Hacking Rhetoric

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weekly blog

Living in a house with a bunch of friends, I’ll leave my computer sitting on my bed all the time, thinking nothing of it. More often than not my friends will open it and my facebook is still logged in, and they’ll write on people walls or post funny statuses on my account. I’ve never thought of this as hacking before, and this is all done in clean fun but it’s scary how we don’t really realize how we can set ourselves up for hacking. I have credit card info and emails on my computer that people could access without having a password on my computer. I know it’s the hacker’s doing the hacking but how much of it is the company’s (or whatever institution) fault? I think we should take some responsibility in being cautious about our security.


This happens to me to living in the house with all of my friends ^^!

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Hacking Hint

my password is my Favorite Sport! which you can definitely figure out if you go to my facebook:)

-happy hacking!


Tommy Lam – Weekly Blog

After today’s class activity I, in a sense, feel more like a hacker (though a novice one).  The Hackasaurus tool that we utilized was very intuitive and made altering the website, that my partner and I chose, very easy.  It was as simple as clicking an image or text and replacing it with another.  I have to say that changing an established website, to my liking, made me feel somewhat powerful.  Is this what hackers feel like when they hit it big and successfully hack someone or something?  If so, I can now say that that I better understand these individuals.  The particular type of hacker that I think I can sympathize with a bit more, now that I’ve ‘hacked’ a website, are the trolling ones since my partner and I basically trolled an existing Buzzfeed article.  Overall, I can say that I enjoyed this class activity because it allowed us to practice our rhetoric skills in another form than a traditional college essay.  I hope to do more activities like this in the future.    

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Hackasaurus activity instructions

Here are your instructions for today’s in-class assignment:

Hackasaurus instructions

1. Open a browser – not Safari. Firefox or Chrome both work for this.

2. Navigate to www.hackasaurus.org

3. Follow the three-second tutorial.

4. Install X-Ray Goggles in your browser, following the instructions here: http://hackasaurus.org/en-US/goggles/install/

  • For Chrome, the bookmark bar should be visible when you open the browser.
  • For Firefox, you’ll need to make the toolbar visible – go to ‘View’, then ‘Toolbars’, then check where it says ‘Bookmarks Toolbar’.

5. Find a site, activate your X-Ray Goggles and hack! Work on your own or in small groups to disrupt or reinforce the message of a website.

Other resources

Hackasaurus is designed to be pretty intuitive, but here are some HTML resources you might like to refer to:

Google Image Search: http://www.google.com/imghp

When you’re done, publish your work and email the link to beck.wise@utexas.edu along with a link to the original site so we can put them all up on the big screen. Be ready to explain what you were trying to do!

For Monday

Monday is a peer reviewing workshop day for your Analysis Paper. Come to class with a complete, polished draft in electronic form — you can print for free in the classroom if you prefer to work on paper. You’ll work in pairs to identify strengths and weaknesses in each other’s papers, then go home and redraft before submitting to me on Wednesday.

In case you are stuck / want to make sure you’re covering all possible angles, here’s a worksheet that might help (direct link to PDF; I’ll be handing out paper copies in class today — this is in case you lose yours or aren’t in class today).

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“Hackers and Hookers” Weekly blog post 10/29


In honor of Halloween this weekend, I found the perfect article about Halloween and hackers! A group from Hacker Hideout, a starting co-working space in San Francisco, decided to throw a party. The theme of this party was “Hackers and Hookers”. They advertised the party for beer, food trucks, and girls. Tasneem Raja stated, “There’s a shot of a bare mattress on the floor, inviting “thinkers and builders, tech lovers and business moguls” to consider working—or even living!—at the Hideout”. This apparently is just a small aspect in the bigger problem of gender issues in the tech world. A web designer named Justine Arreche complained about an account of sexual assault by her boss. Her boss was a well known Ruby programmer. It had happened at a party where all her co workers were. She said how she felt pressured to drink and let them do body shots off her, because she wanted them to consider her as part of the crew. She was saying how hard it is to work with so many men, because she wants to be friends with them but it seeing as “hookers” at themed parties. It is a crazy situation, and I never was aware of this gender issue in the tech world. You all should really check this article out.


Weekly Blog – Joshua Bennett

In the vein of my theme for this class (Cyberpunk) and our current discussions of how arguments work I wanted to present some Cyberpunk Art and what arguments they make and how.

The piece I’ve chosen is NSFW but I censored it to an appropriate level.

It is fine to view the image without any warning NOW.

The piece is titled: Medialand: The Bastardization Of Humanity In A Time Of Great Need and is by Jeffrey Scott.

Jeffrey is utilizing pathos to establish his argument on the future of media. My interpretation of his art is that Jeffrey believes that people will focus more on media rather than the reality and the things happening in media will be considered more important than what is happening in our reality. We will live in media, rather than life itself. Notice how all the men watching the TV all look the same; this could be to show the anonymousness of the people on media. We know that people in real life have different characteristics to each other so that we can identify various people around us but people we see through media are all anonymousa and thus cannot identify the true identity of each other.

Notice how all the men are affixed to the television girl despite the real figure being right behind them. This illustrates how people view what is on TV more “reality” to them. TV presents more detailed views of the woman (see in the separate TVs) to the people which provides more satisfaction to these viewers.

Also, notice the darkness and the gloominess of the picture. The overall theme going on in this scene provides a negative feeling to the subject at hand. The metalic feeling and the dark cyber world atmosphere almost represents how cold human relations got and the extinction of physical interaction between real people. The nudity of the censored woman (which I censored myself for better view) shows explicit sexual content and warns how the media is being filled with sexual materials. Every element leads to a dark argument of the future that Jeffrey is trying to show. The picture could be interpreted in many different ways and this is the way I view Jeffrey’s ideas and arguments.

Hacked by – MinChul Han

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Weekly Blog


            There is no doubt that there has been an increasing number of malicious hackers who threaten our government and successful businesses and we, as college students, could be the answer to some of these problems. Companies who fear being hacked will spend as much as 46 billion dollars this year alone from being hacked and will hire skilled white hat hackers to prevent spiteful hackers from obtaining valuable information from the innocent population. This article introduces the fact that many universities are offering their students courses to take in order to learn how to protect multi million dollar databases. Rick Karr states that ‘They’re students at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the nation’s top computer science schools … and they’re learning to fight off the bad guys  … by thinking the same way they do. They’re learning to be the good guy hackers.”

            Karr then goes on to say that most of these black hat hackers are coming out of other countries and are protected; therefore they don’t have a whole lot to lose while Stewart Baker replies “the best defense is an offense.” These students are being trained to find the vulnerabilities and this is definitively beneficial for businesses living in a constant fear of hackers.

I think it’s pretty awesome that computer science programs are beginning to teach their students how to hack effectively because this is a huge problem we are facing. The only thing that worries me is that these skilled future computer scientists could choose a different route as a black hat hacker.

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Mid-semester adjustments

Following the mid-semester check-ins, we’ve agreed on the following changes to the course:

  • Twitter: no longer required — but if it’s working for you / you want to, keep doing it.
  • Blogs:
    • Comments — no longer mandatory. Comment if you feel moved, especially if the author invites you to answer a question / offer your thoughts.
    • Weekly posts — due at any point over the week.
  • Readings: will be student-generated starting next week. Please post your suggestions in the comments here! Aim for meaty but accessible; non-mainstream texts encouraged.

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Logical Fallacies

is the one we made up in class.
• We believe that everybody in this class deserves an A.
• If you don’t give us A’s our GPA’s are going to drop, we will fail out of school, not be able to get a job and work at McDonalds. (slipper slope)
• I got an A on the very first assignment I should get an A on every assignment. (hasty generalization)
• B’s and below should be banned in this course. (begging the claim)
• We should get A’s because we are smart. (circular argument)
• Teacher’s who don’t give out all their students A’s are mean, stingy, and terrible people. (Ad populum)
• Teacher’s who don’t give the whole class A’s hate their students. (straw man)
• Not getting an A in this class is the same as sucking at life. (moral equivalence)
• So either give us all A’s or quit your job. (either or)
Now I understand the Fallacies a whole lot better.