Awkward…I thought we were just e-mailing these.
Awkward…I thought we were just e-mailing these.
In Ferreus’s apartment, there is one bed. One bed and four walls. Each wall is covered entirely by a computer monitor and his bed sits directly in the middle of the room. Ferreus lives alone. He spends his days with a black helmet covering his face and electric gloves on his hands. With these devices, Ferreus is connected to the virtual world that is displayed on the walls which encompass him.
On the outside, Ferreus looks like a normal, human being. He has creamy skin, dark, thick, hair, long arms and legs, and a skinny torso. He owns four pairs of the same jeans and switches them off daily. He wears a tattered old black sweatshirt with a big, yellow smiley face in the middle that he found in a consignment shop years ago. He walks, he eats, he breathes.
But Ferreus has one oddity that sets him apart from most humans. He has a mechanical heart.
When Ferreus was fifteen, he fell helplessly in love. She was beautiful, smart, witty –everything his fifteen year-old heart yearned for. He spent day after day trying to get her attention by writing love letters, making CDs, and waiting for her after class (he relied heavily on dating advice from old movies), but she never loved him back. One day, after two years of agonizing love, Ferreus finally plucked up the courage to ask her out. As he walked across the street to her house, he saw her door open. He saw her standing on her porch, kissing a boy from their class goodbye. She was taken. Ferreus, struck numb by the emotional blow, stopped in his tracks; the car that was speeding down the street at that moment did not.
Ferreus was rushed to the emergency room where the doctors had no choice but to replace his heart. His new heart is completely mechanical. When connected to the matrix, he can program it to feel any emotion he wants. He never has to feel the pain of love again.
Now twenty-two year-old Ferreus escapes to cyberspace to wreak havoc in the lives of women. He programed himself to not feel guilt or remorse, and certainly never compassion or love.
He uses his suave demeanor and rebel image to make women want him. He dates a girl for a month, gets her to trust him, and then steals everything he can from her savings, her home, and her emotional well-being. That’s how he makes a living. Why love when he could spend his time making money and playing games? He does not care what anyone else in the matrix thinks of him because he does not have to. Ferreus is heartless.
I am digitally standing in the summit of Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and one Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.” The view is breathtaking. I am on the edge of a massive crater in the surface of the top of mountain. It looks like the bottom of an enormous lake, drained of all water. The steep, jagged edges in the earth are smooth brown, growing increasingly darker as they grow deeper into the mountain’s core. Patches of melting snow are dispersed throughout the tremendous pit, leaving wet shadows of past hydration. The sun is hitting one side of the crater so that the brown slate is illuminated, like an opening in the heavens casting light down on a patch of the earth. I am standing in the shadow of a cloud.
I look around the edge. The ground is lithic and uneven. It is covered in small rocks, pebbles, and dirt. The surface of the mountain around the huge crater is hilly and undulating, but flat enough to walk on. It stretches on for miles.
And then I look beyond. The view of the ground from the summit is sublime. I am at the highest point in Japan. The snow-covered edges of the rigged mountain side glisten with solitude. I am high up in the clouds but can see patches of the earth where there are breaks in the billowing white vapor. The earth’s surface is miles and miles away and goes on for as far as my eyes can see. I am too high up to make out details, but I see stretches of land and foliage. Everything is covered in a white, hazy blanket of mist, generating an angelic feeling of immaculacy and transcendence.
It is a celestial but humbling place. The world is virtually at my feet yet I feel nothing but small, miniscule, insignificant. I feel like one of many, but at the same time, alone and afraid. The world is so much more than me, too much to take in, too much to comprehend. Atop this mountain, with a view it feels like only a god should know, I feel like I am being questioned, challenged. Anywhere I look, I can see for miles and miles; I imagine I am in the sky, surrounded by the heavens, but the cool ground below beckons to stay in place. I am attached to the earth, yet miles above it. I am overwhelmed with contrasting feelings of of power and impotency. Where do I belong? What is my purpose? How can my life affect this world of which I can see so much? I humble myself to the simple power that lies within me and the pressure exerted on me by the sky, nature, and all that is holy.
I experienced this view using Google Earth, videos on YouTube, and pictures from Google Images. Viewing Mt. Fuji digitally, as opposed to real life, creates a different affect on the sensations aroused from the scenery. I am basing my entire sensual experience on imagery, yet I can see only what is available online. I am limited by the range of the photographer and the resolution of the camera. I cannot feel the crunch of the earth under my feet. I cannot feel the suffocating air pressure nor the excruciating cold. All of these would be factors in threatening the physical effect on my perception of the summit. And I cannot traverse freely though the space, though I pretend to by changing the view and or moving through different images. Another limitation is in the size; I can only see what is on the computer 15-inch screen. I have no use for peripheral vision.
However, there are several advantages to virtually experiencing this place. I doubt I will ever actually have the ability to travel to the top of Mt. Fji, therefore the mere fact that I am able to see this from here in my dorm at College Park is astounding. Even though the screen is small and there are several limitations, I am still able to see exactly what the summit of the mountain looks like. The most powerful facet of this mountain, however, is the view–and I think the digital capturing of the mountain and surroundings is exceptional, enough to take my breath away just by looking at a computer screen.
I almost hate to admit it, but I love to play Angry Birds. On the surface, the game seems to be the very straight-forward killer-type. The goal is to fling birds at pigs in order to kill them. In the end, everyone dies.However is we think about the different aspects of morality as discussed in the Ted Talk we can see the expanse of the moral compass in the game.
Care/Harm- This game focuses almost solely on harm. The objective is the take the allotted amount of birds and fling them at the pigs. The harder the birds hit the pigs, the more likely the chance they die. There are obstacles that prevent direct contact with the pigs, so the birds will hit other objects and die themselves. They also die when they hit the pigs.
Fairness/reciprocity- There is not much fairness in this game. Firstly, there are different kinds of birds. Each possesses a special skill or talent which allows them to hit the pigs easier. For example, there are birds that can accelerate speed, birds that split into other, smaller birds, and birds that explode. The game gives the player three to five birds to start out with, but the player does not get to choose which kinds of birds nor the order in which he/she can throw them. Therefore, there is less fairness between the player and the computer. The game is very computer-based, mostly left up to chance.
Loyalty/in-group- this set of morals is not really applicable to this game. it is generally every man for himself, and there is one man.
Authority/respect- The question of authority and respect apply in this game when there are the greater sized pigs and pigs in armor They are more difficult to kill, therefore have a more dominating pretense in the game. It feels like they have more authority because the player has to work harder to challenge them. In regards to respect, the player gains respect as he/she progresses and advances in the game. The player’s score goes up and other players have to ability to view each others’ scores. In this way, players with higher scores also have authority.
Sanctity/purity- These elements, too, are not highly relevant in the game unless one sees the act of murder as impure– in which case, there are high levels in impurity in Angry Birds.
Therefore, the overarching goals of this game are to kill, to achieve, and to gain respect and authority.
For my visualization, I made of Wordle using Adele lyrics. This Wordle is comprised of the lyrics of her five most recent chart-topping songs: “Someone Like You,” “Rollin’ in the Deep,” “Turning Tables,” “Rumor Has It,” and “Set Fire to the Rain.” It is well known that Adele sings about her struggles in love and the good and bad times in her relationships. I wanted this visualization to show how many of her songs are connected.
This image highlights the major themes linking her songs. The three biggest words in the image are, in order from left to right, “Never,” “gonna,” “love.” It is almost like the Wordle is uncovering the secret message in her lyrics—Adele is doomed to live life loveless and just keep creating songs about it.
If we isolate each one of the words though, we find different meanings. The word “never” is the biggest and most prevalent. That sets tone for the overall image: negative and depressed. It shows that Adele almost always sings about incidents she thinks or knows will never happen or have never happened. When contrasted with the other prominent words, it highlights that this negativity is based on her love life.
The word “gonna” is the next biggest. Because “gonna” ambiguously refers to the future, it is possible that the word could be used in either a negative or a positive context. It does suggest, however, that most of what Adele sings about is events that have not occurred yet.
The third most prominent word, “love,” suggests one thing: this woman like to write love songs. Most are about heartache, heartbreak, and despair, while a few others are about optimism. Regardless, it can be concluded that almost every one of Adele’s songs is about love.
Some other words that stand out are “time,” “wish,” “heart,” “deep,” “turning,” and “sometimes.” All of these words sound like they are coming from a hopeless romantic. To anyone familiar with Adele, the overall theme of these words would immediately give away the origins of the texts in this Wordle.
To someone unfamiliar with Adele, this visualization is a wonderful way to sum up the basic message of every single one of her songs: Never gonna love.
A lot of people claim to connect with Adele’s lyrics. It would give her words even more meaning if there were a visualization tool to see which words that she used were most stronglt felt or agreed with by her fans. Each person connecting with the word could be represented by a glowing dot. The dots will then surround the words, thereby illuminateing the words that are most popular, or rather, more universally felt. This would not only show how Adele’s word choice allows her to connect with her audience, but also how the audience connects with each other. The genral ideas about love and loss can be presented in a universal depiction.
I am going to argue that Megan’s item, ”Rafting in Costa Rica,” (http://mith.umd.edu/arguing/admin/items/show/48) is not simply about her rafting trip. Megan credits the rafting tour photographer as the creator of the photo, and therefore I see this image as a story about him or her. It is an image of what we can assume to be the daily life of a rafting tour photographer. This is what he or she does. The photo documents the environment in which the photographer works daily. He or she chose to work in Costa Rica and be a part of a rafting company that gives tours to visitors. One this particular day, the weather seems to be cooperative and the water not too rapid nor unruly — but this is just one day in the life of the photographer. He or she has to respond to the conditions of the river and the Costa Rica environment constantly. Megan and her family are some of the many that this person photographs on a regular basis. The image captures an example of what he or she thinks is a good photo of a group of people rafting in Costa Rica. It reflects the photographer’s person choice of angle and background. The photographer’s story is told through this image.
The second item whose narrative I want to counter is Ed’s item called “Campaigning.” http://mith.umd.edu/arguing/admin/items/show/49 He describes it as a photo of him “helping out on a parade during the Prince George’s County elections.” But what the item really is the shirt Ed is wearing in the photo. It is a bold purple t-shirt with white writing spelling out “Clark for Clerk.” This shirt tells a whole diiferent story than the one of Ed campaigning. Someone, most likely Clark, a supporter of Clark or a member of Clark’s campaign committee, must have come up with the slogan. Next someone would have had to think to imprint it onto a t-shirt. Then, someone would have had to think of the color. Purple must have some significance in this politician’s campaign. These three element would have to come together in order to create the t-shirt. The last step is Ed and his comrades who decided to receive and wear the shirts. Are they serving their purpose? There was a lot of thought put into the planning of the shirt, and it may have lead to Clark’s election or loss of election. This photo is not simply evidence of Ed’s political endeavors; it is a story about a little purple shirt.
TV Aztecta- en Mexico: Sept 11, 9:31 a.m.
The clip begins with a replay of footage of the most recent plane hitting one of the buildings. The camera angle prevents the viewer from seeing the point of impact, only the plane flying behind the building, then the explosion on the other side. Then the video cuts to the live stream, which shows the current state of the buildings as they burn. There are two anchors, a male and a female, taking turns speaking. In their voices, there is a sense of information, but no clear urgency; just involved commentary. The announcer says that at this point they have confirmed only 6 deaths.
CNN – Sept 11, 9:31 a.m.
The clip begins zoomed in on the side of the most recently hit building. The fire is burning strongly. Then the camera zooms out slowly, adding layers of context. The viewer can see the rest of the building, then the other buildings, then the city around it. Meanwhile the female anchor is one the phone with another reporter and he is giving updates on the government’s information about the attacks.
Comparison: The Mexican stream if definitely more from an outsider’s prospective. While there is concern, it is more of shock-and-awe concern than what-does-this-mean-for-America concern. This outsider’s concern is also reflected in the commentary, which is the anchors describing what happens as it appears on the screen (I understand Spanish, by the way), as opposed to elaborating, as the CNN anchor does. Additionally, the fact that the Azteca video does not capture the full image of the plane hitting the tower and the flash back to an earlier scene makes the footage less in the action that the CNN one. The CNN footage is more moving, and more impactful. The anchor giving context and talking to the man on the phone who is giving information about the government’s investigation into who the attackers are, whether it’s a terrorist attack, etc, gives the image more meaning than just blow-by-blow commentary.
BBC World News Report – September 17, 12:50 a.m.
There is one anchor in the studio corresponding with a correspondent in New York. They discuss the effect that the attacks will have on the global economy. She asks him if she thinks there will be any impact on the oil market. And she asks if he thinks Americans are happy with the way Bush is handling “this.” There is no background footage or contextual visuals. The anchor is inside the studio, and the correspondent is surrounded by a dark, blurry background.
FOX News – September 17, 12:50 a.m.
This clip is a montage of footage the news station got of reporters talking to witnesses. It begins with a split screen clip of a person on the street describing what he saw and a clip of the buildings burning. Then, the video transitions to a construction worker being interviewed from inside his car. Across the bottom of the screen, information is being scrolled about the new death count and state of the rescue mission.
Comparison: The contrast between these two clips gives a greater worldly perspective. The American footage is still covering what happened that day and how individuals were impacted. The information scrolling across the bottom of t the screen highlights how American news organizations are still finding out more and more about the death toll and other relevant information to the day of the attacks. The BBC news is solely focused on how the event impacted the world. They care about how the tragedy will affect them, not about the lives that were lost and the devastation in America. However, they cannot be blamed, because the event did not occur in their country, so they do not have the same sense of powerful emotion and yearning for more details.
Alexis Morgan Anthony (Born Sept. 1993 was born in Columbia, Maryland into an interracial couple. (Link family photo) She grew up camping and hiking almost every weekend with her family. (Link to photos from camping trips). High school was Alexis’s most lively and involved period. She has her life documented on Facebook. She also loves to sing and perform and has spent many years on stage or singing for friends and family. (embed video of one of Alexis’s performances) And now, Alexis is happily attending the University of Maryland, singing in choir.
They feared they were on the brink of war. It had been three weeks since Chief Justice Kinney issued a warrant for chief Bear Hunter’s, Sanpitch’s, and Sagwitch’s arrests. The three chiefs were wanted for the murder of settler John Henry Smith and his horses. This was the most recent attack the settlers had discovered since they heard of the ten miners killed three days prior.
Kinney had sought the military assistance of Col. Patrick Edward Connor and his men to execute the natives. The Shoshone faced immediate infiltration.
Two more days passed and they still had not seen Colonel Conner’s men.
It was just before dawn the one morning. Chief Bear Hunter stood at the head of the camp surrounded by his brethren.
“We must secure the camp,” he warned. “Our time is limited.”
“We have already made hiding places with these,” said one of his men, holding a long willow branch. “What more?
“Dig,” Bear Hunter responded. “Dig pits around the river banks for retreat. ”
“Can’t we just try to negotiate with them instead?” asked one feeble tribeswoman. “We cannot afford to keep fighting.”
“Silly woman, we have tried!” Chief Bear Hunter said in exasperation. “Chief Sandpitch is in the City of Salt Lake as we speak, trying to negotiate peace. But do you think they will have it? No, these white men don’t want our friendship. They have been taking our land, killing our game, and destroying our resources. And when we try just for one moment to retrieve what is rightfully ours, they retaliate. They shoot. They kill. These are not a peaceful people we are dealing with. So now we must prepare for battle.”
Chief Bear Hunter turned around to go back into his hut. He needed quiet. There was careful planning to be done if he wanted to keep his Shoshone people alive.
Then something off in the horizon caught his attention.
I cannot stop staring. He is too attractive.
I do not know his name yet, but this guy who just moved in next door is making me drool. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He has a chiseled face and the most sexy five-o’clock shadow I have ever seen. It is as if his body has been computer programmed.
I clamber to the window to watch him as he pulls more and more furniture into his new place. He is carrying in a refrigerator. Now a couch.
The muscles. Oh, the muscles.
I was suddenly hit with the urge to do the unthinkable. I am going to go talk to him.
I have to make sure I am ready first! I walk to the bathroom and take a shower. It is exactly five minutes long. And now I need to put more make-up on. No, and a new hair style! A new color, too?
Yes, yes. This looks good. Luckily it only took me about 30 seconds to completely alter my physical appearance.
It is now time to make my way over. I’m a very quick walker, so getting there will take not time at— Oh, look, I’m here!
Well, the door is open. I may as well just let myself in.
Time to say hello.
I am not quite sure what is happening. As I open my mouth to speak, the sounds that are flowing out are not English. It must be his overbearing sexiness that is causing my mind to go numb and for these sounds to come out. I’m making a fool of myself!
“Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Feliciano Cumming.”
He understands me?! I can hardly believe it! Apparently he speaks the same kind of gibberish that I do. Man, am I turned on.
I am trying to make small talk but I soon realize the fate of our relationship lays on my next move. I can either be funny for 30 seconds, or be nice for one minute.
What to do, what to do. I have to think fast!
What if I tell a joke and he does not laugh? But on the other hand, what if I am too nice and he gets bored and disinterested?
The clock is ticking. It’s now or never.
I tell a joke.
We are now acquaintances.