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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age



I've actually watched this video before in my Communications class in high school, this is a newer version though with newer info. It is still as amazing as the first time I viewed it. It makes me feel privileged to be a part of such brilliant change and advancement, but at the same time insignificant when you realize just how small you are on the global scale of things. A computer is going to be able to do more than my fully developed brain (meaning I cant get smarter, but the computer can). It almost brings memories of that Arnold Scwarzanegger movie a few years back where machines revolted and took over the planet. So to me, on one hand Im very curious to the changes, but also very cautious and even concerned at some of the technologies we are trusting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SOC 200 Week 15 Blog Entry: Urban/Suburban/Rural Life

I've lived in urban, suburban, and rural areas.  I moved around a lot when I was a kid.  When I lived in rural areas people seemed to be more outgoing and welcoming/hospitable.  People were definitely more trusting and open.  I lived in a town called Smithsburg, Maryland for about 3 years, which is on the outskirts of Hagerstown.  Very small community with a population just barely over a thousand if you include all the farmers and amish peoples in the hills in that area.  The downtown was 2 cross-streets with one stoplight.  Main St. intersected by Water St. each street was about 2 miles long with historic looking row-homes and small shops lining them on both sides.  The most famous spot in town was the little Dixie Eatery close by the town's baptist church.  Their version of a population center was the towns small firehouse, where they would host town meetings and hold small get-togethers.  A girlfriend of mine in my freshmen year of highschool actually held her birthday party there, where they had a DJ from Baltimore city come all the way out to Smithsburg and play music a lot of the adult crowd there got confused over.  Many of them made remarks like "what is this noise?", and "they call this music?"  It was kind of comedic in a way, how out of touch they were with main forms of entertainment in urban areas.  Urban areas where the majority of the U.S. population resides in the 21st century.


Anyways, I also lived in Frederick MD which would classify as a DC or Baltimore suburb, as well as Ashburn VA which is one of DC's largest and wealthiest suburbs.  The music the DJ was playing at my ex-girlfriend's party would not have confused the kids or adults in these more urban settings.  The people are a lot more in touch, and from my experience, more educated academically.  They are a lot more "street smart" and not as open or trusting as the more "naive" crowd in the hills of western MD.  City centers here are huge and supported by the state govt. tremendously.  Many people commute to and from work, where-as in the rural settings people worked close-by on farms, doing landscaping, working in small shops or lumberyards, or commuting to a close by city where more commercialized work was available.  There were also many similarities as well though, so its not just contrast.

Monday, January 10, 2011

SOC 200 Week 14 Blog, Who Holds the "Power" in our political-based society.

In the U.S. and Canada, and many other democratic countries around the world, children are taught in grade school that the country is run for the people by the people.  We elect our officials including mayors, governors, sheriffs, judges, up to the vice president and president himself.  Though officials may seem to have some kind of agenda, and be partly-submissive to a certain political party's guidelines, we assume they have at least, the minimal freedom to make the right decisions, based on the instinct we trusted them to have when we cast our ballots.   However, things arent always how they seem, nothing in life is that cut and dry, theres always invisible ink between the lines, only visible to the elitist blacklight.  Or the wise-eye of the over-educated minority.  It's amazing how in high-school government class, we were taught about democracy in the U.S. and how it compared with other government styles such as Communism, Socialism, and Anarchism.  Yet, they were very short and devoid of substantiated knowledge on the "Electoral College", how it works, the complex and sometimes conflicting rules, and the fundamental dynamics of the whole shenanigan.
http://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/electoral-college.htm
^^^Check this link for info on the Electoral College

It seems power is not truly in the hands (or pen) of the "elected" official you thought you voted for in november.  The president is actually elected by "electors" who may or may not be appointed by the people of a certain state.  Electors dont all follow the same rules, and have differing levels of authority on the vote for their state.  In fact, some electors arent even on the ballot, and there may or may not be an official record kept of the individual elector.  In fact, there is a huge grey area on actual "knowledge" of how the electoral college truly functions and it honestly does not represent the votes of the majority.  Many times it operates in contradiction with the majority, the middle/working/and lower class majority. 

Where does the actual power lie in our society, theres many viable arguements, I cant really pick a side on the issue.  All I can say is "In God We Trust" is printed on every dollar bill and coin, so I think if you read the (not so) invisible ink between the lines, you can grasp the big picture.  Not a conspiracy theorist, I just know its a fact the majority of Americans are legitimately undereducated, especially on important issues like who has the "power"(The ability to make one's interests count, even when others resist.) in a democracy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Walmart Good for America? (1/6) SOC 200 BLOG wk 13

This is part 1 of 6 of the PBS premiere "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?"


What is it? What is Wal-Mart? Apparently its the American free-market equivalent to Japan's Godzilla (The bootleg Godzilla was made in China though), stomping on traditional trade values and causing complete chaos by forcing American manufacturing companies to compete more. Or close up shop and then re-open up shop in lets say, hmmm, Asia? Duhh! Or maybe even India? Somewhere where the corporate fat monkeys can keep getting their golden bannanas without losing a step in the manufacturing process, or without doing the "M" word. Im referring to corporate Merging of course. Nobody wants to be friends with Wal-Mart, the big ugly bully on the business playground, stealing all the little Small Business owning boy's milk money, and who knew Wal-mart was actually a she. Wal-Mart is actually short for Wal-Martina. Anyways... you get the picture, Wal-mart is F'ing S up, especially for U.S. tubberware makers.

What are my personal opinions in the matter, if you couldnt already decypher them from the less than subdle comedic undertone, between the lines of my opening paragraph? I dont really buy into the whole "Wal-Mart is the antichrist" arguement. I do think they are a lousy chain and dont personally shop there for anything noteworthy, and I also think they are wasteful, but I dont think they are some retail monopoly taking over the business world, and putting "joe the plumber's" on unemployment. I think simple American greed and competition is to blame for that, and there is no way to chastice Wal-Mart legally to change the next big Wal-Mart-like baby-killer chain from coming to the surface in another 2-3 years. Unless the supreme court gets the squash out of it's politically biased and tightened buttocks, there will be no progress on this matter, and american manufacturers will continue to be shat on with digested gold bannanna residue. Blame capitol hill, politics as usual.  (& believe it or not I have no political affiliation, I consider myself an independent, if even that.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Week 12 SOC 200 - The Overworked American

Do I think Americans these days (2011 now) are overworked, underpaid, and excessively stressed and mismanaged by employers in our society.  Yes & No, as always I can see perspectives from both sides of the fence.  Yes, I do think only having 1 day off of work is not enough, especially when raising children, catering to a husband/wife, and trying to keep up with household chores, bills, taxes, hobbies, etc.  These days its common for both parents to work full time jobs, and still have financial woes, in some cases, forcing the children to start work at a young age and help with costs.  This takes away from the children's education, compromises children's ambition and ability to "dream", and it also adds unneccessary stress to an already stressful time in a kid's development.  I think in many cases, kids are not developing fully because the parents arent around, and then the kids themselves have to earn money at a young age.  The motivation for a decent education slowly spirals away, survival instincts take over, and its all about earning as much as you can at the time, while operating within the means you've settled for.  This is a primary reason why foreign countries are graduating more educated people at decent institutions than Americans. 

Yet I can also say, NO, if we look at countries that are far worse off than we are, however this could be like taking up a bad self-fulfilling prophecy.  Yet its important to realize how lucky we have it here, and that as overworked as we may be, it doesn't compare to the struggles of people in 3rd world countries, etc.  Yet its important we dont use that as an excuse to bury ourselves in our work, and neglect family issues, which sometimes are the more tedious and sensitive issues, that lead to many disfunctional existances in our counrty.

Societies demand's fall 2nd upon our own, so its important you demand whats right for you and your family.  Even if that means taking a job that pays a bit less to spend that extra day with loved ones and keep your fam tight-knit.  In the end thats more valuable than the range rover and diamond earrings and extended garage etc.  But if you can pull it off, go for it, shoot for the stars.