HNRS 177 FINAL BLOG COMPILATION RACHEL BOROWSKI ID: 803679215 Professor: Victoria Vesna HNRS 177 Assignment #1 Wow! The videos and reading articles on the topic of the “Third Culture” were fascinating! I will begin with an overview of what I understood and enjoyed most from the given materials, and then provide an analysis and extrapolation based upon my own experiences. However, I first state that I am a Sociology major. But I spent my first two years at UCLA as an International Economics student, before the major was cut (due to UC budget cuts) in the summer of 2010. I first read Professor Vesna’s article “Toward a Third Culture,” which was nicely complemented and somewhat summarized by Lecture #1. Both covered the history of this theory, with arguments by C.P. Snow, Alduous Huxley, John Brockman, and others. These were very informative, but I was ultimately most inspired by Vesna’s argument that artists currently have the role of bridging the arts and sciences. This is an interesting idea that somewhat reflects Brockman’s idea that contemporary people (although he says, contemporary scientists) are the third culture already, so there is no need to create a middleman. Vesna states that although they are in a somewhat precarious position – “Artists using technology are uniquely positioned in the middle of the scientific and literary/philosophical communities and are allowed poetic license, which gives us the freedom to reinforce the delicate bridge and indeed contribute to the creation of a new, mutant third culture.” This is a great point, and something very exciting for the future of art. On our campus, it is true that the arts and sciences (and the humanities, too) are indeed separated both in our minds and physically in the arrangement of our departments. And there are definitely stereotypes held by each group, along with feelings of superiority in some form. North Campus sees South Campus as a bleak, cement region for socially awkward and overly intense students. Where South Campus students sees North Campus as a place for jocks and sorority girls who do nothing blab about their
emotions and opinions (see Santa image below). In doing this exercise, however, I found it most interesting to note that neither of us (humanities or the hard sciences) include Art majors as “one of us.” And that, I believe, is because our university has (for some reason or another) put them into a school of their own. In the RSAnimate clip, the artist discussed the creation of public education systems, and why these systems (full of separate subjects and cohorts) are not an appropriate or effective model for teaching/learning in the present day. This intrigued me, as I realized that my favorite classes in college have all been my honors classes. These are not merely “harder” classes, as they were in high school. But they are small, interdisciplinary classes with lots of new, interesting ideas and a great deal of group discussion and collaboration. No wonder these classes had my attention – I was “firing on all cylinders,” so to speak. I think the Honors Program is on to something! Some of my previous honors classes were incredibly interesting: a combo of statistics and public health, a combination of linguistics and neuroscience, and many more! I agree with RSAnimate that kids (and young men/women like us) learn best not by “anesthesia” (such as ADHD medication) but by being “woken up!”
Works Cited: http://www.someecards.com/college‐cards/college‐final‐exams‐santa‐claus‐funny‐ecard http://www.badassoftheweek.com/davinci1.jpg http://blogmarketing.typepad.com/.a/6a010534998f56970b015431f4ab4e970c‐pi HNRS 177 Assignment #2 This topic is very near and dear to me. From the age of 15 until the age of 19, I lived with chronic stomach pain, nausea, migraines, and fatigue. Several doctors, including a gastrointestinal specialist, couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I spent the majority of those four year on a variety of medications for ulcers, intestinal spasms, and other digestive disorders. It turns out, however, that none of these were the problem. After my mom was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, her doctor and nutritionist decided to give me a blood test that measures allergic reactions (on a scale of 1‐6) to the 100 most common American foods. My results were unlike anything they had ever seen. Of the 100 foods, I ranked at a 6 for nearly 40 of them. I was almost allergic to everything I ate on a daily basis: gluten, dairy, eggs, red meat, peanuts, almonds, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, etc. Since then, my life has been entirely different. I have not eaten at a fast food restaurant in two years. When my friends go out for ice cream or pizookies or pizza, I just tag along to hang out because there is nothing I can eat. Before going on weekend trips or even just to campus for the day, I must load up my backpack with all of my special foods from Trader Joes and Whole Foods. An average day of eating looks like this: turkey sausage, blueberries, soy yogurt, Chex cereal in a bag, cashews, salad, and then gluten free pasta for dinner. Despite the annoyances of this diet (and craving things like donuts all the time), I cannot even begin to imagine the health benefits (especially compared to my childhood diet, which consisted of fast food at least once a day and
lots of pop‐tarts, sugary cereals, and store‐bought cookies). In fact, my diet is extremely similar to the Paleo Diet. For those who haven’t heard of it, here’s a brief description: “The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in Biology, Biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility” (robbwolf.com). People who follow this diet do not consume any grains, dairy, refined sugars, etc. And after several years with a nutritionist and several allergy books, I think I can explain the reasoning quite well. 30,000 years ago, the human being as we know it came to be. He lived off of nuts, berries, seeds, and meats. But 10,000 years ago, the human population grew too large, and agriculture was necessary to feed everyone. Humans began to cultivate grains and consume large amounts of dairy … but their bodies were not meant for these types of food. In fact, some people still cannot eat these foods (ie many people in Asian countries where dairy wasn’t introduced until quite recently). But even for those who “can,” there are many negative health outcomes including inflammation, acne, unbalanced energy (and blood sugar) levels throughout the day, excess weight gain, gas, and even irregular sleep patterns. Sound like any problems you’re having? Probably, yes. However, this can’t be the only reason for the rise in food allergies and intolerances across the globe. In fact, we’ve seen a great spike since the introduction of genetically modified foods. From 1997 to 2007, the prevalence of food allergies increased 18%, and allergy‐related emergencies requiring ambulatory care and hospitalization nearly tripled (Branum & Lukacs 1549). And despite all of the potentially incredible benefits of GMOs (herbicide/pest/disease/cold resistance so there will be enough food for all) and nanofoods (with extra nutrients and flavors), I
believe that we should be wary of them until more is known about their affects on the body, the environment, and economies across the globe. In addition, I feel that all genetically modified foods and nanofoods in the U.S. should be labeled in the meantime so that consumers can be aware of what they are eating. Works Cited: http://robbwolf.com/what‐is‐the‐paleo‐diet/ http://nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the‐beginners‐guide‐to‐the‐paleo‐diet/ Branum, Amy M., and Susan L. Lukacs. "Food Allergy Among Children in the United States." Pediatrics 124.6 (2009): 1549‐555. Print. http://nanotechnology174.wordpress.com/ http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/focus/2003/gmo7.htm HNRS 177 Homework #3 Genetic engineering is a way to transfer desirable traits from one organism to another using recombinant DNA technology. Because all DNA is made from the same four bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine), we can transfer genes among animals, plants, and even microbes. For example, you might remember our discussion last week about the introduction of antifreeze DNA from fish into the genome of tomatoes to make them hardier in cold weather. In 2009, the FDA issued a guide for the agriculture industry regarding the regulation of genetically engineered animals. This guide explains the federal regulation of these animals, and also provides recommendations to help producers meet their “obligations and responsibilities under the law.” However, it has been publicly published to also help the general public gain a better understanding of this proliferating science. In their online Q&A sheet, this is how the FDA describes the three major purposes of GMOs: Biopharm Purposes: Genetically engineered animals are intended to produce substances (generally in their milk or blood) that can be used in the production of human or animal pharmaceuticals Transplant Purposes: Genetically engineered animals serve as a source of scarce cells, tissues, and organs for transplantation into humans (this is known as xenotransplantation)
Food Sources: Genetically engineered animals intended for human consumption may be developed to be disease resistant or to have improved nutritional qualities Although all of these reasons seem very beneficial, they (and especially the third bullet) have raised a great deal of controversy. And I would say that the third bullet makes me wary as well. The primary reason for this (actually noted by “Hope” in Strange Culture) is the fact that GM foods in the U.S. are not labeled, while they are in other countries. I would feel much more comfortable with the idea of GMOs if I actually knew when and where I was consuming them. To provide a brief analysis of Strange Culture, I’d have to say that Kurtz and his work originally seemed extremely strange to me. However, within ten or twenty minutes I was completely on his side. To see someone lose his wife and his career and his most basic rights within a span of a few hours was devastating. At first, the confusion of the FBI was understandable. But I believe that they felt too ashamed to take back their decisions, and had to continue digging for any form of evidence – even down to some Arabic writing on an invitation to an exhibit at MASS MoMA. In the process, they destroyed his home and his reputation. But I respect how hard such a broken man was able to fight back, not just for himself, but also for the field of art/science that he believes to be so important and impactful.
I loved Noa Kaplan’s art, especially her large‐scale representations of coffee, sugar, dust bunnies, and pollen. In my mind, these did exactly what she had hoped – to “re‐enchant things we take for granted” and make them on a massive scale so that we can actually interact with them. I greatly admire the time she puts into her work, and cannot imagine having as much patience as she seems to possess. She does extraordinary amounts of research to study all aspects of her work (physical structure, social implications, etc.) and then spends months to actually create each piece. I like to hear about art with a background story like this, because it makes it much easier for me to understand. Having little formal instruction in art, I tend to understand and appreciate artwork much more when its abstractions are explained to me from a perspective of purpose and intelligence. From here, I began to research people and places that were studying medicine and art together. One of the first people to catch my eye was artist and doctor, John Saito. He states that “Painting keeps me attuned to my emotions, my humanity, and my compassion. Medicine allows me to view events with a scientific and clinical eye and provides beautiful visuals to recreate on canvas. Although very different in many ways, art and medicine have found a balance for me that is filled with beauty, humanity, and warmth.” Most of his paintings show patients, their caregivers, and even surgical procedures themselves. Here is an example of one of his paintings, “The Hand‐Off,” which depicts an obstetric scene: http://www.artinmedicine.com/ One area of art and medicine, however, which intrigues me the most is art therapy. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the best centers in the nation, states that “performing arts, as they enhance the medical environment, express ideas and emotions, and offer therapeutic benefits … because [art] comforts, elevates the spirit, and affirms life and hope.” In most instances, a patient’s art is used as a form of self‐expression, which is then interpreted by a therapist and used to direct treatment. The
focus here is not on the development of artistic skills, but instead on the revealing of a patient’s deepest feelings and perceptions through his/her artwork and imagination. Other fine arts are also used because each has its own ability to heal. Dance, for example, “uses movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.” http://projectfocus.org/educate/art‐therapy.php (Art Therapy for Children in Uganda) http://findmeacure.com/2010/06/12/dance‐therapy/barbara_snook_leads_a_dance_therapy_class_in_duned/ (Dance Therapy Class) Resources: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/arts_medicine/default.aspx http://www.artinmedicine.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_therapy
http://www.adta.org/ Homework #5: Midterm Presentation (see other email attachment) Week #6 Blog: Different Perspectives on Living Longer & Looking Good This afternoon, I visited Kathy Brew’s “Going Gray” installation at the 10th Annual ISG Symposium. It was a very neat exhibit with a variety of mediums ranging from popular magazines, ads from the mid‐1900s, a song book, a Google image screenshot, boxes of hair dye, demeaning words on a wall, and a video with interviews from six medical specialists. The common theme was the topic of “graying” and how people (especially women) use certain measures to hide signs of aging. It was interesting to note that all of the specialists provided a somewhat different reason behind the graying of human hair. I, however, found Gerald Weissman’s reasoning to seem the most valid. He states that our hair follicles produce hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching agent) throughout our lives. But at a certain age (usually 45 or so), our bodies stop producing the catalase that destroys it. With no more catalase to stop it, the hydrogen peroxide bleaches our hair before it emerges from our skin. The goal should be to prevent this type of oxidative damage (which also damages our skin as we age) instead of merely seeking to prevent or correct color loss. Similar to this, nutritionist Gary Null and acupuncture specialist Wing Tsang offer a more Eastern opinion on how to prevent aging. They feel that Americans are not working hard enough to reverse aging (with healthy eating, exercise, etc.) and are merely seeking to erase the physical manifestations of age (with hair dye, botox, etc.) because they are “addicted to comfort.” They believe, however, that it is essential to make yourself look good from the inside out. For example, you wont have a healthy outward appearance such as clear eyes and youthful skin unless you put the proper ingredients inside yourself. Anne McEaney, a psychologist who focuses on eating and body image, feels that a person must have the proper attitude about themself and positive energy in order to attract others. All in all, it is clear that people want to live longer and look younger than ever before. And this holds especially true for women, who are often looked down upon as they age, while men with gray hair may be seen as more knowledgeable and experienced.
There are many beliefs about how to live longer. But 100‐year‐old doctor Robert Bazell (still practicing at UCSF, see photo above) doesn’t feel that exercise, vitamins, or frequent checkups are the answer. Instead he recommends falling in love, getting married, and having children. Another article on wellbeing seems to support this notion – “Love, in all its manifestations, is unarguably the greatest emotion. Loving and being loved makes you happier, stronger, and live longer.” This love, however, doesn’t need to be just a spouse – it can be love for a pet, a child, hobbies, or even your religion … anything that causes a person to live life to its fullest, feel happy, and act as a sort of meditation. However, sex has been linked to longevity and wellbeing, so there may be an additional bonus to loving a romantic partner. Some of the benefits of sex include the following: stress relief, increased immune function, improved heart functioning, increased self‐esteem, and better sleep. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40153870/vp/43903066#43903066 http://completewellbeing.com/article/love‐to‐live‐longer/ http://www.webmd.com/sex‐relationships/features/10‐surprising‐health‐benefits‐of‐sex?page=3 Borowski, Rachel
HNRS 177 20 May 2012 Alan Turing Blog “Alan Turing’s Historical & Contemporary Impact on War” On September 3rd of 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. Within one day, Alan Turing arrived at the British codebreaking house in the town of Bletchley (just between Oxford and Cambridge). It was there that he worked with another Cambridge mathematician by the name of Gordon Welchman to design the Bombe, a machine to break Enigma‐enciphered messages sent by the German military. This was just the first of five major cryptanalytic advances that Turing developed during World War II. These many contributions have been credited with shortening the war by several years. Even beyond that, Turing’s work and his position as an invaluable link between Britain and the United States from 1942‐43 have shaped the global post‐war order. I will first take a look at the latter. After Japan and Germany declared war on the United States in December of 1941, Britain gained a very strong ally. However, Britain had been financially dependent upon this ally (America), especially since losing all control of its colonial and commercial rule in Asia. Thus, Britain did not have much to offer … except for Turing’s success with the Bombe. The U.S. demanded to know all about it, so Turing travelled to the United States, where he worked with the U.S. navy as the first ever top‐tier technical liaison between the two countries. The genius of his work has by no means lost value in the last seventy years. In fact, his ideas led to the development of the first modern computer. And his mathematical formulas are being used today by scholars at UCSD to “improve automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, and other machine learning software.” Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombe http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/ww2.html http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/501440/ http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/ukusa.html