Cyborgs and Spanish

Another nice afternoon in front of the computer instead of outside enjoying the mild weather while it is here.  *sigh*  I suppose this is why I have a laptop, though.  The entire point of the laptop is to allow me to go out and be somewhere other than my desk and still enjoy a computing experience.

In side news, I realized today that once again, my diet is pretty bad.  In class today, we were discussing a pro-feminist cyborg article by Donna Haraway [it basically questions whether use of tools/technologies makes a flesh-and-blood person more “cyborg” and more susceptible to Taylorism (here‘s what dictionary.com says about Taylorism…basically whatever can be implemented to make things more efficient) …and therefore, un-natural, strictly speaking.], and my classmates commented on my snack for the day: semi-sweet chocolate chips nestled in vanilla frosting, sandwiched between two graham crackers.

Basically, a s’more, but without the melted marshmallow.  Trust me, this is definitely super good and one of my favorite snacks.  It makes generic, paper-flavored graham crackers taste waaay better.  The point is, no one else had ever seen one of these before; I forget that my classmates are all new and not used to my constant intake of food and, more importantly, intake of odd foods.

While I consumed my s’more thoughtfully, one of my classmates questioned what makes a person a cyborg.  We all came to the generic conclusion that a cyborg is a result of “human + something else.” The word ‘cyborg’ seemed to trip people up.  I freely admit that in my brain, I can’t help but associate the word ‘cyborg’ with images of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator from the Terminator movies (which I have yet to see straight through) and therefore giggle a bit.  (Also, a radio program once discussed the three phrases that make a movie a Schwarzenegger movie: 1-“I’ll be back!” 2-“Take my hand!” 3-“Aaaraarrgh!”)

But in all seriousness, a cyborg is just that: a human combined with something else, usually a machine or device.  We discussed this last time a bit: where does the human end, and where does the tool begin?  In relation to our reading, though, our class came to the conclusion that Haraway wasn’t really making a statement or taking a position, so much as she was just saying, “Cyborgs exist, be aware.”

And yes, for the record, all the technologies available do become you.  Cochlear implants were brought up (I didn’t know until this class that Rush Limbaugh has a cochlear implant, what a fun factoid!), for example.  Cochlear implants allow the owner to decode sounds and make sense of them, interpret them so as to come up with a witty response to nosy or otherwise inquisitive remarks.  Cochlear implants are a revolutionary technology and are super awesome.  I anticipate needing some sort of hearing-aid in the future (I was in marching band and always got stuck near the drumline.  Snare drums and all the rest are extremely LOUD. ) and will be happy to have an implant in my ear if that makes it possible to function.

One more concept that confused me a bit: “Not all acquired skills are natural.”  Acquired skills are something I have to learn.  For example, flute-playing is an acquired skill of mine.  I had to work at learning it, though.  Nothing about it was inherent, easy, or just “came to me naturally.”  Maybe that is what my classmate was trying to say: certain acquired skills require lots of effort, and others don’t.         Classmates also discussed whether reading is something a person would naturally learn to do or if it had to be explicitly taught.  I vote that reading has to be taught and that it could not be learned correctly over time.  It’s like learning a new language:  you can memorize vocabulary all day, but streaming nouns, verbs, and adjectives together doesn’t make for coherent sentences.  Someone else has to be there to say, “No, no, this is how it’s done,” in order to teach you what works and what doesn’t.  When I practice Spanish with my father, I have a semi-working knowledge of useful nouns, verbs, conjugations, and adjectives.  Nevertheless, I still end up pausing mid-sentence to say, “And how do you say (insert useful word here)?” in English and rework my sentence once I have a new word or phrase.  This is how I learn.   Speaking Spanish is a skill.  I have to be taught how to do it right, or otherwise I am just streaming useless words together.

Time to eat dinner before night class…

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About sunlightsnow

I am working 40 hours and going to school full-time, which means what little life I can lead will be consumed with work, schoolwork, and sleeping.
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