Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Class Notes, 3/30/11

tangerines's picture

Class Notes for March 30, 2011

Panel 1:

vgaffney: psychiatrists: This is a relatively new field – it fills an intermediary position between natural and social sciences. There are many interactions of this course related to this group, such as psychiatric medication and the “feminization” of the field. There was an increase in women in the field from 20% to 80%.

cara: workers in Guiyu in China: These people used to be farmers, but now the town is devoted to disassembling various electronical “e-waste” such as laptops, cell phones, etc. All this waste comes from developed countries, and the people in this town make very little money to process the e-waste. It can be a very hazardous job because e-waste can be toxic, and the methods used to retrieve gold or other precious metals often involve burning or melting which causes toxic fumes.

Spreston: facebook users: Young adults use this technology to create their own identities and to change their methods of interaction. “facebook depression” is a new issue noticed by mental health professionals. Now, our identities are being shaped by facebook.

MSA322: Arab musicians and music in Arab revolutions: Music has been used by young people in these revolutions to reach a wider audience and spread their messages and inform the world. Many singers are male, but when women sing it's regarded as more moving and affects the way the music/message is received.

Hilary B: midwives in the U.S.: Midwives in this country are a mixture of science and spirituality. Entanglements with political and social stigmas... these people see labor/childbirth as celebratory rites of passage, not just painful experiences.

Kelliot: cyberpunks: High tech, low life... group of sci-fi writers who write the “opposite of utopic” stories. Combination of cybernetics and the punk lifestyle. Engage thought between science and humanities. In general the stories either break down barriers or reinforce gender stereotypes. There's also an emphasis on computers and utilizing technology.

Jlebouvier: Wampanoag nation: representing this group at a specific period in time when they met pilgrims but had had earlier contact with English and French settlers already. They had a matrilineal system of land inheritance which was fascinating to the pilgrims, and the Wampanoags and the pilgrims shared technologies of agriculture.

Jyoo: redditors: These are users of, which is a social news site. Users can post about anything, comment on other posts, and can up- or down-vote any posts. Opinions and reception of information.

Ayabala: For US midwives and psychiatrists, science and women are both involved... do you think these fields are reinforcing gender stereotypes?

Vgaffney: There's been some question of this, but there's really no difference as studies have shown.

Hilary B: That's interesting because there's nothing that requires a midwife to be a woman... but they've historically always been women. There was a resurgence in midwives in the '70s with the movement of women's empowerment.

Anne: Her oldest daughter is giving birth in June and plans to eat her placenta in a smoothie. Her other daughter is training to be a midwife now, and her daughter in law is going to be a psychiatrist, which is the lowest-regarded of medical professions.

Kgould: For facebook users, wampanoags, and the Arab musicians, how has worldwide communication affected identity?

Jlebouvier: The Europeans brought disease to the Wampanoags and 90% of their population died. Also in connection with the European influence, the matrilineal system started to break down.

Liz: Could you clarify what you mean by “matrilineal system”?

Jlebouvier: Unlike a patriarchal system, where sons inherit land from fathers, in a matrilineal tradition, the woman is the head of the family and owns the land. Her daughters inherit all of that. That broke down once Europeans came over and … ruined it.

MSA322: I haven't really kept up with the news from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, but one of my friends is very interested in this. She posted a lot of videos on facebook, so I knew what was going on. The music videos on my friend's pages let me know how they felt about it. They can be activists using facebook and the internet.

Spreston: Facebook can make you aware of the news, but it isn't really designed to help you meet new people, so it may actually prevents wider communication.

Aybala: immigrants will jump in here... when people first came to the US, it was very hard to stay in touch so you just assimilated to US culture. Now thanks to technology, you don't have to assimilate as much because you can stay in touch with family and friend back home.

Liz- For the redditors: is there a lot of independent news sharing? What kind of news do people share on this site?

Jyoo: Most of reddit is reposted articles from other sites. Often news sites are represented... but a lot of the news is not very serious.

Merlin: Are there any drawbacks to people being able to go online and post whatever they want to?

jyoo- Yeah, there are trolls out there. Also reddit is very liberal and there's not much on there that's conservative.

Ekthorp: For China... using popular websites is part of the reason we create so much electronic waste, so how do you feel about these sites?

Cara: Because the technology is advancing so fast we generate a lot more waste. but I don't think that limiting the information we use is the way to limit waste. Making our technology more easily recyclable would be a better solution.

Kgould: There are so many political and cultural issues involved with technology... How would a cyberpunk author interpret what's happening in Guiyu and vice versa?

Kelliot: Not very knowledgeable about this .. but as far as I know they use the literature to get readers to act and say there's no distinction between man and machine.

Panel 2

fawei: scientists of human genome project: it was a 13-year-long project that wanted to identify every single human gene in the humane genome. It was completed in 2003, and there's still a big problem with how the info is used. Gene info can be used many ways, like helping medicine and predicting diseases, agricultural modification. People want to patent genes and there are ethical problems that come along with that. Biological determinism is important too.

Anne: We also know less than we thought we would when the project was over

kgould: female gamers: Most gamers are male, but that is changing quickly. 40% of gaming population is female in 2010, majority of online gamers are women. Women play more frequently but men play for longer time in one sitting. Most women prefer playing solo. There are also more female extreme gamers, which are gamers who play more than 40 hours a week. Women also make up half the market for games.

Oak: female science fiction writers: they're becoming more prevalent, as the genre itself has become broader.

Ekthorp: nerdfighters: it's the title given to people who follow the vlogbrothers, a youtube channel started by two brothers who live far apart but keep in touch via weekly video blogs. They're the 97th most followed youtube channel and are considered “youtube famous”. they sometimes post informational videos where they answer followers' questions. 2/3 of subscribers are women, they discuss this a lot. They also work with their subscribers to raise money for charity.

Merlin: first tool users: using tools is a form of technology, and indicates intelligence in various species. A greater demand for use of technology required bigger brains.

Anne: Are tools male specific?

Merlin: According to one theory, yes.

Smile: young people in Arab revolutions: Many of these groups organized online first, before going into the streets and participating in the revolution.

Riki: neurotypical syndrome: those with the syndrome suffer delusions of superiority and an obsession with conformity. 96% of people have it, so probably most of you in the room. Term created by the autistic community. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, that implies that everyone would fall on the spectrum in some way, so they reject a distinction between autistics and neurotypicals.

Marina: deaf community: two types, one group has severe hearing loss; they don't use sign language but enhance hearing using technological means. There's also the culturally deaf, who see it not as a disorder but as a different way of experiencing the world. IMs, texting and email have become important as ways of communicating with others easily. Social networking have helped to create an online deaf community. Technology and information are closing the gap between those with hearing and those who are deaf, since we can access all the same information online.

tiffany e: surgeons: surgeons often use the da vinci robotics system, which uses a 3D computer screen and surgical tools manipulated by the doctor to perform surgeries. The system turns surgeons into cyborgs. human sensitivities have been altered by the computer. complaints of a less sensitive sense of touch on the system, so it uses haptic feedback to help this problem.

Leamirella: For female gamers, nerdfighters, arab revolutionaries, and facebook: There's a sense of "unreality" with online communities. what makes a virtual group not real?

Smile: If they're online, they don't know each other or take any actions they just talk about ideas.

Leamirella: I'd like to break down that distinction between the virtual and the real.

Smile: Iis there a gender difference in the deaf community or among doctors using technology?

Tiffany: The tools and training level the playing field for surgeons of each gender.

Tangerines: For the female gamers and the nerdfighters: I see a connection of active participants in these communities being female while the stars are male. why do you think these men have such a large female fan base?

Ekthorp: The Green brothers talk about why they think they have so many more female viewers, and their theory is that among the age groups they appeal to, the girls are more mature and so are more interested in their videos.

Anne: Did you hear about this, oak? There was science fiction writer, Alice Sheldon, who pretended to be male and wrote under a pen name. She lost a lot of recognition when she admitted to being a woman.

Kgould: Female gamers are just less likely to join communities, because they prefer more solo gaming, so becoming a “famous/celeb gamer” is less likely to happen

Liz: For Riki, representing neruotypicals... How do they feel about the human genome project? fawei, was one of the motivations in doing the project to gain insight into spectrum disorders like these?

Riki: The ideal human that they mapped was impossible.

Fawei: I don't know about the motivations of the project but I think neurotypicality would be interesting for us to study.




Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.