Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Random Thoughts Pertaining to HONR 4010 Theme: Library vs. Bookstore Economy

I'm thinking about the mapping project.
This mapping project.
A girl in class wearing a red shirt asked if she could do her map 3D.
Dr. Nickerson said his would be 4D
And everyone laughed, but not me, because I know what the 4th Dimension is.
(So did Dr. Nickerson. Time. He wasn't kidding.)
Where did I learn this?
One time I stumbled onto a video explaining the 10 Dimensions.
Wow was it cool. Wow was it mind boggling.
I love stumbling.
I love Firefox.

(P.S. Look what I found while stumbling!)

Can a melody be a meme?
Like Dias Irea, the death motif from clear back in the Middle Ages.
It's in all sorts of things: the movie "The Ring," Berlioz's "Symphony Fantastique," heck, we played it in band today in one of the movements in "The Epic of Gilgamesh."
Media allows memes to travel...little "Swimming memes"
Ha ha. Funny.
These little memes swimming through media waves can sweep through the world in seconds thanks to the internet.
(I love Firefox.)
Do animals have memes?
Once I saw some monkeys on TV.
One was taught to work this little "monkey slot machine" that gave her a treat if she pulled the levers and pushed the buttons in the right order.
Then other monkeys in her little group watched her do it, then they all took a turn and they could do it too. On the first try--just from watching.
It was all the rage.
Then they took the "slot machine" and let the enemy monkeys in the cage across the way try it, and just from watching a those other ones do it, who weren't even the same type (in fact one type of monkey would kill and eat the other type of monkey if they were together.) well, anyway, those monkeys could do it on their first try too, and they were in a zoo. It wasn't like some scientist was holding down said enemy monkeys and making them watch. They had other things they could be doing like climbing on their jungle gym or picking fleas out of one another, or just sitting somewhere out of sight, but some watched and learned and imitated. That's what memes are: "any thought or behavior that can be passed from one person [or perhaps monkey] to another by means of imitation." (thanks Wikipedia, even though you are often unreliable. I won't even get started on that from my intellectual/history major viewpoint.) Memes are often in the form of fashion trends, like in Korea when every girl had one of those velcro monkeys around her neck for about 2 weeks. That meme passed quick.

A library is a giant reservoir of memes say Dr. Nickerson.
Memes go out of style, but we keep a record, and sometimes they come back. Like bell bottoms. Museums are meme reservoirs. One guy in class pointed out that DI is a big meme reservoir. "Don't mind me, I'm just going to that big storehouse of memes next to Central Park" or "I'm going to go study at the meme reservoir where it's quiet." Or, "Hey, I could really use a 25 cent shirt, I'm going to go shop at Dated Meme Industries."

Libraries are today's Oral Tradition. Not that it's oral...it's what has taken that place. Instead of having someone keep our stories in their brains for us, everything is stored in books, newspapers, etc. and that all ends up at the library. Of course before libraries came around written language replaced oral tradition. Did you know The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in the first written language? Not the music I played in band today, but the actual epic. But still weird how things end up linking, isn't it?

My phone's ringing. In class today Dr. Petersen told us the flip phone comes from an idea on Star Trek. I've never watched Star Trek, but that's still pretty cool. So obviously science fiction can influence technology. They were making comic books about going to space before anyone actually did it. But what do you bet those NASA engineers and Sputnik creators read those comic books as a kid and dreamt? Ok, so I'm not sure if that kind of stuff was popular in the Soviet Union, but possibly. When I wrote my senior thesis last semester there was a girl who wrote her thesis at the same time and her's was on how science fiction affected history. (Because we're history majors.) But really, technology is part of history. What American history class have you taken that didn't cover the cotton gin or the Industrial Revolution? Ever heard of Johannes Gutenberg and his movable type? That changed history. "My favorite tall tale is about Eli Whitney and his interchangeable parts." I can't remember who said that, but it's still pretty awesome and somewhat relevant since I was talking about inventions and the cotton gin, which also happened to be invented by Eli Whitney.

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