September 22

Circle Blog Post #2


Data and privacy, how are they connected? On the surface one would see data as a term that revolves around the collection and storage of information, like the pictures on your phone or the hundreds of emails you get every day. But is not that information also private or is it public knowledge? Most times those details are stored on servers that many people have access to, so does that then make it publically known? So then, are data and privacy really that different or is data simply the storage of private memories and information?


In The Circle, the collection of data indeed revolves around private memories, experiences, and preferences. Every like, zing, post, comment, favor etc. Mae makes while at The Circle is recorded in their version of “the cloud,” where anyone else can view it. They claim their gathering of these materials is to establish a more interconnected, peaceful world, but is complete honesty the key to peace? Are there not instances where the truth does hurt and would hinder rather than help a situation? Where the debate between the storage of private matters comes into play in The Circle is whether it is just to let everyone have access to it or not; personally, some things are meant to be private. Mae also believes this, especially in regards to the video Francis made of them.


The issue of privacy is prevalent throughout the novel, but by the end it seems to have almost disappeared as The Circle spreads its global initiative of “transparency.” The Circle miraculously seems to convert everyone over to a level of complete openness. Whereas, those who do not wish to give in are eliminated, such as Mercer, who refused to give in to the demands of the Circle. To The Circle privacy is a necessary sacrifice to achieve safety and security in a world where safety is so rare. They believe that collecting all the intelligence available, they will be able to prevent and end threats even before they occur. They hope to establish a level of protection over the world, by eliminating the basic right to privacy and individuality. Privacy is a way to express oneself as their own person, but if that privacy is taken away, one becomes a member of the greater collective group and loses their personal distinction.


But is it not more dangerous to allow the information of the world to be accessed by anyone? The secrets and the information that have been hidden to protect us would be available to anyone, I find that more dangerous than keeping secrets. In the view of The Circle we, as citizens of the world, are viewed as data ourselves. We are one out of the billions of people on The Circle’s server. There is a greater chance of vulnerability and danger if information and lives are concentrated in a single place; one attack of some sort would spell disaster. So, by trying to unite the world the Circle actually made the world a more vulnerable place. There is strength in numbers, but one collective mind is not as powerful, interesting, or miraculous as a group of different minds. The Circle sacrificed the privacy to be ourselves in order to establish order.


September 15

Ideas for Civic Artifact Speech

For my artifact speech I was automatically drawn to elements of history, to artifacts that have been a part of key moments through time. At first I thought of the Scales of Justice, which would relate to my passion blog, which is about law and the expression of our rights. I was drawn to the Scales of Justice based on their symbolic importance, the physical representation of the scales, and how they act or do not act as a call to justice.

As another option I was going to select the Declaration of Independence. My reason behind possibly selecting this artifact, other than my mom recommending it, is based on the large role it has played in not only our countries history, but histories of other countries, and how regardless of topic, The Declaration is always a hotly debated subject. What did the founding fathers really mean? Is it outdated or timeless? Can we really use it as a reference? The list goes on.

However, I have found a commonality between these two artifacts, other than their strong hold in history, both relate to freedom and the right for everyone to express those freedoms.

When writing this short summary about my options, I feel myself leaning more towards the Scales of Justice, for I feel there is more room to interpret their meaning through many mediums and produce a more relatable speech.




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September 9

Response for The Circle Prompt 1

Being a Penn Stater at face value is very similar to being a member of The Circle. “We are” now officially part of what outsiders call the “Penn State cult;” an international group of people connected by a single characteristic—having been a student at PSU or being related to one. Much like Mae and the members of The Circle, we too live in our own little world of State College. I myself have felt the isolation from the outside world while I have been here, but not in a bad way. It’s more of an isolation created by our constant preoccupation with events in the PSU world, while attempting to establish a global perspective.

Much like Mae at The Circle, we as students are given photo id’s, swipe cards, and are provided plenty of places to eat and sleep—on the surface we appear as the college version of The Circle, especially because no one ever wants to leave. Where we differ is that collectively as a group we are not working towards one common goal, rather we each have our own path to follow, but together we support one another. As a collective group we support our school, our teams, and hopefully each other. No matter where a Penn Stater ends up the call of “We Are,” will always be answered with “Penn State!”

We have events to bring together the community and serve the greater one, much like The Circle does. This outlook is hopefully achieved through service and belief of leaving the world better than we found it. This motto, held by both The Circle and PSU is interesting to address because both communities are looking to expand their knowledge of the world around them, while being very concentrated in a certain area. Now that is not to say that either is landlocked, for PSU has many programs nationally and internationally and The Circle developed their “Transparency” program.

For either of these cultures, you are automatically drawn into its dynamic environment because of the appeal and excitement of its atmosphere and the sense of family it creates. But why do we need that security? Is it because being in the crowd is more fun? Or is it that strong sense of pride and a draw to be a part of something bigger that pulls us in and causes us to dedicate ourselves to it?

September 3

Idea for Passion Blog

I’d never given much thought to law, given the fact that I was a self proclaimed goody two shoes and that my most accurate representation of law came from primetime TV. To me the law was simply words written down that we automatically followed. It wasn’t until I took a class during my first semester senior year of high school that I started to think about the law and the concept of justice. The class, Civil Liberties and Constitutional Law, was purely a discussion based class where everyday we debated a new issue, court case, or news story. Luckily for me my section of the class had some of the most outgoing, boisterous, and opinionated people. Some days I felt as though I was watching a tennis match across the table. One to usually be on the more reserved side, I was fascinated by the passion and voices expressed in that class.

Given my quiet demeanor, my teacher would always make an effort to call on me and wouldn’t let the class leave until I said something. Needless to say that when we had class last period or before lunch I made some friends quite angry. But all in all, I would leave class with a new outlook on the law and what it means to be subject too and responsible for it.

I don’t know why I felt this topic could be the one for my passion blog, but whenever I tried to brainstorm other ideas this is the one topic I kept coming back to. There just seemed to be a left over pull from that class and a need to further flush out my ideas.

For the structure of the blog, I will either take a case that is currently in the news or of recent debate, or may follow the schedule that my class did and analyze an amendment from the Bill of Rights every week!

I guess it’ll really be a blog about me trying to figure out the reasoning behind certain laws and trying to find a balance between opinions; to analyze morals.