the start of my practicum…Internet users: Social or political activism

So I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% thrilled about my practicum assignment. I mean of course I would love to have an excuse to tweet or play a game for multiple hours. Social/ political activism certainly has an implied seriousness to it and would require a bit of thought and digging on my part. But after putting in just a bit of time, I am more excited about the prospects of this assignment and look forward to getting more involved and educated about important social issues. Having a lot of political/ social beliefs myself a number of organizations and causes popped into my head.

One organization that has been on my mind lately is Amnesty International. I’d had exposure to the organization in high school as we had an Amnesty International Club and I’d recently been hearing from the organization in regards to the execution of Troy Davis. I began my exploration of the organization on their website, Their homepage is honestly quite busy and I was initially overwhelmed with the diversity and amount of content. Content includes recent news (including a special category for ‘good news’ which I thought was a nice spot of optimism), information on the organization and information on how you can get involved. How does the organization answer the question of “who they are”?:

  • Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion and are funded mainly by our membership and public donations.

The website provides links to their facebook group and twitter which I immediately ‘liked’ and ‘followed’ knowing that these would be great avenues to get involved in discussions and make my presence in the organization known. I made sure to ‘tweet’ @amnestyinternational and I also started following @alertnet, a humanitarian newswebsite. (see image). Amnesty International’s homepage also has links to their youtube channel and flickr account, which provide videos and photos covering a wide array of news on human rights abuses around the world. The photos and videos I viewed were indeed very powerful. It is very clear that Amnesty International wants to be accessible and connect with and convey their message through a variety of media, a smart approach for garnering the most attention and support possible. In the future I plan to interact more with the organization and it’s members, particularly through posing questions and comments via the facebook group and twitter.

Now that I am connected to Amnesty International through a variety of avenues and following AlertNet on twitter, my next goal is to establish my presence/ involvement in a smaller, more specified activist organization to provide insight into a group that operates a much smaller scale with a narrower focus. I think being a part of two groups on different ends of the spectrum will be helpful for comparative purposes. Do large organizations with a broad scope use the internet differently than smaller organizations with a narrower aim? Now taking suggestions on social or political activism groups to look into….Nothing tea party -esque!


Fearful to venture into the world of chatroulette and unsure of where to start on myspace, my curiousity was peaked by the phenomenon known as “i-dosing”. Initially unsure of what i-dosing was I naturally had to do the first thing one ever does when beginning research: I googled. Google returned a lot of information, but an article on the Smoking Jacket summed it up quite nicely: To sum it up for you, the idea behind i-dosing is that certain music, when listened to, can alter your brainwaves to stimulate the effects of various illicit drugs. I can certainly see why many people, particularly teens, have become excited over the prospect that simply by downloading an mp3 and listening through headphones, one can get “high”. It is important to use headphones because two different tones (binaural beats) are played in each ear but through headphones are perceived by the brain as a single pulsating noise. I-dosing websites offer beats whose effects apparently range from those of  “aspirin” to “marijuana” to “heroin” and “The gates of Hades”…uhhhh….

Call me a skeptic on this whole i-dosing trend…but I guess I’ll have to try it out now. The website I am on warns me to lie down in a comfortable place. I chose to see if I can have an “out of body experience” which they describe as:

  • You will be able to leave your physical body and start exploring our world and others. OBEs can spontaneously occur during a near death experience, such as through car accident, an operation, and clinical death. The person experiencing this state will suddenly see his or her own body, as if he or she is standing next to it or floating above it. The sensation is like that of being an observer. You will be able to float in any direction you wish and move through walls. Most importantly, you will remember everything and in great detail. The “Out Of Body” track helps you to achieve an OBE while lying in the comfort of your bed. By using high Beta waves, the recording will guide your brainwaves directly to an OBE state, allowing you to leave your body and start exploring new levels of consciousness.

Unforunately the full version is between $10 and 15$ so the sample will have to do. Let’s hope I’m not too incapacitated to finish the rest of my blog post….

Well I did feel very relaxed and sleepy for that one-minute sample, but no crazy effects yet. It’s a very cool idea that sounds could have such a significant effect on one’s body-mind state but I am not sure I buy it. To be fair, I didn’t get the full experience. I would be curious to hear if anyone else has had a more intense experience with i-dosing. While I believe that sounds, music in particular, have the power to shape and change mood I don’t know if they can induce such powerful physical states. I won’t be trading in my coffee for the “coffee break/ energy” beat anytime soon.

Video reaction: history of the internet

First of all, I’m going to agree with Jenny that the video was a bit heavy on the technical terms and information, making it hard to follow at times. Thats not to say that it isn’t important to have an understanding of these technical aspects of the internet’s history. I am struck by just how early the internet started and find it amazing that variations on the same idea of the internet were popping up for years all over the world. This is certainly not the commonly told story of the invention of the internet, but is important to be aware of. It seems that the NPL conceptualized the internet in a way that is most similar to how it is used today: for commercial purposes and accessible to many.  The influence of the Cold War on the internet is impressive as this was the impetus for a decentralized network, a major turning point in the success of the internet. Finally, I would love to be able to actually sit down and use these older forms of the internet…if that were possible it would be much easier to grasp just how these simplified versions of what we know today worked.

Hello CA346!

Hey everyone!

My name is Katherine Thibeau. I’m a senior studying psychology and communication arts. I’m from Edina, MN, just outside of Minneapolis. Currently, I do peer advising and events marketing for the psychology department. I also work as a research assistant for the Wisconsin Twin Project, which studies the development of various psychological disorders across childhood and adolescence.

In my free time, I love to walk around the beautiful lakes of Mpls, do yoga, eat, and spend lots of time with my beloved family and friends. Music is very important to me. Some favorites are Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon, Jeff Buckley and Daft Punk. Lastly, I love to travel. My favorite places so far include Prague, London and Venice.

I’m looking forward to a good semester with everyone!