Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Sep 24.08.d267/w39
Spontaneous thoughts on free-will, randomness, complexity

Free-will seems to exist only within the confines of our “reality.” For example: picture a group of people playing soccer on a field. To the uninformed observer (someone without the ability to see that the group is playing a game with set rules and boundaries), the players’ actions appear random on first glance. Upon greater inspection however, there would appear to be a degree of complexity in their actions – “organized chaos”, but no clear way to explain the meaning, purpose and complexity of these actions.

Another example – an animal confined to a cage. The animal’s free-will is limited as far as the cage boundaries. it’s possible for the animal to live its entire life without realizing it was in the cage. my question is, could we say that the animal’s range of possible behaviors was limited because it was in the cage? had it existed in a reality without boundaries, would it have behaved differently? Is this our position on Earth? Is this our position in the universe? How would we behave differently if we were not bound by our human perceptions; by gravity and by the confines of planet Earth? By the confines of the universe itself?

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Sep 03.08.d246/w36
The Future of Children’s Technology

Image from http://flickr.com/photos/tanyaryno/975839418/

It’s very hard to know just where children’s technology is headed. We’re living in the Digital Age, with new concepts and ideas popping up everywhere — Nintendo Wii, games like Rock Star, etc. It’s hard to know what is here to stay and what’s only a fad. My mother once told me that when she was growing up, television sets were still relatively new. She and her brothers thought they would be ridiculously advanced and the center of everything come the millennium. Yet, 2001 has come and gone, and while the television set is still around, it is certainly not the centerpiece of technology. Its cousin, the computer, has taken that spot. Computers have come a long way, and now some children are introduced to them before they even set foot in school. Much of the new technology that’s being developed involves a computer of some sort. It’s only natural that when people think about the future, computers are usually involved. But what if computers face the same fate as television? What if they are replaced with an entirely new concept? Even if the medium of new technologies for children is not centered on the computer, they should still serve children’s needs while at the same time, not stifling their creativity and competency.

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Jul 15.08.d196/w29
How I Came to Hear

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher told my mother that it seemed like I seemed like I wasn’t paying attention in class, and that I sometimes seemed to have trouble understanding oral directions. My mother decided to take me in for a hearing test.

The audiologist was very nice. I got to wear huge headphones and raise my hand whenever I heard a noise. I had a lot of fun because it was the first hearing test I remember having!

At the end, she brought my mother into the room and announced the test results – I had hearing loss. The doctor said that because my loss was mild to moderate, hearing aids would be the key to a normal life. No one knows HOW I’d lost my hearing – I could’ve been born with it or it could’ve been the result of multiple viruses I’d gotten as an infant.

I wasn’t fazed – at that time, I was old enough to have a general idea of what was going on, but too young to worry about what the kids in my class would say. A few days later we were back to see the audiologist. She put this turquoise molding material my ears, and I couldn’t hear a thing. I was confused because I thought that stuff was my hearing aids. I waited for her to turn it on. Instead, she took it out of my ears several minutes later. It had hardened into an exact shape of my ear canal! I asked if that was my hearing aid. She said nope, this is just a mold that we’re going to send off to the company so they make your hearing aids the right size.

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Jul 02.08.d183/w27
Savannah, Georgia

Hey, I’m back! Last week my family took a road trip to Savannah, Georgia. My grandmother grew up there, and we visited many of the places from her childhood during the trip — her high school, churches, the public library, her old neighborhoods to name a few. Of course, things had changed since she was last there, but it was still very exciting (and meaningful)! We had a lot of fun. Below are just a few of the other sights we saw. Click the images for larger versions.

This is the beautiful house in which we stayed, 109 W. Jones Street. It’s been historically restored from the 1800s and is used for vacation rentals. My uncle thought it would be better than a hotel, because then we could relax and have more space and privacy. It was all that and more, and very luxurious!

109 W. Jones Street

The outside patio of our rented house

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Aug 20.05.d231/w33
Back in America

Hey folks, back to the world of the living!! Last time I wrote, I was still in Spain and cracking on the project!! I just sort of had a long break from writing while I focused on other things! But now I’ve decided to write at least something, because I miss it!!

The trip back to America from Spain was for the most part uneventful. The night before we left, there was a huge end-of-project dinner. I was sad that it was all ending. :( We only had a few hours after the dinner ended before we had to board a bus to the airport.

The flight from Santiago to Madrid was not the greatest. It was short and a bit bumpy. Plus the plane was loud. The flight from Madrid to Miami was LOOOONG (9 hours), they showed 2 movies. The flight from Miami to RDU was delayed for 2 hours due to bad weather. That sucked. We were all tired. But once we got to Miami, let me tell you, we were chipper again!

Anyways that was 3 weeks ago, lol!! It took me a while to get myself together once I was home. I was seriously jet-lagged. I felt disoriented; like I was walking with a veil over my head. Even though I never did adjust to the 6-hour time difference in Spain, I could feel it when I got back home. Then I came down with a cold for a week.

I just have to say, the experience in Spain was amazing, and I definately plan to go back one day. There were many things I’d like to do, many more places to see. I just am fascinated that there is just so much more out there than what is familiar.

Jul 26.05.d206/w30
Visit from the Embassador

I have some random free time and so I’m posting this quick entry. The American ambassador to Spain came to visit this morning. We showed him the progress on our site so far and then he, his wife, daughter and colleagues walked around the labs to see us work. He gave a little speech, saying that it’s nice to see Spain, Chile and the United States working together on a project like this, because cooperation between countries makes his job eaiser to do! We took a huge group picture of everyone on the project, which you can see at left!