Final Paper: Nuclear Weapons Leading to Apocalypse

After gaining insight from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and hearing recent class discussions, I was intrigued to research more about Nuclear weapons and their potential to leading to human apocalypse. I have come up with the thesis that nuclear weapons are a technology of high power and have a strong potential in today’s society and have a likely potential to lead to the downfall of human civilization. Through analysis of the history of the making of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons in today’s society, the impact of such weaponry, and the relation to class sources, I will explore how nuclear weapons could lead to an apocalyptic event in the future.

According to Oxford Dictionary, a nuclear weapon is defined as a bomb or missile that uses nuclear energy to cause an explosion. Nuclear weapons made their impact on society starting in the early 1940s. The United States turned a page in technology in 1942 with the beginnings of the invention of Nuclear Weaponry. August of 1942 was the start of the Manhattan Project in the US employed 130,000 individuals and spent billions of dollars creating the first nuclear weapon. This development would soon be used in July and August of 1945 when the US tested and implemented their Atomic Bomb. Equivalent to over 20,000 tons of TNT, the United States shook the world physically and mentally with their bold move of dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When considering the technology behind nuclear weapons, it’s important to explore the science behind it. According to Arms Control Association, “The first design of a nuclear weapon in the United States was a gun-barrel assembly, in which two sub-critical masses of very highly enriched uranium (HEU), were brought together by normal artillery propellant in a short gun barrel into a single over-critical configuration.” The world had to start somewhere in the creation of such a powerful weapon that it makes sense that they used a set up similar to weapons popular at the time, guns. The advancements in the technology moved rapidly and according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Most nuclear weapons today are two-stage thermonuclear weapons that derive their explosive energy from the combined power of nuclear fission and fusion. An initial fission reaction generates the high temperatures needed to trigger a secondary—and much more powerful—fusion reaction.” This starts to show how advanced the technology has become and all of the small details that goes in to such a large piece of machinery. Since the start of construction of nuclear weapons, there have been over 67,500 nuclear missiles built and over 4,680 nuclear bombers built all over the world. Nuclear weapons not only pose a threat of immediate explosion and wide-spread radiation, but there are also many secondary effects such as the contamination of all food and water supply, the pollution of air, and the destruction of power grids. This is not to mention the threat of a nuclear winter, a period of abnormal cold and darkness predicted to follow a nuclear war, caused by a layer of smoke and dust in the atmosphere blocking the sun’s rays. An article from Mother Nature Network states, “In 2007, scientists Brian Toon and Alan Robock concluded that if India and Pakistan were to launch 50 nuclear weapons at each other, the entire planet could experience 10 years of smoke clouds and a three-year temperature drop” (11 ways).
The reactions to this bold and hazardous weapon were dependent on the nation. In 1946, the UN attempted to create an anti-nuclear weapon act banning the use of such weapons. Their plan failed as the Soviet Union became the second nation to successfully create and test a nuclear device in August of 1949. As of 2014, a total of 9 countries are armed with nuclear weapons that can be launched within a minutes notice. Since the creation of the first atomic bomb, nuclear warfare has only been used as a form of attack twice in our world history. This was the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Although not used in harm, there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted as more and more countries began to create their own weapons. . If we base numbers off of the amount of deaths caused from the bombing on Hiroshima, the United States alone has built enough nuclear warheads to kill 25,000,000,000 people between initial, immediate deaths and the effects of radiation. This makes nuclear weapons the most powerful and detrimental technology there is.

Nuclear weapons were viewed as a large threat in 1962 during the Cubin Missile Crisis. In October of 1963, it was brought to President John F. Kennedy’s attention that the US had obtained aerial footage of what seemed to b e a nuclear plant in Cuba. This lead to nuclear weapons being the largest threat of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Professor Ernest May writes an atrial about John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis and states, “Dwight Eisenhower (Kennedy’s successor), had calculated in 1960 that, if a crisis led either side to fire nuclear weapons, all humans in the northern hemisphere could perish. ‘Gravest issues’ indeed.”

Such rapid production of mass killing devices is a topic easily related to recent discussions and readings of Crisis and Apocalyptic events we’ve experienced in class.

Nuclear weaponry can relate to our reading of Oreskes’ “Collapse of Western Civilization” when stated, “In the prehistory of “civilization,” many societies rose and fell…” Although differing in the main topic, this reading can strongly relate to the effect nuclear weapons had on civilizations and society as a whole. This reading goes on to refer to actions being predictable and accurate which was very untrue of the consequences of nuclear weaponry in its beginning stages. When first brought about, nuclear weapons were seemingly unpredictable and risky. At the turn of the century, society is able to much more accurately predict what the consequences of nuclear weapons would be based on past experience. The world can assume the destruction brought about by such intense weaponry and can envision the world at its collapse with such technology, but no man can fully foresee what the world would look like amidst such chaos. After our discussion in class, it was brought to my mind about apocalyptic events and how the production and use of nuclear weapons could, in fact, lead to a self-induced apocalypse. The world has become a dangerous place with power put into the hands of people who are thought to be trusted. No matter what level of trust we have in those superior to us, there is always room for conflict. Today’s world is a dangerous place and seems to never have peace. I truly believe that World War III will happen within the next 100 years and that very little will survive of it. I also believe that World War IV will be fought the way original battles were hundreds of years ago and our world will begin anew. I truly do believe that the real ending to the world as we know it will be when Jesus comes to rescue all that is left of the world but I plan on further exploring how nuclear weapons could bring about an apocalypse of their own.

Early in the semester we read An Archive of Feelings by Ann Cvetkovich. This book describes the struggles and trauma of women as an archive. Oxford Dictionary defines an archive as a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. If we analyze nuclear weapons as an archive, we can see more about their history and the effect they have on society. Nuclear weapons were created practically incidentally when splitting the smallest of subatomic particles and developed into a world-wide phenomenon of both safety and danger. In further analysis of this archive, we can see the potential ending, that being, an apocalypse. This potential for destruction is similar to the trauma being experience in Cvetkovich’s, “An Archive of Feelings.”

Apocalypse Never is a book written by Tad Daley that describes the reasoning behind why nuclear weapons should be abolished or our world will perish. Valerie Plame Wilson of firdoglake.com states, “Apocalypse Never is a frightening book to read but impossible to put down. In clear, accessible prose, Tad Daley unblinkingly lays out the case, point by point, for why we must ultimately rid the world of nuclear weapons or else suffer the inevitable consequences of the end of civilization as we know it. Daley then takes on the task of showing how this seemingly Herculean task can be accomplished, even within our lifetimes. It is compelling and accurate in its assessments and one of the absolute best out there on why we simply cannot continue along the way it has been.”

The topic of nuclear weapons is one that seems very “hush hush” and is not confronted head on as it should be. Many people know the possibility of their use exits but are too naïve to believe it will ever happen. Since there are not bombs being launched left and right, it seems as though it will never actually happen in our lifetime. On March 15, 2015, it was released in articles from The Independent (UK News) that Vladimir Putin of Russia was prepared to release nuclear missiles on the United States of America saying, “They (USA) helped training the nationalists, their armed groups, in Western Ukraine, in Poland and to some extent in Lithuania. They facilitated the armed coup” when speaking on the annexation of the Black Sea and Ukraine Crisis (Vladimir Putin).

Our world has become a very advanced and powerful place to live and it is not crazy to believe that one small instance could put civilization up in flames, literally and figuratively.

Works Cited

“Apocalypse Never – Rutgers University Press.” Apocalypse Never – Rutgers University Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

“Arms Control Today.” The Technology of Nuclear Weapons. N.p., 1 Nov. 1997. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

May, Ernest R. “John F Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” BBC News. BBC, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

“Nuclear Weapons: How They Work (2010).” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

“Nuclear Weapons Timeline.” ICAN. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

“Vladimir Putin Says Russia Was Preparing to Use Nuclear Weapons ‘if Necessary’ and Blames US for Ukraine Crisis.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 15 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

“11 Ways the World Could End: Nuclear War.” MNN. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

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Apocalyptic Fears

There has always been a fascination with the idea of the apocalypse and what that would look like. Today, there is a significant focus on a zombie apocalypse, which is where a disease infects a human that kills the host but the disease lives on feeding off human flesh; however, when a human is bitten, this infects that human, and thus leading to a worldwide viral outbreak where everyone are zombies. This seems completely irrational; but yet, this idea has attracted a large audience. What makes people attract to this idea? It could be that it is very close to real factors. For example, the idea of “zombies” sounds too sci-fi, but the idea of a disease wiping out a large population is not so unrealistic. So, it could be a matter of how fear can effect how one views the apocalypse. Therefore, one can narrow their thinking in a way to relate to why people are attracted to these apocalyptic ideals; fear fuels the reality of an apocalypse in two ways: Through what is heard and through what is seen.

An example of how fear can fuel the reality of an apocalypse through what is heard is the radio broadcast of 1938. During the eve of Halloween October 30, 1938, Orson Welles, famous theatre director and radio actor, broadcasted a drama of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, in what seemed like a serious news broadcast. During this time, people would eat dinner and then sit down to an evening of listening to the radio. Turning the dial, listeners were scanning the stations to find something to listen to; however, most missed the introduction that included the disclaimer that the following broadcast was only a dramatization, where Martians invade earth and begin killing everyone in sight. Within a half hour of the broadcast, panic filled the streets and Orson Welles was being forced to take a ten minute break to reassure listeners that this was only a fake broadcast, but most listeners had already packed their bags and were trying to leave the city. It was a major moment in history because the fear and panic of what could be a real Martian invasion caused thousands to tremble and some to end their own life (War of the Worlds). People were enraged by this fake news broadcast. Later, listeners on that fateful night were interviewed to explain what was going through their heads at that moment. This is a real life example of how fear can impact the irrationality of emotion. The mind is able to play a role in manipulation of what is real or not. This example shows how one can take a simple act of trickery and impact the lives of many into believing something that is clearly fiction. One listener admitted that as he was in his car leaving the city, and because he heard this broadcast and it was late at night that he could literally see what looked to be Martians over the trees. Of course, it was a fiction of his imagination, but due to the realness of the broadcast, it caused his mind to see what was not there.

One view of the apocalypse that was popular during the mid-to-late 1900s was that a nuclear warfare would take place, resulting in the destruction of the earth. People were terribly frightened that the world was going to end because of the creation of Atomic Bombs. Cities were destroyed and many lives were devastated because of these acts of horror, and because it was so real, fear took hold of the minds of many. Thus, books and films were made to capitalize on this fear, to create an imaginary world after a chemical warfare. An example is the film, Book of Eli, in which the earth was scorched and in desolation because of a world war. The characters live in what looks to be a desert ruin, scarce food and minimal water cause many to resort to robbery and murder (The Book of Eli). This film shows the imaginative world in a post-war setting. While some might not think this is a valid outcome, this work of fiction can trigger fear in the lives of many just by the mere thought of it. This is an example of how fear can fuel the reality of an apocalypse. In the fact, during that time; people saw countries making these bombs and saw the test sites where bombs were tested. Less than a decade later after the Orson Welles broadcast, Hiroshima and Nagasaki became the first cities in the world to witness the power of nuclear weapons. Therefore, what one sees can dramatically effect how people react to these apocalyptic ideals.

Now that there is a baseline for this topic, it is important to know the application of fear. Fear can be a broad area to focus on because so many fears are associated with many different things for different individuals. However, it is important to know what fear is or is not. Fear is a cognitive perception of one thing or another. In an anatomy class, one can learn about “the flight or fight response,” which is induced by fear and danger to either run away or fight. The initial response is in the amygdala, located in the brain, that signals to the adrenal medulla, which is located just above the kidneys, responsible for hormonal secretion, including adrenaline. Furthermore, these organs result the natural response of fear in a given situation. Although, as mentioned previously, it is a perception issue, so a fear to one person may not be a fear to another.

Depending on how one is raised can determine how one perceives the application of fear what is important to be afraid of or restrain from. Religion is one building block of how this can be viewed. According to Richard Eckersley in his essay about apocalyptic fears, he illustrates that “fundamentalism refers to the retreat to the certainty of dogmatic beliefs, whether secular or religious. In an extreme form, this is ‘end time’ thinking” (Eckersley 37). Here, Eckersley shows a view from a Christian standpoint that this belief is to illustrate the fear of the Rapture taking place. So, depending on family belief systems, it can influence how one perceives the apocalypse to take place.

Fear is always a response to a situation or in anticipation of that situation and has many responses including freezing, chills, sweating, and screaming. When presented with a frightening situation, the body’s response could include, but not be exclusive to, what is listed above. Fear is closely associated with anxiety too. One can physically feel the response of anxiety: heart rate increase, overwhelming feelings, depression of what might happen. So, with fear being so closely associated with anxiety, it can effect how one handles a situation, whether they dwell on it or let it go. A lot of depression issues are due to anxiety, which can be a response to how one handles fear. Depression is a big issue in the U.S. along with many other countries, but one could argue that it is due to the fear of the unknown. Fear tactics have been placed on every person in one way or another. In Christianity, the fear of the Rapture is always in the forefront of people’s minds. When Year 2,000 came, many people believed that the Rapture would take place, but it didn’t. People actually committed suicide or caused violence in response to what they believed to be an apocalyptic time. It’s interesting and scary to see how far people will go if they think it is the end of days.

In Naomi Oreskes’ essay, “The Collapse of Western Civilization: a View from the Future,” Oreskes says, “dislocation contributed to the Second Black Death, as a new strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis emerged in Europe and spread to Asia and North America…disease also spread among stressed nonhuman populations” (Oreskes 9). Here, Oreskes is discussing events from the future but looking in the past and is referring to a widespread disease that affected not only humans but animals too. This essay is interesting because it ties in factors that lead to other problems. For example, Global Warming was an issue that was mainly discussed in this essay, but here Oreskes illustrates that other factors are at play. The point is that when examining one apocalyptic ideal, one can easily jump to a different world epidemic that is still related in terms of apocalypse. Thus, increasing one’s anxiety about how an apocalypse could take place.

Throughout history, one can see how people can plant the seed of manipulation and let the mind come up with its own agenda through fear. Is a Zombie apocalypse possible? No. However, it links closely with real life issues. For example, diseases have always been a threat to populations. The Black Death was a disease in the 1300s that killed nearly one-third of Europe’s population (Black Death). Disease is nature’s way of reducing the population, and while a Zombie apocalypse is fictional, the idea of diseases is not.

It is scary to think how far people’s minds will go into believing certain things, but one must keep their thoughts at bay as to what is true and false. It is hard to say what kind of apocalypse is more possible than others, if any is possible, but fear is the major tool in capturing attention to these ideas. If someone has the power of manipulation and forces fear on others, then it is hard to say what kind of world epidemic could come of such power. One reason why people are attracted to these fictional apocalyptic ideas, is not only because it is based off of something slightly true (like disease is to Zombie), but also because some people want to feel the fear and excitement of a need for survival, to prove that they have what it takes to survive.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind what fear can do, and how it can manipulate one’s thoughts and actions. Knowing that fear can fuel the reality of an apocalypse through what is heard and seen can help people recognize when they are being manipulated. When listening, not letting those words influence an action. When seeing, making sure what you see is real and not letting what you see entirely influence actions. Use both tools, seeing and hearing, to come up with the hypothesis that what is seen and heard, together, is real. When separated, these tools can lead to a factor of manipulation, which is not the best way to take action.

Works Cited

“Black Death.” History.com. A+E Networks, Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

Eckersley, Richard. “Nihilism, Fundamentalism, Or Activism: Three Responses To Fears Of The Apocalypse.” Futurist 42.1 (2008): 35-39. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.

Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future.” Daedalus 142.1 (2013): 40-58. Web.

The Book of Eli. Dir. Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes. Prod. Joel Silver and Denzel Washington. By Gary Whitta. Perf. Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis. Warner Bros., 2010. DVD.

War of the Worlds. Orson Welles. American Experience. PBS, Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

Midterm Paper Revision: Social Media: The Future of Communication

The world is much different than it used to be. Social media has changed many aspects of our lives. Communication possibilities have changed drastically. Take a look at the biggest social media websites. What do they do for you? How do they connect people? It’s obvious that social media has changed the way people communicate, but how exactly has it done this?

Facebook is the largest social media website, and thus, it will be the main point of focus. Facebook was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who was a student at Harvard University at the time. He went through many struggles in his creation of Facebook. These struggles included lawsuits, the loss of friends, and many hours of hard work. Mark Zuckerberg is a very intelligent man and he created a legacy for himself through his passion and strive to create something great. These were the components in which Facebook was built upon. Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California and today employs almost 10,000 individuals. It is, without doubt, the largest social media website in the world. Every single day, over 890 million people log on to Facebook, and there are about 1.4 billion people that use the site monthly. 1.2 billion of these users access Facebook through their phones. (1) In addition, there are 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook everyday. Think about these numbers. About 7 billion people share this earth, and many of these people lack basic access to such a site. China, the most populated country in the world, has banned Facebook for the majority of its citizens. A company with this type of power has endless opportunities to change communication, and the world as a whole.

Facebook’s mission states the desire “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” At the core, the idea is very simple. People want more ways to connect. Facebook fulfills these desires. Facebook, however, is much more than just a simple communication method.

Facebook allows people to accomplish a large variety of tasks. At a basic level, people can communicate instantly. Through status updates and posts, people can see what their friends are doing at all times. Photos and videos also allow people to show others what they’ve been up to. Other things people can do include sharing their interests and other information on their profile page, playing games, and even connecting with celebrities or businesses. One of my favorite features of Facebook is the ease of planning events. People no longer have to call, text and email all their friends for events. With a few clicks, you can invite all of your friends to an event. This is great for things such as weddings, graduations and other parties/events. Look at Facebook in its entirety and you will find endless opportunities for entertainment. Facebook does much more than you may think.

Ann Cvektovich’s An Archive of Feelings was an interesting read, for a variety of reasons. The book is about the story of women and their accounts of trauma; seen as an archive. The book is very powerful and resonates with many audiences, not just women that faced the same struggles and conflicts seen in the book. While looking at this “archive of feelings”, one may also look at how different technologies may be seen as an archive. I decided to look at others example of archives, including modern technology along with social media.

It seems that a large number of technologies may be considered an archive in this day and age. Many technologies, in their nature, record activity over short and long periods of time, which may be considered an archive to some extent. In definition, an archive could be described as a history of information. Think about all the things or technologies that may fit this definition. Think about the things you use everyday. Look at simple things such as your computer. This is an accumulation of many of the works you have done throughout yours and its life. Going off of this, a phone works in the same way. Your phone has messages, pictures and conversations that have been created over its history, and a portion of your life. An archive I’m interested in speaking about is social media, and Facebook in specific.

It’s not hard to see why Facebook is an archive. It is a collection of life events through media. Think about the day that you first got a Facebook, and how much of your life you can review since then. You can hop on Facebook and you have access to years of pictures and conversations. It’s crazy to think about this stuff. Look back and see how much you’ve changed. Some people put photos from their everyday lives on Facebook to be able to access it later in life. Years of people’s lives are captured on Facebook, and they will continue to be captured until Facebook is no longer functioning. In many ways, this is a great thing but it can also be sad to think about. Some people may get on Facebook and look back at pictures just be reminded of tragedies that occurred earlier in life. For example, it may bring memories of deaths in the family, or other moments you wish had gone uncaptured. On the other hand, some people may have had Facebook for half of their lives, and be able to look at pictures from when they were a child and recall how fast they grew up. Facebook is an archive, and as an archive it will evoke many thoughts and emotions.

In addition to being an archive, Facebook can be looked at in other ways as well. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle takes an interesting viewpoint that allows us to see social media differently. The book explores the idea that as technology expands, there are more ways to be connected, networked, and stay together. However, while social media may connect us in more ways, we are often physically alone now more than ever.

With Facebook, it’s almost as if people don’t even need to leave their home to talk to others, as all of their communication needs are already met. This is true power in technology, and this is where the idea of “alone together” plays in. We no longer need to communicate in person to be satisfied. In many cases, communication has changed to status updates, pictures, and likes. We can now communicate online in various ways for unlimited amounts of time. This is how communication has changed. Social media is highly addictive to a large number of users. Everybody feels the need to be seen, and everybody wants to fit in. Through Facebook, even people that aren’t the most outgoing can have hundreds of friends, and with one post all of these people can be connected to this individual. In some ways, this encourages them to stay at their computer and be sociable online, yet barely talk in real life. This is a tragedy. Another thing that is occurring is people are becoming obsessed with likes. Instagram is a perfect example of this. Many people spend time planning and taking perfect photos just so people online can like it, and therefore they fulfill a need for self-presentation. They want to show the best versions of themselves. This can be good in some ways. However, many of the effects are bad. For example, some of these likes may be from people that they have barely talked to in real life, and this is where a problem plays in. People are gaining positive reactions from others online, which just reinforces people to stay online and in-person interaction is, therefore, often limited. This is exactly how social media has changed people. There is no reason in the foreseeable future why social media would stop growing. Now that these possibilities are out, they will only expand. People will only get more connected online. For this reason, we must think about the fact that the world is changing. People are changing. This means that social media must change with them in order to remain successful. There are many ways that social media has changed, and it will continue to change with the times.

Facebook is not just a website people will get on for a few minutes and leave. It’s not just a website that people get on to say hello to their friends. It’s a website where people spend hours straight simply looking at other people’s lives. Privacy is almost non-existent online. The time wasted on social media is one of the greatest outrages in our technological age. Social media will destroy us. It’s an innovational masterpiece, but it is also a social disaster in many ways. People are starting to care more about how they are seen online than they are in real life. We are in a world where people may care more about how many friends they have on Facebook rather than how many people they can truly confide in, have fun with, and with whom they can share meaningful conversations. The expanding of communication can be good, but it starts to get bad when it prevents people from real life experiences. This could be the way of the future, and that is not a future I want to be a part of. We have social media, but ask yourself, do we have a social world?

Works Cited

  1. “Facebook Passes 1.23 Billion Monthly Active Users.” TNW Network All Stories RSS.

N.p., 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/&gt;.

2. “Company Info | Facebook Newsroom.” Facebook Newsroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb.<http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/&gt;

3.) Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less

A Powerful, yet Simple Discovery

One of the greatest scientific facts ever discovered has to be Albert Einstein’s Equation, E=mc², because it led to a new discovery in classical physics as well as advancing technology for the better and for the worse in which it was indirectly used for killing of thousands of innocent people. Albert Einstein was one of the, if not the greatest scientist to have ever lived, and his amazing theories of the universe will always be remembered as greatly as him. I believe E=mc² is a great scientific fact solely due it being such a powerful equation, but yet so simple. It has allowed mankind to advance in knowledge of the universe and has allowed to better technologies, whether it be good or bad. E=mc² is a brilliant discovery that has led to great advancements in technology, but it also was partly responsible for one of the most horrific incidents in history, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To understand the power of E=mc², it is critical to analyze the equation itself. “It says that the energy (E) in a system (an atom, a person, the solar system) is equal to its total mass (m) multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c, equal to 186,000 miles per second)”(Jha). In laypersons terms this means that energy and mass are related and can equal each other, therefore being the same at times. The speed of light is just a constant which never changes and is used in the equation because it is one of the three critical parts of nature, the other two being energy and mass. It is much more than a mathematical equation, akin to other equations, it very profound and led to the realization of measuring the same thing but with two different ways. For example, a person can weigh himself through their mass, but can also be weighed according to energy by measuring the amount of joules. Joules is just a subunit of energy, just as mass has a subunit of grams. The significance of E=mc² is that it led to the realization of converting mass into energy, and energy back into mass. Which led to other discoveries in physics, as well astrophysics, where it was learnt that when a sun emits energy its mass is being converted into that energy and is being emitted. As one can see the equation is so powerful because it led to other discoveries to be made because of its simplicity and power.

To have a better understanding and to try to grasp the power of this equation, it is valuable to see how it has affected other technologies. This equation led to advancing physics, by helping to discover a new branch of physics, high-energy particle physics. Particle physics is concerned with the microscopic properties of matter and energy such as the very particles that create everything like protons, neutrons, and electrons. Particle physics consists of a technology known as a particle accelerator. Which is just a machine that collides sub atomic particles at incredible high speeds. An article written by Peter Tyson, “The Legacy of E=mc²”, suggests that “proper design of particle accelerators, as well as analysis of the high-speed collisions within them, would be impossible without a thorough comprehension of the equation”(Tyson). Tyson is referring to E=mc² as the equation, and this makes sense because within the particle accelerator only energy and new particles are left as a byproduct of the colliding particles. The mass of the old colliding particles transitioned into new energy, which are “constantly transmuting into newly fashioned particles”(Tyson). So again, as stated before, it is direct use of the equation because mass is transferred into energy, and then to a new mass, creating new particles. Tyson realizes this and he quotes another man named Grant, who brings more attention to the equation when he says “ ‘our species has repeatedly used an understanding of the equation to convert E into new forms of m that had never previously been seen’ ” (Tyson). This quote proves how mankind continues to use E=mc² in advancing science, and in this case, creating particle physics as well as advancing it.

After analyzing the effects of E=mc² on advancing the field of physics, lets analyze more familiar objects in our society. Many things used in hospitals are directly linked to he discovery of E=mc², for example a PET scan. Positron emission tomography uses radioactive substances to detect anomalies within the body. Positron is a unique sub-atomic particle which is the opposite of electron, used a lot of the time in either high-speed particle colliders, or even radioactive machines to detect diseases in the body. In the article by James Tyson, Sylvester James Gates, a physicist at the University of Maryland was quoted stating, “ ‘whenever you use a radioactive substance to illuminate processes in the human body, you’re paying direct homage to Einstein’s insight’ ”(Tyson). This is directly linked to E=mc² because as particles move within the body, their energy can be converted to mass and allow machines to detect any sort of abnormality within a patient. Another advancement of E=mc² is radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating is a method archaeologists use to date ancient substances. Has allowed mankind to date back ancient civilizations, and has allowed us to date back how far the Earth has existed. Tyson quotes Grant again in his article, and Grant states, “ ‘The decay products that we see in carbon dating—that energy is directly obtained from the missing mass that you see in E = mc2’ ”(Tyson). As stated before, mass can be converted into energy, and over the time of hundreds or thousands of year we can detect that energy through radiocarbon dating. There are many other great advancements through the use of E=mc² from everyday objects like smoke detectors, exit signs, to even advancing astronomy, and overall spawning the advancement of radioactive sciences, but through radioactive science the equation appealed to a more nuclear world.

E=mc² can now be understood as to why it such a great equation, but it is also important to know the capacity of this equation that can elicit a great deal of destruction to the world. Francis Fukuyama wrote a book entitled, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. Fukuyama writes about biomedical advancements and argues manipulating genetics will have negative consequences even if thought to be used for good intentions. Many of his points can be linked to E=mc² because although the equation led to many great advancements the world has ever seen, it has also been key to the one of the most horrific incidents in history, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During World War 2, humans created the atomic bomb, the most devastating weapon in human history. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of innocent people dying in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities in Japan. All this was done to shorten the length of World War 2, and scare to the Japanese into surrendering as well as to shock the Germans. Reading Fukuyama’s book, his ideas can be linked to this devastating attack when he says, “science and technology, from which the modern world springs, themselves represent our civilization’s key vulnerabilities” (Fukuyama Preface). This is an accurate description of most technologies, but specifically for E=mc² it can be rightly assumed that the description is relevant to this particular scientific fact because even though it has allowed for many great advancements in the modern world, it is also key to having the power to eliminate civilization and has the power to destroy the world.

Upon writing this paper, I believe it is necessary to give my own perspective on E= mc². Coming from a scientific background and the appreciation of new scientific advancements, many which are spawned from E= mc², I believe the equation is a great invention used to advance human knowledge. It has allowed humans to become better astronomers, understanding laws of the universe, creating new branches of science like particle physics, allow humans to treat patients better, and overall a general understanding of energy. With almost every technology it is rational to assume it has excessive positive features, but also has defects. There will always be a good and a bad. For E=mc² it has brought very positive results through many advancements in society, and to give a better understanding of the universe. However, it has also led mankind to wield such a power where it can kill millions of people with a nuclear bomb, directly linked to the fundamentals of E= mc². I believe this discussion is linked to the discussion in class about gun laws, simply because E= mc² can be used as a weapon. This scientific fact should not be considered a weapon merely due to having the potential to create weapons of mass destruction, but seen as a great scientific fact which has the potential to further advance society, and if willed can be used as a destructive force by someone. It is not the equations fault that hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese citizens died, but rather the people who are using the equation in what I would consider a negative manner. Overall, it has been a great discovery to enlighten humans more about the laws of nature, but it should not be at fault for resulting in weapons of mass destruction.

Through this paper I hope it has allowed people to see why E= mc² is a great and powerful equation. Not powerful in the sense that is has the power to spawn weapons that can cause a great amount of destruction, but rather powerful in the sense that it has the power to lead to better advancements in science. Which is why I believe it is Einstein’s most accomplished work, and evidently most of his theories are built upon this concept like relativity. Not only were his theories better resulted through the understanding of the equation, but also others theories of creating new advancements, and to create new branch of sciences simply due to the existence and understanding of E=mc². It is a great equation in magnitude, and it is only about an inch long in length, it truly is a remarkable scientific fact.

 

Work Cited:

Fukuyama, Francis. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Print.

Tyson, Peter. “The Legacy of E = Mc2.” PBS. PBS, 11 Oct. 2005. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.< http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/legacy-of-e-equals-mc2.html>.

Lasky, Ronald C. “What Is the Significance of E = Mc2? And What Does It Mean?” Scientific American. N.p., 23 Apr. 2007. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.< http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/significance-e-mc-2-means/>.

Jha, Alok. “E=mc2: Einstein’s Equation That Gave Birth to the Atom Bomb.”Theguardian. N.p., 5 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/apr/05/einstein-equation-emc2-special-relativity-alok-jha&gt;.

Picture:

“E=MC2.” Fine Art Print by Unknown at FulcrumGallery.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.fulcrumgallery.com/EMC2_700663.htm&gt;.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding Our World, Limiting Our Experiences?

If you ask me what I want to do with my life, I will say that I want to be in a position where I am lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time traveling. Travel has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I believe that it has been the single most important thing that has shaped who I am today. Travel makes me happy, as it is both a way that I inject change into my life and a reminder of something bigger than myself, both key aspects of happiness that were discussed in the movie “Happy” (1). That being said, travel, and the way that I experience it, has changed as dramatically as I have. For example, I remember when I was around eight or ten, I would take stacks of books on family road trips out West. Even more recently during high school, I went on two service trips during which I did not have access to the internet for two weeks. These experiences are completely unimaginable today. During the most recent spring break, I went to Madrid, Spain. I had several movies downloaded onto my iPad, and rarely was without Facebook at my fingertips. Even on the eight hour plane ride, I didn’t read, like I would have done in the past. Instead, I watched movies. Furthermore, while I was in Madrid, I was lucky enough to experience many aspects of a different culture, from things as simple as eating lunch at three in the afternoon, to bigger things such as a different language. (Which, luckily, I spoke.) However, my culture that I had left an ocean away was never truly more than a few taps away on my iPhone. I believe that technology has had an irrevocable effect on travel, and though many of its effects are positive, there are many negative aspects what we may tend to ignore. These negative aspects are something that we need to have more awareness of, in order to truly appreciate our surroundings.

When I talk about technology and its effect on travel, I wish to refer to its ability to affect the way that we experience a place. Of course, to analyze this, it is important to consider what it means to experience while traveling. Does it mean interacting with those who live there, making an impact, leaving a footprint? Or, does it mean keeping our distance, taking photos, looking through museums and leaving without a trace? I tend to lean towards the first option. Travel is a way through which we access new perspectives and expand our horizons, something that can even be scary at times, perhaps because “in our culture of simulation, the notion of authenticity is for us what sex was for the Victorians – thread and obsession, taboo and fascination. (2) However, as I (and I am sure many others) travel in search of connection despite our initial reservations, I cannot forget the ways in which we are already connected through technology. After all, it may even be possible to say that “what people mostly want from public space is to be alone with their personal networks. It is good to come together physically, but it is more important to stay tethered to our devices.” (3) This tethering from technology affects many aspects of our travel experience. After all, what do we need to do in order to fully experience a place? Do we see as much as possible? Or do we find a place where we can watch people pass by and go about their days? (In this case, I tend to split the difference and do a little of each.) Technology can help us to accomplish both of these tasks, but what effect does this have on our trip, and furthermore, ourselves?

Of course, technology is not all bad, and in many ways it is a resource as vital as oxygen when it comes to moving throughout the world. In this day and age, “the family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by electric media – movies, tel-star, flight – far surpasses any possible influence mom or dad can now bring to bear.” (4) This globalization has been ushered in by technology that quickly becomes more and more advanced, and overall I view it as a privilege to have access to fast and efficient methods of movement. For example, the airplane, something that we perhaps take for granted, or even as an annoyance, is something that did not even exist one hundred years ago. Yet, this technology is indispensable when planning a vacation overseas. It enables me to travel from Ohio to Europe in less time than it takes to drive to Florida. Without the plane, the train, the car, or even the bicycle (for the more intrepid among us), travel would be dramatically different, and perhaps a foreign concept for the average individual.

It isn’t just the “vital” technology that improves the travel experience these days. There are countless new web-based technologies that allow us to tailor our vacation to our preferred specifications, and help us to simply do more, connect more, and live more. At the very basic level, wi-fi gives us internet access everywhere, which permits us to harness the internet’s many resources. (At least, it’s available in most “American” restaurants overseas -I have noticed a distinct lack of free wi-fi in Europe.) Beyond wi-fi, Websites such as Google Flights make traveling to our destination cheaper, which in turn permits us to spend maybe another night there, or take the short day trip to a little town about an hour away. Other technologies such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing combine cost savings with enhanced connections. Both provide relatively inexpensive lodging for the average traveler, while at the same time facilitating connection on both ends – the traveler is often able to stay with someone who lives in the place they are visiting, giving them deeper roots in the community, and the host is able to interact with someone from a completely different area, allowing them to see their home through different eyes. Furthermore, social media, something often decried as a destroyer of true connection, can be viewed as a technology that has had a positive impact on travel in the modern age. Instagram allows one to share photos of your experiences with those who may not have the same opportunity to travel, or those that want to see reminders of a place they have been to. People even use social media to plan vacations, getting inspiration for upcoming journeys, sharing their plans with their friends for suggestions, or using sites such as Tripadvisor to find activities (5) Facebook, Whatsapp, and other similar communication tools make it easier to stay in touch while out of the country, with 74% of Americans using social media on vacation (6), even though most cell phones do not work internationally, at least not without paying exorbitant prices. This, however, may even be changing for some – the European Union wants to end roaming charges for its citizens as they travel throughout its member countries. (7)  This change is not uncommon with travel technology. New frontiers are being explored with wearable technology and travel, automatic payments, and translation software. (8) As technology changes, travel will change with it, and in my eyes the vast majority of these developments and changes are for the better.

That being said, technology has also brought about many negative changes that take away from our experiences while traveling, either overseas or domestically. Even looking at the way we plan vacations with sites like Tripadvisor, we may put too much stock in negative or positive reviews, and forget to consider what we expect from a destination. See, for example, this one-star review of the Grand Canyon, titled “Grand Canyon is Crap!” – “I’ve been to a number of so called landmarks in my time – but what the hell was this? Just an overblown sandy ditch. Really don’t get the fascination! Took two hours to get there – should’ve stayed in my hotel and watched a DVD instead…” (9). Clearly, perception is everything, and this perception can skew experiences if we put too much weight into others’ experiences.

Photography, something generally considered as a great way to make our own mementos of our vacations, can also impact travel in a negative way. In “Alone Together”, Turkle discusses the possibility that “archiving might get in the way of living” (10). In the case of travel, photographing might get in the way of experiencing, and might even allow us to mislead those who see our archives. See once again the Grand Canyon (11):

Beautiful, right? Serene, peaceful, empty. Exactly what one might want from a National Park. However, other photographs tell a different story. (12)


There are typically many tourists at places such as the Grand Canyon, and while tourists are obviously unavoidable, people may tend to forget about their presence when they see pictures such as the one above, and be disappointed when they show up expecting solitude. Beyond the potential misleading nature of photography and post-processing (something I am admittedly guilty of myself), the entire action of viewing our surroundings through a lens, or through a phone screen, takes us out of our environments. After all, McLuhan declares that “media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of  sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act – the way we perceive the world.” (13) It would be foolish to say that photography has no impact on our travel experience. We may spend more time searching for the perfect shot, the perfect filter to maximize likes on Instagram, instead of letting our mind be the camera, and preserving what we see in our heads for recollection on a day when we feel a little bit more wanderlust than usual. It can even be asked, “if technology remembers for us, will we remember less? Will we approach our own lives from a greater distance?” (14) Social media’s negative effects, and the way that “life in a media bubble has come to seem natural” (15) may even be considered an extension of those from photography, with archiving getting in the way of experiencing, and true face-to-face connections being rejected in favor of those that come through a screen.

It is obvious that technology has had a far-reaching effect on travel, both enabling its existence and limiting the experiences possible while on the road. For me, the important thing to remember while traveling and harnessing this technology for my own use is awareness. I believe that through being aware of our actions we will more easily be able to see their potential consequences, and make decisions based upon what our desired outcome is. Technology can be so useful while traveling, making us safer, helping us communicate, and helping us explore. In fact, it is even hard to scratch the surface of the tools we have available to us while traveling, the number of resources is so vast. However, as we have seen with new technologies in the past, there may often be outcomes from the use of technology that we don’t realize until it is too late. Therefore, when it comes to travel and technology, I preach being aware of what we use on a daily basis. Maybe, you can even put the Google Maps away for a little while and just walk and see what you find. After all, it is okay to rely on technology, in this day and age we all do to different extents. However, as in all things in life, we need to seek balance, and seek to be aware of the choices we make, even unintentionally, and their consequences.

Endnotes:

(1) Happy. Dir. Roko Belic. Wadi Rum Productions, 2011. Netflix. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

(2) Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Perseus Book Group, 2011. Print. (4)

(3) Turkle, 15.

(4) McLuhan, M. (2001). The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press. (14)

(5) “The Impact of Social Media on Travel and Vacation Planning | Vacationing the Social Media Way [Infographic].” MDG Advertising. N.p., 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/vacationing-the-social-media-way-infographic/&gt;.

(6) MDG Advertising.

(7) Strachan, Donald. “How Technology Will Change Travel in 2015.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 29 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-advice/11316023/How-technology-will-change-travel-in-2015.html&gt;.

(8) Strachan.

(9) H, David. “Nature Is Crap!” Rev. of The Grand Canyon. n.d.: n. pag. 8 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g143028-d103752-r248232755-Grand_Canyon-Grand_Canyon_National_Park_Arizona.html#REVIEWS&gt;.

(10) Turkle, 305.

(11) Grand Canyon Sunrise. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2016. <Happy. Dir. Roko Belic. Wadi Rum Productions, 2011. Netflix. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.>.

(12) Mandel, Pam. Pictures of People Taking Pictures of People at the Grand Canyon. Digital image. Nerds Eye View. N.p., 4 June 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3864/14158297779_0473c8ce5f_b.jpg&gt;.

(13) McLuhan, 41.

(14) Turkle, 300.

(15) Turkle, 16.

The Impacts of Corporate Farming

An essential part of survival for all living animals is the need to consume some sort of food source; human beings are no different in the fact that we need to consume food to function.  Human beings may need food to survive, however the consumption of food has taken on a much larger role in human society than just mere survival.  Humans eat to celebrate, to socialize, as part of religious practices, and even out of plain boredom.  So much of the human lifestyle is centered around the consumption of food.  In the past in order for humans to consume food, the food must have first been collected and prepared.  Many people still prepare a large part of their own food but understandably there are very few people in today’s modern society that actually grow, collect, or hunt their own food.  People simply don’t have the time, it is much more convenient and efficient for people to obtain food through markets and restaurants.  Even though markets and restaurants have been around for quite some time they have evolved into new modern versions known as super markets and fast food restaurants in order to keep up with the demand of society.  In the modern day super market every type of food a person could imagine is conveniently available year-round and at an affordable price to most.  The emergence of the supermarket truly is an amazing feat of human evolution but what price comes along with the gained convenience.  Most people when sitting at a gathering eating food, most likely bought from a super market, ever stop and question where the food they are consuming actually comes from.  The majority of society today does not realize what all goes into having a vast array of food available at all times, anywhere in the country at the local super market or fast food joint.  The demand super markets and fast food restaurants have imposed on farmers has completely changed the way food is farmed in the United States; and these changes come with a great deal of social, health, economic, and even political impacts in modern society.

 

A major question that must be understood before the repercussions on society can really be analyzed is of course; what has caused the farming industry to change more in the past fifty years than it has in the past thousand.  The answer is actually much simpler than most would imagine, and that answer is consumer demand.  Troy Roush, the vice president of the American Corn Growers Association, said it very well in the documentary Food Inc; “You have to understand that we farmers… we’re gonna deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands. If you wanna buy $2 milk, you’re going to get a factoryfarm in your backyard. It’s that simple. People have got to start *demanding* good, wholesome food of us, and we’ll deliver; I promise you. We’re very ingenious people, we will deliver.”(Roush, Food Inc)  The major supermarket and fast food companies are the ones that are dealing with the farmers directly and indirectly forcing the farmers to implement new factory style farming techniques in order to keep up with the increasing demand.  However those major supermarket and fast food corporations are only doing so because the increasing demand for incredibly wide varieties of food at very cheap prices is created by the consumer.  The consumer is who holds the real power in this predicament, and the consumer is partially the cause of the issue of corporatized farming.  On the other hand the supermarket and fast food companies are still at fault, it was those companies that did implement the idea of having so many foods available at a very cheap price and look the same every time everywhere.  These companies did not intend to change the farming industry and impact society the way they have, they simply just wanted to make money off of selling food at cheap prices to people.  Once the idea of buying any food regardless of season at a cheap price was made a reality more and more people began to buy their food at supermarkets which caused the demand to increase rapidly.  To keep up with the consumer demand, much more food needed to be produced than ever before, food needed to be grown faster, and it needed to last longer on shelves.  In order for this to be possible the way food is produced had to be changed and these changes occurred so quickly that things like quality of the food, health of the consumer, and safety of the workers were neglected.  The consumer could have demanded for high quality, healthy food but because the consumers had become accustomed to the cheap prices they valued the priced over the quality of the food.  In conclusion the farming industry has become such a corporatized industry due to the consumer creating more demand for convenient, cheap food than for quality, healthy food; and the supermarket and fast food companies responding to this demand.

 

The corporatization of the farming industry is not just another normal part of human evolution with no consequences, this drastic change is affecting society in a number of crucial ways.  One of the major effects of this dilemma is the staggering decrease of family owned local farms.  There are very few privately owned farms that sell their food to their local communities in existence anymore.  It’s not that the smaller farms are going anywhere; what is occurring is major agriculture companies with immense amounts of money are coming to smaller family operated farms and forcing them to sign contracts to grow food or livestock for the company.  The companies can do this because they threaten the small farmers with running them out of business because the small farmer simply can’t compete without the technology the corporate farms have to offer.  If the thought of not being able to compete isn’t enough to get a farmer to sign with the corporation many times the corporations will even use their money and contacts with organizations such as the USDA and FDA to get the small farm such down on some sort of health hazard.  Once the large agricultural company gets the farmer to sign a contract the farmer is forced to upgrade his or hers technology in order to keep up with the contracts production standards.  The local farmer may still be the technical owner of his or her farm but they are essentially enslaved by the company they have a contract with by being forced to go way into thousands of dollars in debt to purchase the new farming technology from the companies to produce more food for the companies.  This is bad for local economies, even discouraging farmers from continuing producing food and discouraging to new farmers that want to enter the industry.

Another major impact of agriculture becoming corporatized is the diminishing quality of life of farm animals.  A great quote from PETA’s official website that summarizes what exactly these animals are going through is as follows:  “On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto trucks headed for slaughterhouses.”(PETA)  These terrible living conditions are a direct result of major corporations being in control of the farms these animals are raised on.  Because a company is making all of the decisions and not a farmer the animals are looked at as a product not a living creature.  Cuts are made and new processes are introduced to improve production efficiency and the animals are the ones suffering the consequences.  For example, many different processes have been introduced to raise chickens in much less time, to make chickens grow larger breasts, and to raise as many chicken as possible in the smallest space as possible; while the health and wellbeing of the chicken are completely neglected.  This is due to the fact that these major corporations value profit margins over the lives of the animals, and the people making these executive decisions on the animal’s behalf are not ever directly dealing with the animals themselves.  That is why decisions such as how farm animals are raised should be being made by the farmers that actually do and see the work take place not by people in an office somewhere.

 

Corporate agriculture is not only negatively effecting the live of the farm animals but it also has rather significant negative impacts on the environment as well.  As mentioned before when people in an office that are not actually out working the farmland are making the executive decisions certain things are neglected.  The center of concern for economic and social justice says that corporate agriculture “creates environmental disaster through excessive pesticide use, soil erosion, genetic engineering, monoculture, and concentration of animal waste”(coc.org).  The companies are so concerned with temporary gains that long term environmental impacts are often ignored.  This is truly the core of what is so wrong with the farming industry being taken over by large agricultural companies.  Agriculture is being treated as any other business when it is much more important than that.  The agriculture business does not just produce another product it produces the food that feeds the world.  Without agriculture and the farming industry human life as we know it would exist no longer.  In the farming industry things like quality and sustainability need to be the priority in order to not only feed ourselves today but to feed future generations to come.  Thankfully steps are being taken to address these issues today and the future is beginning to look a little bit brighter where food production is concerned.  Organizations like PETA are improving the lives of farm animals, demand is increasing for more locally grown organic foods, which is more farmers markets sprout up all over the nation.  It truly does boil down to what we as the consumer and more importantly citizens of our society want out from our food, if we start to value and demand high quality food and farming conditions than the farming industry will provide.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

  • Food, Inc. Dir. Robert Kenner. Magnolia Pictures, 2010. Netflix.

 

 

The Growing Archive

While reading and scrolling through the blog I started thinking how this social platform has evolved from being just an empty website to our own growing archive of thoughts and knowledge. This blog is a great way to share with people what interests me, and how I think and express myself about certain topics. Together with my classmates we have over one hundred posts in this archive, and it is the result of our collective intelligence working towards a broader understanding of technology and what does technology itself mean for us.

Every week we had certain topics and readings assigned, but this didn’t narrow down our writing options. Our different interests, opinions and cultural backgrounds all played a part in forming this archive and the content in it. Although we all went through the same readings and discussions we all drifted apart towards what we found most interesting. From music and movies to science and race, every personal insight on any topic provided by each and every one of us makes this blog unique. When you bounce ideas of each other you can only get to smarter conclusions or at least they are drawn with more information behind them. I feel like this blog has become just that, a big blend of posts by a community that regardless of your interests or if you agree with it or not, gave you and your brain new ideas, different perspectives or just support something you have previously thought.

Some posts complement each other, build on top of each other, some of them might even challenge each other but the important factor is variety.

James Surowiecki writes in his book The Wisdom of Crowds that there are certain advantages the crowd holds over the individual or a few individuals. One of them is exactly that, diversity, the more diverse a crowd is the more you can ensure enough variance in approach, thought process, and personal experiences are brought up to the conversation. What better place for this than a classroom? An assortment of independent students from different backgrounds both culturally and academically. Another key element Surowiecki mentions is independence, as long as we stay independent in our way of thinking and about what we write our growing archive will continue to get wiser, “The smartest groups, then, are made up of people with diverse perspectives who are able to stay independent of each other. Independence doesn’t imply rationality or impartiality, though. You can be biased and irrational, but as long as you’re independent, you won’t make the group any dumber.” (Surowiecki, 2004)

Finishing the semester might mean there will no longer be a stream of posts flowing into the blog and generating content, but what we have learned from the diversity on opinions and discussions that have happened throughout the year is most valuable. Hopefully this archive will not only have taught us but will find its way on the internet to help and contribute to the generation of new discussions and new knowledge.