Archive for the ‘Week1_TwoCultures’ Category

Construction Work Made Easy With Bosch 11536C-2 Compact Rotary Hammer

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

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Extra Credit: Waves of Innovation Outline by Roger Call

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Waves of innovation since the industrial revolution

·         Each previous wave was as revolutionary as the present one focused on information technologies

·         The wave is based on intellectual creation

·         Industrialization of culture

o   What will the new techno economic paradigms be

Contemporary Modes of Interdisciplinary

·         Mode 1: integrative – synthesis

o   Two or more disciplines brought together

o   Requires the invention of common models and frameworks and may lead to the establishment of new disciplines

o   Bauhaus- German school founded by Walter Gropius

§  Unified vision of mixed school of art and technology

§  L Moholy-Nagy

§  Weimar ti Dessau 1925

§  More concerned with solving problems than the broad concept, was taken over and the goal was to promote socialism

o   John Whitney, pioneer of digital art

§  Visual music – a visionary dream going back centuries

§  Early animators such as fischinger richter and eggeling pioneered graphics whitney helped bridge the worlds

§  From the earliest work, the research dealt with the methods of precise mechanization

§  Went to junkyards to find ww2 junk equipment for his analog computing device


o   1919 Bauhaus manifesto


·         Mode 2: Service – Instrumental

o   The techniques or approaches of one serve as a means to an end defined by the other

o   A commonplace when artists are engaged to demonstrate the capabilities of new technologies

o   The artist has a vision and the engineers and scientists are trying to accomplish it

o   Experiments in art and tech

·         Mode 3: Reflexive – Ontological

o   By challenging the foundational principles of a field, new kinds of objects and knowledge are created

o   Collaboration serves as catalyst and methodology but results are more ad hoc than systematic

Extra Credit 2: Science Symposium Oskar Fischinger by Roger Call

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Oskar Fischinger, the “Father of Visual Music” was an animator, filmmaker, and painter.  Born in Germany, Fischinger was first introduced to film when he met Walter Ruttmann, who was a pioneer in abstract film.  After meeting Ruttmann, Fischinger was inspired and began experimenting with liquids and modeling agents.  In 1936 Fischinger moved to Hollywood to pursue his interest in film.  Previously, in 1929 Fischinger worked on the first music videos. 

At the presentation in the nanotech lecture hall, I was fortunate enough to see some of these very early music videos.  The videos are not released to the public and thus are somewhat rare.  The music videos were extremely different from modern music videos.  These videos were animations of color and shapes moving and changing with the music.  As the music would spike, different shapes and colors would emerge and explode on drum beats or flash vibrantly on loud notes.  The music featured in the videos was primarily big band type music, purely instrumental.  One of the videos presented was called Ornament  Sound.  Much like what was described above, the video Ornament Sound featured flashing and moving colors and shapes which matched up to the music.

Fischinger worked on numerous projects while in Hollywood.  At one point he worked for the Disney company on the masterpiece “Phantasia.”  Although it was not specified exactly which parts of the feature he worked on, Fischinger clearly had an influence on the film, as parts of Phantasia are very similar to what I saw in the music videos shown.  During the years of  1936-1943, Fischinger worked on many more projects including another that was shown at the lecture, called allegretto.  This film was fairly similar to the other music videos shown with big band and instrumental music paired with colors moving and flashing across the screen in synch with the music.

Not only did Fischinger create works himself, but others who studied with him, under him, or were simply inspired and influenced by him pushed forward in the sound music world.  Mary Allen Bute was one of those influenced by Fischinger.  Bute’s works were different from Fischingers in several ways.  Her overall presentation and color scheme greatly differed.  In Bute’s works, an overall picture image seemed to exist with different colored smoke playing across the background.  In the foreground shaped would move, twist, and dance to music.  In the works we saw, Bute’s music and color was slower and not as loud or dramatic as the those featured in Fischinger’s works.

Norman Mclaren was another music and sound artist featured in the presentation.  This man was from the synchromy national film board of Canada.  His works featured rapid image flashes, usually squares with beeping electronic noises sounds kind of like a video game bleeping noises, flashing all colors.  Of the three artists featured, Mclarens was clearly the strangest.  After a short while his pieces became redundant and just plain annoying.  Fischinger was my personal favorite, as I enjoyed watching the old style music videos.

Roger Call

Section C

Week 9_It’s a “small” wonder! by Cheng-Kuang Liu

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

“Nanotechnology” is fancy word. In pop culture, it is almost simply another cool word that means “modern,” “cool,” or “high-tech and expensive.” It is like a name brand—what ever product with “nano” attached to it instantly sounds more sophisticated by several degrees of magnitude, and could be sold at a higher price. Recall when “micro” and “atomic” sounded trendy. Anything with either of these two words attached to it automatically sounded so much cooler. Indeed, these words marked new frontiers of technological research, and the pop-cultural reaction to these words simply demonstrate their impact. I still remember when “megapixels” sounded impressive, 100 megabytes of free web-mail storage was cutting edge, and “giga” sounded totally exotic. Now “terabyte” has come on the scene, out-cooling the “gigabyte” by literally one-thousand-and-twenty-four times. “Nano” is the exact analogous of “tera,” but on the other end of the base-ten logarithmic scale. Perhaps one day we will master the nanotechnology, and “pico” will come on the scene as the new “the new thing.” If Apple would still be around, perhaps we will be introduced an “iPod pico.”

Letting alone the social craze concerning nanotechnology, what Dr. James Gimzewski talked about in lecture was truly impressive. I appreciate how he tied the development of nanotechnology to a change in our culture—from “seeing is believing” so “feeling is believing.” To take the statement quite literally, nanotechnology is applied to manufacturing new fabrics and materials, which really could be “felt.” But what is more striking is the non-literal connotation of the statement. The way we perceive and enjoy things is shifting. Recall how the phonograph revolutionized the entertainment world. Recall how the television set vegetated every household in America (ok, “vegetated” is not exactly the word). For the most part, our entertainment has been audio and visual. But this is shifting. Sounds and lights are no-longer good enough—we are growing more and more sensual. The way I see it, a recent wave of this movement started with the Nintendo DS, when the player no longer uses only buttons, but a touch screen, much more intuitive and appealing. Then along came the Wii and the iTouch, which we could control using accelerometers. In fact, the user is probably not even aware that he is using accelerometers—he may not even know what that is. He’s just swinging, tilting, and shaking like he would in real life. It was really hitting a spot in our sensual needs, as was self-evident in the popularity of these products.

Another thing in Dr. Gimzewski’s presentation intrigued me—the idea that we could build an abacus using nano-particles. Please excuse my technological inaccuracies, but to my knowledge, computers are basically built from transistors. Each transistor has two states—on and off, corresponding to signals “1” and “0.” The toggling between these two states allows the computer to carry out binary calculations, which are very efficient and fast. In an early predecessor of computers, the two-state switches are literally mechanical switches. Then we used capacitors instead. Now the “switches” have evolved to “bits” on a silicon chip too small to see. Consequently, computers are a lot more compact nowadays than they were back then. Now, if we could master manipulating nano-particles like manipulating the beads on an abacus, we could create two distinct states of one single molecule, representing “1” and “0.” Then we will be able to build a chip that is unprecedentedly small, which means that we could fit a lot more transistors in a given space. If we pull that off, our computers will be incredibly small and fast. In fact, even as of today, researchers are developing computers that use DNA instead of silicon-based chips ( What a future nanotechnology promises, and what impact it has on our society.

Fears and Promises of Nanotech by Eric Bollens

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Nanotechnology inspires optimism in some and fear in others. Some call it a buzz, but in reality it spells hope for a lot of fields, from medicine to energy to information and digital technology. It generates fear because the unknown often does, and, in this case, loosing containment on such technology could have drastic effects. From the molecular level on down to the quantum level, nanotechnology has profound implications.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN epitomizes the duality of optimism and fear in nanotechnology. Accelerating atomic particles to near-luminal velocities, the collider allows for insight into the earliest moments of the universe that only become visible when extremely large amounts of energy coalesce in a very small area. The collider is a pinnacle of scientific achievement, over eighteen years in the workings, and without nanotechnology, the collisions could neither be generated nor measured. The collider, however, is also a subject of great controversy, centered on the fear that the collisions could result in the formation of microsingularities. Some have responded that Hawking radiation will cause the singularities to evaporate before they come into play beyond the quantum scale. The CERN safety review and the American Physical Society agree but take a different stance, finding that there will simply not be enough energy in the collisions to trigger any such microsingularities. This discrepancy can cause a great deal of fear.

Uncertainty exists in much of nanotechnology, hence the resistance. Dendrimers and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) could help with targeted drug release, actively attacking cancer cells without harming normal cells, but fear exists that these nanoparticles might take on a purpose of their own, creating new pathogens. At UCLA, protests have occurred at the California Nano-Science Institute (CNSI) about this research. Like with the LHC, fear of containment and control also reigns with medical nanotechnology. Michael Chricton explored this in Prey, where a networked, agent-based nanorobotic system took on group consciousness and exceeded its initial purview.

While these fears have some justification, caution should allow researches to continue pressing forward in the realm of nanotechnology because of the huge potential it offers. Modern light bulbs only convert about five percent of electrical energy into light. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), already in limited use, and quantum-caged atoms (QCAs) could increase electrical efficiency in lighting and projection tenfold, helping reduce energy consumption as the demand skyrockets. While potentially decreasing energy demand, nanotechnology also spells hope for increasing the efficiency of energy production. Specific catalysts could be designed with maximized surface area for greater efficiency in internal combustion engines which currently have only around a 30% conversion efficiency. Similarly, nanostructures could allow for tighter continuum of bandgaps in photovoltaic cells, theoretically more than doubling efficiency in solar cells which currently convert only around 15% luminal energy into usable energy. As opposed to the controversial nanotech fields of medicine and theoretical physics, advances in energy consumption and production do not suffer from the same fears of loosing containment or control.

Personally, I work in the High Performance Computing Systems and Networking group at UCLA, which runs parallel computing clusters in the Math-Science Data Center and the Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE) Data Center in CNSI, and I’m very interested in what nanotechnology offers for computing. In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore stated that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit increases exponentially, doubling every two years. This trend has remained fairly steady over the past forty-four years, but now scientists are beginning to come up against a wall: “In terms of size [of transistor] you can see that we’re approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier, but it’ll be two or three generations before we get that far—but that’s as far out as we’ve ever been able to see,” stated Moore in 2005 interview. Eventually, processors will reach the point where transistors can go no smaller, and distance separating processing units becomes great enough that there is no new gain by adding more transistors. Many major research projects rely on parallel processing to get around this issue, distributing the load across multiple nodes; parallel processing is contingent on communication speed between nodes, though, and fiber-optic electron nanotubes offer possible gains here. However, eventually this too will hit a bottleneck, no matter how much efficiency can be pushed through the fiber.

The answer to the roadblock to computing power that is coming soon, and one of the great targets of nanotechnology: quantum computing. Taking advantage of phenomena that exist at the sub-atomic level, whereas bits in computing provide a linear increase in power, qubits in quantum computing will provide an exponential increase in power through quantum superposition. Many obstacles, however, exist to this. Decoherence at the quantum level is hard to protect against because of the minutiae of scale. The transformation gateways necessary to perform operations on the qubits represent another challenge. However, in the last few years, major advances have been made to overcome these obstacles and make quantum computing possible. Twenty-some qubit systems now exist, including a the first marketable system by D-Wave, which equates to a mid-1990’s digital computer in terms of performance. However, to give an idea of the power of quantum computing, at 300 qubits, a system has a state described by approximately 1090 complex numbers, more than the total number of atoms in the observable universe.

While there is much resistance to nanotechnology, there is also a great deal of promise offered by it in all fields of science.

Nanotech by Sagar Mehta 1C

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The ability of the scientists who work in the field of nanotechnology to develop atomic sized that can be used in virtually every modern field is incredible. When I first came to the class my knowledge of the current state of nanotech was limited to what was considered science fiction. The usual robot that is small enough to travel through the body and the like, I had no idea that there were so many obstacles that needed to be ironed out. The lecture by professor Gimzewski really opened by mind to how we are currently approaching the problems in a completely different fashion and in a bottom up view. The whole concept of the nanotubes, as well, is a very mind boggling concept that has so many different applications in tomorrow’s world, something that we have been steadily approaching faster and faster.

The expansive work being done in this field should have the biggest impact on the computer industry. Since everything we use from our ipods to computers to phones to basically anything that has a chip inside is becoming smaller and smaller, engineers are have a difficult time trying to create silicon chips that can cope with and survive our withering need for smaller diveices with more power and storage. This is where UPenn engineers come in. They have developed preliminary computer memory that is much smaller than current tech allows for. By using bottom up methods that allow them to form components atomically instead of through chemical reactions they can achieve efficiency only dreamed of and speeds never thought of.

Another major quickly advancing application of nanotechnology is the biotech and medicine field. Aside from the traditional nanobot that can heal anything we are increasingly seeing more use of the buckyball, a carbon-60 molecule with a wide variety of applications. I first came to know about this unique molecule while in my organic chemistry class in high school and the things i learned were its basic chemical composition, shape, you know the boring stuff. It was only here that I discovered that such a complicated molecule was not just a molecule it could be so much more and has had such a profound impact on current biotechnology. Another intriguing possibility of nanotech and biotech together is the use of the DNA molecule to create miniature robots. The idea is to use the ability of either DNA or RNA which can self replicate to also contain the information to dictate where certain atoms go to produce bots just like organic DNA produces cells.

While my understanding of the technical specifications of nanotechnology is close to none, I hopelfully will be able to use it in the future. As a biochemistry major the applications of such a technology is quite captivating and is where the future will be.

Sagar Mehta


Extra Credit 1: Science Symposium Insects, Trees and Climate by Roger Call

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Science Symposium: Insects, Trees and Climate: The Bioacoustic Ecology of Deforestation and Entomogenic Climate Change

James Crutchfield, from the UC Davis Department of Physics and the Complexity Science Center, presented on the bioacoustic ecology of deforestation and the entomogenic climate change.  This lecture centered around a certain bark beetle which is currently destroying millions of acres of forest throughout North America.  Crutchfield did not speak on the origins or emergence of these beetles, but focused on their effects and propagation as well as the effects they are having on the environment and ecology.

The story of the bark beetles was presented in a fashion most suited to the Desma9 class, in that it was both a story of art and science.  Sound plays a central role in this account.  Crutchfield had originally visited a friend in Michigan who had a graduate student working on a project involving Tanzanian frogs.  These frogs were the last of their species as the Tanzanian government had dammed the river that was their native homeland.  The graduate student was trying without success to make the frogs breed, as this was critical to their survival as a species.  The natural habitat of the frogs involved a waterfall, and through some theorizing and the use of expensive ultrasound equipment, the group discovered that the frogs emitted high frequency sounds as a part of their mating ritual, and with the addition of a waterfall, the frogs began to mate successfully.

This leads into the second part of the lecture, which deals with the beetles and ultrasound.  Recent studies by Crutchfield and others in the field have lead to the discovery that pine trees during a drought release a very high frequency sound.  This sound originates from the imploding cells in the tree due to lack of water.  This sound was a mystery to scientists until just recently.  The high frequency sound let off by the parched trees in turn attracts the bark beetles, which have infested the forests of North America in the past years.

The bark beetle infestation is currently unchecked, as millions of acres of forest are being ravaged despite counter measures.  In Norway, another area affected by the bark beetle problem, billions of beetles were killed in an area, but no effect on the overall beetle infestation occurred.  The study on the ultrasound emitted from trees also lead to the investigation of sounds and these bark beetles.  The beetles are a major concern as the destruction of forests hits the economies of many areas, as precious lumber is being devoured and wasted.  Crutchfield and his associated developed a method of bioacoustics in which they hammer a large ultrasound needle into the bark of a tree, and thus are able to listen for the characteristic high pitched frequencies the beetles emit.  Through this method they can determine if the beetles have infested a tree.  This frequency is very high, as the beetles range of hearing ranges from 200-300 kHz.  These beetles are even changing the climate through destruction of the forests, as a destroyed tree released carbon into the environment, and is also not alive to convert CO2 into oxygen.  Through this process the beetles are altering the climate.  As of now there is no solution to the beetles, but measures to fight them utilizing sound are in progress.

Roger Call

Section C

Week 9: The Applications of Nanotechnology by Ricky Irwin

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

With the little knowledge I have on nanotechnology, I’ve always thought it was a science of the future, still in the stage of theory and experimentation. So after last week’s lecture and doing some additional research, it’s very fascinating to keep discovering new areas of daily life where nanotechnology has already reached. The furthest extent my knowledge of the subject went was nanotechnology in art, similar to the Obama heads in class, tiny recreations in an incredibly minute scale.

Since nanotechnology is so incredibly small that photographing it is impossible, the only way to make nano-art is to use devices like scanning electron microscopes, which are smaller than wavelengths of light and result in gray images, sometimes colored in post. The following “NanoMoth” by Ursula Freer created the art by first recognizing the pattern of the butterfly in the natural organic texture, and then coloring it afterwards to better suggest the shape.


It seems that nanotechnology is not only affecting art itself, but also the preservation and restoration of it. It is used to create “nanocontainers” which use water and a cleaning agent to create micro-emulsions, a technique much milder and more environmentally-friendly than traditional restoration techniques.

In a world increasingly threatened by environmental damage and disorder, I think one of the most beneficial aspects of nanotechnology that I’ve researched are the benefits it brings in regards to the environment. A study done in the UK shows that with the following benefits, the benefits of nanotechnology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20% by 2050. The report stated that with nanoparticle additives, the fuel efficiency of diesel engines can be increased by up to 5%, resulting of 2-3 million tons of CO2 saved in the UK alone. Also, nanotechnology has the potential to solve the problem of low range and power in electrical car batteries, with the aiblity to recharge a car in less than ten minutes, saving all the CO2 released from private transport.

I was also interested in how nanotechnology is being applied in the field of music. I discovered that composer Frederic Rzewski has combined nanotechnology with music to create Nanosonatas, Volume 1, which “compresses the form of 20- to 40-minute, 19th-century sonatas into seven three-minute segments,” or nano-notes, and he describes the music as sounding like the “changing pace of the nanomotor.”

Regardless of what it is applied to, it is very evident that improvements and innovations that once might have been deemed impossible now have open possibilities with the science of nanotechnology.

Nanotech and our future

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Last weeks lecture was really eye opening giving us a taste of the future. The trend of technology as most of us know it to get faster, smaller, and closer to us…. and whats faster and smaller than things on a molecular level????
Well thats were nanotech comes in, and its just amazing to see some of the crazy applications and inventions scientists have created using Nanotechnology. In just the past few years nanotech has boomed so much, ranging from the creation of non-wetable clothing, to particle that can fight cancer without harming healthy tissue. But can our applications of this nanotech be advancing to quickly??
is it possible that our ambitions of advancement are blinding our eyes from genuine risks and dangers behind these super technologies????
I believe that it is very possible that the use of these technologies can easily get out of hand, especially if nanotechnology is incorporated into the internet, because then that leaves us with the conclusion that eventually EVERYTHING, will be connected ( via the internet), changing the world and humanity forever.

Michael c.

Nanobots in our bodies by Brendan Ryan

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

One of the coolest proposals of nanotech is tiny robots that can replicate themselves by manipulating the matter at hand. This is also the foundation of a common doomsday hypothesis, where nano bots could replicate out of control and disassemble the entire world until they were the only ones left. That would be awful.

What I think is a really interesting prospect, and I’m totally just making this up right now, but these nanobots can be so small that you could breathe them in, what if you could replace your cells with replicating nanobots that served the same function. One could effectively eliminate aging and disease. I asked my friends whether or not they would be willing to put their brains in robot bodies that could look like anything they wanted and only about half of them said yes. With nanobots you could make your body a robot and enjoy all the benefits without ever feeling bat that you are made of circuits and stuff. I asked my friends if they would like to have robot cells so they never get sick and never grow old and they all said yes, I do however, only have like five friends so its that that comprehensive of a survey.

If we can’t have a robot cell body there could still be very exciting incremental development. Imagine if surgery could be performed without so much as a knife just by injecting nanobots into someone. In honey I shrunk the kids at one point I think in a sequel one of the kids gets eaten. Like so:

Honey i ate the kids

you could do this with a robot now and hopefully in the future it can go and fix some problems you may have, such as cancer. Nanotech seems a lot like space exploration to me in that we are exploring previously unknown worlds. By allowing us to manipulate the world at a nano scale we can create a lot of new kids of objects. The applications in material science are very promising. I have heard it may soon be possible to create a type of paint that will turn almost any surface into a solar panel. If it was created at an economically reasonable rate this could solve huge problems with sustainable energy.