Evolving Landscapes

I have become thoroughly convinced more than ever that landscapes are not simply topographical spaces. Shawn Graham wrote of landscapes that “one navigates space not with a two dimensional top-down mental map, but rather as a series of what-comes-next… navigating require[s] socializing, asking directions, paying attention to landmarks.” Landscapes are an experience and each of us shapes our own landscapes everyday, often without being conscious of the fact. Landscapes are thus a subjective and objective experience – that is, at one moment you are shaping your landscape in some way and in another, the actual land has been carved by those in the past to effect you and you are affecting it for future generations to experience. But are landscapes today solely topographical? In this digital age, I argue the undeniable fact that they are not. Continue reading →

Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam

In my study of the Vietnam War, I viewed the documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. I was also able to view the book. Of all the literature and art from the Vietnam War – all war, for that matter – I found this the most powerful documentary and book. The book is a reproduction of letters home to the United States from American soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. The letters are produced not only chronologically, but they follow the general feeling of the soldiers as the war progressed – hopeful and romantic about the war, to a feeling that there is no more good in the world. Continue reading →

Data Mining Project: The “Thoreauian” Metaphor Revealed

I have found a very interesting pattern/discovery that I might not have seen without data mining. I noticed that one of the words frequently used by Thoreau was like. It seemed odd at first and I thought that the “stop word” function (stops unnecessary words) had “missed” this word. With further research though, I found out that Thoreau’s refined ways of describing landscapes was through metaphor. I looked into many cases of the word like, and after setting it in context I found that much of the usage was toward metaphor. Granted, one may have seen this by reading the text but when it is set into unified perspective through data mining, the patterns emerge and the trends are ever prevalent. Continue reading →