citizen

 

 

If you can't beat them, join them” Our Un-Mobile Society

Ahh the good old english proverb-if your adversaries are stronger than you, it is better to join the adversaries. At first it seemed impossible to think about living in this world with spotty internet connections and unreliable cell phone service, but it seems like as the days go by it gets easier. In fact, the smartphone withdrawal isn’t so bad after all. It feels liberating to not be attached to something so small and meaningless. Although some people would argue that, not having hot water is one thing but not having a phone is impossible. I, for one, have learned to accept the sunspots and live a more organized lifestyle as did many others. After all, it’s not like we have lived with cell phones our whole life. The benefit of this world is that I see life in a different way. I do not see it through a camera lens or blog. It feels like a game almost. Like I am playing man hunt with the kids on my block back in first grade. Its adventurous, spontaneous, and organized at the same time. 

Things to look forward to are-Verizon has lowered monthly payments to a 1/4 of the price for both cell phone and internet/TV plans! Emailing is not a strong source of communication for those with parents in the business world---->this should be a relief for the innocent children who felt neglected by their parents who continuously came home and checked their emails. A case study showed,“being connected digitally to everyone all the time also can lead, somewhat surprisingly, to a sense of isolation and loneliness” (CNN.com article). Physchiatrist’s are now losing patients because people are becoming more socially involved rather than socially inept. It is a NEW WORLD PEOPLE!! 

Side-note (I swear I am going somewhere with this): If you have ever been to a frat party you will notice that half the time people are updating their facebook status’s, texting, or sending snapchat (a new iphone app) to their friends who are two feet away.. They isolate themselves from the entire party. Luckily that won’t be an issue anymore because once we decide on a place to go we can’t change our minds.This way we all end up together and stick together through out the night. On a safety stand point, we have become more aware of people and make sure our friends get home safe. We pay attention to our social surroundings and act appropriately. (If only Hamilton students were subjected to this reality our Dean would not have to send out the horrifying Monday morning updates about the student bodies disrespectful and destructive behavior over the course of the weekend. I wish I was joking..)

 

Family dinners- My parents found that they have more time to spend with us as a family. Sit down dinner is mandatory unlike before which is nice because I feel like we are always in different places and to reconvene every night and talk about our day as a family has a positive effect on us as a whole. I didn’t realize until now that a lot of things can happen in one day. I feel like my memory has gotten stronger because I can’t rely on a phone to store my conversations and details.  

 

We find ways to communicate regardless of the sun spots. People make do with what they have or in this case do not have. Hurricane sandy left millions without phone service in NYC. How did they adjust? Friends left notes with the bartender because they decided to go somewhere else. Because we were so dependent on phones and digital technology before, the resistance that people could feel is anxiety of not knowing what is going on and like a part of them, more specifically a “limb” of theirs is missing. WIth due time, people will settle down and live life as though nothing has changed because when you think about it it’s not like they haven’t lived without a cell phone before. I know I have and I am only 19. It’s not “The Day After Tomorrow,” where the world is falling apart and every technological system is being destroyed. We still have cars, trains, and a large food system. People should not be bitter. In fact, they should be more happy. Before they had a lack of leisure time and now they have enough to be with their family and friends. This world has given our society a new chance and hopefully we succeed in creating a world of progress and success since now we are no longer blinded by the small digital screens. 

 

Calling on a Lifeline

(HOBOKEN - NEW JERSEY) During the recent hurricane, water was not the only thing permeating the homes of local residences.  Perhaps just a prevalent as the water was the kindness and compassion shown by neighbors helping neighbors to sort through the wreckage and once again right the society of the Eastern Seaboard.  Not only were millions of people left without power, but also without phone lines, the primary means of communication for many of them.  I spoke with Justin Alfredson, one resident of Galloway New jersey who, since his home had escaped the storm relatively unscathed with both power and a working phone line, opened up his home for his less fortunate neighbor to use his land line to call their loved ones to let them know that they were okay.

“Ever since the sunspots knocked out my cell phone, I switched my home phone service to unlimited local and long distance so I could keep in touch with my family in California.  Little did I know that I would be helping all of my neighbors keep in contact with their families too!”

Many residents of the area lost their computers to the flooding, being more concerned with getting family and friends to safety, and without phone lines or power, many would be up a very literal creek without a paddle if not for good Samaritans like Justin Alfredson.  It really is amazing, the sense of community that has developed here in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in years.  Rather than reaching out to government agencies or foreign aid, residents have turned to their neighbors not only to seek assistance, but to offer it as well.  Every since people have gotten their faces out from being hidden behind the glow of a cell phone screen, people who pass each other every day on the street who smile and wave, or stop to chat for a minute, are much more likely to reach out to one of these no longer anonymous faces .  In the time since cell phones were rendered useless, we have grown as a society to be friendlier and more observant to our surroundings.  Strangers are not really that strange, and maybe all it would take to form a friendship would be reaching out and offering help in a time of crisis such as this.

The fallout from this massive storm however, is still yet to be fully realized.  The trash strewn over the streets gives a whole new meaning to the nickname ‘Dirty Jers’ and there are still quite a few communities that are still without power or phone service.  The interruptions to our modern lifestyle may be temporary and soon be a distamt memory, but the sense of community and neighborly comradeship will not be soon forgotten here, or elsewhere affected by the storm.

Visual Organization of New Society

(This is my post from last week but the pictures still won't appear in the directory, so i cannot upload them, but I will have them when we have to sythesize in the coming weeks)

The Idea of this post was originally just to visually represent the technological and sociological changes undergoing in our new society.  As I attempted to do so, the closer and closer that I looked at each individual technology and what it would inhibit or facilitate, I began to realize that the interconnected nature of our technological web would have essentially made the chart go on indefinitely.  While we would like to think that our brief speculation through this blog is somewhat of an accurate representation of the way a society would behave under these conditions, but in reality, we know remarkably little about how our technologies actually function in the unimaginably broad context that is our world.

Along with these visual aids, I have provided a link to one of my favorite short stories about technology that demonstrates just how little we understand about our technologies, and our universe: http://filer.case.edu/dts8/thelastq.htm

The slow(er) life

I've heard it said that people before the sunspot activity rose to a peak did more work than the average Middle Ages person. I am beginning to understand what they may mean. Before the sunspots, technology in my life gradually sped up, and with it my expectations for how fast things should go and get done. I would be upset something was taking three more seconds than usual to load, not even remembering the days we had to connect to the internet via dialtone. But now, with so much unreliability on those systems that made everything fast, my life has slowed down considerably. Thank. Goodness. Teachers expect you to get your work done, but not near the same rate they did before the sunspots. There just isn't wide enough access to all the books, and they're not going to print out every reading they want us to do. Papers aren't any less rare, since word processing technologies still work just as well, but I feel like there is less pressure surrounding them. Maybe it's just the general larger amount of time. Things used to travel so fast that expectations were so high. I always could see it best with my dad. While I was keeping up since I was growing up with these technologies, my dad's e-mails just piled up instead. Before the sunspots, he had something around 8,000 in his inbox he needed to go through. Now, it doesn't worry him so much. And I guess that's why I've actually enjoyed my time since the storms have come upon us. I still have my friends and family, but seeing them less stressed out, and not being so busy myself, has given me the time to really live life in the physical rather than always being connected to the virtual.

Adaptation: Free Engagement

 

U.S Postal Service Campaign

Adapt.  It is what we have been forced to do in this new age of increased sunspots, which have rendered communication through cell phones entirely unreliable.

Reintroduce.  Without cell phones, we must reintroduce old forms of communication into society.

Write.  Letters used to be the dominant means of communication before modern technologies, and reverting back to them will have positive, however unintended, consequences.

Reconnect.  The act of writing letters to people may begin to reconnect and reorganize our relationships, quite possibly making the relationships we value more stronger and more meaningful.

 

What became of our communication with people through cell phones?  Texts were impersonal, written quickly and with the ability to be sent to multiple people at once.  They required little effort, little concentration, little reflection.  Alternatively, the act of writing a letter is an act that requires attention, thoughtfulness, and a deliberate, focused effort.  Telling someone how you feel about them, for example, through a letter is powerful, and an eloquent, considerate message is conveyed.  Consider this collection of quotes from letters from Civil War soldiers to their loved ones.

 

J.C. Morris to his wife Amanda: “I never wanted to see you half as bad in all my life as I do now. I would give anything in the world to see you and the children. I have no idea when I will have that pleasure.”

William Testerman to Miss Jane Davis:  “Though we are fare apart at present my heart is with you everymoment.”

Harvey Black to his wife Mary: “And how happy the thought that years increase the affection & esteem we have for each other to love & be loved. May it ever be so, and may I ever be a husband worthy of your warmest affections.”

Daniel Blain to his wife Loulie:  “I am more than ever anxious to see you darling, but still undecided about when I shall come. Look for me when you see me, is as near as I can come to it.”

William Henry Ruse to Maggie Stewart: “For let me say that your memory is ever dear to me and if we never again meet on Earth I shall ever Cherish the fond remembrance of Thee, and think of the pleasant hours passed in your society, but let me indulge the hope that we may again meet ere long.”

 

Although these letters were written hundreds of years ago, we expect that you will have similar messages to convey to those you love who are far away.  The U.S. Postal Service is committed to keeping you connected in the age of sunspots. We have been working to become more efficient and more reliable so you can contact the ones you love.  It is our responsibility to carry your meaningful messages across countries and oceans, and we take it very seriously.  Embrace our new reality and send a letter today!

 

 

(source: McMilan, Gail.  Love Letters of the Civil War.  Special Collections. <http://spec.lib.vt.edu/cwlove/>)

Synthesis- Straining to Maintain

 

My group members raised a variety of questions in their respective posts about the reliance on old forms of technologies that will emerge as a result of sunspot activity.  They identified the consequences of going back to these technologies, consequences both positive and negative.  Specifically, the loss of GPS, wireless signals necessary for cell phones, and laptops were addressed.  They conveyed their predictions on who would facilitate the creation of the new “old” world, what old technologies we would come to rely back on, how we perceive the new world, and what our preferences would become in the new society.

            Some predictions that were made involve an increase reliance on trains and fiber optic cables.  The government, as implied by the posts, would have to take an larger role in people’s lives in order to properly deal with the consequences of sunspot activity.  The creation of trains would require new forms of infrastructure to do so, and the government would have to manage the installation and creation of fiber optic cables that would span both domestically and internationally.  I had not previously thought of the government’s role in addressing increased sunspot activity.  As I think my group members suggest, the government cannot ignore these changes and must become more active to help people adjust.  They will also be forced to address the problems on an international scale, and cooperate with countries near and across oceans in order to ensure that people everywhere can communicate.  I wonder how the international community will address this problem, and how much and how well they will collaborate to solve it.

            As these posts suggests, sunspots will have widespread impacts on how we exist in our world.  As we strain to maintain the ability to communicate, we will have to rely on the government and new technologies.  We may find, however, as the posts suggests, that some advantages will arise in our new world.  Without cell phones, we will be less vulnerable to an exploitation of our personal information.  People will have less access to our private information.  We will also observe more face to face social interactions between people, and a society that is in general more patient and forgiving.

            As I considered how this would affect the world on a global scale, I was reminded of our reading this week on the Kalahari Bushmen.  It struck me that this society would go on completely as usual, without realizing the drastic changes that have occurred in the rest of the world.  As we frantically scramble to adjust to world without cell phones, they will continue living as they always have.  Their lives, because of their lack of complex technologies, may not have the ability to change as drastically as ours.  Because of the web of interrelated technologies that we have created, there is a ripple affect when one of these technologies is disturbed that rattles our entire existence.  The society of the Kalahari Bushmen, however, possesses a certain consistency that may become more appealing than our constantly restructuring and adapting society.

citizen

 

Before computers and flip-cell phones, there were type writers and beepers. What will be the next technology that will replace the computer and flip- cell phones? Smartphones. One of the inventors of the PC, Mark Dean, believes the computer is becoming second best to the smart phones. Although there is truth to this, it’s important to realize that more people can afford cell phones over computers. The more technologically advanced cell phones become the more we are becoming a “post PC world,” because it can hold all of our important/private information in the palm of our hands. I know with my new Iphone software I can store my passport information, starbucks card, credit card, social security number, etc. I can even take a picture of my drivers license so I don’t even have to carry my license anymore.

  The problem with this is that our cell phones are not always private. Especially in college, where your friends pass it around to share pictures and look at texts. It can get into the wrong hands very quickly and by plugging it into some else’s computer they can have all of your information. While our cell phones can potentially get rid of the wallet, it can also make us more vulnerable. I do not take my wallet out at night just because I am scared of misplacing it or dropping it somewhere. But for the people that do I am sure they make sure they have it where ever they go, unlike their phone. so many people have phones that if someone loses it the chances of them getting it back is less likely than a person who loses their wallet which is scary. The only advantage of a cell phone over the ipad is that the cell phone is smaller and easier to carry, and the cell phone uses cellular data and can call out. Although they think the PC is going to become the next type-writer I would prefer a PC over a cell phone. 

 

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-pc-will-become-the-next-typewriter-says-one-of-its-inventors-2011-3

 

Nationwide optical fiber cable installation

Press Release:

Following the spike in sunspot activity, the nation and the globe have been scrambling to recover their connecitivity. With fiber optic cables, though, the speed of communication can, and has been, restored. Following a two year installation program put on the list of priorities following the beginning of the sunspot storms by the government, optic fiber cables were strung across the nation, and rewired across the Atlantic. While the cables are still being strung around the pacific and between the island nations, most of the communication cables have been wires.

As National Geographic reported in another article about fiber optics prior to the sunspot storms, "It took a hundred years to connect a billion people by wire. It has taken only ten years to connect the next billion people (through signal technologies)" (http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/universe/future-is-calling/#page=3). Though some may see it as a step backwards in technology, information passes through fiber optic cables at the speed of light.

While this is an improvement in communication, scientists are still searching for alternatives to communicating on the go. The pause in international communication and trade are expected to pick up following the installation complete, and the Model UN is expected to issue a declaration addressing the communication crisis, as well as an update on which countries are now wired.

Citizen

 

Dear Journal,

Today did not go as planned. The day started as it always did. Breakfast with the girls in commons. Everyone seemed exhausted and was dreading the thought of sitting in class. Conversation at the table was dull, everyone planned out their day, when we would meet each other for lunch, go to the gym, and hang out. However, on this particular day I missed all of the planned events. Walking from class towards lunch I ran into friends I had not seen in a long time and decided to join them for lunch off campus.  I felt bad about leaving my friends for lunch and wanted to let them know that I would not be joining them. This was problematic. I had no way of contacting them quickly while I was outside enjoying the beautiful day. That’s when I just decided to continue with my spontaneity. Lunch ended and we all decided to take a trip to New Hartford and relax. We went shopping and enjoyed each other’s company and the moment. Besides feeling bad about leaving my best friends, I had a great day and still had time to come back to my room and relax before starting my work.

 

 

Why was this day so wonderful? The sheer ability to live in the moment and not allow myself to be distracted by my cell phone and who hooked up with whom last night was liberating. I could spend time with friends and actually give them my full attention and concentration. It makes one question the world we live in where constant communication dictates our every move. Living free from the world constantly at my fingertips ironically connected me to the world more than I had ever been before. I started noticing people walking from class to class and when given the chance I smiled and said hi. I was more aware of the people around me and oddly enough, I felt happier without a cell phone.

Truthfully, I wish cell phones were never invented. It's great and all to have in case of an emergency, but in reality, I believe cell phones have done the most damage to our society socially. If a guy texts "I love you" one more time before he says it to my face im going to freak out. And that's just one example. Cell phones have completely changed face to face interactions. And it's not just the boys, it's girls too. They can fight and call each other names over text, but then purposely avoid each other like the plague all day.

Another good example is last week-- I was with my three best friends however, one of them was mad at the other so mid-conversation I get a text from the one who was mad. Let me remind you that  I am sitting a foot away from both of them. As we are all talking I precede to have a conversation on my phone and face to face. The awkward part about the whole thing is that the friend I am texting is so mad at the other girl, but won't say anything even after she asked her if anyhting was wrong. If she didn't vent to me why she was mad over the phone I could imagine that this conversation would have gone a lot differently. I've noticed that people are able to hide their emotions more through cell phones as do I. Looking back, I wished that we all would of just confronted the situation and discused what was going on rather than talking behind our best friends back like that. I feel really bad because if It were me getting talked about I would have wanted them to tell me rather than texting me after we hung out to talk about it so it isn't face to face. Which is exactly what happened... 

I think the world would be a lot different without technologies of communication and I would be willing to test the "no cell phone day" out more because I truly appreciated the liberation and freedom I had. I was free from worrying about evey one else's drama. I felt more connected to the girls I was hanging out with rather than the girls I wasn't. 

From Bro to Shining Bro

What is up my Dude?

In my last letter I forgot to tell you a hilarious story from the other day.  So when I was driving back up to school after fall break, this guy in the car just in front of me was swerving all over the road.  What did this guy think he was doing? So I turned to Mike and said “Is he... Is he reading a book while driving?  What kind of moron takes his eyes off the road for even a second?  He could kill somebody!”  Mike looked closer as we passed him.  Turns out this guy didn’t even know how to read a map! He had been so dependent on using a GPS to get around his whole life, he couldn’t have found which way was north even if you had given him a compass and pointed him in the right direction!  So Mike rolled down his window I yelled out, “pull over dude, it’s not rocket surgery!” And we laughed.

It’s too bad we go to school so far apart, the shenanigans we pulled in high school would be nothing compared to what we could pull nowadays.  No parental supervision and no cell phones for them to call in and check on us?  We could wreak so much havoc!

It definitely has made staying in touch with you and all the other people from back home a bit more difficult though.  Like we write letters and chat over the land line sometimes but everyone is so busy with college and their new friends that there’s no time to sit connected to the wall by a cord.  Even with these letters to you, my best friend, I sometime put them off week after week because it’s not like you’re right at my fingertips so to speak.  That’s why Stacy and I broke up you know?  She expected me to check in with her all the time but when I’m out with my bros, I just want to be out with my bros, you know?  I don’t want to have to worry about finding a desktop computer while on campus or a payphone when we’re down at the bars.  I just want to live in the here and now and finally enjoy the company of friends without glowing screens to light up their faces and the constant buzzing of text messaging interrupting the flow of conversation.

Not to mention I now have the perfect excuse if I ever need extra time on an assignment.  “Oh, professor, you didn’t get my paper?  Are you sure?  I did email it to you I promise… Maybe there’s a problem with the network?  I heard the solar flares were really going to be acting up this week.  I’ll send it again so check your email again in a couple of hours.”  Jackpot.  It works every time.  Feel free to borrow that one whenever you need it. 

Anyways, I need to go. I think I hear somebody doing a keg stand outside without me.  Now they should know not to do keg stands without me!

Catch you later Amigo,

Daniel McBroerson

 

(*Disclaimer: This is obviously meant to be satirical and in no way is meant to represent my life, or the life of a typical Hamilton College student.  I just thought thgat it would be an interesting lens through which to view this issue)

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