Bullhorn - #ReasonsToResist at UBC: Fossil Fuel and Mining Investments

This is Part Three of a series from The Talon on Reasons to Resist at The University of British Columbia. See Part One: Tuition and Housing here, and Part Two: Finance and Labour here.

The focus of this series is to reflect and extend the current state of activism on campus, by evidencing yet more potential issues related to financial and negotiating power at the University. It is by no means intended to cover all legitimate grievances, and even in the areas on which it focuses, it should be taken as nothing more than what it is: the angry research of a debt-encrusted grad student.

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Bullhorn - #ReasonsToResist at UBC: Finance and Labour

This is Part Two of a series from The Talon on Reasons to Resist at The University of British Columbia. See Part One: Tuition and Housing here.

The focus of this series is to reflect and extend the current state of activism on campus, by evidencing yet more potential issues related to financial and negotiating power at the University. It is by no means intended to cover all legitimate grievances, and even in the areas on which it focuses, it should be taken as nothing more than what it is: the angry research of a debt-encrusted grad student.

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Bullhorn - #ReasonsToResist at UBC: Tuition and Housing

This is Part One of a  series from The Talon on Reasons to Resist at the University of British Columbia.

The focus of this series is to reflect and extend the current state of activism on campus, by evidencing yet more potential issues related to financial and negotiating power at the University. It is by no means intended to cover all legitimate grievances, and even in the areas on which it focuses, it should be taken as nothing more than what it is: the angry research of a debt-encrusted grad student.

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Project WAMEDAC - The Journey of a Message: Hermits, Model Sets, and Co-Cognition

            "I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss - you can't do it alone." -John Cheever.

            Any form of communication is, with multiple instances, capable of constructing a discourse. But for that to happen, an expression must be "read" by someone else, another conscious experience(r) must construct some meaning from its specifics, transforming it from an expression into a communication. Basically, since we're all experientially isolated consciousnesses, without a built-in method of faithfully transferring our conscious experiences to another, all expressions must be made physically, through signs. 

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Project WAMEDAC - "The King's Speech" Acts: On Illocution, Representation, and Reality

            I was originally hoping to keep the film analysis and criticism stuff off of this blog, despite the fact that film analysis is a purely semiotic process of engagement with both proposed and unproposed realities (something quite relevant here). However, a King's Speech is gonna break that short, short-lived rule, as it obviously deals quite heavily with some of the concepts that this blog focuses on and grants me an opportunity to ramble at you about the chunk of Pragmatics that is Speech Acts.

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Project WAMEDAC - Of Arrows, Emoticons, & Plural-Logos: Unseeing, Negative Creation, and Re-Cognition

            Ever notice how you can't "unsee" some things? I'm not talking about terrifying imagery like a particularly stomach-churning horror movie scene or a roommate or relative with a strong dispreference for pants when lounging around the house. That's a different, but highly related, kind of unseeing I might write a little about later. But right now, I'm talking more like text emoticons, the arrow in that FedEx logo, or any other of the variety of multi-message logos. The people (fewer and fewer, these days) that haven't seen some of the most basic emoticons would be quite confused as to what a letter-writer might mean if they pen "=P", or how "equals 'P'" is at all sequitor to the letter's content, nevermind that it could have a meaning more complex than just a representation of a facial expression. However, once you're in on the secret, it's practically impossible to not see that dumb little face with a tongue sticking out, and to similarly read a tone, or a twist in meaning, to interpret said letter in.

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Project ReCon - 2010 G-20 Toronto Summit Protests

            The G8 and G20 summits in June saw world leaders zip up deals, pin down promises, and sign off on new agreements. And it turns out taxpayers paid dearly for the accessories: $100-a-piece pens for the leaders, and over $86,000 worth of lapel pins and zipper pulls. $1.9 million "fake lake" pavilion, and $14,000 for glow sticks. Gifts for leaders, their spouses and other high ranking officials were at least $103,000 and included canoe paddles, Hudson's Bay blankets, and crystal replicas of the CN Tower. Art was rented and insured for more than $30,000, while $12,131 was spent on tablecloths for the formal dinners, and $32,762 was spent on "foot powder and Gatorade" by the Department of National Defence. The Defence Department also spent $56,000 on personal hygiene items. Officials with the Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the cost of entertaining world leaders is expensive, especially because items like signs and banners, including $1,438 to set up and remove them, can't be reused after every event. But they said the furniture used for the summits has been placed in storage and will be dragged back out the next time there is an opportunity.

William Blair told a House of Commons committee Thursday that he budgeted $124.8 million to keep Toronto streets safe during the June summit.

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Project WAMEDAC - Signs, Signifieds, & Contexts: The Stop Sign Introduction and Informing Recognition

            It would be good, at this early stage, to try and set out a simple, solid foundation for understanding some basics of a semiotic approach, in case readers that aren't familiar with it and don't want to spend more time on Wikipedia don't already want to completely abandon this thing. For such a task, I'll attempt a staple of explanatory semiotic metaphors: the stop sign. In semiotics (made up of semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics,) a sign is a particular instance of an observable input or stimulus that signifies, or triggers in the observer, a meaning of some sort. The meaning or understanding taken from observing a sign is usually called its "signified," and the observable unit of information (an abstract symbol, to a letter, a word, sentence, image, book, lighting in a photo, camera movement in a film scene, color of a character's hat, statistical analysis, anything) that triggered the making of the meaning or understanding taken from its observation is called the "sign." This relationship underlies the concept, and phenomenon, we refer to as significance.

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Project WAMEDAC - Meaning is a Community Project, and We Live in a Massive Community Center

            Beginnings are always awkward. When something's just starting, there's little-to-no existing structure to analyze first, to use in order to find which way to approach. There's not enough information to understand the rules governing not only the process you're beginning, but also what makes an individual step in that process successful or not. One of the many reasons the first step of a journey can be difficult is because you can't see the path on the other side of the threshold you have to pass in order to start the journey. You have to make the first step with a strange gait, careful manipulation of your center of gravity, lest you get that brief, but heart-stuttering sense of falling before even really beginning, because of a curb being just a bit higher than you expected.

            I think and talk too much about the how people think and talk, though I have the bare minimum in formal training in the area. Trying to write about these interwoven topics led me to see that that is the same thing too. This realization can be reproduced with any process or work one could call an expression.

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