Tag Quantum Physics

“Shed the burden of re-thinking the past; be conscious of the present; be surrounded by people interested in talking” – Our Interview with Professor Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb …*

"Shed the burden of re-thinking the past; be conscious of the present; be surrounded by people interested in talking" - Our Interview with Professor Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb ...* | rethinked.org - Photo: Elsa Fridman Randolph

Today’s interview is very special to me as it comes from one of the teachers who has had the most dramatic and lasting impact on my thinking and understanding of the world. Professor Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb is an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and Co-chair of the Culture, Power, Boundaries Seminar at Columbia University. She is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on the study of ideology and its connection to power and identity. She has developed and taught courses on Silence, Language and Culture, Migration and Identity, and Globalization. Her course on Silence and Identity has been one of the most paradigm shifting learning experiences of my entire academic career. Her work has been published in several journals, including American Anthropologist and Theory in Psychology, and in the absolutely fantastic volume she edited, Silence: The Currency of Power (Berghahn Books, 2006).

discover & rethink …* 

WHAT WAS THE LAST EXPERIMENT YOU RAN?

Thinking about silence. Going beyond the empty spaces it suggests at first and finding its role in human communication. And what I found, as you know, is that silence is at the root of meaning formation and of ideological manipulations.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FEAR AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR FEAR?

My fears change form and substance depending on the unfinished business of day to day living versus long term plans. I deal with them with a combination of repression and understanding their underlying [here is the silence, again] causes.

WHAT BREAKS AND DELIGHTS YOUR HEART? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN AND SURRENDER TO?

A job well done.

WHAT IS THE MOST PROVOCATIVE IDEA YOU’VE COME ACROSS IN THE PAST DECADE?

The fact that atoms –and therefore we—are made up of mostly empty space, barely inhabited by electrons, etc.-  I refer you to a blog by Matt Strassler, a theoretical physicist who manages to open the world of quantum physics in conversational tones.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE?

Each time I manage to witness the present.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE?

Shed the burden of re-thinking the past; be conscious of the present; be surrounded by people interested in talking.

COULD YOU SHARE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE ABOUT THE ART OF BEING HUMAN?

Yes:  Listen.

WHAT IS YOUR DRIVING QUESTION?

All of the above.

ANY BOOKS OR MOVIES YOU RECOMMEND?

Jane Austen’s novels; Sharon Olds’ poetry; The film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” we both saw; and all films by Kaslowski, particularly his trilogy “White, Blue, and Red”

. . . * 

THANK YOU, PROFESSOR, ACHINO-LOEB!

Friday Link Fest {October 26-November 2, 2012}

ARTICLES

Eleven Principles For Turning Public Spaces Into Civic Places ~ Several key principles are essential to creating any successful public space. These principles begin with numerous underlying ideas, the first of which is that the community is the expert — the most knowledgeable and best resource for the professionals that are responsible for designing or managing the space. The second is that when one creates a “place,” the entire project needs to be viewed differently. Partnerships are the third basic tenet because anyone who manages a space knows that it cannot be done alone. Finally, when embarking on a process for creating a successful space, one must accept that there always will be people who will say that it can’t be done — yet one can learn to work around the obstacles. via Projects for Public Spaces.

Redesigning Leadership: Design, Technology, Business + Life~ John Maeda and Becky Bermont on redesigning leadership. via The European Business Review.

The Future of Higher Education: Massive Online Open Disruption ~  Is college an expensive waste of time? Peter Thiel and Vivek Wadhwa have debated this question repeatedly — on 60 Minutes, at an Intelligence Squared debate in Chicago, and most recently at The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas that was held on Nantucket, Massachusetts earlier this month. via Big Think, published October 27, 2012.

Land Art That Doubles As Energy Generator Could Power Up To 1,200 Homes ~The Land Art Generator Initiative is one of the most exciting annual design competitions because it brings contemporary art to the masses while revitalizing a public space. This year’s winning design is called “Scene Sensor” by artist duo James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze. The giant structure, which looks like a huge glowing billboard in the middle of Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, is a hand-crafted wind tunnel that generates energy through piezoelectric wires and kinetic vibrations from foot traffic. The design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it could generate enough energy to power nearby homes. via Architizer, published October 26, 2012.

The Big Rethink: Rethinking Architectural Education ~ Detached from the ferment of epochal change, the groves of academe are failing to engage with current critical realities. Education for architects must be radically reconsidered, through a new, more fully human paradigm that engages with society and culture. via The Architectural Review, published September 28, 2012.

What Does Teaching Creativity Look Like? ~ Our current standardized approach to teaching and learning tends to slot students into silos—art-school types on one side and analytical thinkers on the fast track to law school on the other—so our society has a pretty limited understanding of what being creative actually means and what it looks like across disciplines. Creativity expert Michael Michalko, author of Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work has developed a list of 12 things most people aren’t taught in school—but should be—about creativity. via GOOD, published February 13, 2012.

Character is Destiny in How Children Succeed ~ A review of Paul Tough‘s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. Tough makes the case that non-cognitive qualities, rather than what we have in the way of gray matter, is what determines success. I.Q. is not destiny — character is. via HuffPost Education, published October 26, 2012.

Beyond Parklets: A DIY For the Digital Age ~ Imagine a city whose sidewalks and stairs can be quickly turned into temporary play spaces, whose public urinals keep urban plants green, and whose lampposts detect and report on the pollution around them. Those are just a few of the ideas generated as part of the Urban Prototyping Festival held recently in San Francisco. via TreeHugger, published October 27, 2012.

 

TALKS & VIDEOS

 

Watch the Quintessential Vampire Film Nosferatu Free Online ~ via OpenCulture, published October 26th, 2012.

Watch This: NASA Simulates 13.5 Billion Years of  a Galaxy’s Evolution in Two-Minute Video ~ via The Verge, published October 22, 2012.

How Art, Technology and Design Inform Creative Leaders ~ John MaedaPresident of the Rhode Island School of Design, delivers a funny and charming talk that spans a lifetime of work in art, design and technology, concluding with a picture of creative leadership in the future. Watch for demos of Maeda’s earliest work — and even a computer made of people. via SwissMiss, published October 22, 2012.

The Effect of Color | Off Book | PBS ~ Color is one of the fundamental elements of our existence, and defines our world in such deep ways that its effects are nearly imperceptible. Whether in the micro-sense with the choice of an article of clothing, or the macro-sense where cultures on the whole embrace color trends at the scale of decades, color is a signifier of our motives and deepest feelings. via Daily Art Fix, published October 27, 2012.

Vo Trong Nghia on Stacking Green at the World Architecture Festival ~ Architect Vo Trong Nghia explains how the house he designed with a vertical garden on its facade incorporates natural daylighting and ventilation systems that are invaluable in Vietnam, which experiences heavy rain and high temperatures, but often suffers day-long power shortages. via Dezeen, published October 29, 2012.

Inspired School Redesign: The Floating Schools of Bangladesh ~ In Easy Like Water, filmmaker Glenn Baker shares the inspirational story of how a community came together to build solar-powered floating schools. Not only can students attend school year-round, they can take part in digital learning. via Education Week, published October 30, 2012.

Lawrence Krauss Presents “Secular Sermon” On Theoretical Physics and The Meaning of Life ~ Using examples from his field of physics, Krauss demonstrates how science, by zooming in as close as possible or zooming out as far as possible, puts our everyday concerns and quibbles in proper context. What’s more, he notes, physics has it that we’re all made up of the same bits and pieces as everything, and thus everyone, else. Have you ever heard a more elegant argument for the notion of universal connectedness? But this isn’t to say that Krauss marshals the fruits of such rigorous study in the name of warm-and-fuzzy pronouncements. When you hear him declare how physics will make you understand that “you’re even more insignificant than you thought,” you’ll know just how far his sensibility lays from either warmth or fuzziness. via Open Culture, published October 29, 2012.

 

IMAGES

 

The Invisible Beauty of the Microscopic World ~ Nikon manufactures scientific microscopes and runs an annual competition for photography at a microscopic scale. This year’s results are in, and the company has published a selection of the winners on its site — and they’re as spectacular as ever. The photos are all kinds of amazing, encompassing everything from algae and fossils to a fly’s eye and the curiously perverse beauty of a cancer cell. via The Atlantic, published October 26, 2012.

Rashad Alakbarov Paints with Shadows and Light ~ Artist Rashad Alakbarov from Azerbaijan uses suspended translucent objects and other found materials to create light and shadow paintings on walls. via Colossal, published January 20, 2012.

Alter Ego by Mieke Dingen ~ On delightful objects: Play with your furniture! These separate furniture pieces by Dutch design studio Mieke Miejer can be put together like a puzzle to become one large piece with some kind of identity crisis. The result: a cabinet with the engraved image of a chair. via Design Milk, published October 10, 2010.

Infographic: Are You Looking At Too Many Infographics? ~ Marco Bagni’s work is part of an evolving category of data abstractions–untruths told in bars, charts, and grids that, rather than subvert our faith in information schematics, question whether all of our fancy infographics can ever answer the most important questions in the universe. They ask things like: “what makes life unique?” and “why does PSY put me in tune with the universe?” via FastCo.Design, published October 26th, 2012.

Eerie Photographs Explore What Remains After Domestic Homicides ~ Evidence is a group of photographs taken by Angela Strassheim at homes where familial homicides have occurred. Long after the struggles have ended in these spaces, despite the cleaning, repainting and subsequent re-habitation of these homes, the “Blue Star” solution activates the physical memory of blood through its contact with the remaining DNA proteins on the walls. The black and white images are long exposures – from ten minutes to one hour – with minimal ambient night light pouring in from the crevices of windows and doors, capturing the physical presence of blood as a lurid glow. via Feature Shoot, published October 25, 2012

1946 ~ Riding the New York City Subway by Stanley Kubrick ~ via The Retronaut, published

The Beautiful Blackboard At Quantum Physics Labs ~ Over the last three years, Spanish artist Alejandro Guijarro has visited some of the world’s most prestigious blackboards: the ones housed at the quantum mechanics labs of places like the University of Oxford, UC Berkeley, Stanford, CERN, Cambridge, and the Instituto de Física Corpuscular. At each place, he used a large-format camera to capture the markings left on the boards, just as he found them. “The images in this series do not purport to be documents holding an objective truth,” Guijarro says of his work; “they function purely as suggestions. They are fragmented pieces of ideas, thoughts or explanations from which arises a level of randomness. They are an attempt to portray the space of a flat surface and of a given frame. They are arbitrary moments in the restless life of an object in constant motion.” via The Atlantic, published October 26, 2012.

 

RESOURCES

 

Free Online Certificate Courses From Great Universities: A Complete List ~ via OpenCulture.

101 Tips on How to Become More Creative ~  Delightful tips on exercising your creative muscles, such as: Ask a child, learn to tolerate ambiguity, hang out with people from diverse backgrounds. Via The Creativity Post, published October 27, 2012.

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