The Review: Hollywood Studios Edition

When I first went to Disney World in college, Hollywood Studio’s had to be my lest favorite park. There was three rides (that I did love) and main street. Beyond that, there was nothing to do! I always counted this as a half day park. Well things have certainly changed since then! From my time at Walt Disney World some things are ‘must dos’ where other things can (or should) be skipped! Here’s my opinion!

Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Do Rides:

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Starring Aerosmith)
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania (Depending on Wait Times – I could go either way)
Photo by Kate Schaal
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Eat:

  • Green or Blue Milk at the Milk Stand (It’s a must try)
  • Lunch Box tarts from Woody’s Lunch Box
  • Bavarian Pretzel from Baseline Tap House (to go with a flight perhaps?)
  • Galactic Cold Brew (topped with sweet cream cheese and cocoa puffs) at Joffery’s

Must Watch:

  • Fantasmic!

Must Skip:

  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Star Tours

The Review: Animal Kingdom Edition

Animal Kingdom has to be my favorite park. It has amazing scenery, a really upbeat vibe and has lots of different things to do! From my time at Walt Disney World some things are ‘must dos’ where other things can (or should) be skipped! Here’s my opinion!

Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Do Rides:

  • Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Eat:

  • Night Blossom Drink in Pandora
  • Street Corn from Harambe Market
  • French Toast Sticks from Pongu Pongu
  • Mr. Kamal’s Seasoned Fries
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Watch:

  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Performers in Harambe Market
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Skip:

  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue .. and Beyond
  • It Tough to be a Bug

The Review: Magic Kingdom Edition

Magic Kingdom is the park people think about when they envision Disney World. The castle, the princesses, and the fireworks. From my time at Walt Disney World some things are ‘must dos’ where other things can (or should) be skipped! Here’s my opinion!

Must Do Rides:

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • People Mover
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Tea Cups
Photo by Kate Schaal
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Eat:

  • Dole Whip from Aloha Isle Refreshments
  • Cheeseburger Spring Roll from the Spring Roll Cart
  • Wendell’s Bear Claw from Westward Ho
  • Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  • Cinnamon Roll from Gaston’s
Photo by Kate Schaal
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Watch:

  • Country Bear Jamboree (I said it!)
  • Happily Ever After Firework Show
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Dapper Dans sing on Main Street
Photo by Kate Schaal

Must Skip:

  • Hall of Presidents
  • It’s a Small World (Again, I stick by this!)
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

Pets and People Together: How should you respond?

Public Service Announcement Videos (PSAs) are everywhere. PSA’s are communication campaigns that are supposed to bring its viewers to action in a straightforward manner. But how do you get people to act?

I find that the best way to talk about this is in the context on an example. Please watch the below PSA – then we can chat more on the topic!

“Muse :30 | Pets and People Together” Ad Council Video

Well, what did you think? Are you called to take action? Did you feel an emotional response?

What is the PSA Attempting to do?

I believe that you can tell a good PSA from how well it educates its viewers, elicits an emotional response, and allows the viewer the opportunity to take action.

The above video tells a story, tugs at your heart stings and calls its viewers to take action all in thirty seconds. If you’ve read James Price Dillard and Eugenia Peck’s “Affect and Persuasion: Emotional Responses to Public Service Announcements” then you know that how people respond emotionally determines how successful they deem the video.

“PSAs deal with social problems and unpleasant issues” and “many attempt to […] evoke an emotional response in the audience.”

Dillard and Peck (2000)

How do Emotions Fit in With This?

According to Dillard and Peck, “emotional response to the PSAs played an important role in […] perceived effectiveness”. In their study, they knew that unless emotion was evoked, the people would rate the PSA as ineffective in its overall goal. In our example above, did the PSA evoke emotion in you?

Though the story, you could see the bond between the woman and her cat. I felt their love and friendship bringing me positive, happy emotions. I was invested! When we find our the poor kitty is sick, I’m pulled from one extreme to another feeling the woman’s sadness and fear. Luckily the community members step up and the cat receives the help it needs. We’re shown “Be a helper” along with “Donate to pet care. Find a lost pet. Foster a pet.”. I feel relief and know exactly what I should be doing to help!

Why do we Feel Moved to Help?

Dillard and Peck say “Emotions […] influence judgments, which then influence attitude toward the issue”. Lets review my emotions through these thirty seconds. I felt friendship, love, joy, fear, sadness, empathy, and lastly relief.

I agree with Dillard and Peck when they stated, “feelings are used to inform decision making” and that “some emotions seem to enhance message acceptance, whereas others inhibit it”. Were the emotions I listed above on their list of emotions that enhance message acceptance? How do we know which emotion made me want to act after watching that PSA?

Donate, your help is needed, please donate now
by StymShinji

What do Different Emotions Evoke?

Here’s exactly what Dillard and Peck discover through their study:

  • “Felling good informs the individual that the current situation is safe”.
  • “Feeling bad signals that something is amiss and that the individual would do well to determine the nature of the problem”.
  • “Negative emotions signal problems and positive emotions signal safety”.
  • “Guilt emerged” through the study and “guilt corresponded with greater acceptance of the message”.
  • “Happiness was associated with increased message acceptance” – Happiness promotes “passivity rather than action” though.
  • “Fear manifested a significant positive association with perceived message effectiveness” and “fear is easily aroused”.

To me, these findings are very thought provoking. The more we learn about what causes people to act, the more public service announcements can customize their message to optimize the number of people who act.

I would say, continuing with our pet PSA example, that the happiness I felt through watching their bond and through relief increased the messages acceptance. The fear I felt when we saw the pet needed help made the message more effective. Lastly, the overall good feeling made this PSA feel safe. I think what Dillard and Peck found with their study perfectly explains why I accepted the message and felt the need to act at the end.

by lmproulx “Smiley Face”

How are Emotions Different for Mood?

Dillard and Peck emphasize that there are “important differences in the nature of mood and emotion”. How?

Well, “Mood is often viewed as a diffuse background affect of uncertain cause” and “Emotions are thought to be specific, focused and foregrounded in consciousness”. So your mood can sometime come on without you even being aware of why. Emotions are more specific, we can locate where they came from and why.

In a good mood? We can make guesses why but most of the time it just happens. Feeling sadness? You know why. You watched a sad movie, you found out your dog is sick, you spilled your drink onto your new rug. This is why emotions are easier to look at, they’re specific. When the participants in the study came in, they were asked to leave their moods out of it and only focus on the emotions that arouse from the PSA itself.

This is an important distinction!

Lets Tie it All Together!

Donate, your help is needed, please donate now
by StymShinji

So you’ve watched the PSA. It made you feel a certain way and because of that you will either find that public service announcement to be effective or ineffective in causing you to act.

Guilt = Increased Message Acceptance

Happiness = Increased Message Acceptance but people felt passive after watching rather than taking action on the issue.

Fear = Increased Message Effectiveness and can persuade people into acting

You can like a PSA but that doesn’t mean you find it effective (which is why we’ve focused so much on its acceptance and effectiveness rather than how much the researchers ‘liked’ it)

So overall, perhaps the best public service announcements are the ones that seem to evoke happiness, guilt and fear. You can like a Public Service Announcement but that doesn’t mean you think its effective in calling its viewers to action. There are still studies that need to be done to look further into these but for now … what do you think?

Do you think that specific emotions can make you more likely to act on something?

References:

Dillard, J. P., & Peck, E. (n.d.). Affect and Persuasion: Emotional Responses to Public Service Announcements. In SAGE Social Science Collections (pp. 461–495). essay.

The History of Photographing Mans Best Friend

The year was 1816 but one fact remained the same, even then – People loved their dogs.

A woman named Josephine Niepce invented the first Camera. Her inspiration? Wanting to capture an image of her beloved dog.

People were stunned and the wealthy dog owners lined up for the opportunity to have a photo taken with their beloved pooches.

Leighton, R. The New Book of the Dog. Commons.wikimedia.org

It wouldn’t be until 1840’s when more common dog owners could afford to participate in this trend as well.

Family poses with a dog sitting on a chair” by simpleinsomnia is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Cordelia Knott with child, dog and turkey on Knott family homestead, Newberry Springs, 1910s” by Orange County Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Moving into the 1920’s, camera’s became available for the general public to own, the number of pet photos sky rockets!

In 1948, the Polaroid Camera was invented. It’s was invented by dog owners who simply couldn’t wait for their film to be developed to see their pets!

Polaroid man and dog” by anyjazz65 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

1984 Digital Cameras came around that allowed its users to view photos instantly but discard unwanted images. If your hounds eyes are shut you’d know then and there!

Color Photography began to pop up 1960’s and ’70’s

Photograph – Bernice Kopple, Dogs and Cacti, Australia, 1970s” by Unknown photographer is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Starting in the early 2000’s people are able to take photos on the cell phones

Selfie with a stray” by philos from Athens is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

One the camera phone was invented – so were selfies and no ones perfected the selfie like the dog.

Richmond Animal League” by Gamma Man is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In current times, a photo of a dog is still precious but more common. We see them on social media, framed at home or work, as screen savors on peoples phones and even as videos. This doesn’t mean they’re any less special though.

“My dog on your screen” by Katherine Schaal
“My Old Screensaver” by Katherine Schaal

As a Dog Mom myself, I can say that I will use any opportunity to show off a picture of my pup and I’m glad that we have the technology available to do so.

“My Pup” by Katherine Schaal

Reflective Essay:

When creating my Photo Essay assignment, I immediately gravitated towards the untrue option. It’s very rare we, as students, are provided an opportunity to truly create and story tell. While looking through the topic options I thought about articles I enjoy perusing through personally. I enjoy learning the history of things especially when photos are involved. The background of something is often more interesting than just the topic itself. To make the “History of Photography” topic more exciting and tailored more towards my interests, I decided to add dogs! Not everyone is a dog person, but I’m sure everyone can appreciate the love between a pet and their owner. I then attempted to tell the story of photos of dogs through time.

I knew in my head what I wanted this to look like but not being able to ‘steal’ others photos off of a simple Google search added a level of difficulty I wasn’t expected. I never thought of this act as “stealing” until after this lesson but I see now that those photos belong to the individuals who created them and using them without permission is wrong. I had made some compromises on my overall vision though. My original thought was to use almost the same pose but show it through different decades and from using different mediums. I thought “a woman holding a dog” would be easy enough, but alas it was not. I would say I spend the majority of my time just trying to find good photos to use.

I attempted to keep each photo head on at eye level with the subject (the dogs) as the main focus of the pictures. I also attempted to keep each photograph believable for its time period. I found the approximate dates the landmarks were happening as they say the best lies are based on truth but with so little words its hard to truly tell the history. I thought portrait shots best told this story since each item was supposed to be ‘man’ and ‘mans best friend’. This helped build the environment and its characters.

I narrated the timeline with quick, concise ‘facts’ of each event being portrayed. An example of my thought structure was, “This lady invented the camera – insert photo of lady. People loved it – insert photo of people.”, and so on.

The technique I often see when people share historic information is simple – following a timeline. I began in 1816 when the first camera was actually invented and move forward in time from there. I thought of different possible monumental moments and technological advances, like color photos, digital, polaroid and so on and developed a timeline from there.

I ended the timeline at current day. I think looking at the photos from start to finish shows the dramatic changes and the evolution of photography. Of course, I ended with my clincher photo which I fell ended the story and proved the overall point. The point being people love their dogs. (Also, a shameless opportunity to share some pictures of my own puppy.)

Little Yellow Breakfast Tray

This image was found on creativecommons.org and its an image of a little yellow breakfast tray with a variety of breakfast options on it.

What is Creative Commons? According to the Wikimedia Foundation video I watched, “Creative Commons is a set of licenses that enable lawful collaboration to do things like copy, remix and share” other peoples works/ properties. Once something is made by someone (a photo or document for example) its automatically protected by Copy Rights. If you have Creative Commons Licenses, its free to use as long as you properly site and follow any rules that author listed.

What is Universal Design? Products and environments should be designed to be usable by all people. Accessible to all whether or not they have a disability or impairment (permanent, temporary or situational). Legally, as a content creator, I have obligations to make my content accessible. Ethically, I have responsibilities as well.

Citation for Photo:

Kilgast, S. Yellow Breakfast Tray. Creativecommons.org. https://www.flickr.com/photos/_sk/3643658623/

What is the Internet?

I use to believe that it was magic that floated around us, connecting to things in an unknown way, able to tell us anything we wanted to know at any time. In fact, from time to time it still feels that way to me. You can’t see it, yet you know its there. It makes all of my favorite things work. It makes my life so much easier. Could you imagine going back to large paper maps for road trips? Or spending hours in a library, looking through encyclopedias for research? The internet has greatly improved our lives. With every positive is a negative though.

Would you believe that this is what the internet looks like?

Looks a lot less magical than I pictured …

This isn’t exactly the ‘internet’ but it is a data center. These data centers store and process all of the information that’s on the internet. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google all use facilities like these. With large data centers comes even larger uses of energy.

With demand continuously growing, so to are these data centers. More people are working from home. More items use or connect to the internet. More past times include being connected. The average person spends 415.5 minutes or more a day on the internet. That’s almost 7 hours a day.

If you’re anything like me, then your also multitasking different systems at once, all using the internet. I’m scrolling Facebook on my phone, while listening to a movie on my television, while my Alexa is counting down the moments until my Ring doorbell should alert me that my food delivery is here!

What’s the Problem?

The servers in these centers produce a huge amount of emissions, meaning that the internet is using a lot of energy and leaving behind a huge carbon footprint. Most electricity used for these centers are non-renewable.

This fact has killed any remnants of ‘magic’ left in my mind.

Jeff Kettle wrote that “Research estimates that by 2025, the IT industry could use 20% of all electricity produced and emit up to 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions”.  According to websitecarbon.com, “The internet consumes […] 416.2TWh of electricity each year. To give you some perspective, that’s more than the entire United Kingdom”. That same website allow web designer to search their own website to see how they’re contributing to all of this.

If you’re reading this blog post, then you’re producing 0.20g of CO2 and this is just a tiny website. The website https://www.websitecarbon.com/ puts this amount into some perspective for us. 0.20g of CO2 is equivalent to 26 billion bubbles or boiling water for 3,247 cups of tea. Jeff Kettles article, mentioned earlier, is only slightly worst at 33 billion bubbles or 0.25g of CO2.

Why is that bad?

Non-renewable energy sources are being used up. These sources could include fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, oil and natural gases which are mainly made up of the element carbon. These resources will eventually run out. Any items that aren’t run on renewable energy sources (like wind, water or solar) will become un-useable. Electricity would fail, transportation would stop, factories would halt, food production would stop, and our economy would crash.

Emitting carbon into the atmosphere can be detrimental as well. To much will lead to climate change, toxic rain air pollution, melting polar ice caps, and raising the average surface temperature of our planet. That causes extreme weather events would increase like heatwaves, rainstorms, droughts, cyclones and blizzards would devastate the planet. Health impacts like respiratory diseases and cancer would become apparent.

I think we can agree that having a large carbon footprint is bad now.

How can websites help?

The internet is still an amazing advancement. It’s a place to learn, socialize, connect and more. The internet itself is not the problem – the data centers growing carbon footprint is. But all problems have solutions.

Kettle writes that “Web designers could embrace minimalism, helping to reduce the energy required to load images, video, and even specialized fonts that all require extra, sizeable files. Of course, this would make for a much less engaging internet experience.”. I agree that web designers can consider the footprint they’re creating but most of the time they’re sole focus is to create a page the viewers would respond positively to. As a view, can we attempt to be more mindful of our consumption?

What can companies do on their end? Some have begun the switch to reusable energy sources for their data centers (solar powered or wind captured). This takes a huge investment of time and money but some companies have already started!

Josephine Walbank on datacentremagazine.com writes about the top then data centrers using green energy here https://datacentremagazine.com/articles/top-10-data-centres-using-green-energy . The companies on this list have invested millions but are making a positive impact on our environment. One company, Digital Realty, has even received the 2021 EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year award. Google intends to cut all carbon emissions by 2030. One way they’re doing this is by utilizing solar and wind energy. They’re also improving their systems and tracking crucial information to meet that goal. The video below goes into some specific steps Google had to take to gradually get to that goal.

Going back to 2006 Google started installing solar panels. Google is one of the largest corporate purchasers of clean energy today. In 2006 when they began, this was very expensive. “Now, wind and solar are cheaper than any other resource in many areas of the world”. Now that the cost has declined significantly, hopefully more companies are able to follow this same path and purchase these clean energy tools.

Now what?

Raise awareness!

Websitecarbon.com shows off several low carbon pages on their website and even offer a book to provide web designers with the “how to” for clean designing. They say “There’s hope: small, thoughtful changes in design and development can reduce the damage, while also making the web more resilient in the face of a changing climate”.

Between the centers becoming more clean, the designers of the pages, and us as end uses … we can work to lessen our footprint for the sake of this planet. We just have to care.

WordPress : Democratizing or Suppression of Self-Publishing

WordPress, as a platform, allows people with little to no coding experience to create a website on their own. The question is, does this platform give its users a space to express themselves freely or does it force them to conform the platforms idea of professionalism and identity.

Jordi Cabot believes that WordPress has created a platform that allows anyone to create exactly what they need to express their own identities. Cabot shares how this platform has grown from a small, humble one to becoming one of the top in the world today because of how its been able to evolve and adopt as times change. Cabot believes that by having its community of external contributors, they’ve been able to continually move their mission forward. The end of Cabot’s article is a call to action, “As a longtime WordPress user and researcher, I encourage you all to contribute to the growth of WordPress and its community”.  This article can be found here.

Elisabetta Adami see’s this platform differently though. Adami questions the extent of diversity that WordPress allows through its platforms setup. A standardization has been created that looks more at users ability to use the platform effectively rather than allow them to express themselves and the identity they want to protray. Adami see’s that WordPress comes off as being a community made of its peers but then has strict distinctions between set roles within the organization. Adami’s also shows how the platform pushes minimalism and simplicity through limited themes, fonts, layouts, colors, and so on. This has created an issue where conformity and mainstream taste is being pushed, taking away individualism. Adami’s asks “Who gains and who loses in agency/freedom of expression, and who capitalizes on gains/losses.”. This article can be found here.

My short time with the platform would not make me an expert on the topic by any means. I’d say though that I can agree though that WordPress makes it more accessible for people without any background to create a site. I also agree that there seems to be many limitations. I’ve already noticed a lack in options and the push for clean, minimalistic design opportunities. I agree more with Adami’s article after seeing case study examples and learning more about WordPress’s internal workings. I would say this is a great beginning platform to get people comfortable but people should be wary of the possible agenda being pushed in the background.

References:
Adami, E. (n.d.). Review of Styling the Self online: Semiotic Technologization in Weblog Publishing. https://mylearning.suny.edu. Retrieved from https://mylearning.suny.edu/content/enforced/408840-2023SP-OSW-COM521-15738/WordPress-stylingself1.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=svPz5VLpCiwl5aPflEz7C5jtl&ou=408840.

Review of WordPress: A Content Management System to Democratize publishing by Jordi Cabot. (n.d.). https://mylearning.suny.edu. Retrieved from https://mylearning.suny.edu/content/enforced/408840-2023SP-OSW-COM521-15738/WordPress_A_Content_Management_System_to_Democratize_Publishing1.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=svPz5VLpCiwl5aPflEz7C5jtl&ou=408840.