Department of Rhetoric and Writing

The University of Texas at Austin

YouTube fights the law: Who will win?

Andrew K. Woods has a short piece on Slate titled “The YouTube Defense: Human Rights Go Viral” where he argues that judicial decisions, from Brown v. Board of Education to recent rulings on Guantanamo detainees, have always used public opinion as a bellwether, despite claims of strict fidelity to established law. Realizing this, lawyers for one Gitmo inmate, Adel Hamad—who Mr. Woods identifies as a Sudanese school teacher—have posted a video on YouTube outlining the paucity of evidence supporting to his detainment. After 70,000 viewings, the U.S. government has placed Hamad on a list of detainees to be released.

Baghdad bombings map

The BBC has created an interactive graphic that displays Baghdad’s shifting ethnic population as well as the date and location of bombings in the city. Using the slider at the bottom of the graphic, the user can see small points appear and fade away at the bombing locations. Moving through time, the bombings become more frequent. Not only is this a well-made graphic, it is a disarmingly simple demonstration of the rising violence in Iraq’s capital city. Read more about Baghdad bombings map

Sheep’s clothing

Barack Obama has taken some heat for remarks made to a New York Post reporter attacking Al Sharpton (who’s had a lot to deal with lately, thank you very much) which pundits are arguing were made by an Obama operative. Now there’s this:

Baudrillard dies at 77

The French theorist Jean Baudrillard died this week. As this obituary from the BBC notes, Baudrillard was well known for his post-modernist theory and controversial statements. His work is important to visual studies for his theory of the spectacle, which, the article points out, he argued “is crucial in creating our view of events--things do not happen if they are not seen.” You can read his article “Simulacra and Simulations” by following this link, which is referenced through the site’s bibliography. Or, if you are just interested in how his work relates to The Matrix, you can read this Wikipedia article.

Translated v. visual instructions

The need for helpful, visual instructions has been covered in many other places. However, I recently bought some “assembly-required” products, and the instructions that accompanied them demonstrated how visuals can be helpful in transcending language barriers.

Here are a few pages from the instructions that accompanied my new external hard drive enclosure:

hard drive instructions



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