An Analysis of Sound and Music in Invisibilia, True to You

In the first portion of the episode, sound and music interacts with the podcast to instill very strong emotions, feelings, and for lack of a better word; vibes. They begin with very eerie music when they read a bible verse about the locusts, and then again they use a soundbite of bussing locusts while people are testifying about the awful plagues of locusts. The mood then switches very quickly when they transition to the grasshopper scientist, playing a very upbeat tune, much like those found on cooking and food videos from Tasty. When they begin to wonder about the grasshoppers they play very quizzical music, like something found in Planet Earth, both removed but inquiring.

For the second portion of the episode, they play more whimsical music when they introduce the idea of having a range of people to become, and encountering new concepts about ones’ self. It also serves as a nice background music for the narrator when she is explaining the story that is ahead, it gives the episode sort of theme music, which also serves to make the advertisements much more bearable. When the narrator or someone else is speaking about the story and setting up the background and action, the music fades away, allowing listeners to focus much more. It is very intentional how they pick the music they wish to play, and when it should play, it adds a complexity and depth to the story and the mood. I personally think that the music helped to lighten up the sleep talking played in the episode. The oboe is a perfect inquiry music, I must say, another great moment was when they dropped the X Files sound bite. The harp and chimes are wonderful for dreamy and sleepy music, and then the solo piano for sort of sad moments.

The third portion of the show utilizes music and sound in the same facets as the first and second portions, but actually doesn’t require as much play with sound. The character is very interesting and good at filling the air, very short sound clips play but they do not distract from the story. When the story transitions to him realizing his second personality, the cartoon cat and his other character ideas, they begin to play light background music. Once he begins to publish the Lord Birthday comics, they play upbeat French café guitar music, a classic pic for when a story begins to pick up, I also feel like it is related to illustration for some reason. The music played throughout this story is vastly different from the music and sounds in the prior stories. The solo piano was a very good choice to wrap up the episode with, and then their choice for sound and music for their next episode was even more different, giving it a wild, young, living vibe.

 

Keeping America Sacred

Subject: Keeping America Sacred

This short political remix states a clear argument, and follows through by advancing their argument by using adequate evidence in the form of politicians, from both sides of the aisle, repeatedly hitting buzzwords during the primaries for each of their respective parties during 2004.

The clear argument is found as text in the beginning; “How do you run a convention on a record of failure? Invoke 9/11” The video then shows all of the politicians repeatedly saying September eleventh in different iterations. The creator of the remix advances their argument with different points, of which the same evidence is used. The arguments continue; “Know your enemy”followed by the politicians saying Saddam Hussein. “Handle the Bin Laden situation appropriately” ironically followed by crickets and images of people sleeping and dozing. Their second to last point had enough evidence to last over a minute, truly driving the point home, this point was “And above all, spread fear” which was followed by the politicians talking of all sorts of awful things and speaking about nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The creator’s last point was made at the very end of the remix and concluded the remix, it simply read; “George W. Bush Keeping America Sacred.”

The argument the creator is making is that the politicians in the United States used fear-mongering in an attempt to secure a party nomination in the 2004 presidential election. The constraints that the creator operated within were essentially the simple text that was displayed to state arguments, and the compilation of several notable politicians using the same terms dozens of times in speaking engagements. The strategies the creator employed were hard cuts from text to footage, a strong utilization of repetition. It employed irony at two points; in the middle when mentioning Bin Laden, and then again at the end by stating that George W. Bush was keeping America sacred. The most insightful strategy utilized was the repetition of ideology and the the idea of fear-mongering when the argument was made that they spread fear, this really hit home because there was over one minute of evidence and it hit upon all of the points that were set up from the beginning of the video.

Making Environmental Racism Great Again

“We can live without oil, we can’t live without water.”

Troy Heinert, American Senator, Rosebud Sioux

 

“I’ve lived here all my life and this ground is pretty much as God, or whoever, made it, and I just want it to stay that way.”

Bret Clanton, Rancher, White

 

“I certainly don’t think it [the XL pipeline] is going to make any great economic impact on South Dakota or on the native tribes that share our borders,”

Steve Emery, Secretary for Tribal Relations, Rosebud Sioux

 

“I don’t believe in being bullied, and I won’t be bullied.”

John Harter, Rancher, White

 

It is increasingly rare to find complex issues that unite Americans

This is especially true when the united Americans come from vastly different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The comments featured above are all concerned Americans, taking the same side on an issue that could potentially change a shared landscape forever.

 

Even more remarkable, these comments were made four months after Trump took office. Americans have been the most polarized and divided politically than we have in our short, recent history, since Trump has become our president.

 

Regardless of how he was elected, he is making decisions on our, the American Peoples’, behalf. We should pay close attention to his decisions, and not get caught up in the scandal of the week, his actions will certainly outlive his presidency.

 

Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil

 

Proponents of pipelines often claim that they are the safest way to transport oil  , this is because transporting oil in trucks has a high accident and spill rate, and transporting oil with locomotives poses an enormous explosive threat.

 

Though pipelines are technically the safest mode of oil transportation, they still rank second in the amount of oil spilled, outranked by trucks. Pipelines do however pose the greatest environmental threat, with effects far outlasting remediation and clean-up efforts.

 

Pipelines that are built underground, and underwater, are at great risk of contaminating the entire local and/or water table and all other sources of groundwater. Ground water is contained underground in large pools called aquifers, the effects that crude oil can reap on an aquifer is horrendous, and could render it toxic, poisonous, and lifeless.

 

There was a study by the US Geological Survey done by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program that focuses on a crude oil spill caused by a ruptured pipeline that occurred in 1979, specifically the remediation and clean-up efforts, and how the surrounding land has been affected over thirty years.

 

The study found that some “natural microbial activity had been degrading…the oil contaminants,.. the crude oil trapped in the aquifer provided a continues source of… contamination to the groundwater…” They admitted that “remediation of crude oil from the aquifer is difficult,” they came to these conclusions in 1998, after the contamination within the aquifer had persisted.

 

Crude oil is essentially a mixture of hydrocarbons, in addition to these, crude oil also contains naturally occurring radioactive materials and trace metals,  the majority of which are toxic and carcinogenic. Needless to say, toxic metals, carcinogens, and radioactive materials that are found in fossil fuels should not put natural aquifers at risk.

 

Making Environmental Racism Great Again

 

Let’s go back to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, where for weeks, hundreds, and then thousands, camped at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, Rosebud Sioux, and many other tribes whose very livelihood was at risk.

 

The pipeline was slated to be 1,200 miles long, carrying oil from North Dakota, through the Dakotas and Iowa to connect with a pipeline in Illinois. It would cost $3.8b and carry half a million barrels of oil a day. It would run along the borders of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and cross under Lake Oahe, a reservoir for the Missouri River, and a small part of a much larger aquifer.

 

The aquifer that is under constant risk of contamination is called the Ogallala Aquifer, a shallow water table that engulfs the entire Great Plains region of the US. States that draw water from the Ogallala aquifer include the Dakotas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, it is one of the largest aquifers in the world.

 

Trump is miraculously elected under unique circumstances, nonetheless he gets right to work, signing several executive orders and actions daily. It took him four days in office, to issue an executive order  advancing the approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

 

This executive action also slipped in some other legislation that wasn’t so widely publicized, he declared that pipelines constructed in the US should be constructed using only US materials, while also shortening the environmental review process.

 

The right to protest? Don’t think so

 

Far before the pipeline began construction, the companies behind the operation, Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada, encountered resistance along every stretch of the pipeline. Americans of all kinds were not pleased that they were willing to use the law to take their land.

 

The fifth amendment to the US constitution contains a principle in it which allows the seizure of private land for “public use”, in exchange for “just compensation”, it is known as eminent domain. It was created to allow for better infrastructure in the west, to allow ranchers to drive their cattle, and to preserve historic sites.

 

Today, we see corporations and companies taking small farmers, ranchers, and all kinds of other folks to court in order to take their land from them and make more money for themselves.

 

Back at the camp, protestors were being arrested in August, seven hundred and fifty in fact, some being notable celebrities, and even Jill Stein the Green Party Presidential Candidate. Later in November Authorities use Tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons to assault protestors.

 

These protestors were attacked in the night by Morton County PD and Sherriff’s Office, and later we find that the Border Patrol was also involved. But was it truly this simple?

 

“They were just hosing people down with their water cannon that continued for the entirety of the four hours I was out there watching,” said medic Noah Morris who witnessed the scene.

 

It was like “people walking through the dark of a winter North Dakota night, some of them so cold, and sprayed with water for so long, that their clothes were frozen to their body and crunching as they walked. So you could hear this crunching sound and this pop-pop-pop and people yelling to the police ‘We’ll pray for you! We love you!’” Linda Black Elk was a witness, and member of the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.

 

Over three hundred peaceful protestors were injured that night, seventeen were hospitalized, most common was hypothermia, and bone fractures suffered from rubber bullets.

 

It is not two months after that when Donald issued his executive order.

 

Over the course of two days in February, Trump, Energy Transfer Partners, TransCanada, the Morton County PD, US Border Patrol, and as we now know, TigerSwan, cleared out the camp of protestors using military-style sweeps and counterinsurgency tactics.

 

When Public becomes Private

 

When allies arrived to help support the water protectors at Standing Rock, they were met with heavily armed, heavily militarized police force that included local and out of state police and  sheriff’s deputies, National Guard troops, and Bureau of Indian Affairs police.

 

These so called “security” forces used rubber bullets, bean bag pellets, water cannons, and LRAD sound devices. Democracy Now captured footage on Labor Day weekend in 2016, that showed these pipeline security guards attacking peaceful protestors.

 

After the public opinion began to sway heavily in favor of these water protectors, Energy Transfer Partners secretly turned to TigerSwan, a private security firm, to solve their problems.

 

TigerSwan made its name in the middle east, working as private contractors for the US Government, as well as protection of private oil interests and operations, their field of specialty was counterinsurgency.

 

While working in North Dakota for Energy Transfer Partners, TigerSwan had never operated in the state with a license. They claimed to be performing “management and IT consulting for their client, and doing no security work.”

 

Initially, TigerSwan met with the local authorities and “agreed to the sharing of information.” Very shortly afterward, TigerSwan had placed a liaison inside of the law enforcement “joint operation command” camp.

 

TigerSwan performed extremely invasive investigations into the protest camp, collecting myriads of unauthorized photography and video from the camp. They later used this collected evidence and aided the state prosecutors in building the cases against pipeline protestors.

 

TigerSwan would expand their surveillance as the unrest would grow, sharing their information on persons of interest with the FBI and other national agencies. TigerSwan would infiltrate the protest camp and collect information on protestors, drawing from their social media accounts to find any evidence they could.

 

An October third report from TigerSwan detailed how they would use the camp-dynamics to cause unrest; “Exploitation of ongoing native versus non-native rifts, and tribal rifts between peaceful and violent elements is critical in our effort to delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.”

A year later, what have we become?

 

We have become apathetic, every day Trump says something new that affects our lives, daily, weekly, and forever. So much has happened concerning him and his presidency since these events, I fear that many of us have forgotten what happened at Standing Rock.

 

Trump’s effects on this country are not only destroying us from within, but it is tarnishing our world image. No world leader respects Trump, and he has no respect for anyone other than himself.

 

Trump has cost us millions and billions of dollars already, but he has specifically cost us $4.6b and around 40,000 jobs in the Tourism sector.  The correlation is uncanny, immediately once he took office the world stopped wanting to visit America.

 

Energy Transfer Partners is now pumping, and most likely leaking, oil through the new Dakota Access Pipeline which ended up running under Lake Oahe, but has created only about thirty permanent US jobs, and also exports Canadian oil which Trump claimed would never happen.

 

The cost to our economy is secondary, to the cost of our environment. These pipelines will spill and leak, it is guaranteed. Once the oil contaminates our water, it will take hundreds of years to return to potable, unless if some amazing new oil remediation technology comes out soon.

 

How can we move forward from this? It seems bleak, yes, but all we can do is hold our legislators accountable, and stand with our fellow Americans against tyranny and the corrupt politicians who have made the choice that they have made so many times before, opting for the private benefit over public good, against true American’s interests.

Sustainability must be the future, not wanton waste and death.

Digestible (Palatable) Research

Here I give you two examples of online magazine features that incorporate copious amounts of research, yet still keep the reader engaged and interested:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/magazine/the-astonishing-weaponry-of-dung-beetles.html

Strategies at use:

  • Short, digestible paragraphs, including information that moves narrative forward in interesting and engaging manner
  • Use of infographics to easily break down data visually
  • Integration of photographs relevant to the subject
  • Use of bold typeface to separate sections of article
  • Raising questions related to the subject, rhetorical and genuine
  • Wrapping up data along with narrative(s) in meaningful way, emphasis on allowing the reader to understand the data present

Truth and Complexity; How?

After recently reading two online magazine features, I thought I would dive into the complex question of how to convey both truth and complexity embedded within a narrative that captures and holds the readers attention for an online magazine feature.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/08/science-good-evil-charlottesville/

https://psmag.com/magazine/the-touch-of-madness-mental-health-schizophrenia

Each of these writer’s suggest a truth in madness and schizophrenia, but more importantly, they suggest a truth in how society views and reacts to these conditions. They grab the reader’s attention by framing their features as stories, small and easy to digest, they also deliver some big twists and prepare the reader’s for a complex story. Each of the articles unfold in the same fashion, following the narrative they had set up, and continuing to ask meaningful questions. The most important aspect of these features is the key characteristic that they make the information meaningful to readers, without meaning behind the information, they would have lost the reader after the first paragraph. The narrative format gives online authors the perfect roadmap to creating a complex, engaging, and meaningful online magazine feature, all simply by making information meaningful and asking questions.

Effective Style / Aesthetic Web Design

There are several important factors when customizing and managing a portfolio website; aesthetics, ease-of-use, dynamic/static themes, images, and universality.  Here I will go through a pro/con breakdown of two portfolio pages, both good in their own right, but both drastically different.

  • Dinner for Five – Mitsugu Takahashi – http://dff.mitsugutakahashi.com
    • Pro:
      • Aesthetically, this site was very pleasing, I felt as though I could look at it for hours
      • Dynamic Theme was interesting, keeps the viewer engaged
      • Images on this site were top-notch, as Mitsugu Takahashi was displaying his photography work on the digital portfolio
    • Con:
      • Dynamic Theme was hard to maneuver, and difficult to work around
      • Ease of use was not there, due to the dynamic theme, it becomes frustrating after a short time
      • Universality is not there for mobile phones or tablets, if the site was difficult on a laptop, I cannot imagine viewing from a smartphone or tablet
  • The Glyph Studio – http://www.theglyph.studio
    • Pro:
      • Aesthetics on this site were beautiful and very smooth, sends a clear message and theme about who Glyph Studios are
      • Dynamic Theme worked very well, without any hitches, very smooth overall
      • Ease of use and universality is strong with the Glyph, navigating the site was very simple and enjoyable
    • Con:
      • Lack of images, save the dynamic glyph found on the homepage
      • Lacking in textual explanations, mostly visual and not descriptive