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Final Blog Post

Digital Diversity is the culture we live in. Remixing, social networking, e-waste, and the digital divide are all part of it. Remixing is how this generation speaks. It’s bringing back the Read and Write culture that John Philip Sousa spoke about in his address to congress. “These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy … in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.”[1] The social network that we use to share these remix’s with our friends and family are the equivalent to our front steps.

E-waste is another part of this culture. As consumerism grows in the developed nations, more e-waste is generated. The e-waste is processed in third world nations often using unsafe methods. As we close the digital divide, more e-waste is generated. A solution to this would be to limit e-waste by not purchasing new products until they are needed but this strategy could stunt the growth digital technology. Proper recycling of products would also reduce e-waste but that would bring the price of services up. There is know easy way to solve this problem but it is still part of our culture.

[1] http://www.ted.com/…/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html

Video citations:
Music:
Daft Punk – Crescendolls
Birdy Nam Nam – Violons

Images:
Ubuntu Image – Ubuntu.org
Social Networking – FredCavazza.net
Digital Divide – thejimohagan.com
Cyber Stalking – investigatorsandconsultants.com
EWaste – indiastand.com

Clips:
EWaste – http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?title=e-waste-delivery&videoId=314027
Sharing – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWBXhiGGEPk
Remixing – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs
Social – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc
Cyberstalking – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMAPeYwcvaQ

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Group Work Reflection

Our research questions came from our topic and what perspective we brought to the table. We all thought of different stereo types that we perceived to be in video game and based our research questions on that. We found our thesis after getting together with the things we found and compiling it all. We didn’t start with the idea of a video and originally we were going to do a power point presentation but when we saw the other groups present we decided we needed to up our game and make a video. In hind sight we should have just gone for the gusto from the begining instead of trying to play it safe. that would have saved a bit of stress on my part at least.

And now for something completely different.

Always On

As a generation, we are always connected with our electronics. Of the last 168 hours I spent 121 using some kind of technology. Below is the breakdown of my internet use.

My Internet use for the last week

My school work requires computer use (Computer Science Major). All my future job prospects require computer use (Software Engineering, Project Management, IT Support). Most of my hobbies require computer use (Music Production, Video Production, Programming, Video Gaming). I spend an average of 14 hours a day using a computer in some capacity. I am definitely “Always On.”

All of this time on computers causes a mental fatigue much like how an athlete experiences physical fatigue. It is similar to if a professional athlete goes to practice, plays his game, and then does a pickup game afterward without any rest in between. The only breaks I can take and still feel like i’m being productive are cooking or watching youtube videos, “YouTube, in many ways, represents the next evolution in how we consume
video—quickly and conveniently.” Or have Netflix going on constantly in the background, “We collect content from the comfort and convenience
of our home, via digital downloads and peer-to-peer networks…”

Race, Gender, and Video Games

There has been an increase in racial and gender stereotypes portrayed in video games since their invention.  Our goal is to discuss gender and racial issues and how they are exasperated by video games.  With the increase in online play and the anonymity of the users, gender and racial insensitivity can be viewed clearly.

 

We are researching this topic from several different angles starting with the history of video games. While going through video game history we will be looking at landmark titles and how they picture gender and race.  We will also be looking at Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) and how they have shaped the race and gender landscape.  We will look at the ESRB and how they rate video games that contain stereotypes.  We will research whether or not video games have caused people to become desensitized to racial and gender stereotypes and we will discuss the rise of the female protagonist and gender stereotypes.

 

My focus is the social interaction between gamers in console and online games. One of our lines of research is to see if one particular platform causes more desensitization than the other seeing as console gaming is generally seen as cheaper and therefore more likely to attract youths. Another line would be to research voice chat logs of console and PC gamers to see if there are more insensitive comments in one medium or another.

 

Other Members:

 

Sources:

E-Waste

The digital divide is the notion that socioeconomic issues don’t allow those in the poor population to own or use technology.  There is a belief that simply providing this population with technology would solve the problem.  While technology could be helpful, if there is no training to go along with the technology it will go unused. E-waste is also a product of the digital divide.  E-waste is the product of our consumer culture, where everyone wants the latest and greatest gadget and throws away the old gadget.  The poor of other countries then take this refuse and salvage useful parts and precious metals from them.  The health effects of this salvage are catastrophic and significantly shortening the lives of those involved.

My thought is that if we reduce the digital divide in our own country, we increase the divide in poorer countries that receive our e-waste.  If our digital divide narrows, more people will have technology and thus generate more waste to ship to those countries.  We could force our recycling plants to not ship out waste by law but then a black market would emerge.

Copyright Laws Limit Creativity

The original position that I held for the debate was that Copyright laws limit creativity.  I personally believe this to be false, but I also believe that copyright has been taken to an extreme. Lawrence Lessig believes that copyright laws stifle creativity.

Dr. Lessig is correct that things have been taken to the extreme end of things.  That a woman’s video could be taken down because some background music was copyrighted is pretty ridiculous.  The woman wasn’t making any money off of the video. The video wasn’t directly competing with the holder or even indirectly competing with them. This video should have been protected by fair use.

On the other hand copyright laws do increase creativity between businesses. If Apple were to release a new product like the IPhone, they should be able to protect their product in order to make profit. After a certain amount of time however, the work should be put in public domain so that other people can build on that work.

Facebook and Egypt

In the video on the New York times, they framed Facebook and Twitter as just a tool used by the activists.  The protesters could speak English very well.  This leads me to believe that the protesters were well educated by being able to speak a language other than their native language.  I will say that during the beginning of the revolution, Facebook and Twitter were used to organize, but after the internet was shut down Facebook and twitter could not have been used.

 

Protecting the Family Silver vs. RiP: A Remix Manefesto

The issues of cultural appropriation and remixing are very similar. Remixing is the appropriation of previous artists’ works and cultural appropriation is remixing a cultures icons into something new with a meaning far removed from it’s original intent.  In the case of Moana and the Tribe however, it can’t be right to trademark a name.  It would be like someone trademarking the name “Washington” and then suing the WSU, UW, the state and the capitol for infringing on the trademark.  If that case was brought to court it would be thrown out.

Remixing shouldn’t be illegal.  However, one shouldn’t be able to sell a remix without the original author’s permission.  One should be able to remix to his hearts content and distribute it as they see fit but if they sell the product then I can see no reason why the original artists can’t sue them.  If the remixer remixes the orignal to the point that one can’t figure out which song it’s from, what is stopping the remixer form just using their own original sounds using a sequencer like fl studio?

Google’s Controversal Privacy Stance

Google has had it’s fare share of controversies.  Many countries have sued Google for supposedly violating peoples’ privacy.  Just last year several Google employees were handed six month suspended sentences for hosting a video of an autistic person being bullied in violation of Italian privacy laws.  This conviction means that, at least in Italy, Google employees are responsable for everything that is uploaded by Google’s users.  Google was also caught grabbing information from unsecured wireless networks while the Google “Street View” car was traveling in Germany.  While no data was stolen illegally, as all the networks were unsecured, it does show that Google’s view on the privacy of individuals is one of “true transparency and no anonymity.”

 

<— Back to the beginning

The first post

This is the first post on my american studies blog. This blog will contain homework assignments for the class as well as links to my other blogs. Here is a little taster as to what my other blogs will contain.