limited amounts of information are released by the government and delivered to us by the media. By the time it reaches our ears it has been manipulated and dissected so many times it is hard to know the truth. Oftentimes we are told censored pieces of the truth for our protection and safety, but when is the line crossed and censorship becomes an issue of power and control? It all comes back to the main question of who has the power to speak and be heard. Oftentimes it is the government and as the power at hand they can control what message is fed to the mass public. As Americans we need to begin to ask more questions and try to reveal more of the truths.
This morning the school tweeted a link about how colleges and universities are “going digital.” We had talked already about how lower education has used new technology for education, and I thought this article… Read more
This morning the school tweeted a link about how colleges and universities are “going digital.” We had talked already about how lower education has used new technology for education, and I thought this article was interesting since it applied more to us. I also like infographics.
One of the crazes that I’ve noticed over the past two weeks that’s been exploding across the internet is the usage of memes, specifically those that are targeting specific colleges. While Memes are far from something that is new,… Read more
One of the crazes that I’ve noticed over the past two weeks that’s been exploding across the internet is the usage of memes, specifically those that are targeting specific colleges. While Memes are far from something that is new, having been coined as a term in 1976, these college themed memes have become viral, filling up most college student’s news feeds on Facebook across America. Indeed, a recent USA Today article talks about this explosion of meme-age, (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-16/college-memes-go-viral/53119156/1).
In many ways this new phenomenon belies each college students’ desire to label their four years at university as unique, despite the fact that their medium of conveying this message often closely resembles other schools. However another type of meme seems to be trying to unify the college experience with shared experiences not unique to a single institution. Try quickmeme.com to explore the world of memes.
A Furman University Meme stolen from a friend’s Facebook
This morning, I read the same article on Al Jazeera as Cameron. Just as he did, I found it extremely interested, so I decided to do some further research on “Internet Addicts.” Now I… Read more
This morning, I read the same article on Al Jazeera as Cameron. Just as he did, I found it extremely interested, so I decided to do some further research on “Internet Addicts.” Now I hope that most (read: all) who are reading this are not so addicted to the internet that they forget to feed their (real or hypothetical) infant daughter because they were so completely consumed by an internet game of a virtual child (which the parents did in fact remember to feed). Sadly, these Korean parents, lost their daughter because she starved to death because they were so severely addicted.
This traumatic and heartbreaking story caught my interest. I decided to look into Internet Addition Disorder (IAD) which is believed by some to be a new mental disorder. (NOTE: It is not yet included in the DSM-5, but there is hope since “google” is now a verb in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.) Since 2009, there have been Internet Rehab Centers popping up around the US, but is this necessary? For some, it seems like it is. One of the Internet Rehab Centers I explored was the Heavensfield Retreat in Falls City, Washington. The program at the center is called reSTART. ReSTART is a rather witty name since many wish that life was as easy to restart as their computers.
It’s slogan is something rather powerful… “connect with LIFE” insinuating that those who are addicted to the internet, do not have the ability, the power nor the choice to connect with life. However, this notion makes it seem like there is no such thing as a virtual life. I would argue that there is. The issue I have is that there is more than merely a virtual life. There is a real life; a life where individuals must connect personally, not just virtually, and enjoy the physical world around them.
Below is the list of symptoms that the program believes determines an Internet Addict based on a Mashable article:
1. Have a strong desire or impulse to use the internet.
2. Decreasing or stopping of the internet leads to withdrawal symptoms (e.g., general malaise, restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, dyssomnia); and the above mentioned symptoms may be relieved by similar electronic media (e.g., TV, handheld games, gaming devices).
3. Continually increasing the amount of internet use and the extent of internet involvement to reach sense of satisfaction.
4. Use of internet in spite of its harmful effects; despite knowledge of harmful effects, internet use is hard to stop.
5. Difficulties controlling beginning, and finishing, and the duration of time of internet use; efforts to modify internet use may be attempted multiple times without success.
6. As a result of internet use, interests, recreation or social activities are decreased or abandoned.
7. Internet use is seen as a way to escape problems or to gain relief from negative feelings.
8. The extent of internet use is denied or minimized to teachers, schoolmates, friends or professionals (including actual time and expenditure of internet contact).
9. Everyday life and social function is impaired (e.g., in social, academic and workability.)
Does this list seem to define Internet Addicts as you image them? Anything you think should be added to the list?
Perhaps an even better questions, does everyone need to reSTART? Why are we, so incredibly uncomfortable with being disconnected even for day?
I read this article earlier today and thought it was really interesting. I believe it was last week we talked about being addicted to social media and someone had brought up the possibility of going a day without technology.… Read more
I read this article earlier today and thought it was really interesting. I believe it was last week we talked about being addicted to social media and someone had brought up the possibility of going a day without technology. Honestly, I do not think this would be possible or feasible for many of us who have part-time jobs in addition to taking classes, have leadership roles on campus or off that require constant updates, or have long distance relationships and technology is the only way to stay in contact. That was one topic in this story that I thought was interesting, but it was not the main reason that I am writing.
The real reason that I wanted to post this link was the idea of rehab for those who are addicted to Facebook. What constitutes being addicted to Facebook? I don’t think I would consider myself addicted, though I do check it often.
So what constitutes a Facebook addict? Are you one?
The public sphere is the community in a society where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.(Compliments of Wikipedia) This sphere extends back to the beginnings of ancient Greece… Read more
The public sphere is the community in a society where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.(Compliments of Wikipedia) This sphere extends back to the beginnings of ancient Greece in 8th century BC, it was called the agora, Greek for ‘gathering place’. The agora was the center of town and is where the culture of the city existed. Displays of arts, athleticism, spiritual activities and politics were all taking place here. However, in the political realm only free-born male land-owners were allowed to participate. As the agora formed into a marketplace rather than a place solely for free men, others were certainly apt to hear the discussions and rulings of the king or council but they could do nothing about it.
The town hall is the place in which the governing of a city takes place. These buildings often house a more formal sphere of elected officials but it is still a gathering place for the community equipped with libraries and space for entertainment. In colonial America this was the center of democracy. Once more, land-owning, white men came together to discuss and ideally solve the political problems of their community.
-Coffee shops and taverns in cities and towns of all time periods have been a place to gather and discuss politics and town issues. Before technology was around this was the only way to gather information outside of one’s personal bubble, if you will. Travelers could be key parts of this by bringing in news from other places.
Even something as cliche as a barbershop has been a source of political information and influence. And for most of history it was the free, rich, white men with the ability to inform himself and others as well as the ability to take action if they saw fit. However, we have seen throughout the 20th century the expansion of the political sphere to include the apparent spheres of all races, religions, and genders. And here we are, with a growing sphere of voices and with it, a new and constantly adapting medium with which to influence politics, the internet.
The internet is the agora of today’s political influences, or influencers I should say. It started with the counterculture movement, we saw the first blog space in the Well, throw in a decade of hacker innovation, and some dorm room ideas that spawn into things like facebook and you get the feedback systems of today that can organize things like the Arab spring, some truly volatile riots, or an occupy wall street movement. It can completely revamp the way political polls are taken, instead of cold calling and letters through good ole’ snail mail, we have access to numerous surveys online that take in the same information in virtually no time at all!
In his book Information Please author Mark Poster argues that this age’s public sphere really isn’t like the public sphere’s of old because of the personalities one creates online in what Poster calls the digital public sphere. “My argument is not that the digital public sphere destabilizes the full presence of face-to-face meetings but that it constructs the subject though the specificity of its medium in a way different from oral or written or broadcast models of self constitution…The digital self that participates in the Internet public spheres is different from the individual speaking in the agora or the coffee shop, as well as from the representative of individuals speaking in democratic institutions like parliaments.”(41)
In essence, Poster is saying that the person we create on the net is different from who we are in reality but, the digital public sphere still has the capability to influence political actions on the part of our representatives. Case and point being the outcry against PIPA and SOPA only weeks ago. Ultimately, the public sphere has been a highly influential space for those who were allowed to participate and eventually for those who chose to participate in it. The digital public sphere allows this generation to take that influence to an entirely new level that I don’t think we fully understand. It is very easy to express our opinions and to share them on a large scale with our friends and with our representatives. How far we take that ability I think will be revealed in the coming presidential election as we weed out the Republican candidates and take stock of how influential the internet is at publicizing where our candidates stand and why we should vote for them.
Colbert’s Super PAC is a satirical attempt to point out that Super PACS allow wealthy individuals to control elections. Commenting on the 1 million dollars the PAC has raised, Colbert says “We raised it on my show and used it to materially influence the elections – in full accordance with the law. It’s the way our founding fathers would have wanted it, if they had founded corporations instead of just a country,”. Colbert’s Super Pac also points out a huge loop hole in the campaign finance laws. Officially candidates are not allowed to coordinate with the leaders of Super PACS, but Colberts “collaboration” with John Stewart demonstrates that there are very easy ways to get around this.
Recently one of the advertisements that been popping up on television are the for Google, more specifically those for Google Chrome and Google +. The advertisement for Google + features the Muppets using one of the features of the… Read more
Recently one of the advertisements that been popping up on television are the for Google, more specifically those for Google Chrome and Google +. The advertisement for Google + features the Muppets using one of the features of the new program which is “Hangout,” a function that essentially works like a video chat on Gmail or Skype, however the medium through which Google chose to convey this new function, the Muppets, suggests a fun and carefree way to enjoy the functions of the internet and reconnect with your personal life by “hanging out.” This is reminiscent of Phyllicia’s previous post on the difference between innovation vs invention. This is a reimagining of the internet chat function that has been around for years as one that is easily accessed from any web browser using the new social networking program Google +. The approach of this ad is through what is now the socially accepted concept of a computer as a personal device, instead of a device for business.
The second ad is the Google Chrome ad called “Dear Sophie” which depicts a father documenting his daughter’s journey through early childhood through his use of the internet. He uses a variety of what now may be called ‘apps’ attached to Google Chrome to immerse himself in all aspects of personal media: Picasso for images, YouTube for videos, Gmail for email and images, all integrated together. This new addition to the web browser platform seems to add another aspect to the mobile website vs mobile app argument for Google Chrome could be said to be using apps in their web browser now. However one could also argue that this reinvention of the web browsing experience.
Just finished an interesting New York Times article explaining a developing therapy app on your iphone. You read correctly, an app on your smart phone that acts as a pseudo-therapist. If stress balls, bubble wrap,… Read more
Just finished an interesting New York Times article explaining a developing therapy app on your iphone. You read correctly, an app on your smart phone that acts as a pseudo-therapist. If stress balls, bubble wrap, screaming into a pillow, or a quick run around the block were effective, just imagine how much good a 24 hour therapist could do! The app is still in development and the studies are mostly inconclusive at this point but there is potential for an iphone app that could help people with things ranging from anxiety disorders to alcoholism. It would seem that the blending of people and technology knows no bounds and I almost fear which profession will lose a part of itself to a smartphone app next.
Today I was reviewing political information on NY Times and realized that they publish a large volume and variety of polls, all of which are easily available at the click of the mouse on their webpage.This is the… Read more
Today I was reviewing political information on NY Times and realized that they publish a large volume and variety of polls, all of which are easily available at the click of the mouse on their webpage.This is the norm amongst several news sources. In previous decades polls were conducted over the phone, through the mail, or informal surveys conducted in-person. With the internet serving as a new medium during elections, journalists have a new way to survey the public beforehand. I wonder if this has made polls more or less reliable? Are they more influential on the public’s opinions about different candidates as they are more available now? How has the internet effected the way we survey upcoming elections and current issues?
Yesterday the New York Times published “Mooresville’s Shining Example (It’s Not Just About the Laptops”– an article about one school districts new method of teaching. All of the students in grades 4-12 are lent an Apple laptop to use throughout the school year. The method of teaching has shifted to revolve around the utilization of the laptop because as the superintendant, Mark Edwards, explained, “ It’s about changing the culture of instruction—preparing students for their future, not our past”.
This thought process if profound. It is undoubtedly that case that these students will need to use computers in order to contribute to society in any scale of a career. So why not engage them in incorporating computers in a way other than e-mail and social networking sites and expose them to the extensive power behind the tool.
Not only is this program preparing students for a life in the digital world, but it has proven to be successful in teaching students. The graduation rate of high school students has increased from 80% to 90% between 2008 and 2011. Test scores have increased at an equally impressive rate—88% of students met proficiency standard on state tests last year compared to 73% in 2008.
This program certainly does have its costs. In order to meet the financial demands of purchasing all of these computers, many teaching jobs had to be cut. This led to an increase in classroom size from 18 to 30. However, the teachers who were cut were those who were against bring technology into the classroom and the computers allow for more productive independent and group work. It also provides immediate feedback. Another benefit of the computers is that it allows shy students to participate more in small groups or through the computer. They do not have to worry about being embarrassed as they struggle through a math problem on the board in front of the classroom.
Not only does this program reap benefits in the classroom, but it also brings computers into homes that would otherwise not have access to them. The Mooreville County is fairly poor and most students do not have access to internet at home. The program allows parents to purchase internet for their home through the school. For only $10/month.
Is this the future of American education? The Mooreville schools frequently have visitors from across the country hoping to learn something from this new system. It is only a matter of time before more and more schools adapt this educational approach.
We’ve talked a lot in class about how culture is America’s biggest export. Included in the catagory of culture is language. So I starting thinking about language and how it is shaped by the network. Well the answer is pretty… Read more
We’ve talked a lot in class about how culture is America’s biggest export. Included in the catagory of culture is language. So I starting thinking about language and how it is shaped by the network. Well the answer is pretty obvious. The web exports language to anyone who has access but it also creates language. Out of the web an entire system of communication has developed. There are hundreds, if not thousands of new words, slangs, and abbreviations that have been created by web users. About two years ago BBC published an article called How the Interent is Changing Language. In the article, author Zoe Klienmann discuss how words which were created in or for the network, like “google”, have become accepted in are everyday vocabulary and have even been added to the dictionary.
According to the dictionary to “google” is to: ” to search the Internet for informationabout (a person, topic, etc.): We googled the new applicantto check her background.”
Klienmann goes on to talk about acronyms that have been created due to txting (and instant messaging , although she does not acknowledge this), and words that were created on cult websites like 4chan.
Klienmann also talks about the testimony of 4chan creator, Christopher Poole, in a Tenesse court case. What I find particularly funny about the testimony is that the lawyers questioning Poole have no idea what any of the internet lingo means. Klienmann includes a link to the testimony but I have included one here as well. If you scroll down to page 12 you can read a funny exchange where the lawyer essentially has no idea what he’s talking about. He clearly is not a netizon. I feel like this example shows how the internet is access based and anyone who wants to can have a hand in developing the web and creating culture. The lawyer does not subscribe to this culture but there are millions of other people who do.
For more about internet lingo being added to the dictionary, check out this video of Ellen. (skip to 00:56).
Also, the latest edition of WIRED talks about this topic as well in an article called “Use Your Own Words”. The article talks about how the auto correct software of phones is fighting against users attempts to create new lingo. In a sense auto-correct is hindering the creation of new culture. There is a hilarious website dedicated to showing the abuses of auto-correct software called Damn You AutoCorret!.
The article goes on to argue that grammatical rules are continuously evolving so users should be encouraged to alter the language as they choose. The creation of language should be a “bottom-up” process inspired by the creativity of all who speak the langauge.
For class last week, we read the first few chapters of Mark Poster’s book, Information Please. As he began, he wrote about how in online networks, the authors of information are anonymous. While he used to be able… Read more
For class last week, we read the first few chapters of Mark Poster’s book, Information Please. As he began, he wrote about how in online networks, the authors of information are anonymous. While he used to be able to know who was writing information; however, this is no longer the case with information on digital networks. As I was reading this, I began to think about a recent experience of mine.
A few weeks prior, as a part of one of my on campus jobs, I was charged with creating a Wiki page for the Office of the Chaplaincy. I had used Wikipedia hundreds of times to investigate a wide variety of topics, but had never created a page, or even edited one for that matter, so this was a new adventure.
As I began on this project, my boss told me that I was welcome to use the information on the Chaplaincy’s website; however, while copying this information was acceptable for my boss, it was not for the Wiki community. Before I knew it, someone known in that community as WildCowboy had flagged my post for violating Wikipedia’s copyright rules. As I continued to work on this issue, and eventually fixed it, I encountered a number of other characters within the Wikipedia community who amended parts of this page.
This time lapse video displays where edits of Wikipedia pages were made over an eight year span.
Through this experience, I learned much more about the community on Wikipedia and how it works, but I also learned more about what Poster was writing. Although you can search back through the history and see who made specific changes to any Wiki page, you cannot know their real identity. So while I know that WildCowboy has since made minor edits on my pages, I have no clue about his identity. This experience has taught me much about the digital community and how anonymous authors truly are.
Is the anonymity of authorship on the Internet a benefit or a liability? If it is a benefit, then should authors of information in non-digital realms be anonymous too or only those on the Internet? If it is a liability, can we fix it and require people to input their identity and hold them accountable?
It is evident that digital media is becoming more and more important in today’s society. Being able to type, utilize Word documents and navigate the internet are becoming as essential as reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. I imagine that many… Read more
It is evident that digital media is becoming more and more important in today’s society. Being able to type, utilize Word documents and navigate the internet are becoming as essential as reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. I imagine that many of us take for granted that we grew up with computers in our homes. We were even encouraged to enhanced our reading and mathematic skills through the computer with games such as the Jump Start series.
A closer look at the community around us will show that not everyone is as fortunate. Take a look at this article about two University of Richmond graduates who have committed themselves to helping underprivileged students learn the essential computer skills.
It is important for everyone in society to have a solid understanding of computers. Technology is another area where our nation is becoming stratified. The 10 year old I baby sit has an iPad, while his peer across town has never turned a computer on before. What implications will this have for our future? Both children need to be able to contribute to society, but how can they if they don’t know how to use a computer?
The discussions about a car that drives itself and the potential need to “unplug” from all technological sources in our lives piqued my interest about the war the United States seems to have going concerning cell phone use while driving.… Read more
The discussions about a car that drives itself and the potential need to “unplug” from all technological sources in our lives piqued my interest about the war the United States seems to have going concerning cell phone use while driving. Would a car that drives itself be more safe from the standpoint of leaving us to be free to engage in whatever technologies we want while “driving”? How could we ever be sure that the car could really drive and react the way a person would? Is it really safe? All of these questions are still at the forefront of my mind. However, after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about things called “Connected Cars” that are now being designed to be able to tweet, check Facebook, purchase movie tickets, etc., I can’t imagine that a car that drives itself could be less safe than a car which is inviting its driver to engage in touch screen controls for social media sites while driving. Joe White, a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal, gives an interview on these new cars:
In the interview, Joe White states, “This technology race that used to be around safety is moving around into this arena of connecting your car to the cloud.” The fact that people are no longer capable of “unplugging,” even if just for a 15 minute drive, is also discussed in the context of this new realm that car companies have entered in which integrating technology into the driving experience is crucial for success. It is described as “safer distracted driving,” but safer than what? I am skeptical that looking at your phone screen is much less safe than fiddling with a touchscreen in front of you that is built into your car. Why grant people the ability to tweet or check Facebook while driving at all? I think this technology may be enabling more people to engage in distracted driving because those who may not be likely to check their phone may be tempted to begin using the technology that is built into the car. The interviewer in this video describes this new integration of social media into cars as “like groups who give heroin addicts clean needles…and at least with that you can say that it’s a real addiction, this is just feeding people’s need to tweet, it seems a little excessive.”
I can’t say which mode of engaging in technology while driving is “safer,” but this new race to integrate it into the driving experience poses an important question: why do you think, despite so much backlash about cell phone usage while driving, corporate America is giving in to this craving for technology? I guess making money is the obvious answer. Why is it that, despite knowing how much more likely we are to get in an accident while using a cell phone, we still refuse to let go of them? Why do we insist on finding different ways to integrate technology instead of giving up and accepting that driving is simply safer without it? Why is society “willing to absorb that cost, that safety risk, because we view this as important for the way we live our lives”? Why is it so important?
Imagine being able to accept credit card payments from anywhere. Imagine holding a bake sale to raise money for a charity and being able to take donations straight from your phone. Well that’s what Read more
Imagine being able to accept credit card payments from anywhere. Imagine holding a bake sale to raise money for a charity and being able to take donations straight from your phone. Well that’s what Square does. With the simple device and a easy to use app, you can take credit card payments/donations from anywhere. The entire setup is completely free you get the device and the app for free but there is a percentage taken out of each card swipe that the company keeps. The money is deposited into your account the next day and then you are good to go. Kevin Rose gives a quick demo just to show the pros and cons of the device.
But not just everyday people are using this app. Politicians are jumping on this bandwagon and using Square to start funding there political campaigns. President Obama has always been campaigning in new and upcoming ways. In his 2008 campaign he had an app designed to let his voters read news about the campaign, check local events, and help with campaigning. Now these presidential campaigns are adopting this new technology where supporters can download the app and collect donations for the campaign from anywhere they want. The use of social technologies like twitter, facebook, and myspace have only made the switch to the anywhere donations so much easier. Supporters can follow links and donate straight from there, but now with square anyone can collect donations for these political campaigns.
So what does this change? Campaigning has changed so much over the years and in so many ways. It has become more dependent on technology to spread the word and find more supporters. Is this a good thing or has it become to easy. Are Politicians getting let off easy in there campaigning? Do things like Square make it better for the supporters or easier for the candidates? Is it still a political race and not a popularity contest? Are we voting for people because they have apps and facebook pages or are we voting for people because their views coincide with ours?
I don’t know if I paid enough attention to political ads before the last election (although I should have, since it was the first time I could vote), but the countless ads I just spend a couple hours going through… Read more
I don’t know if I paid enough attention to political ads before the last election (although I should have, since it was the first time I could vote), but the countless ads I just spend a couple hours going through seem to me to play more like movie trailers than anything else. Towards the end, I found myself caring less about any “facts” (or opinions) the ads contained, and more about what type of music it was playing or whether or not the ad could hold my attention. In the end, however, I tried to narrow down the common themes in each candidate’s ads.
After watching Newt Gingrich’s ads, I got the feeling that most of the ads on Newt’s youtube page were geared at attacking specifically Mitt Romney by comparing him to Obama
After watching Mitt Romney’s ads, I got the feeling that most of his ads were geared at attacking a statement by Obama on his “one-term proposition”
After watching some of the videos on Rick Santorum’s youtube page, I realized that there really weren’t too many actual ads, but a lot of videos like this one depicting parts of his campaign
Ron Paul’s political ads were sort of unique in that the attack ads weren’t completely aimed at smashing his competition, but usually ended with a positive spin on Ron Paul and his politics, usually focusing on his “incorruptibility”
Of all the political ads I watched, however, the one’s that really stuck out to me were Barack Obama’s. I realized that his were different because he doesn’t really need to defend against any other potential democratic candidates, and can focus more on looking at this past term and what he has already done for this country. The main reason I liked these ads, however, had nothing to do with politics at all. My favorite example is this video, looking back at the last 5 years
I’ve realized that Obama, more than any other candidate, is embracing and utilizing the internet to a great advantage. Despite the fact that all of the political ads today are online, this ad takes it one step further by creatively moving back and forth between an email, a webpage, and youtube videos. If Obama’s use of the internet wasn’t already apparent, the ad makes sure it is by stating “he’s the first candidate we’ve ever seen that’s had an organization that brought together the internet and community organizing.”
An article on wired.com a couple weeks ago featured Obama and Romney’s adoption of mobile payments for donations. After briefly describing how this process works, the article goes on to state:
“The Obama campaign and administration has embraced technology to a much greater degree than most past presidents, and is also leveraging social media, a tool that wasn’t even available prior to the George W. Bush administration. In 2008, Obama complemented his presidential campaign with an iPhone app in order to help voters learn more about the then-senator. After he was elected, the president then began posting regular YouTube fireside chats, harkening back to FDR’s radio-transmitted fireside chats during the Great Depression. Most recently, Obama even took part in a Google+ Hangout.”
Since everything today is moving online, and we do in fact live in a “digital america,” I think that the use of the internet, among other forms of new technology, could very well make or break this upcoming election. My own personal political standing notwithstanding, Obama’s embrace of digital media is a big step, and a great way to reach a vast amount of people. When the pros and cons are compared, I tend to think that this utilization of the internet can do more good than bad for Obama, but could there be some negative consequences or unintended outcomes? Furthermore, I’d like to know what other people thought of the ads by the republican candidates, and any common themes or big points that I may have missed or misunderstood.