Uncategorized · week 9

Assignment 9

Discuss creativity. Recall the week 6 assigned video, RiP! A Remix Manifesto. Does there seem to be a concerted effort to limit, discourage or even prevent creativity among the general public? Are art and other forms of creativity neglected? Should it be taught more in schools and funded better for the general public? Or is there today abundant opportunity for cultural expression? Does art even serve a function in an industrial worldview? Or does it only serve a purpose within commercial advertising and limited to select artists? Should art and other ideas be intended only for commercial consumption? Is there a connection between creativity and productivity, in the terms we discussed in class? In other words, are we preventing communities from creating for themselves in the same way that we may be preventing communities from producing for themselves? Is the privatization of ideas in science, industry, medicine, and music destroying culture and society similar to the way that the privatization of natural resources is destroying the environment?

I feel like the intial plan was not to limit, discourage or even prevent creativity but to protect it. But because of the nature of copyright it eventually did do all those negative things. I never really thought of copyright to be such a negative thing and never realized how prevalent it is in our modern music today. Art and other ideas should be intended for all uses not just for commercial consumption. Creativity and productivity does share a connection. If we stop communities from being creative then there would only be tradition methods that may not be optimal and therefore there would be a lack of productivity of improvement. Privatization of ideas in all those industry is not destroying them but it is harmfully affecting their productivity, it’s not like copyright destroys all creativity and inspiration it just limits it.

 

Discuss the collective consciousness of today’s America. How do we identify ourselves? What distinguishes us from the other peoples of the world – from our own perspective or from that of other people? Is it all about freedom and opportunity? Recall last week’s assignment and consider the Schwarz and de Tocqueville readings. Consider also any of the optional audio recordings or videos that you may have heard or viewed. Recall earlier discussions on cultural creation, values, and being an empathic civilization. Does our self-identity match the evidence? What would be a more realistic identity for America? Would it be more honest to identify ourselves as a mass consumption society? Consider the significance of being more truthful with the assessment of who we are as a people. The aspirations of freedom and opportunity are held in high regard throughout much of the world. Mass consumerism, on the other hand, is not. Do you believe that mass consumerism is a reflection/an outcome of the extraordinary freedom and opportunity experienced by Americans? Or only that it is portrayed that way? Does mass consumerism erode culture and social capital and render them useless survival mechanisms for a people? It seems to disconnect a people from their history and their land. Consumerism can be transplanted anywhere and at any time. How similar are we to Nietzsche’s Last Man, if you are familiar with that famous work? Americans may be in the best position of any people to address the problem of climate change and the other complex problems we face as a civilization. Yet Americans seem to be contributing the most to these problems. What does that say about our self-proclaimed identity with freedom and opportunity? Or with being brilliant scientists and innovators? Do we justify our greedy, excessive and wasteful lifestyles with proclamations that we are the envy of the world? Suppose that Americans begin questioning who they are? Would we have a better success at addressing climate change, hunger, poverty, refugees and war if we admitted our faults and shortcomings? Would young military recruits be less likely to sign up to go to war if they thought they were defending mass consumerism rather than freedom and democracy? Is it more likely that we can have lasting international agreements on addressing climate change?

Our nation views ourselves as strong, leaders, powerful, wealthy, and the most free country. I feel like we are too in over our heads. We focus on our military might and forget about things like healthcare and education. We focus on short-comings instead of the long-term. We believe that no other nation is as free as we are yet this is entirely untrue. We are a greedy, vain, and selfish country. We push our values on everyone and reflect a mass consumerism society. We produce so much waste and consume so much materialistic things. I feel like many people in our society do not question how things are done and why they are. We are hypocrites. One this one occasion I was at a market and overheard some guys talking about how they hunted pigs over the weekend, cooked them, and brought them home. A lady nearby also overheard their conversation and was upset at them wondering why they would kill such an animal and that they were crazy for killing, skinning, and eating the animal. But every time that lady who was buying meat eats meat she is paying for someone else to slaughter animals for her to eat. Yet it is okay because she is so far from the killing yet responsible. I thought this was an amazing realization because I had never thought of that. That every time I eat meat I am paying for someone else to kill and animal so that I can consume it. Maybe if we made people have to kill animals themselves to eat them there would be more vegetarians in the world… Much more.

 

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Assignment 5

Report at least two incidents of crowd sourcing from your everyday observations. You may report incidents you experience in person or by watching TV or videos online. What makes your examples representative of emergent behavior described by Steven Johnson?

I use a crowd sourcing app pretty regularly and that app is Waze. The app uses it’s collective group of users to report traffic jams and any other problems with the road and how to get to your destination the quickest.
Another instance of crowd sourcing I come across is asking friends that go to cal poly to let me know which classes to take and which teachers so we collectively know who to avoid or who to take.
This relates to what Steven Johnson describes in that the app waze takes a bunch of peoples knowledge to form a traffic database for everyone using the app to see. It’s a bunch of people performing a simple task like reporting an accident or traffic to inform everyone else. Just like in my situation where my friends and  I share information about classes and professors to collectively make us avoid mistakes that one of us had made.

Your reaction to the required Johnson reading

What caught my attention was the fact that in the beginning it is stated that a slime was “trained” to finish a maze and that made me want to know what was next. After that I was very loosely interested in the rest of the article but I can understand why this is such a profound thing because of the emergent system completely reinforces the idea that “two heads are better than one” or thousands… The only experience I have in this is in a game I played called World of Warcraft I was mining for ore and it took a hour to obtain x200 ores but with a group of people doing the same simple task we multiplied that number. Another instance is how the pyramids in Egypt were built. One person could not have done it, it took thousands of people doing simple and different task to create them.

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Week 4

 Values are embedded in the words we choose to use to communicate. What are our values as Americans? What specific words do we use to express them? What particular phrases would we consider to be based on linear thinking? What particular phrases would we consider to be colonizing? degenerative? What role do values play in sustainability? Do you believe that our inability to let go of certain degenerative values could lead to a resistance to sustainability? There are values that seem to be consistent with regenerative practices as there are values that seem to be consistent with degenerative practices. Are there any values that are both regenerative and degenerative? Or neither? Can we have degenerative values and still attain sustainability? For instance, can we be competitive, status-seeking, and self-centered and still be sustainable? Can we even change our values or do we have to rely on future generations to hold values consistent with regenerative characteristics? Which, if any, of the seven deadly sins has now become acceptable as a positive social value in our consumerist culture?
Some values that come to mind being American is being strong, independent, a leader, and freedom. I think as American we use the word freedom especially strong and we use it in a condescending way where we have Freedom and everyone else doesn’t. Freedom is a linear thought. It can be degenerative because because we’re Americans we have freedom to do whatever we want which includes not caring about sustainability. I believe values play a lot in sustainability and a big value that prevents this is greed and a fear of change and because of this it is definitely a resistance to sustainability. Greed in a positive outlook is “self-interest” and that can be good in an attempt to further business in maybe a sustainable way that other businesses aren’t into, but at the same time because there is greed sustainability as a nation is very difficult because corporations basically run our nation. They hold most of our money and are the only ones powerful enough to make big long lasting change. If sustainability can become a trend and more laws are implemented in supporting it and making it more profitable then we may have hope to a sustainable future as well as proper education on the subject for the next generation.

Your reaction to the required Janine Benyus videos

The video showed a lot of materials and technology that we already have that is sustainable and stronger or better than the wide spread use of certain technologies that we have today like the polymer explained in the video, the software, and abalone shells being stronger than most our ceramics but it isn’t in use. I’m surprised that we have these things and they aren’t in use probably because businesses don’t want to use these more expensive products and people don’t want to try new things both adding to the difficulty of becoming a sustainable nation. I’m sure there are many more products just like the ones Janine talked about and unfortunately they aren’t popular when they should be. The 3d printing is really interesting and cool and i’m sure as technology for it improves it will become more and more popular because it is already quite amazing in what it can print and do like printing buildings…

 

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Week 3

Give examples of linear and systems thinking from your own discipline. In what ways are you taught to be a linear thinker? In what ways are you taught to be a systems or interdisciplinary thinker? If you aren’t, how could you be?

I am a business major and in my discipline there are many areas of linear and systems thinking. In a corporate setting there is a huge systems thinking. There are CEO’s at the top that have their own work, CAO’s, CFO’s, marketing directors, audit directors, accounting directors, project managers, and staff all in a hierarchy system doing different work that contributed to the success of the business. In the same setting in a smaller scale if you look at a marketing team trying to market a product they have to look at known trends and cycle and attempt to market their product in a way that may be successful, and once release the team would have to adjust and react to their move and so on. The thought process is a straight line where things are in order as they are experienced. I believe that mathematics teach us to be linear thinkers, an example of this is that if x = y and y = n, x must equal n. Mathematics also teach us to be an interdisciplinary thinker. For example, to solve the standard deviation formula, there are multiple problems within the equation to solve it.

Image result for standard deviation equation

You can’t solve the equation if you just solve n just like you can’t solve the equation if you just solve x. Also in classes like English you learn that letters don’t mean anything until it’s put together to make words and sentences, and in biology you learn about all the systems inside your body that make you function.

Discuss the concept of the linear and systems views and thinking using examples from your daily routine. Pay attention to your everyday decision-making over the course of a day or two. How much of your own thinking is linear? How much is systemic? What sorts of decisions that you make are based on linear thinking? On systems thinking? Does everything you believe to be unsustainable fit in the negative reinforcing feedback loop? If not, identify and explain an example. Does everything you believe to be sustainable fit in the positive reinforcing feedback loop? If not, identify and explain an example. How well do the opposing characteristics of degenerative and regenerative systems match the linear and systems views? Is systemic thinking easy to do? Is the systems view easy to understand? If not, what confuses you about it?

In my daily routine linear thinking is almost my entire way of thought especially during the weekday. I work and go to school and it is pretty consistent and routine. I wake up and get ready, brush my teeth, then get dressed, let my dog out, drink water, pour water for my dog, grab something to eat, and then drive to school or work and repeat. One step at a time to get through my day without thinking much about anything but getting it done one step at a time. At work there is a system thought process where my co-workers and I would rely on each other to fulfill different tasks since I work at a restaurant. We have to work together to be efficient, someone at the register, someone cleaning, someone making drinks and food, and someone taking orders at the tables, etc… Much of my thinking is linear, decisions like if i walk my dog now I’ll have 30 minutes to do homework or if I finish my homework in one hour i’ll have time to watch a show.
I believe in order to be more sustainable anything unsustainable should fit into the negative feedback loop but not everything sustainable should receive a positive feedback loop. Sustainable activities that are focused entirely on the short-run should not receive a positive feedback loop because when the short-run benefits are used up we get problems. This leads back to linear thinking because you can build a system to collect rain water and purify it but if maintained poorly it could eventually lead to distributing dirty water which defeats its sustainable purpose. But if thought in a systems way where the water collector and purifier was implemented and planned to be expanded and maintained properly it can be sustainable more permanently. Systems thinking is harder to do because it requires “out of the box” thinking and often times requires planning and thinking ahead and avoiding linear thinking where the next step is thought of one at a time instead of all at once.
The systems view i’m just not 100% certain about if I completely understand, nothing specific.
 

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Week 2

Your reaction to the optional video broadcast interview of Naomi Klein

I was interested in the first part more than the second part because of the talk about renewable energies and how we are 100% there and have the technology and resources yet fossil fuels are still our main fuel. Change is a big factor and because it is bad for fossil fuel business it’s hard to change to renewable energies especially if people do not accept the change to renewable energies. Obama himself couldn’t say “no” to fossil fuels by allowing fossil fuels to still prosper.

Expand upon our classroom discussion concerning the regenerative use of water, consumeristic sustainability, or water footprints. How would you explain the environmentally sustainable management of water to someone?

In class we discussed regenerative use of water, the film we watched showed us a few methods of water regeneration like low impact development which basically uses extra water we get from rain naturally and efficiently reuses it by simple construction and layouts like digging a trench off a road so the water can water trees right off the road. Another method is to collect rain water for future use instead of just letting it run off and go into the ocean contaminated through the sewage. Potable watering uses our water waste and separates and purifies water for reuse while removing extra waste to be used as bio-fuel and in turn reduces waste build up and conserves more water.
Consumerist sustainability starts with consumers, consumers have to be willing to pay more or do more for sustainable products and methods in order to be “green” but doing so will become easier and cheaper in the long run.
Water footprint is the amount of fresh water utilized in a particular area. The more sustainable practices that are done in this given area will reduce its water footprint. For example, using consumerist sustainability and regenerative use of water to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
I would explain environmental  sustainable management of water to someone as using water efficiently as possible. When it rains, collect the water and direct the water for better use than just running trash into sewers and then putting it into the ocean. We can collect the water and save it, use the run off to water plants, and we can reuse the water that we use by purifying it and reusing. And if this is done on a worldwide scale there would be no water issue and water would probably be cheaper.

What is the university’s role in fighting climate change? Does it appear that universities across the country are leading the fight against climate change? Or hoping that their students don’t ask about it? And, more importantly, that their students don’t demand that they do something about it? Aside from researching and monitoring the climate, what do you believe universities should be doing with regards to climate change? Should they also be involved in the social and political aspects of climate change? Should they teach or at least encourage environmental activism? Or is there too much at stake for universities to do anything significant regarding climate change? Are universities themselves, as well as individual colleges and departments, so dependent on the fossil fuel industry that they believe that any sort of activism would be a threat to their own survival? Recall the in-class discussion on education. Is pedagogy designed to discourage criticism of fossil fuels? Can you relate some of the points made by John Seely Brown, Sir Ken Robinson, or other sources on pedagogy to your answers?

A universities role in fighting climate change is research, monitoring, and innovation in my opinion. There are many universities fighting climate change for example we already have it here in cal poly pomona where our school is committed to sustainability practices and have a long history of climate commitment according to our cpp website. Throughout our campus we encourage recycling with conveniently places recycling bins placed across campus, we have waste stations, solar panels, reused water for irrigation, drought tolerant plants, and more. I’m sure many campuses do just avoid sustainable practices because it is more expensive and schools are businesses and don’t want to “waste” money according to them. Universities should and many are commit to actions as well as research and monitoring in the fight for sustainability because sustainability requires participation. I believe everyone should participate in at least a little way to make the world a bit more sustainable for the sake of humanity. I don’t believe universities have much at stake besides money and a change in how things have always been. Change is difficult but only at first. Being “green” also gives a good look for universities. Fossil fuels I believe will one day be void when we can finally get past that lump of change. There are already better fuel sources invented that would be cheaper if accepted on a world scale.