Module 4: Iteration

For my 4th and final module I chose to revisit the travel blog I made for the previous blogging module. I chose to expand this project because it was the one I was the most passionate about and a project I was looking to expand in the future regardless. I’ve always wanted to make a travel blog so when I saw this as a module option I was very excited and chose it automatically. I really like how the blog turned out as a whole. The blog starts with a big panoramic picture that I took on a trip to the Bahamas. As you scroll down you see my blog posts and on the right bar side there is a gallery of photos from different places I’ve been to. In this iteration I changed the background color of the blog, added a few new photos to the gallery and wrote some new blog posts of course. My first new blog post was a bucket list of destinations I want to travel to. The following 3 blog posts were about my travel plans for this summer which I’m very excited about! I like the changes I made to the blog and think that is really expanded and developed it compared to before. I chose the black background instead of white because black backgrounds help make colors look for vibrant and bright which would help the photos look better on the blog. In the future, I hope to continue using this blog and expand it even more. Below is the link to my travel blog.

Iteration Proposal

For the iteration module I have decided to revisit and expand the subdomain travel blog I made for the blogging module. I chose to revisit this assignment because I was planning on expanding it in the future regardless. Out of all of the modules and assignments we have had throughout the semester I was most passionate about this one in particular. I hope to revisit the layout and theme of the subdomain I created and think about things I can add to expand the blog more. I hope to create new tabs and write a few more blog posts. Below is the travel blog I created for the blogging module.

Module 3: Digital Journalism

For the third module I chose digital journalism. This topic seemed interesting to me especially with the huge change in how people now use digital sources for their news rather than newspapers or the radio. This is something that has changed a lot over the course of years and continues to modernize. In the early years of our generation newspapers and radios were popular resources of hearing the news. Today, society relies on iPhones and many fake news sources to stay up to date on whats happening in the world. Millennials often use Twitter as their main source of news and I myself am guilty to this also. With the high use of social media and media as a main resource for news we have gained a reliance and unseen trust in the internet. Many people often click “remember password” or “remember credit card information” on many websites with out even noticing but these are the traps that lead to fraud and identity theft. I think that everyone including myself can learn to be more cautious when using the internet and see that it is not as safe as a place as we think it is sometimes. Companies and networks share information as we often see in online ads. One day you will be looking at a new water bottle that you are looking to buy from Target and the next day you’ll find that on every website you go on with online ads on the side bars there will be all different types of water bottles. It seems scary at first, you may ask yourself how did this website know I needed a new water bottle? It can be creepy at how much the internet tracks what you do. Below I have created a graph of people’s confidence that private information will remain secure with different companies and organizations. I chose to make a graph to apply to the digital form of journalism module. I thought that making a graph would go along well with the topic of internet privacy I chose. With the Facebook data leak scandal under fire right now in Congress I thought it was an appropriate time to touch on the subject. I obtained the following data from my favorite and most reliable statistics source, Pew Research, where I get much of my political data. Before making this graph I was nervous and was not sure how it would turn out but I quickly learned it is not that difficult to make a graph and it turned out to be just how I wanted it. I color coded the very confident from not so confident and made it into a bar graph. This module made me see internet privacy from a new perspective and I’m happy I overcame a challenge and created a digital journalistic project.

Deep Tech Thought 5: First Amendment

“Free speech (the first amendment right of Americans) can be read the same way. People have theoretical rights to free speech, but it is ridiculously easy for people with money to render that right worthless. I’m not arguing here for any specific intervention, but for us to enlarge our thinking about free speech the way we enlarged our thinking about legal representation.” In my History of Political Thought 442 course we were recently just talked about the first amendment and how strong or weak it is implemented in todays society. Research shows that a large amount of millennials believe in a more restricted first amendment when it comes to free speech. If you look closely there are actually a lot of restrictions placed on our freedom of speech. In class discussion we talked about the movement to end the use of the R word. This has been an up and coming movement that was not as popular when my generation was younger. Today many people are devoted to ending the use of the R word and think it is an offensive term. Another way that people think that our free speech is limited is by the Home Owners Association when it comes to lawn signs and having controversial symbols or word in front of peoples houses. For example political signs, group related signs, or vulgar. I can see how some neighborhoods would not want certain expressions on people’s lawns but at the same time there is an understandable argument for the opposite. At the end of the day people do have the freedom of speech whether it be in verbally expressing their opinions or expressing their opinions by signs or posters. People should be respectful of others opinions and not get offended when it does not agree with their own. Personally I was surprised when I found out that millennials are becoming more in favor of freedom of speech restrictions. I would think that they would be in favor of a more free first amendment. However, I can see how our generation has become more sensitized to many words or phrases.

Deep Tech Thought 4: US-Latin American War on Drugs

“There’s also a story about Mexico which doesn’t have a page up yet. Apparently Mexico has had its most deadly year, ever, with violence on the rise. And a stunning figure — since the declaration of a “war on the cartels” by the government a decade ago, nearly 200,000 people in Mexico have dies in drug related violence” said Caulfield.  Drug cartels in Mexico and throughout Latin America have been a problem for years and will be a problem in years to come. This quote stood out to me because it reminded me of the US & Latin Americans political science course I took last semester. In this course we discussed the drug cartel problem and what the US could do in response in regards to foreign policy with Latin America. The problem with drug cartels is that there will always be another cartel or group on the rise for power. If for example, the US takes down a major drug cartel the cartel under it will only rise up to power. Drug cartels have been a problem for decades and people will always find a way to continue it underground. The drug cartel situation in Latin America is violent and has increased crime and murder rates in the region tremendously. The US has tried using the “kingpin strategy” in which you aim to take down the leader of the group and in effect the rest of the cartel/ group will diminish. After the Cold War ended in 1989 the United States was faced with a growing new war, the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs has been the most important post-Cold War issue in US-Latin American relations because it is a never ending problem in the United States. Since President Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” in 1971 it has been the United States national interest to reduce the illegal drug trade. Human drug trafficking has become a popular method of distributing drugs into the US with victims often being women and children. The drugs being trafficked into the US have remained fairly constant such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine as the leading drug demands. There will always be a demand for drugs in the United States and other countries which makes drug trafficking inevitable with drug cartels always on the rise to power also. The War on Drugs that began at the end of the Cold War has created a mass increase in United States spending in order to stop drug trafficking into the country as well. The United States Latin American War on Drugs is still a problem today and with the ongoing demand for drugs and continuous power of drug cartels this issue continues to be a national concern.

Deep Tech Thought 3: Political Party Identification

“Economic anxiety plays little role in why Americans switch parties: the reasons are mostly cultural and deal with fears (or acceptance of) demographic and cultural change” said Caulfield. I’ve found that since I’ve been in college my political views and party identification has changed. In high school my views were much more conservative. This was due to my families views, friends, and religious affiliation. On various issues I find that my view is much more liberal now. I’ve seen a similar pattern with other college students also. Many of my friends said they have experienced the same thing. I think the way you’re grown up and your social environment plays a big part in your political party identification. I agree with Caulfield that economic anxiety does play a small role in why Americans switch parties. I think a persons economic views can swing left or right but isn’t a factor that makes a person switch parties. “I’ve seen some approaches to critical media literacy where the assumption seems to be that the main issue with today’s youth is they are too trusting of the media” says Caulfield later in his newsletter. I agree with this statement; I think that we as a collective generation put a lot of trust in the media especially, social media accounts. Many people are not careful with what they post whether its pictures or things that they say. There has also been problems with personal account information being leaked by the media source which violates a persons privacy. Caulfield ends this newsletter by saying “Students do have a problem of “too much trust”, but it’s not that they trust the media. It’s that they trust themselves” which I found to be a very pondering sentence. I can see his view on it in that students/youth do trust themselves in that they are not as worried about their privacy.

Module 2: Blogging

From the start of taking DGST 101 I soon noticed how much we would be blogging throughout the course. With the creation of my DGST subdomain for the course I thought I might as well expand my subdomains even further by choosing to do the blogging module. This module was very appealing to me because I’ve always been interested in making a personal blog that was not school affiliated such as a travel blog. One of my goals in making this new subdomain was to do it all on my own without the help of others or the DKC which I accomplished. When creating the travel blog I took little details into consideration like the theme, menus, colors, pictures, etc. I wanted the blog to have a good layout and aesthetic for a travel blog. The theme I chose was Twenty Seventeen because I liked the big image spot as the header and thought it would be good for this type of blog. I wanted to make the title simple but with the point so I just called it “Travels” and included my name under it. I only wrote one blog post on it to create the effect that this will be an on going blog with more posts to come. I hope to travel a lot this summer and have some plans for Europe and the Caribbean that I would love to write about on the blog. Another reason I chose Nassau was because I remembered I had gone to Junkanoo Beach there which was mentioned in the book we read, Midnight Robber. Another feature I liked about this theme was that I could include a gallery next to my posts which I found perfect for a travel blog! So on the side next to my posts there are many little thumbnail pictures of places I’ve been to. I am overall pleased with how my travel blog turned out and am happy that my initial idea for this module worked out the way I hoped it would.  Here is the link to the travel blog I created,

Afrofuturism: Midnight Robber

After reading the book Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson I feel as though I’ve been exposed to a very different type of book. I’ve read different science fiction books in my past but none have touched on controversial topics as this one did. Today, there are many arguments about the future, particularly in regards to the environment and science, along with racial problems in the US. I found this book overall relevant and topical. While reading the book I was surprised to how many words I came across and was not familiar with. Some of which I felt like I had heard of but did not know the meaning and others sounded completely foreign. I found the literature challenge throughout the book appealing and I could tell it was the authors way of challenging the reader to something they’re not used to. Nalo Hopkinson, a Canadian native, knew the audience of her book would be mostly young Americans, and chose to challenge them through new literature. For my retelling of the story I chose to draw a picture. At first I had stated that I was going to make a gif or multiple gifs of important events throughout the book and portray it in a digital art format. I found it difficult to pick only particular parts of the story and did not know how to accurately portray the story through pictures since it was a chapter book. The idea of retelling the story by picture sounded more appealing to me in the end because I realized I could make it my own and show more of the story with a pen and paper. Another plus I found in drawing a picture instead of making an animation was the use of color. In this case I thought of the importance of Carnival in the story and Caribbean culture. So I added the pop of color in the top right corner to show the different colors and patterns that represent Carnival in the Caribbean. In the center of the picture I drew a building in the Half-Way Tree in Jamaica. I found it important to incorporate the Half-Way Tree in the drawing since it was an alternate universe version of Toussaint. I used a planet and sun in the background to represent the different dimensions and portals in the story. On the bottom of the picture is the main character Tan Tan. I used the cover of the book as an inspiration for this part. In the top left corner I drew Eshu or “Papa Legba”. As a trickster god and for being known as sly I created his outfit likewise. Next to him is a symbol that is used to also represent him. The green hills represent Cockpit Country, Jamaica, the home of Tan Tan.

Deep Tech Thought 2: Internet Security

In the New York Times article “The Latest Data Privacy Debacle”, Tufeki talks about a fitness app called Strava. Strarva has a global heat map that shows where users are. The problem with this though is that many military personnel are users of this app which is causing military bases and airstrips to become visible to the public. Many military bases and airstrips are not known to the public for security purposes for the country. It is important to have unknown bases and military locations for enemy countries to not have access to this information and vulnerability. This is a dangerous situation that the US is in right now and should be taken care of quickly by the Strava app administration.

The leaking of social media users data is wrong and is the responsibility of the app or network to keep this information private. When users make an account whether its for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, they assume that when they put their profile on certain privacy settings it will be private.

“The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.” said Cambridge Analytica Files. If these Facebook profiles of US voters had known that their profiles would be used for a software program it would have been different. Many things technological come down to consent and whether or not you give a company or program consent to use your personal data. Campaign and voting statistics are very important for governmental information and for campaign research but it is important to get consent from the voters for their information.

Module 1: Art of the Animated GIF


I chose the Art of the Animated GIF moduleto learn more about GIFS and how to make them. I had seen many GIFS on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram but always thought they were difficult to make. At the start of this module my goal was to make a GIF. My mind boggled at different ideas of all the different GIFS I could make, I thought about making it TV show based or picking a movie I like. I heard of the website GIPHY in which you can easily make a GIF; I had chosen the TV show series Shark Week and found a cool YouTube video and tried to upload it but there was a minute limit of video you can upload to GIPHY so my first try did not work. My next plan was to find a GIF making app on my Iphone to make the GIF. I held down the camera button to take a rapid series of photos of the scene I wanted to make a GIF out of from the Youtube video and uploaded all of them onto the app. I was surprised at all the editing options after the GIF was formatted. On this app you could insert text boxes, apply filters, or cut the video. I applied a filter to the GIF to make it more contrasted. Below is my first try at a GIF.

Soon after, I realized that this GIF had no personal meaning to me at all. Since this module assignment was so broad I decided to make GIF’s of things that are meaningful to me. I’m a Washington Capitals fan so I decided to make a GIF out of a video of the last game I went to over winter break. I also put a black and white filter on it. The next one is a GIF of my dog of course! The third is a GIF of my trip to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas over the summer. I love tropical weather and traveling a lot so this GIF was really meaningful to me. The last GIF is of me and some friends hiking; I love to hike and spend time with friends so it was an great day.

Through this module I learned how to make GIF’s which was my goal. I was surprised as to how easy it was to make them. I had some problems uploading them on to this blog post but eventually figured it out. Before this module I had no idea how to make a GIF and thought it was a long tedious process but now I know how easy it is to make them; they’re also really cool so I look forward to making more and teaching others how to also.