Author Archives: sparkling_bears47

Thought Provoking Adoption Article

So, I came across this article on Reddit and it really made me think. The story is that a retired social worker, Phyllis Smith, adopted a young girl, Katie, who had been passed around foster homes. Phyllis’ son, Mark, and his wife Terri are more or less Katie’s foster parents. The thought-provoking aspect of the article is that Katie is white and Phyllis, Mark and Terri are black. Throughout the article, you hear of people coming up to Katie and asking if she’s ok, following her and her foster parents around, and other examples of negative and prejudiced attention.

A lot of points are raised in the article about the covert racism that still exists throughout the country. The article mentions Obama and how many Americans believe that they’ve taken a huge step in putting racism behind them, but there still are a lot of underlying prejudices in the nation, one of which is assuming the worst of a older black man watching over a young white girl. On a personal level, I know that seeing something similar would cause me to do a double take, at the very least. I like to think that I’ve worked a lot to fight against societal prejudices, but this article made me realize that there’s still a lot to do on an individual and national level.

I know this doesn’t quite fall under the heading of Digital Media Studies, but I really encourage everyone to read through this article. How would you react?


I would be interested in tackling the amazonfail incident a little more directly. I’ve got a couple of good articles that raise some interesting points, especially about meta-data and what it means to define something through such tags.

This is a great summery/examination of the entire fiasco. It raises a lot of key issue around metadata/internet response and has interesting links to most of the other main responses.

This is one of the original posts by one of the authors that started the uproar.

This is a simpler version of the first link by BBC. It provides a nice summery of things.

Readings for Next Week?

I think this was mentioned and it just slipped my mind, but how are we finding the readings for the next week? Are we supposed to pull together things? And if so, could someone post what the two topics are again? Memes and activism, I think, but there was a bit more to it than just that. Thanks!

Second Life

OK. Late post, but I’ll try to bring this up in class.

I’m really curious on where the boundaries between real life and second life fall. I think the Wall Street Journal article points towards this question, but does not really answer it. Is that man cheating on his wife? I don’t know. Is an online murder murder? Is an online marriage marriage? I think the answer the article is getting at is that online actions only become “real” (or meaningful) once they’ve impacted real life. The man’s wife feels like she’s being cheated on (and the signs it are pretty much there). But would he still be cheating on her if she wasn’t bothered by it?

Well, maybe. It wouldn’t make interesting journalism, so we probably wouldn’t hear about it. But the situation, a virtual relationship, would be the same. I suppose I have to wonder: do we need to create guidelines or clear boundaries between real and virtual life? Or do we wait for them to have an impact on our reality first?

History of the Internet

An interesting little video about the history of the internet that I found on reddit. I know we talked about this in one of our beginning labs (DARPA, etc), but I enjoyed seeing it drawn out. Just thought I’d post it here:




The Internet As Real Life

I haven’t been as good as I should have been this week about posting on the blog, so I’m going to attempt to make up for that over this weekend by making a couple of posts. The first thing is an interesting art piece that attempts to simulate “the banality of physical existence.” I think it’s an interesting piece and the author of the work has some cool ideas that he gets into on the site (you can find them after you’ve gone through the simulator once). Also, keep in mind that this was created in 1997. How have things changed since then? And how would someone attempting to make a similar piece go about critiquing the banality of physical existence verses virtual life? Food for thought.

here’s the link.

Get Your Fingers Off the Film

Here’s the latest from the 40s. And 50s. And 60s. I’ll edit in our sources to this later tonight. Enjoy!

Aaron and Rachel



On a slightly side note, I wanted to post a link to the problems the site wikileaks is having. Wikileaks is a site that posts and exhibits leaked information about corporations, governments and various other institutions. Recently, they came upon Australia’s secret list of sites that are blacklisted. Not only are there things like child pornography, which the law is ostensibly for, but the Wikileaks site itself, fringe religions, gambling sites, and euthanasia activists, among others.

I don’t have anywhere in particular that I’m going with this, but it’s an interesting example of censorship on the internet from governments that we tend to view as Western, liberal and free. Here’s the link to read more.

A Difference of Tone

I think that the biggest thing I noticed in the reading was the dynamic difference in tone the two articles had. The Wu article really felt like it was dealing with how youtube is redefining (or simply defining) the practice of fair use. The Seitz essay seemed to lament the loss of creative freedom through youtube. Wu’s outlook is very upbeat. Seitz’s, a little more bleak.

The thing that I noticed was that the Seitz article was written January, 2009, while Wu’s comes from 2006. Personally, I’ve definitely noticed a huge difference in the content of youtube and how the site functions. It’s not unusual for a blog I stumble upon to link to old videos that don’t work anymore. Things feel much less exciting and much more confined.

To bring it back to Seitz, his point about corporations dictating culture seems to tie back to the net neutrality concept we briefly talked about today. Both are about corporations limiting the culture of internet users for capitalistic reasons. I wonder how much one bleeds into the other. I know a lot of the arguments for non-net neutrality is that ISP providers could directly block sites that are sharing files or providing illegal services, so they’re obviously connected. And it seems that corporations dictating culture is a fairly easy extension from non-net neutrality.