Friday, October 12, 2018

In this essay, I’ll attempt to bridge the gap between What Every 1 Says Project goals and Benjamin Schmidt’s article “The Humanities Are in Crisis” (2018). Schmidt argues not that the crisis doesn’t exist, but that students are wrong in their understanding of the humanities. Their perception formed from things such as “student debt, postmodern relativism, vanishing jobs, don’t seem to fit the decline in the humanities at this time. He mentions possible other reasons such as, “the democratization of access” for new populations, “shifting from traditional humanistic fields of study to new ones,” and so on. After analyzing different types of institutions and related fields that show similar declines against computer sciences, he concludes with “[students] are fleeing humanities and related fields specifically because they think they have poor job prospects.”

Benjamin Schmidt
Ben Schmidt
Continuing, Schmidt shows that job prospects in the humanities are equal to those in various kinds of sciences. He then questions why students have misunderstandings about the humanities. The author mentions that “worried relatives express the same” misguided perceptions about job prospects and income available to humanities students. And then, rather subtly on the issue of the role of the dominant demographic influence over humanities curriculum, Schmidt concludes as to why he feels the humanities are in decline. First he states that the only subsection of the humanities that has held steady is “ethnic, gender, and cultural studies” then he states that humanities, in general, has held steady in “black colleges and universities,” and he finally implies that the “dominant (perspective; culture?)” incumbent curriculum “continues to drive” new (first-generation?) students away. My interpretation of what the article is saying is:

1. The author is not pessimistic since the decline in the humanities has leveled off for several years.


2. Job prospects equal that of many other fields of study.


3. Increase in enrollment is possible if the curriculum becomes culturally appealing according to the institutional demographics of the student body, and if students perceive a degree in humanities to be a comparatively viable financial option.


So, do the goals of What Every 1 Says match Schmit’s conclusion?

WE1S respond[s] to the perceived long-term decline of the humanities, including after the most recent “crisis” period touched off by the Great Recession” by providing “discourse research on how the humanities are articulated in public and at crossover points between the public and the academy.” In this case, the WE1S project addresses Schmidt’s concerns about how “relatives express . . . misguided perceptions about job prospects.” The prospectus of WE1S explicitly states that it “will provide a richer stock of themes, narratives, examples, and evidence types that can be drawn upon in discussing the humanities” as a means to help “parents and students talk to each other about what life or career is about.”


The prospectus includes the fact that the WE1s project takes place in “‘cultural analytics’” which is a study of “social behavior and norms, and social learning in human societies” (Wikipedia). The idea of "cultural analytics" thus suggests that WE1S examines according to the actual demographics of colleges and universities to determine how students learn about the humanities. More precisely, it implies that it uses such an examination to provide solutions to student misconceptions. Further, as the prospectus states, WE1S” will provide methods and tools for humanities researchers investigating the role of complex ideas in society.” Therefore, WE1S will not only provide advocacy resulting from its uniquely positioned insights but also offer those same tools, through its open platform policy, to researchers outside the WE1S project.


If Schmidt’s conclusion is correct, then the prospectus bullet point of questioning things like "when parents and society tell a first-generation immigrant student to major in science, engineering, pre-medicine, pre-law, or pre-business; yet the cultural and personal identity of that student is vested in a deep humanities and arts heritage; then where does that excess “humanity” go and how is it expressed and cultivated?” suggests that the WE1S project will find ways of answering the crisis in the Humanities. The results will then be available to “create resources and recommendations to help guide discussion about the humanities by journalists, politicians, business people, university administrators, parents, and students.” Thus as a means toward resolution, WE1S addresses the issues in Schmidt’s article “The Humanities Are in Crisis.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Some Thoughts About Information and Time Compression

Information takes place over time. The past recedes from the present and future information is not available. The Internet continually increases the availability and quality of information from the past and makes it more immediate. Models simulate the future with increasing accuracy due to the quality of past information. Information coming from both the simulations of the future as well as higher qualities of the past come into the present at an ever-increasing rate. Therefore information has a time compression effect on meaning-making. This is to say that meaning is being freed of time constraints and starting to loop back into itself. That is why I say that we are no longer in a paradigm shift or an episteme but rather that we are living at the end of any such time-related concepts as regards knowledge. Within the domain of information, the effects of time passing diminish. And, we can go on from there.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Remediation and the Epistéme

Remediation and the Epistéme
I’ve attached Giuseppe Castiglione’s View of the Salon Carré in the Louvre (1861) as a means to talk about politics and epistemes. According to Wikimedia “[t]his is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less” (Castiglione). The binary code of the title of View of the Salon Carré in the Louvre looks like this:
01010110011010010110010101110111 0110111101100110 011101000110100001100101 0101001101100001011011000110111101101110 0100001101100001011100100111001011101001 0110100101101110 011101000110100001100101 010011000110111101110101011101100111001001100101. (“ASCII”)
I retrieved the jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group)--a form of image compression--file at my home computer within less than a second from a file on servers in either Tampa, Florida or in Amsterdam. The code makes it possible for networks to bring past political debates into conversation with the present. By way of "remediation" into a binary system, the original painting View of the Salon Carré in the Louvre becomes a topic of this discussion (Bolter 273).

The image attached to this essay came from the thoughts and body actions of Giuseppe Castiglione who placed mixtures of oil paint onto a canvas. The painting was framed and eventually photographed. Perhaps it was printed, and a digital photograph was taken off the print or it was converted immediately into its digital jpeg format by a digital camera. The digital image, uploaded to Wikimedia servers, then arrived on my computer screen which I then printed. Since I live in a liberal climate that allows me to have Internet access, the painting may be taken as a political metaphor for open access to ideas both then and now.

By political I mean how the French Bourgeois period depicted in the image relates to our own concerning the books Remediation (1999) by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, and On the Order of Things (1970) by Michel Foucault. Although the books discussed much that may relate to Castiglione’s oil on canvas, this essay attempts to merge stored information of the painter’s neural activity, captured from the artist’s painting as atoms held in a particular state to represent either a 1 or a 0, as a means of bringing the past into conversation with the reader.

As an example, today’s Louvre makes available stunning videos along with music and narration as information for the viewer to experience the museum as if they are there. (“Un Pastel Spectaculaire”). Parts of the past are now as close as the fingertips. This hyper "immediacy” folds the past into the present and makes possible this essay which in part discusses politics based on the references of a past political climate (Bolter 272-3). It is a hypermedia process because of the way the Internet allows me to gather multitudes of information from links related to a discussion of the political aspects of a work of art. (Bolter 272).

In her article “On the Meaning of Exhibitions – Exhibition Epistèmes in a Historical Perspective” Kerstin Smeds discusses “how scientific epistemologies and discourses, as well as the history of ideas and ideologies, are reflected in the way museums and exhibitions are organized” (“On the Meaning of Exhibitions” 50). She paraphrases Kress/Leeuwen saying that “[a]n exhibition wouldn’t . . . be called only an ‘act of speech’ or a statement or utterance of some hidden (or visible) museal epistemological practice and discourse, but a display of many diverse discourses forming one integrated multimodal ‘text’ and goes on to note that “Episteme II, the Enlightenment prevails” from 1860 onward (Smeds, 55-56). Referring to Castiglione’s painting then we might say that the artist’s “text” comprises the multimodal nature of the Louvre as well as the Enlightenment.

The Moroccan visitors dressed in their turban hats indicates the setting is cosmopolitan. The painting depicts other visitors engaged in intellectual activities or rather, in participation with the interiority of their uniquely defined representations: a woman reading, another painting, two men in conversation, another contemplating a painting. The open door at the far end and the large sky-lit gallery are references to the coming and going of ideas. Aesthetic values are not only within the paintings of the portraits and in the pastoral scene at the rear of the gallery but also being produced by the artists at work. The image is one multimodal collection of acts and messages that define episteme II, a time when liberalism became the discourse of the day.

Similar to Foucault’s ekphrastic description of the artist's salon in On the Order of Things, the painting’s discourse is a realist model of what it might be like to be at the Salon Carré in 1861. It shows France when “the Legislative Body began to publish its debates . . . The Emperor relaxed government censorship and his regime came to be known as the "Liberal Empire" (Bonaparte)

Works Cited
“ASCII Converter - Hex, Decimal, Binary, Base64, and ASCII Converter.” Branah,
https://www.branah.com/ascii-converter. Accessed 8 Oct. 2018.

Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Reprint edition, The MIT Press, 2000.

Bonaparte Eugenie de Montijo Napoléon Eugène Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte King Napoléon Louis Bonaparte of, et al. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte Historical Plaques and Markers. https://openplaques.org/people/486. Accessed 6 Oct. 2018.

Castiglione, Giuseppe. View of the Grand Salon Carré in the Louvre. 1861 date
QS:P571,+ - -00T00:00:00Z/9 1861. Louvre Museum, Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_View_of_the_Grand_Salon_Carr%C3%A9_in_the_Louvre_-_WGA4552.jpg.

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Reissue Edition, Vintage, 1994.

“On the Meaning of Exhibitions – Exhibition Epistèmes in a Historical Perspective”.
https://www.designsforlearning.nu/articles/abstract/10.2478/dfl-2014-0004/. Accessed 8 Oct. 2018.

“Un Pastel Spectaculaire.” Focus, 15 May 2017,
https://focus.louvre.fr/fr/la-marquise-de-pompadour/observer/un-pastel-spectaculaire.



Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Brief Analysis of Text and ASCII Code

To verify that the Lexos hierarchical clustering returns an identical dendrogram whether, in text or in ASCII code, I first cleaned Nathaniel Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance leaving the capital letters as is. I then converted each letter into its ASCII equivalent and then wrote the lines to a new file. I then had two files.
The text file looks like this:
I OLD MOODIE The evening before my departure for Blithedale I was returning to my bachelor apartments after attending the wonderful exhibition of the Veiled Lady when an elderly man of rather shabby appearance met me in an obscure part of the street of my story The reader therefore since I have disclosed so much is entitled to this one word more As I write it he will charitably suppose me to blush and turn away my face I I myself was in love with Priscilla
And, the ascii "out-1.txt file looks like this:
073 079076068 077079079068073069 084104101 101118101110105110103 098101102111114101 109121 100101112097114116117114101 102111114 066108105116104101100097108101 073 119097115 114101116117114110105110103 116111 109121 098097099104101108111114 097112097114116109101110116115 097102116101114 097116116101110100105110103 116104101 119111110100101114102117108 101120104105098105116105111110 111102 116104101 086101105108101100 076097100121 119104101110 097110 101108100101114108121 109097110 111102 114097116104101114 097 115104097098098121 097112112101097114097110099101 109101116 109101 105110 097110 111098115099117114101 112097114116 111102 116104101 115116114101101116 111102 109121 115116111114121 084104101 114101097100101114 116104101114101102111114101 115105110099101 073 104097118101 100105115099108111115101100 115111 109117099104 105115 101110116105116108101100 116111 116104105115 111110101 119111114100 109111114101 065115 073 119114105116101 105116 104101 119105108108 099104097114105116097098108121 115117112112111115101 109101 116111 098108117115104 097110100 116117114110 097119097121 109121 102097099101 073 073 109121115101108102 119097115 105110 108111118101 119105116104 080114105115099105108108097
Both files are much longer than the above samples. The resulting dendrogram from the default settings of Lexos's hierarchical clustering looks like the image below. Heuristically the computer program of Lexos interprets each file exactly the same, and yet each file is very different. The slightly obtuse python code that I used to create the ASCII file and the text file is below. I can make it much prettier, but for now, it is what it is.
\#!/usr/bin/env python3
\# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
"""
Created on Sun Apr  9 08:49:53 2017

@author: ray

"""
\# An alternative to replacing brackets and parentheses by using regex within python
def remove_bracketed_text_by_regex(text):
   import re
\#    text = re.sub("\(.+?\)", " ", text)         # Remove text between parentheses
\#    text = re.sub("\[.+?\]", " ", text)         # Remove text between square brackets
\#    text = re.sub("\s+", "  ", text).strip() # Remove extra white spaces (optional)
   return text

\# A loop subroutine def that will remove nested brackets and parentheses
def remove_text_inside_brackets(text, brackets="()[]"):
   count = [0] * (len(brackets) // 2) # count open/close brackets
   saved_chars = []
   for character in text:
       for i, b in enumerate(brackets):
           if character == b: # found bracket
               kind, is_close = divmod(i, 2)
               count[kind] += (-1)**is_close # `+1`: open, `-1`: close
               if count[kind] < 0: # unbalanced bracket
                   count[kind] = 0
               break
       else: # character is not a bracket
           if not any(count): # outside brackets
               saved_chars.append(character)
   return ''.join(saved_chars)

\# the cleanstring subroutine def below substitutes one character for another or for nothing if the second quote is left empty. Modify as needed
def cleanString(incomingString):
   newstring = incomingString
   newstring = newstring.replace("a","097")
   newstring = newstring.replace("A","065")
   newstring = newstring.replace("b","098")
   newstring = newstring.replace("B","066")
   newstring = newstring.replace("c","099")
   newstring = newstring.replace("C","067")
   newstring = newstring.replace("d","100")
   newstring = newstring.replace("D","068")
   newstring = newstring.replace("e","101")
   newstring = newstring.replace("E","069")
   newstring = newstring.replace("f","102")
   newstring = newstring.replace("F","070")
   newstring = newstring.replace("g","103")
   newstring = newstring.replace("G","071")
   newstring = newstring.replace("h","104")
   newstring = newstring.replace("H","072")
   newstring = newstring.replace("i","105")
   newstring = newstring.replace("I","073")
   newstring = newstring.replace("j","106")
   newstring = newstring.replace("J","074")
   newstring = newstring.replace("k","107")
   newstring = newstring.replace("K","075")
   newstring = newstring.replace("l","108")
   newstring = newstring.replace("L","076")
   newstring = newstring.replace("m","109")
   newstring = newstring.replace("M","077")
   newstring = newstring.replace("n","110")
   newstring = newstring.replace("N","078")
   newstring = newstring.replace("o","111")
   newstring = newstring.replace("O","079")
   newstring = newstring.replace("p","112")
   newstring = newstring.replace("P","080")
   newstring = newstring.replace("q","113")
   newstring = newstring.replace("Q","081")
   newstring = newstring.replace("r","114")
   newstring = newstring.replace("R","082")
   newstring = newstring.replace("s","115")
   newstring = newstring.replace("S","083")
   newstring = newstring.replace("t","116")
   newstring = newstring.replace("T","084")
   newstring = newstring.replace("u","117")
   newstring = newstring.replace("U","085")
   newstring = newstring.replace("v","118")
   newstring = newstring.replace("V","086")
   newstring = newstring.replace("w","119")
   newstring = newstring.replace("W","087")
   newstring = newstring.replace("x","120")
   newstring = newstring.replace("X","088")
   newstring = newstring.replace("y","121")
   newstring = newstring.replace("Y","089")
   newstring = newstring.replace("z","122")
   newstring = newstring.replace("Z","090")
   newstring = newstring.replace('\/',' ')
   newstring = newstring.replace('"',' ')
   newstring = newstring.replace('.', ' ')
   newstring = newstring.replace(',',' ')
\#    newstring = newstring.replace('\\n','')
   return newstring

f2 = open(r'C:\Users\rayst\Documents\525-DH\texts-for-analysis\ascii\output\Hawthorne-blithedale-romance--ascii-out-1.txt', "w") # open a new file to write to.
\#much of the stuff below is commented out and only there for convenience.
\# the following "for loop" runs the above subroutine defs
\# with open('commentarymagazine_humanities_urls.json', 'r', encoding='utf-8') as f:\n
\# on each line of text in the input file
\# When it reaches the end of file it breaks out of loop.
for line in open(r'C:\Users\rayst\Documents\525-DH\texts-for-analysis\ascii\Hawthorne-blithedale-romance-ascii.txt', "r"):
\# Uncomment the following four lines of code to remove from an asterisk to the end of line. Yeah, so, these are line operations.
\#    head, sep, tail = line.partition('*.')
\#    line = (head)
\#    head, sep, tail = line.partition('Lines')
\#    line = (head)
\# The following line of code removes nested brackets/parens within a line
   line = (repr(remove_text_inside_brackets(line)))
\# The commented line below offers an alternative to the above loop by using regex
\#   line = remove_bracketed_text_by_regex(line)
   line = (repr(cleanString(line))) # this calls the above cleanstring sub for each line
   line = line.replace("'"," ") # this gets rid of any remaining apostrophies
   line = line.replace('\\n',' ')
   line = line.replace('\\',' ')
   line = line.replace("\""," ") # this gets rid of any remaining commas
   line = line.replace('!',' ')
   line = line.replace('?',' ')
   line = line.replace('-',' ')
   line = line.replace(';',' ')
   line = remove_bracketed_text_by_regex(line)
   print(line) # this prints the output to the file in the console screen for monitoring
   f2.write(line) # this writes the line to the cleaned output file
\#    f2.write(r"\n") # this appends each line with a newline

f2.close() # this closes the output file
What I'm getting at is the bias in Topic Modeling and other Digital Humanities research. I'd like to develop a blind experiment to establish the extent to which Digital Humanities is objective. I've been thinking about this since objectivity came up in our WE1S Summer Research Camp discussions. I'm thinking about how to prove with hard evidence that DH is a science. I'm thinking about a mathematician, or geneticist, and a digital humanist arriving at the same technical observations of the outputs--the results produced by the DH science. Perhaps this has all been done before, but in any event, I proved to myself with a fun little experiment that the computer doesn't make choices based on what the tokens are. It processes the relationships (maybe not the order but probably the quantity) of the tokens to one another. The experiment verifies that this is so despite the underlying mathematical proof of hierarchical cluster modeling.
Does Hierarchical Clustering produce different results based on the order of the tokens? If I were a mathematician, I might believe it one way or another. But, this test helps me to visualize what is taking place. The numbers refer to the dendrogram and the word file as much as to any equivalent token set, and it doesn't depend on whether the equivalent token file is made from a 1 to 1 exchange of hexadecimal, binary or pictograph equivalents. I guess what is next needed is something like a diagram that expresses the flow of meaning, from our semiotic registers into the 1s and zeros and then back. What is taking place? Yes, an analysis, but where does that analysis lose those to whom we are advocating for the DH? Our entire world is being digitized and even our brains. What are we losing in the process and how can Digital Humanities help lessen the loss?
The same text to ascii test applied with an actual ascii to text online converter and the topic modeling tool for use that we downloaded gave me the following words from Topic 0 when I converted them from the ASCII coded file of Blithdale Romance: window drawing room hotel curtain front windows city extended dove steps All area places houses curtains boarding cat return doors
When I ran the topic modeling tool with the text version file Topic 0 came out as the following: boat wrong river effort borne act bent coffin drift shore shoe emotion sobs dry yonder methinks base tragedy betwixt tuft
Everything was the same, but likely the seed started at a different token. I need to check into that. Otherwise, I'll have to investigate why there is a difference in topic modeling the ASCII encoded equivalent of a text file.
Continuing on, I ran the topic model again with the same exact set of text files (I used Lexos to cut the files above into 9 segments and then downloaded them. Note that the download segemented files on the Lexos || prepare || cut menu did not seem to work for me so I had to download the cut files from the Manage menu), but this time I got the following list of topics for Topic 0: fauntleroy chamber wealth splendor daughter corner glass saloon drink moodie governor liquor wife condition supposed beautiful cocktails gin feeble message
This indicates to me that the topic modeling tool uses a different seed token to generate Topic 0. Because of the different Topic 0s produced whenever a different seed token is used, I have to question the validity of the topic modeling tool or look into what others say about this issue. If topics may relate to themes based on relative coherence then what I would like to see is an average Topic 0 made from the sums of analyses run from all possible seed tokens. I'd like to concentrate on other topic modeling variables instead of having such an open variable as part of my research.
The above tests helped me realize
  1. the meanings of the words are equivalencies of human awareness that the world and life exist.
  2. the meaning of the words from a novel written almost 200 years ago remains unchanged even when converted to another code. Humanly readable topics were determined after I switched the topic modeling results back from their ASCII codes to text.
  3. the meaning of the words may be analyzed by processes outside the scope of the analyst's knowledge.
  4. semantic relationships between words result from computer processes. The topics did seem to have a bit of coherence. On other topic models with rubust data sets, topics have suprisingly uncanny coherence.
  5. the code being processed by another auxiliary code is the artificial processing of the awareness that the world and life exist.


In this essay, I’ll attempt to bridge the gap between What Every 1 Says Project goals  and Benjamin Schmidt’s article “ The Humanities Are i...