As humans get older, our bodies grow frail and fail. Thus, we begin to rely on technology to improve our quality of life. From hearing aids and joint replacement surgery, to the use of wheelchairs for locomotion, humans rely on these mechanical objects to improve their quality of life. However, within our lifetimes it could be possible that mechanical body parts can soon be used to replace our own, to restore function and vitality. Some even believe that this “mechanization” of the body is inevitable and will become a reality.
This week, I decided to read the essay “The Biopolitics of Human Genetics Research and Its Application” by Fatimah Jackson and Sherie McDonald. In this essay, the authors discuss how genetic techniques are used to answer common questions regarding race and racial identity. They discuss how mitochondrial DNA, which is maternally passed down, has been used to determine a person’s lineage and give various reasons why this is not the most reasonable method of discovering racial background.
Last week in class we each presented on various topics. One I was extremely interested in was the idea of having an earpiece that connects to our brain. This would then allow for the recording and storage of memory for later playback. Such a technology seems very far into the future, and there are many ethical concerns regarding it as well.
This week in lecture we experienced an intersection between art and science with the Brainstorming project. In this project, EEG electrodes were attached to two participants. The participants actively tried to become in sync with each other in this project, sitting facing each other and wearing octopus crowns which turn a different color LED depending on the frequency of the alpha brain waves picked up by the EEG.
The Chinese zodiac was something I never really explored growing up. I knew that I was born in the year of the pig because we did celebrate Chinese New Year in my household, but that was it. The zodiac was just something part of the event for me and had not further significance. This week in class has led me to research what my zodiac animal means and the significance of the pig in various settings.
Growing up in urban areas my whole life, I have fairly limited amount of experience with nature. However, every summer growing up I would travel to rural areas in Quezon Province, Philippines. I loved the outdoors and everything about it, but then I would go back into the city and forget the feeling. Standing on beaches, seeing the beauty of the mountains, and also the smells of nature were all evoked during the experience in Linda Weintraub's woods.
Biotechnology and art were two things I never thought would be related. Being a life sciences major, I failed to see the point of using experimental techniques for art. However, as I viewed the content in this course I began to see that they are related and could show new discoveries in both science and also in art.
I first enrolled in this course because I thought the connection between biotechnology and art was a weird one. Being part of a lab here at UCLA, I never thought that the images of cells and different aspects of the experiments we do could be considered art. The drive for most of the scientists when experiments are done are to answer a question, one that could explain the natural phenomena that we experience in every day life. Art, in my opinion, generally seems to show things as a form of entertainment or to invoke feeling in those who view it.