Better Online Living- Reading Summary

In her article, Better Online Living Though Content Moderation, Melissa King addresses the conflicting sides to the argument of whether or not content control features are valuable features in the digital world. Arguments in favor of content control state that users suffering from PTSD could benefit from the online tool, whereas those against the programs believe that users should simply avoid and ignore content in which they cannot handle or altogether become less sensitive.


Before reading the article, the first thing that came to my mind when hearing the words content control was school computers controlling what we could access; however, after reading the article completely I fully support the use of content control. Schools utilize content control in a way to protect the computers from viruses and malware students may accidently pick up as well as removing any chances of distractions from school work by blocking sites like and What I had not considered useful of content control features is its personal use. With the use of content control features and applications, one can limit their access on the internet to only what serves them best. This may include blocking sites that may distract them from the productivity. Also considered are sites that could potentially cause emotional distress.


Those whom suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can have episodes triggered by certain stimulants, like sounds or visuals. Content control for someone who has PTSD could mean saving them from an anxiety trigger. For instance, if a war veteran finds graphic violence to be a trigger to his or her anxiety, then the can choose to block those types of digital space from their browser. The article goes on to discuse, in response to some opposing sides, the concept of online bullying or harassment un cencored by content control can cause PTSD if prolonged. If looking at a situation in which a child or adult is facing harassment online, the two options are to either keep access to the source, or to block the user or webpage. If given the option of removing this negativity, people can altogether avoid this chance of PTSD.


The arguments against content control really have no solid ground to back them up. They all are very much along the lines of saying, “I am a healthy enough person, I don’t need vitamins; therefore, we as an entire population do not need to take vitamins. In fact, those who choose to better themselves with vitamins are weak.” Just like the fact that no one is required to take a vitamin, no one is forced to use content control. So, there is no reason why it should not be an available tool for those whom find it useful. The article addresses how one can easily access and download these online tools through applications on their browser.


The entire concept of content control is completely personal and unique to each user. One may block on specific website, or an entire genre of sites. It all just depends on their needs. In her conclusion, King states, “Ultimately, easy one-size-fits-all solutions ignore the diversity of human psyches and experiences. Content control tools take this fact into account, and give people more room to act on behalf of their own mental and emotional needs.”  

Color walking- Reading Summary

                The article Color Walking by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan discusses color walking, an experiment that was discovered while the two were creating their podcast show “Colors”. Color Walking is an experiment that allows one to attentively notice colors and watch as their surroundings sharpen as they follow a certain color from object to object while walking, talking notice of soft hues and violent strains as they go along.


                The experiment was designed by William Burroughs to inspire his students to think more creatively and help people to unwind and let colors take them on an adventure by walking and take notice of all the different colors around them. The idea is that when one picks a specific color to focus on that they begin to notice more about their surroundings, especially parts of an object or features of a person they have never noticed before. From there, the experiment gives one the flexibility to switch from color to color and to follow things like the lavender on a women’s handbag, a yellow cab going into a side street, or even the color of an ice cream cone that could lead a person to walk into a park. The goal of Burrough’s experiment was for people to see the extent that color is as a physical thigs in the physical world, and to what extent that colors create images in one’s mind.


                Bennin and McMullan tested out Burrough’s experiment by walking at WNYC in lower Manhattan. As soon as they were out the door they picked a color and set out on their walk. They started with the color blue, which led them to follow the color pink, and then they began looking at violets. At the end of the day the colors they saw were visualized more in their memory, and they concluded that they ended their walk seeing a “world brimming over with colors”, and were able to visualize not only the different colors that they saw but the different hues and intensities of each color in the objects they noticed on their walk. Bennin and McMullan created an interactive timeline that featured the objects that they noticed on their color walk and a description of the object that they noticed the color on. The interactive timeline allows for their readers to observe what they saw on their walk in real time and how they switched from color to color.  


                Looking back on how they tested the experiment, Bennin and McMullan advised people that are interested in doing a color walk to give themselves an hour of uninterrupted time where they would have time to just focus with their eyes on the colors they were seeing instead of running errands or trying to get from one part of town to the other during a commute. The second piece of advice they gave was to pick a color, or to even let a color pick you if it makes ones heart want to follow it. Finally, they said that if you get lost to pick another color and that getting lost in the colors means that you are on the right track.

His and Hers- Reading Summary

In her article, “His and Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick expresses her idea that “we are living in a time of gender revolution.” Currently, our society faces several proactive changes in our views on gender and sexuality. Now that we have begun the transition of acceptance, we need to look at the modernistic frame work of our society and see if it still accommodates our rapidly changing world.


Tick addresses the dominating presence of male influence on our society’s structure. Having been previously monopolized by men, the structure of the business world is heavily influenced by the male presence; however, according to the author, “recent events point to a new wave of feminism.” With equal rights weighing in heavily in politics and mass media, currently more and more people are transitioning to a more gender neutral society. Business offices and other historically male dominated spaces, are becoming more femininely influenced. Women hold more prominence in the work place than before. Tick even reveals the changing influences in fashion having things like cosmetic products tailored to men and more masculine fashion wear for women.


Gender norms are becoming less and less normal now, according to Tick. It is now far less taboo to openly have a gender identity different from the sex in which you were born with. In regards to college students and their gender identification, Tick explains, “They are standing up to institutions and saying that they don’t want to be identified as one or the other.” The significance of this progress is huge. According to the author, “In the past, transgender people were viewed as outcasts;” however, now it has been brought to attention that in the United States of America, the highest paying executive position in which a female holds, is in fact held by a woman whom was born biologically male. Her name is Martine Rothblatt. Tick quotes her in the article saying, “There are five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities.” This idea focuses on each person as an individual rather than singling out a group of people for their differences as well as pointing out the idea that as individuals our sexuality differs even within our own orientations.


Tick then states, “Corporations have taken note, and bathrooms have become the focus of this change.” Large companies have noticed the trend, and have quickly worked to accommodate their employees through the installment of gender neutral bathrooms. While bathrooms are just one small aspect of gender neutrality, the author does correctly point out that they are “spaces that are sensitive to such personal issues.” The goal is, according to the article, “to allow all individuals to feel comfortable, safe, and included—and not have to choose a gender while in the workplace.”


Individuality is key to this subject. Whether it be within their sexual orientation or just the personality type, by allowing a person to comfortably exhibit their individualism and live comfortably, we will create a society in which happiness becomes much easier to obtain. Tick posits, “Having safe places for anybody to function and do what they need to do, no matter who they are, should be our first step.”

His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” by Suzanne Tick


Making Bathrooms more Accomodating- Reading Summary

In her article, “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating,’” Emily Bazelon addresses the reasoning behind the arguments of which gender categorized bathroom or changing room a transgender person should be permitted to use. The article takes an in depth look at the different perspectives in which the argument takes.

Public bathrooms are split into two categories, male and female. This division is purely based of human anatomy and nothing else. The problem lies, however, in the fact that although someone could physically be a male or female, they can recognize themselves differently; thus creating conflict in their comfort in choosing a bathroom in which to utilize.

Bazelon explains that there is a lot of contributing factors to a transgender person’s desire to use the restroom of their choosing. One factor of a transwoman’s desire to have equal right to the women’s bathroom could lie in the nature of a woman’s restroom having more privacy within its stalls rather than the men’s room’s use of open urinals. The author reveals the testaments of a 12 year old transgender girl in which she spoke with. The girl explained to Bazelon, ‘‘I don’t walk into the changing room and feel like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m here. It feels just as natural to be in there with girls as it does to be in the classroom with boys and girls.’’

Brazelon then goes on to explain the idea of accommodation. She posits, “it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.”  The attempted accommodation for the problem at hand has been presented in the article as allowing a student to shower near their peers in their own stall, or to provide the student with a private changing area separated by a curtain or barrier.  Brazelon describes this as “relatively small adjustments for the sake of coexistence.” While this accommodation is an attempt at solution, Brazelon fears that, “It often sets up a distinction between the normal and the other.” By subjecting transgender people to this separation, society would be host to unequal rights for people of different sexual orientations. Those whom identify as a woman should be allowed to live as a woman, not create an entire sub category of “identifies as a woman.”

To conclude her article Brazelon shares what The Transgender Law Center offers in their resource guide entitled, “Peeing in Peace.”  She explains briefly a few of the include techniques. The first technique include in the resource guide was entitled “Invisibility.” This technique encourages trans-people to utilize the bathroom of their choice, but to avoid conflict with anyone else in the bathroom by avoiding all contact.  The second Technique Brazelon includes is called “Gender Proof.” The goal of this technique is to prove to the other attendents of the restroom that you belong there, or that you fit in. Specifically she states that the resource guide instructs transgender people to ‘‘try pointing out your physical characteristics if they will help prove that you belong.”

BAZELON, EMILY. “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating.” New York Times Magazine. 17 November 2015. Web. 15 February 2016.

Architectural Exclusion- Reading summary

In her article, Architectural Exclusion, Sarah Schindler explores the built environment and its impact on society. The built environment is any man-made structures that interfere with an individual’s ability to access public spaces. The article provides an example of an instances when bridges were put in place in order to prevent the African American communities from access public beaches. Schindler points out the protest from higher income communities to have public transportation run throughout them in fear of lower income communities having easier access to them. MARTA, the Atlanta subway system, has been long time protested by suburban communities North of Atlanta. These exclusionary measure are easily justified with reasons like reducing traffic and noise. Sarah Schindler then moves on to explain how government officials attempt to enforce antidiscrimination laws. The problem in preventing the discrimination through the built environment lies in the nature of the conflict. Architecture, unlike humans, isn’t believed to have bias and therefore isn’t considered to be implemented for such reasons. For instance, Having a door on one side of the corner rather than the other in order to attract people from one street is far less obvious  than placing a sign on the door saying, “this street only, please.” People are far less likely to question subtle changes in the built environment’s influences on our behavior. Schindler then concludes the article with an explanation of the impacts of the built environment. She explains the difficulty in reversing the effects of the built environment due to the permanence of the structures put in place.

Tapestry of Space- Reading Summary

Allison Spann 


English 1102

Robin Selece Wharton

In her article Tapestry of space, Irina Nersessova analyzes artists’, like photographer Margaret Morton, works to discuss homelessness. She begins discussing the idea that even the homeless have created some type of home for themselves. Although not a conventional home, the homeless still have a collection of belongings and a shelter in which they have created. They, just like those who do live in houses, have emotional connections to their belongings and take measures to protect these belongings.  The true difference between the homeless and those individuals that live in what society may consider to be a home is the stability of the home in which they live in. The homeless’ homes have a much higher vulnerability to destruction. This could then be brought back to say that all homes are vulnerable to destruction. May it be street cleaners disposing of your belongings, or a tornado sucking up your house, all homes are vulnerable. Nersessova then takes a look at Morton’s exploration of the abandoned tunnels, or lack thereof. She addresses the juxtaposition of the “aboveground” and “belowground” living being of different mind sets. Morton interviews residents of the tunnels getting their outlook on the two spheres. Nersessova concludes that the first man’s perception was “consistent with SI criticism of the spectacle as a filter for human interaction. She addresses Morton’s findings that the resident admits to believing that the lack of “accumulating commodities” or images is necessary to reach a level of consciousness he deems necessary. Nersessova then goes on to touch homelessness in regards to psychological aspects in placement of the economic issues typical addressed. This opens the topic to the idea of refuge rather than poverty. Many of the residents of the tunnel agree that the appeal to live in the abandoned space is the feeling of safety. The location of these abandoned roads/tunnels is not well known to the aboveground population. Only those who reside in or have explored the tunnel are aware of what lies inside; therefore, any outsiders are found to be less comfortable entering the space. Residents find this comforting, because it provides them with a safe haven they know will not be invaded. They still have knowledge with the outside world, otherwise referred to as aboveground, making it easy to go between the two to collect necessities. She then posits that the choice of the residents to live in the underground is a testament to the social problems that would cause one to leave the above ground. The theory that the underground is strictly a space for “primal survival” is countered by the presentation of artwork. Nersessova explains that artwork in the tunnels represents a “presence of humanities, which further demonstrates a complete society.” She continues to describe testimonies of those who reside in the underground. One man goes into detail explaining that he has everything a “non-homeless” person would have, thus making him not homeless. The man says, “It’s not always about the money; it’s really about getting an idea of who you are.” He says, “They are their homes because they physically create them and emotionally invest in the process of home building.