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Israel maximillian 177_final


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Israel maximillian 177_final

  1. 1. Biotechnology & Art Blogs Maximillian Israel Psychology MajorHonors Collegiums 177 Professor Vesna nd June 2 , 2012
  2. 2. CREATING ONE CULTUREMy name is Max Israel and I’m a 3rd year psychology major. I personally find the disparity of the artsand sciences discussed in “The Two Cultures” and “Toward a Third Culture: Being in between”particularly intriguing. As a psychology major, I feel like I am caught in between the arts and thesciences. One can see with the physical separation of the arts on north campus, and the sciences insouth campus, my department at Franz Hall seems to be located at the borderline between the two.The requirements for my major fall into both science and humanity disciplines.Like C.P. Snow and Professor Vesna, I personally believe that bridging the humanities and thesciences together can yield incredible results and enrich our knowledge in all fields and help alleviatestereotypes. I believe that the bridge between art and science can positively affect each otherbidirectionally. A great example of how science can enhance art is the movie Avatar. The scienceof the film technology used to create the movie enriched the value and dynamics of the film as awork of art.In her paper “The Contribution of the Artist to Scientific Visualization,” Vibeke Sorensenenumerates several ways in which artists can effectively collaborate with scientists and justifies why.One of these ideas includes artists working with researchers to aid in conceptualizing abstract ideas,help create visual models, and contribute in creating artificial devices such as prosthetics.The image below is a model by Todd Siler who is trained in both science and visual arts andshows a model of how to create an artificial sun on earth to provide safe and readily availablepower.
  3. 3. I believe that our ultimate goal should be the creation of one culture as mentioned in “Culture RoyalSocietys One Culture charts the collision between arts and science” by Philippa Warr. I believethat the creation of one culture will create inventions and widen research findings in way neverthought possible. Below is an image of rainbow colored ants that illustrates the beauty of whatunifying science and art can do.
  4. 4. Citations:Anda, Alyssa. "Rainbow-Colored Ants." My Modern Metropolis. N.p., 13 Aug. 2011. Web. 15Apr. 2012. <>.Avatar: Motion Capture Mirrors Emotions . 2009. Video. Web. 13 Apr 2012.<>.Siler, Todd. "All Representations of Thoughts for Art and Science Works by Todd Siler." ToddSiler News. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <>.Snow, C.P. “The Two Cultures.” Leonardo. 1990, 23, 169Sorensen, Vibeke. "The Contribution of the Artist to Scientific Visualization." visualmusic. San DiegoSupercomputer Center, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <>.Vesna, Victoria. "Toward a Third Culture: Being in between." Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-125.Print.Warr, Philippa. "Royal Societys One Culture charts the collision between arts and science." – Future Technology News and Reviews. N.p., 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.< /2011-09/30/one-culture>.Week 1Two CulturesRead more | 1 comment | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  5. 5. CHICKENS: WHAT ARE WE REALLY EATING?I had never done any research on genetically modified organisms so I decided to do some research onchicken and their relationship to GMOs and biotechnology. According to my research, there are nogenetically engineered chicken that are sold for human consumption. However, the controversy liesin the diet of the farmed chicken that are sold for our consumption. Chickens are being fed GMOfoods in addition to steroids to raise bigger chickens faster. People are then concerned with thequestion that if chicken eat steroids and GM foods, does it affect our health when we eat thesechickens? Research is beginning to grow more and more in favor that it may have detrimental effectson our health.An article entitled “Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters”by Jeffrey Smith describes the findings of a study conducted by a Russian biologist on theconsumption of genetically modified soy by hamsters which led to sterility and death in the thirdgeneration of hamsters eating GMOs. This can then be applied to chickens that are fed these GMfoods which are then bought and consumed by us.
  6. 6. Another issue I came across was that the FDA has admitted that chicken meat sold in the USmay contain traces of arsenic which is a known carcinogen! So we have steroids, GM chickenfood, and now arsenic added to the diet of our poultry (Adams)! So what are we really eating? Isthe chicken natural because it is not genetically engineered, or is it not natural because of itsdiet?Citations:Adams, Mike. "FDA finally admits chicken meat contains cancer-causing arsenic." NaturalHealth News. N.p., 9 June 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.<>."Chicken Genetically Engineered - Boon or Bane?." Genetically Engineered Food News. N.p.,n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. < Chickens. 2012. Photograph. MilleniumWeb. 16 Apr 2012.< /05/are-featherless-chickens-really-g...."Genetically Modified Foods: More Reason to Avoid Them; Why They Threaten OrganicAgriculture." The Alliance for Natural Health USA. N.p., 11 May 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.<, Jeffrey. "Jeffrey Smith: Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality inHamsters." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 16Apr. 2012. < 2Genetic Engineering+AnimalsRead more | 2 comments | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  7. 7. IMPACT OF HUMAN INTERVENTION ON ANIMALSI have an interesting relationship with animals. Unlike many people, I have a preference for reptiles,amphibians and strange animals rather than dogs and cats. In my spare time I like searching theinternet for information on unique and weird animals that most people have never seen or even heardof. Here are just a few examples (you can click on their names if you become curious for moreinformation on them):Blob Fish:Sea Pig:
  8. 8. Aye-aye:There is a myriad of unique animals that inhabit our planet that are yet to be discovered. However,human intervention such as habitat degradation, overexploitation, agricultural monocultures, andhuman-borne invasive species change is damaging numerous habitats worldwide and as a result,negatively impacting entire ecosystems. When an animal becomes extinct, it significantly impacts thebiodiversity and ecosystem it was a part of. Many animals provide ecosystems with beneficial andnecessary services such as pollination and population control (e.g. snakes help control the naturalpopulation of rodents so they don’t overpopulate an ecosystem). Furthermore, many people don’t realizethat some plants which have not yet been discovered may hold the key to curing diseases and cancersbut they may rely on animals which are becoming endangered and extinct due to our greediness and lackof care. In addition, threatened plants and animals which are yet to be discovered may have genes whichcan enrich our knowledge and provide us with more to work with in regards to genetic engineering. I
  9. 9. believe that this is a very important issue which needs to be emphasized more as a global emergency andconcern before its too late.On another note, I found the film “Strange Culture” and the case of Steve Kurtz to be disturbing andupsetting. I was shocked at how uneducated and unethical our country’s law enforcement and federalagencies are. I found it insulting that the FBI would not believe that science and art can unified, as SteveKurtz was doing in an effort to raise awareness to the public about GMOs. I believe that our federalagencies and legal officers should becomemore educated about the arts, sciences and their unification. I think that Steve Kurtz is 100%innocent and that this is even a legal case is absolutely absurd.Citations:"Aye-Aye: The Woodpecker Primate of Madagascar." Mudfooted: Discovering our weird andfascinating natural world. N.p., 8 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. < >."Causes of Endangerment." Endangered Species - N.p., n.d. Web. 21Apr. 2012. <>.Greenwell, Michael. "The Impact of Wildlife Extinction and the Importance of Biodiversity."Exist Stage Right. N.p., 8 Oct. 2007. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.< >.Sea Pig Slow Dance. 2009. Video., Neptune Canada. Web. 21 Apr 2012.< /x3dvs6C8c7g>."Strange Animals: Sea Pigs." Strange Animals. N.p., 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.<>.Whitty, Julia. " Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind - Environment - TheIndependent." The Independent: UK and Worldwide News . N.p., 30 Apr. 2007. Web. 21 Apr. 2012.< /environment/animal-extinction--the-greatest....Week 3Genetic Engineering+AnimalsRead more | 3 comments | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  10. 10. MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY + ART + NOA KAPLAN I did some research to find examples of art intertwining with medical technology anddiscovered thrilling programs, the medical avatar and the medical mirror. The medical avatar is a3D representation of the human body which can process the medical record of a patient andadjust its computer visualization to reflect that patient’s unique internal anatomy. The computeravatar allows doctors to test how certain treatments might possibly affect their patient in additionto providing them with a new, innovative, and noninvasive perspective of their patient’s medicalrecord and internal physiology.Videos arent posting so Im pasting their links where they should be appearing until theglitch is fixed: In addition to helping doctors, this program is expected to be available for the general publicto use at home on their computers. If this program is released for the general public, people canenter their personal medical records and monitor their health with virtual reality and also learnmore about their conditions. It also records past medical history which provides patients with atimeline of their health from past to the present and can process some algorithms to hypothesizesome future health statistics. I found another medical program which is also being developed that is somewhat related tothe medical avatar. A student at MIT is working on something called the “Medical Mirror.” Thisprogram can check a person’s vital signs like pulse, respiration and blood pressure though a lowcost camera like a laptop webcam. This is a breakthrough which can allow doctors to monitorpatients like burn victims or newborns where manually checking vitals is not ideal. In addition,this innovation will enhance telemedicine over the internet by allowing doctors to monitor apatient who has access to a webcam or camera phone. innovative programs reminded me of Noa Kaplan’s work. Like Noa’s blow up models ofthe dust bunny, pollen grain, sugar crystals, and coffee, these programs bring into focus thingswe don’t normal think about or can easily see. We can’t see our internal physiology like we can’tsee the small intricate world of a dust bunny without a microscope.Citations"Avatars Innovate Medical Records." American Society of Radiologic Technologists. ASRT, 21May 2009. Web. 28 Apr. 2012.<
  11. 11. Chandler, David. "Your vital signs, on camera. MIT team develops system for continuousmedical monitoring using widely available video technology" MITNews. MIT News, 4 Oct.2010. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <>.Hunter, Jenny. "IBM Research Unveils 3D Avatar to Help Doctors Visualize Patient Recordsand Improve Care." IBM News Room. IBM, 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <>.Medical Avatar. MedicalAvatar, 25 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2012.<>.MIT Media Lab Medical Mirror. Prod. Melanie Gonick. Perf. Ming-Zher Poh. News Office, 01 Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <>.The Medical Mirror. Prod. Virgil Wong. MedicalAvatar, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 28Apr. 2012. <>.Wong, Virgil. "MEDICAL AVATAR. " MEDICAL AVATAR See a better you. Medical AvatarLLC, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <>.Week 4Medical Technologies+ArtRead more | 2 comments | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  12. 12. MICROVENUS & BIOTECHAs I was watching the lectures, I was drawn to Joe Davis’ Microvenus and other works. I foundhis work very intriguing so I decided to research his works in relation to biotechnology and artmore in depth and “WOW” was my reaction to this man and his work. I think that he is a greatrole model for what our class is focusing on and it would have been epic to have him as a guestlecturer. His ideas and artworks are multi-faceted including biotechnology, art, philosophy, andouter space to name a few.Here’s a short clip to give a guys a taste of Joe Davis:In one of his works, called Microvenus, Davis worked with two molecular geneticists to code avisual representation of the female genitalia into a short piece of synthetic DNA and theninserted it into living E-coli bacteria.This is what the synthetic DNA encoded:
  13. 13. This is the bitmap image of the binary code that was used to convert the image above into asequence of DNA base pairs:He intended to send these encoded bacteria into deep space where they might be discovered by extra-terrestrial life which might be able to decode his message. Put more simply, Davis was sending amessage in a bottle only using DNA as his medium and bacteria as his vessel. In addition, this workpioneers the using biological information and DNA as a universal language to communicate withextra-terrestrial life. However, his work was more aimed towards the public to raise awareness thatDNA can encode any message and is not restricted to solely encoding genetic sequences.Here is a photo of the transgenic E-coli cultures carrying Davis’s message:This is only one of many works by Joe Davis which I could just go on and on about. I encourageyou all to research his work as I found him very inspirational.Click here if youre interested to research him further: Joe Davis
  14. 14. Citations:Davis, Joe. Billions of E. coli with Microvenus encoded in their genomes. Digital image. ScientificAmerican. Web. 12 May 2012.<, Joe. "Microvenus." Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code 55.1 (1996): 70-74. JSTOR.Web. 12 May 2012.Gibbs, Wayt. "Art as a Form of Life." Scientific American. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2012.<, Zareena. "Science as Art Unites Disciplines: Artists use microbiology as a medium forart ." The Tech. N.p., 9 May 2000. Web. 12 May 2012.<>."Joe Davis: Genetics and Culture." N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2012.<"Microvenus: Joe Davis : Genetics and Culture." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May2012. < Bitmap. Digital image. Web. 12 May 2012.< /genetics_culture/pages_genetics_culture/gc_w....Microvenus Icon. Digital image. Web. 12 May 2012.< /genetics_culture/images_genetics_culture/gc_....Week 6 Biotec +ArtRead more | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  15. 15. FINAL PROPOSAL: CYBER COMPANIONMy final project is inspired and somewhat based on Alan Turing’s ELIZA program and the TuringTest. I’m interested in designing a smart house software programmed with artificial intelligenceallowing it to engage in conversation with its owner. I found a clip from a sci-fi show called“EUReKA” on YouTube which illustrates what I am striving to accomplish but rather thanremaining science fiction, I want to make this sci-fi idea a reality.The software will be a complex interface which can recognize its owner’s preferences for music, televisionshows, movie genres, activities, etc. This would work much like the way Netflix and Pandora softwareworks by processing ratings of the owner and then playing movies or music that complement the owner’sinterests. However, I want to take my software a step further by not restricting it to being programmed onlyfor the house, but rather programming it into the owner’s smartphone, computer, and vehicle also. I wouldcall my software a “Cyber Companion.” You can customize the gender of the software (reflecting its voice),choose accents, and the language you communicate with. The interaction with the Cyber Companionincludes but is not limited to holding conversations, having it perform research for you (like looking updefinitions, weather, searching airfares, etc.), playing games via a monitor (like playing solitaire on acomputer), and processing commands (turning on/off lights, music, etc.). Furthermore, my software wouldnot function with voice recognition, but also be programmed to have visual recognition with specializedcameras so that it can monitor its owner’s body temperature and vitals.
  16. 16. Here is a flow chart illustrating which computer languages I would use and how the program wouldfunction:
  17. 17. My software would be like an extremely enhanced and more interactive version of the Applesoftware SIRI:Citations:Bianchini, Laurence. "Artificial Intelligence and home automation: Putting the human (back) atthe centre of technological development ." MyScienceWork. N.p., 24 June 2011. Web. 19 May2012. <"ELIZA meets Alan Turing." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2012.<>."Eliza, Computer Therapist." manifest station: change your mind. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2012.<>.Oppy, Graham and Dowe, David, "The Turing Test", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy(Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =<>.
  18. 18. "The Turing Test." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2012.< /reingold/courses/ai/turing.html>.Zainzinger, Harald. "An artificial intelligence based tool for home automation using MATLAB."icial Intelligence, 1998. Proceedings. Tenth IEEE International Conference 0 (1998): 256-261.UCLA Library: IEEE Xplore. Web. 19 May 2012.Week 7 FinalRead more | 1 comment | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  19. 19. EXTRA-CREDIT BLOG: KATHY BREWS GOING GREYEXHIBITI found Kathy Brew’s “Going Grey” exhibit to be quite intriguing. Her exhibit highlighted society’sattitude towards aging and the lack of embrace for aging. I did some research to trace the cause of greyhair and discovered that it is caused be a decrease in pigment produced by hair follicles called melaninwhose rate is determined by genetics. As you age the amount of melanin you produce decreases andreplaced with colorless air bubbles leading to grey hair.It was interesting to learn that according to research there are no supplements or products which can stop ordecrease the rate of graying. Despite this, supplements and products are still being sold to prevent“graying” although it has been scientifically proven to not work (except coloring hair to cover up the greyof course).After attending Kathy’s exhibit I became more sensitive to media’s portrayal of aging and ageism. I wasappalled when I came across this article which attempts to justify the use of hair color products to cover up“youve got an epidemic of parched, brittle, and frayed old lady hair.” I found it quite disrespectful for theauthor to use the term “old lady hair” and stereotype the natural gray hair of elderly women as “parched,
  20. 20. brittle, and frayed.” I found a great video that encourages women to embrace grey hair and demonstratinghow grey hair can look sexy:Click Here For VideoKathy’s exhibit included a display with a grey wig like that of Andy Warhol. Before seeing thisdisplay I never knew Andy Warhol wore a grey wig and investigated to see why he chose to wear aplatinum wig. I was happily intrigued to learn that Warhol settled on grey because he believed that ifyou always appear old no one knows how old you really are. I think that people should embrace theirgrey hair as they age as it should be a part of one’s natural beauty and we should not feel compelledto cover it up by the pressures of media and society..Citations:A.D.A.M.,Inc. Young Hair Follicle & Aged Hair Follicle. Digital image. MedLine Plus. Web.< /medlineplus/ency/imagepages/8669.htm>.Gluck, Didi. "How to Stop your Hair from Aging." Hairstyles for Women, Fashion, Beauty Products,and Relationship Advice . Marie Claire, 1 Dec. 2007. Web. 12 May 2012.< /trends/hair-aging>."Grey Hair: Embrace Your Roots." The Huffington Post. N.p., 22 Jan. 2012. Web. 12 May 2012.<>.
  21. 21. Grey Hair Prevention Supplements & Products. Digital image. Problem: Grey Hair. Web.<>.Langan, M.D., Michael. "Aging changes in hair and nails: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia."National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. N.p., 13 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 May2012. < /medlineplus/ency/article/004005.htm>.Tamsen, Ellen. "Andy Warhols Wig - a defining art object ." Hair Is For Pulling. N.p., 10 Oct.2011. Web. 12 May 2012. <>.Week 6 Biotech+ArtRead more | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  22. 22. EXTRA-CREDIT BLOG: BIOPUNK LECTUREI attended Lejla Kucukalic’s lecture on Biotech to Biopunk: Science Fiction’s Visions of Genetics. Herlecture highlighted the reasons for the stereotypical portrayal of scientists in literature and mediathroughout history. In addition, her lecture discussed the push and pull relationship between science fictionand science, the controversy of biopunk, and more.The term “biopunk” was foreign to me before attending the lecture. However, after the lecture the termwas no longer strange to me. I did some further research on biopunks and learned that “biopunk” is amovement advocating open access to genetic information where biohackers can then experiment withDNA and genetics. I like the metaphors used to describe the people who identify themselves with thebiopunk movement. They are called “biohackers” who “hack” the “software of life” (aka DNA). I founda great clip on a “Biopunk Manifesto” that I believe was took place in our very own CNSI building atUCLA:
  23. 23. In her lecture, Leijla proposed four kinds of scientific fictions of genetics:1) Monster Narratives2) Human Being Narratives3) GMO Narratives4)BiopunkShe described how scientists are usually described as lunatics throughout literature and never being“normal.” I agree with her that scientists have not really been portrayed fairly in literature and mediahowever I can understand possibly why this stereotype was constructed. When science waspracticed centuries ago, scientists did not have the knowledge or the technology we have today sothey ran bizarre and unique experiments sometimes based on alchemy and pseudoscience. As aresult society developed a biased opinion that scientist are “crazy” and perform dangerousexperiments. However, in reality there is a fine line between genius and crazy. Scientists ventureinto the unknown to discover knowledge and in order to do so they are creative and do things thatmany may not understand. This doesn’t mean that it is okay for media and literature to stereotypescientists in such a derogatory way. Instead, they should be celebrating and positively portraying thegenius of scientists who have made countless breakthroughs and contributions to today’sknowledge.
  24. 24. Citations:A Biopunk Manifesto. Perf. Meredith Patterson. 10 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 May2012. < /Thn7d7-jywU>.Hoisel, Tiago. Mad Scientist. Digital image. Mar. 2010. Web. 26 May 2012.< /newgallerycrits/g34/304034/304034_12696138....NPR Staff. "Biopunks Tinker With The Building Blocks Of Life : NPR." NPR : National PublicRadio. N.p., 22 May 2011. Web. 26 May 2012. <">http: //, Meredith. "A Biopunk Manifesto." Live Journal. N.p., 30 Jan. 2010. Web. 26 May2012. <>.
  25. 25. Pickett, Ronald. "Scientist Stereotype: Is It Working For or Against You? - Lab ManagerMagazine®." Lab Manager Magazine. N.p., 7 Apr. 2009. Web. 26 May 2012.< /3324/article/Scientist-Stere...">, Elizabeth. "DIY biopunks want science in hands of people." USA Today. N.p., 1 June 2011.Web. 26 May 2012. <>"> /tech/science/2011-06-01-science-biopunk-hacker_n....Wilson, Karina. "LURID: Its Alive! The Top 10 Mad Scientists of Literature! | LitReactor."LitReactor. N.p., 18 May 2012. Web. 26 May 2012. <>.Week 7 Biotech+ArtRead more | Add new comment | DMA177|Spring2012
  26. 26. ConclusionThroughout this honors course I have expanded my knowledge on a wide variety of topics withthe help of my blogs. Starting from week 1 I learned about the two cultures of science and arttrying to be combined into one culture. I learned about the controversy underlying GMOs andbiotechnology intertwined with the food industries and human health. Furthermore, I learnedabout Steve Kurtz and his appalling lawsuit due to the ignorance of our federal agencies andlegal officers. Moving on from Steve Kurtz, I researched current prototypes for medicaltechnologies and discovered genius, innovative devices. In week 6 I research Joe Davis and hisbrilliant works of what I call “sci-art.” In addition to these blogs I attended every event for thecourse including all the extra-credit events. I enjoyed Noa Kaplan’s presentation and polleninstallation in her exhibit. Kathy Brew’s “Going Grey” exhibit was fun with the Andy Warholplatinum wig and eye-opening about society’s ageism and pressures to look young. I learnedabout the biopunk movement which I had never heard of before from the lecture by LejlaKucukalic. Finally, I attended the Alan Turing Symposium where I absorbed knowledge aboutthe Turing Test, Artificial Intelligence, and more. My research for the blogs and projects helpedme understand the topics we covered in class in more depth. This course has exposed me to anexciting world where science and art converge into one!