Blog Post 3: Communication in 2001: A Space Odyssey – Joseph Nash

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 movie that is generally regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.  It is divided into four distinct chapters telling an overarching story of humans discovering and investigating extraterrestrial relics hidden across the solar system.  The film is unusual in that the first and last chapters contain no dialogue, and the last chapter contains only one character.   Mass communication is never explicitly shown in the movie but is implicitly used by the American government to lie to the world about its activities in outer space.  The third chapter, Jupiter Mission, is the one that best demonstrates communication topics covered in class and will therefore be the one on which this blog is focused.

Jupiter Mission contains three major characters: Commander Dave Bowman, First Officer Frank Poole, and the spaceship’s artificial intelligence HAL 9000.  This chapter shows fatal failure of crew resource.  Dave, Frank, and HAL are aboard NASA’s Discovery One spacecraft on a mission to explore Jupiter.  Neither Dave nor Frank are aware that their real mission is to find the destination of a radio signal that was emitted from an extraterrestrial machine buried on the Moon.  This secrecy was deemed necessary by the United States to prevent the Soviet Union from contacting alien life first.  HAL, who is largely treated as another crewmember by the humans, knows the true mission and is able to complete the mission autonomously if necessary.  By not telling the mission commander or first officer the real purpose of their spaceflight, the crew’s safety becomes jeopardized as the humans and computer start to distrust one another as it becomes increasingly obvious that HAL has ulterior motives.  Multiple rules of crew resource management are broken.  If crewmembers, especially the pilot-in-command, are given false instructions from people on the ground, then it is logical to expect that they will not do actions that ground control desires.  Secondly, if the crewmembers do not trust one another, then the probability that a failure will occur increases.  Lastly, when this movie was released, CRM dictated that information and instructions flowed from the pilot-in-command to other crewmembers, but Dave being unaware of his real mission makes this impossible.  Ultimately, HAL kills Frank in order to prevent him from learning the true mission and Dave deactivates the computer, but spaceship is rendered uninhabitable.

The various crewmembers show different parts of the Bryson grid.  HAL is very clearly a player as “he” possesses the power necessary to complete his secret mission and, being a computer, is solely interested in performing “his” programmed function.  Dave’s position on the chart is more interesting.  Being the mission commander, he would normally be considered a player, but he is initially part of the crowd.  He has no interest in completing his real mission because he is not aware of it and the most powerful crewmember is actually HAL prior to deactivation.  Even after beating HAL, Dave still possess no power as he is forced to evacuate the spaceship in an escape pod and is at the mercy of an alien machine he finds near Jupiter.  However, he becomes a subject when he does this because completing the mission may keep him alive, so he has a very high interest in doing this.  Frank remains part of the crowd throughout the entire movie because he, like Dave, has no initial interest or power with regards to the true mission and is killed without ever knowing about it.  No major character is best described as a context setter.

The interpersonal communication in the film is important.  HAL speaks with a calm and monotone voice throughout the entire movie, even when threatening and killing the humans.  This is clearly designed in such a way to minimize the probability of verbal conflict with the humans.  HAL is even programmed to sometimes lose games of chess in order to prevent the humans from getting bored.  Dave is much more aggressive tonally than HAL.  This is logical near the end of the film because HAL is attempting to kill him, but this tone is slightly present through earlier parts of the movie as well, likely because as mission commander he views himself as the most important and powerful crewmember.  In conclusion, Jupiter Mission from 2001: A Space Odyssey demonstrates many aspects of communication discussed in class.

Blog 3- Jacob Yost

The movie I would like to review is Sully, a movie that covers the events that occurred in the American Airlines river landing feat. Having hit a flock of geese shortly after takeoff, they lost power in both engines and were unable to make it to any of the nearby airports. It focuses on the process of aviation accident investigation and all of the national coverage it comes with for major incidents. With Sully’s career of experience he was able to save all of the passengers on the plane, later finding out that the simulations they ran did not account for decision making time when they doubted his call. This lead to their names being cleared and the failure of both engines listed as the cause for the landing on the Hudson river.

Where interpersonal communications comes in is when the incident actually occurred. Having only known about each other for a few weeks prior, they were able to effectively communicate their intentions to each other to accomplish the task at hand. Without effective and concise interpersonal communication they would have not been able to land the plane safely. Even during the NTSB interview process they had to have effective interpersonal communication skills to tell their side of the incident so the board can determine what caused the plane to fail.  With all of the training that pilots have to go through it must of been very easy for them to tell each other the necessary information to be able to achieve this feat.

Mass communication is a part of the events as well, the NTSB had to create a concise report on what they believed to have caused the incident to the entire world. This also helps in the reduction of future incidents by communicating procedures and decision making skills to the rest of the industry. Even creating the movie is a form of mass communication to tell more people about how aviation incidents are handled. In the end they were able to create a concise report about the actions that influenced the crash and the decisions that were made to land the plane in the Hudson.

A stakeholder analysis would include American Airlines as a subject  because they were involved in the incident but they they have no power in what the NTSB would rule. The NTSB would be a player because they are the main investigative entity that eventually rules on what they think caused the incident after gathering all the information. The passengers on the plane would be just below the subject line in crowds, they do have interest in the incident but not as much as American Airlines would. A context setter would be the simulator pilots, they are not too interested but their results greatly effect the rulings in the end proving if they were humanly possible of returning to the airport or not. The American people would be the crowd due to them not have a vested interest and having no power over any proceedings.

 

Seth Kramer – Blog 3: The Right Stuff

Seth Kramer

Dr. Morrison

AVN 2200

14 October 2018

Seth Kramer – The Right Stuff

I rewatched the 1983 film The Right Stuff, which details the story of the Mercury space program, and the origins of its pilots in the testing programs conducted out of Edwards Air Force Base.  The movie somewhat focuses on the concept of individual pilots having, ‘The Right Stuff,’ of being a kind a man’s man, and in seeking personal glory.  This is exemplified by depicting Chuck Yeager having to use a cut down broom handle to properly close the cockpit of the X-1 in order to conduct his famous first speed of sound breaking flight.  This is because he had previously fallen from a horse and broken ribs and did not wish to inform his superiors as he did not want to be taken off of that test flight.  The film thus glorifies taking a selfish and frankly dangerous stance towards safety and accountability.

Interpersonal communication forms the backbone of movie, as it depicts the various relationships between the Mercury astronauts, their families, and the NASA management and engineers.  Of specific note are the interactions between the astronauts and the Mercury capsule design team, in which the astronauts push to have greater control over the vehicle.  The engineer’s initial plans for the capsule had placed the astronauts in the role of being passengers, largely unable to control the vehicle, and thus their own fates.  The astronaut successfully pushed to add windows and flight controls to the Mercury vehicle.

The significant driving force behind the impetus for the American space program, and its rapid pace, as depicted in the movie, was due to the influence of mass communications on the American public, as well as civilian and military leadership.  Within the context of the movie the widely reported success of the Soviet Sputnik satellite in 1957, is perhaps an ideal case study in mass communication.  The new about it derives through 2 main layers of mass communication, the first being the institutionalized message of the Soviet Union to the United States and the world, being that of, “witness Soviet technological supremacy.”  The second layer being the American government and news corporations, with their own institutionalized message, that being “we must beat the Soviets in the space race.”  Additionally, after John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on the Mercury 6 flight, he is shown to become a celebrity in the United States, and is the focus of a great deal of mass communication, this time directly from the US government and news corporations, with the institutionalized message of, “witness American technological supremacy.”

A stakeholder analysis of the Mercury program would reveal the American public to be somewhere on a crowd-subject range, as being highly invested when the flights were actually happening, but far less so before they began.  The American civilian leadership would be found to be context setters, as well as part of the military leadership, demanding a space program to compete with the Soviets, but not having any real input into the program itself.  Other portions of the military leadership would be players, as they would have actual input into the program.  The NASA management and engineering design teams, as well as the astronauts themselves would all be players as they all have a great interest in the program, as well as significant, direct, input.

Sam Yang: Blog Post 3

In Robert Zemeckis’ movie Flight, Captain William Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, is a captain for SouthJet Airlines. Captain Whitaker is heavily dependent on drugs and alcohol which is very apparent in his hotel room before the flight when he mentions that he should have eaten something and then snorts a line of cocaine. During takeoff, the plane experiences incredibly rough turbulence, despite warnings from both his first officer and the control tower he pushes through the storm, displaying his skill as a pilot as well as his extreme self confidence. Whitaker then drinks two flight sized bottles of vodka before falling asleep. As the plane approaches Atlanta, a sudden failure causes the plane to enter an uncontrolled descent. Whitaker calms his crew down and prepares for a crash, he contacts Atlanta tower and has his co-pilot help him in navigating a crash landing in a church field. Following the crash, Captain Whitaker is viewed as a hero for saving almost everyone on the flight’s lives. However, in the weeks after, Whitaker is informed that the NTSB found that he had been intoxicated at the time of the crash and that he is under investigation.

The scenes in the plane contain some very good examples as well as bad examples of communication. During the climb to altitude, First Officer Ken Evans continuously voices his concerns with Captain Whitaker that he is overspeeding the plane and the control tower warns that they are descending. Whitaker ignores both and continues pushing through, although he proves to have been right in his decisions it shows that he is overconfident to the point that he doesn’t consider his colleagues might be right. This is not how the plane should be run and indicates weak CRM, especially between the captain and first officer. On the other hand, during the emergency landing, Whitaker taking command is necessary and he calmly communicates with his entire crew to prepare the passengers and regain control of the plane so that they can land. He is also able to talk to Atlanta Tower and continuously and inform them of the situation, because of this, emergency crews would have been able to be prepared quicker and have a better idea of where to go than if they’d been responding to calls of a plane crash.

After it is discovered that Whitaker was under the influence during the flight, the airline and union are forced to deal with the backlash and enter a campaign of publicity. The situation generates a large amount of negative attention as people begin to wonder whether or not Whitaker’s mental state led to the crash he was hailed as a hero for saving 96 people from. During this time there are also many examples of stakeholder analysis, one being quite literally when the stakeholders of the airline sit down in a room and discuss the best course of action, offering to push the blame on the manufacturer of the plane and ultimately coming down to choosing the course of action that results in the owner of the airline writing the smallest check possible.

 

Malik Briscoe – Blog 3

For this blog I will discuss the movie Red Tails. Red Tails is war film made in 2012 and tells a true story about the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American fighter pilot group in the United States Air Force. The movie takes place during World War II when the United States joins the “air war over Europe” in 1944. The Tuskegee Airmen, also known as red tails due to the color of aircraft they flew, endured racism throughout their lives and careers in the military. After their Colonel fought to give them the opportunity to prove themselves on a mission, they outperformed and gained recognition which allowed them to complete more missions. Relating this movie to interpersonal communication, there was a scene in which the Colonel got the red tails a mission to support Allies at Anzio, Italy. Details of the mission were relayed from the Colonel of the red tails to the officer who then gave the information to the pilots. After completing their first mission successfully they gained recognition and praise from allies. This led to mass communication because the Tuskegee Airmen sent a message saying that they were outstanding pilots to multiple groups including enemies they fought against. Relating this movie to stakeholder analysis, the red tails got a mission to escort bombers to reduce casualties that they had endured due to escorts by other fighter pilot groups. Players would be the United States Air Force and the enemy, German Air Force. Other players can include governments of the fighting countries. Context setters can include Allies of the fighting counties who have interest in who wins the battle but no fighting support. Subjects are the fighter pilots themselves, maintenance workers, colonels, families, officers, and any other worker who contributes to ensuring the aircraft flies.  The crowd consists of locals, citizens, and countries who did not participate in the war. After completing another successful mission and destroying a German destroyer they are rewarded another mission. Their mission is to escort American bombers to attack Berlin which turns into a fighting mission when the fighter squadron meant to relieve them never show. The Tuskegee Airmen faced new jet fighters made by Germany. During the fight they shoot down multiple enemies and escort a bomber to allied airspace. At the end of the war the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation in honor of their achievements. This movie also relates to the topic of diversity which we have been discussing in class. Seventy years ago African-Americans proved that they can fly planes just as good as anyone. Today, African-Americans hold a small percentage of airline pilots.

Garrett Dort-Blog Post #3: First Man

Garrett Dort

AVN 2200

14 October, 2018

 

In this post I will be examining how interpersonal communication and mass communication are shown in the film First Man, as well as conducting a stakeholder analysis on the film. First Man is a new film that focuses on the life of Neil Armstrong from when he was a test pilot on the X-15 to when he became the first man to walk on the moon as the commander of Apollo 11. The film focuses heavily on how Neil coped with the stress of being an astronaut as well as the deaths of his daughter and a number of his friends in the program. The film also gives light to how NASA was communicating with the american people during the ups and downs of the astronaut program. The waning of political support for NASA’s mission is also briefly touched on in the film.

The film portrays Neil Armstrong as an intelligent yet troubled man who struggles to share his thoughts and feeling with those around him. Much of these problems revolve around his experience with loss, such as the loss of his daughter, fellow astronauts, and his best friend. Neil is seen struggling more and more with each death, yet he chooses not to talk with anyone, not even his wife Janet, about them. It is unclear in the movie whether Neil is unable to communicate his sadness with others or he whether he simply chooses not to, but this leads to an overall lack of interpersonal communication that damages his relationships with those around him.

 

NASA’s ability to conduct mass communication is a minor topic of the film. NASA, as part of the US government, is reliant on public support in order to receive funding for the Gemini and Apollo programs seen in the film. That support is reliant on how NASA is able to safely conduct it’s missions. In the film, support for NASA can be seen increasing as they achieve new milestones, but it can also be seen falling after accidents that cost both ships and lives. Accidents, such as Gemini 8 and Apollo 1, in the film cause the public, shown through the media, to question the safety and necessity of NASA’s missions. It is only through NASA’s ability to mitigate the fallout through mass communication that allows them to continue operating.

 

The film has several examples of stakeholders. In terms of subjects, the astronauts are the ones whose lives are at stake throughout the film. Many of them become famous for their achievements both on the ground and in space, while others lose their lives for the program. The film has three players, NASA, the astronauts, and the US Government. NASA runs the operations, the astronauts operate the ships, and the government provide the funding to make it all happen. The public and the families act as the crowd. The public praises and ridicules NASA’s achievements and mistakes, while the families give up their members for the astronaut program. NASA is the films context setter. They design and build the ships, train the astronauts, assign and oversee the missions, and manage public relations throughout the movie.

 

That is how the film First Man covers the topics of interpersonal communication and mass communication in the life of Neil Armstrong, as well as a stakeholder analysis of the film.

 

Blog Post 3 Kibbey

Samuel L Jackson embodies effective CRM, mass communication and interpersonal communication in the movie Snakes On A Plane. Samuel orchestrates these communication process through redundant contingency plans utilizing strategies such as physical barriers (the luggage), chemical exposure (the fire hydrants), and the laws of physics (putting a hole in the side of a pressurized cabin). All three of these contingency plans to manage and mitigate the serpent induced panic of the crew and passengers were only effective with clear communication. This communication existed between the pilots in the cockpit, crew on the ground and remaining, able team onboard. 

Samuel, via interpersonal communciation techniques related to the disastrous circumstances of the passengers’ flight, the tragic loss of their loved ones to the toothed assailants, and sustained wounds of their own which developed enough morale to commit to his ideas and respond positively. He used mass communication when the pilot people began making phone calls proclaiming their love to their family, and the pilots initiated emergency responses on the ground for their arrival. Via stakeholder analysis, Samuel understood who, under these dire circumstances, were considered critical personnel and who were not effectively able to respond and assist in managing the situation. For example, the lady with a baby probably would be considered a member of the crowd as she had little concern other than for her child and virtually no power as she couldn’t operate independently of that child, while the single men onboard were players who were able to assist in containing the reptiles but were not of any authority to lead after the event was over, and were untrained in formal serpent handling.

Noelle Dzurnak Blog Post 3

For my aviation related documentary, I watched City in the Sky, a PBS documentary that can be found on Netflix.  City in the Sky is a three-part series that explores three various parts of flying to a destination.  I watched the first episode of the series which was about departing from airports.  The second episode was about the time in the flight, and the third was about arriving at the airport.  Since I only watched the first episode, this post will focus on the time travelers arrive at the airport to when they board their flights.

The “Departure” episode explored why airports are designed and set up the way they are.  Most design aspects are in place to create efficiency for people to travel through the airport.  Airports have started cutting back on signs hanging up because they slow people down.  Due to the fact that people walk slower when there are signs to read, many airports are only putting up signs with necessary information.  Information signs are a form of mass communication and when signs are only in places that it is absolutely necessary, the communication is changed.  Another aspect of airport design that influences others is the floor people are walking on.  Many areas that are busy with foot traffic are a hard floor with a solid color because research shows that people tend to stop less compared to a carpeted or patterned floor.  Most airports are designed to have patterns on the hard floor in front of restaurants and stores to cause people to slow down and want to enter one of these places.  Most seating areas near gates are carpeted because carpeting is seen as a cozy material for people and they will want to relax before they board their flight.  The floor in itself is a version of mass communication because it reaches a large audience and influences what the normal traveler will do.

A large portion of the first episode of the documentary series focuses on the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  Due to the enormous size of this airport, there is the Plane Train to transport travelers between the different areas of the airport.  The Plane Train is a complex underground train that connects the separate concourses.  Without the Plane Train, many people would miss their connecting flights.  There are many different factors that make the Plane Train function in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  The operators must communicate to the passengers on what stop they are on and where the Plane Train is going.  They do this by having digital signs inside and outside of the Plane Train with updated information.  On the Plane Train, they also announce to passengers on what stop they are at.  These are both forms of mass communication.  When the Plane Train is malfunctioning, the airport falls apart and can cause flights to be delayed.  The interpersonal communication between the operators and engineers is crucial in these situations to efficiently make the Plane Train fully operational again.  This documentary was very informative and I learned many concepts on why airports function the way they do.

Blog Post 3 – Alex Iannucci

Alex Iannucci

October 14th, 2018

Blog Post 3

Dr. Morrison

For this weeks blog post I decided to watch the movie American Made. The movie was based on a true story about a TWA pilot named Barry Seal, played by Tom Cruise. In 1978, Barry Seal quit his job as a TWA pilot to work for the CIA. The CIA secretly contracted Barry to take recon pictures over Central America. Barry soon learned that he could easily smuggle cocaine into the USA for the cartel all while he was working for the CIA. Later, he formed his own fleet of Aircraft at his own personal airport to smuggle cocaine for the cartel. Eventually Barry was caught by the DEA, yet the CIA protected him and he faced minor charges. Barry spent many years living a very risky and complicated lifestyle, in order to do this, he had to be very careful in the way he communicated with others as well as understanding his own personal “stakeholder analysis”.

Barry living the life that he did had to evaluate who the stakeholders were when he made the decisions. For example, the cartel paid Barry thousands of dollars to fly cocaine into the USA. The cartel had a lot of influence (money) and a lot of interest to get their product to the United States. Barry had to be vary careful to do everything that they wanted to do. On the other half of Barry’s life, he had to be aware that he was still working as a contractor for the CIA. The CIA had a lot of power and interest as they owned the planes and the airport, they could have shut down Barry’s operation at any moment and have him in prison for life. In order to balance this crazy lifestyle, Barry proved himself to be excellent at interpersonal communication.

Barry, during his time with the cartel had to work in a extremely hostile environment. In order to be successful Barry had to be very good at verbal communication. He, on many occasions had to talk his way out of being imprisoned, or even killed in some circumstances. Another time Barry proved himself as a great verbal communicator was how he formed his team of pilots. He had to make sure that his pilots would be true to their word and not turn him in to the authorities. Finally, at one point during the film, there is actually a scene of Barry at a row of payphones, trying to talk to his wife, the CIA, and the Cartel, all at once.

Lastly, the movie and Barry’s life ended with the effects of mass communication. In order for Barry to avoid his jail sentence, Barry agreed to turn in the cartel by going undercover and get them all on video loading his airplane with cocaine. Barry successfully filmed the video and turned it into the government. Unfortunately for Barry, the government released the video to the public and all the major news networks showed the video of Barry and the Cartel. At this point it was made obvious to the cartel that Barry had betrayed them. Barry was only able to live for a few months in hiding before the cartel was able to track him down and kill him.

Blog Post 3 – Flight

This weekend, I re-watched Flight starring Denzel Washington. The movie focuses on Washington’s character, William Whitaker, is an alcoholic and an airline pilot who miraculously lands a doomed plane headed for a crash. Following the crash, Whitaker must face his addiction and also face an investigation into the cause of the crash. I will be discussing the interpersonal communication between Whitaker and the crew during the crash, and also the stakeholders involved in the subsequent investigation of the crash.

In the movie, communication plays a very critical role during the crash sequence. Captain Whitaker’s alcoholism and inebriation during the flight plays a role in how he handles the situation. In the early part of the flight, Whitaker makes himself a drink with two small service bottles of vodka, furthering Whitaker’s appearance of an alcoholic. When the plane suddenly enters an uncontrolled dive just before descent, Whitaker takes control of the aircraft and leads his crew while trying to save the aircraft. As a veteran pilot and captain, Whitaker first orders the head stewardess to get everyone strapped in and into a brace position. He then begins to radio the nearest ATC while trying to find out what is making the plane dive uncontrollably. Throughout this sequence, Whitaker’s co-pilot is more frantic and not as composed as compared to Whitaker, making communication slightly difficult, as Whitaker has to calm him down in order to communicate clearly to him. When no other options seem to better the situation, captain Whitaker makes a decision to invert the plane and reverse the dive to a steady state flight. This requires the help of his co-pilot and head stewardess, who is now in the cabin. Even though the thought of inverting a plane would cause most pilots to panic, Whitaker remains calm and communicates what he needs the two others in the cabin to do clearly. By remaining calm, and being clear about what he needs done, Whitaker is able to recover the plane from the uncontrolled dive and successfully land the plane in a nearby field, only killing six people.

After the events of the crash, captain Whitaker must face his alcoholism and his situation before appearing before an NTSB investigation board. The NTSB must find who is at fault in this situation, and from here we can perform a stakeholder analysis. In this particular situation, the NTSB would be very much in the Players category, since they conduct the investigation and ultimately decide how the blame should be given. Captain Whitaker would be strongly in the subjects category, since the results of the investigation would impact him very much. However, he does not have much power when it comes to the decision the NTSB will come to, hence being in the subjects category. The general public of the US would be in between the crowd and subjects, depending on their overall interest in the investigation. Those individuals who travel more, and may frequent that specific airline would be closer to the subjects since the results of the investigation may impact their choice of airline. The aircraft manufacturer would also be in the subjects category, since the investigation may conclude that the reason for the crash was due to mechanical failure. This would negatively impact the manufacturer, and therefore they would be very invested in the results of the investigation.