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November 26, 2006


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The Ipod Technopoly

Every individual has their own perspective on the world of technology. As we have been briefed in class, technology is “seeking beyond the brain,� where one must go past their internal networking and reach for new ideas, concepts, and unknown realities. From an unbiased perspective one can conclude that, “every technology is both a burden and a blessing.�-Neil Postman But once influenced by the eyes of society humans develop their own perspectives of technology favoring some and avoiding others. There are millions of obvious connections between technology and the evolution of lifestyles. I shall avoid restating these obvious applications and go deeper into the mindset of the individual and their grasp for new knowledge.

As people become accustomed to new technologies inevitable problems spring up. They are then forced back to the drawing board to continue the crooked maze into an even deeper basis of thought. Freud’s example states, “If there had been no railway to conquer distances, my child would never have left his native town and I should need no telephone to hear his voice.� People are constantly trying to find new solutions. Seeking further and further beyond their domains, humans develop technologies so foreign and impressive they often become popular.

People may not want to be the same as everyone else, but new designs attract customers creating a common demand for the same object. This demand is what feeds the technopolies of today. New products appeal to people and they take steps to conform to their community without immediately realizing it. The consumers support companies, engineers, designers, etc… who put together new and innovative ideas. Soon businesses are booming, growing progressively stronger and buying out smaller less successful organizations. Eventually a handful of companies control almost an entire network of products. The term for this gross success and control is known as a monopoly. These monopolies are nourished by new technologies. The term can be reformulated as a technopoly. What technopolies and their clients fail to conform with is that of the style of nature and its endless variety.

Technology is directly opposite the patterns of nature. Nature is free flowing, asymmetrical, and continuously changing. With technology and its attraction to consumers there is an opposition to the order of nature. No longer do humans follow the sweeping curves of natural changes but conform by means of technology. For generations it has been preached in institutions that every individual is special. But now, influenced by technology people are coming closer together and the lone natural elements are becoming less and less apparent. Technopolies have gone as far as to promote a certain body type, hair color, style, ethnicity, etc… people now shape their bodies with technologies such as plastic surgery. The once natural human figure is being redesigned by the development of new innovative styles.

Society has been redesigned by the seekers of new ideas and innovative theories. But in this process consumers are urged to conform and become alike rather than unique and creative. Those who still manage to grasp their connection to nature and the wildness of change and difference are able to reach “beyond the mind� and create new ideas which will eventually feed the booming technopolies of the future.

November 5, 2006

The Core Ceiling at the Eden Project

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Math in Architecture

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Class contradicted the message I had interpreted from the reading of lecture 16, “Mathematics and Creativity.� In this work Alfred Adler noted, “The qualities embedded in the mind of the mathematician by the discipline of mathematics fail to extend beyond the boundaries of mathematics.� This can be interpreted as the connection between an architect and a mathematician simply does not exist. He then continues, describing series of mathematicians failing at attempts in business, finance, politics, etc. On the contrary, Adler expresses, “The mathematical language is continuously being altered to fit new results.� What he fails to mention is that the changes in the mathematical world go beyond the values of x and y. The creation of physical structures are yet another application of alterations in the mathematical language. Complicated formulas on paper are transferred into a sensory provoking physical structure of immense mathematical quality.
One application of math in society is that of the Fibonacci numbers pertaining to the structure of the Chambered Nautilus. The shell of a Chambered Nautilus consists of a series of compartments that increase in size as they spiral around each other. The series evolves from 0 to 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21… This pattern is not only found in the shell of a sea creature but in other natural elements such as pinecones, pineapples, and sunflowers. Many Architects have adopted the sequence of The Golden Ratio, as it has been tagged. The creation of the Eden Project Core (http://www.edenproject.com/about/1723.html) is located in the United Kingdom and an excellent example of the application of Fibonacci numbers in architecture. Its roof is composed of a series of cross beams that resemble the Fibonacci sequence. The curved spruce beams extend from the center in an opposing spiral. The application of these numbers adds a natural quality to the building and a striking structural appearance. By applying the concepts of math derived from the structures of nature architecture is given a whole new sense of life and intrigue.

1st Grade

I spent the usual first hour volunteering in the second grade class. Today I stepped in the door and was greeted by a slew of children who managed to remember my name. I am still trying to pronounce half of the class’s names, as they are different than the typical Jane and Joe I am used to. I started out sorting magnetic letters today, which was a bit less difficult than last week because, they stuck to the boards instead of sliding all over. After a brief meeting on the circle rug, groups were assigned stations. I got to sit in the corner with four literate students and read a story. I decided to allow each student to read a paragraph at a time to the group. By the time we were finished, the students were reading in a smooth flowing fashion that made me proud of my strategy. I then was assigned a group of three students who did not know how to read. This was a bit more difficult. We sat in a circle and I held up my book and pointed out each word as I sounded it out. After each page we summarized the message. One girl caught on quickly and was an excellent summarizer, while the little boy followed along with his finger sounding out words quite diligently. The third girl lay on my lap, drooling. I assumed two out of three listeners was a pretty decent average for my first time with a group of non-readers. Next I got to venture down the hall to the first grade class. There were half as many kids in this class, and everyone was much better behaved. We sounded out words at the circle rug for a while, and then I settled down with one student at a time and let the student read their stories to me. This class was much more mellow than my second grade friends. I look forward to facing my second grade challenges next week, as I am sure the kids will keep me on my toes.

Sensing the Flow

Today went much smoother than the other two days. I am not saying that I had zero difficulties working with the kids, but I did know what was expected of me. I was initially assigned to read a book with a young girl who was thrilled to have a helper. Keeping her on track was a bit of a chore. Then, I was assigned to a group of about four students sorting letters and forming words. My job was to make sure all of the letters stayed in the right bags. With four sets of second grade hands flying about the place snatching and whipping letters everywhere I was very busy. Once a student completed their tops, bops, mops... and flop boards I was granted the honors of checking their boards and congratulating them. Their grins warmed me as I praised their diligent work. This week I realized the teachers have a specific schedule for volunteers. I have graduated to the next rung on the ladder. Now I am assigned to not only one kid at a time, but to four. This multiplies the amount of effort I need to expend by four. It can be quite a chore. I have also realized, that I eagerly await my Wednesday trip to A Chance To Grow, because I get to work with little kids. I miss my younger siblings and working with children. Hanging out with college students 24/7 can get a little dry.