Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Creations

I finally did the Body/Soul ambigram and put it into my Sketcuhp model so that it alternates with the MEME/GENE ambigram. I've been having trouble getting the model to be "manifold" so that I can get it printed by Shapeways, and Blender has been of little help, unfortunately.

It seems Rick has been infected with this meme, and he's been spending an awe-inspiring amount of time figuring out how do to the engineering math required to figure out if the sculpture will stand. "Yes" seems to be the answer, at this point. I also got some light-modeling software that should be able to show me what the thing will look like with real lighting, reflections and all. I don't yet know if it will cast good shadows.

I did all that early friday night. Thereafter my Dad and Grandpa came down, and we hung out at Fries for a bit, then went on a little tour of the new campus buildings.

Saturday, I went skateboarding. I finally broke my old board, which made me happy 'cause it meant that I got to buy (and paint) a new one. And here it is!
Its my "Extropian" nambigram done one the front in silver, and on the back is the same thing but backwards (and in black). Get it?

Sorry for being a bad photographer. Seems like everthing in these shots is all washed out. Not to mention badly framed. Oh well, never said that was an art I had any practice in.

Infused with the thrill of doing the skateboard, I immediately went on to painting with bleach. Odd, you say? Well, consider that I was doing designs on black T-shirts with bleach mixed with silver paint. The result was really cool, it looks like sparkly orange lenseflares; like the designs are done with fire or something. I'm gonna post these to an Amazon store and try to sell them, start an Adwords campaign and everything. Message me if you want to buy one, or if I can design a new one for you. Of course, every shirt will be 100% unique, the only one in existence!

Front side:

Back side:

Front side (there's nothing on the back but a bit of wraparound):
Back Side (the front side is my ZERO shirt; I ran out of plain black t's)

Earlier in the week (or maybe last weekend?) I made some stuff outta Sculpy. The hand was meant to be an incense burner (note the hole in the palm), and the lips were just practice modeling lips. I had the scuptures that Rachael and I saw at the sculpture garden (like two years ago?) in mind.

I later painted the lips and palm black, which makes for very nice contrastyness, especially when the mouth is set on top top the hand, like above. Not sure why I don't have any pictures of it.
I also read I Robot over the weekend. Like the other Asimov I've read, its a very sensitive look at humans' relationships with their technology; as much about humanity as machines. I haven't seen the movie, but I get the impression that its totally incongruent. In that the catch line for the movie is "One man saw it coming," that the protagonist in the book is female, and that there's no robot uprising; just the gentle force of robots trying to help humanity act for its own good.
Asimov makes an interesting distinction about Robots. The word "robot" comes from a czech word that means something like "slave" or "serf," and this is a core characteristic of Asimov's robots. They are not merely automatons (eg mechanical things that can be programmed to perform actions); they are thinking machines that can decide what actions to take. At the core of their psyche, Asimov places the three laws of robotics, the first of which is to never harm a human or allow a human to come to harm through inaction (the second two regard obedience and self-preservation). By this definition, machines imprinted with these laws are Robots, machines without are not.
Another poiniant issue is made by the main character, when she says that in contrast to humans "Robots are essentially decent." This is, of course, because the laws of ethical behavior are so deeply imprinted into them that they cannot break them. The crux of the action in the story essentially revolves around how the laws come into conflict and the dillemas they create for robots and the humans they serve.
Lavishing praise on the book would be superflous, of course, since everyone already regards Asimov as a master. I think it is still worth pointing out how significant these works of science fiction are as peices of social commentary. I think that is perhaps as important to focus on the issues of humanity relating to technology as it is to focus on humanity relating to eachother, the latter of which seems to be the focus of most "serious" literatti presently.
Why focus on how humans relate to our technology? Because our technology shapes us (ala 2001 Space Oddessy), and shapes the ways we interact with eachother.

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