Jen-Ling Nieh Blog compilation


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Jen-Ling Nieh Blog compilation

  1. 1. Jen-Ling Nieh Blog 1: Two CulturesMy name is Jen and I am a Psychology major. In particular, I think my background of Psychologyreally made the lectures by Professor Vesna quite intriguing. I was able to connect what she talkedabout to what I have learned through my college years. However, fortunately, Psychology is right inbetween South and North Campus with the inverted fountain. I have previously taken art courses tofulfill my general education along with hard sciences. Thus, I can say that Ive been acquainted withboth fields. I do feel the separation of the two cultures and I practice stereotypes myself. The lecture ofTwo cultures definitely debunked my stereotype that artists know nothing of science. Im shocked tofind out how much artists are aware of science. I dont call myself a scientist, but having to go back andtake pre-requisites for veterinary schools, I will have to become a scientist. Therefore, I will definitelybe familiar with science field along with my psychology background (more artsy field compare tosciences). Ive often experience this separation of the two cultures because many people refer to sciencemajors as south campus and arts as north campus. Oftentimes, people of south campus feel superior tothose of north campus. Despite that psychology is in between the south and north, it is still consideredas a “north campus major”. Thus, this demonstrates that stereotypes also exist at UCLA. As showngeographically on campus map and by the names of the buildings according to field (as mentioned inlecture video), theres a segregation of the two culture in our very own campus. This is due to the flawof our current education, which is fueled by the economy.As mentioned is the RSA video, our education system needs improvement, it desperately needs ashifting paradigm. For example, due to standardized testing and way of teaching, the number ofstudents diagnosed with ADHD is significant. Heres a link with statistics to intimate one of theproblems in our education. a link, which I found interesting, that further shows the concept of how science and artsegregated because they were together as one in the past. anyone has time or is interested, heres an article that strictly talks about the problems that werecreated due to the segregation of art and sciences. Its a relatively brief. have also provided two pictures of what "mad artist" and "mad scientist" is suppose to look like,which conveys the stereotype we hold for each. This will allow you to contrast the two.
  2. 2. References: Blog 2: What Are We Eating?
  3. 3. I have been trying to be meticulous of what I eat by eating more vegetables and choosing brown rice.However, after watching “Nova: Harvest of Fear”, I realized that I havent been as careful as I thought!It really is scary because many, as depicted in the video, dont even realize that they have been eatinggenetically modified food. I, for one, definitely have been clueless. I knew about Monsanto and thedespicable actions they do to the farmers to increase their profit. From the GMO food shown in thevideo, I know that I have been eating GMO food (especially corn) and will educate myself in learninghow to avoid it in the near future.I think the consumers deserve the right to know what they are eating and campaigns against GMO foodshould seek out in educating the public. When I first looked at the topic, I thought that I would feelproud of myself for what I have been eating. Compare to the past, I have been eating a lot healthier:eggplants, spinach, tofu, etc. I didnt think that GMO food would be an issue with what I have beencurrently consuming. However, as it turns out, what I have been eating is not what I have thought whatIve been eating! Even the brown rice that Ive been eating may not really be brown rice! The brands ofthe food I eat are on the following list of GMO free food. Therefore, I will try my best to look out forthe following brands. has always been highly regarded as an enhancement to our society. However, after learningabout biotechnology of genetically modified foods, Im not sure if it is a gift or an omen. I found thestatement “making fish grow faster” to be disgusting, yet this is the food Im provided. The fear ofGMO food is both ignorance and cost. Since GMO food permits massive production, the price will becheaper on the market. Whereas, “normal” food will be expensive. People living with budgets will notbe able to afford avoiding GMO food, which is depriving people of their prerogative to healthy food.For example, many will not be able to regularly shop at farmers markets due to the cost. Additionally,GMO food hasnt been out long enough for us to know the consequences, but it is against nature.Throughout the last decades, we have learned that going against nature will lead to dire consequences(i.e., injecting hormones to cows). Another problem we will face is that people are not aware of theexistence of GMO food! Then how are they able to avoid and fight against it? Thus, it is imperativethat we educate the public. Heres a guide so people can start! also found it relevant to provide some information of Monsanto as it is one of the biggest, if not thebiggest, genetically modified food companies. They modify seeds and patent them and have beenbankrupting farmers to minimize competition! have provided some pictures as to how our foods are currently manufactured and what it looks likescientifically! This is just too scary!
  4. 4. References:
  5. 5. Blog 3: My Relationship with AnimalsFirst and foremost, I love animals. I grew up having had birds, chicken, turtles, hamsters, fish, etc. Icurrently have two dogs and plan on becoming a veterinarian. Even with my early childhood exposureto animals, I still didnt know I wanted to become a veterinarian until last year. Within this year, I havelearned a lot and grew a lot. I grew from an animal lover to a knowledgeable animal activist. I learnedabout the problem we are having with dog and cat overpopulation. Millions are currently euthanized ayear due to lack of homes. Additionally, animal cruelty that exists in our community motivates me todo what I want to do, which is to have a non-profit rescue. I want to save them all, but I know I cant.Thus, I have learned to accept the ugly truths and try to make changes from there. I will live to educatepeople on how to be a responsible pet owner and how to NOT support puppy mills and backyardbreeders. Unfortunately, most of us have fallen victims to these greeders. I would sum my relationshipto animals as a nurturing one because they have taught me a lot. My dogs have taught me patience,love, and responsibility. I also find it much easier for me to talk to others about animals then any othersubject. However, my relationship with animals doesnt just stop at dogs and cats. I also love wildanimals, which is why I can never go to the zoo. It pains for me to see them caged up. I believe thatthey should be in their habitat and live their lives. Due to my love for animals, I have also become moreconservative with energy usage. I want to minimize my carbon footprint and not contribute to globalwarming. Everytime I think of global warming, I think of dying polar bears. Thus, my relationship toanimals has definitely made me into a better person.Heres a fact sheet for those interested! on what is a puppy mill:">
  6. 6. Why zoos shouldnt exist!"> really cant say Im surprised at what happened to Steve Kurtz. Our government is flawed, but manyjust sit and let the injustice get by. Im glad that he didnt get incarcerated, but there are many otherswho are not as lucky, such as Troy Davis. After watching the video, it really made me think what Iwould have done. I also wondered if I would have signed the petition for Steve if I was his student. Imade me sad to hear the students responses when Phil had asked them to signed the petition. It mademe see that we are all locked up mentally! Other shocking parts of the film was when the FBI saw theinvitation in Arabic and assuming terroist acitivity. Then, how the FBI continuously try to set up traps
  7. 7. to get him to say what they want Steve to say. The invasion of privacy is very scary! At anytime, myphone conversations can be listened to by others! I think "Strange Culture" was a great way ofeducating the public on whats happening. Nevertheless, what Steve Kurtz and Robert Ferrell had toendure definitely serves as a wake up call to what our government is doing and hiding from us! AllSteve Kurtz and Robert Ferrell was trying to do was to educate the public so people dont have to livein fear of what they are eating.My dogs:">">"> Blog 4: TranshumanismMy boyfriend has always told me that one day robots will take over since humans are so dependent ontechnology. The concept of transhumanism really reminded me of the idea of cloning. As I wasresearching, I discovered that theres a difference between artificial cloning, what we often think ofwhen we hear "cloning", and natural cloning. According to National Human Genome Research
  8. 8. Institute, "in nature, some plants and single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, produce geneticallyidentical offspring through a process called asexual reproduction. In asexual reproduction, a newindividual is generated from a copy of a single cell from the parent organism." Cloning findsapplications in genetic fingerprinting, amplification of DNA and alteration of the genetic makeup oforganisms. As for artificial cloning, there are three types: gene cloning, reproductive cloning andtherapeutic cloning. Therapeutic cloning can help replace damaged cells. It can be used to discoverways to prevent aging and even bringing dead pets back alive. This website,, provides greatintroductory details in regards to cloning. There hare heated debate about whether humans should becloned. There currently is artificial embryo twinning, which is the relatively low-tech version ofcloning. This technology mimics the natural process of creating identical twins. You can refer to thiswebsite,, to see how natural twincloning is done. Cloning is a very daring and expensive method. As the movie, the Island, depicted of acloning facility where labs create clones of clients. When the clients get sick, they would use the clonesof clients organs to replace the clients own organs. This would allow people to live longer, whichreturns us to the concept of transhumanism.Below are some visual depictions of the process of genetic artificial cloning.
  9. 9. Heres a list of Pros and Cons of cloning:">">">"> Blog 5: Stigma of AgingSociety has put a negative perspective on aging, which is a natural process for our body. To counter ourbodys natural tendency to age, we have utilized biotechnology to produce products that will hopefullyhelp us make us look younger. As the artist of the Aging symposium has demonstrated, its becomepopular for older people to color their grey or white hair to disguise their real age. Wigs have alsobecome a popular accessory people use to cover their aging hair.Heres a picture of the againg symposium displaying wigs:
  10. 10. These demonstrations illustrate how "anti-aging" our society is.Here is a picture of the artist with her natual agin hair color and the "young" hair color. Then, in themiddle, the in-between phase is depicted to show the two extremes, where her natural hair color and theother color essentially collide into one another.
  11. 11. Here is another example where our society is discriminating aging and has become "agist". This isreally disturbing as aging is a natural process and we continuously try to fight the mother nature withour "intelligent" inventions.According to, old age isundesirable as our culture is obsessed with youth. Nowasdays, it has become abnormal for people toNOT have cosmetic surgery. This is a saddening truth and ironic to the videos shown in class. Ageshould insinuate wisdom, not shame!Heres an interesting article describing how now the middle age is 60 instead of 40 due to cosmeticsurgery. As the artist of the aging symposium mentioned, in the past, people lived to around 40s andnow its doubled! This demonstrate how powerful biotechnology is. an article on Wedmd that discusses how our society is being anti-aging with all the products wehave, such as anti-wrinkle cream. References:
  12. 12. Blog 6: Alan TuringAlan Turings contribution of chemical morphogenesis, the creation of form and shape during animaldevelopment, led him to propose a reaction-diffusion model as the basis of the development of patternssuch as the spots and stripes seen in animal skin. By understanding the cellular mechanisms ofmorphogenesis, we are able to use the proposed model to examine the patterning of animals. Forexample, why do zebras always have black and white stripes? Here is the link to Turings introductionpaper to morphogensis: mathematical model of chemical morphogenesis helps us understand why tigers and zebrashave stripes. Turings Reaction-Diffusion model from 1952 consists on a set of equations whichiteratively simulate the distribution of a chemical agent (activator) modulated by the presence ofanother agent called inhibitor. In his seminal 1952 paper, Alan Turing predicted that diffusion couldspontaneously drive an initially uniform solution of reacting chemicals to develop stable spatiallyperiodic concentration patterns. It is believed that such interactions take place in nature to form patternswhich can be found in mammals and fish, and the first model, generating spots. Heres is moreinformation on the RD model, please refer to this link."> animals develop their coat patterns in stages. Typically, a secondary pattern will emerge as theanimal transitions to adulthood. The following examples all use multiple stages:
  13. 13. Here is a website that explains morphogesis in more">">">"> Blog 7: Extra CreditProfessor Lejla Kucukalic presented a lecture on Biotech to Biopunk on Science Fiction’s vision ofgenetics. Throughout her lecture, Kucukalic referenced many books and films to exemplify what shewas talking about. One in particular that caught my attention and interste was Splice because I am ahorror movies fan. I have been intrigued by science fiction horrors, such as the following movie. Thisfilm is about two genetic engineers who hope to achieve fame by successfully splicing together the
  14. 14. DNA of different animals to create new hybrid animals for medical use. I also watch species, which isvery similar to this film. Therefore, reference to this film helped me see a real-life expample of whatshe refers to as the direction of biotechnology. This film illustrates the vision of where geneticengineering is heading towards. This made her talk easier to understand.References: