November 27, 2006

technopoly

Based on the Postman reading and my notes a technopoly seems to be a culture in which the world view is predicated on technologies. The people in a technopoly blindly and totally believe in the power of technology aove everything else. They think technology is great, and is the means by which humans progress.

I guess I am not a believer in this view. I think technology is really cool, but I don't really know if it is improving our lives. People in technopolies generally have lots of money and stuff and can do a lot more things than people in tool-using cultures, but our their lives better?

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Technology and Nature both evolve. Like organisms in nature, technology changes to fit our needs or is replaced by better technology. However, the evolution in technology is much faster than evolution in nature. It takes many generations for a measurable change to occur in a species, whereas a newer, better, technological something comes out every day.

Despite this important similarity, technology isn’t an order of nature. Evolution is a tool used to support life. It allows nature to order life into complex ecosystems. Technology, as we know it, is separate from nature. It started out as a way for early humans to support their lives, but nowadays, most technology does little to support life and often times can hinder it. Nuclear weapons, global warming, and overpopulation are all results of technology. To me, something that harms nature as much as technology does can’t be considered an order of nature.

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November 5, 2006

math images

My first image is about a specific branch of math, but I think it illustrates the general feeling most people have towards math.

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For the sake of this blog I decided to try to work though my personal feelings about math and try to find some interesting images, and I succeeded. I found some great images of fractals. Fractals are, "Geometrical entities characterized by basic patterns that are repeated at ever decreasing sizes. They are relevant to any system involving self-similarity repeated on diminished scales (such as a fern's structure) as in the study of chaos."

Basically, a fractal is a formula. When they are entered into a computer, and expressed geometrically, they contain little copies of themselves buried in the original. They also have infinite detail, so the more you zoom in the more detail you get. Fractals also occur in nature. Fern leaves and trees are fractals. A twig looks like a branch looks like a trunk looks like a tree. Im not really sure what their application is in mathematics, but I think the most important thing is that they look cool. I found these and about 400 others at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gekitsuu/

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October 23, 2006

Mississippi

On Friday I saw a barge go into the lock that is next to the stone arch bridge. The series of locks and dams on the Mississippi are an opposition of man and land, and an opposition of gravity and movement. Man wants to use the river to move stuff up and down the river and gravity and the river want to transport water downstream. This is an opposition because barge’s can’t be moved on the river in its natural state. Mans resolution to this is to channel the river and make locks and dams. I would guess that the locks and dams would be a way of enveloping the opposition, because they surround the water and force it to stay at a certain depth. Wing dams force the opposition to sculpt the form. They make the river flow through a narrower chanal. When the river is forced to do this it eliminates the opposition between the water and the river bottom by eroding the soil and going deeper. This allows bigger boats to go through.

There are other possible resolutions to this opposition. We used to build boats for the Mississippi that allowed the river to sculpt their form. Riverboats were big, but they were built so that they could travel in very shallow water.

Another response would be to eliminate the opposition. If we didn’t use the river for shipping, we wouldn’t care how deep it was and there wouldn’t be an opposition. The problem with this solution is that it only transfers the opposition from Man and the River to Man and the Land. If we don’t move stuff on the river we still have to move it somehow. We can use trucks, or trains, or plains, but the river is by far the most efficient form of shipping.

Efficiency Comparison (Number of Ton Miles per Gallon of Fuel)
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http://www.arc.gov/index.do?nodeId=2571&print=yes

October 13, 2006

Service Learning

I started my forced volunteering this week. It went well. I was at Marcy Open School helping with an asl class after school. I think the kids were about third or fourth graders. It was a big class, almost 30 kids, and they were really wild. They were a lot of fun and I think it will be a positive experience.

the difference between iron and steel

Iron is an element, steel is an alloy. Steel is made from Iron. It is an alloy made up of iron and carbon. Other metals can also be added to steel to produce alloys with different characteristics. For instance steel with chromium added is stainless steel. Unlike regular steel it doesn’t rust. Steel is used extensively in buildings. Steel beams, studs, nails, bolts, doors, and siding are commonly used in residential construction. I believe rerod and wire mesh used in cement is made of iron. In larger buildings steel is used even more in the structures of the buildings. Iron was used first, then cast iron, then wrought iron, and now steel. We use steel instead or iron because its stronger than iron; superior in tension and compression.

October 9, 2006

Fall

Fall is a phenomena. It has things: color, light, temperature, humidity. It has frameworks: where we are plants and animals detect the changes in the enviornment and prepare themselves for winter. It has clockworks: during fall the season transitions from summer to winter.

Fall is the phenomena of a change in our environment. The earth tilts slightly on its axis as it is in this stage of its rotation around the sun. The effect of this that we perceive is that it gets colder outside and all the plants die. Don't worry though, many of them will be back next year. A lot of people think of the leaves changing color on trees during fall, so here is a picture of that:

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Fall is really an excellent phenomena. Its pretty, and there's lots of stuff going on. Its hunting season, its harvest on the farm, and there is Halloween and thanksgiving. The world goes on after fall but in a climate like ours it’s just not the same. Fall is the last burst of activity before the weather gets cold and life slows down for the winter.

If you want to see a sword fight with a fall theme watch hero:

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October 2, 2006

Cannery Row

My favorite place in a book is Cannery Row. It is a meaningful place because it is the setting of my favorite book. I have never been to this place and my knowledge of it comes mainly from a work of fiction. In reality Cannery Row is a real part of Monterey California that borders the Pacific Ocean. It is a real plac3e and many of the buildings that Steinbeck writes about really exist. My affection for this place and the reason it is meaningful to me are based on the book and not on reality. The place has a spirit of industry and poverty. The community is centered around a big fish cannery, although the book doesn’t have much to do with it directly.The main setting is the area around the cannery which consists of junkyards, abandoned buildings, small unexceptional businesses, and various types of houses. I t is not a place people would typically want to live, or visit, or have anything to do with. The book is about the people that do live there. This place has spirit of realism but not pessimism. You get the sense that it is not a good place, but its really not that bad.

Here are maps of Steinbecks Cannery Row and the real place.
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Here's a street in Cannery Row that is typical of the place.
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my neighbor

less than twenty minutes ago I met my neighbor. We were supposed to talk to someone we normally wouldn't and I normally wouldnt have talked to her this morning because Im in a hurry. Ive seen her outside her house a few times because she has a dog but Ive never talked to her befor. Her name is Robin and she seems really nice. I already know 4 of my other neighbors a little bit, so now I know 5.

September 24, 2006

commuting

To get to school every day I either walk or bike. Biking is a lot faster than walking, but biking can be kind of a pain. Some of the bike paths leading to school could use improvement. I take University Ave to school and 4th St home. University works well because there is a bike path on the side of the street all the way to school. 4th St doesn’t work as well. There is a bike path on 4th except between 15th Ave. and 13th Ave. For this two block space bikers have to merge with traffic or ride on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is pretty congested sometimes, and there are big circles painted on the sidewalk with a bike crossed out in the middle. If you pay attention to these signs your only choice is to merge with traffic for a couple blocks. This isn’t a big deal most of the time, but if there is a lot of traffic it sucks. There are less than twenty parking spots on the left side of the road between 13th Ave. and 15th Ave. They should eliminate those spots and make the bike path go through.

The University and the city seem to be pretty serious about reducing traffic and carbon monoxide emissions around campus. Students are offered a bus pass for $62 per semester while everyone else pays more than that for one month. The PTS website says they increased public transit use at the U by 80% in two years. That’s great, but they don’t seem very serious about getting people to ride bikes. Busses are good for reducing emissions but bikes are even better.

September 17, 2006

Midtown Market

Energy is movement and power and a feeling you get in a place. There was a lot of energy in the Midtown market. The main sources of this energy are the people and the food. There is a lot of food at the market and it brings a lot of energy. It creates energy by looking good and smelling good and drawing people to the place. People use energy to get to the place. Its in the middle of nowhere, and it can be hard to find if all you know is that its on Lake Street. The most obvious ways for people to create energy at the market are to bring something there to sell or to bring money there to spend. The exchange of money for goods is an exchange of energy. People put energy into the stuff they make for the market and other people put energy into making money which they use at the market. This exchange of one type of energy for another is what brings people to the market. What makes the market more interesting is the energy that the people bring in the form of their attitude. There were a lot of people there when I was there Sat. afternoon, and I don’t like crowds, but this crowd was different than your ordinary crowd. People are not at the market just to buy stuff, they are actually interested in what is going on there and it helps give the place a lot of positive energy.