December 5, 2006

Different Ideas

After reading "Fab", I really want to take Gershenfeld's course, "How To Make (almost) Anything" at MIT. Gershenfeld talks of personal fabricators and how they are the future. A personal fabricator allows a person to build something to their needs and desires. I was really interested in continue reading because I have heard nothing of this previous to the article. Gershenfeld talks of how our lives revolve around computers and our computers lives around other computers. He stated that personal fabricators are going along the same process as the PC, in the way that it started off limited, then very expensive, then it will become worldwide. Right now it is on the expensive step. His students were not making things for scientific reasons, but they were more curious about the things they were interested in. "Instead, the learning process was driven by the demand for, rather than supply of, knowledge."
personal fabrication.JPG
Kahn, talks of silence and light. To him light seems to be everything. Every building structure must have light, even a dark room. “I should like to say that even a room which must be dark must have at least a crack of light to know how dark it is.� Right away this is a simple statement, but after examining and thinking about his rationale, I actually understand it. What is dark if there is not light? What is light if there is no dark?
Trying to connect the two readings, both authors talk about how technology is changing our lifestyles. Gershenfeld gives me the idea that technology and personal fabricators are a good thing, whereas Kahn gives the impression that technology isn’t our greatest asset, rather it is us the creator.

November 28, 2006

Technopoly

After reading through the article Technopoly by Neil Postman I have developed my understanding of a technopoly. A technolopy is a new form of technology that somehow betters our way of life, and after it betters our way of life, we are told of how bad it is for us. As I am writing this blog, I am using a technolopy . The Blog has taken the journal and made it an online event for everyone to read. Blogging and the e-mail are technologies that make our lives so much easier. We do not need to mail a hand-written note across the country when we can type it and send it in less than a second. With these technolopies come instant messaging and text messaging.

email-example.BMP

Communication is a technolopy in itself. At first glance, these technolopies don’t seem to harm us in any manner, but maybe in ten years we will discover that we are less social beings. If all we do is communicate through machines all day and never in person, this is a possible scenario.

laptop.jpg

November 6, 2006

Design and Mathematics

Thinking of how I could tie design and math together, I thought of the calendar year. Not our calendar, but that of the Mayans in which they created thousands of years ago. They built the Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichén Itzá, which acted as a calendar for them. This pyramid had four staircases with 91 steps, and a platform at the top which equals 365. This is remarkable considering that the Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichén Itzá was built in approximately 1050. An amazing amount of math went into designing an entire pyramid that resembles a calendar year.
The Pyramid of Kukulkan 1- El Castillo - at Chichen-Itza P.gif
Moving from the Mayans Pyramid, to the Egyptians pyramids which also had a great deal of math in their design. In class we talked about mathematics being a part of the realm of physical phenomena, and the great pyramids definitely fall under this classification. Some of the pyramids had more than 2 million stones each weighing 2 1/2 tons. It is amazing to think of the different levy and pulley systems that needed to be thought out in order to build these massive structures. Without math and a little bit of science there is no way that the Egyptians could have built such a remarkable structure.
The-Great-Pyramids.jpg
Also thinking of mathematics and design, I thought of solar panels. Solar panels are a good source of energy, because it is natural. We don’t need to burn fuels and waste resources, we just need to maximize the “right� resources that we are given. To effectively use solar panels, they need to be configured to receive the most sunlight. Certain angles need to be calculated so that the panels are maximized to their potential, like the picture below.
solar panel.jpg
Designing with solar panels adds another factor of math into our design equation.

October 23, 2006

Oppositions

As I was walking around this past weekend, I tried to notice things that would fall under this blog prompt. I was able to come up with a couple oppositions in our lives. First of all, it can get very cold in the winter months in Minnesota. I couldn’t imagine living outside in December or January. Our solution to the cold is shelter and heat. Without heat, we would slowly die. Heat has been around forever with fire as a source. From fire, we have developed using gas and electricity. Another opposition we have is overcrowding. Having over 400,000 people living in Minneapolis just doesn't work. Our resolution to this opposition of overcrowding is building up. We build apartment buildings and houses multiple stories so less space is occupied. I thought of a problem that may be an opposition, and doesn't yet have a solution is cancer. Cancer takes lives at an absurd rate, and we don't have a cure for it yet. It is man against a phenomenon. We don't know why we get cancer, and we don't know how to stop it, but we have thought of ways to slow it down and make it go away for periods of time (chemo). This is the biggest opposition of our time, as we struggle to find a resolution for it.

October 9, 2006

Phenomena

As I was trying to think of phenomena to write about for this prompt, I came across the idea of volcanoes. I chose to talk about volcanoes because they are such an amazing part of life. The power that is exerted from them is unbelievable and is simply miraculous. They involve things, framework, and clockwork. A volcano consists of many things. Rocks and magma are two things that are heavily involved in volcanoes. The rocks and magma have a measurable mass, and each has their own attributes. The framework of a volcano would be the landmass that it occupies, where the magma is exerted from beneath the earths surface. Clockworks are involved in volcanoes because we have the ability to predict when the "next big one" is expected. We may not be able to say that a volcano will erupt on Wednesday the 2nd, but volcanoes act in clockworks so we can say that a volcano erupts every fifty years.

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October 2, 2006

My Meaningful Place

When thinking of a meaningful place, I thought of the time I spent overseas. I traveled to the U.A.E. during my senior year of high school (2005) and it was an amazing place. Everything there seemed to fascinate me, from the people to the buildings to the natural landscape. One night we, went on a tour through the dessert. Sounds kind of crazy, but we got to fly off of dunes in our SUV. Being out in the middle of nowhere gave me a tranquil, relaxed attitude. I couldn't think of anything but how big the dessert was. It went on and on for miles. When the night settled, everything was simple. I use the word simple because there were no televisions being tuned, or no stock market analyzing, the life there was in its own time. I have a lot of appreciation for this place, because I was so relaxed in a foreign land. The sand was so fine, it was just like beach sand through my toes. The genius loci can be described by the people who worked at this camp in the dessert. The hold the energy and spirit of this place, because live this way everyday. Every morning they woke up to a enormous sunrise over the dunes. These people that worked here got to experience life’s little pleasures that we don't get to experience all the time in our everyday lives.

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September 25, 2006

Bike Lanes

With thousands of people traveling to work and school at the University of Minnesota, the traffic can get very congested. Instead of using a car for transportation, I choose to ride my bicycle to avoid the hectic driving you get with a car. It is hard for us who ride bicycles because there are limited bike lanes, and we are unable to ride on most sidewalks, so we are forced to ride with traffic. When rush hour is in effect, is when riding on the city streets becomes difficult. Cars aren't as aware as they should be, and it can be scary at some times. Some roads here on campus have bike lanes, but more are still needed. There is a lane on 4th Street, but it ends shortly after it begins. I don't think that University Ave. even has one, so I usually ride on the sidewalks trying to avoid hitting walking pedestrians. Alternative means of transportation are always being encouraged instead of the automobile, but not enough is being done in support of these alternative means. People won't take action if it is harder than what they are doing now, and currently driving a car is easier than a bicycle on this campus. It is hard to develop new lanes within a campus that already has so much, but they do have some space that they can designate bike only lanes similar to the lanes over the Washington Ave. bridge. I am waiting for the day when we have flying cars, so that bicycles can use the road below, but unitl then we need to add more bike lanes on our campus!

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September 18, 2006

Midtown Market

As I first entered the market place, I noticed the big space that it occupied. I am from this area, so I know that this place was recently renovated from the old Sears building. I entered in a door by the Holy Land Bakery, so I got this tremendous scent of food. It smelt so good, I had to go and get a gyro right away. As I sat and ate my sandwich, I saw a lot of people that looked to be on their lunch break. Some were construction workers, others businessmen, nurses and doctors. And there were people employed here at the market cleaning up after those who chose to take their lunch break here. I assume that if I would have come here at a different time, I would have seen a totally different crowd. This place is a big attraction because it is in the center of so many other businesses, and there is a huge hospital very close to the market.
Energy can be a action or a source of power. The energy (as a action) was unbelievable. There were tons of people, and each had their own agenda. Some were in a rush, and others were just out for a stroll. One way to produce some energy (as a action) would be to have some live music playing. Nothing heavy or noisy, but a nice quiet piano or something to that nature. People would definitely get in the mood when they step into the Midtown Market. Energy (as a source of power) could rely less on artificial lighting and more natural lighting. If there were more windows, I think that it would bring the outside in, and the inside out. The building would feel more in place if all the exterior walls were replaced with gigantic windows.