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Showing posts from July, 2010

Letter to the Editor in Boston Globe

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Toys are used to foster affection for McDonald'sLetter to the Editor in the Boston Globe: July 29, 2010 JOANNA WEISS’S discussion on Happy Meals (“Happy Meals and Old Spice guy,’’ Op-ed, July 25), advertising, and parenting has some great insights, but misses one major element. While the ads are an important factor, the problem with Happy Meals is the toy itself. That’s not just an advertisement, it provides repeated engagement with the company (or more important, the unhealthy food) for the child and the parent, too. The toy is a focal point for imaginative play, reemergence in favorite stories, and a tactile object for a developing set of hands — all of which is branded with the McDonald’s logo in the child’s mind and thus creates a strong positive relationship between the child and the product (the unhealthy food, not the actual toy).

This seduction through association focused on children has been increasingly problematic, which is why other countries regulate advertisements dir…

Moral Quandaries...from Outer Space

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This post from the NY Times posits some interesting (albeit not entirely new) ideas on the concept of human and potential-alien encounters.  The author, Robert Wright is drawing upon a quote of Stephen Hawking, the work of Peter Singer, and his own (which he promotes just below "too much" but it did evoke a scene from "The Critic" for me).  The discussion also seems to come in a year following two rather influential and powerful films impressed audiences throughout the world.  The first is District 9, directed by Neil Blomkamp.  Though the film was not as widespread, it was certainly well-received (made over $100 million) and had a compelling and intriguing premise about the types of aliens we might expect to encounter when they come here.  By contrast, there was Avatar, which of course, became the highest grossing film ever (until another film beats it…probably by James Cameron…probably in about 10 years).  Again, here we see an interaction between human and senti…

YouTube Killed The Television Gods

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2010 marks a major shift in viewing trends among Americans that will most likely grow worldwide by the end of the 2010s to be a more dominant market share of leisure time.  Apparently, 2010 marked the first year that more people prized their Internet over their television.  Beyond a doubt, I'm in this camp.  My television hasn't been hooked up to cable in over a year and I don't miss it a bit.  I watch movies from Netflix and the library on the television; or now that Netflix has expanded its services; I can watch their "Watch Instantly" selection on my television through the use of my Wii.

So why the shift?  Convenience is an obvious answer.  Why situate my life around the TV to catch the programs I want; when I can call them up at will online.  Sure, there are devices (VCRs in the old days; Tivo nowadays) that can do this, but in both cases they require additional contraptions, costs, and programming.

But another answer that speaks volumes about what's goin…

Do Not Click Go

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Laura Miller over at Salon.com has highlighted an interesting debate within the online writing community and that is where to put your links; within the text or at the end.  It’s an interesting debate with some discussion about the benefits and drawbacks for both the reader and the writer.  Without a doubt to a student, this may seem like one of those obtuse discussions that intellectuals get immersed in that seem to matter little.  And I suppose there’s some truth to that.   But given that we look to the Internet more and more for our news, information, research, etc, it’s a needed discussion.  It’s also a discussion that has had infinite traction within that old dinosaur medium:  print.

In composition courses and hopefully elsewhere, students are told about the importance of citing, the reasons for citing, and the ways to cite.  I certainly emphasize its importance in my courses.  For some, it’s important that you cite in a specific format:  APA, MLA, Chicago Style etc.  Some fields…

A Scanlating Darkly

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Much like other industries, the comics world has been trying to crackdown on illegal digital copies of its work; with varying success.  More recently, Japanese and American publishers of manga have joined forces to create a coalition against some of the major agregators of what are commonly referred to "scanlations."     Unlike American comics, "scanlations" are scanned comics with added translations (often added by the person who is scanning or a community of manga readers/translators).  These have become popular enough (or the fear is that they will be) that the publishers are trying to crackdown on published and copyrighted works; particularly those that are in the process of being translated (or have been) and published in the US.

The discussion here isn't going to focus on the rights and wrongs of acquiring/offering digital content or profiting off things that aren't technically yours to begin with.  Rather, I think this situation is an interesting exa…