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Current Issue: Volume 23, No. 17, Week of May 13, 2005

Abstract from photo of dinosaur in NY Times, May 13, 2005, p. B29.

What You See and What You Expect:
It's a Dinosaur.
Click on the picture or on Dinosaur to see the Dinosaur with which I started.

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: May 13, 2005
Latest Update: May 13, 2005

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Topic of the Week:

What You See and What You Expect: It's a Dinosaur.

When I picked up the New York Times this morning and stared straight at that dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex, something in the size, the shape of the image, and the teeth, most of all, those teeth, all I could think was "He's scary." We all love dinosaurs. I've got to put him up on the site. I rushed into the library and went straight to the New York Times site. But when I enlarged the little thumbnail of the dinosaur, he just looked, well, kind of ordinary.

This is the problem with photographs. They describe what IS, from at least one perspective, and often what we see depends on lots more than what IS there. In the photo and in the printed version the dinosaur is kind of swallowed up into the picture. The printed letters DINOS, though backwards, still draw the eye, as does the smaller dinosaur in the back and all the ceiling lights. That's a known context, so we see the dinosaur not as the focus that might scare us, but as part of a familiar scene.

So I set out to play with the photo to try to recapture what I felt when I first looked at the paper. In the Visual Sociology section, I show you what I finally came up with that I liked. I think you can actually see the silver circles they speak of using to replace the old bones better in the drawing than in the original photo. I know I can see the dinosaur's second paw (claw?) in the drawing, where I couldn't in the original. Didn't even notice until I started playing with the print.

Changes in color and outline of Sara Krulwich's New York Times Photo on p. B 29 of Weekend Arts, May 13, 2005.

  • "A Tyrannosaurus rex in 'Dinosaurs' " - Link on thumbnail to see whole print in Visual Sociology Section.
  • This is an excellent example of how in today's world we are manipulated by those who wish to sell their wares by the encoding that seems to make things look like what they are not. It's not so much that our eyes delude us, but that our expectations do. If a man is an evangelican minister, we simply don't expect him to requent pornography sites on the Internet. It's hard for us to believe even when we see the signs. Same is true of the Catholic priestssexually abusing children. We don't believe that women abuse children because such a picture conflicts with our expected images of woman. We "know" that someone who looks "trustworthy" (whatever that is), is worthy of our trust. And that ain't necessarily so.

    I was amazed when I swirled the dinosaur. The abstract was done with colors I liked, and it was almost as calming as a Zen garden. I think I'll frame it and hang it on my wall to remind me that things are hardly ever what they seem at first glance.

    love and peace, jeanne

    NEWS, Announcements, and

    Current Discussion Topics:

  • The serenity prayer: from Sarah, Message No. 4553 that so many of you appreciated:
    god grant me the serenity to accept the things i CANNOT change, the COURAGE to change the things i can, and the WISDOM to know the difference.

    Please read Christian Behavior and the Homeless and The Devil: A Projection of Ourselves to see how I've woven your discourse together, and to confirm for me that this will help you weave your own contributions to transform_dom into a coherent discussion of the issues. jeanne

  • Learning Records for Spring 2005 Some records are still not up, but most are.

  • Learning Records with Grades for Spring 2005 Most of you should be up. I've gone back all the way to 4400. If your name is missing from grade sheet, e-mail me immediately. If your learning record is missing, that's OK, just remind me to get it up. jeanne

    You can call me at 323-374-4982. I'll get it if I'm at the computer. jeanne

  • Instructions page for joining transform_dom and transspan

    Famous People and Concepts We Should Have Heard Of, But Often Haven't.

      People

    • Henri Bergson - French philosopher, early 20th Century, whose lectures were so popular it was fashionable for the public to attend. His book on laughter, Le Rire, was applied to the comedies of the famous 17th century playwright, Moliere.

      Concepts

    • what makes us laugh - See jeanne's summary at Laugh or Cry? My World on May 16, 2005

      According to Bergson:

      "In laughter we always find an unavowed intention to humiliate and consequently to correct our neighbour," Bergson stated in Laughter (1900). It is not among Bergson's best-known studies, but Arthur Koestler considered it as important for his book The Act of Creation as (1964) Freud's classic Wit and its Relations to the Unconscious. Bergson defined the comic as the result of the sense of relief we feel when we feel ourselves from the mechanistic and materialistic - his examples were the man-automaton, the puppet on strings, Jack-in-the Box, etc. "A situation is always comic", he wrote, "if it participates simultaneously in two series of events which are absolutely independent of each other, and if it can be interpreted in two quite different meanings." He saw laughter as the corrective punishment inflicted by society upon the unsocial individual. "It seems that laughter needs an echo. Our laughter is always the laughter of a group."

      From: Henri Bergson (1859-1941) Books and Writers on the Pegasos Site.

    Jeanne's Lectures for Spring 2005

    Visual Sociology

    • Clouds

      WTC devil's face in clouds. . . . WTC devil's face in clouds.
      2001 CNN . . . . . . . . . . . . 2001 Stellar Images

    • Faces in the Cloud Urban Legends Site. Notice that visual imagery is open to myriad interpretations, most of which depend upon what you expect to see. These are reported as cloud images between the Twin Towers on September 11. Note images are copyrighted. They are used here for teaching purposes only.

    • Dinosaurs

      Changes in color and outline of Sara Krulwich's New York Times Photo on p. B 29 of Weekend Arts, May 13, 2005.

    • "A Tyrannosaurus rex in 'Dinosaurs' " A modified version of the photograph by Sara Krulwich in the New York Times on p. B 29 of Weekend Arts, May 13, 2005.

      Changes in color and outline of Sara Krulwich's New York Times Photo on p. B 29 of Weekend Arts, May 13, 2005.

    • Sara Krulwich's actual photograph of the dinosaur in the New York Times on p. B 29 of Weekend Arts, May 13, 2005, and on the Internet.

      I made changes in the photograph to try to capture the same feeling I had when I saw the dinosaur in the paper. It was truly scary. But the photo looked just like any old history museum photo. Not the same feeling. So I tried scanning in the image from the printed version of the paper, but it was grainy, and didn't give the effect I wanted either. So I decided to play. About twenty-five experiments later I had the version above, which blurs the background and gives some of the feeling I was looking for. The colors worked for me, and focusing directly on the dinosaur worked for me. Iused My Corel Photo-House program. I'll bet lots of you have similar photo programs. Try them. Play.

      See Playing with Dinosaurs for lots of versions I experimented with. And one of the most abstract in this week's topic painting. I didn't paint that. I just "swirled the image with the colors, outlining, and blurring that I liked, and voila! Abstract Art. I like it. It was fun! jeanne See Links only version of Playing with Dinosaurs Easier to load, won't take as long, and you can just link on each picture as you want to see it. jeanne

    Academic Support

    Using Academic Language Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    and Careers

    • Resumes:

    • Letters of Recommendation:

      • Letters of Recommendation: How to get me to respond to your request. Many of you need letters. If you will follow this format, I can do them quickly and make them good.
      • Dog Letters If you do not give me adequate information, but do manage to get my attention, you may end up with a dog letter. That is a letter that says that you work well with people, that you are enthusiastic, that you persist at getting things done, and that everyone likes you. Of course, my dog gets along well with people, brings his ball to them, is enthusiastic, and persists at getting them to take his ball. Everyone likes my dog. That's a dog letter. It's so general it could be about my dog. jeanne

    • Career Options You Might Not Have Considered

      • visual media and their interdependence with other means of knowing to understand that we are not totally rational creatures deciding things apart from our feelings and values. Wolfowitz (new President of the World Bank to aid developing countries AND principle advocate of the Iraq War) might feel very differently when he is exposed to visual and aural images of the poor developing countries that have not before been his primary concern. So we want to know how best to present those developing countries visually. And we might find that we can have a career doing that sort of thing, so it does reflect on us as individuals. Added April 2, 2005.

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

    Flying Dog is also a painting by Zhang Kai. Best I've ever come across to illustrate our site with magic numbers and unicorns and whipped cream cats and now, flying dogs:

    Index of Nice Things We've Said to Each Other

    Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in class that works out well, that inspires you, that helps in studying, whatever, take a few minutes to send us an e-mail. We'll post it where all of us can learn from it, including other teachers.

    You can also send an email to the Who to Take Site: