All posts by nrandall31

Truth Be Told- Moretti’s assumptions in “Graphs, Maps, and Trees”

In the reading from Franco Moretti’s: “Graphs, Maps, and Trees,” Moretti argues that literary history cannot be fully grasped by studying individual books, but that it must be studied by analyzing the system of literature as a whole, using large sets of data such as graphs, maps, and trees. Using such literary data, Moretti makes strong claims about various cultures around the world, including the culture of Japan beginning in the 1700’s (page 9). Moretti attributes the growth and decline of novels in Japan to the politics of that era, specifically because of:

A direct, virulent censorship during the Kansei and Tempo periods, and an indirect influence in the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration, when there was no specific repression of the book trade.”

The growth and decline of the novel in Japan is shown in the graph below, which does indicate a number of shifts in the amount of novels being produced per year, however Moretti’s claim makes many assumptions about the political arena in Japan, which is not supported with any further evidence.

Moretti graph(Page 10)

 Although Moretti’s assumptions about Japanese history are not supported with factual evidence, they are historically significant and accurate. The Kansei and Tempo periods in Japanese history saw harsh censorship and government control, due to military dictatorships, which occurred from 1787-1793, as well as 1830-1844. The Meiji Restoration began in 1868, when the strict government was overthrown. This led to a rise in independence and creativity in Japan. These periods in Japanese history greatly affected the publications of books in Japan, which was accurately predicted by Moretti in his study of big sets of literary data, shown in the graph above. Therefore, Moretti’s assumptions about Japanese politics are very accurate, which further enhance his claim that a nation’s culture can be predicted by studying literary systems.



Encyclopedia Britannica:

Information Technology In Automobiles

Pecha Kucha Reflection

I chose this topic: “Information Technology in Automobiles,” specifically because I am personally interested in the car industry, and I thought that I could find a lot of relevant pictures about this topic. I didn’t want to choose a topic that would be hard to accumulate images, but I also wanted to present something that I’m interested in.  I developed my argument around how big data is changing the way people drive and interact with their vehicles. I think that big data is beginning to create a whole new type of vehicle on the road, which will enhance the driving experience and keep people safer.

Originally, I wasn’t sure on how to begin the process for creating this presentation, because of the tricky timing between narration and slides. I decided to focus on a few main points, and find pictures for those points before I began writing a script. While reflecting, I think this was the best decision, because my images were incorporated well into my presentation, and it also helped me stay on topic with my script. In order to find the images, I tried to assemble pictures that showed examples, such as the driver fatigue system shown below. If that was not possible, I tried to enhance my argument with strong graphs or figures. Basically, for every slide, I not only wanted to incorporate the images in my talk, I wanted to enhance the argument I was making by incorporating these images.

Driver fatigue




One thing I did to help with the 20 second timing, was to set up my script in separate paragraphs so that I know where i need to be when following the pages. This helped me make sure i finish at the right time, and I also wanted to make sure I didn’t spend over 20 seconds on a slide, therefore I can express every image instead of disregarding some. When rehearsing my initial script, I found things to be very fast paced and quick. Therefore, I shortened a lot of lines and paragraphs, so that I would have breathing room for the presentation. This took a lot of patience and timings, which was a lot harder than I had anticipated.



The scheming that went into making this pecha kucha really helped me with my presenting skills, because you have to keep everything precise and strong in 20 seconds or less. This was unlike anything I had ever worked on before, and I learned a lot about presenting because of it. If I had another chance to do a pecha kucha, I believe that I would try to work without a complete script. When I was presenting, I felt like I was staring down way to much and not interacting with the audience. I would set up note cards in order to highlight key terms and sentences, but I would try to communicate more with the audience in order to be more engaging.

The “Gold” of the Information Age


A report by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2012, recognized “Big Data” to be a completely new class of economic assets, much like gold and currency (Lohr). Big data is becoming as valuable as gold to large companies and governments around the world in the “Information Age” of the 21st century. During the California Gold Rush of 1848, thousands of people moved to California from 1848 to 1855 in hopes of finding gold and becoming wealthy. The gold rush sparked the American economy due to the vast amount of laborers and gold being acquired on U.S. soil, which helped fuel the United States through the Second Industrial Revolution. Today we are experiencing the “Rush of Big Data” around the globe. Thousands of businesses, such as Google, Yahoo, and IBM are using large quantities of data in order to create new products and markets for consumers. The “Rush of Big Data’ is fueling the Information Age of the 21st century, and causing major impacts on businesses and economies all over the world.

Continue reading The “Gold” of the Information Age

Speak so People will Want to Listen

         Here is a link to Julian Treasure’s website.

          In this TED Talks presentation, Julian Treasure, an expert on sound and speaking, gives the audience advice on how to improve their public speaking so that other people will want to listen. He begins by saying that the human voice is the most powerful instrument in the world, and the best way to bring about change in the world is to use your voice So, how can we use our voice better to bring about change? Well, Mr. Treasure tells us the things to avoid when speaking with others and the different ways we can improve our own speaking through pitch, prosody, and other resources. In his presentation, he demonstrates this advice first hand, by using the different resources to enhance his own speaking and captivate the audience.

Julian Treasure uses various multimodal elements in his presentation, even though he is focusing on speech, to help communicate with the audience. To analyze the way he uses multimodal elements, we will look at the time frame in the video from 6:20-6:40. At this point, Julian is telling the audience how to use the pace of their voice to add effects and emotion to their speaking.

         Multimodal elements

Time image was taken: 0:51

          He demonstrates this point orally by speeding up and slowing down his voice to add effects to his own presentation. When he speeds up his voice, it adds excitement to his speech, but when he slows down his voice, the words he is speaking are more emphasized. Finally, he demonstrates the impact of silence when speaking, which helps add power to the end of a sentence. By demonstrating these effects with his own voice, he proves the point that the pace of your voice can add different effects to your speaking.

Julian also uses visual evidence to emphasize his point through images and body language. The image below shows the picture used in Julian’s slideshow. This image shows a toolbox, with different elements of sound depicted inside the toolbox. This image is used to enhance his point that each of these elements is a “tool” that you can use to improve your speaking. Even though he goes in to focus on pace at this moment, the image still brings the audience to the idea that we must use these “tools” on our own to enhance our own speaking.

Visual communication Time image was taken: 6:22

          Julian’s body language is also important in the presentation. The image below shows a moment when Julian uses body language to enhance his voice power. Notice his head is leaning over and his hands are directed to a specific point. Just by looking at his body language, you can tell that he is trying to emphasize something. Which is exactly what he was doing in this moment with his voice as well- he was trying to emphasize certain words by slowing down his voice. By adding this body language in with his voice, he adds even more emphasis to those words.

Body language

Time image was taken: 6:26

          By adding all of these multimodal elements together, Julian Treasure’s presentation becomes very smooth and is really engaging for the audience. Not only do the various elements help for a great presentation, but they help to develop a clear and strong argument. The human voice can be used to bring about change, however by adding other elements together, the change can begin to be seen.

There’s More than Meets the Eye

Big Data Inforgraphic

This is a link to the Infographic

        This infographic shows a number of statistics related to the collection and transfer of data on the internet, giving the audience an idea of how massive “The World of Data” really is. This information is presented in such a way that the audience believes the information, instead of questioning the sources of the data. The viewers, including myself, get attached to the point that this infographic is trying to make by honing in on specific facts such as: Google collects 24 Petabytes of data per day, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 2.9 million emails are sent every second, which causes us to trust the information in this random image. However, how can we trust the sources of this information and where do they come from? To find out, we will take a look at the specific piece of data: “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day.” By analyzing the source of information in this image, we can determine the reliability and value of the infographic itself.

Big Data Infographic


The claim that “Google processes 24 petabytes of data per day” must have come from some research or information that Google presented themselves. To find this research, I began by searching the web for “Google’s Data Consumption” (I actually used Bing as a search engine, just in case Google was not willing to freely release this information to the public). I got redirected a couple of times to new websites, but it didn’t take long before I found an article about MapReduce, which is the software Google uses to sort and process their large quantities of data. In this article, a photo was shown comparing the amount of data Google has processed from August 2004 to September 2007. If you look at the numbers for 2007, and add up the amount of input data with the amount of machines used, it does indeed come out to over 20 petabytes.

Google MapReduce Satistics


Here’s the link to the magazine

        This article was published in 2008, in the “Communications of the ACM” magazine. “ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and they deliver resources that advance computing as a science and a profession.” The fact that this source was researched by a reliable Association, reviewed by a publishing company, and published, I believe it establishes itself as highly credible. The original infographic also mentioned MapReduce as one of its sources, therefore I think this Infographic uses reliable information and can be trusted.

ACM’s website is here

Big Data Infographic 2

        This infographic uses the reliable information that “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day,” and puts it in context to make a strong claim about “How Big the World of Data” really is. This is how most infographics are, therefore the source of information is usually irrelevant, because the strong claims and visual evidence allows the audience to believe and consider the claim being made. However, the sources of information really matter, especially when being made in other contexts, such as a lawsuit against Google, or a scientific study about how information is collected online. Therefore, it’s important to understand the reliability and value of a piece of information by knowing the source. There’s a reason you cite all of your sources in a research paper, or any other academic paper for that matter. It’s not just so you can sound smarter, it proves that your work is credible and your facts come from actual data and is not made up. This infographic may have turned out to be reliable, however not all infographics are. Depending on the context the information is being used in, most infographics should not be trusted without a little bit of background research.

The Importance of Googlization

Google is the biggest company that specializes in collecting information, with billions of consumers each year. Using this information, Google creates tools and programs that greatly improve our lives, at least in most people’s perspective. In Siva Vaidhyanathan’s: “The Googlization of Us”, he argues that we should worry more about the information that Google collects from us, because it’s not always what is seems to be. Google takes our private information and can do whatever they please with it, which could cause that information to be exposed dangerously online. In theory, you could stop Google from collecting your information, but that would completely hinder your online experience, which is why Google set it up that way. I agree with Vaidhyanathan, that Google does not necessarily have the right to collect all this private information from people, however just like people adapted to the printing press and the automobile, we will learn to live with this accumulation of information. While we must adapt and accumulate to the “Googlization” of everything, it is becoming more and more important in our lives. In the reading by James Gleick: “The Information”, Gleick gives us a historical representation of the growth and importance of information. However, I believe that he also constantly argues that information is pushing mankind to a new level of thinking and globalization. Gleick states: “We are a half century further along now and can begin to see how vast the scale and how strong the effects of connectedness.” The “information age” that Gleick talks about is allowing humans to connect and grow more rapidly than ever before, and while we are still becoming accustomed to this new age, it will continue to increase and affect our lives every day. “Googliziation” may take away some of our privacy, like Vaidhyanathan argues, however it is also leading the way in the expansion of information, which will push our society to new levels of thinking and innovation.


How your “Digital Life” will Affect your Future

I’ve provided a lot more information online than I think I have. Every picture, every post, every search, and every video you post is recorded to a database and can be accessed. Over time, you create a “digital life log” of yourself, which contains a history of your interactions online. This life log can be harmful if it falls into the wrong hands, however it can also have a positive effect on ones life. The ability to look back on your previous actions can provide an incentive to change and improve your life.

Facebook Timeline

(Facebook‘s Timeline)

An example of a common digital life log is Facebook’s new timeline feature, which allows users to look back to certain dates and see what they’ve posted.  This timeline creates a life log of pictures, status updates, and events that are specific to that user’s life. I have posts on my Facebook that date back to 2008.  I can look back on these posts and see how I was acting or what I was doing on certain days. Just by looking at my Facebook, I can see how much I’ve changed over the past couple of years. By looking back on how dumb I was in middle school, I can see how much I’ve matured since then.

I also enjoy being able to look back on all the great memories I have from high school on Facebook’s timeline. You can relive moments, and interact with friends and family who shared those moments with you. Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Warwick found that Facebook updates are one and a half times more memorable than reading a book, and two and a half times more memorable than faces. This shows that Facebook users remember a lot of their posts and interactions on the timeline, which enhances their memory in the future. So instead of just looking back on updates and moments, Facebook is actually helping me to remember those great moments.

Digital life logs such as Facebook are becoming a reality in our everyday lives. These life logs help individuals gain a better understanding of their lives and even remember the moments they cherish. People should realize how valuable these technologies are in our lives, and use them to interact and grow.



Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling Video Response

Video Response Reflection:

I chose the focus of my video based on what ideas came to my mind when I was reading The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling. There were details of my life and the story that really made me question my relationship with technology, therefore I chose that as the focal point of my video.

The challenges of producing a video rather than just an essay is that you have to think about the way you present yourself, and you actually have to speak to the viewers, instead of just publishing something for them to read. You use more than just written words, you have to use language, images, and sound to connect with the audience.

If I had more time to produce the video, I probably would have had a much more in depth response to the story, and I probably would have found a better place to record, instead of just sitting in my dorm room. There is a ton of ideas you could talk about involving these topics, and I would’ve touched on a lot more than just one minutes worth.