#MapLesotho

For our second digital humanities assignment I had to engage in a mapping activity of the Lesotho area. At first I was daunted with the prospect of doing this task as I had no previous experience in mapping software. Every time I participated in the mapping I documented my work in a PDF journal. I found this to be a good way of keeping track of my progress. I have attached a version of my  journal here – Map Lesotho Journal

Report Of The Activity 

Lesotho is a small land locked country just above South Africa. With a population of two million over 40% of the population live under the poverty line. In this respect it is important for us who can to help map the country, as a lot of Lesotho’s inhabitants don’t have the means or knowledge to undertake this operation. But why is this important? It is important because it allows groups of people living in Lesotho to view correct and informative maps of their country.

If there is a central computer in a library or educational institution for example residents can travel to these locations and view the maps collectively. This has many positive implications for the Lesotho region,  ranging from educational to economic to political. By utilising open source software this activity helps  spread the word of the open source movement. The amount of people engaging in the activity can quickly spread open source through hashtags and promotion. Following on from this I was ready to start the activity.

At first I found this activity hard as I wasn’t used to the software and I didn’t fully realise the need for the project. I overcame these two obstacles through a variety of ways. I used the help tab and I followed it through to the wiki. To me this was really helpful as it allowed me to quickly pick up the skills I needed. While doing the assignment I found it worthwhile to check what other users were editing and to view their edits. This way I was able to see how my edits should look. I thought that the website itself was good to work with and allowed easy access for editing. You could choose different layers for your map which helped me get a feel for the area in which I was working in.

I found the assignment quite difficult as a lot of the work was already completed in the Lesotho area by others. The three slides I included in the journal was the most I could do in terms of mapping. The information that was already marked was correct in my opinion. Due to this I couldn’t engage fully with this mapping exercise. I tried my local are and the area around the CBD of Paris, but again the work was already done. As well as this I tried my local area. Again the work was completed. The best I could do was re-label incorrect information.  I didn’t include the Paris and Cork activity in the journal as it was primarily editing names.

In order to make the experience a little easier,  I would like to have the ability to install a widget in the software that would allow me to look up information on the area I’m working on. I didn’t know much about Lesotho so I didn’t know what type of markers I should have been labelling my buildings. Taking this into account I did some research on Lesotho itself. The research aspect helped overcome the second obstacle. Through my research I eventually realised the need for it.

I would say that this project was beneficial to me as it was my first time engaging in a collaborative effort such as this. Both collaboration and crowdsourcing are two integral components in the field of digital humanities. Before this project I had little to no experience of these two aspects. For me the most beneficial aspect of the assignment was crowdsourcing. It allowed to me to engage in an activity with countless others. We were all working towards a common goal which made the experience much more fulfilling to me.

To conclude I would like to take a moment to criticise my own work method. If I were to do this again I would spend more time planning. While doing the actual mapping I engaged in sporadic burst’s of work rather than adhering to a well thought out work schedule. As I mentioned above I didn’t see the point of this assignment while beginning it, thus my work ethic was to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. Looking back I should have had made a plan of action and thoroughly researched both mapping and crowdsourcing.

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Why We NEED Feminism

 

I would like to start off by saying I am a proud feminist. As its gender equality week in UCC I decided to give my reasons on why we need feminism. Feminism isn’t a dirty word as many people think. It doesn’t mean man hating. What feminism means is equality between the sexes. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on feminism in 21st century Ireland.

Woman still don’t have full control of their bodies which are being sexualized at every turn. Little girls are still discouraged from joining fields such as science and engineering. More horrifying is the fact that rape victim’s are still being blamed due to their clothing choices. It’s  (unfortunately) a mans world and feminism can help. There are some of the reasons why we need feminist.

As a society that is described as liberal and progressive the truth is far from it. Women face cat calls on an almost daily basis. On night out women are always checking their drink as they face threat  of assault or worse. Women are always protecting themselves from the unseen dangers. Women are always protecting themselves against men.

On a more national level only 16% of Irish politicians sitting in the Dáil are female. In terms of education only 15% of engineering and manufacturing students are female. Now this is primarily due to unsafe and unfair gender expectations. ‘Typically’ females are expected to aim for places in education/arts courses (3/4’s). As mentioned above girls are told that the science and engineering sectors are for boys.

These gender roles that are embedded into our mind set’s tell us that:

  1. Pink is a girls colour and blue is a boys colour.
  2. Men are supposed to provide while Women are forced to stay at home.
  3. Women are emotional and Men are strong.
  4. Men are perfect and Women always have to improve themselves.

There are flaws in this mindset though. Take for example the stereotype that women should stay in the kitchen and cook. Now put this against the job of a professional chef. For a hobby that is seen as feminine the majority of those who work in that area are men.

The wage gap is another reason that explicitly shows that feminism is needed. Women in Ireland in 2011 only made 94% of the wage men made. During the recession there was an estimate 12% drop in a couples wages. The woman’s wage drop was 14%.

Finally we need feminism because feminism isn’t for white, attractive, wealthy women. Feminism is for all women. If your feminism doesn’t include women of colour, trans women, curvey women, poor women, et then it isn’t feminism. Feminism is for all, not just the media’s poster girl.

 

Why it’s time to embrace sustainable technologies and a green lifestyle

We live in an age where climate change is a reality and not a dystopian science fiction plot point.The simple truth is that climate change is getting worse by each year. Last year has reportedly been the hottest year on record according to NASA. Following on from this 14 of the 15 hottest years have occurred since the year 2000

Climate change is effecting every part of our world. Iceland, for example, is being lifted 1.4 inches every year. This can result in more and more volcanic eruptions. These eruptions greatly effect airline paths across Europe. This in turn effects the economy. This illustrates the power climate change has over our society. We can’t control the climate but what we can do as a society is create a better more sustainable community by embracing sustainable technology.

Sustainable technology uses less energy and does not waste the planets natural resources. These technologies can also be recycled or reused by the end of their use cycle. Sustainable technology doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to use. Take transport for instance. Solar powered high speed trains are way more sustainable than cars and buses that spill out high carbon emissions. The new program by Coke Zero in Cork City follows similar ones run in Europe – to encourage people to cycle rather than use cars. Not only is this good for the environment, but also your own health.

Biofuels, fuel made form natural and living organisms, is an renewable energy source. Biofuels can be used instead or petrol and diesel. They have increased in popularity in the past few years due to the rise in oil prices and the fear we don’t have proper energy security. In recent years the EU has come out on top as the biggest producer of biofuels world wide, which accounts for more than half of biofuel production. There are studies being conducted by the US EPA aiming to make biofuels more cost affective and sustainable.

Many people are afraid to engage in a green lifestyle at home. Many people think it’s a difficult movement to engage in. Due to this there are many myths surrounding a sustainable lifestyle. This can be clearly illustrated in Leyla Acaroglu’s speech on “Environmental Folklore”. There are many ways to life sustainable at home. One should buy bag’s and objects that are reusable. As well as this you should recycle as much as possible, from plastics, to paper, to food. Recycling can help the planet and also certain areas in a city where landfills are located. Clothes and electronics can also be recycled. Traveling wise people can easily take public transport or walk instead of driving.

Further Reading

Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainable Ireland

Earth Easy

TED Talks on the Environment

The Importance of Education

Education, whether people like it or not, is important to our society. Without it we as a society wouldn’t know basic language skills, mathematics, or science. Our society as a whole is built on education. Imagine how different your life would be if you didn’t have a proper education. Now understand that in a 2010 report by the Guardian newspaper  it was estimated that 70 million children are without an education. Education is vital to our society and our world. Here are a few illustrated examples to show this.

Health

In a developed country our doctors and nurses are all educated people with a college degree. Without them the mortality rate would be ever on the increase. On a macro level doctors help us when we get sick, whether short term or long term. Without them we would be nothing. On a micro scale ordinary people can understand signs of illnesses better and better thus saving lives. Without education how could be know the signs of a stroke? Or a heart attack? This information could potentially save a life. Basic first aid education could also mean life or death to some individuals. All of these skills and knowledge come out of education. We can clearly see this importance when we realize that there are 270 million children in the developing world without access to medical services and 2.5 million children die each year due to lack of vaccines. In a report issued by the millennium project it is stated that if a woman in a developing country receives six or more years of education childbirth survival will drastically increase. At the moment 1,400 women die each day from childbirth related causes.

Politics and Economics

In a worlds riddled with economic hardship and political outcry, education could allow politicians and business men to make the right choices that would result in a positive long term effect. On a local level first time business owners or investors would more likely know their legal rights and be more wise investing money if they have received an education of some sort, again this would have a positive effect on the local economy as it results in more indigenous business. In a report by Concern it is estimated that every year a person spends in education results in 10% of their potential earnings. Looking at politics on a local level education helps the electorate to understand political issues and what the individual politicians are offering. This helps voters see through smear campaigns. With “controversial” issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, voters can (if educated) make up their own minds by seeing through bias or prejudice related to the issue in question.

Inequality

Education can stop in some cases stop the rise of inequality and create a more just and equal society. People who have the right to an education are shown to be more open minded and more likely to vote for LGBT and female rights. When fighting for a more open and equal society education is important to bridge the gap between social classes, genders, race, and sexuality. If people are educated they are aware of their legal rights. This can help cure inequality in some ways. If one is educated they are aware of different attitudes present in society. This can help them be safe in some respects.

Conclusions

To conclude education is an important factor in our society. As a result of proper education people can make proper and informed decisions on important political debates. A societies health system and mortality rates are also influx due to the influence of educations. Finally improved and strong educational institutions can create a more equal minded society.

Further Links and Readings

Poverty Facts

Poverty Statistics

Why Education is Important

15 Reasons Why Education is Important

Education as a Protective Factor Against HIV Infections Among South African Women

Brand New Day

I never understood the New Year New Me attitude. Not at all. You don’t need a new year to kick start your life. You can change it right now if you want. Theres nothing stopping you. Right this second you can change your life. Start eating healthy, giving up smoking, whatever. Do it now.

By waiting for a new year there is a pressure that you must start and if you don’t start you will only put it off and off. Take each day as it comes. Everyday is a brand new day. Everyday is a brand new start. Surround yourself with positivity and don’t take shit sugar from anyone.

Listen to your favourite song, drink water, and get out there. Every second is a new start. Fuc Forget the New Year. Embrace yourself. You know what you need to change, if anything. You know when to start. Don’t let anyone influence you. Besides if you’re going to change yourself for someone it’s not going to work. It will only work if you want to change.

The best advice is to . .

    • Drink plenty of water
    • Get fresh air everyday
    • Exercise
    • Feel good in your own body
    • Think positive thoughts and SMILE

Remember you know your body. You are the only person you has a say if you change yourself. No one else can make that decision. If you are perfectly comfortable with yourself then you don’t need to change. End of story.

Review of a Digital Tool – Tumblr

Link To My Tumblr

This is a review of Tumblr for my Digital Humanities module DH:1002 Digital Tools and Methodologies. I have chosen to review Tumblr simply because I have used it for a personal use previously. I tried numerous times to use it for academic uses. In order to challenge myself I made a new blog for an academic use.  I have broken it in to three main parts – a quick review, comparison with other micro-blogging sites, and an evaluation . . . . .

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Meet the blogger . . .

After ten or so posts I have decided to do a little post about me. So here goes nothing:

Name: Craig
Age: 19
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact: craig.hourihan@outlook.com , @BeowulfIRL
Studying: Digital Humanities and English

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Favourite Food:
Caribbean!!

Favourite Books/Plays:
Peter Pan, Looking For Alaska, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Twelfth Night, Paper Towns, On The Road, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Harry Potter,

Favourite Music:
All Time Low, Florence and The Machine, Tom Odell, The 1975, Fall Out Boy, Mumford and Sons, The Stokes, Foxes, Taylor Swift, Kodaline, Lorde, MGMT, Sleeping With Sirens, Imagine Dragons, Paramore, Sky Ferreira, Ed Sheeren, film soundtracks, etc etc

Favourite Tv Shows/Films:

Big Fish, Doctor Who, Adventure Time, American Horror Story, Looking, Orange is The New Black, The IT Crowd, Black Butler, anything Disney, J’ai Tue Ma Mere, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Guardians of The Galaxy.