Week 8: The Universal Similarities by Ryan Andre Magsino

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).

brainuniverse

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:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning/

http://www.reddit.com/r/space/

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“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).

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