December 2, 2006

The Desire to Express Oneself


I found that while reading both “Fab� by Gershenfeld and the article about light and silence by Kahn that there was a shared idea. This idea has to with expressing oneself in any way that they feel like. Kahn takes the side that any living thing has the desire to express themselves whether it be a human, animal, plant, or anything else that is living. These expressions can be as simple as what to eat or they way it moves. It doesn’t matter what it is doing as long as it is expressing itself. Kahn’s colleague Ricolais stated that man did not decide to make the first thing because of the knowledge he had obtained, but because he wanted to validate himself and feed his intuition.
Humans choose to express themselves a lot through creation. For example artist Ahuva Mu'alem created this painting to express his feelings.
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Kahn belives that like artwork and other creations “everything must begin with poetry.�
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Gershenfeld describes more about why men create, specifically through technology. He believes that it has to do with the desire to create something personal, to gain the satisfaction of creating it and of using it after it has been created. When he began his class at MIT many more students registered than he was expecting, which he explains, is because of our desire to fabricate products that fulfill our own pleasure or needs. Even those students who didn’t have any background with technology were willing to learn what to do to express themselves through their creation. For example Kelly created the Scream Body which allows one to scream into the device which will muffle the sound so that it does not bother anyone else.
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I definitely agree with what both authors say because I can see that in myself. When I work really hard on something and am proud of what I’ve created I want to show it to anyone around me even if they have no idea what I was trying to create. Most of the time they are supportive, but no one besides me really understands what this piece means to me, what exactly I was trying to express and the feeling of validity I have gained from it.

November 28, 2006

Technopolies

I was very interested in reading about technopolies because they truly have a significant impact on our world. As stated in lecture, “Technology neither adds nor subtracts. It is ecological. It changes everything.� I believe that most of society doesn’t realize how technology has changed the way our society works over the years. Just look back at how our parents and grandparents lived their lives and you can see the differences. For example, my mom was one of thirteen kids growing up on a farm with one or two cars, depending on the year. To go out to dinner they fifteen people would have to jam in ten seats, which explains why this rarely happened. Today, many families have a car for every driver living at home, and in some cases an extra car for summer or someone who will become a driver. In my opinion, automobiles as a technopoly have had one of the biggest impacts on our world.

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Cars have changed where we live, people were able to move further away from the city and commute to the city to work or to buy things. They have changed the way we consume. We can easily drive to a store anywhere around the cities and deliveries will get to us much faster than before. Automobiles have changed our exercise habits. When we have cars to get everywhere we all walk a lot less and get a lot less exercise. In my opinion, the greatest negative impact that cars have had on our world is the environmental impact.

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The amount of smog that has been created by automobiles is significant. At least in the last several years we have realized what a problem this is, what with global warming and the hole in the ozone, and begun the building of hybrid cars.

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Building these vehicles will greatly help with this problem, but the issue is, is that it is taking a long time to get these cars out in the market and the first models are expensive. It will still take many years for hybrid cars to really get into many garages around the world. The other reason we need to switch to less fuel dependant on automobiles, they way they are today, is because as a nation we are very dependant on foreign oil. I believe that many of our relations with third world countries is based on oil, and the sooner we become more self-sufficient and less dependant on other countries. Switching to hybrid cars will help to move us in this direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Obviously vehicles have brought many advantages, but just like all technopolies/technological advancements there is a negative side. We should not stop making new advancements in technology, but be aware that they will have a downside and ready to help fix those problems as soon as we see there presence.

November 5, 2006

Numbers in Nature


In our world it can be easy to find patterns. For me, this is one of my favorite pastimes. I am a dork, finding an acronym for every license plate I see. I named my friends car, with a license plate NVC, not very cool. She doesn’t like it much. I also will try to walk on the sidewalk fitting the same number of steps into every concrete block. But for me my favorite place to find patterns and mathematics in is nature.

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For example, you can cut a tree down and examine the number of rings in the trunk telling us how long the tree has lived. Now I do not advocate cutting any trees down, but if we’ve got to we might as well learn a little from it.

NiN2.jpg Another example is the scales on a snake or any other reptile. When looking closely you can see how geometric each scale is. They all look identical to each other as well. For other animals that don’t have scales their fur or hair resides on the body in very specific patterns for various reasons.

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Like the peacock, whose feathers are in a very particular pattern. Sexual selection has caused the male peacock to grow the brightest and biggest tail to attract a mate. This exact pattern of feathers will allow this peacock to reproduce and pass down this trait or die without any offspring, even though the heavy tail makes it more difficult for the peacock to run away from predators. This pattern in nature has a very specific goal.

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The snowflake always intrigues me because of how symmetrical it is. I always wondered how a small amount of water frozen to the perfect degree can create such a symmetrical piece of ice only to melt much of the time as soon as it hits the ground.

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Flowers are also quite mathematical. Each flower has a very different type of pedal and a different amount of pedals, but it usually depends on the species. Colors also vary within and between species of flowers, and you will very rarely see a mixture of two different colors or flowers. And that usually happens when humans intervene for cross-breeding. Nature however sticks to its patterns as stays within specie borders.

October 24, 2006

Man vs. Time

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Being in college most of us find that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get done everything that we need to get done. I haven’t entered the workforce yet, but it seems that this feeling does not leave us when we get a career. Not only do we all have school or jobs that we need to put effort into, but we have friends, family, significant others, interests, hobbies, responsibilities, obligations, the list goes on and on. Man has a very significant opposition with the length of the day, with time. One very obvious resolution (to us now) came to us many years ago when the light bulb was invented. Along with the invention of the clock our world became obsessed with getting everything done as fast as we could and now we could work longer. This all created even more to do and days that used to be for relaxing and family, such as Sunday, now became days to catch up on everything we didn’t get to do during the week. So in my opinion although in some ways the opposition of man and the length of the day was resolved by the invention of the light bulb the opposition of man and time still needs to be addressed. I think that this can only be helped by the individuals who want to make this change in our lives. It is about balancing everything that is important while making sure that your priorities that you have set are being met.

October 5, 2006

Love!

I realize that maybe love isn't the most creative thing in the world, but none the less I believe that love is the greatest phenomena there is. Maybe I feel this way because I am in love and no matter what I do it weaves into everything I think about and everything I do. Love is everything to me. People are the most important things to me and I try the best I can to keep the ones I love close.
Love is a phenomena. The "things" it contains are the two people in love. They have mass, shape, are measurable, etc. Framework is defined as a fixed number of things in a relationship which is definately the two people that are in love. No one else can enter into that relationship, although others can complicate the relationship, the two people alone are what make it up. Along with that trust, communication, friendship, attraction, shared beliefs, and a "give and take relationship" are also components of the framework of a loving relationship although not neccessarily considered things. Although every relationship may run on a different type of clockwork I believe that every relationship has one. You go through happy times and harder times that continue to play over and over like a rollercoaster. You get angry about something, you fight about it, you make up, you live very happily in love for a while and they you get angry again. A phenomena is defined as something precieved by the senses or mind and love does that. You not only know when you're in love, but you're whole body can feel it, especially when the other person is around. Love has an origin, it has boundry conditions, and it exibits change and behavioral characteristics (stable or unstable).
It is true that not all definitions of framework, clockwork, and phenomena are completely met by love. It's clockwork is not always stable and predictable, and part of it's framework is not neccessarily characterized as things, but no one can argue that love is not a phenomena. With all the stresses that we encounter and all the outside factors that can hurt a relationship it is a phenomena that love can still move on. It takes work and it isn't always perfect, but love is worth it no matter how long it lasts or how painful it can sometimes be. Every lost love brings you closer and makes you wiser for the next love until you find the one that will last forever. And for that reason love is one of the greatest phenomenons there are.


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October 1, 2006

Whitewater State Park

My favorite place in the world is Whitewater State Park. When my dad was in college his broomball team decided to spend a weekend one summer at Whitewater State Park, at a group campsite. They loved it so much that they came back the next year bringing their girlfriends and as the years followed their wives and children. In the last 30 years it has grown into a very family oriented weekend in which the second generation (my age and my sblings ages) have begun bringing their spouses and children.
One of the reasons I love this Park is of course the scenery. Our campground is private to us for the weekend and in the middle of a valley, so on both sides of us beautiful green trees climb up very steep cliffs. A river runs through the east side of the campground which means we don't have any mosquitos and the sound of the river is very calming. Also during the day the sun illuminates through the trees and gives us a gorgeous view of the surrounding nature.
Probably the main reason why I love Whitewater is the atmosphere, the spirit that it embodies and emplaces in us and we arrive there. Between the days of solitary relaxation of reading, swimming at the beach, or hiking, and the evenings of social tournaments (Jarts and cards) it is the perfect mixture of activities. Many people use this weekend to escape from the hectic work week and take time for themselves, get back to nature, so they can go back refreshed and reenergized. For many its about being around the people you love (in my picture are my boyfriend and one of my best friends in our cabin), some of whom you see everyday, and some you only get to see once a year. But none the less the mixture of "you" time and traditions with the people you love brings you b ack to a place we don't always get to go when we have countless responsibilities to take care of. The spirit of Whitewater brings us back to more carefree days either starting from college or maybe even the time you were born, we all started coming here in a more carefree state and everytime we return Whitewater can pull us back to those feelings and when we leave hopefully we'll always take more of that with us than when we arrived.


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September 21, 2006

Million Dollar Condos

I believe that a major social-design issue in our lives today is that most of our housing efforts are focused on very expensive condos and monsterous developements in the suburbs. But where does that leave low-income families? When they don't have anywhere to go homelessness becomes more evident. It has always been very difficult for me to drive down the road and see beggers at many intersections along the way or people sleeping outside of building in the middle of the winter, which we know in Minnesota is not pleasant. I think this issue is something that designers, architects, and engineers alike should take on. If people could work together to work on finding the cheapest way possible to build, with cheap materials and possibly help from the community to put it together. Also with the intention to build a structure that is very easy to maintain would help keep costs down after the intial purchasing of the stucture. Either for apartmant complexes of houses it is importnat that we prioritze low income families and build these structures so that it is cheaper for them to purchase and maintain compared to even recent low income housing. As a community people need to help out those less fortunate than them more than we are right now, and finding a cheap but quality place for them to live should more of a priority than building expensive condos and large suburban complexes. The market is already saturated in them. This social issue of needing a place for low income families to stay without having to worry if they can afford rent next month is an issue that can be helped with design if we really make a priority to change it.

September 18, 2006

Energy in Lake Street

An important thing to know about energy, including energy given from buildings and art, is that it is a very experience for everyone. We all have our own interpretation. Different colors and designs effect us in very different ways. For me energy is defined through bright colors, light, and shapes that suggest movement. Energetic designing makes me feel something. It can change my mood to a happier mood or can move me to take action about something. The murals up and down Lake Street definately have this effect on me. They really make me stop and thoroughly look at what the artist(s) were trying to tell us. What message they were trying to get across. Most make me feel proud of the diverse culture of people I live in because no two are the same. That is the same with the buildings. They are much more unique than the suburbs of which i was raised in. I feel inspired to learn about others, to see the way other people see the world. I would use the area in Lake Street to meet people and learn about others. To sit around and watch how others go about their day. I would echange enery here by having those conversations and learning about the people of this area. And I would create to share my point of view on the world. I am a very optimistic person and I love to smile and I would want to share that with others with bright colors, lots of light, and interesting shapes or ideas. I want to get people to take another look and think about buildings in a new way. Maybe to inspire others to want to learn about me or the things I will create.