December 6, 2006

Final Blog

For this blog prompt, I am not sure if we were supposed to speculate the relationships between the two articles or within each article. However, the only significant relationship between the two is that they both have relationships as the focus.

The first article, 'Fab,' by Neil Gershenfeld, was very likely my favorite article the whole semester! It was a fascinating topic, and it made me want to go to MIT so I can create something in his class. I'm not sure that I have ever spent a great deal of time on what I would make if I had a personal fabricator, probably because I never imagined one could exist. I feel that after reading this article, there are whole other worlds out there, that I don't even know exist. This article has encouraged me to 'think outside the box.' Hearing about the different kind of people who take the class, and the different reasons they decided to join, it is fun to imagine what else will be created by the students and other users. I wonder though, what could happen if a personal fabricator got into the hands of someone corrupt. I am torn between wanting them to be available to the public, but maybe it is safer for the public to not. If they can have the assurance of what is being made, and by who, maybe we could stop destructive things from being fabricated. However, maybe it can be argued, especially by the users, that the good outweighs the bad. A good example of 'the good' is the idea of creating a machine that creates machines, that can be sent over to the under-developed countries instead of sending separate machines.

He said, 'They [the fifteen or so faculty at Center for Bits and Atoms], all like me, never fit into the artificial separation of computer science from physical science.'

I have always separated the two sciences. The statement, 'The universe is literally as well as metaphorically a computer,' became much more apparent while reading the article. I new that computers and the technology associated with them were a significant part of our lives, but I never really thought that the world is in fact a computer. I think that this is because I didn't know what computers were made of. Now that I know more about computers, I feel this statement is quite true.

This is an image of Neil Gershenfeld from

The second article, 'Silence and Light,' by Louis Kahn, was an extremely hard article to follow. It was as though someone wrote out his speech. It included 'you know' over a dozen times, and the sentences didn't really flow. I think if I had been sitting in a lecture with him making a speech about the same topic, I could have come out thinking 'wow, what a cool guy!' However, the way he described the connections and relationships between his definition of silence and light made very little sense to me.

I think that he made connections to many things in the world with his definition of silence and light. For example, 'Light to Silence, Silence to Light cross in the ambient sanctuary Art.' Then, he made the connection between Art and Nature. He also made a connection to Architecture, with examples about the columns. For a big part of the article was the topic of Universities. With this, he asked students to 'think in terms of the university as though it never appeared, as tho it isn't here. You have nothing to refer to, just the sense of a place of learning, and undeniable need:...' Then, he summarized, I think, what a response of one of his students.

This is a photo of Louis Kahn from

November 26, 2006


The last paragraph from 'The Judgement of Thamus,' Neil Postman writes:

'New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop.'

The invention of the computer and the internet, is a technopoly that fits this statement perfectly. I can not think of a single aspect of my life, or the lives of anyone I know, that the computer or internet has not effected. When you think of all of the things that mankind has changed for what we feel is in our best interest, all of it can be seen with the use of the internet or computer. Whether it be books, the news, the weather, sports, music, movies, cookbooks, dictionaries, or any other thing that was once only available in print, is now yours with the simple click of a mouse. People literally have the knowledge of the world at their fingertips.

People no longer have to get out of their house if they don't want to. You can shop, order groceries, rent movies, get a high school diploma or a college degree, run a business, and talk to people across the country all online in the convenience of your own home. The internet has created jobs, while replacing some, and expanding on others. So much has come from the internet and computers, it is really quite incredible.

Entirely new worlds are created with graphic design. Games like World of Warcraft and roleplaying games can become an outlet for people of all ages in all corners of the earth to be these fictional characters. They form teams, friendships, sometimes relationships. It is like an alternative world, where some people feel more welcomed than they do in the world of reality. There are what they call LANs (Local Area Network) parties, where groups of 'gamers' gather in a house or space and play games together. However, there is no direct eye contact, or direct verbal communication. They talk to each other through the computer under made up names. It is really fun to watch, being the sister and friend of many 'gamers.'

So much can be said about the internet or computers. When it came to writing, Thamus said 'What you [Theuth] have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory. ' It is rather scary to think what he would have to say about the invention of computers and the internet. Personally, I am very glad that Theuth is the father of writing. I am not a writer by any means, but I love reading stories, and seeing the lives of the characters play out in these fantasy-like worlds and ways. If it weren't for the written word, I highly doubt we could have made much advancement in any forms of technology, including my beloved computer.

This is link to a short video clip from the History Channel Website titled 'Modern Marvels: Great Inventions - Computers'






Continue reading "Technopoly" »

November 11, 2006

Math + Design

I don't know how I didn't think of this earlier! Every day you see them speeding by in their designated 'lanes.' It is a wonderful mode of transportation that takes less time than walking, it less detrimental to the environment than driving, and it helps keep you in shape! If you don't already know, I am talking about bicycles. More specifically, for this blog prompt, the wheels! The wheel consists of a rim connected to the hub by spokes.

The following are pictures of Hubs, Spokes, and a Rim
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Not sure what the connection is between math and design? The length of the spoke varies for the different sized hubs and rims. There are different calculations for crossed spokes (which are the ones normally used) and calculations for radially spoked wheels. In order for there to be a functional, it needs the calculations.

This is a picture is a flat view of a crossed wheel with one spoke visible.
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When looking for information on the structure of bike wheels, I came across a site on how to build a bike wheel, just for fun, here is the link!

Here is another fun one, the 'Spoke Length Calculator' which calculates lengths of spokes from hub and rim measurements!

October 23, 2006


For this prompt, I had a really had time thinking of an opposition where I have a resolution. When I looked back at my notes from lecture on the types of oppositions, ‘climate and enclosure’ stuck out. Having lived in Minnesota all my life, random changes in weather are not much of a big deal. That is, until I started going here, and walking became my main form of transportation.

A couple weeks back, there was a day with insanely strong winds. My favorite coat usually does a nice job at keeping the cold out, but that day, the coat seemed a little ineffective. I was freezing, as were the many shivering bodies filling the streets of campus. Then, I remembered a little adventure I went on earlier that week, where a friend and I tested out Gopher Way.

If you haven’t heard of Gopher Way, it is a tunnel system that connects the buildings throughout campus. If you haven’t been down in them, but have heard of them, they are a little tricky at first. If you pay close attention to the signs, and know the names of buildings and their relative location to one another, it gets a lot less complicated!

That day, Gopher Way was pretty quite with only a couple people wandering the paths, but I predict the narrow tunnels will be quite full of people when it starts snowing! Just a heads up, the tunnel goes all the way from Koltoff Hall to the parking ramp across from Rapson Hall. It might be quicker to take the short cut and cross through the mall, but if you leave a couple minutes early *especially for the first time out,* you will make it to class without having to get so cold!

Here is a link to see Gopher Way on East Bank, West Bank, and the Saint Paul Campus.

October 11, 2006


Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a cinematic phenomena, and an amazing series! Personally, if you haven’t seen it, you should. Buffy was written by an incredible director, by the name of Joss Whedon, who has also written and directed other fascinating series including Angle, and Firefly, as well as the movie Serenity (which follows the series Firefly). If you ask me, he is one of the most talented people in the film industry. BtVS is a series which follows the day to day lives of Buffy and her close friends, Willow, Xander, and the librarian Giles. Together, they form ‘the Scoobies,’ They fight demons and other unworldly creatures on a daily basis. The process that they use to defeat the demons is rather structured. Once they encounter a demon, Buffy and the gang research the demon’s history, powers, and weaknesses (among other things). They use what information they have, along with a collection of weapons, to find and destroy it. In each season, there are the ‘big bads’ and then the day to day slayage of vampires and other lower-level demons. The series isn’t just about fighting demons and averting apocalypses, however. Although there are no ‘real’ demons in our world, many of situations they are confronted with can be compared to the experiences we encounter throughout our lives. There are complex relationships between the characters, which are continually evolving throughout the seven seasons. You see acts of love, hatred, compassion, fear, and comedy. There is an assortment of comics, videogames, books, and other merchandise that are results of the series. I own all seven seasons on DVD, and have a small collection of books including a couple ‘Watcher Guides,’ ‘the Monster Book,’ to name a few.

This is an image of one of ‘The Gentlemen’ from the episode ‘Hush’

This is a picture of some of the cast from season 4

October 9, 2006

My Meaningful Place

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz said it best “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.? The most meaningful place to me is where is all started, where I grew up and became the person I am today. My home was not just a roof over my head, it was a place where I could always be myself, or, when playing, someone else! Every inch is filled with memories that were created together with friends and family. It was my playground, and I was free to be creative and imaginative. It isn’t the house itself that is significant to me. It is everything that this house has allowed me to explore, all the people who live here, who stay here, and who also find importance in this very special place. The following photos are a glimps of how I spent my time here. I’m sure there are some of which many of you can relate!






…moments with my big brother

…dress up

Me, my mom, and my big brother…

An article about home schooling that I was in…

September 26, 2006

Social Design Issue

Most people have experienced the public school systems at some point in their childhood. Not all public schools are the same, but many share similar characteristics in their building plans. By this, I am referring to the small class sizes with rows of desks, and on occasion the window without much of a view. The lack of enthusiasm showed by students and teachers alike have a strong role to play in the dullness of the public school environment. As designers, we can’t change the students and teachers attitude by simply telling them ‘cheer up!’ However, we could change the design of the school. Making it more interactive, and interesting. Focusing less on the typical structure that exists today, and creating a place where people want to go. A place, that encourages learning! You could, for example, have the student’s decorate the interior of the classrooms with murals or colorful projects. This would make the room more inviting, and personal. By making small changes like this, people can help encourage the students. Having happy and excited students would make the teachers’ job much less stressful. On an even bigger, and more design-intensive level, the entire building’s shape could be changed. For example, having a school in the shape of a number eight. There could be a cafeteria or indoor recreation center in either of the circles with a glass roof, or a roof with natural lighting. Because of the shape of the building, there would be no rooms without windows. That way, you could have more natural light throughout the building, and conserve energy by using less electricity. I think this could be a good approach towards the development of more creative and enthusiastic students. It would also help the environment by using less electricity.

September 18, 2006

International Exchange

This weekend, I went to the Midtown Market with a couple of classmates. When we got there, we went off in separate directions and took some pictures. I was confronted by a couple of people when I was taking photos, and got a little too nervous to take more before I got some good ones. The place was fascinating! Even though I didn’t capture much on camera, the experience was one I will remember for years to come! There were venders from all corners of the world, and I got to buy some Pocky! It’s a candy from Japan that tastes similar to chocolate-dipped pretzels. It wasn’t very crowded when we went, but there were a lot of families that were there shopping around at the different stores. It was fun watching people at the food places, because there were a lot of things I had never seen before. For example, there was a person who was hand-tossing a pizza, and he let me take a couple pictures while he was doing it, which was incredible! After he finished cooking it, I had a piece, and it was delicious! A couple of other cool things that happened while we were there include a ‘balloon man’ who was making some balloon creatures for the children *of all ages* who were there with their families. This created a very friendly atmosphere, and it made it exciting on a more child-like level. Also, there was a local musician who played a couple songs in the seating area where we enjoyed the pizza. It was very relaxing. There was this stand, where a man was selling some hat designs he had created. He was full of enthusiasm and was very entertaining to watch when he was selling one of his designs to a lady. There were a lot of reasons to go back, and I hope to return sometime soon to look more closely at what they had to sell, and maybe try on some traditional clothes from other parts of the world, and perhaps learn more about them as a culture and society.