December 17, 2009

Another # of Degrees of Separation

Today I'll be working with the following four topics:

1) [movie]: Gattaca (1997)
2) [book]: "A Theory of Fun" (Koster, 2004)
3) [science technology]: LISA project
4) [food item]: Escargot

Let us start off with the 1997 film Gattaca; it's about what society might be like in the near future when technology has advanced enough to the point where couples may 'choose' preferred genes or have designer babies. -Offspring without any natural diseases. It follows the story of one man, or as he's known in his society as a "faith baby;" one who was born without the removal of his counteractive genes. The movie makes a point in that genes may predict with chances the likelyhood of our limitations in life, but they do not predict the determination one might have on surviving against all odds. The will for the survival of the fittest does not rely on genes alone, but to those who most well adapt to change (IMDB, Gattaca). This idea of learning to behave in a society and following the norms (as was intended for the main character in Gattaca), is brought to our attention through psychology. Many societal norms are learned from one another, and passed along or down your lineage. In the book "A Theory of Fun," Raph Koster makes it known that our brains operate on an 'easiest degree of attainability.' He states "our brains are built to basically sleep-walk through life" (Koster, 37). This notion suggests that our brains and indeed the qualities of our personalities lie on the basis that we are always attempting to get through the day with the least amount of effort to make our lives easier. This self intuition has branched up along every facet of human progression. Our curiosity takes the brunt end of this animalistic endeavor where when we attempt to explain our surroundings, we do it in such a way that makes it understandable to everyone. In the field of science, our efforts go toward attempting to break down the observable universe into essential rules or equations from which everything else may be based upon. In other words, we're trying to find the common denominator on everything. Doing this will allow for us to understand things that allude us today; we can make new theories about the unknown based on something that is known using a common theory that links the two.

One of the latest and upcoming scientific projects to date (which is still in development at the time of me writing this) is the large international space project: LISA. "Laser Interferometer Space Antenna." This project is stemmed from our curiosity about our origins and is designed to help find data 9among other things) about the existence of the "Big Bang." This project aims to help define how and why our universe began, and where it is going. Some of these quintessential questions have far long reaching applications in just about every field of interest, including that of essential philosophy and religion. The prospects this particular project aims to explore are that of gravity waves left behind from the big bang. Data collected from this experiment will help to add even more validity to this theory.

From the origins come many more questions about how we came to be as a species and culture, including that of gestures, to habits, and to even food. The origins of our food (especially some of the bizarre ones) reach far back into history where science, yet again, brings us more answers. Strange foods such as escargot, which is a french delight served commonly in upscale restaurants happens to have been around for centuries (including prehistoric times). Archeology has uncovered many cracked snail shells from different periods in history supporting this fact. Such practices may not seem so foreign or bizarre when realized how long they've actually been around and exactly how far wide they've been used across the world. Which leads me to my final connection, and that is with architecture. Just like the history of food has been dug out of the ground, so too has great archeological digs uncovered entire cities, which as we well know help tell us a lot about the origins and history of architecture. We well know science has an outlasting implementation amongst all studies of the world and even in our daily lives, and it behooves us not to place the foundation of our trust in it and in mathematics. Even the arts like movie making and game design place their premise on science's shoulders as they rely heavily on better and better technological advances to bring more to the 'table' for the audience. -This, we may rely on for future endeavors to bring us ever more improvements in our daily lives.

Sources:
[Gattaca]: <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/
["A Theory of Fun"]: Koster, "A Theory of Fun," Paraglyph Press. Nov. 6, 2004 <http://www.theoryoffun.com/>
[LISA]: <http://lisa.nasa.gov/>
[Escargot]: Lubell, "Prehistoric edible land snails..." (PDF) <http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/~dlubell/Ljubljana.pdf>

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