Space Adventures; a Middle Class Pipedream or the Future of Tourism?

The Idea Blog (BCM312)

It is 1968, and 2001: A Space Odyssey opens in cinemas, eager to ignite the imagination of its viewers with the dream of space travel. Man hadn’t yet been to the moon, and children and adults alike would stare up into the night sky wondering what or who was out there, always firmly believing it was outside their grasp. In modern times, space travel seems more achievable than ever, and a few lucky (wealthy) Earth residents have had the chance to experience the Earth from space themselves, from a tourist perspective. Of course, along with this comes a new plethora of advertising.

For my Idea Blog, I have decided to choose the topic ‘The Planet’, specifically focusing on the emergence of Space Tourism as an exciting new frontier. As a young girl I was always obsessed with space, the night sky and aliens if I am completely honest. I’ve lapped up films such as Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, Star Wars, and when I sat down to my computer to think about what most interests ME, it was space travel. I feel like many people my age get excited when thinking about the future of technology regarding space travel, and with the emergence of Elon Musk and SpaceX taking the online world by  storm I could not think of a better topic to focus my efforts on.

billwright-moonscape2aa-650
Launius (2016)

As of this moment in time, the only orbital space tourism efforts have been conducted by the Russian Space Agency. As per their website, 8 flights have successfully been completed. They seem to mostly cater to the wealthy as there are of course no price points, but rather a feature where you can contact the agency directly in order to gauge a proposed price (although it has been stated by one lucky customer to be into $30 million!). Launius and Jenkins recognise this, “There are two types of tourists conflated by the advocates of space tourism. The first are a tiny group of adventurers with significant wealth and other resources who seek thrills and bragging rights. The second group seeks more modest excursions with a minimum of risk and a smaller price tag.” (Jenkins & Launius, 2007).  Another interesting feature on this website is that not only do they offer orbital space flights and trips to the ISS, but they offer much more low-cost activities that are space orientated, such as the opportunity to train as an astronaut and eat space food (Space Adventures, 2018). Another thing to consider is that with space tourism becoming more widespread online, will it push people to participate in vacation activities that surround the concept of space? Perhaps this will be a more likely venture for the middle class consumer until actual space travel becomes more sustainable and therefore cheaper.

I am most interested to discover whether the every day human, like myself, see vacationing into the cosmos as a real possibility, and how has the media contributed this? Who is the target audience, the wealthy or the middle class? Collins (2014) explores the future of this, “According to current reports in the media, traveling to outer space should become possible for everyone by the beginning of the next century. Developing low‐cost passenger launch vehicles is not just to create an expensive pastime for the wealthy but develop a large ‘middle‐class’ market rich. Indeed, until access to space is cheap, it will not be possible to make use of the limitless resources available in space to solve the problems of our ever‐more‐crowded Earth.”

I feel like through academic research, a focus group, an online survey and delving into google analytics, I can find out how the audience online feels about space tourism (and how the media has impacted this), and what this may mean for the future of the tourism sector. Will people begin to think about international travel as banal in comparison to the ever-expanding adventures that lay in the cosmos?

It is with all of this in mind that a propose a very early draft of a research question:

What is the public perception of Space Tourism on social media? Does Space Tourism seem like a graspable reality to the everyday consumer?

 I think the results will be enlightening and have strong social significance. I propose that in the end, I will find out how the emergence of space tourism could affect the human mindset. It is said that when someone goes into space for the first time and experiences the earth as a small disk in the window of a rocket, the vastness of the universe finally becomes apparent and you kind of get a better sense of how small we really are. As stated by Richard Garriott (2018), “it’s a shift in perspective, a sensation of complete oneness that comes with being able to take in the whole planet in a single glimpse”. Garriott, the sixth person to ever undergo a commercial space trip, explores this phenomenon and names it “The Overlooker Effect”. It might be interesting to think about how if more people delve into space exploration, perhaps they might be more inclined to think or our earth as a living thing, rather than just a rock to call home.
Reference List:

Clifford, C 2018, ‘What it’s like to travel to space, from a tourist who spent $30 million to live there for 12 days’, CNBC, weblog post, 19 October, viewed 19 March 2019, <https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/19/what-its-like-in-space-from-a-tourist-who-spent-30-million-to-go.html>.

Cole, S 2015, ‘Space tourism: prospects, positioning, and planning’, Journal of Tourism Futures, vol. (1), no. (2).

Launius, RD & Jenkins, DR 2007, ‘Is It Finally Time for Space Tourism?’, Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy, vol (4), no (3).

Launius, RD 2016, ‘Early Ideas of Space Touris’, Roger Launius’s Blog, weblog post, 20 May, viewed 19 March 2019, <http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/12/has_the_word_co.html>.

Space Adventures 2019,  viewed 18 March 2019, <http://www.acci.asn.au/text_files/issues_papers/2010/Youth%20Employment%20Paper%20May%202010_final.pdf>.

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The Effect of Smoking Bans on University Students: A reflection.

For our final research report for BCM212 I researched something near and dear to my heart; smoking. I was really interested in this topic, and I felt like the research I found was really beneficial to the cause, and will probably help future efforts in curbing student smoking.

As a reflection, the first thing that I felt was lacking is student engagement. I felt like it was really a struggle to get other students to take my survey, and I don’t really know how this could be fixed in the future. I think that the small sample size of just students in our class was a factor in this, I know it is because of the rules UOW has in place but I feel like it would have been much easier to get data if we had a larger sample size to work with. again I don’t know if this can be fixed, it’s just one of the things I came across. Other than this, I feel like this research project was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed being encouraged to research something that I am personally interested in. I felt like our tutor was very helpful in regards to choosing a topic, and a method. She also gave use plenty of time to do our focus groups which I think was beneficial. I could say that the room could have been a bit more nicer to conduct discussions in, it was a lecture sized room and it was evident that everybody would have preferred a more informal setting.

I would like to thank the tutors and the coordinator for their efforts, and I hope my report provides some interesting information.

 

Sophie Abrahams.

Research Proposal: Smoking Culture in University Students and the Smoking Ban

For our first assignment we are asked to create a research proposal in regards to the later assignment, our research project. As I outlined in my last post, I would like to do a project on the smoking culture at UOW and in university students.

As a smoker myself, I have found that I lean on to smoking as a crutch when I am particularly stressed, and almost every day at uni I find myself going out for multiple smoking breaks. Sometimes I have to walk a fair way to get to a designated smoking area, forcing me to calculate how much time I have between classes, if I have time to even finish a cigarette, and if I need it. The answer is almost always yes. download.jpg

Anyone could just say, well, if you don’t want to deal with it, then just quit! But for long time smokers just like myself, this isn’t an option when we’re drowning under the stress of bills, part time work, and full time study. The extra stress just isn’t doable. In my research task, I would like to explore the effects on smoking on uni students, the international smoking community on campus (through means of a proposed poll), the effects of the smoking bans, and overall the general feeling about smoking on campus.
Through my initial research, most of the studies I have found have been on the effects of smoking bans in American campuses, focusing solely on the percentage of smokers who quit and/or cut down as a result. It is evident that these studies are health conscious, but the direction I would like to take with my study is the cultural impact. I feel like this would be an interesting take on smoking, and even further down the line it could help support people who are looking to quit and cut down.

A study done on the smokers at Michigan State University had one interesting outcome; in regards to the smoking ban, when it was implemented the  only favourable outcome was that casual smokers reduced their habits, and some quit (2016). It had no effect on long time smokers, merely forcing them to wait till they were off campus to have a smoke. Therefore, just an inconvenience. On other campuses, there were no fines handed out, but when someone was found to be smoking on campus they were provided with some resources in order to help them to think about quitting. I feel like this is why this is a great area to explore.

I would like to complete my research with a serious of interactive surveys, on campus, and a series of interviews with student. Perhaps I have chosen too broad of a subject, but I could just shorten it to the percentage of casual/heavy smokers on campus, international smokers, and if they feel the smoking ban has affected their ability at uni.

I feel like it would be a great opportunity to hear from the long time smokers of UOW, as surprisingly I could not find much on the internet.

Sophie.

Dimmer, O 2016, More campuses have smoking bans — but do they work?, USA TODAY COLLEGE, weblog post, 6 October, viewed 16 March 2016, <http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/12/has_the_word_co.html>

Discovering Topics for a Survey

This week in the little green book we are asked to explore some ideas for a topic of a survey. The first thing that popped into my mind is a survey about the smokers of UOW. what percentage of them smoke, how do they feel about the smoke free UOW campaign, is there a smoking culture on campus and how do they think smoking impacts them in regards to university.

I’m brainstorming this idea, and would love to hear some feedback.

-Sophie

Another Year, Another BCM Subject

Hi all, I’m Sophie. This is my third year of Uni and I’m only just starting 200 level subjects, but that is a story that we will not go into here. I’m here to talk about curiosity. Specifically, an experience with curiosity. I searched my brain box to find something to write about today, and I immediately thought about my recent obsession with the Japanese language.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved the Japanese culture and have always wanted to visit myself, but I always thought “No, there is no way I could learn the language. I’ll stick with subtitles.” This semester I decided to challenge myself and enroll in a beginner Japanese class. At 5 hours in class and countless outside of class, it’s not a subject for someone wanting and easy pass, but I immediately loved it. It’s so exciting to learn new words, to discover that yes, you did remember that symbol! It’s an exhilarating high seeing yourself progress, and learning more about the culture at the same time. This is my current obsession, and curiosity has for sure gripped me. That’s all I have to say for now, see you in class.

-Sophie

Nollywood: Fast, Furious, and Misunderstood

This weeks studies had us focus on Global Film ,and had us explore the two markets of Nollywood, and Korean Cinema. Now our tutor brought up a great point; we know Hollywood, we might have heard of Bollywood, but have any of us heard of Nollywood? In my case, I had not! And I am glad I have now. This brings us to the question, why have so many of u not heard of this sensation that is taking the movie industry by a storm?

“Nollywood compels attention from those outside its field
of operation and cultural vision, not that the industry cares for any
attention from the outside.” (Okome, 2007)

Nollywood is exactly what it sounds like, Nigeria’s answer to Hollywood. But saying just this would sell the industry short. Even to this day, despite finding success all over the world, Nollywood has stayed true to many African ideals and customs, and continues to be made by Africans, for Africans. Since its conception in Lagos in the 1990s, it has swiftly grown to account for more than 1844 movies in 2013 alone. By 2009, it had America’s Hollywood in becoming the second largest movie industry in the world, second to only India’s Bollywood (Bright, 2015). The secret behind this is this: cheap production, quantity and the extremely fast way in which the movies are created.

Nollywood is created by Nigerians, for Nigerians. they depict their every day lives, with a movie industry flair. The have incredibly short shoot times, as little as 5 days per film. This has enabled Nollywood creators to flood the market with their films. These are not blockbuster films, but their relatability in African culture through themes such as love, corruption and betrayal has garnered them attention and praise.

Despite never needing to find success in the first place, Nollywood is still viewed by the industry as a niche market, or something exotic. A Nollywood film would never win the “Best Picture”award, they would instead be confined to their own category, “Best Foreign Film”or even “Best Nollywood Picture”. It seems like Nollywood cannot exist outside the framework of Hollywood, despite it continuing to show that it stands out and on its own two feet.

Nollywood provides an escape for people as all movies do. People who identify as coming from that country find a kinship, a connection with the movies as they see problems that they face brought to the front, rather than pushed to the back. They see people who they identify with being represented on the screen, which empowers them. They represent real people, real lives, and real stories. It is the beauty of this that has taken the movie industry by a storm. But, rather funnily, they don’t need our recognition. Onookome Okome (2007) states this fact in her exploration of Nollywood; the inward view of these films establish the industry as an “autonomous local expression”. They have their autonomy, with or without the rest of the world.

Sophie Abrahams

Reference list:

Krings, M & Okome, O. 2013. ‘Global Nollywood: The transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry’, Indiana University Press, 2013. p. 25-43

Okome, O. 2007. ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial Text, 3.2, pp. 1-21.

This is Nollywood 2009, video, California Newsreel, 2nd December, viewed 5th August, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYDBiHEW1Os&gt;

Bright, J. (2015). Meet ‘Nollywood’: The second largest movie industry in the world. [Blog] Fortune. Available at: http://fortune.com/2015/06/24/nollywood-movie-industry/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2017].

 

 

 

 

Australia: Education Haven

iStock_000020672036Medium3
Stock Image, International Students

I don’t think many students realise just how good we have it. We have the opportunity to go to university, we have our fees subsidized and postponed until we have our life together, we get the support of our government for necessities such as microwaveable pasta, coffees for our 8:30 AM tutes and rent (thanks Centerlink), and many support services at our disposal. For students with a slightly different background, the story is very different.

I work almost every night at a local Thai restaurant, and the people I’ve met there have opened up my eyes to how hard it is for our international students. I’m the only Australian born person there, and many of the people I work with are diligently studying. They face so many obstacles while trying to get an education, such as visa problems, having to pay all the fees up front, job shortages (don’t even get me started on the fact that most international students are earning way less than the minimum wage) and last but not least, discrimination.

‘International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’ (Marginson, 2012)

We as a nation believe ourselves to be open to all cultures, to be accepting and inviting to others and to be compassionate. From what I have heard from our fellow international students, this is not always the case. I used to be of the mindset that international students preferred to make friends with other international students, as they would feel a kin ship that they would not feel from me, and of course I felt like the language barrier would keep us from forming a friendship. I admit that this was naive of me, and I have come to know that many international students would love to have more Australian friends, if we would give them a chance.

I have been told that my coworkers would try to make friends with other Australians, but would either be met with discrimination  or annoyance. They love to talk with Australians as it helps them improve their English, it helps accustom them to an Australian lifestyle and it overall improves their experiences while studying. But the intimidation of already formed cliques, rebuttals and generally feeling like an outsider gets in their way.

At best international education becomes intercultural education in which self-forming individuals engage with each other in a cosmopolitan relational space criss-crossed by changing differences. They are open to each other and learn much from each other” (Marginson P.61)

As Marginson states above, we both have so much to learn from each other. The very degree that we are studying is a field which requires us to be open minded and understanding, and improve our knowledge along the way. In the end, we are all striving to the same goal, why can’t we come together and experience it as one?

Let’s throw away our differences and make Australia live up to the the multicultural  image of a haven of education that so many people see it to be!

Sophie Abrahams

Reference List:

Marginson, S 2012, International education as self -formation, University of Wollongong, Pp 1 – 11.

Globalisation: The Cost of Convenience

I challenge you to put down your phone, and look around you in your next morning commute. I did this once while living in Sydney and observed my fellow passengers, and marveled the fact that every single person was on their phone. People were texting, scrolling, searching and basically just burning their time with their little machines with screens. Now this might not shock you (it certainly didn’t shock me) but what may is how these devices make their way into our palms, and the real cost behind the convenience of smartphones.

Globalisation as defined by O’Shaughnessy and Stadler is as follows:

‘Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information.

Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism’  (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, P 458)

Now globalisation itself seems like an amazing step in the evolution of human society, and from the quote above we can see many possible outcomes as to how it could benefit us. It could lead to an interconnected world, working in harmony to utilize information, communicate and work together to make our world a better, more interdependent multicultural safe haven. Sadly, as with most things, it is not that simple. An example of globalisation is the outsourcing of labor by many major companies, and one example is our beloved Apple Inc.

apple_really_number1_supply_chain_wide_image
(Supply Chain 247, 2013)

Apple has for years outsourced the manufacturing of Apple Iphones and Ipads to many different countries, but lets look at the big one; China. See above Apple’s supply chain. As we can see, the materials are sourced from many outside countries, and are then brought to china to begin the manufacturing process. Now, the main company handling this is Foxconn, and not surprisingly this company AND Apple have recently come under scrutiny by Amnesty International and Afrewatch after a report came out highlighting the child labor supporting manufacturing process that concerns some batteries found in Apple products.

Now some may say, “Well this is normal, so many companies do this to keep the cost down for consumers.”. This may be the case for some, but studies have actually shown that if Apple were to move its manufacturing process to America (which would also create thousands more jobs), the Iphone would only cost $2-$3 MORE (Kabin, 2013). The reason why they decided to do otherwise was so that they could maximise the profit cut for the corporation heads, and ensure that the work is done as fast as possible. Now, how do you think the work is done so fast? The workers in China work 12 hours, no break 7 days a week. Plus, if they were to buy an Iphone for themselves, it would cost them many years of hard, manual labor to do so.

McLuhen’s view of a Global Village is idyllic and in some respects is emerging, given our growing exploration of our own and other cultures around us, but things like this are in my opinion turning back the clock. We sit here with the ultimate machine of convenience in our hands, while the hands that created them are sore, tired, and struggling. The dichotomy of this is the exact opposite effect of what globalisation is supposed to cause, and something needs to be done.

Sophie Abrahams

Reference List:

O’Shaughnessy M & Stadler J, 2012, ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 458 – 471.  

Kabin, B 2013, Apple’s iPhone: Designed in California But Manufactured Fast All Around the World (Infographic), Entrepreneur, weblog post, September 11, viewed 5 August 2017 <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228315&gt;.

Supply Chain 247, 2013, Apple Supply Chain [ONLINE], available at: http://www.supplychain247.com/article/is_apples_supply_chain_really_the_no._1_a_case_study, assessed 5 August 2017.

 

Week 2: Reality, Augmented.

This week we delved deeper and deeper into the abstract, where we found a plethora of interesting and boundary-pushing artists ripe for exploration. I realized that technology has really made it easy for us to express ourselves if you think about it (albeit its questionable authenticity); whatever you visualize, you can more than likely create it with a few clicks of a button, or you can easily find someone else who’ll do it for you via the web.

I suppose the closest you’ll get to seeing something through the eyes of many different people would be our series of group works inspired by David Hockney’s Cameraworks; a work named brushesreduxphotocollages.

IMG_1229
(CAVA101&2, brushesreduxphotocollages, 2017)

 

                           “It takes time to see these pictures—you can look at them for a long time, they invite that sort of looking. But, more importantly, I realized that this sort of picture came closer to how we actually see, which is to say, not all-at-once but rather in discrete, separate glimpses which we then build up into our continuous experience of the world.” –David Hockney 

This quote from Hockney is the essence of what we tried to replicate in our work. We took pictures with an Ipad via a program called Brushes Redux. We then started to augment the picture by drawing, tracing and coloring over it. After this,we then pieced all the pieces together to view the image as a whole once again. We glimpsed the world around us and then we hoped to share those unique glimpses. This piece is a combined effort of the many different and creative minds that reside in our class, where each one of us put a unique spin on an image we viewed as a whole. We augmented reality through  our own eyes and we created our visions in place of (or mixed with) our perceived surroundings. This idea of personally augmented reality gives dimension and  depth to works, and I feel like the viewing of them is more personal, and thus more memorable.

blueGuitar
(Hockney, The Blue Guitar, 1977)

For research tin class I read The Blue Guitar; a collection of etchings by David Hockney, inspired by the words of Wallace Stevens, who was inspired by paintings by Picasso. I felt liken this string of inspiration really resonated with me, because you can see how each piece and each artist affected each other, and with myself I take great inspiration from other artists. This research helped me understand that it’s not a bad thing to be greatly influenced by someone else, and that often it’s actually beneficial.

~Sophie

Reference List:

  1. Hockney, D. (1977). Manhattan Rare Books. [online] Available at: https://www.manhattanrarebooks.com/pages/books/1538/david-hockney/cameraworkshttps:// %5BAccessed 20/03/2017]
  2. Cava101&102, 2017, brushesreduxphotocollages, Ipad Image
  3. Hockney, D 2017. The Blue Guitar, book, [Accessed 20/03/2017] <http://file.kysakai.blog.shinobi.jp/blueGuitar.jpeg&gt;.