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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Radioactive Red Caps !?!?!

I enjoy this peice because it takes a different approach to atomic winter. The first thing people think about when they think of atomic bombs being dropped is mass murder it will cause. But to a man, Jesse B. Simple, who has experienced the racists culture throughout the 1900s, it is just another racists act. He believes that as soon as the bombs will drop, he will just take up a slave position, heading every beck and call of the white man. This gives us a very clear insight to the effects of racism on the minds of Blacks. I think the essay most closely relates with Technology's Dark Side, because even though atomic winter is a bad thing, the slavery that Simple portrays that would happen is even darker. It shows that yes, there is a bad aspect to all technology, but also, there is another bad aspect relative to who's eyes you are looking through. Something that is bad for one, can be worse for the other.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

In the Ruins of the Future

I found this piece to be somewhat moving because of its real life examples. The essay contains stories of real people experiencing real tragedy. Men and women running from "the skydive of all that towering steel" gives the reader a vivid feeling of dread and fear. Death of a woman and the baby she pushes in her stroller provoke these feelings as well. The inclusion of these vivid dreadful examples gives the piece its emotional power. What the author is trying to do is allow readers to think of the 9-11 tragedy in a new light. He argues that one of the main reasons that terrorists target the United States is a technology gap. The United States has advanced in technological aspects at a stunning rate. The internet and palm pilots seem to rule our very existence of life. In terrorist states such as Afghanistan, technological advancements are retarded by the fear that technology will destroy their religious practices. DeLillo also brings in the point of how technology has been applied during the attacks. Our technology, large aircrafts, was used in an evil manner which produced fear and anger. Also, technology such as cell phones were used to save lives during the attacks when one was used to alert authorities of a high-jacked aircraft. The title of the piece, In the Ruins of the Future, describes how America's futuristic use of technology has, in a sense, backfired causing terror and anger.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

McLuhan's Argument in "The Medium is the Message"

First it is important to understand what a medium is. McLuhan defines it as any extension of ourselves. This is a very broad definition. I think to better understand his point in the entire essay, his first example must be mentioned. McLuhan cites how some content of a light can be to luminate a baseball field or help perform brain surgery. These tasks can't be performed without the light and are therefore the light is the medium of the message because it controls the situation. McLuhan goes further to argue how new technology is neither good nor bad. The way the technology is used is either good or bad. For example, nuclear power can be used as an extremely efficient source of power or as a deadly weapon, hence the need for ballistic missile treaties. These ideas are somewhat related to "The Network Culture" in that in both pieces, technology is the basis for more complex human interaction. McLuhan seems to believe that technology, whether used for good or bad, furthers human association, while Bolter explains how new technology is making society more connected.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I still hold with my first explanation of Calandra's essay. However, I will further my explanation with details from the essay. Students can be considered as angels. They have an innocent demeanor about them. This is partly due to the fact that students are on a journey to acquire knowledge. This journey makes a student seem as though he is trying to better himself as a person by receiving an education. So, the angels are the students. The essay includes such moments in which Calandra asked if the student would like to give up, and his response was he had many answers and was only trying to chose which one he wanted to use. This example shows how Calandra portrays the student as someone who is thinking not just wasting time. The pin is more complex. Standing on a pin would require a strict ability to balance. An angel, or student, must be very focused in order to balance on this pin. This focus would customarily be on school. However, the essay shows how the balance could be described as the forces interacting among teachers and students. In this case, the teacher was looking for a precise mathematical response to the question, however, the student replied with a vague unorthodox answer. By teachers always demanding that students think in a certain methodic way, they push students off the pin, just as the student in this essay was pushed off the pin by his former teachers. I believe this is an effective explanation of the title because it helps to explain what I believe is Calandra's point: there is a very sensitive balance between students and teachers that can be disturbed by very minute actions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

"Angels on a Pin"
That is quite a unique title for an article, isn't it? This essay talks about a student that comes up with many unconventional methods for solving a physics problem. The methods make the student appear to be giving the teacher a hard time, however, he is only doing it to show that problems can be solved in other ways than the scientific method. He also expresses his discontenct with the American education system and their relationship with the scientific method. So, what does the title "Angels on a Pin" have to do with anything. I believe that the student, or all young pupils, are the angels. They have a very innocent demeanor. They are on a pin because if they are pushed a certain way a bit they will fall. This student was pushed off his pin by the methods of his teachers and fell. This may seem bad at first sight, but I believe it is a good thing because it teaches young people to think in different and maybe more effective ways.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Have you ever though about how you mind analyzes situations through the course of the day. I personally have never noticed it, however after reading How a Scientist Thinks by Thomas Henry Huxley, I better understand how our minds reason. I'll give you a relevant example... You walk into your residence and travel down the hall. When you go to open the door, you notice that it is not completely shut but cracked open. Upon sitting down at your desk you notice that there are two indiscrete marks on a piece of scrap paper next to your arm. Noticing that the marks were formed from a highlighter, you search through your desk to see where your highlighter is. After a thorough investigation of your possessions, you conclude that a highlighter is missing. Immediately you hypothesize that someone took you highlighter. So, how did you reach your conclusion? Logical reasoning of course. You noticed that there was a mark on your scrap paper which immediately triggered an assumption that something was different. You know that marks from highlighters do not just show up on their own. From there, you checked to see if you highlighters were misplaced. Finding that a highlighter was missing you immediately consider the evidence and find that someone must have taken a highlighter, tested the color on you paper, and took the color they found most appropriate while forgetting to close the door completely. Of course, a highlighter can not pick itself up and walk out of the room on it's own. However, you should not jump to any dramatic conclusions. Your roommate may have borrowed your highlighter and forgot to replace it and accidentally forgot to close the door when he left. So, by this example, you see how your mind can make it's way through multiple logical reasoning steps without you even realizing it. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Hi, this is my first entry for class. I think I'll start off by telling everyone a bit about myself and my interests. I graduated from L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township. I grew up just a few miles northeast of Detroit. I've lived in Michigan my entire life and I can't wait to get out of this state. Some of my life goals are to graduate from an ivy league law school, become a lawyer, and run for political office. I'm very interested in politics so if you ever want to debate an issue, I'm game. I play bass and have been in many bands. Some of my favorite bands are Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have a large obsession with James Bond and have most of the new DVDs. I live with my mother and father, two brothers and a dog. My grand-mother lives next door and my aunt down the street. I consider myself to be very close to my family. I am now a freshman studying Political Science and English. My unique name is Adkins, and my AIM screen name is Badkins85.

Some of my feelings about the first day include relief. All the English 125 sections have different themes as you probably know. This section did not list a teacher or a theme, and I was nervous to find out what the theme and the teacher would be like. However, I found out that the class is going to involve the use of different types of modern technology which excites me because I enjoy using modern technology (like the internet and word processors). The picture that I posted is some of my good friends here at Michigan. From left to right they are: me, Dave, Mark, Mike and Jeremy. I hope you all enjoy reading about me; I promise I'll have more interesting things to post in the near future. Take care.

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