Archive for the ‘Week8_Space’ Category

Week8_Space_Crystal Lin

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I must admit, space straight out scares me. I suppose it’s because my greatest fear is being alone. I already don’t like being alone in a room, and I shiver at the thought of being alone in a stadium. I get nightmares about being the last person in the US; the last person on the planet; the only person in the solar system; the only person in the galaxy; the only person in the universe. I imagine myself floating out in space, trying to travel to the nearest tangible object, but continuing in the same direction, and never reaching an actual object because it is just too far away to reach in a life time.

I suppose the concept of space is fascinating when you think of it in a completely objective and removed point of view though. The video that the speaker showed in class of each frame being 10 times as big as the previous every 10 seconds was pretty cool. I had seen the video before, but it still gets to me when I watch it again, especially when the screen travels towards its farthest range. At this farthest range, when you take in to consideration how long it took you to get to this point, it makes me realize just how tiny and insignificant I could be if space was really that infinite. That brings up another topic in space that always made me think twice. How do we know that space is that big? Do we send out satellites that give us video or picture evidence of what is really out there? And how do we know where everything is situated? Have we traveled every square inch of the space in between? I think the concept of space is just as questionable as evolution, which is just as questionable as religion.

The concept of multiplying and diving space by factors of 10 reminded me of a philosopher I learned about in high school. Parmenides, a Greek Philosopher, proposed that “before an object can move any distance, it must first move through an infinite series of fractions of that distance; but since one can never actually get through an infinite series of steps, no distance can be moved through at all.”

I think this is an interesting topic to consider when thinking about space. If you take an inch, and divide it by 2, you get half an inch. Divide it by two again and you get one-fourth of an inch. Divide that by two again, and again, and again, and again. Theoretically, you can keep going, so when does it ever end? When do you finally reach the other side from where you are measuring? When you do, what happened? Why couldn’t you take half of that distance before you got to the other side? It’s an interesting philosophy.

Week 8: Space and Final Abstract by Matthew Robertson

Sunday, March 8th, 2009
Mankind has evolved for the phenomena of the earth to seem natural. We understand that the ground is down, the sky is up, and even though we are standing on a giant sphere, the ground seems rectangular. The rotation of the earth goes unnoticed. The pressure of the air above us is hardly, if ever, noticed. 
Space has been considered the next “frontier” for mankind to explore and colonize. The last frontier that was explored (by Europe) was America. As technology allowed for easier Atlantic travel, Europeans immigrated to America. However, even though there are apparent similarities between the exploration of the New World and space exploration, I find this comparison to be invalid. The problem is that even though colonists were in an unfamiliar place that new technology allowed access to, they were still on Earth and still in an environment that they had evolved to be able to survive in. One might argue that advances in technology will be able to compensate for mankind’s inability to survive in Space’s hostile environments. 
Assuming technology does progress to a point that mankind can safely live in space, the artistic implications of a lifestyle dependant on machines are very interesting. Imagine growing up in an environment where there was no sky. People associate the colors of the sky with the sky itself. Without the rigidity of growing up with gravity dictating that the ground is down and the sky is up, a person would have a different understanding of perspective and orientation. These would translate to different artistic perspectives, and could be very interesting. After a few generations, space would generate new cultures and artistic styles would diverge even more. Given the limit of communication speeds to the speed of light and the large distances between habitable worlds, there would be an element of isolation between planets. This would further contribute to the development of new cultures, and create an interesting environment for art to be created.
My final will center around the ideas of evolving organisms, swarm intelligence, and augmented reality, with a focus on using these technologies to create music. Particularly, I want to explore the idea that something vast and diverse as an ecosystem can create cohesive rhythms and tones. By placing fiduciary markers representing various natural conditions, the user will instantiate an ecosystem which a few randomly generated creatures will compete for survival in. I also want my project to be easily distributable and not have to function as an installation. The reason for this is that I believe interacting with simulations like this imparts a deeper understanding of the underlying principles; interacting with my project will begin to develop an intuitive understanding of how changing conditions can change the development of a swarm of evolving creatures. 
Matthew Robertson

Wk 8 Extra Credit: Linda Weintraub by Alana Chin

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Linda Weintraub- Drop Dead Gorgeous: Beauty and the Aesthetics of Activism

I attended this lecture thinking that it would be just another lecture talking about how beauty is a societal manifestation meant to point out our flaws and highlight our insecurities. I’m sure we’ve all heard that beauty is given more priority and importance than it is worth. But this lecture was different and I was pleasantly surprised. Linda Weintraub did talk about this aspect of beauty and how society tends to place value and worth on things that are beautiful and then neglect or abuse the things that aren’t. However, she explored concepts outside of this and made me think about reevaluating my own perception of beauty.

During the lecture, Linda Weintraub presented several different artists and how they portrayed beauty in their art. One common theme was the concept that death and decay weren’t consider beautiful. Michel Blazy’s “encouragement” structure was a piece of a wall covered in food that was left to rot. Viewers could see the food decomposing and the fungus and mold growing from it. Another example is Gregor Schneider’s concept for “Death: Be Not Proud.” This project is still in the works but Schneider basically plans to have a terminally ill person die on display. At first, these pieces probably shock and disturb the general population. However, the point that these artists are trying to make is that there is no reason for death and decay to be considered ugly. Death and decay is a part of life, part of the life cycle that contributes to new life and recycling of nutrients. Death and decay is also inevitable and something every living thing will eventually experience. This artwork demonstates that not only does society neglect and shun the topic of death, but it goes out of its way to avoid it, thus indicating that society can’t feel comfortable with the idea that life is ending. Linda Schneider pointed out many more examples of this, like botox and anti-rust. She then concluded that the real shame behind all this is the fact that society is unable to fully appreciate life. Death and decay are essential parts of life. It is given that death is the end of life, but it is also part of a full circle of new life. And because death is so important, we can’t appreciate life if we ignore death and pretend that it doesn’t ever happen. In a sense, we are not being true to death.

Another interesting point from this lecture was that we tend to like it when humans interfere in natural occurences. Andy Goldsworthy’s work usually consisted of a scene from nature with some sort of orderly arrangement of the objects on site. For example, he stacked rocks in one piece to the background of a great natural rock formation. It was a very interesting and aesthetically pleasing photo. What was most interesting was how Linda Weintraub noticed that the contrast between the natural and manmade was most beautiful. The photo definitely would not be nearly as interesting if there was no human intervention. For examples of his work, click here If it is most beautiful when there is human intervention, maybe we are just justifying our actions for constantly interfering with nature by saying that it is “beautiful.” By the end, Linda Weintraub encouraged the change of the definition of “beautiful” to mean more than just the visual, but also to accept an ecological defition where function dictates beauty. I think this would be great for society to think outside of the usual definition and appreciate more than just the superficial.

~Alana Chin

Week8_Space by Dennis Yeh

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Through the use of Linear Algebra, mathematicians are able to manipulate space, and play with the universe.  For example, a 3 x N matrix could be used to describe N objects and their position in the 3-dimensional universe.  By adding another row, a 4 x N matrix can add information about the objects in the fourth dimension: time.  Any number of linear transformations and other operations can then be used to map or trace the objects as they travel through space.  Additional algorithms and theory can then be applied to the matrix, in order to manipulate it in a ton of different ways.
Like how we can only see our three dimensions, there are many “invisible” aspects in linear algebra.  Abstract ideas such as vector spaces, basis, kernel, rank, and nullity are taught in Math 33A, linear algebra, and involve imagining 3D spaces while performing operations to manipulate them.

A concept known as the “tensor” is used in multi-linear algebra has many practical applications.  A tensor is a geometrical quantity that can be expressed as a multi-dimensional array that is different depending on the basis chosen to define it.  In other words, a tensor is independent of any frame of reference.  Tensors and tensor fields are used extensively by engineers and physicists to map relationships between force and acceleration, electromagnetic fields, linear elasticity of materials, and many other concepts.  Specifically, Einstein’s theory of general relativity was devised almost exclusively through the use of tensors.

European physicists recently used such ideas in order to prove Einstein’s E=mc^2 formula, 103 years after its creation.  The computations involve “envisioning space and time as part of a four-dimensional crystal lattice, with discrete points spaced along columns and rows.”

So mathematics such as linear algebra is crucial in order to envision higher dimensions, including time and space.  But how does it relate to art?  There are many artists who use math as a backbone for their art.

“Who would have thought that matrix multiplication could be beautiful?”

linear tranformation by matrix multiplication

The very short description:  inspiration from an example of homogeneous coordinates in my linear algebra book and lectures about linear transforms”

I found this image by searching for examples of linear algebra in art through Google.  It reminds me of the art by Casey Reas that we’ve seen twice in class:


When I envision space, it helps me to consider the math behind it.  Mathematics is extremely versatile, and can explain a lot more than people give it credit for.  The universe follows a distinct set of rules, and only by determining what these rules are can we truly learn how to manipulate it.  These rules, such as F=Gmm/r^2, F=m*a, F=kqq/r^2, E=mc^2, etc. are always true, and thus used by astrologists to map the universe.  We may never be able to travel to the stars that we see (or can’t see), but through the intelligent use of mathematics, our universe seems a lot smaller.  For example, the IBM Powers of Ten video ( which we saw in class takes us on a trip out of galaxy, then back and into the cells and atoms that make up a man’s hand in less than 10 minutes, a feat made possible only through the imaginative use of mathematics in order to interpret space

-IBM Video: Relation between the infinitely small and the infinitely large.

-Dennis Yeh

Yonder Beats the Trumpet Heart_Nicole Carnarius

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

“How do you say, ‘I am incapable of emotions’ in French? I want to know how to say that, but in a way that no one can understand. For a reason that I don’t know yet.”

“In capable of emotions, you say? Well I have a cure for that.”

“Well, I don’t want all emotions. I guess I need the bad ones to make the good ones good. Perhaps you could make me able to bask in the glory of the good ones while merely notice the inconstancy of the bad ones?

“I wouldn’t dream of anything else.”

Final Abstract.

With disappoinmentt in space, it seems the next frontier is virtual reality. Virtually reality is a technology, which allows users to interact with a computer-simulated environment. Users can be fully immersed in “virtuspheres” that have graphics of near realism and holophony audio capabilities.

Brainscanners are another technology scientists are advancing in. Brain scanners are now able to read the visual centers of the brain and transmit the image onto a screen. It is currently can only transmit simple symbols. This rudimentary technology could be developed to create a virtual reality environment that would transmit the brain’s own imagination on to the virtual reality.

This machine will be called the imaginatron.

Final Abstract by Dennis Yeh

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Humans have often replaced lost limbs and body parts with working prosthetics in the past.  My question is, how many body parts or vital organs can be replaced with machinery and nanotechnology?  My idea is to systematically replace body parts until the subject is a working humanoid  with no vital organs except the brain and spine.  The brain and spine will control every body part, and nutrients/ will be delivered through the use of nanoparticles that can attach themselves to neurotransmitters, proteins, etc. and transfer them throughout the humanoid.  The eyes could be replaced by optical sensors that could see infared, ultraviolet, etc. with a 360 degree field of vision.  These optical sensors could patch into the brain’s occipital lobe in order to transmit the visual data.  Muscles could be replaced by extremely strong bands made of flexible carbon nanotubes that stretch or contract when electricity is applied.  This humanoid would possess superhuman strength and superior powers, would not need to eat (solar powered skin?), and would not require sleep.  These examples are only a few considerations compared to the thousands of enhancements that could be performed.  Similar to the Nokia Morph, a humanoid could have nanofibers on the skin that could instantaneously change the surface of the skin to look like anything, or have a “haptic surface” that could change form in order to securely grip objects.

Week 8_Space_Wenjing Wu

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

 In this week, we learned again from the informative materials that man’s endless curiosity and ambition towards the discovery and competition in the outer space. When one after another wonder became reality—Apollo Program enabled human being to see the Earth from the Moon; Hubble Space Telescope constantly expanded the view of mankind; “Courage” the Mars Explorer revealed to human the mysterious surface of Mars—more wonders poped up and motivated further researches. After Tuesday’s lecture I had a question in my head: “Yes, we have amazingly advanced space technology. But what does that have to do with art? Should be something more than a drifting green sculpture and desktop graphic backgrounds.” 


alan-beanLuckily, on Thursday, guest speaker Gil Kuno answered my question at the beginning of his lecture: In all the phrases that about space—time, continuum, entropy, chaos, random, chance—he showed us the chance in art. Aside from his own extrordinary works on sounds, I found other works introduced by him are extremely fascinating as well. The most impressive one to me is the art piece that switches pictures on the screen when sensing pressure from hands. After class, I also found a website for exploring space art(I even found blogs from our course), presenting many space artists, including the former Moon walker Alan Bean. Now I see the inspiration from science and technology could be much richer than my imagination.


Abstract of the final project:

Ispired by the “Gravity and Resistance”and some materials on space biotechnology, I have an idea of creating “Unseen Jewelry” using protein and virus crystals formed under microgravity in outer space. X-ray diffraction applied to crystals is a powerful technology for analyzing the structure of proteins and viruses. The quality and detail of the X-ray crystallography is directly dependent on the size and perfection of the crystal used. Experiments have proved that when grow in a gravity-free environment more perfect cystals will be yielded, which allows scientists to understand better about the biological macromolecules. It would be great to put these astonishingly beautiful crystals on auction to raise money for relevant researches.


Is anyone out there-by Alan Bean

Is anyone out there-by Alan Bean

week 8- space- wei han ouyang

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Space is a very interesting concept. If one thinks about it, like what we see in lecture this week, there can be 10 dimensions if one really looks into it. An interesting point to look at it is that people usually don’t see their life as tenth dimensions. What people usually see are only three to four dimensions. When people do things they obviously do it in the three-dimension world. But as one looks back and review his or her action it’s a fourth dimension process because the action is already in the past. Like I mentioned in my blog about fourth dimension, fourth dimension is a space that connect the past and the present. And it is important for us to learn this through something, especially something easy like what we saw in lecture the other day created from both art and science. Another way to look at this “space” concept, we can take it to outside of our planet and look into space in our universe. From the lecture I recall one of the dimension is folding two spaces on a straight line together so basically one thing can be at two places at one time. In another words, time traveling. Is time traveling really possible? There are black wholes out in the space that even though there aren’t any experiments done to explore the black wholes, there is a possibility that black wholes are the results of folding spaces. But beside from time traveling, space is special especially because there’s no gravity. I saw a video that a astronaut recorded while he was in the space, his head was all read because without the gravity to pull down the blood. Usually when astronauts return from space they will have to go to physical therapy because they are not used to the gravity. So if one thinks about it, what kind of dimension does an astronaut live in?
We watched a video that explained fourth dimension in lecture and it displays a video of a twisted three-dimension world. I think the explanation is not literal. The rotate and the twisting of the objects in the video symbolize the relations between the objects. When the two human figures twisted around each other and when the human rotate around the tree, both concepts demonstrates the relation between human-beings and their relations to nature. In MIM’s new music video move if you wanna displays a similar effect.
mims-move if you wanna

In the music video, the editor keeps repeating the actions in the background while MIM goes on and raps. Notice that he wasn’t really stepping on the ground when he walks. And how the video displays a fourth dimension setting. It’s like he is rapping while other people is staying at the same place. It seems like time passes by and no one is noticing it.  At the end, like the clip that we saw in class, Mim starts to twist in fourth dimension. Im not sure if it was just a transition to the second part of the video or he wants to tell his fans to moving and have moves like him, but it’s just interesting how this kind of art can be incorporated into a hip hop music video.

Week 8-New Home for Humans-By Idy Tam

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

There are about ten thousand billion billion habitable planets in the observable universe, and some of these Earth-like worlds could be found by a mission set to launch early next month, a leading planet-formation theorist now speculates. Alan Boss, astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. came up with that rough number by estimating there is about one habitable planets around every sun-like star in the galaxy, of which there are about 10 billion, and multiplying that by the number of galaxies in the universe. Boss said that the universe is filled with inhabitable planets and therefore life is likely to be widespread. As of now there aren’t any of these other Earths have been found. Technology simply has not allowed their discovery, presuming they exist. But astronomers are closing in. In the past nearly 15 years, more than 300 planets have been found around stars beyond the sun.

Three classes of planets have been found, for the most part — Jupiter-like gas giants, Neptune-like icy planets and hot “super-Earths.” Researcher based on the results of ongoing planet-search efforts using the gravitational tug of planets on stars to detect worlds, called the Doppler approach. Most of these super-Earths are too hot to support life, but Boss thinks there are warm super-Earths, with longer period orbits and more suitable for life. And, some of the icy planets might turn out to be rocky planets similar in composition to Earth, only more massive. Boss’s claims will be tested by NASA’s Kepler mission, a 1-meter-diameter space telescope set to launch March 5 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta 2 rocket. Among other tasks, Kepler is designed to count the number of Earth-sized and larger planets in the habitable zone around stars like the sun. Results should come in the next three or four years.

Once the frequency of habitable-Earth-like planets in our neighborhood of the galaxy is known, scientists will be better able to design space telescopes capable of imaging those worlds and detecting evidence of the molecules necessary for life, such as water and oxygen, and possibly even those created by life, such as methane. There is something like a few dozen solar-type stars within 30 light years of the sun. The fact that we can find [roughly Earth-sized planets] already implies that we are just seeing just the tip of the iceberg. There might be many more Earths out there waiting for us to find,” Boss said. But finding the first one will have enormous implications for how many there are in the entire galaxy as well as in the entire universe.

I can’t imagine living in another planet besides earth. This article reminds me of the movie Wall-E. Maybe finding these new habitable planets may benefit humans in the future. There is a possibility that someday Earth will become a wasteland, filled with trash. In addition, global warming will become worse and worse forcing humans to move to another planet. Hopefully that day will not come.


The human brain is the most complex system on Earth. Our brain is what distinguishes us from other living species. But what happens with there is a disorder in our brain that is caused by stroke, tumor, drug abuse, and diseases, which will defect the way that the human brain normally functions? By the American Cancer Society, the median age at death for brain cancer was 64 years of age. Additional brain cancer statistics indicate that 12,760 men and women would die of brain cancer.(#) Researchers have been trying for past years to come up with solutions to treat certain diseases and dysfunctions. The design of the artificial human brain will solve these concerns.

by Idy Tam

Week 8: The Universal Similarities by Ryan Andre Magsino

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Week 8: The Universal Similarities by Ryan Andre Magsino

  • October 4, 1957. Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite is launched by the Soviet Union.
  • April 12, 1961. Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.
  • July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11, becomes the first human being to walk on the Moon.
  • November 2, 2000. The first resident crew enters the International Space Station, a large space station designed as a human habitat.

We are probably familiar with some if not all of these historic events. Yet, what was the point to all these events? Were nations trying to show off economic prowess, showcase their latest in modern technologies, and/or prove something? Sure, why not. Politicians often use these points as leverage. However, there very well may be an underlining cause. By nature, mankind is well-known for their curiosity. As far as the human species can recall, we have been seeking answers. Answers to what exactly? Questions such as: “Why are we here?”, “What is the purpose of our existence?”, and other questions peering into the meaning of life .

What better place to search for answers than through the observation of the unknown. There are two primary routes to observe the unknown: 1) Looking at things on the microscopic scale, or 2) looking at things on the macroscopic scale. Oddly enough, we have come to such extremes in both routes that similarities have become noticeable between the two – especially the comparison between a brain cell and the universe (as depicted below).


Now take a look at the following picture:

The structure of the Universe is just astounding, or is it something else?

The structure of the Universe is just astounding, or is it something else?

If you thought it was another picture of the universe, you will be disappointed. It is in fact a visualization of the various routes through a portion of the Internet. The similarities in structure are appalling (not just like the universe, but also a brain cell as well). So what exactly is the importance of this “find.” Similar to the idea of the golden ratio as a recurring function in nature, nature itself has an odd way of reworking one of its images into various mediums (internet) and sizes (micro vs. macro). Personally, coming to such a realization allows me to appreciate life and even more (much in the same way it is easier to appreciate an art piece when understanding its background).

Many people have various opinions and beliefs concerning such implications Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the leading physicists examining space, the universe and its importance. In a TED lecture, Hawking answers some of the most essential and puzzling questions concerning the meaning to life. Similarly, others have gone so far as to document these questions and other possible answers. Until we do find a definitive answer, it looks like we’ll continue to trudge through the unknown.

Related Links:


“We think we have solved the mystery of creation, maybe we should patent the universe and charge everyone royalties for fair existence.” – Stephen Hawking

Abstract: (By reiterating many of the key points presented in my midterm) I hope to bring to light the effects (both good and bad) of patents and copyright on scientific, technological and artistic advancement. More specifically, I intend to look into the race to patent genes and DNA sequences. This sort of race leads to the “slippery slope” progression of patenting of more complex life forms. Staying true to the metaphor, I plan on constructing a water slide in which a gene machine (grinder) is chopping up the human genome (mannequin) atop the slide; and the chopped up genes would slip down through the slide and into the drain(resembling a deposit safe).