Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Digital Media, The I-Pad, and Bloggers’ Copyrights and Protections.

1 27 10 Apple released the I-Pad, allowing us to “hold the internet in (our) hand”. What affect will this have on print media? Are current media laws adequate for a paperless society?How will the ability to “hold the internet in your hand” affect writers’ protections under current copyright laws?

Apple announced the release of the ½” thick digital reader and internet, the I-Pad, said to be “as transformative to culture…as the printed book” (  ) . With wide applications for use in education, business and government, how can content contributors monitor and maintain the ownership and usage rights to their internet published works?

At the start of the computer revolution, a debate raged as to the effect that computers and the internet would have on print media. Although we have not yet seen the “paperless” society foretold by analysts, the publishing industry has changed dramatically, from the cancellation of “evening edition” newspapers to the ability for anyone to self publish both written and audio-visual works for digital download via the internet.
With Steve Jobs’ dream to “hold the internet in your hand” becoming reality with the popularity of I-Phones, Blackberry’s, and other emerging smart phones, the I-Pad, in some version, will no doubt have a great impact on media production and publishing. With touch screen technology the I-Pad will be mostly an information retrieval and storage system, and not an alternative to a fully functioning computer. It also does not use Flash or Adobe applications, which are both entrenched in digital multimedia. David Carr of the New York Times, writes about the unveiling and agrees that the I-Pad is a device for consuming media, not creating it, and asks “are media companies ready to deliver?” Carr points out that although book publishers appear to be on-board, magazine publishers have not yet embraced the I-Pad. Still, Carr believes that the I-Pad may “open up a whole new frontier for developers and publishers”, depending on the success of the business models used to present the content. CNN also notes that the I-Pad may even save “old” media, should newspapers and magazines develop models that will drive both people, advertisers and content to the screen. Primarily, it appears that the media industry is still searching for ways to make money by displaying on the I-Pad.

Price and availability to the device will be a determining factor in the success of the I-Pad, and also how it will change media. As a separate and new application apart from I-phones and computers, it will not replace either, but be an additional method of retrieving media. In addition to the practical issues of transmitting and consuming media digitally, there are also many legal and rights issues surrounding digital media, and with each new application, new regulations to protect content producers must be examined. While print media has the advantage of being permanent, information contained in blogs and other digital sites is often transitory, and while it may be available at one time, unlike printed books, the information can disappear into cyberspace as quickly as it appeared. The success of the I-Pad will depend on this ability of the content producers to profit by presenting media that advertisers will be willing to invest in and that consumers will be willing to pay for.

©Kim Rojas

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DIGITAL MEDIA: Literacy Without Books?

HOME LIBRARY ATTRITION: Literacy without Books?

DISCUSSION: Is printed media in danger of becoming obscure in the wake of computers and digital media? Is a transition to digital media a slippery slope to illiteracy?

Before I became a writer, I was a reader: The two are unavoidably connected. As a child I spent my summers at the public library; as a teen I devoured the entire JRR Tolkien Trilogy (plus The Hobbit) at least three times; and even in College, I found most of my texts to be as engrossing as the latest chick-lit page-turners. I always had a book with me, that I would pull out while standing in line or riding the bus. I collected books, old ones, new ones, texts and fiction, biographies and novels. I’d find books at library sales, used book stores, and garage sales. I received books as gifts, ordered new releases, and cherished signed copies. Dog-eared pages, tattered volumes, and dusty texts remained singly valuable to me, a lover of words, and to part with even the most obscure publication would be heretical! I hoarded books, and dreamed someday of having a large library of my own, with wooden bookcases, collector’s editions, a comfortable reading chair with the perfect lighting, and the comforting aroma of published pages and hardbound covers filling the room.

Unfortunately, a disparaging realization has manifested: Rather than expand, my personal library has dwindled over the past ten years.

Frequent moves across the country often forced me to choose only the most imperative works, a choice often impossible to make and filled with regrets and misgivings. I never returned a single text at the end of a college semester, because “I might need it someday”. I had quite a collection built up after Grad School…but my obsession blinded me to the fact that I would have to pay by the pound to move them all! Those hardbound books are heavy, indeed.

Still, this doesn’t account for the lack of new, or even used, additions to my library. Although rough financial times have reduced my trips to the bookstore, to say that the economy has kept me from collecting more books would be a fallacy, an excuse, because as any true booklover knows, the number of works collected has nothing to do with the amount of money spent. As I examine this attrition of literary works in my own home, I wonder if the same is true around the Country, across race and class, and through education levels.

As I started some preliminary research on literacy rates in America, I became more intrigued with the idea of a world without books, remembering Ray Bradbury’s book burning scenes in Fahrenheit 451. It is a scene that both frightens and saddens me. I have so many questions and so few answers! But they are questions that need to be answered. This debate is not new, and has extended to other forms of media such as music and video.

Is printed media in danger of becoming obscure in the wake of computers and digital media? Is digital media as effective as printed media in educational settings? In marketing or consumer settings? How can access to digital media become equal across social and financial classes? Is a transition to digital media a slippery slope to illiteracy?

To begin this discussion, I thought of several things in America’s culture that may be contributory:

1) 32 million people speak a language other than English

2) The Technology Revolution, as seen in day to day life.

3) The creation of the Internet, and it’s growth, especially in Social Media.

4) Technology in education, requiring new paradigms for teaching.
2010 is a National Census year, and think-tanks will churn out new reports on American life including how many toilets in the average U.S. home, and hopefully, new reports on literacy in the first decade of Social Media. In the meantime, while the data is being collected and analyzed, do you think that LITERACY can exist WITHOUT BOOKS?

©Kim Rojas

The Green Association for Sustainability

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Of the many diagrams for maintaining the global ecosystem, the term "Sustainable Development" has often erroneously been used to refer to all environmental ideologies, when it is in reality a single discourse. Out of the many solutions proffered for saving the world, the concept of Sustainable Development has risen to the top of viable ecological discourses. Why? What is it about Sustainable Development that has made it the buzzword of these environmentally unsure times?

Sustainable Development grew from the work of the World Commission on Environmental Development (WCED)[i], at a 1987 conference mandated by the United Nations to accomplish three objectives:

1. Re-examine critical environment and development issues and formulate realistic procedures for dealing with them.

2. Propose new forms of international cooperation on these issues; and,

3. Raise the levels of understanding and commitment to action.

Contemporary definitions of Sustainable Development are mostly a product of this conference and their published report, Our Common Future (1987), a document promising a combined prescription to issues of ecology, economy, development and growth, social justice, and intergenerational equity. According to these definitional benchmarks, Sustainable Development requires that poverty and global inequalities be eliminated before environmental issues can be resolved.

Growth is an essential concept of Sustainable Development. Economy has become inextricably connected with ecology. As it becomes increasingly apparent that environmental problems have global effects, this interdependence effectively eliminates the old political systems of national compartmentalization. According to the WCED, social, economic and political inequalities among nations are the main culprits of environmental problems. In light of these concepts, the WCED proposed the following prescriptive:

1) global democratization;
2) effective limits management;
3) population growth in harmony with the productivity of the ecosystem;
4) global equalization through “fair-sharing” of resources; and,
5) management on an international civic levels rather than the local or state level.

Most importantly, the WCED cautions that Sustainable Development requires global cooperation—not hierarchies and competition.

Sustainable development concepts are also based on the premise that the economy and the environment can be brought into global harmonic cooperation. As the World Commission on Environment and Development reported:

…We have in the more recent past been forced to face up to a sharp increase in

economic interdependence among nations. We are now forced to accustom ourselves

to an accelerating ecological interdependence among nations. Ecology and economy

are becoming ever more interwoven—locally, regionally, nationally, and

globally—into a seamless net of causes and effects.
The recession of 08/09 has made clear global economic interdependence. An example of how Sustainable Development theories are congruent with economic theories is apparent in the issues of dependence on foreign oil supplies and Western societies unquenchable thirst for oil. Under the Obama Administration, this has prompted the creation of new regulations regarding fuel usage and alternate fuels in the auto industry. New regulations, such as a 35mpg minimum requirement on new vehicles within the next few years, are not only important to the economics and future in the global market for US automakers, but also addresses all related environmental issues of procuring, processing, storing, distrubuting, and consuming gasoline. At the same time, it encourages the growth and development of sustainable industry and a sustainable world.

Works Cited in this blog:

[i] Copyright © World Commission on Environment and Development 1987. Reprinted from Our Common Future (1987).

Retired Generals, Admirals Consider Oil Dependence A Security Risk

c 2009 kimmarie rojas
Reprinted 1/2010 krojas

01-06-10 -- KOLO covers NSML introduction of ballot initiative language | Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws

Detractors of sensible marijuana laws still have their logic backwards and need to learn the basics of Ven diagrams: That all "hard drug" abusers have used marijuana does not mean that all marijuana users are "hard drug" abusers. (All poodles are dogs but not all dogs are poodles.)

01-06-10 -- KOLO covers NSML introduction of ballot initiative language Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws