Daniel Lutz's blog

Bioremediation using CRISPR-Cas9

I wasn’t able to attend class last week because I was out of town. But from the images I’ve seen and how my classmates have described the project, Maura’s Vacuoles Exhibition seems really interesting and intelligent. Environmental pollution is a major issue in industrial areas like LA.

The Promise of CRISPR

“Mere data makes a man. A and C and T and G. The alphabet of you. All from four symbols.” This quote comes from one of my favorite the movies, Blade Runner: 2049. The thought of reducing our individuality down to a combination of 4 molecules is humbling.

Nature & Its Depiction in Literature

I really enjoyed the atmosphere of last Thursday’s class. Often we forget to slow down and appreciate the world outside of our immediate lives. In discussing our perceptions of “Nature,” many of my classmates envisioned Nature as serene, pristine, and idyllic. Indeed this image of Nature is pretty popular, and often first attributed to the nineteenth century Romanticism movement.

Week 3: Growing Meat?

The United Nations reports that our population is growing exponentially and will continue to do so this century. The huge population increase during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was due to significant improvements in medicine at all stages of life, which increased the birth survival rate and overall life expectancy. Population growth places stress on resources, especially food.

Pollan's bread

Linda Weintraub’s workshops during week 1 perfectly introduced the idea that scientific material—biological, chemical, etc.— can capture larger elements of humanity. Our capacity to do physical work as a collective unit, shared knowledge, experience, and resources, common identity as a species can all be represented by simple materials like carbon dioxide, micro-biomes, and hair, respectively.

Week 1: Biotech, Art, and Cancer

Despite the differing individual topics, the workshops seemed to share a common theme of transformation of the human body into a machine; underlying this idea is a desire to reassert the utility of the body, something that is often overlooked especially as technologies improve and take over more of the functions in our lives. Whether through converting our own carbon dioxide to inflate tubes or using the microbiomes we harbor on our hands to ferment, Weintraub’s workshops proved that our bodies could function similar to machines in accomplishing work.

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