Our in class conversation on Monday with author Michael Chorost's skype was certainly dynamic. Although I enjoyed the topics discussed, I found that at one point I asked the wrong question and didn't get the more appropriate one across. If I could get the chance to speak with Chorost again, I'd ask him the following:
Although I have never been especially adept at physics, I found myself very intrigued by Liz’s lecture on metaphysics in class last week. The article and subsequent lecture got me thinking about the possibilities and limitations of quantum mechanics, and who else should be concerned with the topic.
I found Tian's presentation on information and musical notation to be incredibly intriguing. I have to admit, beginning the class with John Cage's 4'33" was a little awkward. I thought this "performance" would involve "performing"--I didn't think he would simply stand in front of the class. However, I came to realize I was naively approaching and defining what it is to "perform" and what it means to "listen." After a few minutes of silence, Tian asked the class, "What did you hear?" What did I hear?? Was this a trick question? I heard the cars passing by, I heard the hum of the projector... To my surprise, it turns out Cage's Four Minutes Thirty-Three is one of his most famous musical compositions--the catch, it involves no music.
This week's class discussion on Barad was very interesting as it posed various tensions. One of her biggest criticism is that people shouldn’t rely on moral judgments. She discusses the role of agency and how authors write text while the text also writes the author which leads me to question the role of power and who maintains it. Her basis of critique of Frayn’s play demonstrates that you can’t know all of the time, and that relying on content sometimes leads to points of ethics which doesn’t always lead anywhere. You can’t necessarily judge actions or intentions objectively because there’s no objectivity which ties into her discussion of the past which she argues never ends.
- Raised idea that there should be unpredictability in communication within information
- Noise depends on the observer while information depends on context
- Is the presence of “meaning” the only difference between noise and information?
I must admit that evolution is no easy task to conquer. I would like to now place Darwin right up on the pedestal with Albert Einstein and other great geniuses. Why wasn't he there before? I am not sure, maybe my gut reactions and morals were holding me back from holding him to such esteem but after attempting to piece together a course syllabus on evolution I found that the subject is not only complex but never ending. It pours into other disciplines and weaves its way into society and popular culture. I can see how some people can find great excitement from such a theory because, I feel like there's so many questions that still need to be answered and so many answers that still need to be understood. I think I might have a crush on evolutionary theory.
Yesterday in Prof. Dalke's discussion section, we talked about whether it was more effective to conceive of our eduction in terms of defined, separate disciplines or in terms of an interdisciplinary approach. We seemed to have a very difficult time coming up with an answer; some people, for instance, thought that we have the responsibility to teach people about "social Darwinism" (and the ways in which Darwin's theories have been co-opted) in a biology class, and others felt that that should be the territory of a history class.