It’s himself, George Boole at 200

 

Wondering around UCC for the past few weeks I found one thing different. Was it the new students? Maybe. Was it the cold weather? Again not really. Was it the constant reminder of the George Boole* 200 celebrations? Yes. With Boole’s face flying high in the sky from street lamps and even looking at me while I drink my coffee I thought to myself, what did I really know about the founder of Boolean logic, the former professor of math’s, and the name of our lecture halls? The answer as it seemed was nothing. Que a frantic Google search and a double espresso mocha.

Born in England in 1815 George Boole was named as the first lecturer of mathematics at UCC (the Queens College, Cork) in 1849 despite not having any formal college education himself. Two years earlier in Boole published a pamphlet, the Mathematical Analysis of Logic, which expressed his most famous idea, Boolean Logic. Boolean Logic allows for variable values to be assigned a true or false value.

This logic allowed the processing of logic in all modern computers. Boole as a result found the grounding to the digital age. This is pretty groundbreaking yet very little people know of him. Boole is the reason we have modern digital computers. It seems strange that for a generation who are revolutionizing the world through the internet and computers very little of us know of the forefather of digital computers.

Lecturing in UCC till 1864, Boole died the same year after rushing two miles in the rain to teach a lecture. He soon died and was buried in St.Michaels cemetery in Blackrock, Cork. This year UCC celebrates the bicentennial of George Boole. Celebrations will be held around campus with re-inactments happening around campus. More information on Boole’s life and work can be seen on the George Boole page by UCC.

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Raised by the internet: Good or Bad?

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The above image contains a quote from musician Lorde taken from her song ‘A World Alone’. Being the first generation to be raised by the internet we are now at an age where we ask ourselves if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In my opinion it is a good thing. If I hadn’t discovered the internet I wouldn’t have discovered the knowledge and beliefs which I hold dear now. Without the internet I would be close minded and without any knowledge of the injustice in the world.

The world is changing for the better, people are now rebelling against the corrupt ideology which they have lived under. From police brutality in the US, to LGBT* rights in Russia, to feminism in the Arab world people are changing their ideologies. Without the internet I would not have known about these changes. I would not have known about the racial injustice in America the supposed “Land of the Free” and I certainly wouldn’t have been aware of the terrible homophobia present in modern day Russia. The internet has allowed me to question the current ideology and see that there can be change. Without the internet I would have labelled the people who are trying to change the world thugs. But with access to primary sources, first hand accounts, and a wealth of knowledge I can see that these people are not thugs. They are the people who are so often praised in literature and cinema but in real life when they are actually trying to make a change they are labeled as looters, and thugs.

Being raised by the internet has allowed me to get an education and knowledge that I would have never gotten otherwise. Online education providers allowed me to study subjects and modules in my own time and for free. Due to this I know have a knowledge of STS (Science Technology and Society), Feminism, World Politics, and Economics. If I never had the internet I would never have had access to this types of education. Going hand in hand with the first point the open access of education allowed me to gain my own ideology and political view which has shaped the way I see the world.

As well as helping me form my own political and social ideology the internet has helped me come to terms with myself. Thought the internet I found help and resources that allowed me to combat depression and helped me come out to family and friends. Without the internet I wouldn’t be able to come to terms with myself as a person. The internet allowed me to embrace myself and be who I wanted to be not who society wants me to be.

The Digital Age and Sexuality

J’ai Tue Ma Mere

Sexuality. Wow. Dirty word. Dirty word on a college blog. Oh grow up. Sexuality, the emotional capacity for sexual feelings, is a natural thing that the majority of people experience. For years sexual expression and actually discussion of human sexuality was seen as taboo. But now in the digital age the general public and to a greater extent teenagers have the ability to access a large cave of information regarding their own sexuality which they wouldn’t have been able to access previously. The digital age is often defined by the wealth of information people can access and as a massive open place where people can spread ideas. Sexuality ties into both of these areas.

One blog on Tumblr The Sex Uneducated offers advice on sex education. It utilises various multimedia techniques to present the best advice to readers. These include a gif set which shows fertilisation through animation. As well as this it focuses primarily on STI’s and queer issues in the sexual spectrum. Another blog, AP Sex Education dispels common rumours teenagers believe about sex and sexuality. Tumblr as a whole contains posts in everyday language that gives quick advice on sexuality. This includes common myth such as genitalia size, orgasm statistics, and condoms. One post illustrates the social construction of virginity as a heteronormative concept, which means that virginity only refers to male and female sex which doesn’t contribute to homosexual activities due to different nature.

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The LGBT* community and Digital Media

For my final presentation in my digital humanities course I was required to prepare a presentation on a subject of my choice. I chose to do my presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of digital media on the LGBT* community. I chose this topic because I was interested in how the community as a whole benefited from the use of technology and how the community where at risk due to the emergence of new media and technology.

I focused on representation in the media and the negative aspects of social media. I discarded my slides on the advantages of social media for a variety of reasons. The main reason was that everyone could guess them. The disadvantages on the other hand weren’t as well known to the general public. Below I have posted a PDF link to my presentation, as well as sources and other useful material.

DH1001 Presentation

Sources Used:

Interactivity is Evil! A critical investigation of Web 2.0

Users, Interactivity, and Generation

New Queer Television

GLAAD Homepage

Same-Sex Marriage on Twitter

Risks of Social Media on the LGBT* Community

UNESCO Social Media and the LGBT* Community

Ben Steele on LGBT* rights in Russia

Grindr in Egypt

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Representation of Love in The Media . . .

Love is a constant theme in almost any tv series or film. No matter what genre the piece is the theme of love will find it’s way into it. Love as a plot device can be seen as overdone and boring at this stage, in this light I decided to examine a few of my favourite representations of love in media that don’t follow the stereotypical view point.

1. Laurence Anyways – Xavier Dolan

“I call her A.Z because it all begins and ends with her . . .”

This 2012 film by Xavier Dolan centres around a transgendered woman named Laurence and the story of her love of a woman called Fred. The story which spans a decade follows the lives of the two characters and the trials they face. It is an honest portrayal of transgendered people and love. It shows the difficulties and differences in love after Laurence comes out as transgendered. Unlike most love stories this one does not end with a happy ending. It honestly shows the deterioration of the relationship and the inner conflicts of the two characters. It presents a realistic portrayal of love – people change and emotions change.

2. Robbers – The 1975

“Be a riot, cause I know you . . . “

“Robbers” is a 2014 single from The 1975’s debut album. The song inspired by the film ‘True Romance’ tells the story of a heist gone wrong. The video which debuted in April follows the two main characters before and after the heist. It shows us how close the characters are and let’s us peak into their messed up lives. Lives which are filled by drugs and alcohol. Behind this hedonism is love. A messed up love. It is a violent and passionate love. A love where two people could express affection by physically attacking one another. Matt Healey lead singer of the band explained that the love here is an all or nothing love. A selfish love with only two players – “couples so intoxicated with one another that they fear nothing in the pursuit of the realisation of each other, actions fuelled by blind and unconditional love”.

3. American Horror Story : Coven – Ryan Murphy 

“I love you more than jazz babydoll . . .” 

American Horror Story created by Ryan Murphy is a horror anthology series that often contains unconventional love stories. The third series co-titles ‘Coven’ centres around the withes of New Orleans. By the seventh episode the head of the coven Fiona Goode and the spirit of the real life Axeman of New Orleans engage in a sexual tryst. What is different about this portrayal of love is the age of characters. This representation of sex and love among older characters is a fresh of breath air in a world dominated by youthful presentations of love. There are no jokes or wise cracks about the characters age but instead a hedonistic sexual love affair dealing with themes of ones inevitable death, ageing, and the loss of youth. This portrayal also deals with manipulation and deception within a relationship. It shows that two people can be a match but that they mightn’t always want the same thing.

4. Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola

“Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun . . .”

Above is the now iconic final scene of Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation. The plot of the film is simple. Two characters, Bob and Charlotte, navigate through downtown Tokyo while trying to make sense of their lives which they are ultimately unhappy with. In terms of romance and love the two main characters reject long standing notions of life time love and dating. The main point of the film boils down to one moment of attraction between two people. Both characters are lonely in downtown Tokyo and find solace with one another. They fear of getting too close and ruining their delicate relationship. This shows clearly the real life tension between two people who are finding their emotions. The kiss at the end of the film offers a post-romance view of love. The kiss isn’t sweeping and romantic and the start of a new life. The kiss is a goodbye. The kiss is the moment of attraction where the two characters finally connect fully. Keeping with the post-romance writing the kiss doesn’t ignite anything. It doesn’t change the characters perception of love and romance. What it does is offer the moment of connection.

5. Orange is The New Black

“(When asked what love is) Pain. Horrible pain. That you want again and again . . . “

Orange is The New Black is groundbreaking on many fronts. It shows real women’s stories and presents them is an accurate light. Like ‘Laurence Anyways’ it shows an honest representation of love between transgendered inmate Sophia and her ex-wife Crystal. It shows the early struggles between the couple and the effect of Marcus/Sophia’s choice to get a sex change. It shows Crystals willingness to stand by her husband and her hesitations over her husbands choice. Eventually the relationship deteriorated and Crystal makes the choice to start a new relationship with her wife’s blessing. Although at first Sophia is angry and dismisses it but then gives in and allows Crystal to move on with her life. This honest portrayal of people and love shows how people change.

Why we should embrace multiple types of intelligence..

Proposed by Howard Gardner in his 1983 work the “Free Mind”, Gardner suggests nine different types of intelligence – Musical, Spatial, Linguistic, Mathematical, Kinesthetics, Social Skills, Introspection, Naturalistic, and Existential.

In general teachers and school boards encourage one type of thinking – Convergent thinking. This type of thinking states that students give one correct answer which does not require and creativity. It follows the most common and logical steps that gets the right answer. This type of thinking is dangerous as it crushed other forms of intelligence and crushed creativity. Convergent thinking is the thinking commonly encouraged by many schools. You get one answer. The right one. Another side effect of this is the destruction of divergent thinking. Divergent thinking encourages students to generate creative solutions in order to come up with more than one solution.

The focus on convergence thinking crushes the nine different types of intelligence listed by Gardner. It doesn’t allow students to move forward and embrace there own talents and a persons own type of intelligence. This turns the student away from education and in turn results in the students creativity waning. Due to this the student looses their creative edge and embrace convergent thinking fully.

In Defence of ‘Selfie Culture’ . . .

In a world affected by war, disease, famine, and a crippling recession mainstream media have a love affair with this generations apparent obsession with taking selfies. The media portrays selfies as an idiotic and attention-seaking thing to do. But let’s be real here. There is nothing wrong with taking selfies. Yes I am pro-selfie. Doesn’t the media have better things to do than obsess about this generations selfie culture? Like god forbid they should be reporting on important issues such as rape culture, sexism in politics, and crisis’s in Europe and the Middle East.

Selfies are one of the best ways to be body positive. The best thing about people taking selfies and putting it up on their social media outlets is that these people acknowledge that they are in fact attractive. This is in deep contrast to main stream media telling people that if they aren’t a size 1 or don’t have abs that they’re ugly. Selfies help spread positive attitudes towards peoples bodies and effectively helps people own their own bodies. They don’t tell you that your skin is too dark, or that your too curvy, or that your too thin, or that you’re too ugly. Selfies are the cure to this epidemic.

Let’s be real here isn’t the Louvre and the National Gallery filled with Renaissance selfies? Got you there didn’t I. Van Gough, Delacroix, Degas, and Lautrec all saved there selfies in these large galleries. People spend years research these selfies and even getting degrees old age selfies. Whats the difference? Nothing. Yup theres nothing different. Let’s embrace the selfie. That’s right I want everyone to take a selfie right now. Go.