Done with finals? Have a laugh or two
Done with finals? Have a laugh or two
Please enjoy the amazingly random machinima that Alexis, Greg, and I worked hard on.
Filming was a bit tricky because for some reason Second Life was running a bit choppy on my (the robot’s) computer. We scrambled around the past 12 hours trying to get all of the voiceovers together.
Alexis in Wonderland!
Alexis played by Alexis Anthony
E^2 (a.k.a. M.C.) played by Emil Evans
Wiz Kha-Leaf-ah/ Poh the Panda Bear played by Greg Baroni
Richard was the best hacker this side of the internet. That’s at least what he wanted to be considered. He grew up around old computers and clunky technology. Richard’s mother was a waitress at a pizza shop, while his father worked in the Silicon mines on the outskirts of town. Server city was known for being one of the highest grossing cities in the country. This money seemed to come down in short bursts to the common working citizens. The fat cats upstairs in their penthouse suites would only loosen their grip on their funds when they seemed fit. Every few years, it seemed like the population nearly doubled. What used to be comfortable living apartments soon turned into cramped living quarters.
Richard had always longed to be noble like his big brother Al. His older brother left years ago to assist his old friends in forming a secret alliance to take back the city. Every few months, the family is sent letters telling them not to worry. The first few letters were written in Al’s sloppy cursive manuscript. More recently, they have been coming up in a weird computer font. Richard was one who also had a secret hatred for the city. He was tired of watching his parents work tirelessly, but with little rewards. His lack of strength and endurance kept him from joining the resistance after his eighteenth birthday. Now he just loafs around his parents’ basement staring at his clunky computer monitor with his coke bottle glasses.
His body may have seemed feeble and below average, but that all changed once he sat in front of a computer keyboard. On the internet, he was known as The Big Bad Wolf. It was said that he could huff and puff and blow down any firewall. He was a cyber criminal unmatched by any other. No one knew of his identity. Even when his acts of injustice were on the front page of every news site, his parents were still unaware.
It was not always this way. Richard had a rocky start with the matrix at the beginning. He first started hacking when he was in his early teens. One of his friends introduced him to the hobby and he’s been hooked ever since. He has moved up from making the automated street lights flicker, to taking complete control of the mechanized suits for the police units. His next challenge will be the biggest yet. He’s going to hit this city where it hurts. Their wallets.
This is my first time to the Sonaran Desert. It is located in the Southwest United States. This place is definitely different than what I am used to. My home in Baltimore City almost never got this hot; even during the summer months on the hot asphault. The sun was showing no mercy whatsoever today. There is no cloud in sight. I barely have enough energy to choke on the sand that finds its way to the back of my throat every time the wind picks up, or a tumbleweed blows by. One thing is for certain, the red clay tastes much better than the tannish colored sand.
Despite being such an inhabitable place, there were quite a few creatures who were more than hostile towards me. There seemed to be rattlesnakes under every rock. Just like me, they were trying to find refuge from this heat. As curious as they seemed, bearded dragons were not afraid to flare their frills at me anytime that I ventured too near their territory. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw my first tarantula in the desert. It must have been about as large as my hand. As with any kind of desert, there was always the humble cactus. It still remains as a staple in deserts, especially those out in Western American culture.
I went to the base of a mountain. To my tired eyes, it seemed more like a giant mound of dirt. I could see paintings on the side of it. It was probably drawn with some sort of clay many years ago. It looks a lot like a tribe of Native Americans out hunting. Whatever this masterpiece portrays, I hope that it will remain there in History for other travelers to marvel at. I finally waited a few hours for the sun to go down some before attempting to scale the mountain. There is no way I want to be any closer to the mid day sun than I have to. I reached the top in time to see the sun retreat back under mountains and mesas to the West. The sky was filled with dazzling hues of pink and orange. It was calm and serene like a bouquet of flowers. As I reached the bottom of the mountain, I was met with another surprise. What lie only a few yards ahead of my appeared to be an abandoned town. I ventured closer. I dusted off the sign to one of the buildings to see “Hyder Sheriff’s Department” written in bold red letters.
I was right on the city line for Hyder, Arizona. This is one of America’s ghost towns that was very prosperous in the Old West. The sun was almost set and I could already feel my nerves become tense. The howling wind was nowhere as terrifying as the howling coyote I heard over the mountain I had just trekked. If I ever want to tell others about my discovery of this ghost town, I must make it back home before I become a permanent resident of this place.
One of my favorite games to play is Borderlands. I own the first game in the series, and I have also rented the second one. I only played the first few missions of the second game. Despite a few upgrades, the formula for the two seems to be roughly the same. For the sake of discussion, I will be referring to the the first game in the series unless otherwise stated.
Borderlands is one of the few games that takes elements from two genres that, at times, can seem like polar opposites. Elements of a first-person shooter game are blended together with role-playing game components. The most obvious aspect of the game is that it turns the player into a killer. The wasteland setting transforms you into a survivor/killer immediately. The first person shooter element completely transforms you into this sort of soldier. It gives you the weapons that are needed to kill. With your character being a treasure hunter, it turns you into an explorer and an achiever. The role playing game ingredient rewards you for your added exploration by giving you loot and more guns to kill with.
The fourth element that this game is missing is the socializing element. This is not a massive multiplayer online role playing game. There is not a lot of socializing that goes on. Many of your quests are given to you in the form of a bounty board. There is little need to socialize with the townspeople except for a few select characters. The max number of players that are allowed to be in the same game at once is four. There is little need to talk. The shooter element greatly outshines the role playing game element when it comes to combat. In Borderlands 2, the difficulty is increased a bit. Boss battles now require more creative action (Like shooting nuclear missiles out of the air). This prompts players to communicate a little bit more, but at the same time, it is not needed (granted you have enough bullets).
When it comes to Borderlands, fairness can be a mixed bag. When in a party, any killed enemy grants the whole team experience. This is great for those who are lower in level. At the same time, it can promote lazy players who like to sit back and observe, rather than help their teammates. When money is collected, the same amount goes to all members of the squad. However, ammunition does not work the same way. Sometimes there are players who sit around and open chests to gather loot and ammo while others fight enemies. Loyalty is also a bit wishy-washy. The game makes a common goal for the different character classes. Rather than create separate warring factions like World of Warcraft, the game encourages looting and treasure hunting throughout the game. It is kind of like an honor among thieves system. The more players in a group increase the strength of enemies. This usually encourages the teammates to revive each other.Other than this, players are free to engage in combat with each other by hitting others with a melee attack.
The large first person shooter element keeps the game itself from becoming a game that centers around care/harm. It also prevents the game from having a purity factor. It is also not too big on socializing either (perhaps due to the fact that parties can only have a maximum of four players). Games like The Sims do a better job at filling in the moral gaps left by Borderlands. Although this genre of game is on the other side of the spectrum, I think that I will still enjoy it. I am a gamer who plays all types of games.
For my word visualization, I decided to focus on the famous children’s book, The Cat in the Hat, written by Dr. Seuss. Before I copied and pasted the word into the generator, I made a few predictions. I expected that the biggest words would most likely be cat, hat. and fun. I also expected words that rhyme together would be another big contributor to the visualization.
I was quite surprised to find that the word “fish” is the biggest word. Not only is it the largest, but it is also separated from the rest of the group. After re-listening to the book (I listened to it to emulate story time) it turns out that fish is said quite a few times. In fact, the fish was more like the party pooper of the group. He was the one who continually tried to be cautious. He constantly reminded the children of the repercussions that they would face from their mother if she found out some of the shenanigans that the trio were getting in to. Although the book is told from a first person point of view, it is the fish who does a lot of the talking.
Other large words that are the same color include “oh”, “hat”, and “like”. Another interesting thing to not is that “mother” and “house” are quite near to one another in both size and position. Both were probably mentioned roughly the same number of times by the fish out of concern.
Another thing to note is the fact that the word “cat” appears as both “Cat” and “cat” (the difference is that the C is capitalized). This must mean that The Cat in the Hat is referred to both as an animal, and referred to by name. One last thing that I found notable was that Sally has her name mentioned in the picture, but not Conrad. This most likely implies that Conrad is the narrator of the story.
If I could make another distant reading tool, I would choose to have the words scroll across the top of the screen in order. By mousing over a single word, the user could find the definition of the word. By clicking on the word, a web of words would pop up showing the synonyms for the clicked word. Right clicking would resume the scrolling of the words. If the mouse has a scroll wheel, scrolling up will cause the words to move faster, and scrolling down will slow them down. I would also like to include a search function that would show instances of keywords in other works. This would eventually lead you to the next work where those words would begin to scroll across the screen.
by Tess Molkette
Look at this blog post. Now look at the picture. Now back this blog post. Now once more at the picture. Did you notice that?
Look closer. Not me silly, I’m just a blog post. Look at the picture. Closer. Closer.
Do you see them?
Look at the picture
Now look at your dorm room.
Now look at the picture.
Now cover one eye while looking at your dorm room.
Now flip your monitor upside down and look at the picture.
I didn’t say Simon says.
But in all seriousness, look at the picture. Notice how this is no ordinary picture of a dorm room. What we have is a class 3B ninja invasion on a single room scale. This is poor Tess’ cry for help. She was able to capture three ninjas on film. Peer very carefully under her chair. That dark square shaped shadow is ninja number one. Because I am an expert in ninja tools and technologies (NTaT), I can recognize a cloak of shrouding almost three hundred yards away.
Ninja number two is a very stealthy one. Upon closer inspection of Tess’ apple laptop, one can spot the second ninja in the act of crawling up the webpage she is viewing. Using a ninja disk drive (NDD), a ninja can digitize himself into any device that has a USB port.
Thanks to my degree in the NTaT field, I immediately picked up on the third ninja. He is the one holding the camera. Even ninjas like to be social creatures.
Tess if you are reading this, I believe you have nothing to fear. They should vacate your dorm room by Thanksgiving. They themselves cannot resist the taste of hone hame and turkey.
White MITH mug
by Amanda Visconti
This is not just any ordinary picture of a mug. This appears to be a story of a manufacturer of cups and ceramics that has seen better days. At first glance, the mug appears to be clean and possibly brand new. Take a closer look at the lettering. The organization that Amanda works with is known as the Maryland Institute of Technology, or MITH for short. It is almost as if the mug is mocking her because it is printed backwards spelling HTIM.
As of now, there are a few theories behind the “miss-print” of this artifact. One popular theory is that an innocent intern made a mistake while operating the printing press that slapped the big bold letters onto the shipment of mugs one by one. Once the company figured out the issue, it was too late. The case of hundreds of mugs were already on their way to Hornbake Library in University of Maryland College Park. This theory is commonly referred to as the hipster mug theory.
Another common hypothesis is that during production, Amanda and those at MITH had a quarrel with Kirsten Keister, the original designer. No one can imagine what the argument was about, but many speculate that Ms. Keister was a duke fan. In order to throw salt into the wound, Keister and her team of designers decided to spell the name backwards on purpose.
There are many other theories other than these two. However, none have been completely validated.
In case you guys did not see them, here are my five artifacts that I added to the archive:
http://mith.umd.edu/arguing/items/show/45 (I’m not sure if anyone commented about this one yet, but I finally added the picture after realizing that I never uploaded it)
The first part is almost like the notes I took while I watched the videos.
Ottawa, Canada NEWSW(CBC):
After 2nd plane hits:
Austin, TX, USA TCN (TXCN):
1:00-1:10 am (6:00-6:10am BST)
London, England BBC (BBC World):
The main similarities between the Canadian and American news stations on the day of the terrorist attack were the different angles of the shots they used. Both of them focused mainly on the giant gash in the buildings. All of the news anchors at the two stations remained relatively emotionless or calm while the first building was billowing with smoke. The estimate of the floors hit were roughly the same (between floors 80 and 85). Fear and empathy did not seem to enter their voices until the second planes truck the second tower. Both stations mentioned an attempted terrorist attack a few years before in the parking garage below the towers. I would imagine the news stations would have reacted the same way if I continued to watch while the plane hit the Pentagon.
Some of the differences between the two channels during the attack include the camera quality. The Canadian channel seemed to have better quality. The Texan channel and its interviewers seemed to know that it was a giant commercial plane from the beginning. The Canadian channel assumed it was probably a small propeller plane. (Possibly because there are many privately owned planes in Canada?) The Texan channel also mentioned the top observation deck. Not only were there workers in danger, but there were also tourists visiting the towers that were in danger at the incident. Another thing that the American station mentioned was that the attack was during the morning rush hour. The first witness of the Canadian station seemed to show confusion, where as the witness for the American station was frantic.
The next week was quite different for the American and British stations. However, they did have some similarities. The estimated number of dead or missing people is around 5000 people. Both stations mentioned Bush’s “crusade” to bring the suicidal taliban to justice.
There was a sharp contrast between the two stations. The British station reported the hard facts about the attack while the American station seemed to take a more analytic approach to presenting their information. The portion of Bush’s speech that the British channel broadcast seemed to portray Bush as a cop who was looking for those who committed the crime. In the portion the American station aired, it seemed more motivational to the American people.
My name is Emil Evans and I am the son of Huemiller and Deborah Evans. I grew up in Baltimore, MD. One thing that I can proudly say is that I love the city of Baltimore despite what others may have to say about it. In the Evans family, education is valued greatly. I am proud to say that throughout my school career I have remained on either Honor Roll or the Principal’s list. (That of course stopped in my freshman year of college) Helping others is one of my great passions. Any of my friends will tell you that I am always willing to go out mod my way to help someone in need.
If I could put anything in my own personal digital archive, I would include: