Television Throughout the Years

By Amanda Pape

Television has become one of the most leaScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.40.17 AMding forms of media in the world. A device once found only in the living rooms of people’s homes can now be accessed almost anywhere. So where did it all begin? The idea of the television traces back as early as the 1820’s, but it was not until much later that this idea turned into a reality. Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a German University student, introduced the concept of an electromechanical television system 1884. This system consisted of rotating disks, called Nipkow disks, that had holes arranged in a spiral patter on the outside of them. Although a prototype of this system was not built, it became the basis of television experiments, which began in the 1920s. The first demonstration of an electronic television was in 1927 by Taylor Farnsworth. Several other inventors experimented with similar designs during this time as well. The first successful electronic television set, consisting of 5 by 12 inch picture tubes, was developed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and premiered in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair (Textbook, page 427).

Over the decades, television became more and more advanced. In its early stages, television started out as something very basic. Programs were shot with very few cameras and poor lighting and not only was the picture in black and white, but it was also very blurry due to lack of technology. The few things that were aired were sports events like baseball games, or short 15 minute newscasts, known as “Chalk Talks.” Since cable TV was not yet invented, only those who lived within close range of TV stations could actually access television. The growth of television came to a pause when the US entered World War II because most broadcasting companies turned their attention to production for the military. It was not until after this that the real growth of television started. In the 1960’s, the availability of color TV’s grew at a rapid pace. At first, TV productions were based on radio dramas and stage productions but this quickly changed as young writers began emerging and writing new shows. New comedy productions soon began quickly emerging during what came to be known as the “Golden Era” of television. These comedy shows became models for later television shows (Textbook, page 427).

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.43.30 AMThe emergence of cable television in the mid 1970’s significantly increased the amount of channels and genres available (textbook, page 429). Today on television you can find hundreds of channels with news, politics, sports, reality shows, contest shows, dramas, and basically anything you can think of. The technology of the television itself has also improved significantly from small, blurry, black and white screens, to now screens as big as 85 inches with bright picture in High Definition. With the emergence of the Web 2.0 era in the past decade, television has become more readily available to users on the internet. Streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime allow users to watch their favorite TV shows and movies at any time for just a small monthly fee. With websites like these, Web 2.0 systems could possibly replace cable in the distant future. With technology constantly emerging, in 10-20 years, television will be even more readily available to users.

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Memes and Web 2.0

By: Amanda Pape and Megan Malewich

PeScreen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.37.37 PMople use the internet as a means to entertain themselves. A huge part of this entertainment on the internet comes from memes. A meme is a funny image, video, or text that is spread rapidly throughout the internet by users. Memes are the epitome of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a way for inexperienced/beginner internet users to be able to navigate through the internet and create their own content. Memes partake in Web 2.0 as what the textbook considers “Participatory Art.” Sites like Can I Have a Cheezburger and Meme Generator allow anyone to put out their ideas for the entertainment and enjoyment of others. Since websites like these are user generated, they typically make money through advertisements that are displayed throughout their web pages. These sites get intense amounts of viewers per day, which is why they are able to make their money through advertisements. Memes and viral videos are comical and universal and provide enjoyment to wide varieties of internet users. The Cheezburg network has 192.5 million page views per day, expressing how popular memes are. Before the use of memes through Web 2.0, memes started out as graffiti, bumper stickers, and political campaigns and then became popular on the internet where they could be shared and created more rapidly. Nearly 50% of US adults have contributed to content online. Part of that content is memes.

Through our own experience of creating our own memes, we were able to get a sense of what kind of memes generate the most “buzz” on the internet. We both made our memes by selecting a funny picture and then adding our own captions on the pictures. We were really surprised with just how many memes are circulating throughout the internet today. Unfortunately, neither of our memes created any buzz. This is probably because we posted them on a website used mainly for blog posts. We learned that in order to generate buzz on your memes, it is important to post them to websites where comical images or videos appeal to their users.

Some of the more popular memes that we came across were “Bad Luck Brian,” “Skeptical Baby,” “First World Problems,” and “One Does Not Simply.” You can find different version of these memes created by users all over the internet. Even though those are the most popular memes, there is still an infinite amount of ways to create even more comical and entertaining memes like those. The use of content through Web 2.0 is constantly growing and the possibilities for creating memes are endless.

George Orwell- 1984

By: Amanda Pape

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 10.08.27 PM1984 is a nonfiction dystopian book by George Orwell about a future society where everything is monitored by the totalitarian government in place. Orwell paints a perfect picture of exactly what could go wrong in a future society reliant on certain tendencies and technologies under a totalitarian government. Although published in 1949, a time period much different and less advanced than ours, the themes and messages that Orwell depicts throughout the novel are still very much significant in our society today. Set in the year 1984, hence the name of the book, Orwell displays his own version of what society could dangerously turn into in the future. Orwell does an excellent job of exemplifying what not to do to end up in a fatalistic society like the one in 1984. The plot explores a series of eye-opening situations that touch upon issues of control, technology, self-expression, thought, and even the importance of history.

In the nation of Oceania, the government, known as the Party, under it’s leader, Big Brother, controls and forbids almost everything, especially free thought. Everyone is under constant surveillance through the advanced technology of telescreens, that watch their every move and can even detect thought. The main character, Winston Smith, leads a “normal” everyday life, working for the Ministry of Truth where he changes historical records in order for them to fit the needs of the Party. Stressed about the amount of control the Party has, Winston illegally keeps a diary, where he expresses his distasteful thoughts about the Party. Breaking one of the most important laws just by thinking may not be Winston’s only Crime. Winston believes that a secret Brotherhood exists that is working to overthrow the government. With such a strong governing force, the choice of whether or not to fall under the Party’s wrath may not be up to Winston to decide.

George Orwell, the author of 1984, had a deep interest in politics and used many of his novels to voice his strong opinions. He has a unique, lucid style of writing that is able to grab the attention of his readers through the fashion of his words. Orwell has written a number of books and among them, 1984 is one of his most popular. In one of his other famous novels, Animal Farm, he explores the theme of equality, bringing up questions of whether being equal to your peers can make you superior to them. This theme comes up throughout all of 1984 as well. With free thoughts and actions forbidden, everyone is forced to be the same, keeping anyone from being superior except for the members of the Party that enforce such equality. Orwell hints at the fact that the meaning of equality gets lost and begins to mean something else. Themes like this one can be explored throughout 1984 and through much of Orwell’s other works as well. During the course of Orwell’s career he was also recognized for a number of essays that seem like they were written for modern times. He came up with six brilliant rules for writers that are used today as a basic key for writing.

1984 is a novel that explores important issues in society that can be relevant for any time period. This book is a must-read, especially for those interested in politics, and science fiction. Orwell uses the plot of his novel to portray important messages to his readers and this book has completely changed people’s impressions of what society could be capable of in the future. Since this book involves themes and messages that people should be aware of for the development of our society, I strongly believe that everyone should read it. It can be understood and enjoyed by all readers in the high school level and above. The paperback of 1984 can be bought for about $10.00 . I strongly urge others to make this small investment for this eye-opening read.

Kearney, Anthony. “Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984.’ (George Orwell).” The Explicator 54.4 (1996): 238+. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.

An Island In Paradise

By Amanda Pape

Over spring break I went to Nassau, Bahamas with my family.  I had such an relaxing and amazing time and I knew that I could not miss out on sharing this with other people.  That’s why I decided to do my My Story project on this.  I knew that there would be a lot of beautiful views and adventurous things that could get pictures and videos of for my movie.  One challenge that I faced while doing this project was deciding which pictures and videos to leave out of my movie. I had so many amazing pictures of the things that I did and saw but knew that I couldn’t fit them all into such a short movie. I think that the best part of my My Story is all of the pictures of the amazing views of the ocean that I got. The beach is my favorite place so I was extremely happy to be able to display my experience on such a lovely beach through this project. I had an amazing time on my vacation in the Bahamas and am so happy that I was able to share it with my calssmates.

“Following” Celebrities

By: Amanda Pape and Megan Malewich

Social media, especially Twitter, has enabled the masses to be able to connect to their favorite celebrities. Based on our interviews with fellow students, Taylor Swift and Kanye West are two popular celebrities that people follow on Twitter. Kanye West and Taylor swift are two very famous musical artists of two different genres of music. People are drawn to their twitter accounts because they are interested in their music and curious about their personal lives.

Our friend Olivia follows and frequently views Taylor Swift’s tweets because she enjoys her posts of cat pictures, cute videos, and relatable life updates. Taylor Swift frequentlyupdates her followers and fans on what happens in her daily life. Fans of Taylor Swift feel that they can know her better from reading her tweets and staying connected with her on a daily basis.Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 10.16.41 PM

Our friend James is huge fan of Kanye West’s music, persona, and style. He says that Kanye West keeps his fans updated on his fellow rap artists and the music industry. People follow him ontwitterbecause they like to be updated on what’s in store for Kanye’s music as well as his opinion on other styles of music.
This helps his fans to be able to emulate him so that they can connect to him even more.

Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s tweets and updates differ substantially on their topics, though both are in  the music industry.  Kanye West tweets mostly about his music and his fashion line while Taylor Swift keeps her fans updated on her life and her friendships with other celebrities.  Fans are drawn to these two celebrities’ styles of tweets even though they are different because they give their fans some way to be able to connect with them.

In general, Twitter is a pathway for celebrities to become even more personal with their fans through their constant updates. People often follow their favorite celebrities so that they can feel as if they know them better than they actually do. Since people can stay connected on a daily basis with their favorite celebrities, it enables them to feel as though their favorite celebrities are their best friends.

3 Hours for your Kids

By: Amanda Pape and Megan Malewich

imagesIn 1990 Congress passed the Children’s Television Act which was implemented by the FCC, which mandates educational television on commercial broadcasting stations for children.  The Act requires a “Three-hour Rule,” which requires broadcasting stations to air a minimum of three hours of educational or “Core” programs per week.  It also limits the amount of time that cable operators can devote to advertisements during children’s programs.  It also regulates which advertisements can be shown during certain children’s programs, for example, if the show Spongebob is on, a commercial cannot depict a character from Spongebob to advertise their product. The FCC uses the Three-hour rule as a guideline for broadcasting stations, but does not regularly screen the stations to make judgments about whether the programs are educational or not, instead it regulates based on complaints from concerned viewers.  Based on a station’s complaint record, the FCC will either renew or reject a station’s license. Another issue is that parents don’t understand “E/I” symbol used to represent educational programming, so were not aware of when educational programs were being aired.  Many programs being aired are pro-social, teaching lessons like loyalty, honesty, and cooperation rather than education based, like math, science, and reading.  This posed a problem of what programs were actually educational.

In January, 2000, the FCC required all televisions to have a “V-chip.”  The V-chip is a device that allows parents to block certain television programs that they don’t want their children to watch. This is based off of television program ratings. The V-chip device is still in place today, yet most parents are not aware of how to use it, so it is not really effective.