November 28, 2006

Technopoly and Technology in the Order of Nature

There is a strong relationship between technology and its effects on the world/environment. Most technologies are developed with the goal of helping society. Most are aimed at making our environment and lives easier or better. Technology is a huge money making phenomenon. Technology direcly influences the way our current world operates and exists. One thing a lot of people don't realize about technology however, is its negative effects on the environment and the individuals of our society. The negative effects can be obvious, as in the case of nuclear weapons, but sometimes the negative aspects are considerably more hidden. supervalu.jpg SuperValu is a huge company that provides food services for a enormous number of grocery stores nationwide. I recently had a conversation with family friend who works indirectly for SuperValu. She let me in on some information concerning how SuperValu works. The company has huge warehouses that are responsible for loading semi-trucks with the food that eventually finds its way into grocery stores. I've driven past a few of these warehouses. One of them sits off of highway 169 and excelsior blvd in Hopkins. The size of these warehouses amazes me. Distribution_Center_Arial_view.jpg
When talking with my family friend the topic of how many people work at one of these factories over a typical day shift. She had me guess before telling me. I guessed something like 4 or 5 hundred people. Upon relaying this figure my friend laughed at me. I then offered another guess of one thousand people. Her laughs only intensified. She then informed me that on a typical day shift at one of these massive warehouses only fifteen people work the entire operation. SuperValu has developed such advanced warehouse technology that a mere 15 people operate enourmous buildings. The whole thing is done through computer controlled automated loading systems. SUPERVALU_Distribution_Technology_view.jpg SUPERVALU_Distribution_Outbound_view.jpg There are obvious advantages to such an advanced operations. Immediatley after learning this i started thinking about the huge number of jobs this technology eliminated. This is where i think the technology becomes a technopoly. The automation of this huge industry is putting huge numbers of working individuals out of jobs. It almost eliminates a whole industry of employment. There are still a lot of jobs involved in the overall industry such as truck drivers, grocery store employees, and in house corporate postions but the warehouses are almost employment free with computers doing the majority of the work. grocery-distribution.jpg
This technopoly is directly related to the role of technology as a order of nature. Everyone needs food. The SuperValu company provides huge quantities of quality food for people across the nation. A long time ago people had to farm for thier food. In our current day and age the process of acquiring food is becoming considerably easier. Whole grocery orders can be made online and its delivered to your front doorstep. I foresee the process of buying food only getting easier in the future. It is an order of nature to acquire food and technology is leading the way in the ease of this process. I feel that overall this is a good thing but I fear in the development of this technopoly an increase in automated tasks will lead to fewer and fewer jobs for the American population. Food is good...I like food.
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November 8, 2006

design and mathmatics

The connection between math and design is inevitable. Almost everything that is designed has to do with math somehow. The designer might not always be aware of the technical mathematical issues being dealt with, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Like one of our assigned readings recently stated, math touches everything having to do with shapes and numbers. Design almost always innvolves shapes and/or numbers. The first thing that pops into my head when thinking about design and math is skateboarding...(surprised?). Designing and building skateboard ramps relies completly on math. mini ramp.jpg
mini ramp 2.jpg spine.gifhexramplong.gif Building ramps like these innvolve mathematical planning. These are simple ramps. These can be built with relativley easy math and design. Things get much more complicated when a whole skatepark is being designed and built. When multiple ramps are placed together a great deal of design goes into making sure the features will work well together. Lots of factors go into the design of skateparks such as speed and trajectory.burnside_pano_1.jpg burnside.jpg burnside1.jpg
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If skateboard ramps are desinged poorly they become useless sculpture. Math plays a huge role in making sure the design of ramps is sound. In big scale ramps poor design can become dangerous. Speed and trajectory rely on pitch, length, height, and other mathematical calculations. 040709_xgx_sktbigaircourse.jpg 050629bigair3d600x440.jpgbig_air_mega_200300.bmpxgames_bigairramp2.jpg xgames_bigairramp.jpgway_air.jpg

October 24, 2006

Oppositions

There are tons of oppositions in the world. In lecture oppositions were compared to the "ying and yang" relationship of two things. Every action has an equal and opposite counter reaction. One opposition that affects me on a daily basis has to do with school. There is a direct relationship between studying and grades. There is also a direct relationship between sleep and health. If studying compramises sleep habits, personal health may drop and therefore class might be missed. Regardless of study habits, when too much class is missed grades can drastically drop. The opposition lies in the relationship between grades, study habits, and health. 119086342_32647dc98a_m.jpg

Another opposition that effects me is the relationship between gravity and doing snowboarding tricks. Most acts on a snowboard depend completley on gravity's effect on the rider. When this effect goes wrong people fall, when the balance works out people land tricks. People that master this opposition become profesional snowboarders and people who can't get hurt. gigi_ruf_1.jpg
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A much more serious, and deadly opposition is the relationship between medical research and the AIDS epidemic. AIDS is a deadly disease that still has no cure. This opposition kills enormous amounts of people on a daily basis. Researchers continue to search for a cure, but as of now, the virus is winning the battle. This opposition innvolves a lot of components such as sexual habits, medical research and resource, technological advancement, and education. All these factors affect the outcome of this opposition in the past, present, and future. avertp12.jpg
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This opposition has deep rooted impacts on the health of society as a whole. This opposition between medical advancement and deadly virus changes the face of the world everyday.

October 10, 2006

Bird Flu

One phenomena that hasn't yet occured but that could have very serious concequences is Bird Flu. Most scientist believe it is not a matter of whether or not bird flu will affect the human race, but rather when it will happen. This is a disease that has the potential to kill numerous people. My sister just told me that a speaker she heard on the subject discussed his opion that something like 1 in 20 people will die once bird flu crosses the species bridge and begins affecting humans. bird_flu.jpg
THINGS INVOLVED- germs, hospitals, gas masks
FRAMEWORKS INVOLVED- The disease itself is a framework in the way that it affects and destroys the human body. bird_flu.gif
ClOCKWORKS INVOLVED- The life cycle of the disease. This is a disease that changes over time and constantly reinvents itself.
PHENOMENA- A huge number of deaths, Streets lined with bodies because there is nøt enough hospital space or space to contain the dead. A shortage of coffins. Epidemic.
This is a huge problem that most people are not preparing for or even thinking about. This phenomena has the potential to cause huge losses and problems for society and the world as we know it.

October 3, 2006

Yellowstone Club Montana

The Yellowstone club is a private ski resort located near Big Sky Montana. I had the rare opportunity to experience this special place in January of 2006. To become a member of the Yellowstone club community, in addition to paying a hefty yearly fee, you must buy a peice of property within the community. The lots start at aroun one million dollars. In addition to this your house built on the lot must be approved by a panel of Yellowstone club board members to maintain a certain level of asthetic excellence. I am not a member of this ellite private community, but i have a friend who luckily is. In January i was invited to come snowboard with him for two days. My name was put on a guest list and as i drove to the gate of the club I was met by what i was later told was a security team made up of ex-millitary personal. I think one of the main reasons this place holds a special place in my memory is because of its exclusive nature and of lucky i was to be able to experience it. I saw some of the most amazing houses ever in my life inside the gates of this community. The mountain consists of 8 or 9 chairlifts. They only groom 5 runs in the whole resort. The rest of the runs are left as natural powder. This results in backcountry conditions serviced by chairlifts. The two days i spent on the hills we were two of probably 10 to 15 people using the mountain. Hours were spent snowboarding without seeing anyone but ourselves. I experienced the best snow conditions ever on the slopes of the Yellowstone club. Upon driving to the base of the chalet our car my car was complimentary valeted and my snowboard was carried to the bottom of the base chairlift. Once past the first chairlift four to five feet of barley tracked snow blanketed everything.
The place we ate lunch was at the top of the mountain. It was probabley the nicest dining room i have ever eaten in. big.sky.yellowstone.club.jpg YellowstoneSkiClubMT.jpg
The building had slippers for guests to wear when they ate. You could take your boots off and put these slippers on and eat by the fire. The food was as good as any i had ever eaten. Every employee treated us like we were the president of the United States. They acted as though their only responsibility was to make us happy. The building is visible on the trail map above, at the top where the two lifts split. It was the best snowboarding and the best trip of my life. A true once in a lifetime opportunity that i'll never forget. I left the Yellowstone club with a feeling of peace, importance, and pure joy.

September 27, 2006

Social Design issue: skateboarding

There are tons of social design issues. As was made clear to me by my teaching assistant Derek Petersen almost anything can potentially be looked at as a social design issue. I chose to become an advocate for skateboarding as a social design issue because my peers, friends, and I have all experienced it first hand. Skateboarding is not an easy activity to become innvolved in for many reasons. Among these reason are certain stereotypes that go along with the activity and an increasingly criminilization of the activity. I'm sure everyone has seen, at some point in their lives, a bumper sticker or t-shirt proclaiming "skateboarding is not a crime". In reality skateboarding really has become a crime with very serious consequences. On our own campus skateboarding can yeild expensive fines and confiscation of skateboarding related personal property. Skateboarding is literally being outlawed in a growning number of places. I believe the main reason for this attempt to banish skateboarding comes from the damage to property that is causes. In reality skateboarding is very hard on the enivironment in which it is performed. Cement ledges, railings, marble ledges, concrete banks, and anything else a skateboard comes in contact with doesn't stand up to the abuse that prolonged skateboard use dishes out. Unfornutley these public areas provide some of the best obstacles around for skateboard use. The social design issue arrises from this conflict of interests. Building owners want to keep their grounds and facilities in as good of shape as they can while skateboarders want to utilize these facilities in their own ways. It is an on going battle that neither side wants to give up. Being a skateboarder myself i recognize that something drastic needs to be done. Outlawing our sport will simply upset us and encourage worse behavior. I think a solution would be to build city funded skate parks that mimic real world business obsticles. This would give skateboarders a place to go as an alternative to these buildings. There needs to be more than one. Skateboarders come from all over. Building one skatepark isn't enough. There needs to be multiple parks to accomidate the growing number of skateboarders. The city funds the creation of numerous soccer fields, basketball courts, hockey rinks, and football fields, but next to zero skateparks. The city aslo needs to work with actual skateboarders in the design of these facilities to gain a greater understanding of what works and what doesn't. On an even more personal level the university should get innvolved. Instead of outlawing skateboarding on University property why not build a facility to encourage this productive activity. They could put it somewhere in between the multi million dollar hockey stadium and basketball court, or maybe next to the emaculate Beerman.

September 20, 2006

Midtown Market

Energy comes in infinite forms and can mean numerous things. Energy can be kinetic or potential. Energy makes the world function. Without energy everthing would be at a stand still. At the midtown market energy is everywhere. People shopping are using and creating energy. The wind is energy blowing through the trees and moving the tents set up over produce. The produce exists as reminders of the suns energy, waters energy, soils energy, and humans energy. The cracks in the pavement are evidence of years of energy moving over it. Everything at the midtown market is connected through energy. Buyers and sellers use and create energy through conversation and the exchange of resources. Vehicles use energy and contain energy in travel and storage. Some people set up shop in the backs of their vehicles. Traces of energy trickle over from the nearby YMCA. The energy gained from the produce sold at the midtown market is recycled over and over again and might end up back at the market. People eat produce and it gives them energy to acheive their daily goals. There is energy in the oxygen that people breath at the market. Energy is everything and everything is energy.