Entry 2: "The True Cost of Gadgets"

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Select a quotation from "The True Cost of Gadgets."  Please note this reading is online so you may cut and paste the quotation into the comment box.  Make it a longer quotation. Then say why you picked that particular quotation.

We will not discuss much the most important issues raised in this article, the ones concerning the affect of the consumer society upon the ecosystem.  But it's a good place to begin since it does illustrate in a broad way the importance of looking at the consumer society in some detail.

And some of the things the author has to say do relate to things we discussed last quarter.

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"The researchers discovered that at the age of four, children could identify about 30 percent of the wildlife and a hand­ful of Pokemon. But by age eight, children were identifying nearly 80 percent of the Pokemon and barely half of the common wildlife species."(200)

I find this quotation interesting because I can relate my own experience to it. I can be asked to identify video games' characters and then to identify famous people, and I would most likely be able to identify more video games' characters. As technological improvements are made and children prefer to spend more time in front of a screen, their interaction with the environment and their surroundings dramatically decreases. I think this is something society must be aware of because one of the main characteristics that we have is that we are social beings, and it is disappearing.

“These electronics may make our lives easier, but I often question whether they are making our lives better. People tap away on Black Berries and personal computers during meetings. They take cell phone calls during the birth of their children and play video games for days at a time, virtually without a break. They walk down the street listening to MP3 players, lost in their own worlds. We seem to be plugged in twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That strikes me as decidedly unbalanced.”
This quote stood out to me because it described exactly what I see every day on this campus. When I ride my bike to class I see people passing each other on the side walk ignoring one another. Everyone is in their own little world. No one walking makes eye contact with anyone else; all of them are focused on their own screen. I do this too when I walk from class to class. I can’t help it I like text messaging and listening to my ipod while walking around campus. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I did make eye contact with those I pass in the hallways. Maybe I could make a new friend, but I’ll never know because I’m focused on my gizmo.

- "But when the world of fantasy, of television, video games, and computers becomes the only outlet for our sense of wonder, then I think we are really missing something. We are missing a connection with the living world with which we share common histories, life cycles, and even segments of our genetic code. Fascinating other worlds exist all around us. But even more interesting is that if we look closely enough, we can see that these worlds are really part of our own"(pg. 200)

- I chose this quotation because I highly agree with it. I think people have so much enthusiasm to learn, see, and experience new things and they are looking for all of this in "...the world of fantasy, of television, video games, and computers..." They are putting all of their time as well as money into these gadgets when in reality all they have to do is step outside into the real world and more than likely find the same excitement. Rather than trying to connect to a world that doesn't exist, people should try harder and take the time to try to connect to the world we are already in.

"In fact, paradoxically, being electronically connected all the time has actually made us less social and less community-oriented. Increasingly, we focus on the visual stimuli that captivate us as consumers rather than the gamut of emotions that make us human. We start to see technology as the mother of human inventiveness, not its progeny. We assume that technology will solve all our problems, including the environmental ones..." (195-6).
The reason why i chose this quote was because it summarizes the authors main point. It begins by introducing the problem of being constantly connected, leading to using only one of our five senses the most, and ending with our expectations of technology solving all our problems. I think we are becoming less social because we are all minding our own business thats happening on the screens. When it comes to the author saying we use our eyes or sight the most, i am not sure if i fully agree; I think i use them all the same. Technology is a big factor in everyone's daily life and i do believe many of us assume technology will solve most of our problems, but not all, because technology itself is a problem.

“We mustn't forget to feed our other senses. Right now, they're starving, and that may not be good for our mental or physical health.”
I chose this quote because I agree with it. We tend to let technology do the “feeding” for us. I see technology fast food. It’s quick and simple. It’s always there and it never fails to feed us. However, it isn’t the healthiest way to feed our senses. Technology prevents us from thinking for ourselves. Unlike books, they are the healthy food source. Yes it takes longer and it takes more time to digest, but they help us gain critical thinking skills and we learn how to analyze from reading. In the longer run the healthier food source is the one that doesn’t require as much technology because it leads to progressive thinking and thought which is good for our mental and physical health.

"Ultimately we're not electronic beings; we're biological ones.
We have millions of years of evolution programmed into
our cells, programming that's infinitely more complex than
anything we've created with our shiny new and exciting technologies.
Patterns of nature are hardwired into who we are as
a species and as individuals. To try to tear ourselves from this
biological fabric is not only futile, it's self-destructive."

I picked this quotation because the author tries to emphasize that even though technology is advancing, humans are and will forever be a part of nature. I also picked this quote because I found it amusing that even with all our brilliance in making rockets and high tech electronics, nature still trumps the human mind; Humans have the capacity to create "exciting technologies" because nature filled us with cells and atoms and gave us life.

"Ultimately we're not electronic beings; we're biological ones.
We have millions of years of evolution programmed into
our cells, programming that's infinitely more complex than
anything we've created with our shiny new and exciting technologies.
Patterns of nature are hardwired into who we are as
a species and as individuals. To try to tear ourselves from this
biological fabric is not only futile, it's self-destructive."

I chose this quote because it stood out to me the most out of the rest of the passage. It relates to the topic from last qurter where it rlates back to that movie where the man is disconnecting the computer and they're portraying it as the man being the unemotional one. I don't know it just reminded me of that but yeah it feels like we are turning into electronic beings and this wuote is there to remind us that we aren't and that we should never become like that.

“But while my world was full of nature's delights, today's children face a world dominated by consumer delights” (206).

I picked this quote because it seems to be true. At least in my personal experience , I can see that children no longer enjoy playing outside with mud or insects or swings but would rather stay indoors and play with their PS3s, PSPs, their rockbands, their laptops, or connected on the web with their favorite social network “Club Penguin." I can also see the way advertisement been taken in by children. At the tender age of four my nephews knew what MySpace, Coca Cola, Johnny Test, Disneyland, and Lucky Charms were. They even understood the difference between a BMW and a Nisan. I remember my nephew would cry when my brother wanted to take him home in the Nisan because he wanted to be taken in the BMW. At this young age my nephew knew that BMW was a better brand. At the time it was funny to see such a little baby complaining about going home in a Nisan but now that I reflect, it’s a very scary thought to see the way advertisement gets absorbed by infants.

"So while I learned the names of other living creatures, kids today are far more likely to learn the names of various products and popular brands. And according to new research, thIS constant assault of brand imagery is reaching our children at earlier and earlier ages. A study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology has found that children as young as two are now to recognize common brand names. Researchers tested some two hundred Dutch children, presenting them with common logos, such as McDonald's, Nike, Mercedes, and Cheetos. Most two-to three-year-olds recognized eight out of twelve logos, and the majority of eight-year-oIds recognized 100 percent of them-including Camel cigarettes and Heineken beer. Researchers found that one of the strongest correlations with higher brand recognition scores was a child's exposure to television. Generally, the more television a child watched.."
I picked this particular quotation because it reminded me of my little cousin. She was six years old and for christmas she asked for an iphone and a pair of UGG boots. On christmas day, I saw how she received her UGG boots and many other brand clothing instead of toys like a child growing up fifteen years ago. When I go back home, I noticed that my twelve year old sister spends most of her time on the computer or watching television or on her Ipod listening to music. I remember when I was my cousins age and my younger sisters age I spend most of my time outside playing and asking for toys for christmas instead of clothing.

But being connected electronically is not the same as being connected physically. In fact, paradoxically, being electronically connected all the time has actually made us less social and less community-oriented. Increasingly, we focus on the visual stimuli that captivate us as consumers rather than the gamut of
emotions that make us human (197).

First and foremost, I thought the wording and the rhythm of these few sentences were greatly constructed and put together. But getting down to the point, everything he mentions I fully agree. Being electronically connected is not the same as being connected physically and I think our society's obsessive usage is a reflection of seeking for that same kind of stimulation present in physical connectivity. It's not the same. We become so focused on the visuals, that we forget one of the most important state of humanity: feeling!

"But while my world was full of nature's delights, today's children face a world dominated by consumer's delights. Instead of a real swamp, their world is often "virtual," consisting more of television, video games, and the internet." (206)
I chose this quote because I agree with the author that today's generation is relying more and more on technology. More children and teenagers are staying indoors watching television and playing video games instead of going outdoors and enjoying nature. Things have changed and technology has practically changed the way we live.

“So, we can thank the engineers and scientists who did the technical work. We can thank the leaders who had the political courage to stand up to nay-saying industrial groups and enact strong regulations. We can thank the health and environmental organizations and the concerned citizens who demanded government take action.

But thanking technology? Sorry, wrong hero. ”

I chose this quote because it made me realize that all the beneficial and detrimental factors associated with technological devices are actually constructed and shaped from its creators. This means that we can not thank or blame technology for any of our problems. Cell phones may take away the quality time we spend with our families, but this is only due to the intentions of cell phone makers, who work day and night to find new ways of attracting us to their products. The more attractive their products, the more people will buy and use them. Therefore, the attractiveness of their products is, in sense, correlated to the amount of money they make. Fortunately, there are organizations and the government created solely for the purpose of preventing such electronic device manufacturers from abusing their powers. We have no one to blame for the consequences of electronic devices, but ourselves.

"Today's youth, especially in big cities, often lead more isolated, insular lives and can be so removed from the natural world that they can't even identify the common plants and animals that live around them."
I picked this quotation because I agree with it.People who live in big cities are isolated from nature. Rather than being surrounded by plants and animals they are surrounded by buildings,cars,etc. I myself can't distinguish some types of trees and plants that I am surrounded by. I believe this is true for other people. Ever since technology was invented people have been losing the ability to identify common plants and animals. People are better at identifying consumer brands than things that live in nature.

"Today's youth, especially in big cities, often lead more isolated, insular lives and can be so removed from the natural world that they can't even the common plants and animals that live around them."
While reading this quotation it made me think how we waste our time in the house watching t.v. or on the computer and forget that there is world outside the door. It shows how we have been growing apart from the natural world rather than becoming part of it.

“ First, while some of these new technologies can reduce our environmental footprint by consuming less energy, for example, or by using less harmful chemicals in their manufacture, the sheer volume of their production soon overwhelms any environmental benefit. From the constant need to upgrade to the latest model to the marketing collateral and the outrageous amount of packaging that comes with even the smallest gizmo, the environmental costs of all this electronic stuff are enormous.”
I picked this quotation from “The True Cost of Gadgets” because it raises a point about how companies advertise their products as being environmentally friendly but what consumers don’t know are the cost of these gadgets. Consumers buy eco friendly products to reduce their electricity bills, to save money and to reduce their carbon foot print. What consumers are not aware of is that these eco friendly products are not made or packaged the same way. The environmentally damaging packaging used to protect products end up in landfills and into the ocean, killing biology and taking up space.

"Ultimately we're not electronic beings; we're biological ones. We have millions of years of evolution programmed into our cells, programming that's infinitely more complex than anything we've created with our shiny new and exciting technologies. Patterns of nature are hardwired into who we are as
a species and as individuals. To try to tear ourselves from this biological fabric is not only futile, it's self-destructive. Rather than fighting our biological nature, we need to embrace the fact that most of who and what we are goes back not just a dozen years, but to the beginning of human history and, in some ways, to the beginning of life itself." Pg. 196

I picked this quote because it shows that we as humans are greater than anything we have ever created. Technology has advanced so much in the last few decades but nothing we have created is nearly as complex as the human body. With this said we shouldn't rely on technology too heavily because we are as capable as the technology we create to complete tasks.

Choosing the right evening bag plays an important role in the production of a woman elegant and refined. Internet is a way to help you select the ideal evening bag.

"Modern life is a communications paradox. We are in touch with each other as never before - cell phones, internet, text messaging, email. In fact, we now have to make an effort not to be in touch with other people"
I chose this quote because we no longer have to put in effort to contact people, now we have to put in effort to have our privacy or to go without constantly being contacted with someone. Technology has made a world of difference in how we interact with other people but this quote exemplifies that we might have gone too far in how "connected" we are.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Tingle published on March 20, 2011 1:04 PM.

Entry 1: Welcome was the previous entry in this blog.

Entry 3: "The Emergence of Consumerism" is the next entry in this blog.

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