Adopt a pet, cat video, dog video, adopt a pet. Please send this to all your friends who love their cats and/or dogs. http://youtu.be/mlk_QrUtFnI
“The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is a virus.” – Joshua Lederberg, Nobel laureate
Thinking about the above quote, it seems ironic that humans are the most intellectual beings on Earth, yet one microscopic virus can wipe out the existence of this intelligent species. This was the driving force in the movie, Outbreak. The movie shows the viewer what the consequence of an uncontainable virus could become. On the one side you have the noble scientists trying to stop the virus and on the other hand you have the personal agendas of the “people in charge.” In thinking about this, one of the themes of the movie is about control. Some examples are:
Another theme in the movie is “for the greater good.” Sam is trying to find the host to cure the virus for the greater good. If the host is found then a vaccine can be made and people will be saved. On the other hand General McClintock and General Ford believe they are fighting for the greater good by keeping the stored original virus and anti-serum a secret and by wiping out the town to keep the virus from spreading. They believe that the military needs access to a virus in case of biological warfare. The movie brings forward the moral issue of asking, “when does the greater good become a reasonable excuse to hurt others?” Who has the authority to make this decision? Environmental issues also raise a concern about the “for the greater good” ideal. For example, the witch doctor’s belief that the virus was a punishment from the gods for cutting trees begs the question of, “when does encroaching into untouched land hurt the greater good?”
The movie also had quite a bit of symbolism throughout.
The way a virus moves through the air:
Some Signifiers of Color:
Some Signifiers of Sound:
Dialogue Signifiers: People use words like killing in reference other than the taking of life:
An “out of the box” thought about Outbreak is to compare it to the Wizard of Oz. This train of thought was derived from when Casey wakes to see Robby and he says “I had such a dream Aunty Em…and you were there, and you were there.”
Then backtracking through the film you can continue the associations: First the colors:
I Love You, but. From the video it seems that hackers see planting viruses as a pastime like golf or playing sports on the weekend. If someone loses data as a result, oh well. However people have rights to privacy and hacking can take that away. Also it is to be taken seriously because it can lead to national security leaks.
The Lovers, we are so dependent on computers for communication in today’s world that should a computer become infected, communication can stop. This installation is a good depiction of how communication can be disrupted once an infection occurs.
What struck me as interesting when reading the poetry was the dichotomy of the content to the singsong of the rhyming. The poems that fit into this category are:
These poems are referring to death and yet, when read out loud they can seem almost merry or whimsical. Some people do look at death as moving on to a better place so maybe these are written as a celebration rather than as mourning.
In the other poems I could not find a rhythm. They were written, to me, more in a narrative format.
Virus Goes Viral
The words virus and viral were first used to describe illnesses. As technology has advanced and people now have instant access to information, the words have morphed into technological references.
Since the words have morphed into other meanings it is thought provoking with the entendres they connotate. First, we have the traditional sense of the word: In the readings, virus is defined by Nobel Prize winner, Peter Medawar as “a piece of nucleic acid surrounded by bad news.” This kind of virus enters the body, may undergo multiple mutations and end up as a disease, potentially very harmful. This is an example of a virus going viral within the body.
Since these diseases are contagious, as people spread the disease it becomes “viral.” Oldstone discusses the concept of disease becoming viral throughout history. Small pox goes back as far as 10,000 B.C.; plagues were in China in 48 A.D and in Japan by 585 A.D. By 1000 A.D. smallpox had spread from Japan to Spain to Africa and to the Mediterranean Sea. Europe had outbreaks of Smallpox by the 16th century. It went on to Cuba then Mexico. Smallpox reached Hawaii by 1853. In North America the settlers even used the virus as a very early form of biological warfare by giving infected blankets to the Indians to wipe them out.
The first entendre is the use of the word virus for the infection of a computer. The first time the word virus was used in this sense, it was defining a self-producing program in a short story in Galaxy magazine by David Gerrold. He also used the term in his novel, When HARLIE Was One. “In that novel, a sentient computer named HARLIE writes viral software to retrieve damaging personal information from other computers to blackmail the man who wants to turn him off.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_virus
The term virus eventually became the “catch all” phrase to describe all malware.
It is not known when the word viral was first used to mean circulating very quickly. The earliest use of the word was in reference to viral marketing and believed to be attributed to Tim Draper and Jeffrey Rayport from The Harvard School of Business. Rayport popularized the term in an article, The Virus of Marketing in 1996 for Fast Company. Then the term was used by Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1997 to describe Hotmail adding advertising to outgoing mail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing
Now the word viral is connected to anything that is spread very quickly, however it is used mostly with videos. An example of a video that has gone “viral” with 88,841,994 hits since May 1, 2011 can be seen at:
The second entendre of the words virus and viral are the words themselves. Over time, since the words were first used to define a corruption in a computer and the rapid spread of information people have clung to the terms, making the words themselves viral.
It is interesting to me that the word virus alludes to something bad, but the word viral, as it is used in the digital world, alludes to something good.
As Oldstone relays in the readings, we still have new diseases that now can be spread very quickly with the rapid travel we have today. We also have the threat of biological warfare with countries housing numerous viruses, some manmade. In today’s world we will continue to have computer viruses and information becoming viral; Unfortunately the same is true for disease.