All posts by CharlieG

Early Ancestors of Big Data

Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel discuss the matter of the evolution of language and came to the conclusion that something similar to natural selection might be affecting modern forms of communication. They use the example of how in  English, the “-ed” past-tense ending of Proto-Germanic  replaced the Proto-Indo-European form of indicating tenses by vowel changes. The only words unaffected by this change were irregular verbs. To test their theory  Aiden and  Michel came up with an idea they dubbed culturomics, meaning the use of large amounts of digital information  and big data to track changes in language and culture.

In Aiden and Michel’s book, Uncharted, they make the claim that language is the primary method for communicating culture around the globe. Since it has written form they state that it is a convenient data set for scientific analysis. Language is the basis for communication but not the only method to communicate the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.The author’s seem to make the assumption that language is the primary form of sharing culture. What I question is whether there is a way to test their theory on other forms of expression to see if a form of Darwinian evolution affects not only our genes, but our culture as well.

YouTube: Trends and Statistics Reflection



I chose this image because it is a physical and visual representation of the idea I talking about during this side. It shows the ways playbook-programming-call-to-actions-details1

YouTube users can act on videos they have seen and promote their favorite ones. With narration I can talk about how people interact with the website the picture shows the audience what kind of interaction there is. Likes and Shares are a big part of how videos spread out on the YouTube website and become extremely popular and successful.


This next image helps display inter-connectivity final slide of my presentation and I wanted to use it to give a visual representation f a network and how people connect with each other. YouTube links people with common interests together and create a global culture that the image helps show along with the narration.

I enjoyed making this presentation because of the liberty we were given when choosing topics. For most school projects teachers limit students to presenting topics and ideas that they are not interested in and this takes away from some of the presentation. However, for this project I was able to choose a topic that highly interests me and is something that I can relate to. I chose to focus on YouTube because it is a website I use every day and I am extremely fascinated with YouTube culture, specifically film making and gaming. My argument developed around the fact that I wanted to show people how this website that I use is a great medium for connectivity and sharing ideas. The images came from the script. I pictured myself having a conversation with someone on how YouTube was such a great website and chose images based on what I was saying. For me it was important for none of the images to be ambiguous and that each should relate directly with what I was saying.

While preparing for my presentation I mostly just read my talking point out loud and made sure that I had enough words to fill each 20 second period. Instead of just having one long script and hoping that the words would line themselves up with the images I chose to divide them up into small section of about equal length so that each slide had its own unique narration. I didn’t practice with an audience but while reading the presentation to myself out loud I made small changes to the script and even changed some of the pictures when I thought the meaning wouldn’t be evident from my script.


The Power of Creativity in Children


8:43 – 9:03

In this Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson discusses how primary education is eliminating the creative capabilities of children.  He gives several examples of how children are more likely to take risks and are not afraid to be wrong but they are essentially educated out of their creative tendencies because of how school’s are structured. He states that there is a very narrow spectrum for opportunity and success and that few children are capable of being successful in such a system.


In this talk Robinson only uses oral and nonverbal communication to express his ideas. His presentation seems to not require any visuals because he discusses abstract ideas. His examples are short stories that come from him personally so any visual representation would most likely distract from what he is saying. Robinson speaks effectively throughout the presentation. His speech is clear and at the right pace. He pauses whenever the audience applauds or laughs at one of his jokes. This combined with subtle hand gestures makes his  presentation constantly interesting. Although for most of the lecture his hands are by his sides sometimes he move them around to emphasize a point.

Robinson uses a lot of humor in this lecture to express himself. His hand gestures help emphasize his jokes and certain parts of his stories which he uses as evidence for his argument. While the humor makes his monologue a bit unprofessional it feels appropriate for the kind of lecture he gives. Whenever he brings the speech back to his main point he always adopts a serious tone which is similar to that of a university professor teaching a class.

Experiential Option: “The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling”

I started using Facebook when I was in 6th grade. It was mainly due to peer pressure. A lot of my friends where getting profiles and it seemed like the social thing to do was to make one and chat with people online after school. I was careful to make sure that I never accepted a friend request from someone I didn’t know and never posted any information such as my cell phone number or address.  However, there may be some posts or comments that I made when I was young and immature that were regrettable. Any information shared online is in most ways permanent. Even if it is removed the information from the site, it could still be in the servers or someone could have copied it.

The permanence of the internet and digital data means we rely less on our memory now more than ever. While Ted Chiang’s story goes to extremes with the concept of life logs and Remem, his ideas aren’t entirely off base. Storing contacts on social media accounts means people don’t have to spend precious brain power remembering them, but it also means that everyone else has access to them to, as there is nothing online that is completely secure. It could also mean that our memory function are diminished since we no longer have to strain them to remember so much information. I don’ remember the names of all my friends I had ten years ago or some of the things I did, but Facebook let’s me see what I did 8 years ago when I started using it. What needs to be understood as these can never replace  memory because they don’t come from personal perspective.


TFTF Video Response


I chose to focus on the academic aspect as my response to the story because of how I notice myself being affected by technology in my work. If I let the technology do most of the work for me wen writing notes for a history class or completing a math assignment or even writing an email I notice that whatever skill I had in completing those tasks on my own begins to diminish. Spell check is a wonderful tool but if I have realized that if I just let the program fix my grammar and spelling mistakes than I lose the ability to catch those mistakes on my own. If I had more time with this video I would probably talk about different areas where technology has affected how I do certain things. For me producing a video was less challenging than producing an essay. An essay for one, is longer, more thought out, and less personal than a video. Visual communication creates a better connection between the author and his or her audience.