Final Reaction Paper: Andrea N Gibson and Disney

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother buying every Disney VHS she could get her hands on. I saw every Disney Princess in action and sometimes for Halloween, I was a princess myself. Funnily enough, my favorite movie ended up being Lion King but I didn’t make this decision until my early teens. I think this is due to the fact that those Disney “Happily Ever After” movies instilled in me that a boy or man would be the be all end all of my story, that I needed a man in order to be successful. At a time where my classmates and I were just discovering raging hormones, I found myself being bullied, outcast, and anything but a Disney Princess. Of course, I got over that over that as time went by and now at twenty years old, I still think back on those fairy tales fondly however, my opinion of Disney itself has changed quite a bit.

Although I retained my love for the old stories and television shows I grew up with, for the past couple of years now, I’ve had mixed emotions about the entire Disney franchise. The movies they’ve been producing have done excellent in my eyes when it comes to having a wide diversity of characters: with movies like Brave, where a Prince and a true love story were deemed unnecessary as they often are and instead they focused on the important of love between family;The Princess in the Frog, that included a Princess of color that was hardworking, not born to royalty and if anything wasn’t looking for a Prince in the first place; and Frozen, where an act of true love didn’t equate to meaning true loves kiss, instead it meant being selfless for the ones you love, including your sisters. However, the cable channel for Disney itself has had some serious down falls from when I was a part of the audience to today’s television shows.

One example of this is in the show, Shake It Up! that included a joke about anorexia. The joke was made by a model who said something along the lines of, “Oh I could just eat you up… That is if I actually ate.” That is unacceptable for my little sisters to be learning. My problem is that this show is already geared towards young girls and making light about things as serious as not eating is a problem for me because people like my two younger sisters watch these shows and they are going to grow up in a world where beauty is already glorified, and your worth is more often based on ones looks rather than intelligence. These kind of views should not be further cemented in television shows our sisters and daughters are watching.

Shake It Up! scene about anorexia. 

 

I remember fondly an episode of That’s So Raven that dealt with body issues and self image in a much more positive way and that would be something I’d want my little sisters to learn. This entire episode dealt with the main character Raven creating a dress that was accepted by a top women’s or girls’ magazine. In the beginning, she thought she was going to be the one who was going to model her creation on the runway only to be shot down due to her weight. Instead they replaced her with a model three times smaller than herself. However, she took it like a champ, claiming that the shape the director wanted her models to have is not the only shape out there; that there is in fact multiple shapes and sizes that women come in and instead of ignoring that, these differences should be celebrated.

That’s So Raven scene about body image.

 

The reason why these horrific moments on television outweigh the positives Disney has made on the cinematic level is because we all run busy lives. More often than not, my sisters are seated on our couch watching cable television every day after school. It’s rare that my sisters ever go to the movies and most of the time, see these films for the very first time when we buy them on DVD. These issues have put me off of Disney so much so that I barely registered the change in commercials that was mentioned by Andrea.

During Andrea Gibson’s talk in the lecture, I found myself pleasantly surprised by everything the Disney company has been doing. Due to the issues above, the fact that they had stopped playing McDonald’s commercials on their channel had completely slipped by my attention. My little sister, at seven years old, adores McDonald’s McNuggets and I always feel afraid for her health with how often she eats them but I’m glad Disney is making a move to make the world’s youth healthier considering McDonald’s is now a global company. I’ll be honest here, some of the food they show on their healthy living food segments look delicious, I just never have the time to actually watch the full how to video, or look up the recipes, let alone make them.

What surprised me the most was her statistics on Disney’s eco-friendly ventures, beyond friends for change.  This really opened my eyes to what Disney really is and I can completely understand why Disney is one of Forbes most admired companies. It makes me wonder how much further they can spread their influence to improve upon issues like global warming, sustainable living, energy resources, healthy eating and much more.

The biggest things I got from this lecture though affected me on a personal level. I never thought about working for Disney because of their family friendly persona. I on the other hand, do not normally fit the “look” for a family friendly company. If anything I am quite the opposite. However, from my recent interest in the use of sustainable energy, recycling, and other ways to make not only our campus, but the city and the state a more eco-friendly place, I was able to present my ideas during the lecture and she was beyond open to them. I think at the smallest level, Disney can help kick start us into making Woodbury University a more sustainable university campus. To hear her validate and encourage my ideas and even jokingly say I should come work for Disney was huge for me. Just knowing I can make an impression on someone like her was amazing.

After her lecture, I decided to reach out to her in hopes of making my goals happen and to my excitement, she was really willing to help me out. I hope to at the very least, have recycling bins put on our campus and maybe in the end, have solar panels installed on Miller hall to power all of the computers we have running in the lab. This way, we will be simultaneously using and gaining electricity at peak times: Day time when classes are in use and the sun is high in the sky. One of my goals is to get Woodbury ranked as a sustainable campus, maybe even at the top of those lists. AASHE is one organization I hope the University will get noticed by. Their website has resources and a rating system to rank our college amongst others in the nation and at this current moment, we aren’t even on the list. Some of what it means to be a sustainable college could be about going green or simple have sustainable majors. I think that we as a unified campus could make it all happen. It turns out, all of this actually might turn out to be a possibility. Especially with a committee already existing on campus, all that needs to be is action and we can get there.

Having these types of interactions has solidified the thought that I might just make it after college. That I can have a place in a strong company.

This class in general has given me so many resources so that I can further my education and networking. I’ve learned about many advances in technology that I would very much so like to dip my hands in. I’ve also learned about technological advances that if I’m being honest, scare me quite a bit, Google Glass I’m talking to you. However, the most important thing about this class is that is has caused me to push my limits and expand my horizons. Newton, you were one of the forces that helped me make the decision to become a double major. It’s been the best decision I’ve made thus far because I’ve reassured my parents that I won’t be an unemployed college graduate and I’m happy because of how much learning I get to do, of course, on top of meeting the amazing people that I have and being able to experience the things that I do. I only look forward to more things like GDC and being able to test out new technologies, maybe not Google Glass but wherever my intellect takes me.

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Reaction Paper Ten: Apollo Robbins The Art of Misdirection

1. The title, speaker, and link (URL) to the TED video that you have chosen.

The video I chose to watch for this week was a TED Talk by Apollo Robbins called The Art of Misdirection.

2. Why did you choose that particular TED video?

I chose this video because Apollo Robbins discusses controlling an individual’s attention. As a future Game Designer, manipulating where a player’s attention is will be key. Maybe one day I could create a game like what Robbins did in his talk, I could create a game that makes a player rely on things that maybe aren’t so obvious.

3. What did you learn from watching this TED video?

I learned how easy it is to manipulate a person’s attention and how. If you simply keep them focused on something right in front of them, everything around them is pretty much lost. He demonstrates this with the poker chip and lastly with his outfit change. While everyone focuses on what he has to say, nearly the entire crowd misses his outfit change.

4. What are your reactions?

I was amazed and I had to watch the video at least four times over. Even when I was watching for his tricks, I still missed each one at least twice. Even now, after watching it as many times as I did, I still have no clue how he pulled off some of those things, especially his outfit change.

Reaction Paper Eight: Fir, Gideon, and Jake

This week’s lecture was by my classmates, Woodbury University’s interns from Singapore, Gideon, Fir, and Jake. Jake is a current major in programming, Gideon an animation student hoping to get into the game field, and lastly Fir is an animation student with a goal of getting into the film industry. Their lecture this week was about the experiences they had at GDC which is short for Game Developers Conference. I am genuinely interested in attending the monumental event however, listening to their talk, it all seemed too daunting, at least for me. The thought of even creating a portfolio is scary. How am I going to make a portfolio or even answer programming questions when I can’t even remember simple code? I remember them saying that it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” But I highly doubt that they meant I could be clueless for every single question sent my way. As for the art stuff, I don’t feel that I’ve learned enough to be considered. Besides all of this, I’m both excited and worried about the things they showed that were at GDC. The new game technology, the new ways of creating… I worry about the way of life changing. All it does is make me think of the Pixar film “Wall-E” and the characters that are too fat to even take a step. They simple exist behind screens and shoving their faces full of food. I worry that human existence will trickle down to a life behind a screen, or even a world that is simple plugged into our heads, much like what we’ve all seen in “The Matrix.” On a smaller scale, the devices we use to play our games our expensive enough, however, creators seem to be making the technology bigger and bigger and with more power. This translates to extremely expensive materials, making the product cost an arm and a leg… and possibly my first born child. This also makes me think of possible environmental issues. Going beyond the obvious issue of non-renewable resources that are often found in today’s technology, what about the power these things absolutely need to be used? I know that our technology is slowly making its way toward being too powerful for the processing capabilities we currently have. I also know that our most common forms of energy is not exactly unlimited or eco-friendly. What will happen to us if we continue the way we are going?

Reaction Paper Seven: Ki Karou

The speaker we had this week was Ki Karou, who is an Educational Game Designer from the MIND Research Institute. Currently, their focus of interest is STMath Touch where they are creating apps in order to educate students, kindergarten through sixth grade. Their focus is to educate people through gaming. However, he feels that educational games are lacking in comparison to games and the growth of technology. The MIND Research Institute was the institution that did a study concluding that children who listened to Mozart had better short term performance when performing tasks. It was considered something akin to a warm-up in sports. Spatial Temporal Reasoning, which is used in all levels of mathematics is the focus in the apps. Rather than using symbols and numbers, it utilizes space and time to help the students better understand each subject. This ability is innate in all people but it can also be improved. They believe strongly in the Action Perception Cycle which leads to self-adjustment. In short, when a child gets the problem wrong, it is expected that they will adjust accordingly to correctly answer the question. These games are normally one year’s worth of curriculum, common core, not just fractions or memorization. In regards to these applications, I’m not sure that they would be successful in the public market. I see no possible way for the child to get through these puzzles if they were to get stuck on their own without becoming extremely frustrated. As I write this, I sit next to my sister explaining the difference between the “>” symbol and the “<” symbol only to watch her get frustrated and bring herself nearly to tears despite my simplified explanation of “the alligator wants the most fishes he can eat, whichever side has more.” How can a child, especially one as emotional as my younger siblings, be expected to actually complete this in a home setting? Some of these apps look too difficult for even my parents to navigate around and I believe this would be much better suited to stay in the school environment where children could receive immediate assistance from their teachers rather than struggling at home trying to figure these puzzles out and eventually leading to giving up on the application and math entirely. I’ve seen what this type of frustration can do to a student’s taste for learning and while I do agree that students shouldn’t be given the answers right when they get something wrong but I believe that explanation and “how to” is essential for learning. Sure, they should understand something is the way it is, like division and what’s actually happening but I believe that explanation can happen after the lesson. This is something that I believe is sorely missing from today’s education; for example, I only recently figured out the why behind negative exponents. I could always find the answer but I didn’t know what exactly I was doing with these numbers which was finding the reciprocal or dividing. However, a simple lesson from a good professor provided me the insight rather than a convoluted application.

Reaction Paper Six: TED talk Cameron Russell

1. The title, speaker, and link (URL) to the TED video that you have chosen.

The title of the TED video I watched was “Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.” The speaker, Cameron Russell, is a well-known underwear model who has been in the fashion industry for over ten years. She has modeled for many companies, Victoria’s Secret is one of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM4Xe6Dlp0Y

2. Why did you choose that particular TED video?

I chose this particular video because it was influential when I first saw it. I wish I had been told most of this stuff when I was thirteen or fourteen. I feel like most girls need to know that modeling or simply being beautiful is not a “career path” like Cameron Russell said is her talk. I think even a few adults need to understand the concept of white privilege and what kind of benefits they earn simply from having a specific type color of skin.

3. What did you learn from watching this TED video?

In this video I learned that modeling is an occupation created entirely by society. What society deems as beautiful decides who will be hired and when. I had no idea that despite us boasting about today’s level of equality, there were so little non-white models hired in 2013. We’re in the 21st century and we still have white slender woman who fit the stereotype dominating an industry entirely dedicated beauty. If you were to take apart that simple sentence, what does that say to non-white, non-slender, non-stereotypical woman out there? Is it to say that everyone who doesn’t fit these characteristics is not beautiful, pretty or even simply a good person? I also learned about the huge problem that is racial profiling. “I live in New York and last year of the 140,000 teenagers that were stopped and frisked, 86% of them were black and latino and most of them were young men. And there are only 177,000 young black and latino men in New York so for them it’s not a question of ‘Will I get stopped?’ but ‘How many times will I get stopped? When will I get stopped?’ When I was researching this talk I found out that of the 13 year old girls in the United States, 53% don’t like their bodies and that number goes to 78% by the time they are 17.” Most of this section I found completely unacceptable about it but some part of it rung with the thirteen year old girl I used to be, the girl who felt that she needed makeup and straight hair for people to like her.

4. What are your reactions?

After this video, as a Filipino-Puerto-Rican-American, who sits at a nice 5’5”, feel extremely better about the choices I’ve made in life. After I first saw this video, I felt better knowing that instead of spending money on things like makeup products I was spending it on things I love doing. I bought books, video games and soon found that I am right where I need to be.

Reaction Paper Four: Gary Smith

I really enjoyed Gary Smith’s lecture this week: “Hardware and Software Development in the Modern Age.” Some of the products of the future he showed us seemed a little farfetched but I wouldn’t put it past today’s inventors to create such innovative products. I completely agree that technology has crossed a huge amount of boundaries and has invaded the worlds of many disciplines and truly, that’s one of the things I love about technology today.

When he discussed the materials that go into creating the technology we use on a daily basis, it truly peaked my interest. I’ve always had a slight interest in making products that were healthier for the earth as well as more efficient and healthy power supplies. His lecture gave me a much better understanding of what truly goes into making these products and it worries me that we use such rare minerals in stuff we throw away every two years or less. Our upgrading society is living an extremely unsustainable lifestyle. Which leads me to these questions; 1) What happens when we run out of the fuel to power the huge processing strength our technology has today? 2) What will happen when we run out of the minerals to even create these products? As much as I enjoy having a better understanding of the continuously wasteful practices of the world’s industry, it makes me extremely uncomfortable thinking about the health of our world decades from now. Just driving today, I could see the nasty yellow smog looming in the sky. After this lecture I feel a little overwhelmed because “saving the Earth” goes so much further than recycling a few bottles here and there. I don’t know where to focus. I already knew about the emissions from factories and vehicles. I already knew about the chemicals we’re releasing into a world that can’t use it and now I know about the minerals we are continuously taking from an emptying source.

I would love to hear more about the minerals that go into our products and what today’s creators are doing to minimize the rare materials we have to use. I’ve heard about “graphing” where they use graphite to power low powered technology but what about a larger scale? Is there something akin to windmills and solar power when it comes to the TV’s and cell phones we’re constantly buying as a society?

That’s another issue too that I have a huge problem with: a continuously upgrading society. For example, I just upgraded my cell phone at my two year contract mark and have done so since I first got a cell phone. I couldn’t tell you where all of my old ones have gone but I can tell you they probably weren’t recycled or disposed of properly. Now, phone companies have just introduced no contract – upgrade whenever you want plans to the public and who’s to say that the average lifespan of an everyday smart phone won’t shrink to one year or even a few months if you have the money? I think the general public should have a better understanding of their products lest they continue adding to the waste of the world.

Reaction Paper Three: Dr. Robert A. Schultz

Most of what Dr. Schultz said I already knew of. I myself worry that the choices we make as a species risks the existence of our descendants. When he spoke about Tobacco companies in particular, this subject hits me hard. My parents themselves are long time smokers. I know that they are bad for a person and are extremely dangerous to one’s lifespan. He spoke about how these huge tobacco corporations paid money to convince their customers that their tobacco products have nothing to do with cancer. However, from my occasional research, I have found that tobacco products can not only be a direct cause to diseases like Lung Cancer, Throat Cancer and Oral Cancer but it can also raise a person’s risk to any type of cancer. Now I love my parents, and I’m sure anyone who is related to a smoker loves their relatives too. I’ve told my parents this and have tried to get them to quit but in order to be successful, not only do I have to defeat the addiction that comes with lots of these products but I must reverse all of the beliefs produced by the Tobacco campaigns.
He also mentioned the new ordinance in Los Angeles that banned plastic bags from being distributed at grocery stores. This was due to the 500 mile object in the ocean created out of shredded plastic from these shopping bags. Another thing he mentioned was the chemical Chlorine and the damage it’s doing on our Ozone. It reminded me of a piece called “The Creation of Waste” by Paul Hawken. It discusses the disastrous consequences of wasteful nations. One part in particular though discusses Chlorine more in depth. Schultz discusses the damage we’re doing to ourselves and this is a wonderful example of that. Chlorine does damage on an individual level as well. Chlorine is a man-made chemical that cannot be recycled and instead combines with other chemicals to create poisons that can lead to tumors in animals that exist in the wild. In a similar fashion, we absorb this chemical much like the wild animals but instead we show no symptoms until it is too late. This then has led to people being sterile/infertile but can also lead to more serious problems like babies having serious health issues. This makes me particularly angry because even though I’m only twenty and have no plans to have children in the near future, I’d like to be able to have kids, and healthy ones for that matter. To add fuel to the flames, big corporations feed off of these fears by releasing things like electric cars or eco-friendly items, at a higher charge of course because they know they and their affiliates are losing money on the back end if their customers are saving money. While this gets rid of consumers creating as much waste, these companies still create massive amounts of waste with their machinery and chemicals even though they are making these “eco-friendly” products.
When he spoke of ancient civilizations, it also brought to mind the chapter “Waste Equals Food” in Cradle to Cradle by William McDonoungh. Schultz mentioned how ancient civilization’s tools are very different from today’s. Easy enough to understand but when you truly think about it, the things they made were very different and reacted in a more positive way toward our ecosystem. Those objects were bio-degradable but often than not, our man-made products create true waste. Our ecosystem cannot reuse this waste and instead this waste takes up space in our environment. We are simultaneously growing as a population while we consistently shrink our environment. I found Schultz lecture extremely relevant and I hope to hear more about it and ways to improve these issues.

Reaction Paper Two: Newton Lee

This week’s lecture has been very enlightening. When it came to open source wearable technology, I found myself extremely interested in making things much like the items we see in the PBS film. With what Newton was saying about society being made up of humans interacting with technology, I can agree. I know of many apps nowadays that tries to interact more with its users. One app I know of is a jogging app that immerses you into a world where you are getting chased by blood-thirsty zombies complete with snarling and checkpoints with items to fortify ones camp. This app serves to make its runners run faster and harder for a better overall workout. One could say that this is a “killer app”.

5 Stages of Design: Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

With the Tedx speech, I found it interesting that people in Africa don’t have the ability to naturally know when they are being overexposed with sunlight. She discusses the 5 stages of design when they created these successful bracelets that took the place of a natural alert system. I was so interested in this subject I had to read more on it.

http://www.stevespangler.com/teaching-moments/uv-beads-used-in-south-africa-to-teach-dangers-of-sun-exposure/

I love how they used such a simple concept that is used by little girls, to fight something so harmful. I know my little sister and I make bracelets all the time and I imagine just how successful this was with the little girls in Africa.

Reaction Paper One: Jeff Burke

During this week’s lecture series, I was very enthralled by what Jeff Burke had to say. Even the photos he supplied had me in a state of bewilderment. The first subject that caught my eye was the use of sensors during on stage plays. Sensors were placed into certain props like a witch’s staff and sometimes on the actors themselves. Technicians nearby use a special programs to recognize the movements and assign them to their own effect. These sensors allow each actor’s movements to trigger the specific special effect in real time like wind or thunder for example. It is with this technology that virtually every performance would be different from the next and unique in its own way. With this technology, in the future, no two versions of any play would ever be the same and I find that simply amazing. I myself have never been to a play but I can see myself going simply because of an addition like these sensors. I imagine Broadway shows like the Lion King and Wicked utilizing technology like that and can only imagine how that type of technology could bring plays to an entirely different level.

Another subject that I really wish was discussed a bit further and really caught my eye was the subject of 3D printers. Although it wasn’t talked about thoroughly, this is one subject that definitely interests me. I know of one man who is using a 3D printer to create a prosthetic hand for his young son using open source blue prints. These blue prints and the idea came from a man named Ivan Owen in Washington State whose goal was to make it possible for people to make their own prosthetics inexpensively. The use of the 3D printer cuts his costs down dramatically because a true prosthetic could cost around twenty thousand dollars or more whilst the 3D printer only costs a little over two thousand dollars. This allows him to easily make a new hand if his son were to grow out of it.

This isn’t the only use of 3D printers I’ve heard of. I’ve seen different types of candy printed out in intricate shapes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise in such a short time.  However, technology goes even farther and utilizes this on an extreme level. I’ve heard of 3D printers giving people new faces after a severe trauma like being burnt or getting injured in war. Even more amazing is the printing of actual human tissue, which then could be used to create working organs. We could have the ability to print organs for those who need them instead of patients having to wait on lists. If that’s not amazing to you, I don’t know what is.

Overall, this lecture introduced me to the bizarre world of technology and further solidified my strong belief that technology and the brilliant minds behind them are changing the world and how we look at it. Issues that would have been dire a decade ago are now minor problems that can be resolved by simply with the technology we have at our finger tips.

Boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer (video)