Welcome to 1 December 2010 – Just 20 days until winter!

Let’s start December with an old favorite:


And let’s talk about this —

and here he is discussing his most important thoughts —


Remember blogs in shape by this Friday!!!

It’s time we had a discussion. Yesterday, we had a look at the dangers of media… it’s threat to individuality, how each medium challenges our minds, the problem of distraction… Remember what the great magician Meryln said?

The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” From T.H. White, The Once and Future King…

If the answer to the dangers posed by media is learning, the solution to keeping us from becoming slaves to media, peons to big business, victims of government misdirection is education… Let’s think about how we might use media to probe the future of education…

Here’s the guy who runs Technorati explaining how we arrived in Mass Comm class –



30 November 2009

Please fill out this questionnaire: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dG5QWmF6WEtjLWVLOHR4X19jekE0NVE6MA

I need a blog update — I will mark blogs over the weekend. Any blog that does not correspond to a person in the class roll will not be grade; any person on the class roll who does not have a blog I recognized will get a zero. These blogs will count heavily because I will assign the grade a power of 5, which is up there in weight with a final test.

Here’s something that speaks to the quote from Marshall McLuhan about “the medium is the message,” which was on the  RADIO just this morning; that would make what you’re about to listen to a podcast (what’s a podcast) of a radio show about audio books questioning whether audio books have the same unique of effect consumer as traditional books. Podcasts, radio, audio books, print books, whattttt!!!!!!?  – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120769925

Thinking about our discussion about the power of media and the future of society, I found this. George Orwell (1984) versus Aldous Huxley (Brave New World):


Students in class suffering through physics and calculus, you’ve been saved by the WWW: Check it out, Manga for calc (and physics) – http://bit.ly/6d05K5

A couple of interesting new additions to Google you can look for:

Google social search — http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=165228

And Google image swirl — http://image-swirl.googlelabs.com/

The chart below expresses an idea through a series of interconnected “thought bubbles.” Click on the chart once, and it will expand. Click on any bubble in the chart and it should open up into a new “window” that you can move around in, especially if you are a Mac user. Try it. Does it look familiar? Let’s investigate.

Preview: Mass Comm is a lot to grasp. Time to look back at where we’ve been…

  • Two definitions. Learn these because they will be on the final:
    • Medium is the message: A medium like radio or TV or print, creates its own unique experience that influences and may even alter our perception, and out perception of the world around us….
    • Definition, of “The Media.” The media pervades society and culture distributing data and information to audiences large and small through print (books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc.) and all forms of electronic transmission (TV, radio, Internet, texting, etc.), for the purpose of communicating, informing, advertising, (controlling?), amusing, and interacting through a variety of fora (http://www.dictionary.net/fora).

Cloudy again? 24 November 2009

Shows Online, Brought to You by …

// //

Published: November 23, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/business/media/24adcol.html?ref=technologyJENNIE GARTH of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame has a new series. But don’t look for it on a broadcast network or a cable channel.

Skip to next paragraph

Justin Lubin/NBC

“Garden Party” with Jennie Garth is sponsored by Clorox’s Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressings. NBC Universal Digital Studio is producing the show.

Likewise, Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City” and “Lipstick Jungle” is back at work in the video realm. But her new show cannot be found on ABC, CBS, Lifetime, Oxygen or TNT.

Those actors and many more are finding new ways to stay in the public eye in the form of Web series, also known as webisodes. Almost all such Web series are being created specifically for advertisers, borrowing a strategy from the early days of radio and television when shows like “The Kraft Music Hall,” “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Lux Radio Theater” and “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” entertained Americans while selling cheese, phone service, soap and beer.

Webisodes — part of a trend called branded entertainment — are growing because marketers feel compelled to find new methods to reach consumers in an era when the traditional media are losing eyeballs, ears, hearts, minds and perhaps other body parts to the Internet.

23 November 2009 – Yay, me!

On Friday, Facebook will start using your photos in ads that will appear on the profile page of your contacts. It’s legal and is mentioned in the fine print when you create your account. To stop this do the following: Settings, Privacy Settings, News Feed and Wall. Then click on Facebook Ads ( tab), choose “No one” and save changes. Copy this and use in a status update.

Thanksgiving is coming – and in the richest nation on Earth, one American in six, 49 million people worry where the next meal is coming from. How is this possible? http://bit.ly/7YHKlX

How would you design a video game — check this out!


Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer known for his stylish visuals and an obsession for detail. His films include The Duellists (1977), Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Gladiator (2000), Hannibal (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), and Body of Lies (2009). He started out modeling his work on Stanley Kubrick and even went so far as to make a cut-down version of “Paths of Glory.” He also did one of the most famous, enduring and iconic commercials to appear on TV:

Cloudy-Wednesday 18 November 2009

Weather: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain. Highs around 60. Northeast winds around 10 mph. Tonight, Showers likely in the evening…then occasional rain after midnight. Near steady temperature in the mid 50s. East winds around 5 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent.

Quotation from Mike Wesch: “To learn is to make meaningful connections.” Question: How do we make students able to make meaningful connections?

Definition, of “The Media.” The media pervades society and culture distributing data and information to audiences large and small through print (books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc.) and all forms of electronic transmission (TV, radio, Internet, texting, etc.), for the purpose of communicating, informing, advertising, (controlling?), amusing, and interacting through a variety of fora (http://www.dictionary.net/fora).

The blog issue. Many of you asked why your blogs did not appear in your progress report. This morning the answer to the problem dawned on me (no pun). I have tried to connect students with blog names, with no luck. You will be required to make this process easier, so I may grade your blogs. By Friday, you will add your name to your blog, or at least your first name and initial. This will not require a change in the URL,  just in the name of the blog. Here’s how it’s done:

  • got wordpress.com and sign in to your blog.
  • go to your blog’s “dashboard.”
  • On the left side of the dashboard, page down to the last tool called “Settings” and click it.
  • Insides “settings,” click “General.”
  • At the top of the page, where it says, “Blog Title,” add your name to the blog title. It could be something like, The Blog Title by Your Name
  • Then remember to click “save changes” at the bottom of the page.

Let’s go back up and work on my definition of media… How does my definition mesh with the one you as a class developed yesterday. How can mine be improved?

Let’s go over the exercise, “the Medium is the Message.” I’d like to hear three examples of how each medium — radio, video, print and video games — offers an implicit message. That list will be useful to you in tomorrow’s test/quiz.

Still-warm Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Weather for today — Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Let’s follow on with yesterday’s conversation about games:

Let’s watch this and you tell me what it is:

It’s all part of the media, right? We’ve been talking about media for weeks, and for some of us for more than one semester. Now, I’d like you to form into three-person groups. The purpose is for each of these “teams” will be to tell me what you think we mean when we talk about “the media.” I’m looking for a definition. Take 10 or 15 minutes and come up with a a solid,  three sentence definition of “The Media!” that I can write on the white board.

So, more on “the medium is the message.” I want you to thoroughly understand this concept.

Here is a radio show — a real radio show: http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/

Here is a movie, from one of my level three students:

Here’s a little story by my friend, a writer named Glenn Emery: A young man joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence. His elders send him to live atop a bare mountain. At the end of 7 years he’s permitted to say two words. “Cold nights,” he says. The elders nod and send him back atop the mountain. After 7 years he’s again permitted to say two words. “No food.” They nod and send him back atop the mountain. Another 7 years pass and again he’s permitted to speak two words. “I quit.” The elders nod. “We’re not surprised. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”

Then there are the movies — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKbEI8pDz0A

And of course, games:

Here’s the exercise. Go back into your groups. Now come up with three to five instances that show the message contained by each medium. You might write something along the lines of “In the little story by Glenn Emery, the medium of print reveals itself in these messages: print is…. this; and print is… that. etc.

Sunny Monday, 73 degrees, 16 November 2009

Weather forecast from wunderground.com — “Patchy fog in the morning. Sunny. Highs in the lower 70s. Northeast winds around 5 mph. Monday Night, Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s. Northeast winds around 5 mph.

Let’s discuss: Laughter is infectious

Three-question handout:

1. List three ways the opening scene of “Jurassic Park” resembles the opening scene of “Jaws.”

2. List three moments in “Jurassic Park”  where the actors or story prefigure the attack of the velociraptors.

3. List three movie elements used in “Jurassic Park” that are standards in the horror genre, whether film or literature.

Last week, the subject was Marshall McLuhan. If there’s one phrase you want to remember when you hear his name it is this: the medium is the message. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the phrase and I would submit to you for discussion:

“McLuhan proposes that media itself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study. He said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.” He went on according to W/P “…McLuhan claimed in Understanding Media that all media have characteristics that engage the viewer in different ways; for instance, a passage in a book could be reread at will, but a movie had to be screened again in its entirety to study any individual part of it. So the medium through which a person encounters a particular piece of content would have an effect on the individual’s understanding of it. Some media, like the movies, enhance one single sense, in this case vision, in such a manner that a person does not need to exert much effort in filling in the details of a movie image. McLuhan contrasted this with TV, which he claimed requires more effort on the part of viewer to determine meaning, and comics, which due to their minimal presentation of visual detail require a high degree of effort to fill in details that the cartoonist may have intended to portray. A movie is thus said by McLuhan to be “hot” (intensifying one single sense) and “high definition” (demanding a viewer’s attention), and a comic book to be “cool” and “low definition” (requiring much more conscious participation by the reader to extract value).[2] This concentration on the medium and how it conveys information — rather than on the specific content of the information — is the focal point of ‘the medium is the message.'”

Let’s talk about a new medium, relatively new in the sense of popularity and ubiquity, video games. What’s the message in this new medium, which can be played on the computer, a computer-like device, or a hand-held device?

The first word, ADDICTION!

Let’s look at some test cases from a PBS Frontline series:


Can this be real… digital detox?


But not everyone shares the view, even here in America, the land of alarm:


Now listen to these two fellows:


And, surprisingly, here’s what studies are saying:

The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement. The survey was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center and was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The primary findings in the survey of 1,102 youth ages 12-17 include —

Game playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day. Game playing experiences are diverse, with the most popular games falling into the racing, puzzle, sports, action and adventure categories.

Game playing is also social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time and can incorporate many aspects of civic and political life.

Another major findings is that game playing sometimes involves exposure to mature content, with almost a third of teens playing games that are listed as appropriate only for people older than they are.


We could go on with the medium and the message and how the medium works on our brains, but we’ll save that until tomorrow. Now let’s get responsible. If we want to live in a greener, cleaner world are computers and the new media the route?

What about going Green? Consider this: