Sunday, December 18, 2022

A Long Goodbye To The Bloatware Frienemy


Student: John C Gibson

Engineering And Ethics

Fall 2022 Section 205

Professor: Christopher Phillips, Ph.D.

Word count: 1035

How Is Bloatware Different From Viruses?

A Long Goodbye To The Bloatware Frienemy 

I argue against giving bloatware, pre-installed software, a lifeline to survive in misery in a world that increasingly utilizes online applications that don’t need installation in the first place. I prescribe mercy killing the bloatware. A few trade names are omitted in this essay to avoid defamation.

Recently, particular desktop operating systems have included a self-upgrading campaign in the operating system's desktop screen that asks the user to consent to the upgrade to a newer version of the operating system. The campaign features tactics of a gray, obscured button for the “No” option and changing intervals of presenting the consent screen interlaced with antivirus software advertisements. An operating system upgrade historically can introduce incompatibility of applications, giving the operating system company’s applications a competitive edge. In the old days, OS companies paid hefty fines to settle suits with bloatware blatantly defying court orders with Internet browsers that were nearly impossible to uninstall. But recent advancements in intricate programming techniques can give any application more subtle tactics in coercing and deceiving the user into giving consent to different matters. Sophisticated programs implemented in contempt of court orders may be difficult to prove because the boundaries between coercion, deception, and marketing advertisements can be hard to locate inside an intricate web of parameters. 

The progressive trend of moral standards gives an ever-expanding inclusion of a circle of personhood and more rights to more subjects and objects, as reported in Vox's article (Samuel, 2019). A progressive view can personify or anthropomorphize desktop computers in different ways. It can be a good marketing strategy to promote a product by asking people to respect the product like a natural person with the right to survive, access to nutrients, and all needed resources as much as possible. After all, desktop computers are natural secretaries to their owners with calendars and daily planner apps. The sophisticated CPU scheduling system slows down CPU clocking during slower hours to save electricity, emulating the fluctuation of human cardiopulmonary performance throughout the day. And computer engineering can utilize anthropomorphization, too.

A modern desktop computer goes into hibernation and reboots at night after office hours to refresh its security upgrades, similar to human sleep, consolidating memory. It is not hard to reason why a manager in the desktop computer building business likes to promote the industry with the agenda of a well-upgraded, well-updated computer with a fresh and healthy mind to assist the owners, for example, at the kitchen counter with an interactive cookbook. The competitor of the kitchen counter Amazon Alexa has a humanoid voice; a desktop computer has a touchscreen allowing flipping book pages in stunning, life-like 3D renders, just like genuine human assistance. As a thought experiment, to achieve the stardom of Alexa, a desperate operating system company may coerce the user to consent to allow the operating system to instill a more famous humanoid voice than Alexa and exclude third-party text-speech software to prevent fragmentation. Bloatware can include a golf tournament show channel with the cookbook while the oven timer is ticking instead of Alexa’s voice-only functionalities. And the desktop computer may just become a great contender to the Alexa voice assistance appliance without the market knowing the stealth change. However, the online application trend diminishes the operating system’s role in a computer's functionality, and a voice-enabled, 3D multimedia assistant is just one click away within any browser. 

But the online-only application trend is not the only challenge bloatware and deceptive coercion face. The virtualization of desktop computer operating systems enables sharing of computers managed by expert desktop computer engineers. Increasingly, viruses need to get through the expert’s configuration of a desktop computer in fortified secure environments. The penetration rate of viruses might have declined with the virtualization trend. And experts can disable operating system self-upgrading campaigns that are nearly impossible to accomplish for average users. Expert configuration can happen in the virtual desktop setting or a physical, professionally managed setup.

Still, there can be traditional, retail desktop computers in certain circumstances. The work ethic of the managers is to be loyal to their employees and shareholders. Indoctrinating and educating consumers to build loyal customers for the parent company is a moral obligation. Education in schools often involves math techniques in ideal conditions, for example, calculating parabolic curves of throwing a ball without considering air resistance or a ball’s deflection with force. Education sometimes involves deception, putting pupils in an ivory tower or a religious atmosphere, and indoctrinating elite leaders’ national interests. And, in such a mindset, consumers need to be coerced and deceived. When an operating system company is fined an astronomical sum for contempt of court, the manager might receive a bonus for their loyal service. But are managers responsible for deception tactics enjoying their success and fame? Mac OS and Apple computers are relatively virus-free because Mac OS has a relatively small market share, and the virus economy depends on the sheer quantity of attacks to achieve penetration. When the penetration payoff of a virus is too low, the virus ceases to exist. When the market share of traditional, retail desktop computers shrinks, bloatware’s profit can become too low for the bloatware to be a viable business. And when businesses go out of business, layoffs follow.

But the average onlookers of the saga may not be so determined about letting bloatware die off. Sympathizers of the bloatware industry may argue that bloatware is very different from viruses. The bloatware industry can be a legitimate entry point job for novice engineers. The elite people of western societies have dominated all other people and natural resources for centuries, and progress toward equality and equity is slow. Why be so uptight about consent and giving autonomy? Keeping an open mind and allowing software bots and new engineers to enter our world can bring changes. But, the future of the virus or bloatware economy is uncertain if virtualization, browser-only appliance, and online applications continue expansion. If the managers of the bloatware business were new engineers we tried to save when they were younger, when the market trend goes down, it appears they will be victims who need sympathy to save again.

Works Cited

Samuel, Sigal. “Moral Circle Expansion: Should Animals, Plants, and Robots Have the Same Rights as Humans?” Vox, 4 Apr. 2019,

Sunday, October 16, 2022


 Word count: 341 


Located in Washington, DC, National Transportation Safety Board is an independent agency directly under the federal executive branch. It was split from the Department of Transportation in 1975 with the federal Independent Safety Board Act (Congress, 1994). The current chairwoman is Jennifer Homendy, appointed by former president Donald Trump. Independent agencies outside cabinet departments and directly under the president include the CIA and FCC. Understandably, most federal independent agencies established themselves close to Washington, DC. The Potomac River runs along the west side of Capital Hill, so the agencies generally cluster on the river shore neighborhoods. L'Enfant Plaza houses NTSB’s headquarters on the east shore. On the west shore, the Langley headquarters of the CIA is about 6 miles west of NTSB. Lincoln Memorial is within walking distance from L'Enfant Plaza. However, for more recreation, the nearby National Harbor is an area with waterfront dining, a shopping mall, and a Ferris wheel, about 5 miles south of NTSB. 

The general feature of the 6 miles west of NTSB is a dense highway system with substantial maintenance. Amazon has a large data center built in the area as part of the communication artery (Sverdlik, 2015). The buildings for the vital data center facilities are tall and imposing. The federal workers in Washington, DC, may have long careers in the area. The former NTSB aviation safety director Thomas Haueter has a career spanning 28 years with NTSB, gaining expertise and experience (Adair, 2004).

The laboratory of NTSB headquarters has voice tape players, flight instrument decoding software, and other black box testing tools (Adair, 2004, p38). However, specialized testing tools are only available in manufacturers’ labs, which include engine and heavy machine testing tools. The airworthiness investigator has broad authority and legislated power to acquire manufacturers' necessary assistance and equipment. The “goto” team’s workplace is often the hotel rooms with extra phone lines (Adair, 2004, p28). In investigating USAir flight 427’s crash, Thomas Haueter boarded over a dozen flights with the Boeing 737-3 series to acquaint himself with the 737 models (Adair, 2004)

Works Cited

"H.R.2440 - 103rd Congress (1993-1994): Independent Safety Board Act Amendments of 1994.", Library of Congress, 25 October 1994,

Sverdlik, Yevgeniy. “Fire at Amazon Data Center Construction Site in Ashburn Contained.” DataCenter Knowledge, 9 Jan. 2015,

Adair, Bill. The Mystery of Flight 427: Inside a Crash Investigation. Illustrated, Smithsonian Books, 2004.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Viking Study Final Exam

User John Gibson

Course UML Vikings - Sec 081 SU22 KShrieves

Test Final Exam (required)

Started 7/6/22 9:47 AM

Submitted 7/10/22 8:31 PM

Due Date 7/10/22 11:59 PM

Status Completed

Attempt Score 100 out of 100 points  

Time Elapsed 106 hours, 44 minutes


The exam is untimed, and you can exit and return to it at any point before you submit it. It's also open-book and open-notes.

However, the fact that it's untimed and open-book means that I will expect that strong answers for all the questions include specific citations from the reading material (in The Viking Age, Hrafnkels Saga, or Volsungs Saga). In addition, high-scoring answers for the longer essay will be well-organized, meaning that they include an introduction with a thesis statement, a body that’s developed through well-reasoned examples, and a conclusion that pulls your ideas together. High-scoring answers in both sections will also demonstrate careful and well-stated composition.

Results Displayed All Answers, Submitted Answers, Feedback

Question 1

14 out of 14 points

Imagine that you were born in Iceland in the year 1000. What would you personally find most challenging about living in the Viking Age? Answer in 1 paragraph, supporting your idea with references to the material that you read this semester. 

Selected Answer:

The most challenging to me, personally, as a science major student that writes lab reports and keeps track of data on sophisticated computer programs daily, is the lack of modern rigorous record keeping practice in the medieval times, including the decades around the year 1000 in Iceland. For example, Iceland's Althing law was not written until the year 1117, many centuries behind Roman Empire, and oral transmission of information could introduce errors and introduce doubts. In Viking literatures, the famous writer Snorri Sturluson said that the stories transmitted orally over generations only were "information and entertainment", not true knowledge[1]. In Egil's Saga, which depicts semi-fictional Icelandic life upward to the year 1000, six people were depicted as killed in a cruelly rigged ball game without the culprit being prosecuted[2], giving human life very little value. Without reliable record keeping to produce knowledge, people didn't know that, without a doubt, the physical and chemical changes from life to death are irreversible. In Njal’s saga, which depicted semi-fictional Icelandic life between year 960 and 1020, a killer and his accomplices could not figure out if the victim Skarphedin was alive or dead when they heard the supposedly killed victim cite a poem in the ashes of a burned-down house [5]. Scientific knowledge gives human life value. If a person could live both in the alive and in the dead state with no clear differences, there was no point in preserving a life. It would be my biggest challenge to study and educate people about science and the value of a human life if I were born in the year 1000 in Iceland. Rigorous record keeping makes all the difference. Iceland industry has recently taken up Bitcoin "mining" operations, which supports a ledger-based currency system aiming at keeping track of all monetary transactions reliably within the currency exchange algorithm itself. It is Icelanders’ tradition to explore and discover, and the story has just begun.

[1] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 472 

[2] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 346 

[3] Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 1995, p 96 

[4] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 354 

[5] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 365 

Response Feedback: [None Given]

Question 2

13 out of 13 points

Describe several ways in which Viking ships were distinctive, particularly for their time period. Answer in 1 paragraph, supporting your ideas with references to the material that you read this semester.

Selected Answer:

The most distinctive feature of Viking ships for their time period, when compared to neighboring Western Roman and English ships of the same time period, is likely the promonent norse mythical ornaments, such as "dragon's head" at the prow of king Olaf Tryggvason's Long Serpent of the year 999[1]. In contrast, when English "King Alfred ordered" nine ships in England in 896, his ships should not have a dragon head at the front of the ships[2]. This is because King Alfred was a devolt christian who paid tributes to Rome[3], and the serpent symbolized evil and hence shunned by christianity. The interesting point is that Olaf Tryggavson was also a christian. So, the depicted dragon head was likely syncretic art, which was unique of norse culture of that time period. The coil of a dragon tail at a Viking ship's stern is also uniquely Viking for the same religous reason. When comparing the Viking Age ships to ships of later time periods, a distinctive attribute of Viking Age ships was their shape, described as "long and broad"[1], with a broad deck used as "fighting platform"[5]. This particular shape changed in "later centuries"[5] with the abandoning of the use of the fighting platform. Yet, another distictive feature of Viking ships is the high-seat pillars depicted in The Book Of Settlement[3]. The high-seat pillars were used in a unique, traditional act of Scandinavian explorers. But, there was one variant of viking ships that were distinctive by themselves from other viking ships. They were called "monoxyla" by Byzantine court documents[1]. The "disembarking" and "re-embark" in the Byzantine empire's documents refers to the viking vessels crossing the Dnieper river barrages when "partly portaging them on their shoulders" was performed. It can be inferred that this type of Viking vessels were lighter than other Viking ships. 

[1] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 188

[2] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 252

[3] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 315

[4] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 198

[5] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 191

Response Feedback: [None Given]

Question 3

13 out of 13 points

Discuss one way in which Vikings interacted with the Byzantine Empire. Answer in 1 paragraph, supporting your discussion with references to the material that you read this semester.

Selected Answer:

The Byzantine Empire hired norse mercenaries, called "Varangian guard", who left rune(Viking writing) evidence "carved into the published marble" in Hagia Sophia in modern day Istanbul, which is Constantinople during Byzantine time[1]. Specifically, the hiring practice was part of the treaty of the year 911, which allowed Swedish Rus soldiers "to remain in his(Byzantine Emperor's) service"[2]. The treaty itself was the result of a series of wars between Swedish Rus Vikings and the Byzantine Empire. The series of wars left records in archbishop Photius's sermons in Constantinople in 860 and in Russian Primary Chronicle for the year 904 to 907 about Kievan king "Oleg attacked the Greeks" in Constantinople[3]. Prince Oleg himself descended from Swedish migration from Novgorod near Baltic Sea to Kiev and "made it his capital around 882"[4]. From a literary perspective, in the Heimskringla saga, the mercenaries were embedded in the “Greek army”, with which the Norwegian prince "Harald arrived in Sicily" to lay a siege on a city[5]. 

[1] Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 1995, p 105

[2] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 287

[3] McDonald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 283

[4] Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 1995, p 102

[5] Donald, R. Andrew, and Angus A. Somerville. The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2020, p 297

Response Feedback: [None Given]

Question 4

60 out of 60 points

Choose one from the following topics on which to write your essay.

Compare and contrast those who rejected Christianity versus those who adopted it. How did Vikings react to the call to conversion? For those who embraced the new religion, how did they attempt to convert others? Answer in an essay of about 5 paragraphs, supporting your points with detailed examples from the material you read this semester.

What are several qualities that you think Vikings valued in leaders? For each characteristic that you discuss, give an example of someone who either embodies or is an anti-example of that quality. Answer in an essay of about 5 paragraphs, supporting your points with detailed examples from the material you read this semester.

How did the Vikings relate to the natives of the lands that they settled in (for example, the English, Irish, French, or Native Americans)? Answer in an essay of about 5 paragraphs, supporting your points with detailed examples from the material you read this semester.

Selected Answer:

C. How did the Vikings relate to the natives of the lands that they settled in (for example, the English, Irish, French, or Native Americans)? Answer in an essay of about 5 paragraphs, supporting your points with detailed examples from the material you read this semester.

Vikings were famous for taking on the local cultures, including languages, of the natives of the lands that they settled and successfully assimilating into the people that they tried to conquer. There were very few exceptions, such as the Greenland colony, which was named for its attractive color during the Viking Age but became a failed colony due to climate change and natural forces outside human control.

They did not shy away from using their newly acquired languages. When Byzantine Emperor Theophilus unknowingly granted passage to Swedish Rus with "safe conducts to travel"[2], in 839, from Constantinople-Istanbul to Emperor Louis the Pious in France, it implied that the Vikings called themselves "Rus", a Finnish rooted word that Vikings acquired either consciously or unconsciously. In the thirteen-century Norwegian book King's Mirror, "must learn all languages" was stated explicitly[3]. It is obvious that learning the local language is a good start to assimilate into the foreign community, and learning a language requires practice.

Marriage was also used to assimilate Scandinavians into the foreign community. In the famous North Sea Empire that united England and Denmark for a brief period, in 1017, Danish Emperor Cnut married the widow of the English King Athelred[4]. In the East, the Norwegian prince Harald Hardradi was in exile to the Byzantine Empire as a mercenary when he married local Kievan princess Elizabeth[6]. In the Atlantic region, it is known that the Vikings had "intermarried “Hiberno-Norse"" with local Irish, as noted in Irish Times newspaper[5]. The newspaper disputed Njal's saga's war depiction where Vikings were depicted as completely driven out of Ireland. The newspaper pointed out that the war was fought between Irish families, and that, in reality, Vikings were already integrated into the very Irish families in the saga's action time. Marriage essentially made the Vikings relate to the natives of the lands as blood relatives.

The strategy of taking on local culture and intermarrage was very effective at integrating peoples. In the East, the legendary first Rus king Rurik came from Sweden to establish the Kievan kingdom, and within "a few generations", all the successive Kievan kings had pure Slavic names, such as Yaroslav[7]. In the West, French King Charles set the Christian baptization as a pre-condition before granting the Normandy land to the Viking warrior named Rollo to establish the Duchy Of Normandy in modern day French west coast in 910[8].

St Quentin was one of the last major cities before cargos traversing continental Eurasia could be loaded onto ships in the port towns, Calais and Gravelines, and be shipped across the English Channel. It served as a communications hub between French court and Duchy Of Normandy on the west coast. St Quentin's documents were of interest and importance to medieval historians to understand the Duchy Of Normandy when Dudo was assigned to the post with the title of "dean"[1]. When Dudo communicated in French Emperor's court document with the possible readership of all noblemen of France, including Rollo's grandson Count Richard of Normandy, trying to explain the "barbarous peoples" from "Scandinavia", with colorful French, such as "foreboding Mars" and "mate with as many women"[1], but without a shred of insult on the fact that Count Richard's ancestors were also from Scandinavia, the Vikings were no longer treated as Vikings. The Vikings were just French.

The Scandinavians explored for the riches and the colorful, and they became culturally enriched and colorful in the end. They relate to the native people their own people and the native culture their own culture, just like most people do, in the end.

[1] The Viking Age, p204-206

[2] The Viking Age, p277

[3] The Viking Age, p332

[4] The Viking Age, p431

[5] The Viking Age, p496

[6] Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 1995, p 109

[7] Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 1995, p 108

[8] The Viking Age, p268

Response Feedback: [None Given]

Friday, July 15, 2022 3:23:46 PM EDT

Viking Study Discussion Portfolio

 John C Gibson 

VikingsSummer 22 

Discussion Portfolio 

3 Personal Best Posts: 

1. Week Number: 2 

Thread: Tension Between Marriage and Family    

Date 05/29/22 

Hi Sam and Melissa, I like this thread's discussion. :)  

My view is that the theme of saving siblings over one's own children culminated in Gudrun's mother telling Gudrun "do according to our bidding", meaning fighting for mother/father side's members/siblings instead of husband side's members/children, in chapter 33. 

"Bidding" means that marriage and child birthing are business-political arrangements with uncertain prospects. "Our" refers to the shared possessions between Gudrun's mother/father and Grudrun, which are Gudrun's siblings. 

The historical context of the migration of the 5th century was that Hun(Atli, Gudrun's second husband) was from central Eurasia, who spoke a language very different from Gudrun's Burgundian(German-like) family. 

Hun Atli and Gudrun's children, raised in Hun country, might not be able to speak Gudrun's language much. I can imagine the difficulties Gudrun endured when her nephews and nieces spoke the same language and had the same skin as her, while her own children couldn't hold a conversation with her, and her own children looked and behaved as foreigners. 

I can imagine a world where everyone lived as a foreigner, as undocumented immigrant, and no citizenship paper was granted to anyone because federal government Rome had fallen in the 5th century, leaving Burgundy region citizens to be conquered by the next strongest tribe of the year.   

My understanding is that Scandinavians didn't need to have a very different tradition/culture from modern 21st century industrial people for disasters/killing children to happen when the society had broken down.  

I know that Signy and her husband were both Scandinavians when murder-own-children happened in the first half of the saga, but the story built up from a non-built society, and later more ethnicities were mixed in for dramatic effect. 

2. Week Number: 8 

Thread: Why the years 1000 to 1200 were marked as the ending of Viking Age 

Date: 7/9/22 

From a literary perspective, in Heimskringla Saga, after King Harald Hardradi was killed, 2 more grueling battles were depicted, resulting in near complete destruction of the fleet recruited to England shores. 

When I looked up 3 other war depictions by different authors, battles all stopped soon after the king was killed. 

- When Irish High King Brian Boru was killed, the battle was won already, and the army was just pursuing the fleeing enemy [1].  

- When Danish King Hrolf was killed, he and his close champions were the only ones still fighting, all others dead [2]. So, the king's death was near the end of the battle. 

- In Egil's saga, after King Arnvid and King Audbjorn(opponents of king Harald Finehair) were killed, Solvi Cleaver "escaped", implying that no fighting-to-the-last-soldier took place [3].  

It appears that Snorri Sturlusson's depiction of the year 1066 hinted that this war was different by prolonging the war to signal the greater loss.  

And a great loss may produce the sentiment for reconciliation. 

[1] The Viking Age, p455 

[2] The Viking Age, p179 

[3] The Viking Age, p31 


3. Week Number: 1 

Thread: Beauty is NOT a curse in Egil's saga, or, is it? 

Date: 5/21/22  

Norse mythology is known to utilize riddles in plots. In the first half of Egil's saga, beauty and death appear as a theme in the lives of Hrafnista, Trondheim, and Halogaland regions. 

Thorolf's mother and Thorolf himself are said to be of Nordic beauty. Thorolf is strong with charming facial features, and Salbjorg has very fair skin. 

But Kveld-Ulf's dialog with his son Thorolf hinted at impending death when he said "I think that we’ll all end up dead because of that king.” 

In king Harald's own words, "appearance" is explicitly said to warrant inquiry when he said “as long as I find that Thorolf has the manly qualities his brave appearance suggests.” 

Given the usual story telling morals, one can be tempted to solve the riddle of the king's words as a tyrant terrorizing any subject with charisma as a challenge to his power, and physical beauty is the most easily identifiable threat. But multiple events, including a banquet, show that the king is a very reasonable man when he "became merry"  and "the king let the matter rest” after being convinced by the Oliv Snubnose to give Kveld-Ulf’s family half a year to meet the king. The king earns his power, at least, in part, by hard work and wits, not by being a savage oppressor.   

However, the undercurrent of beauty and death still permeates as the story unfolds leading to the battle where Thorolf's best friend Bard dies while the best-looking character Thorolf survives and thrives. 

It appears that, by the end of first half of Egil's saga, the riddle can be half solved, meaning that beauty is significant in Nordic life, yet it is a double edged sword. The many cards at hand, including the card of beauty, however, requires conning wits and stamina to decipher and play. 

Why did you choose these 3 posts to represent your best discussion contributions? Write a paragraph below explaining your decision. 

All these 3 posts focus on literary significances, but the discussion reveals consequences related to our society even to this day, not limited to ancient times. So, the significance cannot be overstated. The first post can be considered a close reading because it singles out the words of a sentence one by one, to reveal the full extent of their impact. The second post is also a close reading because it counted the number of literary elements, the battles. Counting the occurrences of literary elements is often the first step of close reading. The third post is also a close reading because it tries to probe the significance of a single word “appearance”. From the form-versus-content perspective, all the above 3 posts have multiple paragraphs in essay form, which is beyond the required paragraph form. The writings are logical, with greeting or introduction, quickly reveal my key point, followed by discussing my idea. 

Overall Best Discussion Post by Another Student: 

Week Number: 6 

Thread: The Varangian Guard, 1066, and the Harald Connection  

Date: 6/23/22 

Reading this week, the name Harald Hadrada came up more than once, especially while doing a little more research on the Varangian Guard. He was the only member of the Varangian Guard who became King of Norway, and happened to be the same Norwegian king to challenge Harold Godwinson for the contested English throne in 1066. If Godwinson had not been up the English coast fighting Hadrada’s army (and his own brother, Tostig) at Stamford Bridge, his army wouldn’t have been so far away and had to hustle back to Hastings where William of Normandy was invading for his own chance at the throne. 

Of course, we all know how that turned out, but while reading about the Varangian Guard, I discovered that part of the reason for the eventual decline of this elite force connected to the momentous events of 1066. Anglo-Saxons were no longer in control of England, and many “exiled Anglo-Saxon warriors went in droves to Constantinople [where t]heir presence changed the makeup of the warriors” (Fraga). As the centuries went on, the Guard became mostly Anglo-Saxon, not Norse, and their expertise dwindled as well. 

As an aside, isn’t it interesting that two separate Viking regions fought over the same throne? Normandy was settled by Norsemen (hence the name) several centuries earlier, as we saw earlier in this class. Technically, Normans were descended from Vikings just as the Norwegian king was, and they both wanted England when the throne was more-or-less up for grabs 

Why did you choose this as the best overall discussion post? Write a paragraph below explaining your decision. 

Jessica Ozimek posted this excellent discussion. She counted the number of times an interesting word occurred, which is the standard first step in literary close reading. When the name Hardrada appeared multiple times, she figured out the connection between the occurrences, which was the Norwegian king’s multiple careers’ depictions. The connection was identified correctly, so it was a good close reading. The writing started out with an introduction, which was her daily reading routines, and then the discovery of the significance of the connection was revealed. So, it was of good progression of writing. This discussion connected many distinct parts of scenes, actions, and mindsets. From the form-versus-content perspective, this posting is a multiple paragraph essay, which is beyond the required paragraph form. I was lucky enough to participate in the thread, so, it also has good interactions. 


What grade would you give your participation during this evaluation period? Mark an X in your choice of cell for each row. 

Note: The grade you give yourself will not affect your grade on this assignment. The purpose is for you and I to see how well your understanding of the criteria described in the assignment match up, and for you to reflect on your own engagement in the course so far. 








Sharing Insight 






Close Reading 












Writing Quality 







Write 1 paragraph below reflecting on your discussion participation overall this semester, and what you might take away for future online courses. 

I am happy to have participated in topics that impact our society to this day with discussion of thousand-year-old texts. It is unexpected. I am proud of myself for performing close reading countless times in the course. Close reading reads in between the lines of the text, and I often read the lines one day and guessed the in-betweens, the blanks, for several days to figure out the mindset of the writer. It is a grueling process, but time is of the essence for any course real-time discussion. I sent individual emails to Tiffany Gregg and Zenon Nieduzak after official discussion cutoff times to thank them for responding to my threads. I will prefer to take online courses of full 3-month duration in the future if I have the choice. But, still, I have taken full advantage of this session, and am satisfied by the outcome