RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Author: J_simpson5

Infinite Knowledge Through Spacial History

This weeks readings were about the concept “Spacial History.” Most of you guys have probably used google maps to search a location and maybe have even used the neat street-view tool to explore the surroundings. Google maps is essentially a less developed form of “Spacial History” that Jenna ¬†Hammerich and Zephyr Frank are explaining in the readings. With “Spacial History” technology, one would be able to look at a map and not only see just locations, but an immense amount of data that you would never even think of. Jenna Hammerich gives an example that a “Spacial History” map could answer the question, ¬†“Would Robert E. Lee have been able to see Union forces on the far side of the battlefield when he ordered the notorious Pickett‚Äôs Charge?”

This is a link to the Stanford History Project website where a group of collaborators contribute their own projects of GIS for the world to see and other researchers to learn from. This link in particular will take you to a map titled “Salmon Flu Transmission in Salmon Aquaculture”. This map is an easy-to-understand ¬†example of Spacial History. It shows not only a map, but many different graphs and statistics of the flu transmission between Chile and Norway.

This image below has pinpoints of where a certain community theater performed a particular play in Baltimore in 1980.



Overall, I believe Spacial History will is a powerful tool and we become an even more powerful tool in the future. There are so many endless possibilities and I am excited to see what people will continue to do with it. One thing that Jenna Hammerich touched on was that researchers can now create maps for past historical events and study them even more closely possibly coming up with new findings that we have never even thought of!

Perpetua, Felicitas, & Oregon

This article is different than anything we have ever read in class; this is the first time that the religion aspect is prevalent. I know that this article has been planned for us to read beforehand, but it correlates with the recent tragedy of the Oregon shooting at a community college. At the shooting in Oregon, the killer specifically sought out Christians; the students potentially had a chance to lie about their religion or, like Perpetua and Felicitas,become martyrs in the name of their beliefs. ¬†In Perpetua and Felicitas case, they both refused to lie about their religion and chose to die sticking by their beliefs. While I commend their bravery and think they were very courageous to do this, there is sort of a blurred line whether this is the ‘best’ decision or not. ¬†For example, one of the women left behind ¬†a baby. Now, this baby will grow up without a mother and be left behind in the world that she is escaping. Is this considered selfish? Is this moral? It’s hard to say. The reason these women opted for death was because they would rather die than deny their allegiance to God. I’m not so religious myself anymore, but I did go to church and Bible school for most of my childhood and if I took away anything, it would be that God forgives, understands, and wants what is best for you. In my opinion, if God exists, He would understand the predicament of the situation, forgive you for ‘lying’ and would want you safe. ¬†I guess I can’t really speak for them since I do not have a strong devotion to a particular faith, but I know if a gun was pointed at me I would say and do anything to get ouf of the situation. Is it really necessary to be a martyr over this?


“Stealing” and Re-purposing online pictures

I found Melissa Terras’s blog post interesting because it touched on what we talked about in class on taking other people’s pictures online. It is also a very common thing that happens today and it is unclear of when it is acceptable or not or if you are breaking any copyright laws. She mentioned the website Etsy and I think that that is a great example for this issue. The way Etsy works is any person can have their own “boutique” so-to-speak where they can craft their own merchandise and sell it to any buyers usually through pay pal.

tangled disney iPhone case, iPod case, Samsung case, HTC case & Xperia Case available plastic and rubber case

Vintage Disney Posters Alice In Wonderland iPhone case, iPod case, Samsung case, HTC case & Xperia Case available plastic and rubber case

Iphone 5 iphone 4/4s  5S 5C  Breakfast Club VIntage  Movie Posters  mobile cell phone cover snap case

These are pictures of a few phone cases that I found off of sellers on Etsy. All I had to do was search “Disney phone cases” and “movie poster phone case” and these appeared. These are actual phone cases that I can purchase from a random seller on etsy and the accessibility is what makes it a controversy. Obviously, these images do not belong to the seller and these are images that one can google. Most likely, the seller of the phone case obtained these images somewhere online and then printed it on to a phone case and called it their own creation. While they did make the phone case, they do not own the image. The question rises, is it okay for one to reproduce these images on a phone case and they sell it for profit. Well these images are very public and can be found almost anywhere…but does that mean it is okay to take it? Like the author mentions, there are many copyright laws attached to pictures that people don’t even read or even understand so every artifact is different.

The author proposes : “Put out of copyright material in the public domain to encourage reuse. Go on! what are you scared of?” which I have mixed feelings about. While I do feel that such popular images such as “The Breakfast Club” movie poster above are very easy to find and it’s sort of impossible to stop all reuse of the photo, I think if I personally took a photo, I would be mad if other people re purposed that photo and made money off of my work.

Be careful what you post!

In David Golumbia’s informational reading on privacy and digital citizenship, it was reinforced ¬†multiple times that copyright infringement and¬†plagiarism¬†are real things that we need to be aware of. While many things in this article I felt were self explanatory, such as not simply taking an authors work without giving them credit, there are few pieces of information that I was not previously aware of before that interested me.

First, I did not know that there were ways to “override” a copyright. Golumbia talked about how if a copyrighted source is not published under a licence, it many times has a “fair use” exemption. That being said, if a copyrighted material is being used for educational or non-profit purposes, it most likely can be used. There are also three other exemptions: Nature (Whether the work is factual or creative) , how much you are going to take from the source, and if it is going to deprive the copyright owner of profit. These logistics were new to me but I deem them as pretty helpful! ¬†I always assumed that if something was copyrighted that there was no wiggle room in using copyrighted material unless you asked permission by whoever owned the copy right. With these exemptions written out, it gives me, and I’m assuming a lot of other students at my level, more insight on what you can do.

Keep in mind that Golumbia also includes important logistics of what NOT to do that we don’t normally think about. For example, citing your sources is great, but not good enough to avoid copyright infringement. I feel that it is a common misconception to think this way and I’m glad ¬†Golumbia included this and didn’t assume that the audience would already know this.


Bottom line, check, check, and triple check before using someone else’s work!

Nerd Child to Confused Child, Relying on Men to fix technology, and Digital Devices for Disabled

From playing Disney trivia on my PC, endless tycoon games, online games on, I was OBSESSED with technology as a young child. My dad encouraged me and was the one to introduce me to childish games on schockwave such as my ultimate favorite, “Water Balloon Drop”. As I got slightly older, maybe ten or eleven, my dad bought me a Nintendo where I became obsessed with Mario games; and of course, like all the other girls, Nintendogs. I do credit my technology-based childhood on my dad; he would play street fighting on the Sega Console with me when I was just in elementary school and a lot of ¬†my favorite childhood memories come from playing games with my father. I spent a lot of my childhood playing games on digital devices (of course I played outside too) but I remember being so proud that I was the only girl in my ¬†class who could name all the characters in Mario. ¬†I can’t really say when, but somewhere along the lines, all of that technology faded out of my life and I quickly became someone who was definitely not tech-savvy. ¬†I wouldn’t say I’m incompetent when it comes to technology, but I do not know any of the latest games, I need help setting up my computer, and I often times ask my dad or boyfriend to set up the TV. I didn’t notice it before, but this reminds me of Henn’s podcast. I don’t have a solid reason as to why I stopped being involved with technology but could it be because computers are seen more as a “male’s tool”? As I woman, I notice that whenever technology isn’t working, we tend to always ask a male to fix it or take a look at it without even knowing if they can or not. It’s always assumed that males are computer programmers, males are technicians, and males can fix broken technology. This is an important thing that was brought up in the podcast because as a society, we need to start moving out of that mindset and normalize having a woman as a computer programmer!

As for William’s article, while I can not relate to having a disability and using technology, I think it is a very important issue to raise. When Apple produces a general iPhone for example,it is ¬†specifically for those who do not have a disability. Blind people cannot use it, deaf people cannot use it, people with cerebral pasly potentially cannot use it, etc. There are many disabilities out there that we do not take into consideration when producing technology. ¬†However, a quote in the passage states,¬† ‚Äúapproach every problem ‚Ķwith the ultimate goal of providing the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people possible‚ÄĚ ¬†and that quotes makes sense to me. It does not make sense to produce hundreds of phones with a braille keyboard if the majority of the consumers are not blind. However, it needs to be taken into consideration that there is a blind consumer out there who does need a phone. Perhaps there should be different options available for those with disabilities and they should be easily accessible to purchase. Right now, people with disabilities have to go through an extensive process in order to receive a customized version of simple technology that most of us have the luxury of purchasing right away and that is not fair.

-Jillian S.


photo from: Technology for the disabled РGoogle Search. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2015.

Is there an actual definition of the Digital Humanities? (9/7)

There isn’t really a concrete definition for Digital Humanities, but there multitudes of values attached to the phrase. When I think of Digital Humanities, I think of an abundance of technology used to help humans or society in general. Whether it be asking “Siri” to look up a question, Googling the answer to a problem, or using a GPS to navigate a location, technology is highly utilized in order to make life easier for humans. ¬†In class, we spoke of algorithmic culture which is apart of the Digital Humanities. The algorithmic culture includes such things as receiving advertisements tailored to your interests or or having Netflix generate a section based on shows you watch. While I can’t disagree that it is helpful, I believe certain things make us dependent on technology. For example, college students now are more dependent than ever on using the internet to research items when instead they could walk down to the library and open a book. My hope would be that certain things that are easy to manually do aren’t over taken by technology and humans eventually forget how to do it themselves.

The two articles that we read had slightly different viewpoints on what the Digital Humanities are but both had the same overall concept. ¬†The first article, “The Digital Humanities is not about Building it’s about Sharing” by Mark Sample stayed close to its title. Sample believed the in Digital Humanities, knowledge is not produced but instead is shared and reproduced. According to Sample, the Digital Humanities gives us endless possibilities since we are no longer bound to physical material such as books but now we have a whole other world at our hands. On the other hand, Lisa Spiro speaks of Digital Humanities as more of a community that needs to produce values. Similar to Mark Sample, Lisa believes that Digital Humanities should foster ¬† conversation and knowledge. A quote from Spiro that I thought was interesting was,¬†“Grounded in humanistic values but catalyzed by Internet values, the digital humanities seeks to push the humanities into new territory by promoting collaboration, openness, and experimentation.” I feel like this quote is the closest to summing up what Digital Humanities really is. Why Digital Humanities? Because we now have the power of technology at our hands to open new doors and together as a humanistic society, explore endless possibilities and opportunities. Some may argue that it is dangerous, while others may argue that it is necessary.

-Jillian S.


Picture Citation:

Dolom, Ram. “Students Should Embrace UCLA‚Äôs New Digital Humanities Minor.” Daily Bruin. Web. 7 Sept. 2015.

Harry Potter Research Questions Group Post

In class group post by Luke, Shane, Leslie, Danielle, and Jillian.

Our assigned website was¬† which featured different blog posts about Harry Potter. Each section had a different research question; for our voyant use, we decided to put in two blog posts, one asking why there were so many ¬†members of Slytherin and the other focusing on the differences of socioeconomic class within the books of Harry Potter. Our goal was to compare these two questions and to see how far the scope of the author’s research extended.

Harry Potter Death Eaters Cirrus Harry Potter Death Eaters Bubblelines


As you can see, there are many words that appear that are not in the regular English language that only appear in the Harry Potter world. We can tell that the author is definitely knowledgeable about Harry Potter. If you are looking at this from an outside perspective as someone who has  never read Harry Potter before, it would most likely make no sense. The bigger research question could be relating death eaters back to various aspects of the Harry Potter Universe.


Let me start off by saying that I am not a very technology-savvy. When I first opened voyant, I was overwhelmed by the layout, graphs, and tools. After a few tutorials and watching Dr. S, I somewhat got the hang of it and realized that it is a very unique and interesting tool. I have never heard of it before and I have mixed feelings on its usefulness.

I decided to upload the test corpus into voyant at home since I had already tried the other two in class. ¬†I wanted to see if I could figure out what the text was about by using voyant. After eliminating stop words from the word cloud, I was left with unique words such as “God”, “judge” “Christ” “Habib” “tyrant” and “governor” . By these highly used words alone, I was able to gather that this is some sort of religious text, or at least involves religion in some way. The word “tyrant” is is more of a dated word so I can assume that this is an older text.

However, one of my issues with voyant is that, for example, just because “tyrant” is a dated word, it doesn’t mean that the text is dated. The word could be used in a different context or have a totally different meaning all together and there wouldn’t be a way that I would know just by looking at statistics.

All and all, voyant is interesting tool for the advanced, but it can not go into the depth of a text and break it down that far.


–Jillian S.