1 Campus Life.
M: Is there something I can help you with?
W: Yes, I have a few questions about that online tutoring service. I
can’t remember what it’s called.
M: You mean Smartthinking.com? I think I can probably answer
any questions you might have. What would you like to know?
W: Well, I’m thinking of enrolling, but there are a couple of things
I’d like to know first. Like for one thing, are there any restrictions
on log on times? I usually do my work late at night, so it won’t
be much use to me if it can only be accessed during regular
M: Not to worry. You are free to log on anytime, anywhere.
W: That’s good to hear. I’ve also heard that there is some kind of
writing clinic or something. What can you tell me about that?
M: Ah, you mean the writing lab. Yes, what that is is a tool to help
you improve your writing. You can submit your writing to the
online writing lab, and you will receive a critique with some
constructive criticism to help you develop your writing skills. It’s
also open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
W: That should be helpful. Will I get an instant reply?
M: It won’t be instant, but you will receive a reply within 24 hours.
We give priority to distance education students because it is
impossible for them to consult their instructors face-to-face, but
everyone using Smartthinking will get a fast response. Remember
the 24-hour rule, though. If you have a paper due at eight o’clock
the following morning, you probably won’t get your response
in time. Always submit your work at least two days before the
paper is due. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to do revisions
W: What about security? Is there any chance somebody could get
a hold of my paper and copy it for themselves?
M: Absolutely not. Everyone who has access to submissions in the
writing lab is accountable.
W: Oh! The papers go to a writing lab? So these aren’t English
professors who are giving feedback?
M: No. Your paper will be evaluated by a graduate student who
works in our writing lab. Most of them are English majors. But
even if they’re not, they all have a strong background in writing.
W: I see. Now, I know that the tutoring program is free, but is there
any kind of registration fee for first-time users?
M: No. There are no charges at all. However, only students currently
enrolled at Citywide Community College can use Smartthinking.
It has been set up to provide academic support for our students,
so unfortunately, we can’t offer the service to anyone else. Are
you currently enrolled at this community college?
M: Great. What kind of computer do you have?
W: I have a Mac. That won’t be a problem, will it?
M: No, not at all. As long as you have Internet Explorer, you’ll be
able to log on to the online tutoring system with no difficulties.
I assume that you have a modem?
W: Right, I have a 56K modem.
M: That’s fine. Then all you need to do now is choose your subjects
and sign up.
W: Can I sign up right now?
M: Of course. Those two computers right over there have Internet
access. You can use either one to log on and sign up.
W: Great. Thanks.
W: I hope you’ll all recall our lively discussion of Renaissance art from
last week. We talked about such artists as Botticelli and DaVinci,
who really characterized the Renaissance through their artwork.
Art, however, is not created in a vacuum. Art is a reflection of
the world, through the eyes of the artist. So, what was going
on in the world to inspire such great art? Well, that’s the topic of
today’s lecture. We’re going to talk about the intellectual and
social movement that underlay the Renaissance. The movement
was called humanism. So, what is humanism? Let’s go back to
the word “Renaissance.” As we talked about last time, the word
means “re-birth,” and that’s just what humanism was. It was a
revival of antiquity. Antiquity, in this case, refers to the classic
civilizations of Greece and Rome. Now, following the fall of the
Roman Empire, we had about a thousand odd years in which...
well...nothing of note in the art world really happened. These
we call the Middle Ages. Now, the dominant school of thought
during the late Middle Ages was called scholasticism. That’s
“scholastic,” like school related things, plus “ism” --- scholasticism.
A large part of humanism, the new idea in the Renaissance, was
its rejection of scholasticism. The humanists felt that the scholastics
were focusing too much on the Church. So, the humanists were
rejecting the predominant, intellectual school in favor of the
classics. The humanists studied the classical civilizations of ancient
Greece and Rome and applied what they learned to their current
society. It’s not that the scholastics didn’t know about the classics,
they just tried to analyze them in such a way that the classics
agreed with the Church. That was their whole purpose, to find
ways to reconcile Greek and Roman philosophy with Christian
theology. In the minds of the humanists, society had been going
in the wrong direction since the fall of the Roman Empire. Not
that they wanted to return to those times, but they felt that more
could be learned from antiquity than from anything that had
happened since. It was this revival of old ideas that changed the
way that European people in the late Middle Ages thought.
Humanist thinkers started to create new kinds of art and literature.
They even changed the way societies thought about education,
law, and, well, everything. Simply put, humanism was the basis
of the Renaissance.
Now, as you may know, Renaissance thought started in Italy
and spread to the rest of Europe. Most of the painters that we
talked about yesterday, in fact, were Italian, but why Italy? The
answer may surprise you. It was because of Latin. Remember,
the humanists were looking back to the ancient civilizations.
Much of the writings would have been done in Latin, right?
Now, Italy was the only place where Latin was still studied outside
of the church. As for the rest of Europe, only the clergy learned
Latin because it was considered the language of the Church
and didn’t really have any other use. So, it seems only natural
that these Italian Latin speakers would be the initiators of a
review of classic literature. If we want to point to one person
who began the humanist movement, it would have to be
Petrarch. In case you don’t know, Petrarch was an Italian poet
who was influenced by Cicero. Cicero, of course, was a famous
politician in the final years of the Roman Republic. So, what
Petrarch did was translate a lot of Cicero’s correspondence ---
letters to different people --- and he also tried to imitate Cicero’s
style in his own Latin writing. Petrarch’s revival of the teachings
of Cicero was really what began the humanist movement,
which of course, spread from Italy throughout Europe.
Now, some of the social factors that existed in Italy at this time
are important to note. You see, Italy at this time consisted of two
republics: Florence and Venice. However, there were neighboring
states that were not republics but instead were under despotic
rule. Some of these despotic states were interested in taking over
the republics, so the people of Florence and Venice felt threatened.
Petrarch was from Florence. Now, it’s a common occurrence that
when a state feels threatened, its people tend to feel patriotic.
It’s kind of like a defense mechanism. So, feeling threatened,
the intellectuals in Florence followed Petrarch’s lead and began
to appreciate the past. Florence had a rich history, and people
wanted to celebrate it. Those outside pressures were fanning
the flames of patriotism.
W: OK, class, let’s take a quick survey, shall we? Jake, what is the
hard drive capacity of your home computer?
M1: 80 gigs.
W: 80 gigabytes! That’s 80 billion bytes, or 640 billion ones and
zeros. How did I arrive at that answer? Anybody?
M2: Well, a gigabyte is a billion bytes. So 80 gigabytes is 80 billion bites.
Then, a byte is 8 bits. A bit, of course, is a one or a zero. So, if
you’ve got 80 billion bytes, you multiply by 8 to get the number
of bits. 80 times 8 is 640, so 80 billion bytes is 640 billion bits.
W: Well done. Now, that is no small amount of information on
your personal computer, Jake. In fact, though, that is the current
standard for home computers. We’ve come a long way, haven’t
we? Computer memory, as you probably know, actually had
very humble beginnings, and I’m going to tell you about those
beginnings today. We’re going to look at the history of computer
memory, have a look at how fast technology is improving, and
consider what the future has in store. OK, does anyone here
remember the early Altair and Commodore computers?
M1: I’ve heard about them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, though.
W: Never seen one? Great, well, I hate to give away my age here, but
my first computer was actually a Commodore. Anyway, these
antiques used paper tapes and cassette tapes, if you can believe
that. To load a program, we would put the cassette in and press
play! It took forever. That seems really antiquated to us now,
but at the time, it seemed pretty high tech. Now we’re used to
tremendous capacity and high speeds. Anyway, the first big
breakthrough was when Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple,
introduced the floppy disk. These were originally five and a quarter
inches across, and they stored a measly 160 kilobytes. Yes, Tom?
M2: Why were they called floppy, anyway? I’ve always wondered that.
W: Because they were floppy. Many of you younger people may
not remember these either, but these disks were actually floppy
and bendable. You know, I think I may still have one in my attic.
I’ll bring it to class next time. Anyway, the direct descendant of
the floppy was the hard three-and-a-half inch disks you are
probably more familiar with. Even though they were hard, they
retained the name “floppy” so as not to be confused with
hardware or hard drives. At first, both disks were sold, so people
usually distinguished them by their size when they talked about
them. So the three-and-a-half inch floppy came out in the mid-80s
with a capacity of 1.44 megabytes, which seemed like an awful
lot at the time. For a few years, home computers featured drives
for both the five-and-a-quarter inch and for the three-and-a-half
inch, but by the mid-90s, the older five-and-a-quarter diskette
had become obsolete. In our current times, we are witnessing
the extinction of the 3.5 inch disk, aren’t we? Actually, Jake,
could you tell us what kind of external memory interface your
M1: It came with a CD/DVD read/write drive and two USB ports,
where I can use my memory stick.
W: It doesn’t have any floppy drive at all?
M1: Nope. I didn’t need it, and I didn’t want it. My memory stick
holds 512 megabytes. Why would I need to use disks?
W: I don’t blame you. Not to mention that CDs have a capacity of
700 megabytes. DVDs can store 4.7 gigabytes, and you say your
memory stick holds 512 megs? I just bought the latest model
on the market, and it holds 140 gigabytes! So you’re right, who
needs disks anymore? While it is still possible to find a computer
with a floppy disk drive, I predict that in the very near future, you
won’t be able to find them. Do you know what else is funny?
These devices are only going to get better. Anyone reading a
transcript of this lecture one year in the future would probably
find these figures laughable, just as we were laughing at the
five-and-a-quarter inch disks. And when we tell our grandkids
about how we lived, they will think it’s hilarious. The rate of
technological improvement in this day and age is astounding.
To demonstrate, have you heard the new buzzword, “terabyte
lifestyle”? A terabyte equals 1,024 gigabytes. It is estimated that
in five years, the home computer will have a five terabyte hard
drive. Amazing, isn’t it?
6 Campus Life.