Sunday, November 27, 2011

your government can't be trusted

This week’s discussion was about information access who has it and who doesn’t.  Julie was talking in class about Bill Gates and his vision of a future where everyone no matter who you are or where you are will have access to the internet.  This is a great vision for someone like me who strongly advocates the rights of everyone to educate him or herself.  On the other hand his vision is that this access will be provided by the government.  As an ex-activist who is still a conspiracy theorist and would probably still participate in activism if she were located somewhere that was not so far out of touch with the real world I have to say that the possibility of the government in any country having control over access to information scares the SHIT out of me.  It is near impossible for a person living a daily life to be neutral when spreading information.  Even our news sources can’t accomplish that feat.  Can you imagine what would happen if the people who have the strongest motivation for information to be swayed towards their way of thinking had control over access to it?  I am horrified by that possibility.  

got smacked

This week’s article University Students Perceptions of Plagiarism is about a study that was done on plagiarism among college students.  The study focused on the reasons students gave for plagiarizing.  It separated these reasons into 2 themes and 11 different categories.  The two themes are called Agency and  Externalization. It’s a lengthy article to tackle it in a blog so I thought I would concentrate on a section of it.  The section is called Agency and is located on pg 651.  In this section it talks about how students feel about the way their teachers approach the subject of plagiarism.  It seems the consensus among these students is that their professors are trying to bully them into not doing it.  The students seem to be aching for an explanation as to why they shouldn’t plagiarize.  They also express a need for there to be a structure to the rules instead of these rules for this class and these rules for the other.  I’ve never had a problem with plagiarizing on a personal level.  I don’t know what they are teaching kids in high school these days, but I was taught that if you read it in research you should cite it because it may show up in your perception of your own knowledge even if you don’t directly quote it.  Thinking back to my freshman English classes and any core classes I had to take I remember the traditional students just fresh out of high school all seemed to have a problem with this subject.  Most of them where asking what MLA is under their breath.  Most of my knowledge of MLA and APA came from the classes I was required to take before the University would allow me to take regular college courses.  It baffles me how little high school actually teaches kids these days.  I understand the students’ frustration.  They come out of high school thinking they are prepared for college. Then the very first class they take the delusion of being prepared crashes down and they have this professor who is most likely projecting anger from past experience onto them by passing ideal threats of what will happen if they plagiarize yet never really explaining what constitutes plagiarism.   I imagine that can be a slap in the face.

Disney is stingy

All throughout these free blog post I have talked about the art world and how it relates to the topics we discuss in class or the articles we read.  I wanted to point out in this one that even in art it is necessary to cite contributions outside of your own.  I have run across this in many different media but especially in the case of printmaking and bookbinding.  There are cases in both these media where one might have occasion to include a picture or the words of some one else. As an artist it is your job to give that person credit.  There have been cases in which artist have been sued for using a trademark or slogan from a company in their art.  Point being citation is not only necessary but in some cases it can save you a lot of time and hassle.  One word of warning though if you are considering using anything Walt Disney ever dreamt up JUST DON”T DO IT!

credit due

This week we had a discussion over citations.  I’m sure that one might expect that my response would be negative, that I would advocate information as a universal tool.  Well I do but citation is different from availability.  Citing the information you use to support what you are saying is important for so many reasons.  First and foremost the author of the original work put effort into what he/she wrote.  If you use what they have already written then you are stealing their work if you don’t cite it.  Second the citation increases the value of your argument.  The readers can then go and check up on your sources to see if they are legitimate. My freshman year of college a girl in my freshman English class was accused of plagiarism.  She confided in me that she had not written her paper her boyfriend had.  It was obvious to me that she had plagiarized because she had turned in work that wasn’t her own, but because it was our first paper I doubted the teacher knew that so I looked at it for her.  She or her boyfriend in this case had used statistics in her/his paper without citing them.  I told her that was probably what the problem was.  I don’t know how it all turned out for her but I do know that after that I was put off by her.  It is really upsetting to have worked hard on something and learn that someone else put little effort into his/ her work. 

renting software

This week’s article is called The End of Software Ownership -- And Why to Smile.  It was about the transfer of software from physical media to downloadable media.  What legal rights do buyers have when it comes to software?  According to the article we have very little rights after purchase.  Because of the license agreements that we sign when we purchase them, we are more like renters than owners. My first reaction to this is to defend my right as a consumer.  If I buy something I should be allowed to alter it however I please.  It goes back to the pink recliner.  The first piece of furniture I ever owned.  I drew things all over it.  You wouldn’t believe the reaction people had over it.  Some people where put out by this.  My point in doing it was that it was mine and I could do what I wanted with it.  Naturally I couldn’t help but be offended by the realization that I could by software for my computer but after the purchase it wasn’t really mine.  I have grown some sense the pink recliner though.  In reality I have for a long time been put off by things such as software and electronics because of the short life span.  It seems like a whole lot of money to spend on something that won’t last very long at all.  It occurs to me that with downloadable software the problem of outdated software becomes obsolete.  If the software I “buy” is downloadable it can be regularly updated. I feel like that is a fair trade.  I sign an agreement not to alter or resale their product and they regularly update said product so that the lifespan is expanded.  Still makes me a little uneasy but I get it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Kanya incident!

This blog post is not directed.  Let’s see, what am I currently questioning. There is so much going on these days in terms of political and social agenda.  Let us focus on an aspect of these topics.  Why is it that congress won’t pass a bill that places a heavier tax burden on a higher tax bracket while lifting a heavy tax burden from the middle class?  Maybe it is because they would be taxing themselves.  Why is it that holding a public office was once thought of as a privilege and now the same office earns a burdens wage?  I’m not sure how someone would go about answering these questions when a powerful percentage of the population of the U.S.A. seem intent on squashing said questions but I see an agenda.  It seems like the rich are blinded by their money (not always but majority rules).  There seems to be a loss of humanity.  It’s as if money blinds one from seeing poverty as a problem.  For example, Kanya West wore a gold medallion to an occupy protest rally. These people are struggling to pay their way through life.  Most of them have done what the majority told them they should do and gone to college.  I give mister West credit for taking an interest in what is going on in the world outside of his own back yard I will even go so far as to say that  the media should have cut him a break.  Honestly though if you are going to show your support for a cause it is better to approach it the way Bill Gates did and make a public statement acknowledging your willingness to pay your fair share. I have enough faith in humanity to say that I believe Mister West had good intentions but he came off looking like an ill educated publicity hound.   

Catching up

The second directed blog post is about my efforts in keeping up with the course load for this class.  I guess lying would be useless considering I am about to post 21 blogs in a row the week before they are all do.  I have on the other hand kept up with the reading in order to participate in class. Even though it is a chore to write 21 blogs in a row I feel like I have managed my time as best I could considering I am currently finished putting my exhibition together which is the equivalent to every senior’s final project.  That is a great feeling.