Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Web Is Keeping Us Closed Minded!

I use Google every single day. Although I have begun to use academic search engines, like JSTOR, now that my classes call for research, Google remains my trustee aid when navigating the internet. I always thought that when I searched a term, the million or so results I got back were completely random and only appeared because of matching terms. Thanks to Chris Nolan, I now know that I was so wrong! in fact, not only does Google customize results based upon my previous searches, it also customizes them based on where I am. This tool does prove useful when I search "Spurs," for example, and my server knows I am in San Antonio. However, I run into a dilemma when my searches become more serious.
Being a political science major, I find it rather disturbing that Google, Facebook, and the like can alter your search results and news feed based on what you've clicked on before. Say I usually tend to research conservative members of our government because I agree ideologically with them and want to see what they are up to. Well, come election time, if I search for information on the candidates I may only see Right-leaning blogs and opinion pieces instead of well rounded, unbiased information. This may seem like a small problem but when no body has their views challenged, we become a very closed minded society. Not only do we see things that are personalized just for us, but we don't see what's not just for us. That is where I see a problem.
Nolan did teach me some wonderful things about Google, too. For instance, he showed us how to turn off the personalization settings and reminded me that deleting all the cookies my computer stores will also help reset my computer. Furthermore, I was so pleased to learn more ways to narrow the results for a search. If you type in 'site: gov' then Google will only return .gov websites! Also, Nolan reminded me that the most popular items usually appear near the top, not always the most scholarly. If I want to make sure a website is legitimate, I need to look for an author, publisher, the intended audience, objectivity, substantiation of claims, and recency of information. With all the research I have to do here at Trinity, these tips are sure to save me time and help me get more relevant results, too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PowePoint Overload!

PowerPoint can be a very effective way to present information to an audience. However, there are so many things that can go wrong that makes PowerPoint go from good to very bad. One of my biggest pet peaves is when there are cheesy graphics that move around (to get my attention?) when really it only distracts me! Second, I hate when PowerPoints are only black and white and the speaker reads directly off of the slide, word for word. As a Political Science major, this happens in all of my classes and I have fallen asleep more than once. PowerPoints can also hold too much information and I feel like I'm reading a textbook instead of a review, which is very frustrating when taking notes! The last thing that drives me crazy about PowePoint is when there are an infinite number of slides and it seems to drag on forever. Bearing all this in mind, there are effective ways of creating a PowePoint! Use your spaces well, take off the last graphic you added (just like jewelry before you leave the house) and make it concise!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Experience with Excel

Microsoft Excel is a truly fascinating program. Almost everything that Excel is capable of is brand new to me since I had such little experience with it before. What I find to be really interesting is all the calculations it is capable of and how many different things it can be used for, like planning a wedding, tacking sales, or managing salaries. In the "real world" I see myself definitely using Excel to keep a running balance of my income and expenses, especially as a financially independent person or when I have a family to help care for. As for school, the uses are nearly unlimited but I am sure I'll be using Excel in the future business courses I take. I cannot find anything to complain about with Excel because it has so many helpful and time-saving tricks (like auto-fill) and if I can't figure out how to do something, I always have to help or I can always look around and find what it is I'm looking for. Microsoft Excel is extremely handy and I'm so glad I am learning how to take full advantage of the program.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Golden Rule

Global Ethic Bear
     The internet creates a place that can easily be depersonalized. This can lead to people saying harmful things to each other or about one another because the lack of personal interaction makes it seem less harmful when it is not. This same activity also occurs with people's copyrighted work and intellectual property because it is so much easier to steal, say a picture off of a web page, than to go to the artists home and physically take his or her work.
     That being said, there is an easy way to help solve these issues and that is The Golden Rule.The Golden Rule states that you should treat other's as you wish to be treated. If implemented while using the internet, problems of hurt feeling on Facebook all the way to legal violations could be minimized. Personally, I try to use this when on social media sites. If I have a picture at my disposal and I know it will hurt someone's feeling or harm their reputation, I will refrain from putting it up. Similarly, I don't use hurtful or provocative words over social media because many people have the opportunity to read the hateful things. In a perfect world, the Golden Rule would stand strong and no harm would befall anyone but it is not so we must be more aware of our words and actions!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Photo-Shopping Is Ugly

      The title on the August 1989 edition of TV Guide Magazine does not ask who the most beautiful or who the skinniest woman on TV is, it asks who is the richest. However,  the editor of the magazine made sure Oprah looked thin by giving her the body of actress Ann-Margaret, whose picture was taken ten years previous. Neither of the two women knew about the photo-shopped madness until the actress' fashion designer recognized the dress and shot as Ann-Margaret's. Although I find the fact that neither woman knew this happened and Oprah wound up with someone else's body to be disturbing within itself, for personal reasons one both sides, the message this photograph sends is worse.
      When a woman, black or white, picks up this magazine to see Oprah on the cover looking thin as ever, the message she receives is that Oprah did not get her money by being intelligent and ground-breaking in her field, but instead reached success by being the ideal form of beauty. Oprah is seen as a role model to women across the world because she has a rags-to-riches story and worked hard to get where she is, being the richest woman on TV, not because she has a model thin body. I chose to write about this picture because it infuriates me how media turns attention away from real achievements by women and turns it into another out-of-reach role model for young girls to look up to. These kinds of non achievable role models in society harm the younger generations and morph their healthy body image into self-critique. The editor of this picture probably did it because the more beautiful the woman on the cover, the more people want to pick up your magazine. However, this does not make it okay or right! This video displays celebrities before and after they are photo-shopped.
     The video below shows perfect examples of women who are transformed digitally to appear outlandishly beautiful because they are famous. One must think of the impact these photographs have on young men and women who think this is the "norm" when really it's not even possible to achieve that sort of perfection in real life. The added body image pressure added by the media is unnecessary and harmful.