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Just a Thought….and a Question March 24, 2009

Posted by ah12 in class, technology.
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We all do this. We all scan google images hoping to find pictures for our powerpoints, projects,etc. We manipulate these images for our use and for our own projects. I did it for my class project using the software Comic Life to take another person’s image and adapted it for my needs. So what about this is troubling?

I would like to introduce an idea to you, its called image hosting. I would like to introduce another idea to you, internet vigilantism. So, when one of my favorite websites, Cracked.com, had one of its articles stolen by another website, El Grafico, they reacted in an interesting way.

Seeing as Cracked hosted all the images for its sight on its own server, any changes made at their end showed up on El Grafico. So, every image was played around with….usually in an extremely juvenile way. The final image was edited to have the original overlapped with the words “Its NEVER a good idea to plagarize someone else’s work. But, if you must do it, at least have the common sense to NOT link to images directly (Eat Shit).”

Here is the article on Cracked about El Grafico’s plagarizing:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/this-is-why-you-dont-steal-from-cracked/

This is an example of very minor example of internet vigilantism. For a look at some cooler, and more disturbing examples, heres another Cracked article:

http://www.cracked.com/article_17170_8-awesome-cases-internet-vigilantism.html

Now, a thought: having read the ” 8 awesome cases of internet vigilantism” article, do you think internet vigilantism is a good thing? Or is it merely a case of large scale harrassment?  The internet is, for the most part, completely in the control of its users, programers and various other surfers. It does not, however, make you immune from real world consequences. You may not get into your choice of college if they see all those “sick drinking photos from the bahamas” like the ones my younger brother’s friends put on facebook. You may get harrassed, or even arrested, if you put a video of yourself doing something stupid and illegal on youtube. So surf safe.

Question: If anyone knows more about image hosting please let me know. For instance, if the image is saved to my computer, can the person who originally put it up still make changess to it?

Thanks

Michelle Tea’s “Pigeon Manifesto” March 24, 2009

Posted by yakshi in cyborgs.
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After our recent assignment to write a manifesto, I remembered Michelle Tea’s “Pigeon Manifesto.” You can find a copy of it here <http://tinyurl.com/ch63t3&gt;. Her manifesto is written for the pigeons, addressed to the people who live in cities with unconventional backyards. It begs for them to look past the filth, and “love the nature that does not make it onto the Discovery Channel.” Tea describes pigeons as unusual heroes, triumphing over human attempts to kill them with chemicals and grains of rice. She explains that pigeons are a reflection of the city, and that to hate them is to hate our own dirt. Reclaiming the name “rock dove,” she remarks that “the pigeon was once a dove, and then we built our filthy empire up around it.” Tea recognizes that the pigeon represents every part of the city. 

Tea approaches the pigeon-human conflict from an alternative perspective. She celebrates the a pigeon’s filth, poetically describing its foul appearance as “the city coating [its] feathers, having the streets gunked up in the crease of [its] eye.” What a sentimental approach to such a disgusting visual! The manifesto is surprisingly successful in turning a frequently neglected subject into a platform for the humane treatment of animals. Perhaps we can apply the same pathos that Tea used to the manifestos we completed for class. Her “Pigeon Manifesto” proves that a good writer can engage with any topic, no matter how standardly silly or unimportant.

Japanamerica March 13, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in anime, cultre, manga.
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            The reading that we had on Japanamerica was very interesting because I feel that the United States and Japan are countries that tend to often be compared when it comes to power, marketing, and who is ahead in the industry. Although the states may have a ‘cyborgian’ mix culture where we work together in terms of production, I do not think of our relationship with Japan as one of simple friendship. In fact, I find it obvious that there are many times when Japan and America butt heads when it comes to norms such as sexy vs. cute, emphasis on violence vs. emphasis of the consequences of violence, grudges from World War II, and opinions based on form of education.

            On the topic of anime and manga, I find it funny that America does not want to market certain types of anime because of their content. In the United States, we deal with the many disturbing situations where we blame the media and video games, and I don’t seem to hear of men in Japan sexually abusing a tree or octopus. Although I do not agree with all of the raping situations, if they made it so the woman wanted it, then I would side more with the Japanese. The biggest kick out of all this is the fact that in Japanese culture, where their minds are supposedly ‘always in the gutter’ and highly disturbed, it is in America where women are the most exploited/subjugated to daily oppression. In the reading, it mentioned that women are rarely seen as the sexual objects they play in anime. It states that these fantasies are strictly related to imagination and creativity, and I find that very interesting.

            Another fun fact in the reading was the anime artists’ inspiration of Walt Disney. In relation to porn, I immediately thought of all of the sexual innuendos that are in Disney’s films. I did not notice these until recently, yet although hidden, Disney productions should be ashamed of themselves hiding pornographic messages/images in “classic, children’s movies.”      

            Lastly, I know I am running out of space, but I wanted to mention a few things about the other readings. In Evocative Objects, I found that the story of Murray the stuffed bunny was interesting with its aspect of creator/creation. In addition, the Ford Falcon seemed to have crossed dimensions when she took her physical experience, applied her mental images, and created a website where the falcon crossed into cyberspace. Last but not least, the text in the Gendered Cyborg was thought-provoking with their concept of the woman becoming a model of the perfect machine. To play devil’s advocate, doesn’t the man machine also produce a stereotype that men are supposed to be strong, intelligent, and quick-thinkers? I know that the ideas of reproduction and motherhood have a lot of significance, but I just wanted to throw that out there. 

Robot hired as substitute teacher March 11, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in news, technology.
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The video embedding code isn’t working, so click here for the 50 second clip.

Robot teacher smiles, scolds in classroom

Robot teacher smiles, scolds in classroom

Read the rest of the article here: “But developers say it’s not about to replace human instructors.”

Tekkonkinkreet March 5, 2009

Posted by ml7142 in cyborgs.
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            After viewing the fiml “Tekkonkinkreet”, I started to assimilate the concepts within this film to the theoretical concept of a cyborg.  The two boys “black” and “white” are essentially lost boys that roam around as the soul of the city.  They seemed to be defined by the events of the city and become unbalanced when the city is at unrest.  The boys are also total and complete opposites of one another yet when they are together they are unstoppable. To me this was similar to the idea of a cyborg because cyborgs are made up of parts that often times are as well total and complete opposites of the other.  As a culmination of human and technology a cyborg does not reach its full potential for success unless it is a proper balance of artificial and human thought.  This is somewhat ironic however because in the film the two boys seemed to often times become lost in a city that displayed very poignant categories within the groups of people existing in the town.  They seem to transgress boundaries regardless of their balance with one another much like a cyborg does.  I felt as thought this movie was much about boundaries.  Existing in a world of corruption and turmoil while a world of vibrant color surrounded them. They were young children surviving in an old world with mature situations.  They also exsisted in a world of surreal fantasy and harsh reality.  The two boys black and white were left to dwell in these binaries much like cyborgs are forced to.  

the human element March 5, 2009

Posted by dunemethane in cyborgs.
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I have recently come across a genius invention: Gibson’s Robot Guitar. It is a self tuning guitar that can be set to many different tunings. It also winds the string for you and tells you when the intonation is off. This is so handy and useful; its too useful. This new technology is eliminating the human element. The robot guitar eliminates the need for guitar techs around the world. It also makes it so you never have to fix your guitar yourself which is part of fun. All these new advances in technology are making so humans are not necessary anymore. The era of the cyborg is upon us, and soon it will be the end of humanity.

The Exponential Growth of Information March 5, 2009

Posted by chris drake in communication, culture, technology.
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‘Hybrid Cultures’ is an interesting and provocative topic that carries a look into the future of world cultures. Kelts’ Japanamerica only sheds light on a small portion of this whole notion of cultures combing and evolving into one. With this Age of Information and its exponential growth people around the world are able to communicate, create, share, influence, invade, control, and produce an idea soup in the media sphere. Globalization grows alongside information growth, which creates a world of Hybrid Cultures. Ultimately we are looking at a very distant future where there will be one unify culture, blended from all cultures past. A supreme remixing and growth of everything.

Gotta Catch Em All March 5, 2009

Posted by boricuagirl1801 in cyborgs.
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Not for nothing, but Pokemon used ot be my favorite show way back when it first came out. Now, after listening to Roland Kelt’s Fisher Center lecture, I stopped down to think about how Pokemon has become commercialized. What happened to the 150 pokemon? As the years went along, pokemon cards, video games and newer shows came about to make Pokemon something that I am unfamiliar with. I used to be a fan of playing Pokemon Red and Blue on my Nintendo Color, but as the nintendo became more advanced, so did the pokemon games and the pokemon versions. Now there are so many pokemon that I can’t keep up. GIVE ME BACK MY 150!!!

Hybrid Cultures March 5, 2009

Posted by ah12 in cyborgs.
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As Roland Keltz discusses in his book, “Japanamerica” the world is adapting to new hybrid cultures, in which a society becomes shaped not only by its own traditions and history but also that of other cultures.

While I agree that in the age of globalization certain elements of different cultures become integrated into our society, there is still a cultural gap to be bridged. Consider these to be “cultural misinterpretations”. A few examples:

Keltz’s example: In the west “hentai” is considered a perversion, while in Japan it is merely the selfexpression that belongs to the private life, which must be very open and free to counterbalance the rigid and impersonal public life that, according to Keltz, is traditional of Japan.

A fun example: have you ever been to a party where European techno/house music has been played? Everyone goes nuts. Why? Its not like they understand the words, or the message of the song. The song is just so intense that, often techno comes accross as this intense music made anonymously and without meaning. However, thanks to my younger brother’s Swiss education, I can tell you that techno is just the opposite. It is an intricate game of one-upsmanship and meaningful messages, with certain musicians attracting quite heavy followings not all too different from, for similarity’s sake, Girl Talk or MGMT. Americans like the music, but they don’t understand what makes it good and enjoyable, choosing to popularize songs that are complete afterthoughts to the artists’ european fans.

Serious example: Often in the West, we face a great deal of international issues relating to nations under the control of Islam, or at least heavily populated by Muslims. Often lost in the argument (I am very liberal, but also a probable religous studies major so bear with me) that much of the international crisis in the middle east comes not from Western greed, or poor foreign policy but rather an inevitable confronation between two radical schools of thought. We, as Americans, often believe that democracy will fix the troubles facing the various peoples of the middle east, however that notion is probably a fallacy. Muslims all believe in sharia law, currently under strict enforcement in Saudi Arabia and Iran although under different schools of thought, yet many Westerners look at this as oppressive. The truth is that sharia also serves as a form of arbitration for legal matters, thus limiting how useful a western legal system might be in a predominantly Muslim nation such as Palestine. In addition it serves as a set of living guidelines, giving defense to the poor and orphaned while providing legal defense for women (depending on how powerful women in a given nation may be) and a set of marrital obligations not found in Western culture. Thus, can we really say that our methods and beliefs can be blended into a culture that we rely on for business and political means?

Animation or Live Action? March 4, 2009

Posted by smike97k in cyborgs.
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animated2

During the discussion after the screening of “Grave of the Fireflies,” the question of whether the film would have been as heart wrenching, or more so, if it had been made in life action.  The film actually was transferred to live action; however most of us had not seen that version.  An argument was made that it would most likely be more relatable and intense if it had been live action, with actual human characters, because it would be easier to relate to them as other human beings in terms of their physical bodies.  I had a different opinion of this question.  I thought that the animation was more intense than it would have been in live action.  Though I might change my mind if I were to see the live action version, I felt that the fact that it was animated, allowed for the character’s facial expression and movements to be extremely exaggerated, exaggerating the intensity of their feelings, fears, and appearances.  The intensity of feeling and fear struck me especially in the character of the young girl.  There was something about her intense and ever changing facial expressions that really left no room for interpretation; if she was upset, you knew it for sure.  I think this is because of the detail in the drawing aspect of animation creation.  Animating pays special attention to detail of each element within the individual drawing.  Because it is not “live” or “real life” an animator needs to exaggerate the characteristics of the subject so that they are sure to get across.  I think that that is what made this piece so powerful.   The emotion felt, especially from the young girl, was inescapable.

Someone brought up in class the point that it made it easier to feel more for these characters because they weren’t actual humans playing them.  It allowed us to remove our selves far enough away from reality that we actually could end up feeling more.  I thought this was an interesting idea.  Often times, in live action, what is being portrayed is too frightening to take in because you are seeing “real live” people take place in it, and so one may shut off connection to the characters out of fear.  On the other hand, the animation takes us away from our fears of this happening to us because we are “live” so that we can enter more into the story.live-action1