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Chapter 2. Skill B

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√ Campus Life
√ History.
√ Computers.
√ Theater.
√ Astronomy.



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
   working hours.
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
   as well.
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?
W: Yes.
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.



2 History.
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.







3 Computers.


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
   computer has?
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?







4 Theater.
M: Are any of you guys members of a fraternity or a sorority
   organization? Quite a few of you. Good, uh, Luanne, what is
   the traditional party during homecoming?
W: You mean like the kind of party? The toga party, I guess. We all
   get dressed up in bed sheets.
M: Right, the toga, the traditional dress of ancient Rome. That’s what
   we’re going to talk about today. Since we’re studying Julius
   Caesar, that would of course be the type of costume we need to
   design for the actors. So if we want to create authentic costumes,
   we have to know something about the history of this type of
   clothing. Now, in the beginning, the toga was a large woolen
   blanket. The ancient Romans would wrap it around their body
   for clothing.
W: Wasn’t it just the upper class that wore the toga?
M: At first, no. What you may be thinking of is the law that non-citizens
   were not permitted to wear togas. It was actually forbidden for
   foreigners to wear togas. But pretty much all Romans wore the
   toga ubiquitously for all kinds of different occasions. That didn’t
   last too long, though, because as you can imagine, or Luanne,
   as you probably know, the toga is a little awkward. It’s OK to
   party in a bed sheet, but try farming or going to war in one. So,
   for activities that involved a lot of movement, the toga fell out
   of fashion in favor of more practical garb. Instead, the use of
   the toga in Rome became more and more restricted to formal
   occasions. That’s good news for us because the characters in
   Julius Caesar interact in mostly formal settings.
   Now let me just tell you a bit about the actual toga itself.
   Historians believe togas were made from five and a half meter
   semi-circles of cloth. The cloth was cut in a big half-circle, not
   a rectangle like bed sheets. This cloth was, of course, wrapped
   around the body, and a sash was worn over the left shoulder
   and under the right arm. To keep the thing from falling off ---
   and we certainly don’t want the togas on our actors to slip off
   during a show --- the toga was pinned up with pins. These were
   called fivulate in case you’re interested. I have some pictures of
   authentic Roman fivulate on display in museums, so we can try
   to copy some of those designs for our costumes. Another option
   we have is to make a belt for some characters. Some Romans
   wore their togas with belts.
   Now, when we think of togas, we picture everyone wearing
   pretty much identical outfits, right? Basically, white bed sheets
   for all. Not quite. There were actually many kinds. For example,
   the toga virilis, or men’s toga, was worn by adult male citizens.
   Women, on the other hand, had their own version of the toga
   called the skola. Toga pulla, or black togas, had two functions.
   People of the lower classes wore them regularly, and people of
   the upper class would wear them after the death of a loved one
   to show that they were in mourning. That’s important for us.
   We’ll have to costume the slaves in our show in black togas.
   There was also a special kind of toga which featured a purple
   stripe and was worn by high-ranking officials and upper-class
  boys, or the painted toga, which was very ornate and worn on
   festive occasions by upper-class officials. Did anyone actually wear
   plain white togas? Actually, yes. The pure-white toga candida was
   worn by senatorial candidates. Guess what. That is actually what
   most of our actors will need! We’ll take a look at the character
   list for our cast a little later, but for the most part, it looks like
   our costuming will be pretty easy. We’ll need mostly plain white
   togas that are just big half-circles of cloth. That just means cutting
   and hemming. We’ll also need to decide which characters to
   assign pins and sashes and which ones will get belts. Actually,
   the hardest job for the costumer in this show may be teaching
   all of the actors how to correctly put on their togas.
   We haven’t talked about footwear yet. Of course, our senators in
   this show aren’t going to be running around the stage barefoot.
   So let’s take a look at how authentic Roman sandals looked.





5 Astronomy.


M: The invention of the telescope had a huge impact on our
understanding of not only the universe, but also of our place in
it. It changed the way that people viewed our world, and our
world’s place in the universe. Before the telescope allowed us
to get a closer look at what was up in the sky, people believed
that the Earth was the center of the universe, and everything
else revolved around it. You can imagine why. The sun rises in
the east and sets in the west. Why wouldn’t people think that the
sun was moving? It wasn’t until the early seventeenth century,
when Galileo invented the telescope and looked into the sky,
that we found out this idea was wrong.
Galileo didn’t just point his telescope up at the sky and say
“Eureka!” He observed the sky by night and day for many years.
The first discovery Galileo made with his telescope was that the
moon had mountains and valleys. That may seem like a pretty
mundane discovery to us. Even little kids know that today. But back
then, it must have sounded pretty shocking. Another important
thing he learned was that the stars are much further away from
the Earth than the moon. And I’m sure there were plenty of
people at that time who were uncomfortable with this idea.
You see, it had been presumed that the stars were simply much
smaller than the moon, but they were all part of this same sphere
around the Earth. Galileo proved that assumption wrong. He
noticed that when looking at the sky through a telescope, the moon
seemed much bigger, but the stars were still tiny dots of light.
How could that be if they were all part of the same sphere?
Galileo concluded that the stars must be much further away.
They appear smaller than the moon not because they are smaller,
but because they are so far away. They don’t look much bigger
through a telescope because they’re really, really far away!
His next major discovery was that Jupiter had four moons orbiting
it. This dispelled another common misconception about objects
and bodies in space. In Galileo’s day, everyone thought that the
Earth was the only body that had objects that orbited it. This
assumption was based on the fact that everything that could be
observed from Earth seemed to revolve around the Earth. They
couldn’t see anything that revolved around other bodies. So,
the telescope not only gave people a better look at those bodies
that they were familiar with, but it also allowed them to see
things that they previously couldn’t see at all. Galileo and other
astronomers who were starting to follow his lead soon found
more bodies in the solar system than anyone had thought.
Then, Galileo observed that Venus has phases, just like our moon.
Through his telescope, sometimes Venus appeared as a crescent,
and sometimes it was full. Now, by studying these phases, he
deduced that Venus actually orbited the sun. Remember, people
didn’t know at the time that all of the planets orbited the sun.
They firmly believed that everything orbited the Earth, so this
was an important discovery leading to our current understanding
of the solar system.
Galileo’s discoveries and the notion that the Earth is not the
center of the universe was a very difficult concept for people to
accept. In fact, Galileo faced a great deal of opposition from
the Church. During the Inquisition, he was arrested, threatened
with torture, and put under house arrest for the last nine years
of his life. Today, we consider Galileo one of the most important
scientists of all time. We have to remember that people felt very
threatened by science in early times. Many people felt that science
was in opposition to religion. In fact, some people still feel that
way today. But that’s another story.
Today, we know that not only is the Earth not the center of the
universe, it’s not even the center of our own solar system, and
our sun is not the center of the universe either. It’s just one of
millions of stars in an infinite universe. You can see why this
kind of information made some people feel a little insecure.
Galileo’s ideas make the Earth seem pretty insignificant in the
grand scheme of things, doesn’t it?





6 Campus Life.


W: Hey, what’s that you’re looking at there? Can I see?
M: What? Oh, hi Mara. Yeah, I’m just reading the campus newspaper.
W: The campus newspaper? Do people really read that? Is there
anything interesting in it?
M: Yeah, actually. I was just reading an article in this issue on crime
statistics for this university.
W: Campus crime? Surely crime isn’t a problem here at our school?
M: If you had asked me ten minutes ago I would have said no...and...
well...I guess overall it really isn’t, although it would be interesting
to compare the situation with a couple of other schools.
W: So, what does the article say about crime here? I didn’t realize
there was any. You never hear about anything.
M: Well, the article gives the figures for the past three years. Overall,
the number of crimes committed has increased, but not in
every category.
W: Oh? So, what kinds of crimes were committed? What kinds
have increased?
M: Well, as you might expect, nothing too serious. I mean, there
weren’t any murders or anything like that.
W: Glad to hear it. I guess that’s something we would have heard
about.
M: But there were a lot of cases of theft.
W: Hmmm, I suppose I did hear of several people who had their
laptops ripped off, actually, and wallets tend to disappear, too,
don’t they?
M: Right. I was shocked to find out that the number of thefts doubled
from 34 to 70 during the first two years reported in this article.
W: Wow. That’s a massive jump.
M: But then there was a decrease last year.
W: What are the figures for last year?
M: Still high, but only 60 as opposed to 70 for the previous year.
W: Perhaps we can thank the new security cameras.
M: Well, that’s what I was thinking, but in fact, the number of
burglaries soared from only 1 two years ago to 9 last year. Here’s
how I see it. Laptops have become more common, so that may
explain the increase in theft in recent years. People started carrying
valuable things around with them. Then, a lot of people had them
stolen, and a lot of people heard about it. Then they started being
more careful with their stuff as of last year, and because people
were being more careful with their stuff when they were out and
about, the thieves had to resort to burglary. That’s just my guess.
W: That sounds reasonable. So, any other kinds of crimes?
M: There were two sex offenses in the first year reported in this
article, but none in the next two years.
W: Well that’s good. I hope it’s not a case of them not being reported
though.
M: Good point. There were also two cases of weapon possession
last year. That’s a new crime. There were no prior cases of that.
W: Do you mind if I borrow your newspaper after you finish with
it? I’d like to read the rest of that article.