Thursday, October 13, 2011

Walter's Midterm Exam: Practical Activity ds106, Marines, and wine haiku xD

Welcome back to my blog. As I've been sick this last week I've been MIA (missing in action), UA (Unauthorized Absence - of duty in the USMC), and AWL (Absent Without Leave), all at once. I've also been lost in the sauce on what's new in my Computers in Society class since I was absent for a very important lesson/lecture on something new. This "ds 106" concept/entity. It sounds like an AWESOME internet society, from what I've heard, but I have to admit I'm not too sure what it is. All I know is that I'm far behind my class and I need to catch the heck up. Fortunately I have Otto Paertz's blog for encouragement! For now I'm rejoicing being back on line, in my blog space, doing what I love to do and I'm good at--writing.

With that, I have to reveal the reason why I'm writing a new blog now: It's part of my midterm exam. That's right. yeah. But most definitely love writing, specially my blog. Before I roll the red carpet on writing with prejudice and undiscerning pros, I'm using this paragraph to write down an epiphany. As I've always been an over-achiever, I'm now realized I'm a bad way. I'm taking 5 courses this semester, not much, but all my other legitimate free time I'm basically working. There's a great market for charismatic gaigin in Tokyo, and I've been exploiting that. Now, however, the wheel is turning the other way. Midterms have come crashing down on me this week, that has nearly made me loose all consciousness of time and events, and that near loss of consciousness has been completed by other pertaining life things. Bills, due dates, and of course, money matters.

I feel lost in the most crowded place and all I can grasp is the most obvious thing.
It was easier when I used to work hard and get paid really good before college, about a year ago. I just have to throw it on in here since linking to blogs is part of my assignment: Steven Moyer blogged about my unit while we where busy kicking ass in the city of Hit, Iraq. I think that is so awesome that he kept that record of us, while we didn't get much glory since we were stuck in the middle of nowhere and not Falluja.  I miss all those guys, and working hard and getting paid. College is is cool, too, though.

Umbrella Woman
Umbrella Woman by Extra Medium through CC Licensing

But! This is not a whiny complain! This is an epiphany! A positive realization! I desperately want to spend my time on my studies. With that, I will enter "sd 106" and the purpose of this blog. ds 106 (I keep on purposely spelling sans capitalization) seems to be a society started in academia by college students and their brilliant professors, but now has widen to the cyberspace society. (Very Ghost in the Shell sounding.) They're essential life source, from my belated, limited understanding, is this "Digital Story Telling assignments. That's right, communicating digitally through a specified assignment. Very college-like. These are nothing but awesomeness, bound by positivity, only paralleled by the imagination of those undertaking this assignments.

Listen to this while you read :)

I am choosing to write about the assignments of writing, for writing is the noblest form of human communication of ideas, art, and transcending cultures. As a matter of fact, I should add how much I despise imagery. Though beautiful and ingenious, imagery in our contemporary electronic society has led to nothing but emptiness and zombies running around. Kind of harsh, but if you think deeply about it, you will agree. People are too easily attracted to imagery, with out first critically thinking or analyzing anything. Take Hollywood movies, for example. They love the explosions with out appreciating a story line. Anyways, Back to not pissing people off, ds 106 has many visual assignments, these are extremely creative and appealing, and I like them, they're way more elaborate in content; however, still simple. I chose to write about their writing assignments for digital story telling.

The writing assignments from ds106 are quite inspiring. Have a look. Although the one about "taking down google" is pretty biased, naive, and extremist; in my unprofessional opinion, we all know numerous companies are evil, but in this day in age, you have to cyberspace privacy, and if they're making money through people's stupidity, then that's what America is all about then. But of course I'm biased my self, and I haven't read into it to see if they're serious or just comical...Oh! Also the one about haiku, because after living in Japan I've found it extremely difficult to write a haiku in English, since it's originally written in Kaji and all :-/ but of course it fun and creative! Here's a blogger with a good perspective, on his wine haiku.

Anyways, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I'd much rather write the thousand words, so come back after my midterms to see the story I choose! :D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Political Gossip

Would you believe the gossip on Democratic Rep. David Wu?

As a project for Computers in Society class we were assigned groups with a specific "Pop Culture" topic to be considered in the context of social media and cyberspace. Solid assignment!

My Group is "Gossip 1." The group was initially composed of six students, left to decide on what to work on. We figured to divide such a broad topic into popular categories. Movie stars, pop divas, etc. In the end I was left with gossip in politics as the most common were taken.

Quite a challenging task, as I came to figure that political gossip is much different than your average gossip topic...mainly due to the fact that politicians are in charged of responsibilities that can easily affect your own life! But also because these politicians are already well-defined public figures to be scrutinized and criticized in every speech and action they take; political or not. Their reputation is their profession's livelihood. Rumors and gossip are of the most harmful essence.

But first let's review what gossip is, and how it manifests it's self in our contemporary lives. As most sources agree, gossip is the spreading of negative and unverified information about an individual.

The Wikipedia page defines gossip as malicious in nature, and it is popularly regarded as such by popular opinion (that is, what we can derive from pop culture). I liked the definition that has to offer:
"In general, gossip involves the creation and repetition of rumors regarding an individual who is not present to offer his or her perspective on the purported events under discussion. Generally, gossip has little or no basis in fact and is sometimes intended to convey a negative image of an individual. This process of spreading rumors is utilized in just about every setting from reporting on the movements of public figures to discussing situations involving family, friends, and acquaintances"
I like how this definition included the fact that the individual the gossiping is being done about is NOT present to defend his/her self against the allegations. Thus, gossip is just bad in general and the more considerate individual will usually avoid it. One can perceive the correlation of gossip with teenage school girls. As much of a stereotype that is, it is only by experience that people learn the dangers of gossiping.

What ever gossiping has been trough out human nature, it is now amplified by the improvement of the tools humans have made. Now, the most useful tool is the internet. Gossip now spreads instantly around the world, with a filter on which gossip to read/watch about in the web. However this all applies to your average gossip. Everything gets weird when we introduce the Political gossip into the web.
Since politicians are already set to be criticized under scrutiny by every one, the news and reports about them are presented upfront by major news companies. Big names such as ABC and CNBC news companies present politician's current events right upfront. This reporting gets spread around by people, and as all gossip works, soon more opinions will be added to the facts, and thus a fallacious image of a political candidate is made.
 Here the First Lady is stalked at Target, forming a scandal with gossip:

People who are into this make their own political gossip websites, such as and Here the blogger/writer will present this political scandals with their opinion or bias.
But where is the line between these political scandals and gossip drawn? What ever gossip arises from political events will harm the politician's reputation. This collective bad image perceived and reciprocated by the people is the advent of gossip rather than the original factual scandal it self.

People, specially politicians, are prone to making mistakes. This mistakes continue to happen with technology, specially the internet. This is how Democratic Rep. David Wu of Oregon resigned from politics by accidentally emailing pictures of himself in questionable outfits. Yeah, the hilarious tiger outfit.

One of the biggest phenomenons in politics for me has been how the internet has crept it's way into our politicians smartphones: Twitter. Anybody who is somebody in the political world has Twitter. All their tweets can be found here, with each politician having their personal "@your_favorite_candidate."

Twitter is now the stage where most of the political dirt and gossip comes into play, in a hand held device near you! Mainly because it isn't just updated by their administrative counterparts--no--they personally write their comments and opinions on the matters at hand; specially during on-going speeches by their competitors.

Now not only is this gossiping harmful for the individual politician, but the biggest reason why political gossip is different than other gossip is that leadership capabilities or political competence in a candidate may all go to waste by  negative perceptions of this person formed through gossip. The good politician might have a scandal that could ruin his career forever, while the genuinely bad politician will get away into office and affect every ones lives negatively.

Bringing the internet and cyberspace into politics can of course be a good thing, as most political administrations like Obama's have a facebook page where he can reach millions of varying demographics using such websites.

Twitter, however, can be the downfall as the politicians' comments and opinions get recorded and spread faster than ever before, giving them much of a less change to defend themselves. As Rep. Wu showed us, politicians have to be careful on how they use their technology and present themselves through cyberspace.

Final Blog Post.

Final blog post assignment: "Choose two or more articles from the four Scoop It channels . I’ve set up that are related to a simila...