“The future belongs to crowds.”

This is the last sentence of the prologue in Mao II. I found this statement to be very profound, seeing that I had never heard it before. I began thinking about what could Don DeLillo mean? I then researched the statement and it all became clear.

If you think about life in general, definitely in America, what rules the future? Who makes the decisions? People do. In America, we vote for our elected officials. When the people don’t like something, they protest. They form a crowd in order to get their voices heard and that crowd can cause the change. Depending upon the reason for the crowd, that change could result in peace or even war, which ultimately effects the future.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look into history. Gandhi led the Salt March in 1930 against British rule. This crowd was not planned, but people wanted to see a change, so they decided to come together for a cause. This was one of the key factors that led to the Independence Act of 1947, which created the independent dominions of India and Pakistan.

Even in current news, the Ferguson situation with Mike Brown has caused many to gather. There have been peaceful gatherings that resulted in police cooperation, and there have been riots, which resulted in police brutality. Because of these protest, the government is now looking to changes some of its policies. The crowd has caused this change. Think about it, if there were no protest, do you think the government would be looking into changing their policies?

Crowds have always been the ruling factor of the future, but most people have never thought about it.

Mao II describes many crowds, like the massive crowd for the wedding in the prologue, though most crowds in Mao II are smaller. How do you they impacted the future?




Nintendo has surely left a lasting impression on many people. The company who owns Mario, Link, and Pikachu also own a major part of our childhood. As such, many people have sought to collect and archive games from Nintendo consoles. This has caused a demand for old nintendo games and where there is demand, there are forgers. Collectors and Archivers of many different types all have to deal with fake and reproduced items. This makes the job of the collector and the archiver difficult. If these fakes where to make it into the collections of people, they could cause damage. The purpose of a archive or collection is to preserve the items for the future so others can look back on them. Fake items hinder this. A archive cannot be an archive if it contains fakes. Archives are historical records and fakes go against this. Fakes are made with modern tech, can be lower quality than the original, and have alterations from the originals. Fake Pokemon cartridges, for example, become dysfunctional after a certain part in the game. These fake cartridges are useless as records of past games since they become useless past a certain point. Archivists are trained to spot fakes, reproductions, and knock-offs to preserve the integrity of archives. Similarly, collectors train themselves to spot fakes to preserve the legitimacy of their collections. As stated in the links, common ways to spot fake games include the label and the board the save is on. Also, they way the cartridge is put together. Ways to spot fake books not only include the materials used in the book, but also how the book has aged. If people want something, there will be someone making fakes of it. Archivists must train themselves to spot these to ensure fakes do not become a part of history.

The novel starts off with mainly a caretaker, Scott, of a famous author approached by a photographer. The photographer, Brita, has started or has been on a quest to collect pictures of virtually all authors. She does this to put a face to the author’s work in hope to correlate the face to the literature. She is particularly interested in Bill’s work so she approaches Scott. Scott agrees to let Brita take a picture of Bill, who hasn’t taken a picture in a very long time. When Brita goes to Scott or Bill’s place, she finds an archive of information about Bill. When picture day comes, Brita and Bill have a very long conversation. This is where I have plenty of questions.

At some point, Bill’s absence is compared to God’s reluctance to appear. So does appearance really matter? Is a picture of the author a vital part of reading or understanding the book?

Why do you think that Bill is so calm taking picture with Brita? Why does he seem to be so talkative/outgoing but there is very little known about him? Could it be because he hasn’t interacted with people in a very long time other than Scott?

Also Brita talks about the dangers of traveling, how airports are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. This ignites Bill for some reason. Bill starts to compare author and terrorist to one another. In what ways are terrorist and authors common?

In the book, Bill says both terrorist and authors influence the audience.

Random questions, can Scott be referred to as an archivist? Do you think that Bill will show the work he is been editing for almost two years now?



After hearing a myriad of chatter and posts on the popular college student app of gossip, Yik Yak, about Josh Hutcherson’s appearance on campus at the CRC last night, I was then bombarded by numerous Facebook updates, some claiming to have seen him, others complaining about missing him, and the dedicated bunch that hassled him for photos — complete with photographic evidence. What scared me even more were the posts about how they could just go find his brother on campus instead if they missed this chance. It made me really think about how little of a personal life that a celebrity has and above all, how terrifying the crowd/mob mentality can be.

Reading about crowds made me wonder about what — if any — positive sides there are to the mob mentality. Sure, it creates a more cooperative atmosphere, but on the flip side: some may be afraid to speak out for that very cause. It’s similar to when everyone in a group chooses one option, and you’re the last factor. It’s an all or nothing, but ultimately is up to the individual and whether s/he is swayed in the group’s favor. “Come on, just say yes, and it’ll be unanimous. We can go grab some lunch finally,” are the kind of impatient words that I would expect to hear or see expressed from the crowd if I were put in such a situation.

Some may argue that it promotes working together, similar to in group activities, but when does a group turn into a crowd… and when do things start to go wrong? The crowd mentality works similarly to peer pressure, and I believe that society is similar to a crowd. We have a set amount of rules, but there are a few unspoken traits that society frowns upon regardless. If you have pink hair and try to apply for that job, society will frown, and the job might go to somebody with a “normal” hair color. Bill Gray chooses to avoid this altogether by becoming well secluded, guarding himself from what might go wrong when he ventures past his safe zone. I used to think that celebrities ultimately should be more careful when the paparazzi caught a photo of them, but at the same time, people end up idolizing; some obsess, pining false traits from characters or delusions onto a celebrity and getting upset when these traits aren’t true. This is when it gets dangerous for both sides.

When exactly is this crowd mentality to be considered a good omen as opposed to a curse?

Article Here: http://boingboing.net/2014/09/13/radical-librarianship-how-nin.html

The library has been a place of freedom for individuals. They’re able to research ideas that they’re interested in without risk of being judged or questioned for the material they choose to research. With recent issues of internet security and the knowledge that the government can now see the information we are looking at in our free time, this idea of the library being a place of freedom for research is put at risk.

However, unlike our privacy on our own computers where we are associated with a particular IP address or email address, libraries have an the advantage of giving users a chance to opt out of surveillance. Alison Macrina, an IT librarian at the Watertown Free Public Library and co-author of the article, hosts workshops in the northeast about online privacy. It is noted that “librarians know that patrons visit libraries for all kinds of online research needs, and therefore have a unique responsibility in helping keep that information safe.” The motivation for these initiatives came from a zine that Alison produced giving a basic introduction to basic privacy and security tools.

We have tons of companies today that routinely store the information that we access on the internet. The main topic of conversation with internet privacy really comes from larger companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook storing and selling our information to advertisement companies or to the government if they request it. We would think that in the privacy of our own home that our privacy would be the most protected and that in a public library, on a public computer we’d be at the largest risk. However, libraries are know for refusing the requests of local law enforcement when they solicit details on user browsing data.

This past week, we’ve been discussing Agrippa. With Agrippa, it’s about possessing something for only an instant and then it disappearing. When on the internet, we think that our information is there for an instant and that we’re protected from these larger companies that want to store our information for more than a moment. 10 years ago, the internet was a place of total freedom, while not as advanced, there wasn’t too much concern or talk of companies selling personal data. But today, with other concerns of net neutrality and data selling, it’ll be interesting to see where we’ll end up 10 years from now.



The idea of the writer and terrorist not being far apart has been around for ages now. I like the old school writing best; though it obviously does not discuss Mao II, the idea of the writer being the same as the terrorist is expanded upon, in a time where writing such as that was often frowned on. Novelists weren’t fully accepted and appreciated until a lot later. Even so, sometimes we find ourselves hating an author for what they brought into the world.

The idea of novelists being like terrorists brought to my mind a book I wish I had never read. It was more horrific to me than anything I’ve touched by Stephen King. I thought I was going crazy while I read it and put myself in the main character’s shoes… I was glad, relieved, nay, ecstatic, when the book finally ended on the worst note of all. And I laughed. Because it was over. Read Chicago Loop, by Paul Theroux at your own risk. You have been warned:


16. September 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: 1.2

I thought Bill Gray’s decision to become a recluse seemed like more work than it is worth. However after Josh Hutcherson’s visit to campus last night, I think I have a better understanding of why someone famous might choose to stay indoors.

After winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 debut novel, 'To Kill A Mockingbird’, Harper Lee talked excitedly of her plans to carry on writing and become the Jane Austen of south Alabama. Yet she was never published again for reasons unknown.

Bill Gray’s explanation of his reclusive lifestyle reminded me of Harper Lee’s story. Although, as “Why Harper Lee has remained silent all these years” explains, her reclusion is not to the extreme of Bill Gray’s. This article gives more insight into Lee’s life, saying that “her neighbours in Monroeville, Alabama, wouldn’t agree that she is a recluse… Politely refusing to talk to journalists since 1964 is not the same thing as withdrawing from society.” However, Bill describes his choices as much more drastic. “Once you choose this life, you understand what it’s like to exist in a state of constant religious observance. There are no halfway measures… Everything we do that isn’t directly centered on work revolves around concealment, seclusion, ways of evasion.” And maybe the extremity of his measures is exactly why he finds himself so unhappy, saying, “I’ve paid a terrible price for this wretched hiding. And I’m sick of it finally” (44).

Another contrast between the two recluses is that Gray continues to write, whereas it is unknown whether Lee ever wrote anything else after To Kill a Mockingbird. Gray seems to find his only comfort in writing. It is the only thing he can do after cutting himself off from society. It seems that neither of the authors think he or she can have both writing and companionship. Gray chooses to write.

Agrippa is a poem written by William Gibson. The main topic that Agrippa tries to focus on is memories, and how we perceive/interpret them. To do this, Gibson begins this poem by showing us, the readers, a photo album that he has unveiled. He navigates us through this photo album by describing perhaps the only textual component of any picture, it’s captions.

One thing I found very interesting about this poem, even in its first couple of paragraphs, is how powerful having a description is for a photo. Just by knowing the date it was taken, the picture’s meaning changes drastically. Gibson mentions a picture taken in 1917. For me, 1917 triggers memories of photographed black and white images of World War 1. Soldiers posing in their uniforms. Tanks rolling down the feeling. Already, this picture, which also contains some sort of memorable moment, is adding bits and pieces of memories that aren’t even related to it. How I interpret this picture, compared to someone else, changes completely, just from the word 1917.

As the poem continues, Gibson begins to shift focus multiple times. At a point, he arrives at a very unique comparison, a camera and a gun. When we discussed this in class, I was very interested to hear how people interpreted this comparison. A gun, in my opinion, represents the end, a stop in time. Just like how a camera is used to forever hold the time of whatever it takes, a gun, once shot, will forever stop that time. Of course, the difference between shooting a camera and shooting a gun is tremendously different, but the core functionality is the same. What I found interesting about the comparison, however, is that although a gun and camera are doing the “same” thing; they both preserve, although a camera preserves willingly while a gun steals. After thinking about this for a while, I realized this to be such a rich comparison. A gun preserves the “thoughts” of those that it has killed. For example, in this article, http://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/artifact-gun-shot-lincoln, this gun is associated only with the killing of Abraham Lincoln. His final moments, the actions he was doing at Ford Theater, the shooter; all of these different feelings were preserved with this gun. It may not have been by choice, but the gun preserved a part of history, just as a camera preserves a part of history.

While reading the side reading for Agrippa, “Text Messaging: the Transformissions of Agrippa,” my eyes were especially drawn to a particular quote. “And the longer it stays [online], the more for some reason, it decays” really drew my attention because my first response to this quote was the opposite of what I think Gibson intended. While he believes that online content becomes altered and/or corrupted over time, I disagree. When I upload something online, I do it because it makes me feel a sense of security knowing that it will be accessible at any time- whether it be a few minuted from now, or several years. Does this mean Gibson’s idea of preservation and archiving is wrong? I believe that instead of saying that he is wrong, his answer may be slightly outdated. With our ever-advancing technology, I believe the web is becoming better at storing information and maintaining it for periods of time. This does not mean, however, that I disagree with the rest of his ideas. I agree with him in the sense that not everything can be preserved forever, and there is great value in what we currently have. I also admire his effort to create a work that could not be easily replicated in order to emphasize the importance of seeing the beauty of things the first time we see them.

As a computer science major, I find that “archiving” my source code is a very effective way to:

1) Preserve legacy software for future reference

2) Have a centralized location to display my work

3) Have a place to reference code that I’ve already produced

One of the tools that the programming community often refers to when dealing with code visibility and preservation is “open-sourcing” them in an online repository. The particular repository that I want to highlight on this post is called github. While it is true that the original purpose of most online opensource repositories is to allow programmers to add a version control system to their code base, there is a population of programmers that are using it as a medium to achieve the three goals listed above. As software gets updated everyday, we are also seeing a more and more repositories that preserve the older, depleted versions of the software. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you might even run across a discontinued software package resting in someone’s repository.

While using a github repository to archive code and old school work might not sound like a effective use of all the features that are available, it does have its chivalrous moments when your (old) source code is being viewed and referenced. Much like an archive of library where scholars will plow through for empirical answers to problems, github (and other repositories) provide a space for software engineers to dive into a collection of legacy materials to come up with better solutions for the future.