Wiki Article #1
1) Abstract: Development of SimCity
Brainchild of developer Will Wright, the game SimCity was first published by Maxis in 1989. Since then, the game has sold over a million copies worldwide and was named the best-selling computer until 2012, including the several different spin offs that were sparked in the process. In SimCity, the player’s main task is to found and develop a city at the same time of maintaining the happiness of the citizens and staying within the city’s budget. The player must define different development zones, which has specific limits to what can be built there. They can either flourish, when specific conditions are met (power supply, transportation) or die. SimCity’s easy and enjoyable task to simulate a realistic city not only became popular among children and teens, but adults of all ages also.
2) Summary: Seeing Like SimCity
In the article Seeing Like SimCity by Rob MacDougall, the author expresses to readers his views on SimCity and the inaccuracy of information that the game provides when being used for education purposes. He begins by saying that according to the news; an open source version of SimCity would be included with every laptop distributed by the Laptop Per Child Project. He explains to readers that using simulation games, such as SimCity, for educational purposes are potentially dangerous to the quality of material being learned by the student and should not be used for such reasons. Also included was a quote from computer scientist Alan Kay, which MacDougall agrees with. Kay stated that the game contained rigid and stupid assumptions that actually teach kids the wrong ideologies and values as opposed to the ones they should actually be learning. For example, if the citizens in the city are suffering from food deprivation, the task in the game would be to build more grocery stores so more food would be available. We all know, in the real world, that lack of food or access to food can play a part in hunger but this is not necessarily the only factor that can contribute to this issue. To children though, this implies that more grocery stores=an end to hunger, which is not accurate in the least.
The popularity of the game, amongst society, has gone from entertainment to education. MacDougall demonstrates the social importance of SimCity mainly by trying to explain to readers why it shouldn’t be used for educational purposes. He also demonstrates its importance culturally; by stating that the simulation games created for game play today erases historical content. He argues that the more you play and learn to directly interact with the game, the less you actually think about history, which in turn, trumps the context of the game.
According to the comments posted below, this post has most definitely generated some debate amongst readers. One commenter, by the name of Trevor Owens, wrote that he disagreed with MacDougall’s idea that playing games could possibly consume the model. He reminded MacDougall of the importance of player agency and the asked whether it was us who consumed the model or if the model consumed us. Another commenter by the name of Alex GalarzaBold text ( :) ), said that he doesn’t believe that he didn’t internalize these fundamental assumptions at all, while playing SimCity in the past. He believes that we’re engaging with the game just like we would another other text. This is a more positive engagement where we can also exercise our own agency in the process. After reading the article, I do not in fact agree with the author’s opinion. Yes, there may be a point where the games tasks and provide inaccurate information to it’s players but I also think it depends on the age and level of development of the player. Older individuals would probably better understand the connection between the game and the real world and successfully separate the two. Even if children do learn inaccurate information from simulation games, as they grow older I think they will realize that results in the game don’t necessarily mean the same in the real world. It’s been a while since I actually played the SimCity but when I did play, I recall having a clear sense of what the game vs. real life was. I had not once thought, the things that occurred in my simulated city would the same outside of the game. Although I do not agree with the author’s opinions, this article was still interesting and informative and I can say that my knowledge in this area has improved because if it.
Works cited: "SimCity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 9 June 2015.
Wiki Article #2
1) SOPA, PIPA, & Anonymous
SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, and PROTECT IP, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, are two bills that basically put all responsibility for how sites are utilized by users, on the website owners. The main goal of these bills are to prevent internet piracy by censoring links that contain infringing content, not actually removing the content. Both SOPA and PIPA try to identify these malicious sites by separating them by domain name, however, the "domestic" vs. "foreign" system used is very problematic and also makes it susceptible to abuse being that some domestic sites have domain names that can easily be mistaken for foreign sites. For example, the article Still Not Clear on SOPA & PIPA by Melissa Fach explained how websites like twitter.com or target.com, are considered to be domestic sites, originating in the US, because they contain ending like .com or .org. On the other hand, sites such as ones that end in ".ly" or ".it" are considered to be foreign. The issue, as presented in the article, is that some sites like redd.it, that are actually domestic, do in fact end in names that can easily be mistaken for foreign sites, while ones that end in "domestics names" can actually be foreign such as thepiratebay.org. Another thing that these bills will do is make it mandatory that all sites pre-censor any illegal or copyright material, which is also a pain. Now, the internet currently complies with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). This act makes it so sites can't censor materials put on their sites until after it is posted.
Anonymous is a widely known international group of network activists, sometimes referred to as hacktivists. The group, whose members can easily be distinguished in public by wearing their famous masks, became known for their series of attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites and celebrities too. Beginning in 2004, Anonymous's main purposes is internet activism/vigilantism and anti-cyber surveillance and censorship.
2) Groups like Anonymous
Groups of hackers such as ones with a similar purpose as Anonymous, mainly relate to movements to protect online privacy by being a primary driving force in helping those that are not capable or powerful enough to protecting themselves, for example, the majority of the general public. Big firms and also the government, have ways of retrieving user data, even the ones they’re not entitled to. The government can use data to do a number of things such as find content that can "potentially" pose a threat to it's citizens and businesses can use data to identify the interests and tendencies of it's consumers in order to make more money, but what about the ones whose information is being used? Many people, like members of Anonymous, believe that this easy access of data to those in “power”, infringe upon our privacy. They also believe that in addition to our rights, we should also have the right to control our digital information. Groups like Anonymous, redefine what power is and show these major organizations that now, like never before, their data isn’t safe either. According to the article Saving Privacy by Reed Hindt, computer scientists are coming up with new ways that allow people to communicate in private without being surveillance by big businesses or government.
3) Edward Snowden
Snowden, a former NSA contractor and CIA employee is widely known for disclosing details of classified United States government information to two journalists, ultimately revealing that the United States government along with some partner countries, are involved in warrantless mass surveillance of it’s citizens. This week’s readings about privacy and online threats relate very closely to recent events surrounding computer specialist Edward Snowden. As mentioned previously, major corporations, in addition to the government, surveillance and utilize our data without our knowledge. In the interview Snowden had with NBC News, Snowden shared with viewers his reasoning’s behind what he did and why. “I think it’s very disingenuous for the government to invoke…the national trauma that we suffered together…to justify programs that have never been shown, to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our constitution says we should not give up.” Snowden along with groups such as Anonymous and people in opposition to SOPA and PIPA all share the common belief that The United States is a democracy and should be treated as such! Infringement upon one’s privacy violates our basic rights, even if for security reasons.
1)Edward Snowden. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden
2) Fach, M. (2012, January 20). Still Not Clear on SOPA & PIPA? Infographic w/Simple Explanations - Search Engine Journal. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
3) Anonymous (group). (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)
4)Havey, Jason (2012) A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP
5)Norton, Quinn (2012) 2011: The Year Anonymous Took On Cops, Dictators and Existential Dread
6) Hart, Vi. (2014) Net Neutrality in the US: Now What?
7) Zetter, Kim (2013) Reddit Cofounder Calls on Google’s Larry Page to Oppose CISPA
8) Sottek, T.C. (2013) The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: CISPA explained
9) Hundt, Reed (2014) Saving Privacy
10) NBC News (2014) Inside the mind of Edward Snowden