Blog Post #6: Smart Things

“Should feeling empathy with or responsibility toward things be dependent on a perception of those things as “intelligent” or “conscious”?” This is a very loaded question with arguments so strong on both sides that it is highly unlikely that humans will come to a unanimous decision within our lifetime. (Or you know… ever.) On one hand, you have people that will argue it does not matter how you treat objects and beings that don’t have the ability to think or feel on the same level as humans because they are not aware that they are being harmed. They play off of the idea, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” It is easy for many of us to accept this way of thinking when referencing toys, whether they have human-like characteristics or not, and other inanimate objects. The debate begins to arise when referencing the lives of other living beings that do not hold the same cognitive capabilities as humans. A prevalent example of this argument would be the beliefs of ethical vegans and the others, who find their way of thinking to be unreasonable. An ethical vegan would argue that animals have can feel pain and have the ability to love and recognize a loss, so it morally wrong to harm them in any way if you can avoid doing so. Opposite that, it has been argued that animals, specifically those used for food, are unaware of what is happening to them and therefore humans are not performing an injustice because harm cannot be caused if the object/being cannot identify harm. Since that has been disproven multiple times,...

Object Description Draft

Color & Texture I am made of porcelain: smooth to the touch with only curved edges and chips from time and wear adding texture to my surface. I am mainly an ivory, off-white color that makes the scuffs and stains that I have accumulated throughout the years very apparent. My dingy, worn sealing has chipped off in many places showing the contrast of my white underlayer. It is almost identical to hypomineralization, or the “white spots,” that appear on someone’s teeth. Shape & (Possible)  Use I am shaped like a slice of toast or a birdhouse with rounded edges. There is a hole with jagged edges where the tip of the birdhouse would be that leads you into my dark and hollow inside. Though empty now, I am shaped as though I was once meant to hold something. I assume that the broken hole at my top was meant to be covered with a lid, but that is a piece that I no longer have. There is a chip at the foot of one of my four sides that would make it impossible for me to hold a liquid now if that were ever my intended purpose. Sound & Design When tapped, I make the same sound that you would hear if you tapped your nail on a mug. Though I have proven to be resilient, I am certain that I would shatter if dropped from a high enough platform. I am decorated with jade green painted flowers and birds on both my front and back with a circle surrounding them. Though similar, the sides are not identical and have a...

Blog Post 4: Old Things

Why should narrative histories privilege human agency and human actors over that of the objects that far outnumber us and may outlast us? It is interesting to mention that humans have only been on earth for a fraction of the time that earth has been around and to question why “narrative histories should privilege human agency and actors over that of the objects that far outnumber us and may outlast us?” This answer may be overly simplistic and pretty self-absorbed, but I believe it is simply because we are the ones telling the story. The histories we share are ones that we can relate to and feel like we are a part of. While there has been extensive research done to see what was on the earth before we were here, how other creatures lived, and what the world looked like, etc., the reality is that to some degree that information is speculated. We have the bones of dinosaurs, but who is to say what color a tyrannosaurus rex was? Human narratives are told generationally, and while we do make our own understandings of the objects that people in different time period had and way people thought, humans have been able to leave such impactful traits of themselves, their personal lives, and their cultures behind that tell their stories and make it easier for us to intertwine theirs into our own. Another reason human agency and human actors are privileged is that humans have left altered the world more than any other beings. To our knowledge, almost every other being that has once existed on this planet has left the planet in...

Blog Post #2: Cute Things

Humans, like many other species, are born with the eye size that they will have for the duration of their lives. This wide-eyed, open face that babies have is associated with other infantile qualities like innocence and carefreeness. This, paired with their dependence on people to take care of them and lack of ability to comment or question the person caring for them creates a fairly simplistic idea of what being “cute” entails. Parents find their offspring endearing because babies are the embodiment of the parent. A newborn is also the purest form of humankind and people naturally want to protect them because we feel they have yet to be tainted by life. There is a hope that comes from looking at a baby that is magical because it allows you to reopen the parts of your mind that allowed you to dream of things bigger than your current situation. It just so happens that this magical bundle of innocence that we inherently  care for has the physical qualities previously listed, which in a way programs us to find these characteristics to be “adorable,” or “cute” and want to take care of it. While I am certain this is only part of how our brains are programmed to judge cuteness, I believe that this is a great baseline to begin the train of thought. I have only really addressed physical attributes, but why are there are people or items that are not generally viewed as attractive who are still considered cute? If you remove the physical baby-like features, how are those judgments made? There is a “World’s Ugliest Dog” that happens...

Syllabus & Course Info Quiz

Questions: What are the major projects? In a bulleted list, provide links to the project descriptions for each of them. Blog (5 posts) Twitter Essays (2)  Object Description and 3D Model Draft Interactive Timeline  Multimodal Object Analysis (3 stages) How will your final grade be calculated? You will earn points for each major project, as well as class preparation and attendance. Your letter grade will be assigned based on those points. If you accrue 4,242 points, you will automatically receive an A! What happens if you don’t complete one of the major projects? Failure to complete any of the major projects will result in an automatic “C-” or lower meaning that you will have to retake the course. What is the “submission form” and how do you use it? Embed the form below your answer (hint: Google “embed Google form” to find out how). Embed the course calendar and weekly overview below this question. The submission from is a form we use to submit everything that we’d like to earn points for. Simply fill out the form and review the Academic Honesty statement, then hit submit. Where on the course website can you find an overview of the grading policy and major project deadlines? Under the “Syllabus and Course Info” section. What is the best way to see an overview of what’s due each week? Go to the Course Calendar and read over the weekly overview. What is the attendance policy? You will lose 50 points for unexcused absences. Arriving to class late may result in a deduction of 25-50 points. What is the one way that you can...
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