Archive for October, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Posted in German Culture on October 31, 2006 by Blog Admin

While listening to North German radio station NDR2, I discovered that Germans are now celebrating Halloween. In listening to random snipits of the NDR braodcast, I discover that Germans say "sweet or sour" as opposed to "trick or treat". I'm not entirely clear if the German phrase means "if you don't give me something sweet I'll become sour (angry)", if you don't give me something sweet, I'll make you sour (again, angry)", or whether people may give sweets or sour things away. I'm sure the latter would make dentists happier. To make things even more confusing, I find out that there is a movement to designate October 31st, Martin Luther day, the day that he nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.

In thinking about trick or treating in this coutry, I am often reminded that when I was 3 years old, and did not speak English yet, I refused an apple handed out by a kindly neighbor women. I told her in German that I only accepted sweets. "Ich nehme bloss Bonbons."

The new Budweiser crown

Posted in Industry watch on October 26, 2006 by Blog Admin

Because Budweiser made up the vast majority of the roadside trash that I gathered in my neighborhood (see previous posting), I thought I would honor them with a new crown. In fact, if you add up all the Anheuser-Busch products (Natural Ice, Natural Light, Michelob, and Bud Extra) the total trash items goes from 33 to 40 items. Considering that I picked up 79 pieces of trash total, that means Anheuser-Busch made up over half of all the trash that I found in my neighborhood. It makes me wonder why that is. Are drinkers of other brands of beer more conscientious? Is there something about the brand that attracts certain people? Is there something in the Budweiser message that communicates, "drink me and then throw me out your car window". Well, that brings up yet another disconcerting idea. Given that I haven't noticed any pedestrians carrying beer cans, why are all these people drinking beer in their cars? Is it just my neighborhood? What does your litter look like?

And the winner is..... Budweiser the King of Trash!

Posted in Industry watch on October 22, 2006 by Blog Admin

As a follow up to my previous posting, I walked approximately 1.5 miles in my neighborhood and picked up the trash I saw along the way.  Here are my counts:

Budweiser and Bud light. Beer: 33 cans/bottle.
Dunkin Donuts: 5 cups
Coke: 5 cans
Milwaukee's Best: 4 cans<br />Pepsi: 4 cans/bottles<br />Natural Ice Beer:  3 cans<br />MacDonalds: 3 cups<br />Michelob Beer: 2 cans<br />Chilla Thrilla (Irving): 2 cups<br />The following are all single items: Natural Light beer can, Power Aid, Garcia Vega Cigars,  Coor's Beer can, Coffee Zone cup, Red Bull, Poland Springs, Twizzlers, Buggler Tobacco, unknown beer bottle, NestTea, Minute Maid bottle, Welches grape drink, Sunkist, Spiralbound notebook, Titleist golf ball, Motor oil can, BE (Bud Extra).</p><p align="center"><img hspace="0" src="" align="baseline" border="0" /></p><p /><p />

Budweiser: king of beer or trash?

Posted in Industry watch on October 15, 2006 by Blog Admin

As I was going for a glorious fall bicycle ride, I was ascending one of New Hampshire's many brutal hills, going at a suitably slower pace, when I couldn't help but notice the trash at the side of the road.   As I inspected the discarded remnants of our lives, I was annoyed by the idea of turning this into <a href="">&quot;art&quot; by encasing it in plastic cubes</a>.  I started thinking about how many civic organizations adopt sections of highway for the purpose of trash clean up.  Why are organizations that already work for society's betterment picking trash?  Why aren't the corporations who manufacture the items picking up their products?   Corporations should be assigned a percentage of highway based on the percent of garbage they produce.  This lead me to wonder, &quot;who is creating the most trash?&quot;.  Based on my bike ride, Budweiser is the king of trash!  I'll do a more scientific study of my neighborhhod trash and give you the statistics, so check back.

To blog or not to blog

Posted in Media Watch on October 5, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p>As someone who has conducted research in artificial intelligence, I have been interested in the human construction of meaning in order to find inspiration for creating better artificial systems.  I look to philosophers like <a href="">Ludwig Wittgenstein</a> to help me understand how we come to understand the meaning of a word.  I understand Wittgenstein to say that <u>the meaning of a word is in its use</u>.  What does this have to do with blogging? </p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">As a new member of the Communication and Media Studies Department, I am interested in the social construction of reality, given our increasing reliance on Internet-based communication.  I view this as a large-scale version of Wittgenstein's perspective.  Society's meaning (reality) is in its collective communication.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">If we wish to construct a healthy, realistic, and inclusive view of reality, the more democratic our forms of communication, the better.  In this age of intense concentration of media ownership (very few corporations own the means to communicate), it is critical that the world's citizenry have a voice, and blogging is an important way for individuals to express themselves to the world.  I want PSU graduates to play their role in creating our collective reality by being heard on par with other individuals.  Please invest in our students' voices.  It's the best investment you'll ever make!</font></p>