Archive for February, 2009

Week 8_Space and Abstract by uriel cobian

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

This week in lecture, I was reminded of how little our planet is in comparison to everything else that’s out there. As young people we tend to think that everything revolves around us. When we mature a little, we start opening up to realizing that there’s a lot more going on in the world, from wars to international events like the Olympics. But even all of these things that go on around the world are extremely little compared to all that is out there in space. Society has come a long way in space exploration, but there’s just so much more out there waiting to be explored. It seems as though space exploration is becoming easier to do, with some people already being able to travel to space just for fun. Who knows, maybe someday I can be one of the lucky ones to vacation in space. The guest lecturer, Gil Kuno, showed us an interesting video that displayed how infinite space is. He also showed us the “10th Dimension” video, which is always interesting to me, even though I always get lost around the fifth dimension.

I really enjoyed Gil Kuno’s presentation on Thursday. I couldn’t believe how good his one string guitar group sounded. At first I thought these guitars would make some very messy music but it is actually very good and unique. What impressed me about this was not only that Kuno was able to think up such a concept, but the thought and precision he had to put into making music for such a group. I also really enjoyed the interactive music video he made with the help of the German cartoonist. Thirty minutes ago I found myself messing with it seeing what I could do. He also presented what to me was a new concept- Noise Music. I was shocked when he said that concert goers have to sign a waiver in case anything happens. He didn’t really show us an example of it so I looked for one on the net. I found this interesting but frankly, it isn’t something I would want to listen to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUYaaSyYqug

Final Abstract:

Over the years, industrialization has made life easier for people, but at what cost? Since the advent of the engine and large manufacturing factories, industrialization has left its mark on the world by means of air pollution, specifically what is commonly referred to as “smog”. Recently, countries have taken measures to improve the quality of our air by way of new technology that reduces these emissions or by legislation to suppress the producers of smog. But what about the smog that is already in the atmosphere? My proposal is a machine that not only absorbs these harmful gases but also releases non-harmful gases that will decorate the atmosphere, making good from bad. For my final, I will extend this midterm project while making a few modifications to it. I will make the machine blend into the environment and add a few other ways for it to be a decoration.

-uriel cobian

Week 8- Space and Abstract by Mary Tam

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

This week, Professor Vesna showed us many YouTube videos on space. I think it is interesting that many people have been on space and all the discoveries they found since the first time man went on space. If I have a chance, I would want to go to space. I want to fly pass every planet and see how it is like. I want to discover a planet that has living organisms. I know there are other galaxies in the universe, but I wonder if the other galaxies have Earth as well. If so, do those “Earths” have the same people living there? I think soon enough with the technology, we will be able to find out other galaxies. There are so many unanswered questions that I want to find out soon. Professor Vesna said that there are many television shows and movies that are based on space. That could be the reason why many people are fascinated by aliens and outer space. Without the media giving us ideas, we would not have imaginations of how aliens are like. Also there are movies that are about humans living in space. A movie that I really enjoy is Zenon, a Disney movie. I find it very interesting how the movie shows a group of people living in a mobile object, and they don’t know what is outside the mobile. However, they can go back to Earth to visit their family. This movie gives us an imagination on the future. We will never know what is going to happen in one hundred years, but movies often show what it might be like.

I wish that space traveling can be more convenient. Right now, there is space traveling but it is so expensive, nearly anyone can afford it. There is news that says that there have been UFOs on earth. Many people do not believe it, but I believe in it. People have said that the Egyptians had help from aliens in building pyramids. Also, people also said that the United States government is aware of the presence of aliens, but they can not reveal that fact because the aliens threatened to destroy Earth. These rumors can be true or false, but there are many unexplainable things on Earth that only supports that the rumors are true. However, we will never know until it is proven. We should spend more money on discovering space. Maybe one day, we can finally meet an alien and interact with them. Humans already interact with people who are different from each other, either by race or by gender. I do not see why we cannot try to interact with aliens. Maybe it would break the things that are said about aliens. What if there are aliens disguised as humans living on earth right now? Like Superman, he is an alien, but he looks human. How do we know that people around us are aliens? This is very interesting and it will be amazing if there are aliens around us.

Abstract:

Parents worry about their new born children because they cannot communicate with them today. Parents are sometimes unsure what their babies want when they cry. Also, they do not know what their children are feeling when they make certain facial expressions. However, understanding the developmental trajectories in children’s intensity of emotion and their implications for social competence is limited. There are ways to determine how someone is feeling. Emotions are located at the limbic system. So if we make a monitor that can understand the signals of the thalamus, it can help get rid of the problems and stress that parents have. With a monitor that interprets the brainwaves and chemicals from the thalamus, parents will be able to understand how their babies are feeling.

Week 8- Space+Abstract Jackielyn Lacanilao

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

On July 20, 1969, at 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from earth, gave a brief statement before stepping off the Eagle landing module and onto the moon. Back on earth, close to a billion people were listening. A moment later, Armstrong put his left foot into the powdery lunar surface, took a few steps, and humanity had walked on the moon. No doubt, this was a great moment for mankind, and it gave the world a psychological lift of conquering something that before seemed so impossible. It fed the craving of man’s imagination and wonder of space and places beyond the earth. It gave a feeling of adventure and excitement of venturing into the unknown. And all of these things are great and wonderful, but this expedition had an enormous price tag. And maybe that price tag was ok and justified back in 1969, for we went and conquered and it is an exciting accomplishment in our history books, but in 2004 President Bush proposed not only a manned flight return trip to the moon, but a man voyage to mars.

Sending man back into place is an unnecessary human risk factor for astronauts, and a waste of trillions of dollars when there are domestic issues that could have been desperately used with this money instead, and lastly, that there are cheaper and more effective methods of space exploration. We should question how exactly will sending men back to the moon benefit us here on earth? The fact is, there is really very little benefit. We have already jumped around on the moon, taken photographs and planted a U.S. flag. Is is necessecary to go back? What is there to do? Bush’s proposal is not justified; it just seems to be part of the idea of a “leader with a vision”. And at first glance, the idea of going back to the moon and venturing to mars is exciting, may give us goose bumps and spark our imagination. But we must stop and think, hey wait…what are we actually accomplishing here besides collecting a few rocks and photos? We must question the motives behind this proposal, because for lack of true benefits to us here on earth, the only good thing left to say about the whole thing is it is an “inspiring goal for national pride”.

So now that we have established there is really no benefit of sending a man back into space expect for making America feel good it brings me to my next point…the unnecessary human risk factor…why in the world would we send humans into a potentially deadly situation just to trigger goose bumps and our imaginations? Human bodies are fragile and it is a huge physical risk for body to be in space. It is scientifically proven that human’s lose bone and muscle mass and if they spent too much time in space and returned to gravity, their bones would just crumble with the force of gravity. It is also known that humans are exposed to huge amounts of deadly radiation up in space. This could lead to tumors and deadly cancer. So why should we send these brilliant astronauts to have their bodies wrecked or put into a potentially deadly situation just to collect some rocks and wave to us here on earth? It is ridiculous and it doesn’t make any sense.

Here is a cute video I found on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFOiDs0zQrc

Abstract: For my final, I plan to develop a brand new idea similar to my midterm (in terms of the topic of Body & Medicine). I propose an evolutionary t-shirt (TMOOD™) that can detect a person’s mood. The person’s state of emotion will be reflected through the t-shirt’s external fabric. It functions similarly to a mood ring except instead of wearing it on your finger it will be worn over your body. In a typical mood ring, the hollow glass is filled with thermotropic liquid crystals. The material used for TMOOD will be 100% organic cotton that will be dipped in thermotropic liquid crystals. These liquid crystal molecules are very sensitive; they change position, or twist, according to changes in temperature. This change in molecular structure affects the wavelengths of light that are absorbed or reflected by the liquid crystals, resulting in an apparent change in the color of TMOOD. TMOOD is great for people who want others to know how they are truly feeling! So when you ask them how their day was, you’ll know the real truth through their TMOOD =) The TMOOD never deceives the one who wears it.

Jackielyn Lacanilao

Week8_space by john carpenter

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

hi all,  this week there is both a normal blog + your 111 word abstract due.  please just write them into the same post (the blog post can be a little shorter this week provided you have a good discussion).  this week you can blog on anything you found interesting.  thanks, john

week 7- matt kramer

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

This week’s focus on consciousness was extremely interesting.  It definitely made me think a lot about the subject from a ton of different angles.  First off, it is very difficult to conceptualize what consciousness exactly is.  In my opinion it is having an active mind; emotionally, imaginatively, and critically.  But since there is a debate over whether animals are conscious like humans, it makes it even harder to describe the different facets of consciousness.  I think animals are without a doubt conscious creatures, but still not in the same way we humans are.  I do not think animals are as aware of their environment as much as humans are.  At least in the sense that they are unable to communicate with humans in their surroundings so they often have no clue about their intentions.  Animals are surely smart, but also helpless.  Siddharth Ramikrishnan’s lecture made me think a lot about how animals are conscious and also frequently abused, hunted, and killed by humans.  It is very sad to think that an animal knows what is happening to them when they are being slaughtered and whatnot, and they definitely do.

Nonetheless, it is a very hard debate to have on whether animals should be killed since they can surely feel pain.  On one hand animal rights activists argue that we should treat animals fairly, not causing them to suffer.  And on the other hand the very valid argument of “survival of the fittest” people state that we need to continue to kill animals because of their nutritional importance.  Animals are indeed lower on the food chain than humans are, and we need them for food, but there still should be more humane steps to preparing and killing animals because they are conscious too.  We need to realize that the pain we cause in animals is equal to the pain we can cause in humans.

All animals, not just pets, have extreme significance in the lives of their human co-habitants.  This week made me think about animal consciousness in a way I never had before, and judging my a lot of my classmates’ blogs, they too agree that we should begin to treat animals with more regard for their feelings and emotions.  I have even begun to start thinking on whether it’s morally right to have pets.  I think humans definitely make their pets happy and vice versa, but there seems to be something wrong in domesticating animals and confining them to our small homes and so on.  I need to continue to develop these thoughts further because it is a very complicated issue.  I definitely would not want to let go of my dog just yet and I hope he would not want to leave either.

 -matt kramer

Week 8_Feb. 24th, 2009 Jim Hutchison’s lecture

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

20090224-Prof. Jim Hutchison on Greener Products via Nanoscience By the time I hurried to the auditorium at CNSI, the lecture Greener Nanoscience: Designing Safer Products and Cleaner Processes had already begun for 10 minutes. Prof. Jim Hutchison was presenting the Target structure of nano materials: 2 nm islands with 2 nm separation.In the nearly one-hour lecture, Prof. Hutchison talked on the growing concern about the potential health and environmental impacts of production and use of nanoscale products. He also introduced “Risk=f(Hazard, Exposure)” to illustrate the necessisity of designing effective and safe nano products with desired physical characteristics. The core of his lecture is how to apply Green Chemistry priciples, like avoiding incorporation of toxic elements; employing dimensional bracketing to guide initial material selecting, and so forth, on “tuning the properties of nanoparticles and develop more efficient, greener approaches to nanoparticle synthesis/manufacture”. During the lecture Prof. Hutchison also introduced a couple of institutes and projects that are focusing on the same issue, such as the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute [ONAMI], Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative [SNNI ], and the comprehensive materials characterization center at the University of Oregon[CAMCOR]. By the way, the CAMCOR is offering excellent opportunity for internships, too.

There were two things very impressive I found in Prof. Hutchison’s lecture. One of them is the application of nanoscience on creating the antibiotic fabric. According to Prof. Hutchison, they are trying to synthesis silver nanoparticles and to combine this technology with clothing. I guess we don’t have to spend that much on laudry by the time this kind of clothes can be manufactured through green and economic process. Exciting, isn’t it? Another point Prof. Hutchison mentioned was that an undergraduate student, Scott Sweeney, helped the lab by discovering a rapid method in purifying and size separating of gold nanoparticles via diafiltration. Using the new method, less time-consuming and cheaper manufacture of nano products can be expected in a short future. In a word, Prof. Hutchison’s lecture was very inspiring and for artists and product designers this could be a brand new stage.20090224-e58c96e5ada6e7bab3e7b1b3e4baa7e59381e8aeb2e5baa7-003

Week 7 Consciousness_ PIero Vallarino Gancia

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Consciousness

 

The other day while walking to my class in the math sciences building I witnessed one of the most incredible things in my life.

As I was going up Bruin Walk, I spot this squirrel walking by my side. If you have ever been up before 7 o’clock on campus, you may have noticed the large quantity of blackbirds and squirrels roaming around.

The squirrel followed me for quite some time when it stopped right next to the radio desk. Clearly it was looking for food, it would not take its eyes off of the bin where a blackbird was eating.

I stopped to observe its attitude and see what it would do.

Believe me, what happens next would seem as unlikely to you as it did to me.

Positioned behind one of the legs of the desk, the squirrel gave me a glance and immediately looked back at the bin. It repeated this for a few times before it started walking towards me.

It froze and went back behind the desk where it stared again at the bin.

I knew what it wanted. I started walking towards the bin to scare the blackbird off. As soon as it flew away, the squirrel went into the bin and got his food.

As it spawned out of the bin with a piece of bread in its hands it gazed back at me and went up a tree.

 

Animals certainly have a consciousness. This squirrel knew it could count on a human being for doing something it would not have been able to. This demonstrates a very high degree of consciousness and memory. The animal has taught itself that it can rely on things outside its own power to be able to solve some of the challenges in its life.

 

The most astounding aspect of this event, was that the squirrel knew it could rely on me, a creature with its own free will to help it. The squirrel knew it could influence my actions by doing what it did; it lured me into assisting it.

 

Surely, it must have been through a similar situation before. However, the fact that it knew how to explore the variables of its environment proves a very high degree of consciousness and memory, since situations like these are not embedded into the animal’s instincts.

 

Another good example of animal consciousness commented on by Siddharth Ramakrishnan is the elephant that looked at itself on the mirror and touched a fleck it had on its face. The animal was completely aware there was a flaw on its face and that it should not be like that. It is unlikely that we discover if the animal was trying to take the thing off because it thought it posed a problem for its health or because it had a sense of image and did not want to look bad. What we can conclude though, is that it knew that mark was not supposed to be there. This shows it had a good enough memory to remember its face without the mark, and that it knew how to use a mirror, something not every animal would find self-intuitive.

 

 bears2

Animal Cognition by Brandon Aust

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I found the lecture given on Thursday to be very thought provoking. I’m sure that we have all wondered how animals think and what they are fully aware of. Those of us with pets surely do. I, myself, have an African grey parrot, and I know it is said to have the cognitive mind of a six year old and that it can say a large amount of phrases, but sometimes I wonder which phrases the bird actually gives a meaning to. I believe that it gives some sort of meaning to certain phrases. For instance, my bird has always eaten dinner with my family at the dinner table and it always gets excited when it smells food and starts saying, “Dinner! Dinner!” I find it very intriguing that the bird is capable of having a high sense of smell to be aware that food is cooking, and then connect the word dinner with this realization. Irene Pepperberg, a scientist who researches in the field of animal cognition, believes that African greys are indeed capable of somewhat understanding the meaning behind human words. Although, this may be disputed by some, it is indeed very interesting. I don’t know whether or not they do understand the exact meaning behind these words, but they can at least have some sort of association with the words. So with the example given above, the bird may not know that dinner is when we eat food together as a family at night, but it may be aware that when we say dinner it means it will be getting food. Here is a video of an African grey on a television show. The bird is very intelligent and entertaining since it can respond to a wide variety of words so quickly. Hopefully, with further research we will be more capable of understanding if the bird knows the actual meaning behind these words, or if it is just intelligent enough to be trained to give a reaction.

africangrey

I also found the topic of octopus cognition interesting in class because I have personal experience with understanding the intelligence of an octopus. I used to volunteer at a site called the Sea Lab in my home town. The site was created because the power plant in my town used the ocean water in order to cool its systems, and when they realized sea life was being sucked in by the machines they used in the cooling, they built the center in order to help injured animals and to inform the community about various forms of sea life. The site had an octopus, and when cleaning the tank, I had to be very careful about how I placed the objects located it the tank because the octopus could potentially use these objects as a way of escaping. I also viewed its movement, and the way in which it changed its color to its surroundings. The way in which it even looked at me reminded me of a wise old man. I think it was a sort of eye opening experience for me. As human beings, it is very easy to get caught up in ourselves as a species and not recognize the world around us. And at the times we do take a look around us it is just to get a feel of the beauty of nature, but I think it Is very rare that we really think about the intelligence of the nature around us. Since we are so advanced in our technologies and the way in which we live, it is sometimes hard to notice the grand intelligence and efficiency that other life forms have and the way in which they use these gifts in their journey of survival.
octopus1

-Brandon Aust

Lucid Dreaming…and so can you! Nicole Carnarius

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

lucid_dreams_by_nadavdov

This week we had a very interesting lecture about consciousness and the consciousness of animals. I have a fascination with dreams, and so I wanted to research why it is so hard to remember your dreams. Not much came up. Basically the best ways to remember your dreams are if you are aroused during your dream, if you wake up during your dream or shortly after, or if you practice a technique to build your awareness of dreams. The method for building awareness of dreams is known as lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the art of being awake while you dream. It was first developed in Tibet when monks, already mastering awareness of two consciousnesses, one of normal living and the other of deep meditation, began investigating other realms of consciousness. Through will power, these monks would awaken in their dreams, where they would have limitless potential. They usually would meditate in their dreams once they reached lucidity so they could achieve enlightenment even faster. There are certain methods of meditation and concentration that they would perform just before sleep that can be found in the book Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.  However, in order to lucid dream, it is not necessary to perform these methods. Most people have already become lucid in their dreams by accident, and it is usually remembered as a very pleasurable experience. When you are lucid, you have the ability to control what happens in your dreams. People who have really mastered the techniques can fly, make flowers grow, may things multiply, basically do anything they want. You can also interact with dream characters, and they will interact back with you. This puts into question what the identity of these dream characters is. It is commonly believed that dreams are based on the memories of what happened during they day coming into contact with the memories of the rest of your life. The whole expanse of your subconscious and memory is open to you when you lucid dream. There are dream communities online who report meeting dream character who have taught new techniques for lucid dream. Members of these dream communities also participate in “group dreaming.”

There are some tips for lucid dreaming that anyone can use. First it is a good idea to keep a dream journal to help your grasp on the memory your dreams. Next, try to develop a consistent sleep schedule, which will allow you to have more dreams at night. Before going to bed each night, say affirmations to yourself such as, “Tonight I go to sleep with the purpose of dreaming. I will realize that I am asleep, and I will become lucid.” Repeat this ten times. Next you have to learn to recognize hypnogagia. Hypnogagia is the jumble of random images, sounds, and physical sensations that you experience as you are first falling asleep. This mixture of sensory projections is meant to send your conscious mind into a trance. People normally experience this every night when they go to sleep and seemingly the next moment wake up. If you are able to stay conscious during the period of hypnogagia (saying your name and full address was recommended), you can easily stay lucid as you transition into actual dreaming. If you do not stay conscious than your only option is to recognize you are dreaming. Try asking yourself, “Is this a dream?” Ask yourself this even when you are awake in normal life or in a lucid dream. Finally relax and stay open to the experience. Let go of your physical body and trust that it will go on breathing and taking care of itself.

 

A method that my friend, Bobby Wickersham, felt was very successful was to stay up very late until the body is desperate for sleep. Drink coffee during the night so the mind is active even though the body is exhausted. Lay in bed in a position where you won’t want to move for a very long time. You might not feel tired, but lie in bed without moving, focusing on lucid dreaming. Say the affirmations in your head and focus on the black space in front of your eyes. You should start to see the hypnogagic images. As they get more intense stay detached from them. Focus on seeing in the blackness. In the dream, remind yourself that you are lucid. Flick a light switch on and off or open and close a door. Stay lucid as long as you can. Keep reminding yourself you are in a dream. Go out, meet dream characters. You can do what ever you want in your dreams! 

Week 6- Memory + Consciousness by Morgan Oberstein

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Thursday’s lecture was very interesting and thought provoking. His slides were very visually pleasing, and the way he presented his ideas kept me very entertained and interested to hear more. Like all of the lectures and ideas presented in this class, it really opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and made me second guess the way in which I was thinking in the first place. Siddharth Ramakrishnan lectured about the idea of consciousness. When I think of the word “consciousness”, I automatically associate it with human beings and our ability to make conscious decisions and be conscious of things that are happening around us. Before this lecture I did not know the extent and complexity of human consciousness. Ramakrishnan’s lecture however, convinced me that consciousness is not just something that human’s have, but animals as well.

h_consciousness

Although we are both mammals and have minor similarities, I think of animals as obviously being very different from human beings. However, these thoughts were somewhat altered as I walked out of class last Thursday. Through his lecture, Ramakrishnan showed us examples of animal consciousness, including bees and octopus, chimpanzees and elephants. I found his example of an octopus to be the most interesting.   

An octopus has thousands of tiny pores called cephalopods which enable it to change color and camouflage with its surroundings. An octopus uses its conscious as a process of survival and self protection. It must aware and conscious of its surroundings in order to sense or acknowledge any predators. If or when it does, the octopus becomes conscious that it is in danger and rather than just running away or fleeing, as a human would do, it consciously changes color to blend in with its surroundings. However, the octopus does not just automatically change colors to match its surroundings perfectly, it must be consciously aware of the surrounding and change to the color that will most blend in with the surrounding environment.

chopstick_octopus

            The way in which animals use their conscious varies from animal to animal. For example, when a bee becomes consciously aware that it is in danger, it doesn’t have the ability to change colors to blend in with its environment. Instead, it makes a conscious decision to sting its predators, using its stinger as a defense mechanism. It was very interesting to learn about the conscious decisions that animals make every day. When I think of a bee stinging someone, I think of it as a simple, quick process. Although the process is quick, it isn’t as simple as some may think because the bee is in fact making a conscious effort to protect itself. I think that it is very common for human beings to doubt other species because we feel that we are consciously and intelligently superior, but we do not give other species such as animals close to enough credit as they deserve for the intelligence and consciousness they posses.

1-bee

 

By Morgan Oberstein