December 8, 2006

Silence

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Inside everyone is the will to expression. Inside each of us is a unique force that drives outwards. It comes out in any form that it can. Sometimes it is expressed more clearly, sometimes more powerfully. Authors Neil Gershenfeld and Louis Kahn both discussed the desire of creation within each individual.

The form the will takes depends on the available means for its communication. Gershenfeld described a manufacturing machine that I had never heard of before. Personal Fabrication is actually a series of machines and technology that can be programmed to create almost anything. He wrote that "personal fabrication will bring the programmability of the digital worlds we've invented to the physical world we inhabit." This new machine gives the individual a new freedom of expression. Gershenfeld's students used the machine for personal expression not product development. It is a form of literacy, another way in which the desire for expression is satisfied. The virtual world that Professor Saloojee lectured on is another new technology that frees the individual to new possibilities of expression. The virtual world removes the social or physical constraints that the will would encounter in the real world. Forms can be created in virtual reality that defies our world's gravity.

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Limitations to expression are laws that prohibit some forms. At the same time they define the possible of expression. They set the ground rules. The will finds expression any way that it can. It notes its possibilities and moves through them. Individuals will always feel the force inside themselves. Changes in technology will just open new possibilities for expression, while limiting others.

December 2, 2006

Technopolies

"...embedded in every tool is an ideological bias, a predisposition to construct the world as one thing rather than another, to valus one thing over another, to amplify one sense or skill or attitude more loudly than another."
-Neil Postman Technolopy

Our tools change with every technological advancment.

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Our world view adapts to these changes.
I've tried, but its hard for me to step outside of the current technolopy. With technology changing so fast, I can feel the evolving social forces rearrange around me. I am left to fend for myself. Its sink or swim. I don't even want to be typing this right now. I'd rather use paper and pencil. But that's no longer an option. I don't want my thoughts exposed to everyone. I'd rather share them personally. The embedded ideological force of our tools is not always desired but it gets accepted. I just want to stay afloat.

The Divine Proportion

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The Divine Proportion is also know as the Golden Section, Golden Ration and the Golden Mean. Or simply the Greek letter Φ (Phi). It is an irrational number (1.6180339887...) that turns up often in nature. Desirgers have tapped into this harmonious portion to create architecture that is beautiful in a natural way.

The ancient Egyptian pyramids, Greek temples, and Gothic cathedrals are examples of the divine proportion:
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The divine proportion is found in our simple geometric shapes.
Shape Geometry Construction of Φ

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Insert an equilateral triangle inside a circle. Find the midpoints of the two sides at A and B. Extend the line to the circle.
The ratio of AB to BG is Phi.

4 sides: Square phigeometry-square.gif
Insert a square inside a semi-circle.
The ratio of AB to BG is Phi.
5 sides: Pentagon phigeometry-pentagon.gif

Insert a pentagon inside a circle. Connect three of the five points to cut one line into three sections.
The ratio of AB to BG is Phi.

November 4, 2006

Time: the opposition

One of the most dominate oppositions I experience is time. Time's steady march forward shows no concern for my interests. Sometimes I want to stay outside and read but the hours change and soon the sun sets, taking away my light. And school assignments, I generally don't have a problem with them because they give me things to do. However, time ticks by and soon I've missed the assignment's deadline. I could blame my troubles on having too many conflicting interests but that's not their real cause. Time ultimately limits my actions. I can only do so may things in a minute and there are only so many minutes in a hour and only so many hours in a day...and one day I'll die.

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Why must we experience reality this way? To me, time is like those Super Mario levels that continuously scroll sideways regardless of what Mario does. If Mario slows down or stops, the edge of the screen will push him along, against his will. Maybe it will push him into an enemy and Mario will die. Mario's life is just like mine. Sometimes I want to stop and explore or even go backwards but I can't. Time always pushes forward.

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At least the scrolling level directs Mario towards his goal. Time is not completely horrible. Its limits give direction to my life. I had four years to graduate high school. In that time I did some homework and consequently learned some things. Time forced me to make choices in order to accomplish something I thought important.

There's only so many plausable responses to time. I don't have to power to elimate it so my best bet is to go with the flow, to let time sculpt my life. Time keeps pushing me into new situations. Yet, they're not so different than the ones before. I know that eventually I'll arive at the homework deadline so... I should probably get something done.

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October 10, 2006

The Empty Pool

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The kiddie pool is emptied every fall.

I remember spending summer days swimming in the pool. I loved the deep end. I could explore its depth with goggles. Leaves and sticks would fall into the water and sink to the bottom. Towards the end of the season more leaves would pile underwater. Eventually I would go to the pool and the water would be gone.

The empty pool is a phenomena of our seasons. The planets tilt and position in relation to the sun creates the Minnesota spring, summer, fall and winter. Every year our leaves turn colors and fall. The kiddie pools must be emptied. They wait for summer to return and the water to come back.

October 3, 2006

The Witch's Hat

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The Witch’s Hat stands out above the tree line of Tower Hill, Minneapolis’ highest natural point. Designed by an architect as a water tower for the residents of the Prospect Park neighborhood, the structure seems to be pulled from a fairy tale. The tall green hat can be seen from all around; however, the trees of Tower Hill hide the base, adding mystery to the hat’s sense of mischief.

The view is one of the best in the city. To get to the tower, one must first travel up the steep hills of Prospect Park. Then, from the base of Tower Hill Park, climb a series of stairs, before arriving at the park’s summit. It takes work to get to this point but the effort is rewarded with benches and a panoramic view of the downtown skyline.

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The image of giant skyscrapers and what they represent contrasts with the quiet park, whose spirit seems removed from the city. Sitting at the benches under the tower, one can hear the rush of traffic on University Ave. and the mechanical noise of local construction. But, they are faint. Clearer is the wind moving through the trees and the dry, fallen leaves sweeping along the ground.

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The site is intriguing. The hill is a mix of dense foliage with footpaths that lead off into darkness and a sloping clearing that spirals down to the winding Prospect Park streets. The mystery is in the complexity of the brush and the unpredictability of the paths. Both beckon to the curious city citizen as a witch would when attempting to get them into her lair. They speak to the natural, wild side of life that straight, ordered streets and predictable interaction cannot reach. Full of wonder and home of the imagination. Go there.

September 26, 2006

Project Green Fleet

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www.projectgreenfleet.org
It turns out that big yellow school buses are harmful to children’s' health. Diesel emissions from the bus concentrate inside the vehicle at a rate five times higher than outside air. These pollutants can contribute to heart and lung disease and are dangerous for kids with asthma.

Project Green Fleet is a joint mission of Minnesota businesses, government agencies and non-profits to reduce emissions and protect children. The buses are fitted with pollution-control equipment that reduces indoor and outdoor air pollutants by 40-90 percent.

It is nice to see a diverse group working for the state’s children.

September 15, 2006

Midtown Global Market

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The thick stone façade of the Midtown Exchange building halts exhaust and other grim from entering the market. The action resumes indoors as movement, smell, sound and the whole spectrum of color immediately excite one’s senses.

This was my first time to the midtown market. It’s fairly new and in a part of Minneapolis that isn’t accessible to a car-less U of M student without a couple bus transfers. The energy of the market this afternoon was felt right away, mainly in the form of movement and color. The openness of the buildings interior offers a wide range of space through which people can browse, shop, and eat. It’s not vast space like a church or a museum due to the lower ceilings and amount of vendors lined side by side, yet, the minimal amount of enclosed space and divisions allows for a flow from one area to the next.

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People create the energy of the market through action. The high traffic areas near the doors, popular vendors, and central court seemed the most alive. It was here that the bright colors were found along with constant noise of talk and sizzling meat. Away from these areas was empty space in need of new tenants and perusers.

The arera's few solid walls directed energy around pockets of less action. Here, people could relax and eat or drink.

Overall, the market was full of energy. It was contained in pockets and felt through movement, color and sound. Shoppers exchanged with vendors and amongst themselves creating a lively experience. The only thing I regret is having eaten lunch before visiting.