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The satellite had become an extension to our society. It broadened our ability to communicate and our knowledge. But every invention must first start off with an idea. Satellites may only have been around for 50 years but the little steps leading up to this magnificent creation is many. The historical precedents are evidently the root of the advance technologies today.  With every little advancement, our society has been gradually growing alongside the technologies and altering our living styles.

In the historical era, the Greeks and Romans where masters at astronomy. They had no tools such as telescopes or computers. “Before tools such as the telescope were invented early study of the stars had to be conducted from the only vantage points available, namely tall buildings and high ground using the bare eye.” All they had were simply mathematics and physics and they “[mapped] the positions of the stars and planets” and were able to illustrate a simple diagram of the solar system. “Astronomers of early civilizations performed methodical observations of the night sky, and astronomical artifacts have been found from much earlier periods.” The Greeks and Romans where a great civilization that advanced quickly and was determined to understand the new world. They soon “[introduced] new [technologies] including the spectroscope and photography”. This also led to the creation of calendars but most importantly, the starting point for satellites.  This opened up the idea of space and created a new world of questions of what was out there and what space was like. With the spectroscope and photography available, the inspiration of going beyond earth and exploring the vast galaxy arise.

In the industrial era, scientist soon created the telephone. With this tool, communication improved and this was another great step towards the foundation of satellites. Being able to communicate to people far away was another improvement to society. People wanted their lives to be easier and simple, therefore coming up with the idea of the telephone. Having to communicate to someone face to face was very limiting. Now with the phone, our world began to move at a faster pace. Information can be shared faster and more effective. Facts and problems can be sent to people right away. With each advancement, many new ideas and enhancements of other technologies take place.

In modern times, the idea of communication and outer space has been collaborated together to form the proposal of satellites. The first satellite Sputnik 1 was “launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957.” Sputnik 1 was able to send back the density of the atmosphere. The world attention was focused on the first launch and it started “and ignited the so-called Space Race.” The Sputnik 2 was launched on November 3, 1957 with a dog. The U.S was scared that the Soviet Union would be using the satellites for spying or sending missiles during the cold war. Therefore America started on their development of satellites so they won’t be behind in technology. Explorer 1 was successfully launched on January 31, 1958. Soon after, satellites were used for long distance communications and surveillance. Using waves, we are able to communicate with people around the world. They are also able to take images. With this available to society, we began to advance and make our lives simpler.  We obtain limitless information with the internet, predict the weather, and discovering new things. With all the possibilities, none other the countries wanted to achieve the same. Society have then been proceeding quickly and shaping our world towards a new direction.

With just a start of an idea and simply technology, a technology as important as the satellite can be created. And as one thing advances, society turns its awareness towards it and finds a way to advance everything else with the help of the new technology. With this snowball effect, our world can soon create unimaginable technology and discover new things. With new and improved technology, we improve ourselves and our living styles.  And with every step, we gain confidence and set our goals a little big higher. Soon even satellites will be considered a historical technology.

Reference List

Astronomy. (2009, March 17). In Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomy

Greek Astronomy. (2009, February 28). In Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_astronomy

Invention of the telephone. (2009, March 18). In Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invention_of_the_telephone

Launius, R. The History of Satellites. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blsatellite.htm

Satellite. (2009, March 17). In Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite

Tara M. (1997 May 19). Development of Satellites, Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.smgaels.org/physics/97/TMCDONOU.HTM

Wiki Reflection

In our Lab this week, we were assigned to complete a short essay on crowd source and crowd power. The objective of this activity was to experience and familiarize ourselves with the environment of wikis and how it worked. Wikis enable us to work as a group with people all around the world and acquire input from them. This may increase the efficiency and effectiveness to complete a task, but on the other hand, everyone has their own opinion and styles. Therefore the “correct” solution to the problem may be questionable. From this experience, I have realized that there are many pros and cons for wikis.

Some benefits and limitations of wikis is that we are able to gather information much more quickly than researching individually. It was very user friendly and we where able to post anything with just a few clicks. During our research, within the first ten minuets, we were able to gather over five sites of information. But alternatively, we discovered that problems occur when more than one user is trying to edit the page. One user may overwrite what the others just posted, or an error on the page may arise. Another setback we came across was the duplication of facts. Three of our members posted the same things and we had to go back to edit and organize the formatting of the page. Each one of our members also had their own perspective on how this task should be done and finalized.

The fact that we were all in the same room and researching together at the same time really altered this wiki experience. Since we where all together and free to discuses how we were going to organize our research, it was much easier. We divided the work amongst us and did our part. In the end we all worked on one computer to organize it and plan the layout. Therefore we got the essay done in a short time. If we where assigned to do it on our own time throughout the week, I am sure that misunderstandings and confusions would be the stumbling block.  No one would know where to start and tons of information would be recurring. We may also not realize the overwriting problem when we edit at the same time and may just think someone erased it because it was wrong. If I was to do this all by myself and post it on wiki, I think that it would be done relatively around the same time, but not as well. Since we have so many people in the group, we can proofread it and work together to catch each others mistakes and create a better essay.

This experience was very unique and it showed the effectiveness and flaws of wikis. It was a success and it got the job done. Learning form all the problems, it is possible to make wikis even better and faster. It is a great resource to obtain the valuable information and knowledge of others.

1. Describe the technology you have selected. Is it a personal technology or device, an online service, or part of a media infrastructure? What does it do? How is it used?

The satellite is one technology that most people forget about but use every day. Most people may think of computers, cell phones, or T.Vs when they hear technology, but satellites are a huge part of our everyday technology. Satellites are giant solar panels that receive and direct signals all over the world. There are many types of satellites with a wide range of functions. Some satellites are used for observing and investigating space. Some satellites enhance our way of communication. It enables us to make calls that can reach around the world. It is impossible for phone lines to be connected throughout the world, so signals are sent to the satellites in space and redirected to the destination. We can also use satellite panels to get more T.V channels, increase internet speed and also cell phone signals. They can also be used for observing the weather. All the weather forecasts are taken by the recorded videos from the satellite and then sent to weather stations. The GPS is also empowered by the satellite. It takes images of the world and allows us to navigate through unfamiliar places and locate exactly where we are. So over all, I think that the satellite can be a personal technology such as the GPS or cell phone, or an online service that can increase our internet speed, and also part of media such as T.V and broadcasting shows from all around the world.

2. Find at least one research, news or magazine article that describes a social, cultural or political effect that has been brought about by your technology.

The article that I have found is from:

http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Spring99/Articles/Thomas/thomas.html

It talks about how Asia has used satellites to “broadcast a wide range of transnational television channels across Asia.” they have realized that using this method, the media was more influential. Now with programs and channels from other countries, they are able to acquire much more information and knowledge. With all the new ideas and trends, this will shape and form the economy greatly. The government can simply filter and broadcast what is wanted. And by doing so, manipulate they way people think and act, thus changing their way of living and culture.

3. Briefly summarize the main (or relevant) ideas in the article(s).

The government is using broadcasting to manipulate what people see and the culture that’s being built. “Social effects approaches temper ideas of powerful media effects with recognition that the media serves to reinforce existing attitudes and behaviors through personal decoding of their message” and therefore blinding the people from the truth.

4. Do you feel that this effect is positive or negative? Why?

The effect of this technology is positive. If we are able to view and understand what is happening on the other side of the world, it would allow us to expand and expand our minds to gather new information. With a wide range of transnational television, we can also understand each other and familiarize ourselves with other cultures and living styles. In doing so, it enables us to communicate better and have more diversity. We can exchange ideas and influence each other in a positive way. Over time, the world would be less uncomfortable with each other. For the people that immigrate to other countries, they are able stay connected with the media that fit their culture without feeling the isolation because of language barriers. But if the government is only broadcasting channels that would only to be in his benefit, or filtering out things that may be endangering his position, it is a negative thing. We are all so influenced by media that whoever has the power to control media and what is shown, can basically control us.

5. Try to think of a plausible way that this effect could be reversed or overcome by another technology or social trend.

As of now, I would say that there is nothing that can replace the satellite. Of cores technology is developing fast but satellites have been around since 1957. They have only added advancements to the satellite but nothing can replace it unless there was another technology that could transfer waves and signals as far as satellites could without the trouble of sending satellites out into space. If new phones or computers can somehow connect to people around the world without satellites, then the satellites would slowly be out of use.

References

Thomas, A. O. (1999, Spring). TBS Archives. Retrieved Febuary 11, 2009, from Broadcast Satellites and Televison for Asia: http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Spring99/Articles/Thomas/thomas.html

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Name : Daniel Sheng Yun Hsiao

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Some basic things about me : I am from Taiwan and immigrated here when i was 5. I speed English, Mandarin and Taiwanese (yes…Mandarin and Taiwanese are two different things..). I’m currently enrolled in Mechatronic Engineering. I love art and design. I paint and draw during my spare time so using computers are not my strengths. i also enjoy sports and building things. i simply think the itouch is one of the most amazing things around. just looking back..technology has come a long way. the itouch is capable of accessing Internet, watch movies, play games, view pictures, and it even has a built in speakers. It is simply everything a person needs in one simple gadget. What amazes me most is the size of it. the first phone was the size of a brick, the fist computer was the size of a room. And now you can do all that and more with something that can fit in your hand. IT’S JUST AMAZING!

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