MTA Signal Memo

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall

Eng 1121


I found 3 articles discussing the signals used for the trains by the MTA. The first article I found was from and I found that the MTA subway system is using signals and switches from 80 years ago. In the article, they talk about how the MTA replace and repair the old components used for the train signals. They have not yet upgraded to something more modern. The article also brings up the cables in the tunnels are covered in 70 year old cloth which can have the problems of catching fire and water damage. The train dispatchers had to manually write down when the train entered the station. The way it is displayed is on a blackboard with small lights to represent each station. These are too outdated for today’s modern technology.

The second article I found was from and I found that the MTA is in need of funds. They said the signal upgrade for the 7 line was originally estimated to cost $140.1 million but it actually cost $405.7 million. They discuss more about how MTA still needs a lot more money to upgrade it ancient subway system.

The third article I found was from and I found that they talk about the history of the signals used by the trains. The subway signals we are using now is called a fixed block system. Each signal shows the status of the track. They said it is a system that works but if something goes wrong, it really bad. The article also talks about how the fixed block signal doesn’t really tell the train operator much information besides that the rail is blocked or not. Without any more information than that, train operators cannot really do much but play the safe game. They cannot go faster because they may hit another train which is not a good thing. This train signal issue also kind of creates the overcrowding issue because there may not be enough trains. Whatever trains are at the platform will get filled to the brim and become overcrowded too.

Gender Inequality in Video Games (Unit 2)

Erik Yan


Dr.Carrie Hall


Most video games you go and play, you’ll find that you are a guy and he’s buff and super strong. You’ll also find that the women in the game have barely any clothes on and really large breast. This is quite common and has been this way for a very long time. This has become an issues because that’s not how women really are in the real world. This is why I am writing this paper. Too many games today misrepresent how women are. I am hoping that this paper maybe able to sway gamers and game developers into having more females represented in a better way in the games they play and develop.

How many games can you name with a female main character? You’d probably be able to name one, Lara Croft. Who is the oh so popular archaeologist and treasure hunter. She is one amazing example of a female leader but that’s also a pity because she’s the only one people would think of. A ton of people play video games with male leads but not so many female leads. Female representation in the game industry is terribly low. This would mean that majority of the industry are male dominated and appeal more towards the males that play games.

There are a lot of popular video game titles such as Master Chief from halo or Nathan Drake from Uncharted. As you can imagine, most of these popular heros are all male characters. The disparities between the gaming industry and females in them have led to female misrepresentation and harassment. This would probably be due to the lack of females in courses related to video games such as computer science. Since there isn’t really many females in the development of games, there is no input from them either this would lead to male creators making the characters however they want. This has led to a lot of games where women have been sexualized. Some examples would actually be Lara Croft. The original iteration of her was portrayed as having large breasts and a super skinny waist. This portrayal of Lara Croft appeals to the male masses. This can also lead to false representation of women in the real world. This stereotypes women in having only large breasts and a slim waist.

The video games that do include females have them in a supportive role or a damsel in distress role. This would making portraying women as weak and having to rely on the male main character to assist them. A great example would be Mario. Mario is Italian plumber whose main goal throughout the multiple Mario games is to save Princess Peach. This is the most iconic damsel in distress example. Every version of Mario, you have Mario trying to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser who is the king of the koopa race. The koopa race are basically a turtle like race. Princess Peach is always getting captured by Bowser and Mario is always saving her.

Video games also do not portray women in an accurate manner. Women have been over sexualized more than men in video games. For example, “Regardless of primary or supporting role, research continues to support previous findings that women are portrayed in a sexualized manner more often than men(Zorilla)”. This would mean that when you pick a male character, he’ll be an average guy but when you pick a female character she’ll be super sexualized. A good game that shows this issue is Mortal Kombat 9. The character, Raiden, who is a thunder god but when you see his character, he is not bulked up and super muscley. But when you choose a female character like, Kitana, who is the princess of an alternate realm called Edenia; When you pick her in game, you see that she is barely wearing any clothes. Her front of the body is exposed and not covered at all. This is the perfect example of how the game developers are sexualizing the female characters which appeal to majority of gamers who also aren’t really saying much to this issue. This enables game developers to keep up what they are doing because the gaming community aren’t saying anything.

I think there are some ways of fixing this issue. One would be to change the education process. What I mean by that is that schools today do not really encourage females to get interested in majors that are needed to create video games such as computer science. For example, Chella Ramanan quotes Dr.Richard Wilson on saying that “The video games industry depends upon highly skilled, highly talented and highly qualified people to create games. Typically, 80% of the workforce is qualified to degree level or above, but the proportion of women studying subjects such as computer science or games programming courses is low. There is only a comparatively small pool of potential female employees available to work in the games industry”. This would mean that the gaming industry needs people who major in computer science but the thing is majority of them are males. Which leads to the companies hiring males over and over again. If schools are able to encourage more females in computer science this would lead to companies hiring females and they can give their input on how a female character should be.

I believe that this is gonna be a change that will be soon to come because there are already some great games that have come out that oppose the normal video game girl stereotype. Some examples are Mirror’s Edge and Uncharted:The Lost Legacy. These two games both had female leads and they did not have the females leads wearing super revealing clothing or super large breasts. Also both of the female leads are fully capable and are just as capable as regular male leads in other games. If we can create these two great games, I don’t see an issue with creating more games like that.

Cut scene of Kitana from Mortal Kombat 9

Mentor Article:

Ramanan, C. (2017, March 15). The video game industry has a diversity problem – but it can be fixed. Retrieved from

Ever since the olden days especially when slavery existed, African Americans were seen as less than simply because of the color of our skin. Slaves were treated as if their lives didn’t matter by their inhumane white slaveholders. They were brutally beaten and many were even murdered. They suffered at the hands of people just like them, the only difference was their skin color. Even as an end was put to slavery, African Americans still face issues such as police brutality and gun violence. White police officers for the most part, have taken many lives due to these issues. A very eminent and influential individual in the music industry projects these issues through song as an eye opener for African Americans. On August 15, 2014 days after a tragic incident he released a song titled “Be Free.” In the song, J. Cole was responding to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri which took place on August 9, 2014. This song went viral just a few hours after he uploaded it on the SoundCloud platform where it was shared mainly through social media. J. Cole used his platform to voice thoughts and feelings on the issues of injustice that people of color sadly still face today.

Throughout the song, you can tell that J. Cole really felt hurt by the untimely death of one of his kind, a young African American who was fatally killed by a police officer in cold blood. On the day of the incident Brown was recorded on camera stealing a box of cigars and pushing a Ferguson Market clerk away. Brown was accompanied by his friend Dorian Johnson and they both fled the market. Officer Wilson drove up to them and ordered them to move off the street. Wilson had to stop his car close to them. This caused a grapple between Brown and Wilson after the teen reached through the window of the police car. Wilson’s gun was fired twice during the struggle from the inside of the car, with one bullet hitting Brown’s right hand. Brown and Johnson started to run away when Johnson decided to hide behind a car. Wilson got out of the car and pursued Brown. Eventually, while facing Brown, Wilson fired his gun again and hit Brown with at least seven shots. Brown was unarmed and died on the street. Wilson knew that Brown didn’t have any weapons on him but still decided to shoot him callously. Some may argue that Brown was coming off as dangerous or intimidating and that the officer was protecting himself. The officer could’ve tried taking him down and handcuffing him instead of shooting him. And if Wilson had back up things might have went differently. Also it’s not like he just shot him once he shot him several times, it’s almost as if he was trying to prove something. Letting Brown or African Americans know that the white police officer always wins. As expected, Wilson was cleared of civil rights violations in the shooting. This led to violence such as fires and looting. Also protesters were seen throwing objects at police officers in riot gear because they believed justice wasn’t being served.

In the song Cole even included the eyewitness testimony that Johnson presented to the court to fill his audience in on what happened from the point of view of Brown’s friend. Hearing Johnson’s voice being backed by the beat of the song made it sound soothing in a way but still painful to listen to. Cole used Johnson’s account to expose how reckless policemen who possess guns could be. He basically backed up his song with evidence from an eyewitness of the murder who told the story from his firsthand perspective. Johnson was recalling the actions each person took during the incident without pausing to think about what to say next. He knew exactly what to say, when to say it, and it all sounded truthful. It made the song sound more realistic. It’s like a message inside of a message. Johnson’s message which was his testimony was inside of Cole message which was his song. Hearing Johnson’s voice explaining what happened so thoroughly should be enough to get the attention of tons of people and realizing that African Americans aren’t completely free from injustices and that changes have to be made. Cole’s song was just the topping to the situation. It helped spark the incident of a young man who was a victim of police gun violence far and wide.

The entire song “Be Free” has meaning behind it. From verse one where Cole states, “And I’m in denial. And it don’t take no x-ray to see right through my smile.” Which refers to him not being able to believe the extent to which police brutality has arrived and knowing that he’s a celebrity who has to maintain his platform, he is grieved by the way African Americans are being victimized by violence. To the hook where Cole states, “All we wanna do is break the chains off. All we wanna do is be free.” This is Cole speaking in figurative language reflecting on how African Americans back in the day faced similar hardships but were chained and under the circumstances of violence and how it seems as if we still have chains on but not literally. Also he believes that freedom incorporates being a person of color without being mistreated for no reason. Moving on to verse two where Cole states, “Can you tell me why. Every time I step outside I see my niggas die.” This is Cole mourning the fact that so many African Americans are being killed by cops. Then follows, “I’m letting you know. That there ain’t no gun they make that could kill my soul.” Cole demonstrates toughness in the face of these injustices when he says this. When Cole starts singing the bridge, you can tell that it was coming from his heart. It sounded as if he was tearing up while singing. The bridge is Cole basically wondering if society has isolated African Americans and that we shouldn’t back down when faced with injustices. Cole reaches out to people to take action, he doesn’t want them to act like it’s normal to be mistreated. In the end of the song, Cole just repeats the hook which as stated before talks about being released from chains and being free.

The culture of rap plays a major role on what teens choose to listen to and act on. In other words, teens usually listen to artists they feel they can relate to and they tend to mimic the lifestyle of those artists. In a textual analysis of the song “Be Free” the author states, “Rapper and the culture of rap has a very big impact on what teens choose to respond to. If a rapper used their platform to talk about an issue then the reader (teens) will pay more attention, and spread the word (mainly through social media). In another analysis the author states, “J. Cole, whose song “Be Free” ricocheted around the world in a matter of hours after he posted it on the Soundcloud Platform.” Both of these authors indicate that songs with deep meanings behind them will catch the attention of teens and go viral especially if released by a well liked artist. I agree that Cole’s song reached out to the youth especially African Americans because majority of his fan base are adolescents. This song was a great way to deliver a message that needed to be heard by uncountable ears.

“Be Free,” a message indeed. A message to open the eyes and ears of African Americans even further and realize that if we don’t try and stick together permanently as one unite nothing will change. African Americans won’t be free from injustices that have been happening before we were all even born and still continue to happen. We must come together and stand our ground. We shouldn’t comply with injustice but forbid it. Then and only then will we be free from chains indeed.

J. Cole – Be Free

pop culture response

Karina Ramsey

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1121


In the article “moving beyond pain” the writer is saying that lemonade was primarily written to give power to the black female body which is often times dehumanized. What was confusing at times was the diction used in this writing, it was hard to understand at some points in the reading. The writing had many mixed feelings about the lemonade album and sometimes it was hard to understand her point. From what I understood she was trying to say that this album showed an angry black woman, especially when it starts off with the leading character “Beyoncé” smashing cars with a baseball bat. Black women are often looked like as angry and this album did nothing to show otherwise it showed violence in a sexy way. However, Beyoncé did celebrate the black female body and encouraging black women going after their “bag. She showed that black female women’s body comes in all different shapes, and sized. I learned that this album was a platform used for healing even though it praised things like violence making it seem ok when it is not. What I like about this writing is that it was very detail oriented and I would like to expand on that in my own writing.


Response to Pop Culture (Beyonce’s Lemonade)

I enjoyed the article “Moving Beyond Pain” and it’s discussion of “Lemonade” as it being more than just an album about Jay-Z being unfaithful. What the writer says about “Lemonade” that I find interesting is that the writer explains that Lemonade positively exploits images of black female bodies, placing them at the center, making them the norm. She states that the album shows that there are diverse representations of the black female bodies and that it comes in all sizes, shapes, and textures with all manner of big hair. She also explains that the purpose of Lemonade is to challenge the ongoing present day devaluation and dehumanization of the black female body. What I learned from the article is that how the album “Lemonade” not only targets about Jay-Z being unfaithful to Beyoncé but it references both the personal struggles that Beyoncé went through and some of the issues faced by black women today and throughout history. For my own writing I would of course explain the individual’s purpose and meaning of making the album, who is the target for the songs in the album, and what values do the lyrics contain?

Minhaj Uddin

Professor Hall

English 1121

January 18, 2019

I feel that the problem is always taking test because many people may not be the best test takers in the world. There are many people in the world that are very smart at doing what they do but when they take a test they fail there test because they are not great test takers. Many people study for there test but when it comes time for the test they end up forgetting what they study for. Many people end up getting nervous and then fail. I feel that it is the wrong thing to do because some of the test we take basically some up everything we learned such as the SAT because if you don’t get a good grade on that then you wouldn’t get into a good college even if u did good in your classes in high school.

The way I feel that can be fixed is if they made tests a smaller percentage and they evened everything out, so your homework percentage goes up and your project percentage go up as well. Even if they make you do a really big project as well to because doing a project over time it wouldn’t be as bad because you can research and you can take your time and doing a project at home it wouldn’t be that much stress as taking a test. That gives you a better option and a better learning because when you do a project you would have to read and then write or do what is need to be done for the project.


Minhaj Uddin

Professor Hall

English 1121

February 13th, 2019


When I was really young I use to have a passion for cars. Thats all I played with and what I always wanted and if I didn’t have my toy cars with me all I would do is cry. I would have all kinds of cars little ones and big ones. My dad actually got me this car that I could ride around the park but it was fun while it lasted until the battery got messed up and that meant that I would have to buy a new one, but it was alright because I was getting to big to fit in it anyways.

When I got a little bit older at like the age of 12 I would actually study cars. I would search up cars and see which ones were faster than the others and I would use up all my time research what car I want when I get older.

Thats where school comes into place because I wasn’t the best in school. I would always fool around in school when I was young. I wouldn’t listen to the teachers and I would do what would only please me and benefit me, but little did I know that all they were trying to do was help me and make me successful enough to get the car that I wanted when I was older. My parents played a major role in my understanding for me to do better in school. My mom would always tell me that when I finish college with my bachelors degree she would by me a car and I feel as if that keeps me going in school. 

When I went to high school I forgot about all of that. I went into high school saying that I was going to pick up my act and do better and make everyone around me proud and not let them down, but what did I do I let them down again. At that time I was even worse. I would go to school but I would cut my classes. Thought that was the cooler thing to do. I made a lot of friends thinking that what they were doing was benefiting me. I would go to class sometimes and I would barely pass my classes. Hanging out with those kids might have been one of my mistakes that I made in high school and I feel was a major role into why I wasn’t succeeding in life. As I went into my senior year of high school my guidance consular told me that if I didn’t pick my act up I would graduate high school and that had to be one of the worst things someone could have ever told me and that is when I really realized that I had to pick my act because I wasn’t going to let my family down.

I feel that the reason that I am continuing with everything in my life is because of my mother. She is one person that has always had faith in me and no matter what I did wrong she would scold at me but would never give up on me. She knows and believes in me to become something successful in life. I still till this day cant thank her enough for doing what she does for me and being by my side. That is why I will always promise my self that I will never let the number one woman in my heart down.

As I entered college I came in with a whole different mind set. I have left all my bad habits behind and I was ready to work and become successful. When I came to college and I started my first semester and I entered my first class because it was kind of hard for me to get rid of my habits. I found it hard for me to learn without getting distracted. I find myself getting distracted very easily like when my phone vibrates of buzzes I would look at it and text back whoever texted for a while and then I would look up and I was lost. That affected me pretty hard in math. That was a subject that if you didn’t pay attention or you were lost it was hard to get back on track with the class and it would tend to happen to me a lot. It took me a while but I ended up getting rid of the habit but at the end of the I feel that it was about time that I got back on track and I feel as if I am mature now and the way I think is also mature. You should work hard and leave the past in the past and just keep growing as a person and you will become successful. Then maybe I will get my dream car.