Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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> how to read my thesis

"it's very confusing for the poor reader"
- mom

i'm excited to perform sustained intellectual inquiry in a new space. i have written in webbed format more than any other, so it comes naturally to write my thesis as a web page.

one drawback of publishing my thesis online is that i cannot skip lines. normally, when reading an academic document, there is more white space than words, to ease the burden on the eyes. not so online - all lines are crammed together, and occasionally web publishers even neglect side margins.

to compensate for this formatting inflexibility, i have doubly indented my words - they begin two inches from either margin, so that the reader's eye does not have to travel far across the page to gather information.

further indenting long quoted material in this situation creates abnormally tall and scrawny quoted paragraphs, so to compensate, i have done the reverse of usual, and have unindented one inch for sampled material from outside sources. as well, i have changed the font face on this material to further clarify what are my words and what are those from abroad.

"This is a sample quote. It is unindented to distinguish it from my rantings. It is in this typewriter font."
- Justin Hall, "sample quotation," his bedroom, page 12

quotes have quotation marks as well.

as for lower case letters, i have trained myself (or untrained myself) to write this way. i think it comes naturally with high velocity online communication - the speed of things lessens the differentiation and certainly the pause between communications.

many folks report this being hard to read. i may find a software solution to replace all my lower case letters, but for now i am writing at top speed without so much regard for traditional textual aesthetics. quotes and other people's words reflect their proper capitalization.

i am at least writing
in full sentences
and full lines!

online citations are seldom linked directly to their sources on the web, and working links into the bibliography was unwieldy. as a result, folks will have to track down references from within the bibliography page. i wish there was a way to have pop up bibliographic descriptor windows, or something that i don't have the time to learn and program. i omitted links to sources to streamline the reading experience. it runs counter to my experience with the web, but i am making concessions to the academic experience to create a more immersive intellectual world here.

the structure of the thesis is roughly nonlinear - there is no certain straight line through. it is being composed, and can be read in parallel; ie, certain parts of the food section line up better with relationships more than death, and they can be read in any order. here, i think what i have endeavoured to create is an intellectual environment. one might wander through and soak in ideas according to their fancy, the end of that time being either the end of their inquiry, or their patience, or all the relevant links turning purple.

hopefully this will not be daunting to people responsible for deciding whether i have completed some worthwhile academia. for me, i feel it is important that the space of the web have its own intellectual environments created, so that web surfers with some high ideals or deep-seeded curiousities might chance to find sustained application of particular reason in a web well reknown for its ephemerality.

then again, maybe no one will ever read any more than a page of my thesis, and maybe they'll just skim it at that. c'est la web.

but there is a rough order to the thinking, if one insists, it is provided at this thesis outline.

as much as i hate to locate myself on either side of the web browser wars, i do my layout in netscape. so a few of these formatting conventions will apply better to netscape (specifically 3.04 for the macintosh) than to internet explorer, lynx, macweb, mosaic, opera, or arena.

(further composition reflections appear in process notes)

index

technology affects food relationships and death determining potential directions for our society.
definition
penetration
expertise
 - composition
fortification
msg
olestra
- pills
diet pills
vitamins
- distribution 
electronic babysitting fluoridation
vaccines
return
stasis
computopia
technological determinism
heart


thesis biblio
how to read this thesis
outline
"we"
food
relationships
death
technology
direction
process notes