Thesis- Uroosa Ullah Team 16


Uroosa Ullah – Team 16

I believe we worked on this and your thesis was accepted.


On Tuesday June 5th, the designer Kate Spade was found dead in her apartment in New York. She suffered from depression and anxiety due to her marriage. Spade commit suicide and hung herself and left a death note to her family. Discovering Spade’s death left individuals questioning what really led to this heartbreaking moment. The multiple status updates, numerous hashtags, shared posts on social media was chaotic. Individuals reactions were puzzled and distressed, why Spade had left this world without giving a reason to her beloved fans. Or that’s what the media wanted everyone to interpret.


Uroosa Ullah-Team 16 Assignment 3

Uroosa Ullah – Team 16 

Hi Uroosa,

Good work! I’d like to see more about the article than only your experiences.

Experiencing 48 hours of solitude was the most difficult task to achieve. Turning off all electronics and having family/friends near you but couldn’t communicate with them. I just knew how William Deresiewicz felt the “ability to be alone.” When you have the norm of people around majority of the time. Having a house full and not being able to speak to them. Then you look at your phone for some comfort but can’t access that either. No social media, no radio, no TV, no anything.

It felt like being underwater and not being able to breathe. The first 4 hours wasn’t that bad. Then I lost my mind a little. I would just stare at my phone and TV in front of me thinking what I can do to past time. It made me realize this world we live in, is so populated with possessions to give us pleasure. “No one really is alone”, as it states in The End of Solitude article. There’s always something happening, or we have the ability to find that company just in our fingertips.

“Technology is taking away our privacy and our concentration.” For instance, a car ride to work or school. I couldn’t seem to stay in stillness or without checking my phone. The radio has to be on the entire ride or if I would be stopped at a red light, then I check my phone for any social media updates. Whether its Facebook checking posts or checking Instagram to see what others are doing. Being so custom to picking up the phone and killing time, was always the easiest thing to do. Does anyone even care about their safety anymore? Or others around them.

However, in honesty when you have a little practice without technology around you, you don’t really need it as much anymore. It does feel a relief without finding what the world around you are doing. That ease you get just doing what you want to without have the feeling everyone on social media is in a competition. Taking photos and checking in the location in all the places you go to. Taking photos everything, you eat just to tell people “I was there.” You know what they say now “if you didn’t take a snap, it never happened!”

Driving from place to place and actually enjoying the road and scenery around you. You never know what you actually would find. For example, I take the same route to work but this time without the music being blasted the entire ride there; I actually noticed there was a sushi place I never been to. Putting the phone down and truly following the road rules.

If only everyone would see life without technology. Society would be so much humbler towards each other and their surroundings. People would actually have better communication skills.




Franco Ferreiros/48 Hour Blackout/Team 16

Hi Franco,

I appreciated your essay very much. I particularly liked that you reread the article when you were frustrated about what to do. May I suggest that you continue to ‘read more’?

Good job, well-written!

When Professor Pearson assigned this assignment to us Monday morning, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy one. I started the next day after class because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to not use my phone on the weekend. The first 3-4 hours I was doing pretty okay but then I started to get extremely anxious and sort of uneasy. I would stare at my phone non-stop and was so tempted to just open it and go through it. So I decided to just read “End of Solitude” to get a feel of what I was going to be experiencing for the next 2 days. As I read it, Deresiewicz said “Young people today seem to have no desire for solitude”. I began to realize that I was afraid of being alone and it was something I never wanted to experience in my life.

To get my mind of media and technology, I decided to be productive and get all my errands done for the week. I did all of my homework assignments, worked out at the FIU BBC gym, and took care of my sister for a bit. Throughout all of this though, I felt this happiness that I have never felt before. I never have felt so at peace with myself and I really enjoyed it. (nice!!!)  Because of this feelings, I decided to read “End of Solitude” again to try to understand what was going on. As I read it a second time, something else Deresiewicz said caught my attention. He said “The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity”. I began to realize that he was right, (semi-colon, not comma here) ; we have given up so much of our time to use technology and find out what is going on around the world that we basically depend on it now.

As the second day began, I woke up and immediately grabbed my phone and almost up (opened?) a news media app about sports not knowing that I still had more day. Now unlike the first day, the second was a lot more difficult. Since I got all my errands done the day before, there was nothing I could I really do on my free time. Time began to slow down at one point and then I started to feel what I felt when I first started this. I felt so enclosed and I was scared of that fact that I didn’t know what was going on around me. After just a couple hours though, the clock finally struck 12 and I was finally able to check everything. Once it finished though, I kind of missed that feeling of solitude. I was actually happy that I disconnected myself from everything and wasn’t one bit scared of being alone for once. As Deresiewicz said, “Those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone”.


48-hour news blackout

Dimitri Harper

Assignment 3

Team 16

HI Dimitri,

I would have liked a bit more on the article than your experiences, but overall it is well-written. I would advise that it is not necessary to say repeatedly “in my opinion’ or ‘speaking for myself’ . I understand that you are writing in the first person.

After reading the article “The End of Solitude” I must say that there is a big part of me that agrees with Deresiewicz. Society nowadays has become way to attached to technology and electronic devices. In my opinion I do not think life should be lived through a device. Life in my opinion is about going out into the world and getting a glimpse of energy that the universe sends your way. Not following a crowd of people on social media and trying to figure out what is going on in their lives. Figuring out obstacles you have in front of you is already tough enough, there is no reason to make things tougher by checking up on what other people have going on. With that being said, I do not see myself in Deresiewicz’s argument about the younger generation not knowing what solitude is like. Speaking for myself I can honestly say that overtime I have learned to distance myself from the technology world. I am not saying that I do not use technology but over time I have disciplined myself to not be wired to an electronic device 24/7. I believe being hooked on a phone does take away from your privacy and ability to concentrate on the task you have happening in front of you. The way I like look at things is like this, how can I be the CEO of my own company if I’m busy on the internet. Instead, I must interact with people and put myself in different situations that can teach and benefit me the correct ways to operate my own successful business. Yeah, don’t get me wrong after building solid relationships phones are vital to keep in touch with people but that is after the fact. Those healthy relationships will not be made if every time I step out the house I have my head down looking into an electronic device.

During the blackout I was able to be more involved in the community. Going to the gym, socializing with people face-to-face and also attending a yoga class. Attending the yoga class is what made me feel at peace with myself the most. Being in a dark room, listening to an instructor, preforming different stretches and breathing techniques. Other times solitude played a factor was during the middle of the day when I had nothing to do, I would sit in my room and think to myself. Allowing different types of thoughts to cross my mind I would say I did feel a bit lonely but at the same time I was able to enjoy my privacy. Anxiety was not an issue because like I said before, over time I have been able to distance myself from technology and any outside news. Therefore, I do not think news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. Maybe listening to news every other week during downtime could be understandable but personally I do not believe becoming accustomed to the news every day is healthy for society.

Ghost in the Shell-Assignment 3

Hi Team 16! 

Excellent work! Great graphics and terrific analysis.  Very impressive writing.


Team 16

Part 1: Public Security Section 9 is an anti-terrorism arm of the government, operating on the edge, or sometimes beyond, the boundaries of the law. Citizens are kept in the dark of the activities, and even the existence, of section 9.


a. In its covert activities dealing with the Puppet Master, does section 9 go too far? Explain.


Being that Section 9 functions under public security, it’s job is to keep the people safe. Yes, capturing the Puppet Master would help to ensure public safety, but this is counterintuitive when the process of seizing Project 2501 or the Puppet Master involves wreaking havoc in, otherwise, peaceful streets. Once you are potentially harming society, then you are just as guilty as the Puppet Master itself. Section 9’s hunt for the Puppet Master is more personal than business, which is why Major Motoko Kusanagi and the rest of Section 9 show no mercy for those caught in the crossfire of the deadly pursuit of the Puppet Master. As long as Project 2501 is terminated, all is well in the world.


b. Is a government ever justified in violating its own laws to ensure the safety of its citizens? If not, why not? If so, what examples can you provide, either from the film or real life?

A government that violates its own laws to ensure the safety of its citizens is hypocritical and, therefore, just as bad as its enemy. A perfect example of a government violating its own laws to ensure public safety would be the enhanced interrogation techniques in black sites such as Guantanamo Bay. Under the Bush administration, CIA and DIA agents used systematic torture on detainees. Beatings, deafening noise, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, and other inhumane methods were used to get answers out of the detainees. This is not justified. Torturing the detainees is putting the U.S Government and the criminals on the same level. The government is supposed to function as an example and not as vengeance aimed at those who have done wrong by the law. Another example would be U.S. Intelligence agencies that violate federal surveillance laws. There have been over 200 violations from the NSA and the FBI with violations that include violating attorney-client privilege, conducting unlawful surveillance of Americans, and over-collecting data. After extensive research, it has been revealed that the government took a considerable amount of time to report such violations to the FISA Court, which authorizes and oversees the government’s surveillance powers. This is also a violation to the Constitution’s fourth amendment and an invasion of privacy on numerous Americans. Although the government has a duty to keep the U.S. safe, nobody can have the right to go against the The Constitution and spy on Americans under any circumstance.

c. Is a government ever justified in keeping secret its violations of the law? Explain and give an example.

The public should always be informed. A government that keeps secrets its violations of the law is corrupt. Leaving citizens in the dark about its actions only leads to mistrust and more defiance among society. To better support this claim, one can refer to the tortures at Guantanamo Bay. They most accurately expose how the government has tried to keep secrets from its citizens and how it has backfired on them. After these interrogations were leaked, citizens fought for basic human rights and the Detainee Treatment Act was passed. While some were compelled toward making positive change, others were leaning more toward rebellion against the government because of their lack of accountability toward its citizens.

Part 2The sophistication of many technologies in the film is futuristic; their existence is not. Bionics, the Internet, and artificial intelligence are today relatively commonplace. One of the most disturbing scenes in the film is the garbage man with false, implanted memories. This is not all that far-fetched. Studies show that even so simple a technological artifact as a photograph can be used to create false memories that people are certain are real.


a. How is information technology used in the world of Ghost in the Shell to influence and control behavior and perception?  


 In the world of the movie Ghost in the Shell, information technology is used to manipulate and abuse the actions of the people. This is evident in the way in which in their intelligent society, everyone is exchanging information with someone else and can actually search for things in their cyberbrain which has access to the Internet and other information. From the beginning of the movie, one can already realize that the people are are completely unaware and unable to distinguish real from fake. The garbage man held several memories of his daughter and wife in the form of photographs as proof of their existence. When he was asked several questions about them, however, he was not able to recollect anything about them. People watching this movie can conclude that these memories were just implanted into his brain to be able to control his behavior in society. As the film progresses, technology is not only displayed as an advancement, but an achievement as well. It begins to limit society and is basically stripping them of their human rights. Towards the end of the movie, the viewer is able to understand that information technology in the movie Ghost in the Shell combines both what is real and what is fake causing ultimate confusion in society just to be able to have control and power.


Part 3: In his essay, Deresiewicz argues “…that solitude enables us to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it.”

a. How does Major Kusanagi utilize solitude? What insight does it give her?

Deresiewicz argues that people today cannot practice solitude because the effects of technology have made seclusion in to something that is uncomfortable or, in Major Kusanagi’s society, dangerous. We find comfort in the things that give us company, which is why something as simple as going out to run errands on your own is so hard to do without reaching for your phone at any sign of self-consciousness or “awkwardness”. Society is completely reliant on sharing on social media and scrolling through feeds as a cushion for self-consciousness. Technology has made alone time a scarce occurrence. In Ghost in the Shell, Major Kusanagi was diving at night when she sees her own reflection in the water. She, unlike others, uses her solitude to explore her ghost. She feels anxious and afraid when she’s diving. This gives her hope because if she can feel this, it means she is more than just a cyborg body and brain and, therefore, she has not completely sold herself to Section 9. Major Kusanagi ultimately uses solitude to gain a sense of individualism and emancipation from the high level maintenance in which she functions.  

b. Is Deresiewicz right when he says we are approaching a time when information technology makes solitude socially undesirable, or even impossible? Has that time already occurred in the world of the film? Explain your answer.

Deresiewicz is right. Today, people are one their information technology and solitude is not for the commoner. Everyone is infatuated with information technology because it connects them with everyone else in the world and provides company. How can we practice solitude when we live in the age of social media where we are connected with people halfway across the globe with just one swipe?  Information technology seeks to tie us together and solitude tries to cut that chord. Major Kusanagi said, “those who really want to seek solitude can do so,” but she is not like most and finds comfort in the fear and anxiety that solitude brings her. It is not impossible, but it takes a type of person to go against information technology and partake in isolation. In Ghost in the Shell, the existing information technology was different from ours. The information technology they refer to is not that of social media, but of the cyborg body and brain they use to help them function. However, this form of information technology makes all the individuals in society the same. The only difference between our society and the one in the film is that we, through information technology, choose to be connected, or lack solitude. The citizens in the film were born into sameness, resulting in a lack of isolation.

Image result for people connected

Part 4: The movie was based on a manga originally published in 1989.

a. Various forms of media (using McLuhan’s definition of a medium as “an extension of ourselves”) have had an impact on the way people use, create, store, access, and communicate information. Give 3 historical examples of such media and describe their impact.?

One major example of media being an “extension of ourselves” would be the common use of the telephone. This source of media allows us to communicate and get information from someone distances away. The telephone gives us a two-way communication that we cannot otherwise receive unless the person which you are talking to is standing right next to you. In Ghost in the Shell, there are several scenes where Motoko Kusanagi extends herself. communicating with others through her cyberbrain. Another example would be the use of finding out information through the Internet. We are at a current age and time period where information is literally at our fingertips. It only takes seconds to type something in to a search engine and be informed on a certain topic. This advancement is enhanced in Ghost in the Shell when trying to find the Puppet Master and any correlations towards him. Even finding a simple trash route within seconds exemplifies how quickly information is able to be retrieved for the benefit of a person. The final example would be social media. It is the way that way we interact and communicate with one another that builds who we are as people and how we portray ourselves into others. We are shaped by the things we like, the people who most inspire us on social media, and who we interact with behind a phone screen. In Ghost in the Shell, Kunasagi’s strong relationship with Togusa is enhanced because they both share similar characteristics. Although they are not using the same kind of information technology, they share common interests which is much like the way in which we typically use social media to connect with those which we find things in common with.

b. Select the one medium that has appeared after 1989 which has had the greatest impact on the information landscape. Explain.

The use of current social media has had the greatest impact on not only the information landscape and makes us question whether the information we’re given is trustworthy or not. Since information is so easily found due to the constant upload of new articles and new stories, it is hard to know what is the truth and what is not. During the 2016 election there were hundreds of false articles being dished out about each candidate to not only manipulate the ethos of said candidates, but to also entertain the internet community that find entertainment in these articles. While some found humor in them, there was a large community that did in fact believe these articles and what they told about the candidates. This bulk of information in which we are given such freedom to use, while it may be beneficial to society sometimes, also has a wide variety of consequences that most people are unaware of.

c. How might the technology in answer 4b, above, have affected the story?

If people are given so much informational freedom, any minor inconvenience with gathering or receiving wrong information would have sidetracked the entire mission of finding the Puppet Master. Technology is the main component that makes up Ghost in the Shell, but the use of information is part of technology. The way that they communicate with one another affects how well they execute the task of seizing the hacker.


Nicole Rodriguez – Part 1 A/B – Editor

Dimitri Harper- Part 1 C

Franco Ferrieros – Part 2

Uroosa Ullah – Part 3 – Media

Ming Yactacyo- Part 4

Assignment #2

Mingli Yactayo, Team 16


Professor Pearson

September 17, 2018

Very good essay Mingli! You explained and analyzed this reading quite well.  Your sentence structure, paragraph content, word choices are sound. Good job!

Assignment #2: McLuhan and the Critical Perspective

In the interview between Marshall McLuhan and Playboy, McLuhan used the critical perspective when arguing about how the medium is the message and that the way the media is affecting our live can cause a change in not only our abilities to retrieve information at a faster rate, but also how it can socially and environmentally change who we are.

McLuhan not only questions the commonly held assumptions, expanded the boundaries of debate but he also aimed for the betterment of society through the interview. In the beginning of the interview, when the simple question of “Marshall McLuhan, what are you doin’?” was asked. His response was not a simple reply. Rather he expanded the boundaries of debate by expanding his “doings” and explaining his way of thinking such as “trying to understand our technological environment and its psychic and social consequences.” With this first introduction on McLuhan’s belief that the medium is the message, he begins to expand his own knowledge onto the interviewer by enhancing the questions that are being asked. He does this to showcase that there is no limit when it comes to debating. With expanding the answers, and providing more that needs to be said, you can open up a window of greater topics to conversate about while still remaining on the subject.

Furthermore, McLuhan questions commonly held assumptions in the interview. When questioned about his way of thinking and how his methodology would be considered “somewhat erratic and inconsistent-if not, eccentric”, McLuhan answered by explaining that his research is neither eccentric nor erratic because the affect that the media has had on the world has been previously “overlooked by social observers.” Moreover, he believes that his work is a “depth operation” that is not just simply something that he made a quick observation on. It is his research and his years of study that has allowed him to develop this observation about the media and its social impact on the world.

To continue, in the interview McLuhan also aimed for the betterment of society when speaking about how the media is the message. The main purpose for McLuhan explain this methodology on the media is so that we, ourselves, are more conscious of it and are more aware of the impact. From McLuhan’s perspective, we have become so unaware of the media and how easily it is to persuade large amount of people simply through it that he compares us to a fish that is unaware that it is swimming in water. McLuhan hopes to see a world that is more conscious as to how the media persuades and manipulates information. Not only the news outlets but rather the technology that we surround ourselves by daily. Just as how the smallest form of information that we may stumble upon on a social network can affect what we believe and support.

Image result for marshall mcluhan medium is the message

How Marshall McLuhan Uses the Critical Perspective to Convey that the Medium is the Message


Nicole Rodriguez

Team 16

Excellent essay Nicole. Well-written, and you made some very good analysis of the reading. Keep up the good work!


Marshall McLuhan uses the critical perspective to support his claim that the medium is the message. In his most famous one-liner, McLuhan contends that the medium has notable effects on society and man. However, it is not the content of the information, but rather the way we receive the information (medium), that supersedes the information itself. The content is subordinate and acts as background for the way we receive the information, and is not as significant in regards to its effects on society and man. (good intro)

McLuhan’s ideas stem from an un-pragmatic form of thinking that involves nonconformity. His doubt and questioning of commonly held assumptions triggered this way of thinking by causing him to come up with answers to explain this doubt he had. He says, in his Playboy interview, “only by standing aside from any phenomenon and taking an overview can you discover its operative principles and lines of force.” McLuhan is an outsider of society. He treats life like a “happening,” and questions society from a distance, as man continues his hypnotic state of “Narcissus narcosis”.

He expands the bounds of debate through his bold and eccentric claims. That electronic media is merely an extension of man, supports his unconventional thought and seems far-fetched to the average person. However, it adds another layer to the debate, essentially gives it more depth by adding an argument that, otherwise, nobody would come up with. He compares man living in the electronic age to a fish living in water. The media is the water and man remains unaware of the psychic and social effects the media has on society just as a fish is unaware that it is surrounded by water. Ultimately, today’s environment is so “media-induced” that man loses his senses and the medium becomes invisible. This is why society believes that content is the message. Because TV, film, radio, and all other forms of electronic media have become second nature to society, man tends to focus on the information itself. However, it is the medium, or TV, film, radio, etc., that have molded society.

McLuhan does not just interject eccentric ideas with no purpose. Through his beliefs and claims, he aims for the betterment of society. McLuhan describes our current society as looking at life through a rear view mirror. Since electronic media was so invisible at the time of its innovation, man will only recognize it once a new environment has developed. The same goes for our educational system. The educational system is completely “reactionary,” or focused on the past, instead of helping the youth adapt to the new innovative environment. He says that for society to do things the right way, it must recognize that it is doing things in the wrong way. McLuhan understands the “TV child” and knows his or her needs as a learner. He worries for the “retribalized youth,” and advises that if the educational establishment does not recognize its faults, the “TV child” stands no chance in the system.