In class we revisited the green map.  We analyzed the updated map based on four categories: icons, sites, comparisons with other maps, and overall usefulness / accuracy.

Looking at the Icons that we tagged on the map, the most common were Bike Parking, Bus Stop, and Recycling.  As for the least common, many icons we not used at all.  Of the icons used, the least frequent were WiFi, Traffic Hazard, and specific areas such as Tennis Courts.  The most important icons for our project are the bike path, bike parking, public transportation, and public space / recreation area icons.  These are the most useful icons for students as their primary concern is traversing campus in a limited amount of time.  Also, finding a grassy area to relax, play frisbee, or nap (weather permitting) is useful between classes.

Several sites on campus have much more mapping than others.  Heavily mapped areas include the Main Quad, the Engineering Quad and north campus, Krannert Center, and the South Quad.  Students were assigned to map specific sections of campus which led to ‘icon clumping’.  However, the assigned mapping areas are boarded by apartments, frats, and sororities and so mapping all of campus would not yield many additional icons.  In the areas that were mapped, many icons were missed due to time constraints.  For instance, the green map only shows one Place of Worship where, in fact, there are several throughout campus.

Comparison of the Champaign-Urbana Green Map and other maps revealed very different patterns.  The green map of Stevens Point had icons that mostly marked businesses or restaurants, where ours had mostly transportation related icons.  The least used icons at Stevens Point marked local Parks.  It is also interesting that the majority of the icons were off the nearby campus and focused near the Wisconsin River Flowage.

The green map of Berlin, Germany is similar to Stevens Point in that the majority of its icons mark out businesses such as stores and bars.  Also, the occasional park and theater are indicated on the map.  This is very different from the Champaign-Urbana map although this may be because the Berlin map deals with a city, not a campus.

The final map we compared to Champaign-Urbana focused on Syracuse, New York.  This map is also very similar to Stephens Point in that although Syracuse University is nearby, the majority of icons are set to the West of campus.  The majority of these icons indicate businesses and restaurants around the interstate.  As it is similar to Stephens Point, it differs with the Champaign-Urbana map in the same way.

The last way in which we analyze the maps is based on their usefulness and accuracy.  The Champaign-Urbana map is useful for students that wish to plan routes to class and to find places to relax outside between classes.  However the map is not useful outside central campus because not much data is recorded there.  As for the usefulness of the other maps, due to their icons pertaining to businesses, they seem to be made for a tourist.  Also, as in the case of the Champaign-Urbana map, only a limited area is mapped and not all businesses are included.  The usefulness of these maps will be increased as more icons are added in diversity and number.  For now, its a start.

In class we watched a video regarding South Korea’s growing video game epidemic.  According to a Yahoo! article, video game addiction has become so bad that several gamers have died after not taking a break for several days or even weeks.  Also, last year a couple’s newborn daughter starved to death when they neglected her and played video games for days at a time.   The urgency of the situation has caused the South Korean government to pass legislation that will set up a gaming curfew for all online games in both public and private places.  To do this the gamers’ bandwidths will slow down significantly for every hour the game is being played after midnight until it is impossible for the game to run.  The government is starting with the 4 largest online RPGs (role playing games) but will eventually add 19 game titles to the “curfew list”.  These games will account for around 80% of the online games played.  The government is taking matters into its own hand.

The government’s push for the legislation is due to the severity of the situation.  The government must step in and act as the parent, as many parent’s are not enforcing less gaming time.  Also, some parents, as in the case mentioned above, are apart of the addiction and therefore have no one to control their addiction.

As for the argument against the legislation, people argue that the government has no right to act as a “parent”, especially not to adults.  If people want to practice unhealthy behavior, then that is their choice.  Also, the involvement of the government in private affairs, such as when you play video games at home, is an invasion of privacy.

As for my argument, I agree that the problem is severe enough to demand attention, but I do not believe that direct government control is the answer, although it may be the easiest (for the government).  To address the problem, video game cafes should monitor and limit the number of hours each patron spends in the business to a reasonable number, say 8 hours.  No direct control should be taken to control private gaming.  The best that could be done is to make adults and parents aware of the situation, to encourage the parents to monitor their child’s gaming time, and to give them tips of how to curve their child’s addiction.  It’s really sad that the government is taking a parental role but it feels like it must since the child’s parents are not, whether intentionally or not (working late, not home all the time).

After presenting the topic of the International Space Station to my group, we discussed how the space industry will change with the loss of the Space Shuttle Program.  One option is that NASA will join up with the Russian program, using Russian rockets and launch sites.  This may relieve the tension between Russia and the United States as the US has been pushing Russia to sign a new nuclear arms treaty in which both nations will continue to reduce their nuclear stockpiles.  A second possible outcome of losing the Space Shuttle is that travel to the International Space Station and beyond will be in the hands of private corporations.  This is not a new concept, as contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman design and build our military aircraft.  The downside to private corporations running the space program is their limited budget.   As space travel is expensive, vehicles and missions will be small scale and not as frequent as current NASA missions.   In the end, I don’t believe the space program will fall apart.  The loss of  the Shuttles is a temporary “bump in the road” which will be bypassed somehow.

The International Space Station (ISS) has introduced a new era of technology and exploration.  Humans are now capable of living in outer space for extended amounts of time on the ISS, a football field-sized laboratory.  This lab offers a unique environment for experiments, research, and the develop of new technologies.  An article from NASA mentions the success of experiments in the past 9 years, including “advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells and the development of more capable engines and materials” among the hundreds that have taken place.  As for physical dimensions the station has “a mass of almost 400 tons and more than 12,000 cubic feet of living space” and is nearing completion.  For a better idea of the structure, visit an interactive time line from USA Today that assembles the station in the order it was built.  At the end of the animation each piece’s function is explained.

In recognition of its success, the International Space Station Program was awarded the 2009 Collier Trophy.  According to a second NASA article, “the National Aeronautic Association bestows the award annually to recognize the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America”.  However, this award does not only honor American astronauts and scientists, but many other people from different countries as well.  The title “International” Space Station reflects the joint project of five space agencies and 15 countries including NASA, European countries, Japan, and Russia.  The joint project is due in part to the immense cost of building and maintaining the station, but also as a cooperative peace gesture.  In space, there are no countries or boundaries, no physical barriers; nationalities cease to exist and only humanity remains.  The joint effort of America and Russia is an example of this.  45 Years ago marked the height of the Cold War and the Space Race between Communist Russia and the Democratic United States.  In a CNN article and video, a recent joint mission between Russia and America took flight.  The Russian rocket took off on April 4th, 2010 with NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko.  This cooperative effort demonstrates not only the evolution of space technology, but also the evolution of cooperation and peace between former opposing nations.

The International Space Station possesses unique concepts of location, place, and space.  For example, the physical location of the ISS is constantly changing and, therefore, its general location must be referred to as its orbit and given a specific time, its exact location over Earth can be calculated.  This is important information, as scientists need to know when and where the ISS will be when sending up a shuttle or rocket to dock with it.

A second unique concept of geography at the ISS is place.  Place is defined as “the distinctive and distinguishing physical and human characteristics of the locales”.  “Characteristics of the locales” usually refers to culture but in this case cultures are mixed.   The commonality among all those on board the station is their careers and love for science and space.

The final term, space, plays a huge role concerning living in the International Space Station and maximizing its uses.  For instance, in a typical household on Earth gravity prevents the use of at least half of every room from being occupied.  In space, the absence of gravity no longer dictates what is “up” or “down”, redefining the phrase ‘one astronaut’s floor is another astronaut’s ceiling’, literally!  Also, walkways are not needed as one can simply float through a room.  Although it seems much space is available, in reality most of it is used for storage of supplies and equipment.  The isolation of space requires a lot of ‘stuff” to be put in a small area.  Therefore, the amount of space available is closely monitored and was scrutinized over during the early development of the ISS.