Category Archives: Uncategorized
As we talked about in class today, the Minstrel show appeared in the late 1800′s as a form of entertainment and entailed variety shows that essentially parodied and buffooned the African American population. They consisted of singing and dancing white performers dressed in black-face (literally painted black faces and other exposed skin.) They saw a decline at the beginning of the 1900′s but what I found interesting was what I remembered from my love of old movies. Two incredibly popular movies starting Bing Crosby reminisce the days of minstrel shows and even recreate them!
Abraham (Holiday Inn) if you’re interested in some serious Old Hollywood talent check out these videos. They are amazing!
Holiday Inn includes a scene where legendary crooner Bing Crosby and his counterparts perform the number Abraham singing about Abe Lincoln. The performers are all dressed up in black face and even the African American housekeeper and her two children join in the song.
White Christmas (a sort of sequel to Holiday Inn) includes a number called The Minstrel Number where Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney sing about how they miss the amusements of the minstrel shows. None are in black face though all are dressed in black except Vera who is dressed in white.
After re-watching both of these on Youtube, I couldn’t help but explore the other Hollywood portrayals of the Minstrel show and found some incredibly interesting excerpts including one from Judy Garland dressed as a little African American girl and even mimics the the banjo playing in the music.
I find it fascinating how Hollywood reached back into the minstrel era for inspiration for some of the studio era films.
While doing my weekly browsing on the Internet, I came across this fascinating website that talks about digital imaging and computational technology.
This website, Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) takes digital photographs and analyzes them using some state-of-the-art technology so that people can interpret these images more closely and accurately. The part that really intrigued me (being a Physics and Math major) is that most of these imaging techniques were created mathematically.
The first technique CHI refers to is Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which was created in 2001 by Tom Malzbender. This technique enables digital conservers to study very detailed surfaces on objects by taking multiple photographs of the same object with different lighting angles. “This lighting information is mathematically synthesized to enhance the object’s surface.”
Another technique of digital imaging is Algorithmic Rendering (AR), which uses applied mathematical methods to create an illustration of an object that can have relevant information extracted from it. Additionally, AR can be used to transform an object using analysis tools while being recorded and documented along the way in order to preserve the original image.
The third technique that CHI talks about is Photogrammetry. This technique determines mathematical measurements and 3-D geometry form 2 or more images of an object. These series of pictures, which mimics how our eyes would normally see a 3-D object, can be analyzed to optically correct an image so that it can be view, manipulated, and measured. By overlapping the multiple photographs, Photogrammetry creates 3-D geometry that is perfectly aligned with color information creating pin point accurate images.
All of these techniques can be used to analyze an image; and to keep track of all the transformation that goes on during the process, CHI created the term Digital Lab Notebook. A Digital Lab Notebook “describes the digital process history record of the means and circumstances used to generate a digital representation (digital surrogate) of an empirically captured subject in the physical world.” These lab notebooks can be looked at by current and future digital conservers to help enhance digital imaging.
CHI is directly related to Digital Humanities because it talks about taking images and using technology to create them into something that we can interpret more closely. The same goes for text… if we can enhance the quality of an old text, we are then able to interpret the text from a different perspective. I found this website to be captivating not only because of the mathematics behind the techniques, but also because of the fact that we as a technological society have come so far, that it has changed the way we look at things.
I thought learning HTML last week was very fun and interesting. It really put into perspective what the computer has to do when we type using word processors and different writing programs on the computer. Looking at an old article online and trying to recreate it in HTML, was quite difficult but I felt it was really good practice. I ran into things like trying to figure out how to tab, space correctly, find the right font, etc. Figuring out things like making the article aligned in a narrow fashion with small lines took awhile too. HTML requires using different commands to do the things you want. Sometimes you have to dig a little to find the command you are looking for. Once you start getting the document to look the way you want and you learn the proper commands it is very rewarding. Now that I have used HTML, it gives me a much bigger appreciation for the typing technology programs we have that do the work for us. At first I was not sure if it was worth learning HTML but after learning more about it and getting firsthand experience, I feel it is worth learning and was a good thing to visit in the class.
As I was following Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, UNL, one of the blogs I chose to follow this semester, I found I very interesting article posted, Lecture: Robert Cargill on technology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, http://unlclasrelg.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/lecture-robert-cargill-on-technology-and-the-dead-sea-scrolls/. This immeadately caught my attention not because it had the word technology in it but because it had the phrase, “Dead Sea Scrolls.” Dr Cargill will bring the archaeological site of Qumran to life via technology. Sadly the lecture has not yet been giving but I can hypothesisize that he will be using similar technology as that in the New York Times article, Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land previously read in class.
I suppose you are wondering why the Dead Sea Scrolls catch my eye… while I haven’t actually been to the archaeological site of Qumran but I have been to the comparably historical and archaeologically important site of Masada. It was unbelievable when I expereinced Masada in person and I can only imagine that Qumran is equally amazing!! I am, to say the least, excited to see the results of this project because I believe that Israel/Palestine and it’s many historical and archaeological sites it offers is a must do trip in someones life. This link, http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/qumran/about.html, will bring you to the Qumran Project site at UCLA for more information. In conclusion, I think that the finding of this article goes to show that Digital Humanities, more specifically the recreation of historical sites and events, is proving to be a useful and popular tecnique.
I was browsing through the Uncle Tom’s Cabin archive that we are supposed to look at for tomorrow, and I came across a poem that really expresses the hardships, torture, and difficult life of what a lot of these slaves endured.
This part especially made me sad because it portrays how one moment, these black slaves thought they could trust their owners only to be disappointed and let down later when they punish or trick them with measures I’d rather not know about.
‘Ah! When first Miss Eva touched me,With her soft and pretty hand,Not a more deranged nigger Crept or walked upon the land.
‘Full of tricks, as thieving, lying,Hating all with wicked hate;Getting punish’d, roaring, crying,That was my most wicked state.
‘Then Miss Eva looked so loving,Spoke so sweetly in my ear,Told me I was worth improving,Said, ‘I nothing had to fear.’
‘But I scarcely could believe her; Always thought I was too bad;Nigger always be deceiver,Always sorry, never glad.
I could not imagine being an african american during these times and being so defenseless. Being separated from my family and home to go die on a plantation from being worked to death is so………I don’t even know the word to put here. How did they stay so strong?
I’d love to learn more about the relationships between the slaves and their owners during these times because I think it would be pretty interesting to hear. I know some slaveowners treated their slaves as best as they could because they knew they were their only saving grace. What other options did they have? While some were nice though, im sure there were hundreds who treated their slaves so bad that I wouldnt even want to know, but it’s very sad to think about.
Looking back at the time period when this book was written compared to now, I think that America has obviously immensely changed and improved. While there are plenty of harsh racists out there still, I’m so glad that we respect african americans now and even enough to elect one as our president. I think it says a lot about how our culture is evolving and instead of being embarrassed to admit that we actually did treat black people this way so long ago, I can feel glad that we changed it and that it is so much better now.
I was shocked at how easily the entire class picked up basic HTML. I thought it would be so much more of a struggle for me but after a few attempts I think I got the basics down. It makes me want to learn more difficult codes! I give credit to the people who do this for a living because it is so time consuming!
I want to know how HTML was created. Someone had to have decided which codes would create which effects on the internet. I get so frustrating trying to figure out how the computer “knows” that if I hit the “T” key that it should create on the screen the letter T. I don’t get what happens within the computer to send that message. Even with cell phones, how did someone first discover that something in the universe can be captured and sent to another location without any wires…even WITH wires! I DONT GET IT! Maybe it’s one of those things I’ll just have to live with not knowing.
Here’s my solution…
From the beginning of class I did not get the use of HTML. It takes a long time to construct, and is very needy in how much work it takes to build only a short amount of writing…I can not wait until we learn the short hand of this type of writing. As I sat in class on Monday and today(Thursday), I just kept asking myself why is HTML so important and how is this practical in todays world where there is an easy way to do anything. Especially when working with computers, in this day in age, there is no reason to be sitting wasting time trying to figure out all the long hand that HTML brings about.
It took a while, but it finally hit me when Dr. Cordell overheard a classmate say, “there must be an easier way to do this”, and Dr. Cordell’s response was of course there is, but you guys need to know the progressions that text has taken through the ages. Wow, now it all made sense, HTML is a stepping stone to the next bigger and better way to bring text to the internet. Just like how Blake had to start out by creating text in a difficult manner, and as time passed newer and better ways came about that revolutionized text.
I thought our guest speaker did a great job familiarizing us with HTML and showing us the basics. She walked us all through the things that will be our foundation when using this program in the future (if we need it). This class is bring about many firsts for me in ways that seem simple, but are making a huge difference in the way I am learning this new material. From the change of classrooms, to things like beaming in a guest speaker that will be teaching the class for the whole hour. Its incredible the use of resources that Dr. Cordell has at his disposal and is willing to bring into our class and share with us.
HTML is a valuable tool to have with us when working with text, but I cannot wait until we learn the next best thing.
A tweet by Mark Sample here caught my attention:
And let me contradict my past selves and say, it’s okay if you don’t learn to code. Stop fetishizing code, turning it into a shibboleth.
I second that. And I do notice some fetish attachment going around coding in DH community. I, personally, don’t like it. There is a complementary fetish going around the code in among younger and (mostly) aspiring coders. One of the forms of this fetish is leetspeak, or 1337, in its own parlance. Leetspeak subjectifies language to substitution cyphered variant of English with heavy use of technological neologisms and shorthands. Leetspeak adds nothing to the eloquence of language or ease of expression, but does quite contrary. As a cypher it is by far most primitive kind out there, as a dialect of English, it is one of the most dysfunctional. Why does it even exist? Plain simple, to show off and impress outsiders.
There is an old Ukrainian proverb, roughly translated it goes like this, “Wolf-like among the sheep, sheepish among the wolves.” Software/hardware development is very, very complicated art, it is also very, very difficult science. The field is wast, the applications are countless, the pace of change is shocking. And while mastering the art is hard enough, applying the art is even harder.
And also there is a lure of technology, the promise of power, glory and fame that looms from behind the green backdrop with columns of green dripping characters and comes with a press of a button… “Hello Neo… follow the White Rabbit.” So much hype and excitement, raving crowds and all. And yet, are coders famous in the public’s eye? Some are, but mostly not for the code they wrote. Can you quote some famous line of code? Hello world! (BTW, this is most famous line of code of them all). I digress.
There is nothing more desirable in learning to casually write some simple code than memorizing 10 words from ancient Phoenician a day or learning how to solve cubic equations by Cardano’s method in spare time. It may be entertaining, but practically useless. There is really no “light” or “casual” coding. There is professional code and there is stuff that does not matter. Why? Well, code is a tool. Very powerful, clumsy and hard to use tool. Code in itself has very little value. But what the code does, what it enables us to do, this is what matters. Technology is not means upon itself. Neither is code. The tendency to seek poetic in code, as well as tendency to make code elitist are both absurd as far as technology is concerned.
I don’t like HTML or CSS. Both are crap. I much prefer using text processors. But I hate existing text processors even more than I hate HTML and CSS! Do you see what I am hinting at? You are exposed to code only because there is no better tool to substitute it. The tool will be made eventually (AI + augmented reality + direct brain interfacing) , and you will never see the code again, or have need for it. Code is for developers, code is for machines, not for users, and when developers will figure out how to get rid of code, trust me, they happily will do so. I would prefer to tell my computer, “Pull the data from payroll for each employee with at least two dependents and a mustache, and make sure that their mustache deductions are properly calculated. Then talk to corporate middleware and let me know if there are any messages pending from asset management to warehouse and figure out if there is any malformed data. And one espresso with skim milk, please.” But instead I have to write all the dull code for it myself all day and there is nobody to make me a decent cup of coffee…
This week has been a very eye-opening one for me! To begin, learning about HTML was surprisingly easier than what I would have expected, granted I know we just covered the basics so far. However, at the beginning of the semester when Dr. Cordell briefly introduced HTML it seemed like a foreign language to me. Also, not being very technologically advanced I was a little nervous coming into the week. I thought Miriam did a really nice job beaming in and introducing the workshop to our class; I think I got more out of that 45 minute session than I thought I would. As Miriam was skyping with our class it just got me thinking more about the technological world that we live in. I remember on the first day when Dr. Cordell was introducing the class he mentioned that when many of us hear the word “technology” we think of computers, phones, etc. I can honestly admit that I was one of those people, a kind of one-way thinker when it came to technology. Despite this narrow-mindedness, as we have investigated a little in the Center for Norbertine studies room and have progressed into the era of William Blake and his writing, I have tried to allow myself to think outside of the technology that I am so used to in my everyday life. Skyping with Miriam on Monday is an example of an obvious technological advancement, but what a milestone it has been. Who would have thought that we could have well-known scholars from other areas around the country/world beaming into our very own classroom!
More specifically related to our Blake discussion is that of the printing plates. I thought our discussion of that was really interesting. Another aspect that struck my interest was that of looking at technology, perhaps, in some ways, as more of a negative thing. Obviously we all know how technology has impacted the world in which we live, but, like we mentioned in class, the technology of printing Blake’s poems now is very dull and plain. There is no color or illustrations like there used to be; thus taking away some of the creativity that Blake obviously incorporated into his writings for a reason. We live in a society that praises technology so much, but sometimes it is mind-blowing to step back and look for a moment at those things that may have been, for lack of a better word, better without the advancement of technology.
I found the HTML lecture via Skype to be very interesting. It was the first lecture I have attended where the professor was not actually lecturing from the room. The Skype lecture opens up all kinds of possibilities for furthering our education. Just like how Miriam Posner lectured from out in California, we could have different people lecture from different parts of the Country or maybe even the World. Setting up a sort of network of people willing to lecture via the internet could really benefit many smaller schools such as St. Norbert. Smaller schools do not always have the faculty to do guest lectures in certain fields which makes Skype lectures great.
The lecture was quite confusing at points but also very informational. I have never used HTML before and have not see it many times before which made it difficult to get the hang of. However, I compare it to learning any foreign language; there are easy things like entering a heading and there are also harder things like entering a link. I am sure after using it more often It will come much easier.