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This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.


BLOGS

Mental Illness in Art

For centuries, mental illness has remained a highly controversial and stigmatized topic throughout the globe. For my final project, I thought it would be extremely interesting to see how opinions of mental illness have transformed - or not transformed - throughout the past 100 years, and to analyze the art that was produced alongside it.

Final Project Idea- Drugs, Tech and Mindfulness: A Perceptive Shift

This last weekend I backpacked in the Eastern Sierras, and was fortunate enough to summit Mount Williamson and Mount Tyndall, two of the largest mountains in California. On my trip down, I started to realize that my world felt dim, like someone was casting a shadow over my world. My hands would take a while to listen when I told them to move, and my feet no longer had any sensation. I was extremely dehydrated, and in high altitude, and my world was vastly different because of these factors.

Genetically Modified What?

We all have heard of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) at one point or another in our life. Quite a lot of the world considers GMOs with a negative connotation and many more simply do not care or have a problem with them. But most of those people, regardless of their position, do not really quite understand what GMOs are and how or why specifically they are bad or harmless. In fact no one can pinpoint exactly why they are injurious to health, they are just avoided mostly for preventative purposes.

The Search for Truth

The current state of the United States scientific discourse is dominated by skepticism. The current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is a infamous climate change skeptic, one who has stacked the agency with like minded individuals. For one of the most prominent agencies dedicated to ecological recovery to house influential skeptics is largely considered a step in the wrong direction.

from healers to computers: following the evolution of physicians

Patient-doctor relationships seem to be under much tension recently. With constantly changing insurance plans, conflicting reports on Yelp, and patient-driven suggestions of how doctors should perform their practices has made patient satisfaction with medical care steadily decline. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index reports that the overall hospital satisfaction rate dropped 5% with inpatient satisfaction recording the largest decrease (Warren). This epidemic of overall less pleased patients begs the question of why physicians are failing to meet the needs of the patients.

Final Project Idea

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.

Altered Mental States

Altered mental states have long since been regarded with the potential of spawning great art. The Beatles experimented with virtually all mainstream drugs of their time throughout their entire careers, including benzedrine, amphetamines, LSD, cocaine, and heroin (The Beatles Bible). The Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August of 1969 became regarded as a bastion of hippie culture, sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.

Final Project Idea

We rely on our memory for pretty much everything in our lives. We use it to remember how to get to work or school; we use it to drive; we use it to make connections to others. However, our memory is an imperfect mechanism. There are several ways that our memory can fail us. The most commonly considered memory failure is forgetting. While this happens to virtually everyone, there are several people for who forgetting becomes pathological, such as with the various forms of dementia.

Ideas for Final Project

To do a simple calculation for hours we spend on sleep. Given that we sleep 7 hours daily on average, which means if the average life expectancy is 75 years, we will sleep 191,625 hours or one-third of our lifetime. In our daily life, people always work and study with insufficient sleep under the high pressure and high intensity. Due to the coming stresses from life or study, most people also choose to sacrifice sleep in order to have more time to get work done, to maintain high GPAs, to relax by watching TV until midnight. Poor sleep health is a common problem with 25 percent of U.S.

Final Project Idea

     The first day of Ramadan occurred on May 27th, 2018. This marks the first day of the holiest month for muslims. During these months we fast from sunrise to sunset and revolve most of our activities around the mosque, community, and prayer. However, in my project, I’m going to explore what is least talked about amongst muslims, and especially during this month- the menstrual cycle. Historically and even today, there is much stigma around the topic.

Learned from SARS

This week I chose to read Chinese Chickens, Ducks, Pigs, and Humans, and the Technoscientific Discourses of Global U.S. Empire” by Gwen D’Arcangelis. At the very beginning, I thought this essay was talked about the problems of Chinese feeding pattern and living style caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. As I engaged into reading this article, the author addressed the problem of racialization and Othering of Chinese population throughout the US history and also promoted by the U.S.

From bioethics to human practices, or assembling contemporary equipment

In the essay “From bioethics to human practices, or assembling contemporary equipment”, Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett discuss the new implications in bioethics the human genome project which attempted and was successful at completely mapping the human genome brought about. As an undergraduate scientist in STEM, I often hear the importance of collaborations and believe the Human Genome Project is the epitome of the marriage between bioethics, law, technology and engineering, and biology.  

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