Saturday, January 30, 2010

RIP JDS Response: Influential Reading

There have been a lot of books that have been influential to me in some way. The book that I think has been most influential is Where the Red Fern Grows. If you have never read the book, it is a child's novel about a boy and his determination to earn and train two coonhounds. Raised in the Ozark Mountains, he comes from an extremely poor yet loving farming family. Late at night he hears the distant cries of neighboring hunters chasing their hounds and desperately aches for a pair of his own. He saves his change for two years and finally comes up with the money to buy them. Long story short; he prays and prays for these dogs and, miraculously, ends up getting the two best coonhounds in the country. The bond that grows between the boy and his hounds becomes sacred and is as if they are angels created and sent just for him.

It is a very emotional story that has affected me personally and one that I have carried with me since elementary school. This novel may be one for children, but it holds a lot of values that will always be meaningful to me. It possesses morals of respect, love, discipline, hard work and motivation. It has taught me to cherish my family and to trust my faith in God and nature.

Friday, January 29, 2010


The reclusive and iconic author JD Salinger died yesterday. Salinger's best-known novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has become one of the most frequently discussed books in any conversation about censorship and book banning. It would be difficult to overstate the impact of the novel. It's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is so well and distinctly developed that The Onion is able to write a fake obituary that uses Holden's voice. You don't often get a voice that recognizable emerging from a novel.

If you read Catcher, either in school or on your own, use your blog post to write about your thoughts on it, your reactions to it. If you've not read it, use your post to write about a book you read in a class, any book, that was the most influential one you can remember.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Google and China

I think that Google would make a good decision to not censor anymore and pull out all together with China. I think i would be really upset if the government tried to censor what i was trying to learn and look up, though it does make sense that a communist country would attempt to keep their people ignorant to knowledge regarding the world in general, especially things as large as those mentioned.

Google obviously went against their ethics, doing a favor (if you will) for China for what I can only assume to be a large sum of money. Google had apparently realized that it was unbecoming to continue keeping a country ignorant of this knowledge, and will perhaps lose China's enormous market as a result. Even though China is a business customer Google should never bend their policies and ethics to pacify a market, Especially when its something like hiding information from a population.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Google in China Response

I respect Google's decision about not filtering any more results even if it means losing business in China. The fact that Google agreed to censor results in the first place shows great compromise on their part. This is because America is a democratic country where freedom of speech has far less limitations than in communist China. I believe China should have been content with the initial agreement. Furthermore, as always, it is human nature to want more, they were not just pleased with the limitations already in place and hacked accounts of human rights advocates. Curiosity or just greed for knowledge about what these advocates are doing to have more human rights may have been the reason why China did this. Nevertheless, America respected their request to censor certain information because of their type of government and China should not have violated our privacy by hacking Gmail accounts. There might have been a balance between freedom of information and respecting other governments but not anymore. China did not respect our freedoms when we respected theirs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Google in China

In the spirit of our conversations about censorship:
For several years now, Google has been complying with demands from the Chinese gov't that they censor - remove from results - certain pages while operating in China. For example, a search run on a Chinese server would turn up no hits about this or this or this.
Now Google is changing its policy.
In response to a series of cyber attacks on google servers (which Google implies were launched from people w/in the Chinese gov't], many of which were apparently targeted at the Gmail accounts of human rights advocates, Google has decided to no longer censore results in China. They claim that if this means the Chinese gov't forces them to pull out of doing business in China - an ENORMOUS market - they are willing.

In an organized way, write a response to this situation. What do you think of Google's decision? How about the decision to filter results in the first place? What do you think about why things changed? What is the balance (if any) between freedom of information and respecting the sovereignty/authority of foreign governments/cultures?

*If it is your Friday to respond to this, please remember to have your post up [create a NEW post, do not just post a comment in reply to this] by NOON on Sunday].