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November 27, 2007


The hazardous effects of e-waste are quite disturbing. I had no idea that such toxic materials are routinely sent overseas to the detriment of many Asian countries. After learning of this frightening dilema, I became interested in what we could possibly do to reduce e-waste.

Although using less hazardous materials in the initial creation of electronic devices would be the best solution, it may take time for companies to come up with alternative technologies. So for now, the recycling of electronics rests largely on consumers. Upon conducting some research, I found that there are many options for consumers to recyle e-waste. However, the ease of recycling may depend on where one lives. California appears to be leading the e-waste recyle initiative; companies such as Electronic Recyclers and websites like http://erecycle.org provide Californians with quick and easy e-waste recycling opportunities. In my opinion, the rest of the United States should follow California's lead and begin similiar initiatives.

Another e-waste option is to donate old electronics to those who cannot afford the newest models. The site http://www.usedcomputer.com/nonprof.html lists several organizations willing to take donations.

Finally, e-waste used for art is a creative way to reuse electronics. I find such projects quite interesting because of unique dichotomy they present. On the one hand, we see that improvements in technology have enhanced art. For example, computers allow us to create new graphic art that was unthinkable in the past; we can scan images and digitize them; we can mesh sound and visual elements on a single screen; we can superimpose images like never before. Yet on the other hand, the destruction of electronics can also create art. This is what we see when we use e-waste as art. Thus we come to realize that art arises from both innovation and destruction, both of which are human experiences that artists wish to express.

Posted by leslieph at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2007

The Future of Books

The NPR show "On the Media" is dedicating this week to books. I thought that the first two topics would be particularly relevant to our class, because they consider the impact of technology on books. Specifically, they ask the question are electronic books going to replace traditional paper books? For those of you who are interested, there are a couple of videos at http://www.onthemedia.org/. Please feel free to comment on how you think we will read books in the future and any thoughts you may have on this subject.

In my case, I like the feel of paper in my hands. This may be traditionalist and ignorant of the environmental havoc paper production causes. However, I can only stare at a computer screen for so long. I spend many tedious hours with the screen glaring back at me, as my aching head tells me to avert my eyes. I would much prefer kicking back in an armchair to read a paper book. But who knows if this will be an option in the future.

Posted by leslieph at 06:41 PM | Comments (4)

November 20, 2007

The Fork

Various Fork Situations:

1. Fork held up to ceiling lights (directly)
-So much light passes through the clear fork that it almost becomes possible to see through it. However, the light makes the edges of the fork stand out more. The prongs are especially visible as bright streaks.

2. Fork held slightly to right of the ceiling light
- Light is seen almost directly through the left side, but the ceiling can be seen through the right. The non-illuminated side is almost easier to see.

3. Fork held up to Charissa
- This is an interesting situation. When I have both eyes open, the fork divides Charissa's face into two faces. But when I close one eye, I can see Charissa's face clearly, as a whole.

4. Fork held under light, over my hand
- The fork creates a shadow on my hand, reflecting light upwards toward my face. In this situation, the fork hides something (part of my hand) while reflecting something else (light).

5. Fork held up to computer text, and slowly moved right
- I am able to read the text. However single letters appear then disappear, so the text look like t h i s . In other words the fork illuminates letters in succession. The fork, on the other hand, is very well illuminated by the screen. The white light makes every edge of the fork stand out, while the center remains translucent.

6. The fork in a mug of tea
-The fork is difficult to see, because there is hardly any light. The fork can still function though; it can pierce the tea bag. In this situation, the fork reshapes the tea bag by putting a dent in it.

7. The fork reflecting light onto the table
-The fork creates a spot of light on the table, illuminating only one spot.

Properties of Fork and Their Impact:
1. Clear - allows one to see through it to the true situation.
2. 4 prongs - work together in order to function correctly.
3. Sharp points - the ability to pierce forcefully when necessary.
4. Ridged handle - allows one to closely control how the fork is used.
5. Reflects light - allows one to illuminate a chosen specimen.
6. Creates shadows - hides what one does not want to see.
7. Short prongs - limits the amount of "stuff" that can picked up.
8. Long handle - easy to grasp the tool and use it as one wishes.
9. Spaces between prongs - limits what can be seen through the fork and what is reflected by the fork.
10. 4 air bubbles on the prongs of the fork - outside matter is inside the tool. The fork is unique from other forks with different bubbles or none at all. Thus, this particular fork reconfigures in a different manner than all other forks.

Posted by leslieph at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2007

Illumination and Medicine

I recently came across the Lumitex Medical Device Inc. website. Lumitex is a company that creates medical devices that utilize illumination technology. The website claims that the devices "help treat jaundice in infants, help surgeons better visualize deep surgical cavities, and provide ambient lighting in surgical equipment and suites." Assuming these claims are true, it is safe to say that illumination technology has had a positive impact on the medical field.

In our brief discussion in class on illumination, we mentioned how illumination extends us. Artistic extension was payed special attention too. I believe that we can also include medical illumination as an extension. It extends our line of sight and our knowledge of the human body. It gives us the ability to treat problems in an illuminated state. In addition, surgery and other medical procedures can be viewed as artforms. The artists are physicians who hone their talents and express the desire of curing their patients through their art. To me, this act seems akin to a sculture who practices his artform and expresses his desires/ideas in his sculptures. Thus, medicine is art. Doctor is artist. Medical illumination is extension.

Posted by leslieph at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007

Media Videos

For me, the most striking and unifying feature of the media videos was the subconscious influence of the media. Probably due to the Impact Survey I previously gave to people on North Campus, this aspect of the media was especially noticeable. None of the people I surveyed mentioned the influence advertising, news, television or movies had on the way they thought today. I assume this was because they did not know that the media had a subconscious influence on everything they did today.

The way the media portrays information and ideas is often unreliable, stereotyped, and unchecked. As the videos suggest, the media encourages violence, hypermasculinity, stereotyping women and Arabs, and the the idea that there is a "perfect" look. Little did my surveyees know, these portrayls shapes their everyday lives.

On another note, the video that discusses the news media brings to light the poor quality of information we receive. Personally, I get my news from the New York Times (print version) and National Public Radio. I admit, that these articles and stories often lean left, and they often shape my opinion on key issues. But the nice thing about reading a paper is that I can skip over the celebrity stuff and "weak journalism." I can focus my attention on world/national events, new research, etc. I do realize that few people actually take the time to read the paper or listen to "hard news." I think internet alternatives might help distribute more information. The question is whether or not this will be reliable and diverse news.

The overarching problem in all media is that there are too few individuals controlling it. Since they often shape our ideas and view of the world, I think that is important more people have a say in what we see. The internet might also resolve this issue, because it gives more people the ability to broadcast their ideas. Though filtering information and checking sources will be even more important when dealing with this information. I for one, am already overwhelmed with the amount of media and ideas available. But I still think that increasing the flow of ideas from multiple sources will have positive outcomes. Ideas=Progress.

Posted by leslieph at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Impact Survey

How has technology influenced your behavior, decisions, choices and/or thinking today?

Dustin: 1. He got a call from an old friend on his cell phone today. They exchanged e-mail addresses and promised to stay connected. 2. He decided to play video games instead of study for him ME exam.

Ahmed: 1. He was able to speak with his family in Egypt over a webcam. After discussing it with his Mom, he decided to return home over Holiday Break. 2. He decided to major in Mechanical Engineering because of the amazing increase in technology seen in recent years. He went to class today, so this impacted him. 3. He went to his job at a biology lab, which relies on technology to operate.

Veronica: She was able to buy a power bar at the Mujo.

Dan: 1. He had to change his route today to get to work, because he had to get his anti-lock breaks fixed. 2. The bomb scare on campus influenced him to skip class.

Ariana: "Technology runs my life." She is never without her cellphone, laptop, and ipod. Her laptop contains her schedule and appointments; without it she says that she would be lost.

Posted by leslieph at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2007

Performa 2007

There is a twenty day festival currently taking place in New York City called Performa 2007. It celebrates performance art with a variety of events and works.

Performance art has only recently been given any serious thought. Prior to the 1960's, most people considered it inferior to less ephemeral artforms such as painting, sculpture, etc. However, the short-lived nature of performance art is one of the aspects which makes it so appealing. As a recent New York times article put it: "Art is Brief. You Just Have to Be There."

Performance art is the celebration of the present, living moment. Like all art forms, it seeks to express something to the audience. However, the artist is not driven to make his art live forever despite his absence. Unlike paintings and sculptures, performance art can only exist with the artist's presence. It appears that performance artists are primarily driven by the desire to convey a message and the pure pleasure of making art. The want to leave behind their art so that they will be remembered does not obscure their creativity. Perhaps then, performance art should be seen as one of the purist of art forms. This also might suggest that in the future, we should allow the definition of art to be open.

Posted by leslieph at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)