Wiki Article # 1: SimCity/Micropolis- Stimulating Detroit
The History of SimCity'
SimCity was first developed by game designer William Wright. He got his inspiration from a feature on the game Raid on Bungeling Bay, which allowed him to create his own maps during development. Finding that he loved creating maps more than he playing the game, he created SimCity. In his development of SimCity, Wright cultivated his love of the intricacies and theories of urban planning; while at the same time acknowledging the influence of System Dynamics, developed by Jay Wright Forrester. Wright also got inspiration from the short story "The Seventh Sally," by Stainslaw Lem. SimCity reflected Wright's approval of mass transit and disapproval of nuclear power. The first version was developed was Commodore 64 by Maxis and released in 1989. In 2008 the game's original source code was released under the free software GPL 3 under the name Micropolis(the original working name).
What's Your Objective? Stimulating Detroit
The objct of the game is to build effective, working, functioning city. The player has the has the option of designating commercial, industrial, or residential zones for their city, just like a real city. Also like a real city they can build businesses and houses, collect taxes, build transportation systems, and may other action to enhance the city. Along with that they are responsible for maintaining the crime rate, unemployment rate, natural disasters and any other disaster that may be fall the city. In the Detroit scenario it is 1972 and by this time the city has fallen on hard times. Due to competition from over sea automobile factories, the Big 3 are no longer very lucrative; along with other economic problems has plunged the city into recession. With plummeting and unemployment crime in the inner city has increased to chronic levels. The scenario then gives you 10 years to reduce crime and rebuild the city. The author of the article, Mark Sample, goes on to point out that this scenario is based around the city's automotive industry. He points out that the condition of the crime rate is based on the success of the auto industry, not unemployment or even race. He goes on to show that in just 2 years his own 'city' is a utter failure. The crime rate is out of control and the President is getting ready to send in the National Guard. He states that it had nothing to do with race and that it was simple a bunch of mobs taking over. He goes as far as saying his city is whitewashed. He makes it quit clear that race is not the important factor in the failure of the city. By all standards the game has been made simple and stripped down to its core system by getting rid of all computational, historical, and ideological limitations; which is the purpose of all stimulations. Basically all you have to do in the game is make a successful, functional city in the allotted time frame using the scenario that you choose, all while knowing that your city depends on the success of the auto industry and not the race of the people living there..
So What's the Point of it All?
In stimulating Detroit, the author points out that Will Wright choose a time period that the game players could relate to, 1972. He points out that during this period, even though the scenario description completely glosses over it, the city was still trying to recover from the riots just five years before. The description says that along with the decline of the auto industry, the city was suffering from other economic problems. Any player of the game with knowledge of the city's history can infer that that statement includes the high unemployment rate, less than stellar living conditions, and poverty as a result of the 67 race riots. Mark Sample, makes it clear that the riots were as much a factor to the city's decline as the recession of the auto industry.
What are Your Thoughts?
After reading the few comment left on this post, it was clear that everyone was in agreement about one thing: how to accurately represent race without being offensive. Like Mark Sample, they all agreed that while the stimulation was a great one to try and win, the race riots were an important part of that time period and probably shouldn't have been just glossed over. I, myself, agree with both the author and the commenters. It's great that these stimulations are kept simple as not to offend anybody, but how can we accurately portray a historical period in time in a game if we are not willing to push the limits and portray both the acceptable and the controversial facts. As commenter Trevor Owens stated, history wasn't this whitewashed version that video games tend to portray and that if we are going to portray it correctly then it is going to be offensive to somebody, that is inevitable and unavoidable. I have never played the game, but I'd be interested in seeing it I can make my city more successful than Mark did, even knowing that there is no mention of race, an important factor in the Detroit scenario time period.
Sample, M. (2012, February 14). Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races | Play The Past. Retrieved from http://www.playthepast.org/?p=2474
SimCity (1989 video game) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimCity_(1989_video_game)
Wiki Article # 2: Let's Talk About Hackers
Using this week’s assigned readings as a starting point, give a succinct explanation of what Anonymous, SOPA, and PIPA (Protect IP) are.
With each passing year the government comes up with new ways to try to limit what is put on the internet and what is done on the internet; and every year people come up with ways to move around those boundaries. They is always groups who use their skills to outsmart the federal government, and give internet freedom to all. One of those groups is known as Anonymous. Anonymous started as a self-serving group of unknown hackers that gradually morphed into what they are today. They are known as hacktivists. They find ways to “take over” the internet and give freedom to those who are being oppressed. The type of oppression don’t matter to Anonymous as long as they can help. Furthermore they also fight against any form of government that tries to infringe on your internet privacy. They are known for being vicious and ruthless although surprisingly entertaining; with a take no prisoners pointe of view. They have recently started to fight for racial equality and have allegedly shut down local websites protesting in the wake of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice shootings. On the flip side of those fighting to keep internet privacy, there are those trying to end it. Two proposed bills that fought to limit/end internet privacy were SOPA and PIPA. Though they claimed that they wanted to enforce laws against copyright infringement and protect intellectual property, they potentially had the effect to stifle freedom of speech. They both failed to pass. Recently another bill called CISPA has been proposed. CISPA’s intention is just not solely on fighting copyright infringement, but also to fight “cyber threats.” This bill is a serious threat to internet privacy because it allows the government access to your private information without keeping your identity a secret. No longer will you be able to post whatever you want without it being know. The government will be able to monitor all of your activity. All this would be done without your permission and with no liability from the government.
How do groups of hackers, like Anonymous, relate to movements to protect online privacy?'
Groups like Anonymous have made it their mission to fight laws and bills that threaten internet privacy. They hack websites and post their own messages to get their agenda across. They send coded messages to their followers that the government can’t understand in order to strengthen their support numbers and keep their protests strong. They have been known to shut down whole websites and release personal, private information as a way to fight for the cause. Just last year it when SONY was hacked, Anonymous threatened retribution even though they realized that the North Korean government wasn’t responsible. Groups like Anonymous and Guardians of Peace just want to maintain privacy and freedom of speech both on and off the internet.
How do these readings relate to and illuminate the recent events surrounding Edward Snowden?
These readings relate to Edward Snowden because he risked his lively hood to fight for the cause. Snowden used to work for CIA and contracted to NSA as a computer analyst and had the inside on lots of important information. To him, a lot of this information was controversial and needed to be shared with the American public. Basically Snowden let it be known to the general public that the U.S government was spying on its people through the internet and telephone without their knowledge. Though the general public held him as a hero, others saw him as a traitor and he was forced to seek temporary asylum in Russia to avoid prison time. Most people, especially the current generation are thankful to Snowden. In a generation that believes so highly in privacy, Snowden let them know that their government was a threat to all that they held dear. Like Anonymous and Guardians of Peace all Snowden wanted to do was ensure that people knew that their rights were being violated and threated. These are the groups of people who fight bills like SOPA and PIPA and CISPA. These are the people who believe in the right to privacy.
Edward Snowden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden#Release_of_NSA_documents
Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme - BBC News. (2014, January 17). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23123964
Harvey, J. (2012, January 17). blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP. Retrieved from http://www.redditblog.com/2012/01/technical-examination-of-sopa-and.html
Norton, Q. (2012, January 11). 2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators and Existential Dread | WIRED. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2012/01/anonymous-dicators-existential-dread/all/1
RICKROLLED. (2014, December 20). Sony Hackers Guardians of Peace Troll FBI, Anonymous Convinced Hack Didn't Come From North Korea - The Daily Beast. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/20/sony-hackers-guardians-of-peace-troll-fbi-fbi-is-the-best-in-the-world.html
Sottek, T. (2012, April 27). The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: CISPA explained | The Verge. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/27/2976718/cyber-intelligence-sharing-and-protection-act-cispa-hr-3523
Williams, B., & NBC. (May 29). Edward Snowden Interview - NBC News [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/edward-snowden-interview
Zetter, K. (2013, April 18). Reddit Cofounder Calls on Google's Larry Page to Oppose CISPA | WIRED. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/04/reddit-opposes-cispa/