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Apr 03 2011

Word Magic

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John Eisenberg: Technology and Human Thought

Just as it is not possible to look ahead to the technological changes now taking

shape, it is not easy to look back to the ones that have helped form our own

culture. I’m not sure what Eisenberg meant by this because he makes it pretty simple where technology originated from or perhaps I’m reading it wrong. It was short and fairly easy to understand .After all if you look at communication as oral/ written language then that  meansthat means that in it of itself is a form of technology. Eisenberg brings up many interesting ideas but my favorite  isfavorite is “How can the hand grasp itself grasping?” Thought is so intimately

associated with the conventions of a technology that it is hard for users to see

that different media are independent means for the expression of thought”. It’s true that we must break away from a concept to fully grasp and understand it. I agree that it was the earlier forms of technology ( the example of ancient Greek civilization) that has allowed for technology to expand and also provides an explanation for the way things are today I love how Eisenberg’s piece is very short and yet doesn’t take away from his argument. I think he somehow feels that Language is the finest form of technology. From the beginning when he mentions the thought process all the way to the actions that take place. Language controls every aspect of life. We find ourselves alive in listening, speaking world. I guess part of that is the acknowledgment of your thoughts and actions not only by yourself but also others around you.

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Mar 17 2011

An Ode to the English Language

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An Ode to the English Language

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in
eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England. We take English for
granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can
work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from
Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers
don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of
them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?

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Mar 13 2011

Prayer: My technic

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Disclaimer: my intention is not to preach or teach but rather provide an inside look at what I consider makes me human in a technological advanced world.

As Professor Buell mentioned “One of Mumford’s central claims is that more fundamental than tools were technics that allowed prehumans in the process of hominization (becoming human) to stabilize and cohere their unconscious and their social relations. Dance, then ritual and myth were central the technics they used for this, Mumford argued. You’ll remember that Robinson Crusoe used his journal and reading of the Bible to do something very much similar to this”. I would be lying if I said I got all of what Mumford was talking about  but I did gather that he was making a parallel development between human tools ( both man and divine being made ) and social organization such as language and rituals (dance/ myths). I guess for me I would pick a route similar to Mumford and Crusoe and say its prayer.

Prayer is its own form of machine and very prominent in my life. I am required to pray five times a day and each time is very similar but also very different. Crusoe had his bible and his journal to keep count of his adventures and connection to the divine being; I have prayer ( Salaat). There is a language that goes with it (Arabic), a dance (more like steps one must follow) and it is a ritual repeated at different times of the day. I guess knowing that every prayer is my assertion that I am doing what I was created for makes me human. Every time I stand on my prayer rug and start my prayer I am reminded that I am about to both physically and spiritually be reminded of what is expected of me.

It is said that the prayer is the best act of worship and connects you to the divine being. It is like a machine with a pre set time to maintain it and when the clock strikes out  (adhan : call to prayer) you must attend to it. Tardiness is not tolerated or advised. The machine stands in one place and does not move ( facing Mecca).

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Feb 27 2011

Shift in the Views of Technology in the 21st century

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Computer Swallowed Grandma

http://joyofsix.typepad.com/joyofsix/2006/07/the_computer_sw.html

Author: unknown

The computer swallowed grandma,
Yes, honestly it’s true.
She pressed “control” and “enter”
And disappeared from view.

It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.

I’ve searched through the recycle bin
and files of every kind:
I’ve even used the Internet,
but nothing did I find.

In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found “online”.

So, if inside your “Inbox”,
My Grandma you should see,
Please “Copy”, “Scan” and “Paste” her
And send her back to me!
Heres another poem just about technology

——————————–

Remember When
A Poem About Technology

http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/tek1/rememberwhen.htm

A computer was something on TV
From a sci fi show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the cousin of goat.
Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes.
An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A curser used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.
Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy
You hoped nobody found out.
Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.
And a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider’s home.
And a virus was the flu
I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head.
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash,
But when it happens they wish they were dead.

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Feb 05 2011

Transformers

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Ironhide: Why are we fighting to save the humans? They’re a primitive and violent race.
Optimus Prime: Were we so different? They’re a young species. They have much to learn. But I’ve seen goodness in them. Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.
Transformers 2007

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Nov 20 2010

Edward Hopper’s famous Nighthawks (1942).

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Look at the painting closely and you shall see more than just three customers in a diner late night. This is clearly a depiction of early urban life. The patrons are resting easily and the weather seems to be pleasant. The only light in the entire establishment of the entire street lit. There is no sign or rain or snow but rather it must be fall. The woman is wearing a short sleeve red dress and the men are dresses in suits. Like the title suggests “Nighthawks” they have stayed up late into the wee hours of the night. This painting is in it of itself a sense of pride and hope for Americans. Though everything is gloomy and dark around it the little diner stands in as a ray of hope. The three customers also seem to be in their own little world not interacting with one another. The couple doesn’t talk to each other and neither does the man who prefers to be alone. The worker seems to be in his mid 30’s is busy also staring off into the distant empty street. The buildings with some windows open have no light except what is reflected from the curved glass of the diner. The worker seems to be trapped in his work and thoughts; the triangular shape he is confined to work in. The lone man seems not to be bothered by the couple in front of him.

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Nov 13 2010

The Green Light

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Thought to be one of the most important symbols in the book; the green light symbolizes Gatsby’s dreams and hopes for the future. The green light is shown on Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West egg lawn but it still manages to it haunt him.  In chapter 1 We are made aware of the green light when Gatsby talks of it linking it to Daisy and how he hopes to reach her.  Later on in chapter 9 Nick says this is what it must have looked to immigrants when they first arrived to America;  all they could see was a green light in the distance. Nick first sees Gatsby with his arms reaching out towards the green light.  Gatsby hopes to win Daisy love and the green light represents his attempts to reach her. When Daisy and Gatsby reunite there is a mist that covers the green light.  The green light flickers as Gatsby’s longing to be with Daisy.  It is so close and yet so far from him. This small piece of technology ; a light holds all of Gatsby’s aspirations . His willingness to forget everything and everyone around him just to get Daisy. He ignores his houseful of people and his wealth thinking that he will find at last what he has been waiting for. Technology has its limitations and picks and chooses who can be an “user” of it. Daisy belongs to a different class and technology will always work in her favor. Jay is a man made social elite and technology will only taunt him but never let him succeed.

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Nov 07 2010

“we shall die” – The Jungle

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“That was two months ago. Then he wanted me to come – to that house. He wanted me to stay there. He said all of us – that we would not have to work. He made me come there – in the evenings. I told you – you thought I was at the factory. Then – one night it snowed, and I couldn’t get back. And last night – the cars were stopped. It was such a little thing – to ruin us all. I tried to walk, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want you to know. It would have – it would have been all right. We could have gone on – just the same – you need never have known about it. He was getting tired of me – he would have let me alone soon. I am going to have a baby – I am getting ugly. He told me that – twice, he told me, last night. He kicked me – last night – too. And now you will kill him – you – you will kill him – and we shall die.”  (chapter 15)

It’s clear that The Jungle is full of some of the most disturbing quotes of any book I have ever read. It tells the tale of a struggling immigrant family and the way the system dehumanizes each member. To me the part that got to me the most was when Ona confesses to Jurgis that she was being raped by her boss Connor. The way that the novel sets up her confession, I felt chills. Though lacking in descriptive words Sinclair manages to instill in his readers sympathy for his characters. I knew at that moment Jurgis was going to lose it, because as a red blooded male he couldn’t stand around while another man abused his wife. Poor Ona didn’t utter a word just because Connor threatened to sack everyone’s jobs. She didn’t have any rights and so he took advantage of her. None of the family members were fully aware of the things that Ona was going through in the past two months. I think this quotes brings to light how hard their life is and the extent to what they must suffer just to stay alive. Ona says that Jurgis will kill Connor , and later he beats him to a bloody pulp ending up in Jail. She also mentions that “we shall die” , this is just the beginning of their problems.

–          The family is evicted from their home

–          Ona dies giving birth

–          Baby born prematurely dies

–          Jurgis addicted to alcohol

–          Antanas drown in the street

–          Jurgis wanders the streets

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Oct 30 2010

the most evil invention ever: “creating life.”

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I think anyone would agree that Victor Frankenstein is quite a brilliant individual. From the beginning of his life, he has always showed interest in learning about magic, and the different sciences. He begins reading outdated books about alchemists that serve as the sprouts for his obsession with creating life. Using both his prior knowledge and modern science he discovers “the secret of life” and brings to life a monster, Frankenstein. He’s more than just a mad scientist.

Not only has he managed to bring to life a creature but he has also done it without divine intervention. I think to some extent that Victor’s “crime” is being punished by a higher power Like Prometheus who was punished for eternity by Zeus for having stolen fire and given it to the mortals. For Victor the biggest punishment is that his creature sets out to kill all those close to him. Victor refuses to admit that it is he who has created the monster. He doesn’t seem to think that his creature is out of control. We see victor change from a brilliant, curious youth to a eccentric man who is set on creating life.

He is fanatical about become “godlike” and like “god” be is not very much in the public eye. It has often been said that “god works in mysterious ways” and Victor to some extent is very similar when he conducts his experiments. He not only lacks a sense of “humanness” but seems to be “god like” in everything he does. It is his pride and arrogance that keeps him from destroying the monster that he has created. He tears himself away from the world and lives in seclusion intent on revenging himself upon his monster. Victor is a creator like many of his predecessors, a mad scientist, with no concerns or boundaries, he does as he wills until the moment he dies.

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on a side note I couldn’t help wonder how similar the novel is to the children’s film Igor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_%28film%29

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Oct 25 2010

Instrumental Reasoning

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