Extra Credit: Sound and Science Symposium (2)/Jasmine Huynh

March 19th, 2009

In addition to Erlmann’s lecture, I also went to another lecture at the Sound and Science Symposium called “Sound, Consciousness, and Culture: Exploring Music and Technology through Seminotics and Ethnographic Study.” This lecture was given by Rene Lysloff and Paulo Chagas, both from the University of California, Riverside Department of Music. From the title of this lecture, I thought it would be very interesting because it sounded like the presenters would be speaking about how music has a social and cultural impact.

They started out the lecture by defining a couple of key terms. First, they introduced the idea of “spectrumsimiotics” which is the approach to sound and music through consciousness and perception. It could be in the form of memory, emotion, experience or cultural interactions. They really stressted the idea of sound and perception correlation: one can see the data and spectrum of sound. It is a paradox, but I personally feel that it is very true. Very often, I feel that I can visualize a certain memory because I hear a sound that provokes it. Next, they launched into the discussion of Husserl’s phemomonology, which involves studies about the structures that constitute the consciousness of internal time. It considers the temporal features to be the most basic constitutional features and helps to relate sound perception to time perception. Sound consciousness is related to time consciousness. Then, another phenomenology, called “Varelas’ neurophenomenology” discussed the relationship between neural sactivity and embodied agents. Consciousness is an inactive experience that involves embodiment and self-organization. Time presents itself as having a complex texture. The lecturers also mentioned that their current research focuses on sound perception and consciousness, specifically on the levels and scales of temporality, modes of temporal appearance and triple intentionality.

I thought these discussion points for the lecture were extremely interesting. It helped to get me to think in a different way, especially when they discussed how time, the mind and sound are related. I think this particular was most related to Professor Vesna’s lecture on “Memory and Consciousness.” This lecture at the Sound and Science Symposium really pushed me to ask myself “What exactly is consciousness?” How do we exactly know that we are even conscious at a given time? I enjoyed this lecture because I thought that the topic was not only interesting, but also that the lecturers gave a well-thought-out presentation and presented it a clear and effective manner.


Extra Credit: Sound and Science Symposium/Jasmine Huynh

March 19th, 2009

I went to Veit Erlmann’s lecture called “Re(a)sonance.” He was from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin. He defined Reasonance or “Re(a)sonance” as Reason-ance: the ability of being able to reason and resonate at the same time. The word “resonance” itself is defined as “the electric circuit, the state of a molecule.”

Being part of the School of Music, Erlmann then launched into a very brief, but comprehensive lecture about music. Some highlights of the historical lecture that he went into were that in 1634, individuals had the mindset that the mind and body were two different things. The main defining factor that you could tell that the mind and body were different was the  fact that the mind had the ability to reason. In 1928, there was a movement in the scientific world that was based on the resonance theories of perception. Scientists studied individual patterns of vibration on the brain, and how there were nonresonate wave patterns taking place in the brain. One of the figures that was important at the time was Claude Perrault who wrote an extended essay on sound and hearing. He thought that the body was not a machine, but instead, a self-regulating mechanism. His thinking went against the Cartesian method of biology, so it was hard for Perrault’s ideas to be accept during his time.

Overall, I thought that this lecture was rather hard to understand. The speaker spoke in a very heavy French accent, so I felt that I was spending most of my time trying to understand what he was saying instead of trying to understand the concepts. There was also a good portion of the lecture in which he spoke in French, so at that point, I became very lost. I think, if anything, this lecture relates to our class because it shows how the music, which is a form of art, can be related back to science. By this, I mean that scientists in the past studied how the brain and body perceived music. Also, it demonstrated how some scientific movements were not always accepted by the general public despite their validity. I think that artists in both the past and present have struggled with the same issues.


week 8 extra credit

March 16th, 2009

Gastronomic science is an important scientific field to consider. When I heard about David’s lecture title ” the gastronomic sciences”  I quickly pictured the concerned field, the Univerisity of Gastronomic sciences. This is an institution whose main objective is to bridge the gap between agricultural science and gastronomy. It was founded in January 2003 and today has two campuses in Italy according to its history.

The picture to the right from http://www.unisg.it/eng/sitemap.php exemplifies a lanscape of agriculture of  basically the field of our concern.

 

The term Gastronomic Sciences is broad or vage. Deep down it is constituted of many things. Agriculture for instance has a myriad of fields, namely elementary agriculture, secondary agriculture, college agriculture and general agriculture.  I believe when one tries to establish a connection between agriculture and science one should consider studying or conducting serious studies about all branches of agriculture.

Agriculture is a field that refers to an area of  land enclosed for cultivation purposes. To my prospective, I think if the world’s agriculture was all stabilized most of the hunger problem will be solved. This is one of the most significant and gigantic issue in many counrties of the world. For instance, in Africa many countries are less developed because of  the paucity of development in agriculture, which has a great impact in the country’s economy.  Stock Photo - industrial agriculture-  large broccoli  field, california.  fotosearch - search  stock photos,  pictures, images,  and photo clipart

Week 10: Last Lecture Extra Credit, by Joon Jang

March 16th, 2009

The last lecture was, so to speak, an exhibition, beginning with the presentations of the final projects, and followed by some clips of expressions of science through music. Then the guest lecturer, Michael Century, gave his lecture on the “Modes of Interdisciplinarity in Art and Techno-Science.” In it, Century pointed out the historic changes in the attitude of academia from the Middle Age through Post Modern Age (between them Renaissance and Modern Age), which he described as the “Information Age.” According to Century, there is an oscillation of fixed (systematic) and specialized mind set in the academia, followed by a flexible and interdisciplinary mind set in the academia. Following this pattern, Century asserted that the present, the “Information Age,” is an interdisciplinary time frame, where people from different disciplines cooperate and exchange information. The prime example of this practice, of course is the collaboration of the Arts and Sciences. Century mentioned Cigoli, Galileo’s apprentice, to display what might be needed during transitions of these oscillations in the mind set of academia. Cigoli’s moon was both an acceptance of science and the church, which were separate during Galileo’s time. Unexpectedly, he also presented the economic analysis of “waves of revolution,” that is, the waves of developments in human technology. He pointed out that the waves are getting shorter, meaning that technology is developing faster and faster in the sense that the more significant, revolutionary developments are appearing more frequently. And for every wave, he continued, that a development that was incomplete in the previous wave is or will be completed in the following wave. He also presented examples of interdisciplinarity in the information age, which he divided into three categories of: 1. Integrative – synthesis, combining different foundations 2. Service – instrumental 3. Reflex – ontological, challenging the foundational principles a field. The German Bauhaus was an Art & Technology university that integrated the aspects of art and science, although it later, under the influence of politics, became more divided and specialized. Analogue computing was the beginning of computer based art using its special effects, later evolving into digital computing for more accurate, faster, and flashier effects. Century concluded by returning to the oscillation, wondering what kind of systematic culture would arise if it does at all.

Week II/Zero and Infinity/Nathan Reynolds

March 16th, 2009

*NOTE* I was not enrolled in this class for the first three weeks of winter quarter.  I am simply doing these assignments to say that I completed everything.  I do not expect a grade for them as they are horrendously late otherwise.

            When reading over the lecture for this week I began to ponder over things that are seemingly incomprehensible.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, I enjoy thinking about such subjects.  Whenever I want to push the limits of my capacities for critical thought, I meditate upon these.  The thought of eternity in the fourth dimension, time, can blow me away, and I have always wondered what the end of a bottomless pit conceals.  When I read over the notes of week II, I came across some mathematical figures that also intrigued me.  There are two entities which are seemingly incomprehensible: the number zero and the concept of infinity.

            When applied to mathematics, infinity, or ∞ is a limitless number, if one would call it that.  It does not end, and as the mind attempts to comprehend its size, that size grows ever larger.  Indeed, it is a number that is greater than the collective knowledge of all of humanity can comprehend.  One can, with some difficulty, count a googolplex, and a super being may be able to understand Graham’s number (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham%27s_number).  However, infinity is unconstrained by the human mind.

            Does such a number have a purpose in our society or our universe even?  If anyone possessed an infinite quantity of anything with even a minute value to it, he would be infinitely rich, since anything multiplied by infinity is infinity still.  Anything divided by infinity is zero.  When you add or subtract infinity from a given entity, that entity also becomes positive or negative infinity.  Say that you are selling manure for $.10/lb.  If you have an infinite amount, and a constant demand, you will become infinitely rich.  Anything multiplied by infinity is infinity.  Unfortunately for you misers out there, infinity is intangible.  Theology hints at infinity through things like the mention of eternity, however, in which time spans an infinite length.

            When applied to mathematics, zero is the infinitely limiting number.  Anything multiplied by zero is zero.  Anything divided by zero is infinity.  When you add or subtract zero from an entity, that entity remains unchanged.  Zero is nothing.

            Like infinity, zero is intangible and incomprehensible in its purest and most fundamental form.  It cannot be described, because describing zero gives it characteristics, and nothing does not have characteristics.  It is nothing!  We can apply zero to a specific entity, however.

            How many Week 11 DESMA blogs are there?  How many orange trees exist in Antarctica?  How many Trojans can survive the UCLA curriculum (yes, Trojans; deal with it, Bruins are better than you)?  Zero can be used to describe things, but nothing can describe zero itself.  At least nothing we can readily comprehend.

            Any entity divided by infinity is zero, and anything divided by zero is infinity.  Thus, it is possible to accurately describe zero and infinity by comparing them to each other.  They are inverses of each other.

            Seemingly we have made a large leap in attempting to comprehend these two numbers, but in the end, we simply used and indescribable term to describe another term.

            Why do such entities exist?  We cannot describe them with anything comprehensible, nor can we make them tangible.  Their only purpose is to describe, but they cannot be described.  What does infinity describe?  Some consider infinity to contain all the possible ends that our universe can reach from a given start.  In short, that means everything that we are and are not aware of.

            Honestly, I have no answer as to how to describe zero or infinity other than nothing and everything respectively.  However, it is the attempt at rationalizing such concepts that intrigues my mind.  In the end, chances are we will never know how to describe these two numbers with understandable, comprehensible terms.

Week I/Two Cultures/Nathan Reynolds

March 15th, 2009

*NOTE* I was not enrolled in this class for the first three weeks of winter quarter.  I am simply doing these assignments to say that I completed everything.  I do not expect a grade for them as they are horrendously late otherwise.

            It is becoming considerably more and more obvious that the disciplines of science and humanities are separating when given nothing more than a glance.  This is because from such a glance, devoid of critical thought, one is not expected to see similarities.  They seem incompatible even.  It’s especially obvious from within our own campus in UCLA.  Our two “cultures” or halves of the same campus are divided by what we refer to as Bruin Walk.  There is a distinguishable difference between the two sides as well.  North Campus, the humanities side of the school is home to beautiful architecture (with the exception of Bunche) and places dedicated to the arts.  South campus is noticeably shabbier looking but has smarter students driven to do all things related to science (I state this with the bias of an Aerospace Engineer, please do not take this personally you tender northern children).

            Taking these comparisons to a global scale, statements made in works of literature such as C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures seem to be verified in many disciplines and aspects of life.  What is the purpose of engineering in explaining the shape of a rainbow?  What purpose can beautiful words find within a machine?  Indeed, we have been taught to view these two cultures as separate, and it is easy to do so.

            However, these statements can only truthfully be made based on the glance alone.  These glances are devoid of critical thought and comprehension.  Neither culture in its purest and most fundamental form allows for a lack of critical thought, and thus this statement must be false.

            So what?  We’ve said that this statement is false.

            What’s next?  Prove it.

            The massive ice-pick that is perfect for climbing this glacier manifests itself in the works on a man I’ve been doing research on for a while now, named Theo Jansen.  I comment on this man a lot simply because he has made it a point to bridge the gap between art and science.  There is genius in its purest form within his mind, capable of doing great things, and he chooses to unify and remove the differences between art and science, and showing how one’s existence is the key to the appreciation of the other.  He has gone so far as to state in a commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcR7U2tuNoY):

            “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.”

            This bold statement provokes thought concerning the chasms that we have created between art and science.  If such walls exist only within the mind, then art and science should be mixed in subtle ways that are not readily noticeable unless conscious thought is applied.

            What is the purpose of engineering in explaining the shape of a rainbow?  When one thinks about it, engineering explain, and recreate the shape of the rainbow with its own metallic touch.

Even when the rainbow fades, the Arch continues to exist.

Even when the rainbow fades, the Arch continues to exist.

 

 

            What purpose can beautiful words find within a machine?  Do machines appreciate poetry, or a long narrative?  I assure you that the system server could care less about the blog you’re reading now.  However, the wrong question is being applied.  Can words make a machine beautiful?  Can a language make a machine something wondrous?  The answer lies in what language is applied.  English may be good for explaining the robot, but translate this language into what the machine understand, and it can do amazing things in both reality and fantasy: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_EejNYSzmE&feature=related), (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL5c2DUnYno) 

            Science itself can be, and is, beautiful.  When Spirit touched down and sent pictures of Mars back to Earth, science gave humanity a change to glimpse something that their ancestors could only see as a speck of light in a dark sky.  When surgeons restore a nearly lost limb to a patient, the healing process is miraculous and precise.  In order for science to work, there must be an art to the methods, lest the methods prove ineffective.

            Art is also scientific.  Dancing the swing requires a series of precise, almost routine steps with a few variations that can lead to countless permutations.  It is art, but without the science to hold it together, it would not work (well, it might, but we call that freak dancing).  An artistic sculpture mimicking the human body requires an acute and scientifically based knowledge of the human body.  Without it, the features become abstract and flawed.  It might be considered art, but its awe-inspiring characteristics are replaced by repulsive flaws.

            In the end, there is a difference between art and science.  There is a visible line that can be drawn between the two disciplines, but a wall does not need to exist.  In fact, in order for one to truly appreciate one of the two disciplines, he must be able to compare it and see the similarities it bears to the other discipline.  Without the differences between art and science, the world would be hopeless monotonous.  It is like night and day.  Both have their beauties and their flaws, but their differences should not be viewed as something negative.  Both need to be seen in their own light and cherished for what they are.

Wk 9-Nanotechnology-Gindy Nagabayashi

March 15th, 2009

Nanotechnology. What does nano mean? Literally looking at the prefix nano means 10 to the power of -9 of something, so nanotechnology 10^-9 technology. Does this mean we’re looking at something infinitesimally small? According to Vesna and Gimzewski nanotechnology marks the shift of how we view reality “from a purely visual culture to one based on sensing and connectivity.” I agree that “this new science will eventually revolutionize and impact every single aspect of our lives.” I believe that nanotechnology will influence how we approach ecology and sustainability. It makes sense that these two ideas converge. One of the major concerns of this century is ecological responsibility and with the emergence of nanotechnology infiltrating our culture, emerges nano-ecology. One author, Doug Mulhall, proposes that nanotechnology has the potential to introduce more efficient ways to waste management than the current methods. This field of nano-ecology is in its infancy.
On another note, upon searching up nano landscapes, I came across an artist named Michael Oliveri, an artist who explored nanoscale landscapes. His exhibit called innerspace, captures landscapes using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) of samples from materials generated from scientist Zhengwei Pan. Pan heated metals until they vaporize. In this process the metals settle down to form various shapes. Oliveri used SEM to capture these samples combining them to create panoramas that resemble landscapes. The particular artwork I was interested in was the “The Fractal Geometric Valley”. This valley consists of scans of zinc oxide. The combined effect is beautiful. Oliveri’s work reminded me of a desert landscape, such as this one. The realism of the artwork is so convincing because of the seemingly rough terrain and contrasting textures. The interesting note is that this artwork captures the natural interactions of zinc oxides. Other artwork could stem from this idea, by taking SEM of other metals or materials.

michaeloliveri.com

-Gindy Nagabayashi

week 8 extra credit

March 14th, 2009

Beatriz DA Costa in the ” earthlings” discusses elaborates on what is today one of the biggest issue on earth, the treatement of animals by humans. From the genesis of the world, it is known or it has been set that humans will practically dominate on animals. To be precise, humans will feed themselves of animals. The human has hence thought of creating a place that is known as a farm, to keep animals together and to promote animals reprroduction.

According to http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142, since we all inhabit the earth we are consider earthlings. This website adds that therefore there should not be any specism, sexism, racism, etc. Curiosly, that is not the case. Everything that is mentioned on both Costa’s lecture and this video are happening today. People do treat some species with no courtesy at all. This is true especially for animals and in cases of wars between countries.

The above picture, as I can interpret it from http://earthlingsinfo.com/photos/?album=1&gallery=1, is meant to portray the beauty comprised in the term earthlings. Looking deep down at the picture, we can see each categories of earthlings. For instance, the human, the trees and animasls. Scientifically speaking, the earth contains three big areas, namely the humans, animals and the nature. To my prospective, the earth’s balance will never be maintained constant as long as all three of the ares do not corporate ideally. What I mean by this statement is that  the nature that provides for the humans and the animalsto keep living should be considered as a living species aswell. If this becomes true in the course of  the living species lives an equilibrium state will be established. The human will be compelled to evaluate and re-evaluate all his actions involving both the nature and animals before attemping to adopt any of  them. For instance, the case of  trees and Gorrillas, cows etc.

The purpose of  both this blog and Costa’s lecture as we can see is to raise public awareness regarding the mistreatment of animals.  Animals are part of  the three big areas that constitute the earth. From natural processes, logic and several scientific experimentations, it is deduced that life is made a lot easy when things changes equally. I mean when there is a equal balance of  things. When this is made or has occured, people do adapt to these changes accordingly. Because we all desire to live in a world that is almost free from any sort of imbalance, we should consider working toward finding balance as far as the animals mistreatment and cutting trees is concerned. We all know how bad they are being treated. One can venture that animals and trees were made to be controlled by humans. However, it turns out that doing so does implement the perturbation of  the earth as a whole. Hence, as cautious and prudent people, we should all step up to the plate and react accordingly in order to prevent the actual and the future world  from probable mishaps.

Week9/Guitars and Quantum Computers/Connor Petty

March 14th, 2009

Nanotechnology is a fascinating subject. It is a subject of almost unlimited potential, and personally one of my favorite. There have been many advancements in the construction of nanostructures. And a humorous, but good example of such nanostructures would be the Nano-guitar.

The original Nano-guitar was created in 1997, it measured only 10 microns long and the strings measured only 50 nanometers (a mere 100 atoms) in width. It is impressive to consider the size of the guitar, considering that the diameter of a human hair is 200 microns. On might ask, “What is the point in making such a small guitar? Nobody could play it!” As it turns out, in 1997 nobody was able to play the guitar, but in late 2003, scientist were able to strum the guitar using a laser light to vibrate the strings at 40-megahertz. That’s roughly 17 octaves higher than any normal guitar, far above what could heard by a human ear. While the existence of such a guitar is not important, what is important is how it demonstrated the potential of using a high-voltage electron beam machine to craft nano scale solid body objects, in this case a guitar made from a single crystal of silicon.

But the significance of this nano scale construction technology  is most prominent in the area of computer architecture. Every two years, the number of transistors on a computer processing chip doubles. This is known as Moore’s law. Nanotechnology is extremely important in this field since transistors are getting smaller and smaller, and chip design must be done on a nano scale. Computer chips currently have over 1 billion transistors, this equates to nearly 1 transistor every half-mircometer squared. A question that one might ask is where this is all heading. Intersting enough, research is being done in the area of quantum computing that will revolutionize the speed and size of computers. In a normal computer bits are used to represent data as 0’s and 1’s. In a quantum computer bits are replaced with qubits that hold a 1, 0, or more importantly any quantum superposition of these states. A group of qubits could in fact represent multiple numbers at a single time through the use of superposition. The reason that quantum computers are held in such interest is that they would allow efficient implementation of certain algorithms. Shor’s algorithm is a quantum algorithm that solves number factorization in sub-exponential time. Normal algorithms for today’s computers can only preform this task in exponential time. This is extremely important since number factorization could be used to “break” the widely used public-key cryptography scheme used known as RSA. Modern day cryptography relies on the fact that attempts to break the keys would require number factorization, and since normal computers would take an obscenly long time to perform factorize the large numbers used as keys, those keys are considered safe to use. Quantum computers would make it possible to break the keys fairly quickly. This advancement in essentially “hacking” would force the advancement in crytography as well. There is much research being done in the area of quantum cryptography algorithms in order to prevent the crisis that would arise once RSA becomes breakable.

Extra Credit: Linda Weintraub Lecture/Jasmine Huynh

March 14th, 2009

Linda Weintraub gave a lecture entitled “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Professor Vesna gave her a beautiful introduction, and I was surprised to learn that Weintraub was once Professor Vesna’s mentor and adviser. I learned that Weintraub was both an author and an artist.

Professor Vesna mentioned that Weintraub lives a very “green” lifestyle. In other words, she cares deeply for the environment, and chooses to show her passion through her lifestyle. I think this is admirable because few people actually practice what they preach. Weintraub began her presentation with a general definition of beauty. She said that there are different definitons for beauty, depending on the context. The ecological defintion states that beauty is “how something functions.” The sociological defintion states that beauty is more than just how something appears; it is how we tend to assess worth to a person, object or place. We tend to care more and invest more time into things that are beautiful, while we neglect and abuse things that we regard as ugly.

She then went through a series of artists and their projects who successfully displayed different aspects involved in beauty. Her first artist of discussion, Andy Goldworthy, creates beauty using nature. He uses nature as his studio, literally. His work is conducted outdoors and uses his hands, not tools, to show what he considers to be beautiful. He separates what is human made from what is made industrially. Mainly, he likes human interference and prefers simple scape over complex tasks. I think that this example of hers was most memorable because I really liked the work of Andy Goldworthy. He uses a creative medium to express his ideas. I like that he thinks outside the box–he doesn’t just use watercolor and canvas. I also like the fact that he uses nature as his studio; it allows him to get fresh air and work at the same time which is something I envy. It’s refreshing to see that unique work like his.

The rest of Linda Weintraub’s lecture was spent discussing artists similar to Andy Goldworthy, such as Marta de Meneces and Eduardo Kac with his GFP bunny. Toward the end of her lecture, she started to describe individuals who made lifestyle changes to express their beliefs, which is not unsimilar to what Linda Weintraub did herself.

 One of these individuals was named Ji Yong Lee. She changed her diet to make urine to water her plants, since it was found that urine is most ideal for plant growth. She grew cabbage, and then offerred it to viewers to eat. Linda Weintraub cited this example as not only a “lead by example” tale, but also a question. Are Lee’s actions considered beautiful for her ecosystem?

I thought this lecture related well to the class for several reasons. Firstly, Linda Weintraub was Professor Vesna’s mentor, so we were able to see how she developed her ideas and what type of culture she developed her career in. Secondly, I thought that this lecture pertained to many of our in-class lectures in which we talked about different types of art. What is beautiful to one person isn’t necessarily beautiful to another.

Lastly, I really do agree that society tends to care more for beautiful things than those which we consider ugly.

nanotechnology_jilliancross_D

March 13th, 2009

A quote that comes to mind when thinking of nanotechnology is from Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Horst Störmer (here is a link to one of his lectures: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8197935869304489599), who said that the nanoscale is more interesting than the atomic scale because the nanoscale is the first point where we can start assembling something. I never really looked at nanotechnology from this point of view before, as the smallest useful building blocks. As an engineer, the goal is always to make something smaller and more efficient, but to see it from the other few (building up from the atomic level), nanotechnology takes on a whole new perspective. Atoms fall within fractions of the nanoscale, but its true that the things that are useful to us now are created by pulling these atoms together.

I found an interesting metaphor about the importance and small scale of nanotechnolgy:  “[Creating things without nanotechnology is] like trying to make things out of LEGO blocks with boxing gloves on your hands. Yes, you can push the LEGO blocks into great heaps and pile them up, but you can’t really snap them together the way you’d like. In the future, nanotechnology will let us take off the boxing gloves. We’ll be able to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature easily, inexpensively and in most of the ways permitted by the laws of physics. ”

The idea that we can “take off our boxing gloves” and create things with such precision is fascinating. When working on the atomic level, the only way to go is up. It is important to utilize the lack of “boxing gloves” to create new advances in the world of nanotechnology.

All scientists utilize nanotechnology in their varying fields today (some of the many different benefits of nanotechnology are shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4CjZ-OkGDs). Everyone wants to make things smaller, faster, more economical. The widespread use of nanotechnology is important in our modern world.

In our current economic condition, it is tough to rationalize spending the money on the research for these “small” advancements. However, these advancements will be important to our growth in the future. By being able to build and produce things inexpensively and with less materials, we will be able to help preserve our worlds natural resources. These resources cannot be recreated later no matter the technology we develop. It is so important now to find more efficient ways to do the things we do on a daily basis in order to help our world as a whole in the future. If we can produce a computer that uses little to no energy using the advantages of nanotechnology, we can cut back on our energy use to a large degree.

Driving a car that is powered using alternative energy created through nanoscience will not only save our fuel sources, but will also reduce the number of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. A doctor that can safely perform surgeries thanks to equipment that was created on a nanoscale will be more effective and more cost efficient in the long run.

Engineers and scientists alike have been working hard to make our world more compact and efficient. Now, with dwindling resources and an unstable economic condition, this research and their efforts become invaluable to society. Now, the goal is not to get “bigger and better,” but it is, in fact, to cut back and utilize the small things in life. These small advances and small technologies will be our future.

Useful Links:
http://www.mitdv.org/events/archives/2005/03/nobel_laureate.html

http://www.zyvex.com/nano/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yzhSHzw_lQ

Week 9/Nanotechnology/Joseph Racca

March 13th, 2009

The universe, is infinitely large, and so does that mean that the smallest thing is infinitely small.  We can take an eraser, break it in half, break that in half, and that in half again.  We can take that and break it in half yet again, and again, and again.  I can go on and say that we can take half away every time.  Then, we get to the molecular level, and then the atomic level.

It seems as though scientists have taken advantage of this knowledge that things just keep getting smaller and smaller.  The use of nanotechnology keeps expanding, it is being used in medicine, chemistry and the environment, energy, information and communication, industry, and consumer goods.

Take this picture for example, the mechanism shown above resembles the claw of this common arcade game shown below.  But just imagine, the claw above is about 100000 times smaller than the one below.  The size of nanotechnology makes it possible to work on the microscopic level and beyond.

Imagine, if this technology could be used in art.  Art pieces could be the size of the tip of a pin.  The Mona Lisa, or such a masterpiece similar to it, can be smaller than the width of your strands of hair.  Art galleries might soon incorporate microscopes instead of wall pieces, bringing new meaning to getting “up close and personal.”

I googled nanotechnology in art and some interesting pieces came up.  For example, the piece below looks at dust particles; it is called “Infinity,” which I find appropriate because infinity goes both ways, forever outward and forever inward in space, a concept we covered in class.

In reality, nanotechnology has become a center for research for many, and might well be the answer to solving some of our problems that we face today, energy consumption and disease, just to name a couple.

In society, we take for granted the little things in life.  We look at them as everyday things when in reality, the little things in our lives make up what we see, the bigger picture, the people and objects around us, the universe we live in.  Maybe nanotechnology will help to fix that.  We now are learning to appreciate even the smallest things, so much so that we’ve reached appreciation for objects down to the molecular level.

Nanotechnology Now

http://www.nanotech-now.com/Art_Gallery/Cris-Orfescu.htm

Week 9 / Nanotechnology / Erum Farooque

March 13th, 2009

Nanotechnology is such a broad topic, I have no idea what to talk about. So I searched for nanotechnology art on the Internet and came across this fascinating contest that judged microscopic pictures based how beautiful and bizarre they were. This contest judges each microscopic image from a technological and artistic perspective. In 2005, the picture that won the Most Bizarre category was called the Nano Toilet.The Nano Toilet Here it is:

This contest definitely combines art, science and technology together in that scientists take pictures from a microscope of the small world and nanotechnology and use technology to give an artistic perspective on it. I have also included other entries that are quite interesting and very artistic. The Debutante's Ball

This one on the right looks like many woman attending a ball so it was called The Debutante’s Ball. The one below looks like the inside of a cave filled with icicles or something of the sort but it is called Christmas Tree, which I can see as well  but I think the cave idea works better, or a forest of trees on fire. This brings the nanotechnology of science truly into art. It turned a scientific photograph into an artwork which people can critique and share their different perspectives and ideas of what it is.christmas-tree
Fluffy
Fluffy

Lastly, this one about the dog is named Fluffy and I just found it adorable and it totally looks like cells joining together to make one large organism so it’s like the formation of large life (us and animals) from small life (like cells).  This website link has the winners for the contest for 2008 and I put up the link to show the winner for the best nominee category: http://www.zyvexlabs.com/EIPBNuG/EIPBN2008/2008.html . The video looks like a revolving crown, pretty neat stuff.

Another interesting nanotechproject I found is about Paul Doherty. He found the little toy that kids play with that makes a whirling sound fascinating and dissected the physics behind it. He used the “whirlies”, as he likes to call them, to make different sounds and music. Interestingly enough, the sound they make is not due to the air rushing past the tube so fast as most would expect. To explain what really happens, he compared the air in the tube to marbles. The air is forced out of the tube really fast as the whirlie is spun around like like a tube full of marbles spinning around would force the marbles to burst out. The sudden forceful bursting out of air makes the sounds. Different notes can be played by the whirlies as well. Spinning faster would cause higher notes to be produced, whilst slowing down would make lower notes. He uses whirlies to make music, a unique and creative way for sure. A cellist who was initialy interested in using these toys to make music now uses them sometimes at her concerts, or it is rumoured that you can always hear one playing at her concerts. Her name would be Sarah Hopkins.

Here is the link to Paul Doherty’s findings: http://isaac.exploratorium.edu/~pauld/activities/AAAS/aaas2001.html.

~*~Erum Farooque

Nathan Reynolds/Extra Credit Blog/Consciousness-A Continuation

March 13th, 2009

A few weeks ago I delved into what true self-consciousness was.  The task was a daunting one, but I had a few leads to work off of.  The lead I had came from honey bees.  Honey bees, in order to relay valuable coordinates of food and resources to the rest of the hive, participate in a “waggle dance,” in which a lead bee enters into a figure 8 pattern.  Some view this ability to comprehend instructions as a sign of self-consciousness.  However, I attempted to disprove that using the Computer Program metaphor.  In the end, the machine can do whatever you tell it, but it is not aware of its own existence.  The same applies to the honeybees and their dance.  It is nothing more than a set of inputs which other bees react to.  It is true that the dance can change, but that is yet another set of inputs given to the scout that detected the resources in the first place.  Although it is possible for bees to be self-conscious, the waggle dance provides insufficient proof of this.

Dissatisfied, I attempted to seek out an answer to self-consciousness and what it was.  This resulted in me discovering what instinct was.  An instinct in an organism is the parallel to the computer program within a machine.  The machine and the organism do not have to put forth critical thought in order to execute the program; it is already there and has been there since the creation of the entity in question.  An orb spider constructing an elaborate web is instinct, just as a bee’s waggle dance is instinct.  There may be some slight variation from dance to dance or web to web, but this is simply because of external stimuli that force such change.

Found without any additional leads, I eventually realized that self-consciousness is one’s ability to question his own existence, and to comprehend that existence.  But how is this proven?

            Self-consciousness can be realized by doing something as simple as looking into a mirror and questioning the fundamental existence of the object reflection.  If one critically thinks about his/her own existence, that person is self-aware and thus has true self-consciousness.  This is incredibly easy to observe within people, since it is easy for me (and every other human I sincerely hope) to communicate with them.  The perception of self-consciousness can manifest itself in the desire to fulfill a purpose, or establish a name or legacy.  Most other creatures do not seek such notoriety and simply live their lives.

            However, there is another aspect of self-consciousness that made it apparent to me not too long ago when a group of strikers petitioned against lower wages: resistance.  Resistance is when an entity opposes the given standard or set of rules imposed upon it.  There are two types of such resistance: conscious and unconscious.  Unconscious resistance can be most easily illustrated using inanimate objects.  If I try to crush a block of steel into a ball, I am imposing my set of rules upon that block.  However, the steel’s nature is greater than my will to change it, and thus it resists my control.

            Conscious resistance is what we are most interested in, however, since it requires that a choice be made.  Take DESMA 9 blogging for instance.  It is required; it is law, that we write a weekly blog for this class.  However, there are students who do not blog.  A machine given this command and adequate resources could manage to complete the task, which is easily accomplishable by humans.  However, there are people who make the conscious decision not to do so.  Although this is a bad practice, it does prove self-consciousness.

            Humanity on earth has had a great number of conscious resistances, among them: the rise of the Protestant against a Catholic system, everyday strikes, the assertion of homosexual rights within a predominantly heterosexual society, “sticking it to the man,” or “rising against the machine.”  Social change itself is a sign of such resistance and, by extension, self-consciousness.

            Conscious resistance can also be applied to animals.  Take a cat for instance.  It may squirm and struggle to get away from its loving master holding it.  The cat does not like to be held, and is aware of its own dislike.  The cat then acts upon this dislike.  The same can be applied to something as small as an earwig, which pinches ferociously at anything that assails it.  A bull or a horse in a rodeo will use a God-given fury just to attempt to remove the stubborn rider from its back.

            Now that it is known that conscious resistance is a sign of self-consciousness, an ample number of examples can be found in nature hinting at the possibility of many of Earth’s creatures being self-conscious.

            This is an answer to my question: “What is self-consciousness and how does it manifest itself in life?”  However, is this just an answer or the answer?  More research and thought is required before I can definitely state a decision.

week 8 extra credit

March 13th, 2009

When I read the title of Linda Weintraub’s lecture “ the beauty and aesthetics of activism” a sudden question about the relationship between beauty, aesthetics and activism rose in me. Obviously when we hear the word beauty our attention goes to thinking about something attractive. Likewise, the word aesthetics suggests something pleasant and a little artistic. But when it comes to the word activism we think of riots, civil rights etc. If I am not mistaken what  Linda Weintraub meant to imply when she mentioned or when she conceived this title can be paraphrased as the action of  creating some new beauty in art in order to portray the value of a particular creation, namely the gender repesentation. Again this is from my prospective.

One may expect those new images or innovative in art to be just for artistic purposes. But it turns out that it is not the case in many situations. For instance, in the case of the Italian Renaissance art. As we may all recall, that a women during the 1930s was considered nothing but an instrument of  reproduction of children, hence could not rejoice life as much as men. These restrictions created several strikes. And indeed the whole idea of  ” the beauty and aesthetics of activism” played a important role in solving this problems. Women sought to create artistic images of the authenticity of a women. Whenever men saw those posters and images they were guilty and finally thought of ending all those kinds of gender discrimination.

After the ban of the gender discrimination, another issue came up. This is the issue of the look. If you do not have that attire that the world praises or look for you are not living a joyful life, you are more likely to lose your position at your job, not be welcomed at some places etc just because of  your look. Untill this type of discrimination got banned, people were victims of  it.

 Universal Beauty: The Miss Universe Guide to BeautyHow Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better

Generally speaking, the world has its own unfairnesses as I call it. The more powerfull people get to live real and noble lives. For example, the case of the woman during the 1930s. They could not live the life they wanted because of the restrictions that they were put on. They were thought to be less powerful. Had it not been partly for “the beauty and aesthetic of activism” women would still be in that suffrage case. To sum up we all see the role and impact of Linda Weintraub’s lecture and the reason of her interest into that field of study.

Nathan Reynolds/Week 3/Industrial Age, Kinetic Art, Robotics

March 12th, 2009

*NOTE* I was not enrolled in this class for the first three weeks of winter quarter.  I am simply doing these assignments to say that I completed everything.  I do not expect a grade for them as they are horrendously late otherwise.

The study of robotics is proving to be a very promising field of research as newer and more compact technology is made available.  Also, the know-how for building robots is becoming more and more common, with children still in grade school designing robots with limited, but very capable artificial intelligences.  As the frontier of knowledge expands, so does the ability of the machines created.  It is now common for us to look at a site such as Youtube and find several hundred videos pertaining to dancing robots, and just as many relating to other robot characteristics.  As we learn more about robots, the more advanced they become.

With the exception of Theo Jansen’s machines.

Theo Jansen is a Kinetic Sculptor who uses his technical genius to build what are commonly known as “beach beasts,” walking machines composed of nothing more than plastic components.  Although the Beach Beasts accomplish very little in terms of return on investment, they are intriguing to watch nonetheless simply because of their almost natural behaviors.

Theo Jansen stands in front of his creation, the Rhino.  Although it weighs a few tons, the design is efficient enough for Theo Janen to push it across the ground.

Theo Jansen stands in front of his creation, the Rhino. Although it weighs a few tons, the design is efficient enough for Theo Janen to push it across the ground.

Theo Jansen uses seemingly complex designs which are actually very simple at their fundamental level.  His designs manifest themselves in these Beach Beasts which display increasingly capable intelligences.  The design itself is so efficient that the machines can be moved by the wind, using their own computer capacities to navigate.  Jansen’s goal is to perfect the technology behind the creatures to the point where they can navigate the beaches of the Netherlands where they are built.  These machines accomplish no practical purpose, nor do they help humanity in any way.  However, they are entrancing; capturing everyone’s attention and captivating the imaginations of the individuals interested in them.

 

            Concerning robotics discussed earlier, the Beach Beasts represent a slow progression towards truly autonomous AI.  In a world of intricacies, where machines are expected to be complex and difficult to manufacture, Theo Jansen provides a rather refreshing counterexample to the whole scenario.  They are simple, yet innovative; a basic, but futuristic, and a herald for the ages to come.

 This creature only needs a gust of air to cause it to casually stroll down the beach.  Theo Jansens goal is to have these machines roam in packs, like heards of wild animals.

Week 9/ Nanotechnology/ Tammy Le

March 12th, 2009

How can audiences admire an art piece that they cannot see?  Perhaps that is what leaves observers of nanotechnology art more in awe than in the traditional mediums and styles of the craft.  Nanotechnology combines the beauty of imagination with the technicalities of science to create microscopic art work that is appreciated for both its artistic value and astonishing application of science and technology.  It takes a skillful and creative mind and artist to fuse together art and science and to master the manipulation of matter in a way that conveys colossal impact and messages on such a small, atomic and molecular canvas.  Furthermore, not only does nanotech work with actual microscopic materials, but it also incorporates the concept of such small factors, as Dr. Jay Horris Hall showcases on his nanotech piece about different “utility foglets,” microscopic robots small enough to enter your body and perform different maintenance. Upon researching art work involving nanotechnology, I stumbled upon Dr. Hall’s work and was fascinated by the details he had incorporated in his concept, as well as the imagination it required to compose and mold such an idea.  He explains his idea as imagining a “microscopic robot. It has a body about the size of a human cell and 12 arms sticking out in all directions. A bucketfull of such robots might form a ‘robot crystal’ by linking their arms up into a lattice structure. Now take a room, with people, furniture, and other objects in it — it’s still mostly empty air. Fill the air completely full of robots. The robots are called Foglets and the substance they form is Utility Fog, which may have many useful medical applications. And when a number of utility foglets hold hands with their neighbors, they form a reconfigurable array of ’smart matter’”(http://www.nanotech-now.com/utility-fog.htm).  

He is able to reason and use scientific data and background to help support his project, while using his artistic skills to both imagine the concept as well as illustrate in order for the world to be able to visually see and gain a better understanding of his idea.  He ellaborates on the Foglets by specifying the different types, some of which include the Gobblebot, Nanobot, Brainbot, Zaperbot, Makeupbots, and Barberbots.  All the “bots” have different functions that help upkeep our bodies.  The bot I found most interesting was the Barberbot.  He describes them as as microrobots that “scuttle” over your skin in search of hair to trim.  He proposed that the Barberbots be pre-programmed for a pre-set hairstyle and be able to intelligently remember and perform the operations needed to achieve the hairstyle.  

Dr. Hall not only utilizes the fascinating dimensions of nanotechnology which incorporates science and imagination, but demonstrates how nanotechnology can actually contribute to the improvement of life.  It can be used it an array of way to not only create, but give rise to new technology and methods that will ultimately contribute to benefiting the world.  Much like another nanotech art piece I read about by artist J Sha and ARmark Authentication Technologies who developed a way to use “art as anti-counterfeiting technology” through the creation of Fish.  Fish is an image of a fish on a canvas “smaller than a spec of dust and 1/8th the width of a strand of hair” being 40 microns tall with features as small as 250 nanometers. Created using nanoentonography, it is a new way to safeguard products and brands from counterfeiting by incorporating these microscopic pieces in their products.  Since the creation of Fish is so complex using different microscopic layers of covert markers “mere microns wide”, it is impossible to replicate and therefore serves as a effective authentication system (http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=1743.php).

Extra Credit/ Sound Symposium/ Tammy Le

March 12th, 2009

This past week I attended a presentation at the Sound Symposium, and although there was no lecture at the hour I went, there was a presentation about Visual Music.  Cindy Keeper, the curator of the Center For Visual Music, presented a visual and audio masterpieces from Visual Music artists Oscar Fishinger and Mary Ellen Bute.  She defined” visual music as music for the eyes comparable  to music for the ears,” and described it as the “visualization of music.”  One of the artists highlighted in her presentation was Oscar Fishinger, known as the Father of Visual Music, who pioneered the art of connecting the movement of images and colors with the melodies of audio music, as Keeper showed us in his famous piece, Algretto.  Fishinger believed “every object has its own intrinsic sound.”  Before attending this presentation, I did not pay much attention to the mundane sounds of different objects nor how they’re movements or very being cold personify different types of music.   Mary Ellen Bute’s Mood Contrast is another work that allows audiences to “see sound.”  Her vivid use of geometric shapes and their movement parallel the tempo and dynamics of the musical compositions to which it is paired.  I found it intriguing how these artists were able to tell a story through music and visuals simply using abstract shapes and colors rather than merely explicitly telling the story to its audience.  Visual music brings new life to sound, and a new dimension to art.

Week 9/Nanotechnology’s Two Sides/Jay Park

March 12th, 2009

Nanotechnology is hailed as the future of our technological advances. Indeed, the abilities of nanotechnology seems endlessly beneficial for not only the human race, but for the environment as well.  The medicinal and environmental capabilities can only be attributed to the awesome potential that nanotechnology offers. However, this is precisely the point like in all other instances of discovering and attempting to harness great power, where man must tread carefully. The excitement over nanotechnology has most people oblivious to the countermeasures of the beneficial products the same technology can just as easily produce. For each potential benefit, there is a potential risk.

                Nanotechnology can create molecular level robotics that can be injected into patients to treat many kinds of diseases. Nanorobots can perform dialysis on a routinely basis with only the recyclable power of our body temperature. However, the same technology that can save our lives can effectly destroy our lives. Biohazardous nanorobots can be used as effective weapons of terrorism. The same nanorobots used to clean our blood can be reprogrammed to destroy our blood. There will be no more need for bullets and bombs, when a more efficient and stealthy assassin can be simply inhaled or injected. It is not only the dangers of malicious intent that should stall nanotechnology, but the inequality that the technology can promote. At the forefront of technology, medical nanotech might only be affordable to certain classes. The nanorobots can be redesigned to artificially increase braincell production, increase memory capacity, increase growth or even improve athletic abilities. The implications of the inequality that can result from the wide use of the technology is only shortsighted to the overall artificial evolution that can take place because of it. Nanotechnology can be used in infinite ways that would change the very biochemistry and essence of being humans.

                Economically speaking, the advances in nanotechnology can deeply impact the market that can lead to economic disruption and artificial price inflation.  The benefits of nanotechnology in our agricultural industry is evident, but the risks are often laid down and silenced. Crops can harness the power of nanotechnology and utilize nanorobots to help protect the fields against pests, improve the quality of soil, and even support the crops in supernatural growth. Besides the obvious effects and dangers to the natural equilibrium, the markets would have a disastrous time coping with the dramatic changes in prices due to minimalized labor and production costs.  Farmers wouldn’t have to tend their crops as nanorobots would remove the necessity of labor as it performs the duties of pesticide, fertilizer, and laborer all in one.  Jobs would disappear, but more importantly, humanities dependence technology will only exponentially increase. This sudden and accelerated dependency on technology will only hamper our abilities to respond to presence of danger and risk inherent in that technology, and can leave us helplessly accepting the risks.

                Nanotechnology can have a lasting impact on global politics as well, as the economic and weaponized products of nanotechnology alters the balance of power and reshapes the atmosphere of political agendas. But, by no means is the message being sent to stay clear of nanotechnology. It is simply a caveat of utilizing a great power. Involved with the development and pursuit of nanotechnology, a thorough system of checks and balances must be in place to keep the technology from straying down the wrong path.  However, this idea of subjugating the technology to multi-layered scrutiny does lack appeal to those ambitious for the technology even in the purest of altruistic intent.  The potential of nanotechnology can be hampered, if not altogether stunted in progress, if the restrictions and restraints implemented onto the technology is too strict. In the end, a balance must be acheived for efficiently allowing nanotechnology to safely operate.  This will be a difficult task for the review boards and councils created in the future to oversee nanotechnological operations. But, it will be a cost and trouble well worth the prevention of disasters that can come out of nanotechnology.

 

http://www.crnano.org/dangers.htm

week 4 extra credit

March 11th, 2009

The Louise M. Biomedical Library was founded by Loiuse Darling in 1947. Darling served as a U.S Army female librarian who trained several people accross the United States.

The Louise M. Darling Biomedical library is one of  the most resourceful library at UCLA.  This library is composed of  staff , whose  mission according to its history, is to provide acces to and delivery to information resources. It is also reported that its primary focus of  services and collectionsis to support the health and the life sciences research, educational, and patient care responsibilities of  UCLA faculty, students and staff. Clearly it can be seen that the biomedical library contributes greatly regarding human services.

The biomedical library is also comprised of  a graduate study room which is restricted to graduate and professional students in the school of dentistry, medicine, nursing, public health and the life sciences division of the college of letters and science.  We all know that in regard to a successful studies, a guaranteed place to study is really crucial. When there are reserved places where students,especially graduate science students, can sit down and work together there is always an effective result that comes out of  it. Its either they will partly answer big scicenctific questions or design a filed to initiate in the science field. This is why the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library has jealously thought to build such a room for students.

The biomedical library also accepts donations of  the materials that strictly supports the education and most importantly the research of its mission. This is also an important  area to consider because we all know that archives are always inspiring even though changes are being made daily.

One of  the most valuable holding that the biomedical library has is the area of the special collections or the history division. This is area where the history of the medical thought is and practices of earliest to the recent time is carried. These are collections from the earliest fifteenth century to the earliest twentyt first century. For instance, the life sciences focus on the natural history, zoology and botany. In addition, the library has some of the history books in French and some other languages. This library branch consists of the primary, secondary, and tertiary literature and it is open to all users with valid bruin card. Because of  the importance of  the books collection in the history division, one is only allowed to consult books during all the biomedical hours. Every thing belonging in this collection is to be returned when the library closes.