Weak social networks when you have to grow up early.

What stands out regarding those who have not adopted social media use in Social Media Divide is that they all have experienced some degree of social instability. The anticipation that demographic characteristics that make up the digital divide, such as socioeconomic disadvantages, would make up the same kind of people who were non-adopters of social media. The results instead showed that social isolation in the offline/physical world correlated with not using social media.  These people have been separated from the ability to hold normal social lives by circumstances that prevent stability and control in their lives. There are those who are either unintentionally dependent on relatives or were unprepared to have people dependent on them.  A third factor that can occur separately or compound the previous factors is that of job instability, where they are constantly seeking or striving to keep a job with no real connection to any continuing career.  These stress factors make so that their schedules are unreliable and thus unable to make the time for meeting up with old friends or making lasting new friendships.

As has been described in this and past readings, social media use is often supplemental to physical world interactions. Be it continuations of  regular social contacts or facilitation a long distance relationship of some form, the use of social media helps maintain and grow one’s social capital.  Those who have become isolated in the physical world do not have much social capital to start with and do not see the value in investing it a manner that can be seen as ephemeral. Much like the stock market, you feel like you need to have the capital to risk before investing it. Additionally, their current social situations leave them with obligations to dependents or their, typically low paying, jobs or simple it out the means to reach out.

Often these non-adopters also ended up having to leave their educations behind for one reason or another.  High school and college years are when most people make those social connections and learn how to use the latest technologies.  Without the ability to tap into these resources the non-adapters end up in a self-reinforcing cycle were the lack of use of socialization methods decrease their ability to access them in the first place. At least on an emotional level, which where socialization as the most effect.

Having worked retail for the majority of 20’s I can tell that I have seen this many times.  Those who had settled in to make a career out of retail would often use social media to keep in contact with their family, friends, and coworkers.  Some would have those dependent on them as described in the article but since they had settled in with their job they had at a sense of security about them that allowed them to open up to others.  Those in lower positions who didn’t have social support structures in place followed the model present here pretty closely.

Medium Assessment Draft

When you view a web page on your browser you typically see multiple visual elements vying for your attention. If you are visiting that web page with a purpose you are probably looking for the search box or the appropriate menu option. The menu is also a good place to start if you are simply browsing without indicative goal. There are featured articles or items displayed on the homepage to attract to the latest happenings or deals. Once you click on those there are links to related pages to encourage you to journey further into their domain. There are advertisements all around the page, either the host own or a third party’s, tempting you to try the latest thing. All of this is bombarding you like Times Square in a flat little box. It is important that all these visual elements are organized in manner that doesn’t deter the user from visiting the website again. Too many or too few visual elements will cause the viewer to disengage.

The right amount of complexity in a web page will engage the viewer while not overloading them with too much information. Deborah E. Rosen & Elizabeth Purinton talk about complexity in their study, “Web design: viewing the web as a cognitive landscape.” They used it as one of their measures for determine the cognitive comprehension the viewer has of a website. They state that “complexity implies the website design contains a variety of images that satisfy the desire to explore.” (Rosen & Purinton, 2004, pg 791) In other words, if the page lacks complexity it may hold interest for a bit but there will be no reason the viewer to return and explore further. Alternatively, if the page is overly complex it can confuse visitors and end up discouraging any one from going beyond the home page. A feature such as an interactive menu can maintain the interest level of the viewer. The website “Talent. Limitless with encouragement.” uses this to some effect by having the menu options change their color and highlighting the surrounding area. However, even the right amount of complexity can lead people away if a link or advertisement takes the viewer to another site.

A multitude of links to other pages and sites can cause the viewer to steer the viewer away from the current web page. The majority of online news articles have hypertext links in them to connect the viewer to the article’s sources or a page that provides clarity on a concept presented as a reference. Also, an advertisement could successfully entice the viewer into purchasing the shown product and take the viewer from the original page. Nicholas Carr laments in his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” that the Web bombards us with information and lessens our attention span. He states the typical viewer would read no more than one or two pages before moving on to another website. (Carr, 2008 pg. 102) He goes on to mention that there isn’t any proof that the viewers return to these pages but Rosen & Purinton would dispute that notion.

Interactivity with a sense of flow provides the viewer with a rewarding experience. In their research Rosen & Purinton found that there was a fairly strong correlation between the score a website scored on their scale (which measured coherence, complexity, and legibility) and likelihood of revisit by the viewer. (Rosen & Purinton, 2004, pg 792) There was a fourth factor, mystery, that they tried to measure for but found no good connection. Mystery, along with the other three factors were measurements used in another study of real world landscapes that Rosen & Purinton modeled this study on. What they discovered while debriefing their students was that instead of mystery, the flow of the page would provide a better measurement for the digital landscape. Their students praised the highest ranking website for “rewarding” them “by responding to mouse movements on the page with changing graphics.” (Rosen & Purinton, 2004, pg 793) It was the site actions in response to the viewers action that excited and engaged the desire to explore further. The placement and capabilities of the elements that interact with and engage the viewer in the website’s experience takes lots of careful consideration by designers and developers.

What is considered the right amount of visual elements varies from viewer to viewer and by the time it is from. The tools that are used to design and develop a web page change almost as quickly as the hardware that runs them. These tools are things from the HTML coding that make up the actual web page to the picture file format to how they load onto the screen with CSS or java. There is also the programs that assist in these functions such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop. In a recent episode of Spoolcast, podcast for the User Interface Engineering website, Jason Grigsby (2015) says that it takes developers time to get used their new tools and to learn how to decide when that use is appropriate. Those decisions often regard how the many visual elements with interact with a particular web browser and determining the best way to scale for the variety of screen sizes that are in use. That the manner in which these elements are produced is constantly changing it can become problematic for the average viewer to adapt to the different interfaces. Also, the majority of these elements have their origins in other media that were designed for the physical world and can end up intruding on one another as they interact.

The variety of media displayed on a web page can become intrusive. Visual elements can be static like pictures or text, passively animate like drop menus, or actively animate like an auto-play video or animated advertisements. The World Wide Web also has its elements that it injects [into the absorbed] medium’s content such as hypertext links inside a news article, blinking ads that can be anywhere on the page, and other “digital gewgaws” designed to distract. (Carr, 2008, pg 104) The connectivity provided by the Web allows for multiple media to interact with each other in way that can be seen as intrusive when attempting to use a particular medium. The website “Talent. Limitless with encouragement.” avoids this by keeping each page formatted the same and a menu that highlights which page the viewer is currently interacting with. Since intrusive elements are something that can become overwhelming if they are not organized in an efficient manner some developers avoid what can seem to be unnecessary complexity when designing a web page.

The need for a web page to be both entertaining and informative will elicit the interaction desired by both the viewer and the designer. Concerns about making something overly complex is breed resistance in developers as new specifications and standards are developed to make use of ever improving hardware. While there are tools to help with this process those tools can be incomplete or even inefficient if they were made for the older standards. However, Grisby feels “like it’s no different than the complexity we had in the early days and that we just eventually learned it well enough and our tools got better.” (2015) It is up to the designers and the developers to understand the limits and capabilities of new elements that are developed so that as their tools become more efficient so they utilize these elements properly. Through understand of how the elements function and how best to use the tools available to them, designers and developers can produce websites that engage, inform, and entertain without unnecessary cluttering of each web page.

It is key that the complexity and number of the visual elements in a web page be both engaging and approachable. If there is too little or too few of either than the viewer will become disinterested and unlikely to return. If there is too much of either than the viewer will become over whelmed and be unable to understand the information the web page is trying to relay. Easier and more engaging a website is, the more likely a viewer is to return to it. When that balance is in place it will encourage viewers to take their time and absorb the information be presented the them the same way that the Web has brought multiple forms of media into itself. As both viewers and developers learn and grow in how they interact with the Web then perhaps the constant movement on the Web will seems a fluid as the individual websites themselves. By increasing the knowledge of how the various elements function with each other all users of the World Wide Web can be fully engaged in this digital addition to our reality.

Bibliography

Elves K. (2015, April). Talent. Retrieved from http://obandoa.wix.com/univ111

Carr N. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid?. In Focused Inquiry: Evolving Ideas (pp. 101-107). Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing

Rosen, D.E. & Purinton E. (2004) Website design: Viewing the web as a cognitive landscape. Journal of Business Research, 57, 787-794. doi: 10.1016/S0148-2963(02)00353-3

User Interface Engineering (Producer). (2015, January). Jason Grigsby – Real World Responsive Web Design. [Audio Podcast]. SpoolCast. Retrieved from https://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2015/02/02/jason-grigsby-real-world-responsive-web-design/

Concept 8

The key features of a website are its visual engagement and the way the user navigates it. The primary problems that can occur with these features is that the information being displayed can become too plentiful and overload the user or be lacking in some manner so that the user doesn’t stay interested.

Bibliography

Elves K. (2015, April). Talent. Limitless with encouragement. Retrieved from http://obandoa.wix.com/univ111

Carr N. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid?. In Focused Inquiry: Evolving Ideas (pp. 101-107). Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing

Rosen, D.E. & Purinton E. (2004) Website design: Viewing the web as a cognitive landscape. Journal of Business Research, 57, 787-794. doi: 10.1016/S0148-2963(02)00353-3

User Interface Engineering (Producer). (2015, January). Jason Grigsby – Real World Responsive Web Design. [Audio Podcast]. SpoolCast. Retrieved from https://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2015/02/02/jason-grigsby-real-world-responsive-web-design/

 

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Summary:

In Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” he argues that the Internet is causing us to become a more distracted and less intellectually engaged people. Carr states that not only does his own concentration drift more easily than it once did but also that media has changed itself to suit the fact that many people move on to the next topic after reading for a little while.

The World Wide Web is a system that allows for immediacy in our pursuit for information and content. Carr tells us how the brain is malleable, even in adulthood, and how technological advancement has helped shaped the way our mind works. The clock organized our days in to mechanical segments and the Internet bombards us with information that spreads our attention. While the Internet is absorbing and replacing other forms of media it may also be the “better” of accessing them. Carr states that his concerns maybe like so many others when new technologies came about in the past only to have their benefits outweigh the concerns, even valid ones, of their detractors. He goes one to tell us how this time we are filling up our “quiet spaces” and that with that we may not long be able to us our intelligence in a deep and meaningful sense as we only rely on artificial intelligence.

Quotes:

“They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site.”

Visitors to a website reportedly will read only a small portion of the total content that is available to them. After reading a couple of pieces of information they will either click a link that goes to another website or close out altogether.

One reason many visitors to a website leave it so quickly comes from either too little or too many visuals. This could be a bland presentation or intrusive graphics that distract or disrupt taking in the key information being displayed. Also, the navigation experience can be lacking or overly convoluted. A menu that changes with each page or a site map that looks more like a mess of wires than a flowchart will greatly detract from the user experience.

 

“It injects [an absorbed] medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws…”

The connectivity provided by the web allows for multiple media to interact with each other that can be seen as intrusive when attempting to use a particular medium.

Here the visual component is obvious, that is the icons, pictures, and text we see when encountering media via the web. This is something that can become overwhelming if it is not organized in an efficient manner. The issue of navigation is bigger here. When a user is alerted to a message that the recently received it can take them out of the experience they are current in.

 

Web design: Viewing the web as a cognitive landscape.

Summary:

The goal of the study “Website Design: Viewing the web as a cognitive landscape” by Deborah E. Rosen and Elizabeth Purinton was to develop a scale to measure effective web design and to gain insight into its characteristics. They state that their work is based on the Preference Framework of Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, which is research on patterns in physical environments and the end user’s experience. Rosen and Purinton start off using the same four measures that Kaplan and Kaplan developed, coherence, complexity, legibility, and mystery, but find out that mystery seems to be a good measure for the digital environment. They argue that perhaps mystery in a website could be a negative as their subjects said “they did not like sites which made them… search extensively.” They conclude that web design should express simplicity while also engaging the user with dynamic environments.

 

Quotes:

“Complexity implies the website design contains a variety of images that satisfy the desire to explore the environment.”

Complexity is one of the measurements the authors’ use for their study on web design. When used to enhance comprehension it can bring a higher frequency of use by visitors. It is the variety of elements that encourages visitors to explore the site.

This is the best example of the tipping point that is the balancing act of visual engagement and the method of navigation. If your site lacks complexity it may hold interest for a bit but there will be no reason for people to return. If it overly complex it can confuse visitors and end up discouraging any one from going beyond the home page.

 

“In the debriefing, subjects praised Banana Republic’s homepage for “rewarding” the web surfer by responding to mouse movements on the page with changing graphics.”

This was stated as part of the author’s explanations of why their fourth measurement, Mystery, didn’t seem to apply to the web the same it applied to physical world landscapes. That while a mystery to the content was not desired by the user it still seemed important that there was a level of engagement or flow that causes them to be interested in continuing the browsing experience of that particular site.

Mystery is some that certainly doesn’t translate the same between the physical world to the digital one. In stories and in landscapes mystery has visual cues (imagined or physical) as to what maybe behind the proverbial (or literal) curve in the road. On a webpage the visual cues need to be more obvious with what they are about. Scrolling over a series of pictures and the one you are currently on enlarges allows the user see it clearly while still being able to see the connected images. If these “rewards” become the focus it can draw away from the information you are trying to convey. As for navigation, no one wants mystery in how they travel when you are looking for something in particular. While changing graphics can lend a sense of interactivity to a menu it can also cause confusion without proper indexing of that menu.

 

Jason Grigsby – Real World Responsive Web Design

Summary:

In this episode of SpoolCast, Jared Spool interviews Jason Grigsby on the topic “Real World Responsive Web Design” where they talk about how the design and development processes of making a website are becoming intertwined as the variety of web access has increased. They start of discussing “responsive web design” and how it relates to the growth of mobile devices with smaller screens. When large websites are displayed in those tiny spaces it is difficult for the user to access the information properly. From there they talk about the tools that are used to display the many elements of a webpage. Grigsby states that the majority of performance issues with a webpage comes after the HTML document (the core structure of a webpage) is delivered to the browser. Therefore it is important that what is on the webpage, things like graphics, scripts, and other features, are designed in a manner that the greatest number of end users can use it as the developer intended.

Quotes:

“It’s going to take us a little bit to get used to these new tools, and to decide when they’re appropriate and when they’re not appropriate.”

Jason Grisby is talking about his company makes decisions regarding images when trying to determine how a particular web browser and/or screen size will interact with an image on a web page. These tools are things from picture file format to how they load onto the screen with CSS or java.

It is here that decisions are made about how visual engagement and navigation are used. One major issue is that by the time developers and designers are used to their tools the next innovation is just around the bend. If the manner in which these key features are produced is constantly changing that it will remain problematic for average users to adapt to the interface.

 

“I also feel like it’s no different than the complexity we had in the early days and that we just eventually learned it well enough and our tools got better”

Grisby is talking about how some developers a resistant to the complexity that would come with developing certain speciation and standards for picture elements. Complexity is unavoidable with anything new that comes about as the people who work with take time to understand it better. Once its limits and capabilities are understood then more efficient tools can be developed to utilize these elements properly.

We continue to see complexity being an issue in the design process of the web. While there are tools to help with this process those tools can be incomplete or even inefficient if they were made for an older style. Trying to make the visual and navigational elements of a webpage in a manner that maximizes the enjoyment of the user’s experience while also displaying the information the site’s owner wants most seen is the problem faced by all who interact with the web.

Gentrification Draft

The neighborhood of Church Hill was once an improvised area but now it is growing and thriving. However as property values rise, the poor residents who have been there can no long afford their homes. This issue is called gentrification which creates a dilemma between a community’s physical and social structures. A city’s need to support its infrastructure and to bring in more income versus a person’s ability to continually afford their livelihood.

SINGER: Gentrification is overall a good thing. It provides improvement to lives of the greater community. It allows for new businesses to move in and encourages development of the area.

CITY ADMINISTATOR: The influx of new business brings in more tax dollars in the long run that allows for us to provide better services to our citizens.

RESIDENT: I am a citizen and I can’t afford to stay in my home now that taxes are on the rise. This hike in property values is making it so I can no longer afford my house that is now valued at almost four times what I originally paid.1

SANDEL: Don’t you see? This shows that gentrification presents itself as a solution when it is another part of the problem where markets enter into the social structure causing a rift in our communities. This is a complex problem in that the appropriate market forces of real estate disproportionally effect the non-market norms of communal association.

SINGER: Yet market forces give us a measurable way of determining how the city’s population is fairing. While a few may be affected poorly, many more will rise in affluence. Those who truly cannot afford the new lifestyle of the area in which the reside can sell their home at a profit compared to what they paid and move somewhere else that they can use to start gentrifying another area.

SANDEL: While all of that may sound like it is in the public interest and for the common good I must disagree. This method does not cultivate a strong sense of community that brings about civic virtues and concern for one’s fellow citizens.

RESIDENT: Our homes are more than houses to be given a price tag. Church Hill is our home. Our friends and community are here and many of us are dependent on people we know and trust. There are many single mothers in our poor neighborhood. Without the support of our community many of them would struggle beyond their capability to provide.

SINGER: It is not just the immediate community that must be concerned for those who struggle but the large community that is the City of Richmond as well. Where the people need help is where the City should focus its services.

CITY ADMINISTATOR: And the new income from the rising property values will helps us do that.

RESIDENT: There is no guarantee that the money will go to those purposes. Is it not far more likely to be reinvested to attract more developers and businesses to increase the size of the municipal coffers? We depend on services such as public transportation and community centers. Why not fund the ones in communities already established?

SANDEL: The issue here shows the growing disparity between the economic classes. As the more affluent move in the less affluent are pushed out.

SINGER: That is not entirely fair. While it appears that way on the surface there are those who become more affluent by remaining active members of the community that undergoes gentrification. This ensures an increase in the quality of life not only for those who stay but for those who move in. A community in the process of improving itself provides new opportunities for both the long term resident and the new arrivals.

SANDEL: It’s not so easily quantifiable. The process here in Church Hill his happening way too fast for many of those long term residents to catch up to the income level needed. Allow me to show how this inequality between rich and poor grows. [Turns to CITY ADMINISTATOR] How do you encourage these new business and residents to come to Church Hill?

CITY ADMINISTATOR: There is a city wide real estate rehabilitation program that offers tax incentives to those who come and renovate old and rundown buildings.

RESIDENT: Yet none of that tax relief comes to us. The newcomers don’t have to pay the rising taxes with these incentives but we do.

SANDEL: Here in lies the problem of the economic classes not interacting. Even though there are those who may rise in economic standing those who cannot are still pushed out and leave for areas without the social structure they are used to having support them.

SINGER: That shouldn’t matter. No matter where these people go it is the city’s obligation, not just city government but its other citizens as well, to help out the various communities that make up their population.

SANDEL: What is their motivation to do so? Not everyone who leaves stays within the city. They don’t see these people regularly so it is difficult to keep the average citizen aware of the problem of others. It is hard to engage in these debates publicly if the public is not readily aware of what is happens.

SINGER: While there is a need for every person to be engaged there isn’t a need for constant interaction. We all have duty to each other but we can’t think of every person as someone who will help the greater community progress. Everyone should be ready to make sacrifices, big and small, to help the greatest number of people succeed. Gentrification gives us a way to build the infrastructure to support the systems that can care for the most people possible in this city.

SANDEL: I agree that sacrifice is an important of supporting the common good but what can be seen as the greater good may not always be in the common interest. We need a sense of mutual responsibility that some time sacrifices what is perceived as the greater good to help one part of our community better itself instead of just replacing the community. Gentrification doesn’t heal the wounds of our society it is an operation that takes out what can be cured.

Brass, Scott and Chris Dovi. “There Goes the ‘Hood.” Style Weekly. Style Weekly 11 April, 2007. Web. 3 March 2015

Sandel, Michael. “We Need a Public Life with Purpose.” Focused Inquiry: Evolving Ideas. Ed. Department of Focused Inquiry. Pymouth: Hayden-McNeil, 2014. 346-348. Print.

Singer, Peter. “Why We Must Ration Health Care.” Focused Inquiry: Evolving Ideas. Ed. Department of Focused Inquiry. Pymouth: Hayden-McNeil, 2014. 346-348. Print.

1) “There Goes the ‘Hood” Paragraph 4, Line 10

Concept 6, Part 1: Summaries

Summary of “We Need a Public Life with Purpose” by Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel argues in “We Need a Public Life with Purpose” that a just society is one where the public can create a culture that able to debate what a good life means and is accepting of disagreements regarding that meaning. Sandel states that justice is determined by the public notions of honor, virtue, and the common good and has four suggestions on how to tackle these concerns.

Sandel’s first set of concerns involve civil service, questioning how our society can cultivates a sense of mutual responsibility so that everyone is concerned about the common good. Second is on the morals involved with market oriented social practices which Sandel says we need to debate publicly about how to limit market interaction with social institutions. Third area addresses the issues arising from wealth disparity which can cause the wealthier to withdraw from society at large causing public services to decline and reduce interactions between different walks of life. The fourth and final of Sandel’s concerns is about the politics of moral engagement in which he refers to how our attempt to avoid moral disagreements instead leads to suppression and leads to resentment. He states that if the public engages in more debate about morality it could increase the chances of mutual respect. While Sandel admits there is no guarantee that addressing these concerns will lead to greater situational agreement he posits that it is a more promising basis for a just society.

Summary of “Why We Must Ration Health Care” by Peter Singer

“Why We Must Ration Health Care” is Peter Singer’s argument on how the United States currently and should treat its health care system. Singer begins by talking about the current state of health care in our nation. How it is rationed not by a governmental board but instead by the cost involved in private or employer-financed health insurance or by the wait times and minimal pay out from public funded health care. On top of this, Singer informs us how health care costs are continually rising beyond a competitive point as other nations are able to provide similar, if not better, health care while spending far less.

Singer then goes on to explain how rationing works in Britain by giving us an example of a man who is dying but is denied a treatment because of a decision by the National Institute for Heal and Clinical Excellence, the board that makes decisions on how the National Health Service there should issue treatments. The decision was based on the cost of the drug versus the amount of time it would add to a patient’s life. The reaction to this was met with people who questioned, “What is the price of life?” Yet Singer argues that this form of rationing isn’t any worse that the much higher drug prices paid here in the U.S.

Singer informs us of a study that states that those without health insurance receive less care and die at a higher percentage rate that those with health insurance. He goes on to tell us how more than half of Americans reported not seeing health care because of cost, even those with insurance. While citing a Jewish teaching that says each human life is valued on par with all human lives Singer rebuts by stating the impracticality of such idea economically. He tells us of how economists notice how much we are willing to pay to protect ourselves and how those expenditures, when compared to the odds of injury or death, help determine how we value our own lives.

From here Singer posits a solution on how to best make decisions on rationing health care. He provides a unit of measurement he calls quality-adjusted life-years, or QALY, that would allow us to determine the cost/benefit ratio of a given treatment. Singer shows how one issue is how we determine that quality and also that the decision on allocation of resources have to balance inflexible standards and subjective prejudices. Singer concludes that this is not the only way of doing things and that the U.S. doesn’t have to follow the other nations’ examples exactly.

Gentrification

While trying to find a topic to write about I was picking up newspapers to find some ideas. My younger brother, who dropped out of VCU some years ago and is now a line cook downtown, suggested I look into the gentrification of the Richmond neighborhoods. Since the requirement was for something that effected either VCU or Richmond he said this was a good way to tackle both. At first I was resistant as I didn’t feel there would be enough information available regarding this topic. However, VCU is not the only connection to gentrification throughout the city of Richmond though its effect on the downtown area is visible.

The dilemma here arises from the desire to improve property values, safety and livelihood of the city at large against the ability of those currently living in an affected area to be able to continue affording to live there. As values rise so does the cost of living, costs such as taxes and utility bills.

Yet the examples of positive change are easy to see. The ever arts district that is part of both Jackson and Monroe wards is an excellent example of the good that can come from institutions like VCU taking a role in the community.

The ethics involved here comes down to two simple concepts. The right of people to live where they have lived and the necessity of keeping urban (and suburban) infrastructure up to date. There are many complicated issues that interconnect these two issues and that is were the dilemma lies. Poorer areas often end up being hosts to criminal activity and that can lead to a multitude of other issues such as various municipal service falling into disrepair. The influx of people with more money can help improve that infrastructure but then eventually makes it so many can’t afford to live in that area any more. The wealthier people moving in, the poorer people already there, the business investing in the area and the city itself all have a stake in what happens when a neighborhood is being gentrified.

Let’s start off talking about the city itself and those who run it. The city issues tax breaks to those who are willing to take the risk to improve the area and in turn the city can collect tax money that wasn’t there before, even though it at as a reduced rate. Those who move in, be it businesses or people renovating houses, have a chance to design their space more to their particular desires than a more “move in ready” location. They get a tax break that they wouldn’t have had in a different, more established area and thus can afford to better their lifestyle in the new location. However, those who already live have to balance between the increased taxes that come with increased property values. Perhaps they can’t afford to fix up their own homes or businesses and are pushed out as services become to expensive or customers go elsewhere. Yet those higher values are good for those long term residents who can continue living there though as it can increase their social standing. The revitalized area allows for those living in the neighborhood, both new and old, to feel more at ease about their community.

Bibilography

Brass, Scott and Chris Dovi. “There Goes the ‘Hood.” Style Weekly. Style Weekly 11 April, 2007. Web. 24 Feb. 2015

Geiger, Jacob. “A New Normal in Jackson Ward.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. BH Media Group Holdings, Inc. 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015

Neighborhoods in Bloom. City of Richmond. n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015

The Power of the Dark Side

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

This is the Code of the Sith. While many choose to see only evil in what lies in the darkness, I have found freedom there. Many see strength and power as tools to be used to conquer other people, I have found the useful in conquering myself. When I am anxious or afraid I seek the strength within myself to push forward. When I am feeling unmotivated or depressed I seek the power I feel when I complete another task. These victories I gain are reminders that I am free to choose my own path in life even when obstacles are constantly placed in front of me. It is for these reasons that I have chosen the first line of this code as the banner for my blog.

It is my hope that those who visit here understand that the lie of peace isn’t in that it is something unwanted but that it is something truly unattainable. True peace can not exist as there will always be people with conflict ideals and competing passions. Life itself is a violent and ever changing thing. As the lion kills the gazelle so does time consume us all. There is constantly something growing and evolving in our world and sometimes these changes but heads. It is only the unchanging that find peace. The quiet serenity of entropy and death. Those who seek the world beyond and view this world as merely a test our worth long for the day when this material realm ends. I do not long for the end of days, I seek life here. The challenges, the wonders, and the joys that can be found in our every expanding spheres of knowledge as we reach for the stars. The freedom to enjoy and create are why I choose the symbols of the Sith to dress up my blog.

The background is the Quad Sun, the symbol of the old Sith Empire from the Star Wars extended universe materials (that have been remove from canon by Disney. [Insert Nerd Rage Here]) that was founded by the original Dark Jedi that were expelled from the early Jedi Order and ended up ruling of the Sith species, a red-scaled reptilian like race. Eventually the name became attached to the Dark Side users who were trained in their traditions. This is before the Rule of Two was instituted by Darth Bane and the Old Republic era of Star Wars lore is a favorite of mine. Some good video games were set in this era.

The green and black for my color theme were chosen because they are favored colors of mine. Green has been a color I’ve liked for as long as I can remember and  I like black as well for its elegance.  I’ve also put an about page so visitors can learn a bit about me.  I hope you all enjoy my ramblings. Long Live the Empire.

-A Dark Lord of the Sith

Worksheet 2

Section 1

The flat cap is demonstrative of lives of the working classes of the British Isles and its cultural descendants. While the hat itself is no longer in common usage in modern times it still represents the simplistic nature of that station in society. The meaning of simplicity here is not that of an easy going life but a life lacking in options and diversity.

The flat cap is not a visually striking piece of clothing typically. Some can be made of a patchwork of fabrics or be dyed multiple colors but then it is the colors that draw the attention more so than the hat. Typically these hats are more muted colors that match the tones being worn by the working class. Earth tones which would cover working out in the field or neutral colors to cover working in the factories of the late 19th century.

Usually made from wool the flat cap became commonplace in the 16th century when the British government passed an act that decreed that all males over the age 6 had to wear woolen cap on Sundays and holidays. (1) The point of this was to bolster the wool trade and had an effect of dividing the classes further as the nobility could afford more ornate styles. Overtime though the hat came to represent something about the British identity that during the Victorian era upper class gentlemen had adopted variations on it for countryside excursions. In our times that flat cap has come to be “recognized for its chic look and relative classlessness.”(2)

The flat cap’s departure from the working class image is due impart the decline of the working class. While that hat hasn’t ever left the public image for many decades it was associated with men of a particular era and social class even though it was not exclusive to them. Perhaps one could speculate that the flat cap’s rise in popularity is commentary at the grown economic disparity occurring in western culture.

Section 2

The flat cap is simple hat style that can be traced back to the 14th century. Traditionally made of wool, the image of the flat cap has been associated with the working man throughout the Anglosphere, as the former British Empire is called these days. The return of hats in general to men’s popular fashion has been commented with some frequency but the plain flat cap has gone relatively unmentioned as it has never truly left the public eye.

It important to understand that images of the working class, who make the base of any society, can eventually bleed over into the social classes especially has that culture seeks for something to identify itself with. The flat cap is more than a “minor British institution” (3) it is can be representation the elegance we seek in modern fashion, a token of our collective past, and reminder that there is someone at the base of economy that helps push our society forward.

(1)“Flat Cap.” Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
(2)Gilbert, Sam. “Men’s Hats: The Driving Cap.” BeansPublishing Limited, 14 March 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2015
(3)O’Grady, Sean. “Minor British Institution.” co.uk. The Independent. 27 March 2010. Web. 8 Feb 2015

Flat Cap

I am here before you to tell you about my flat cap.  It’s a black flat cap that was given to me as  Christmas gift.  It’s a little on the old side and the brim is breaking apart on the inside.

The history of the flat cap often associated with the British Isles but the style is seen through out Europe.  While it is considered a working class hat, the upper class may be seen wearing it when they wish to denote a sense of casualness.(1)  In the United States the flat cap has popularity amongst the Irish-American portions of country, such as in the city of Boston.  It also has popularity amongst the punk subcultures, which again connects back to working class England.

Once upon a time wearing a hat a considered part an important part of a person’s outfit.  Today the average person can get away with just keeping covered what society demands to be covered.  While walking down the street in just a t-shirt and shorts on a hot day is far from fashionable it is at least acceptable.   The rise in popularity of hat styles beyond the baseball cap that has dominated male headgear has mostly been met favorable with the occasional verbal jab being made when the hat style is the nicest thing about the man’s outfit. (2)

It is important that we realize how we present ourselves as those first impressions we make are difficult to change.  A nice hat can be an excellent accessory to accentuate or even elevate the look you are trying to present. However I doubt the hat will rise to the popularity it once had as they can be cumbersome to deal with when it is appropriate to remove them.

 

(1) “Flat Cap.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.
(2) “Boys’ Head Wear.”  Historical Boys’ Clothing. N.p. 26 July 2014. Web.