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Collaborative Lecture Notes

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago

Post your notes about lecture here. This is a collaborative endeavor. It is not manditory but the more people that post the larger our wealth of knowledge will be. If you are the first person posting please add the date of lecture. Please sign your notes with you name so if someone has a question they can contact you. Your notes can be anything from a sentence to a page. What were some of the main points of lecture? Can you summarize what lecture was about in 1/2 sentences??



Week 1 (Tues.):

 no notes? :( sigh...... - jakey


Lecture 4/3


Class focuses on physics and art (?)

Before--> during--> after


Pope (poet) epitaph for Newton:

"Nature and Nature's law lay hid in night:

God said, Let Newton be! And all was light"

--> heretical? (at the time)



Before: classical, mechanistic

During: ca 1900

After: "poet-classical"


1905 - Einstein Papers

Brownian Motion, Special Relativity




Noise and signal, blot and diagram


Lecture 4/5


Part 1: The Other Side of Silence

  • "If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence."

Marion Evans Cross (aka George Eliot)

  • There may be no silence (radio residue of big bang)



  • p13-16: Pythagoreans (cult)
    • Pythagoras, Illuminati, Hiposus, Philolaus
    • Met in caves
    • First to see connections between mathematics and sound (music)
    • Muse = number = reality (music described by frequency)
    • Beauty = truth (Keats)
    • Musical thought (a pitch)
    • Music of the spheres
    • Noise is fundamental, no signal? (blot more important than diagram)


  • Zeitgeist (spirit of the time):
    • When one thing changes in human culture, there are probably other changes happening at the same time
    • Ex: A change over a given period in physics correlates to a change in music
    • Gestalt shifts, paradigm shifts


  • Synchronic, Diachronic, Zeitgeist
    • Synchronic slice (Zeitgeist) [as opposed to diachronic narrative]
    • BEFORE: Faraday, Maxwell, J. Strauss, Gericault, Millet, Marx
    • DURING: (aka, fin-de-siecle): Lorentz, Einstein,  Ravel, Delacroix, van Gogh (impressionism), Weber
    • AFTER: Heisenberg, Schonberg, Marc (expressionism), Bernal, proto-Kuhn (social construction of knowledge, including science)
    • Chopin = Sturm und Drang
    • Napoleon --> horses


  • Culture Wars
    • Technology vs. sociology
    • Does art have meaning, or multiple meanings?
    • Connect art w/ music



 -Thanks to whoever posted these! -jakey





Week 2 (Thurs.):




Notes on Readings (from discussion):




Central point of lecture:

  • noise is valuable, we must look at noise and signal to see the big picture, everything is signal, signal conveys  information, our perception: signal = right, noise = wrong, culture shapes what signals we choose to perceive
  • Noise is Necessary:

Atoms -->       Brownian Motion -->    Entropy -->        Vacuum -->    Quantum  Mechanics



  • Molecular motion in heated liquid is identical to Brownian motion in gas
  • "noise" [random motion of particles, even if liquid is still] helps identify the existence of atoms
  • Parallels + patterns



Q: how is studying errors useful to us?

A: the more errors we are aware of, the closer we are to the correct answer

  • b/c we always have some error/uncertainty, we never know anything for certain, just w/ varying  degrees of probabilit
  • Signal = correct answer, noise = error


  • Laplace: probable error
    • Central limit - represented the most probable state
    • Outer limit - extreme states, improbable
  • Pierce - universe is not a machine, mistakes should not be thrown out b/c they have meaning, life is  spontaneous
  • Maxwell
    • heat theory (velocity of molecules): most probable estimation
      • Average results = probable state of molecules



  • Through music you find harmony (of the soul)
    • Socrates wanted to eliminate most harmonies s/t only the most beneficial (to the soul) harmonies  remain - one for war, one for peace
    • "Chain of Inspiration": Gods --> artists --> interpreters --> spectator
    • Music + Reason --> logical/math/science TRUTH
    • Everything is structured



Q: what was the importance of Einstein discovering noise?

A: most people find noise annoying and don’t want to know about it, but Einstein's discovery gave rise to  whole new fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.







April 10, 2007 (tuesday)
-         Walk the Line clip
o       shift in music through time
o       make it real, sing it as if it’s your last song
o       how to connects to the essay à make it authentic
§         over-reach, attempt to do more than just what’s enough
o       what is learning? Trying to cultivate skills; disciplines by which you can probe ideas, build your own ideas
-         painters in 19th century
o       want to paint real human; make it real, confront the chaotic nuances of experience
o       e.g. romanticized horse, chaotic horse
o       when things are in motion, how do you get a handle on that? How do you capture that?
§         What’s really going on is things in motion, you don’t see it frozen like how some people represent it
§         The staircase, 1910
-         before = early 19th century
-         When does the after end?
-         we are still in the after, the after doesn’t end
o       what does art look like? What should science look like?
-         Mark Rothko, painter
o       Golden ratio: some natural phenomenon exhibits something interesting which exists as mathematical ratio; considered as beautiful; represented in music (for example) as harmony
-         “Now in order to prevent the impression that I am taking advantage of a metaphor, as writers on art are often…” -- Kenneth Clark, art critic
-         metaphor of noise vs signal ó blot vs. diagram
-         = blot: taking a diagram in our head (signal) and making it a signal
-         Menand’s conclusion: information must be social
o       To the extent that you don’t have the theory, it could be a diagram of something else
-         Watchmaker argument for design: The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy the argument states that design implies a designer. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the analogy was used (by Descartes and Boyle, for instance) as a device for explaining the structure of the universe and God's relationship to it. Later, the analogy played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe. (wikipedia)
-         The watchmaker analogy consists of the comparison of some natural phenomenon to a watch. Typically, the analogy is presented as a prelude to the teleological argument and is generally presented as:
-         If you look at a watch, you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent watchmaker.
-         Similarly, if you look at some natural phenomenon X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the entire universe) you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent creator/designer.
o       If you begin with enough structure and form, these forms can evolve
-         Main idea: Radical changes in our idea of the nature of things and our situation in the world, ca. 1890-1910
-         “the planets” by Holst
o       things have significance
o       if there is a harmony and is describable in terms of number, perhaps we can extend this harmony into the celestial realm
-         Plato- you don’t want disruption, you want harmony
o       Harmony means understanding the truth
-         “The Origin of Love” song by Hedwig and Angry Inch
-         The main idea: the natural world, including humankind, are, like music, susceptible to rational, indeed, quantifiable comprehension;
-         The foundation of all things may be numbers; numbers may be the most real thing
-         Or, as Leibniz, a contemporary of Newton and co-inventor of calculus put it:   “Music is the pleasure we get in counting without realizing that we’re counting”
-         While not all music is in fact orderly or in harmony with the order of things, nevertheless it OUGHT to be
-         (p.20, 25, 28 left hand side)
-         of course, there are occasions in which we still acknowledge this attitude toward the use of music: formal ceremonies (marriages, funerals, memorial occasions, military)
-         Stravinsky’s La Sacre du Printemps
o       Ballet about Human sacrifice
April 12, 2007 (thursday)
-         “meter” appears in both music and poetry
o       iambic pentameter (e.g. Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be, that is the question”)
-         mid-19th Tennyson
-         late-19th Annold
-         early 20th Teats, Stein
-         form + content
-         Midterm
o       4 poets
o       change of content
o       before, during, after with reference to poetry
o       given passage from poem and connect to something else we’ve been talking about in class, make sense of it (before, during, after)
-         shift from Aristotle to Newton sometimes characterized as shift from a qualitative distinctions to a quantitative uniformity
-         fire and soul, gravity and substance, and going from a qualitative to a quantitative perspective
-         qualitative place for everything
-         What do you do with the human soul? With god? (the quantitative things)
-         Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar”:
Sunset and evening star
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crossed the bar.
-         Arnold’s “DoverBeach
THE sea is calm to-night.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits;—on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Only, from the long line of spray

Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,

At their return, up the high strand,

Begin, and cease, and then again begin,

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring

The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago

Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow

Of human misery; we

Find also in the sound a thought,

Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.

But now I only hear

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,

Retreating, to the breath

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear

And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

-         Yeat’s “The Second Coming”
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 
-         Stein
o       Problematic relationship between words and reality
o       “a rose is a rose is a rose”
The sentence "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. In that poem,the first "Rose" is the name of a woman. Stein later used variations on the phrase in other ritings, and "A rose is a rose is a rose" is probably her most famous quote, often interpreted as "things are what they are". In Stein's view, the sentence expresses the fact that simply using the name of a thing already invokes the imagery and emotions associated with it. As the quote diffused through her own writing, and the culture at large, Stein once remarked "Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t go around saying 'is a … is a … is a …' Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years." (Four in America)
Gertrude Stein's repetitive language can be said to refer to the changing quality of language in time and history. She herself said to an audience at Oxford University that the statement referred to the fact that when the Romantics used the word "rose" it had a direct relationship to an actual rose. For later periods in literature this would no longer be true. The eras following romanticism, notably the modern era, use the word rose to refer to the actual rose, yet they also imply, through the use of the word, the archetypical elements of the romantic era. It also follows the rhetoric law of thricefold repetition to emphasize a point, as can be seen in speeches dating back to the sophists. (wikipedia)
-         Harmonic series
o       the relationship of 3rd harmonic to 2nd harmonic is always a 3 to 2 ratio
o       system by which Pythagorus and others produced musical tuning system
o       system based on ratio between 3rd harmonic and 2nd harmonic
-         tonality
o       beginning note “do”
o       the other notes revolve around the beginning note “do”
o       main note is the one in charge
o       Beethoven liked to end his piece playing the main note over and over
-         What triggered the During?
o       Cause à effect
o       Once things started to change, music went in many directions
§         e.g poly-tonality = “many keys”
§         style of music more ambiguous than it was before
§         a-tonality (e.g Schoenberg)
·        12 tone scale à take 12 tones and arrange them in any order you like
§         Impressionism (e.g Debussy)
§         Reactionary (no change) (e.g Shostokovich)
§         “Super” Romanticism (e.g. Stauss)


This is so great! Thanks for being a resource for our class! :)  - jakey


Week 3:

       Tuesday, April 17, 2007:

                    (warning: the following notes are rather incomplete and may not be of much use to anyone)


  • Close Listening to music
    • Most people listen to music while working --> create noise to cover up background noise
  • Sir Francis Bacon
    • Created sci-fi
    • Scientific method
    • "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed on and digested."
  • Alban Berg
    • Atonality
      • Ex: The Matrix
    • Student of Schoenberg
  • Music has:
    • Pitch
    • Timbre
    • Loudness
    • Duration
    • Spatial characterizes
  • Klangfarbenmelodie
  • D. Antheil / Futurists / K. Bitsjerveld
  • Einstein invented quantum physics, but hated it (?!?!?)
  • Mechanique
  • Pg 69 of the reader (right hand side)
    • Hunt w/in noise for correct signal (where noise could get you killed, signal keeps you alive)
  • Current: very short attention spans
    • Vs. we don't really know how well we have adapted to our current situation (Ex: both world wars, cold war, genocide)
  • Battle of The Somme - 1916
    • 30,000 British soldiers dead in one afternoon
    • How does the government inform the public?
    • First war documentary --> intended as moral booster, but did exact opposite (too real)
      • Signal must be controlled, systematically distorted


Anyone have anything from yesterday's Quantum lecture? - jakey

 Here is a cool website regarding Quantum Mechanics and Wave partical duality if anyone is intersted.


Week 4


sorry didn't get anything for Tuesday =(


Thursday, April 26, 2007
-         there is no deep reality. This view was the favorite interpretation of Niels Bohr, quantum physics first great proponent
-         reality is created by observation. This view is typified by renowned physicist John Wheeler’s statement “No elementary phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon”
-         All of reality is a seamless whole. This view, which has much in common with Eastern philosophies, has been propounded at length by physicists such as Fritjof Capra in his book Tao of Physics
-         Reality is created by consciousness. Because observation plays a very special role in quantum theory, only those entities (such as ourselves) are in the privileged position to create reality. Adherenets to this point of view have included such luminaries as Eugene Wigner, John con Neumann
o       The only way to make an observation is to have a observer and consciousness
-         Quantum theory is correct but incomplete—we’re just missing some information about what’s going on. This view states that while quantum theory continues to provide correct answers insofar as it goes, it does not allow us to interpret it because it is incomplete
-         The world is ambiguous to some observers
-         Locke – the brain
-         Descarte
o       Apart from the mind, everyone/everything is one big machine
o       Faith that there is a soul, something transcendant about human beings
-         Both lock and descarte
o       The world comes into our mind and is represented the way it is
o       We get perception by thinking about the world
-         Kant
o       “during” period
o       suggests that what we actually have in our brain is something that already is preformed, we take in info from the world, and our brain automatically organizes it (cause and effect, temporal regulations, spatial regulations)
o       our brain is predisposed by nature to make sense of it in a certain way
o       we are limited by the very nature of our brain
-         the human brain… tricks us whenever it can!
-         Realm of the divine
-         There is a realm, there is reality, we can get to it
-         Metaphysics – whenever we put names for things we don’t see
-         Einstein – we can infer the atom from Brownian motion
-         When we perceive and conceive, we take in the whole form (not just in bits). Our brain is adaptive to being efficient and fills in the gaps. Is it filling in the gaps correctly?
-         Main point:
-         Hard reality dissolved; no longer a source of unambiguous signals
-         The implication is that the signals we discern may indicate more about the receiver (brain/mind) than about the received (i.s. the sinal)
“What the Bleep is Going On”
-         we like to think of space as empty, matter as solid
-         what makes up things are concentrated bits of information
-         conscious experience feels like you’re moving forward, but in quantum physics you can also move backward
-         when you aren’t looking à waves of possibility, when you are looking à waves of experience
-         we have the habit to thinking that everything is already a thing, we have to recognize that even the material world around us is nothing but possibly movements of consciousness
-         tendency to think that the world is already out there, independent of our experience
-         instead of thinking of things, we have to think of possibilities, possibilities of consciousness
-         instead of the signal making its way through the noise, we generate the signal
-         even the idea of self dissolves. Who is ‘we’?
-         waves exist everywhere, don’t just exist in one spot

Week 5


Tues 5/8

(for some reason the program I copied and pasted from messed with the format of the page, and I'm not entirely sure how to fix it, so I apologize in advance if the following notes are hard to understand)


Midterm on reading comprehension on Thursday:

  • Bring blue book, reader
  • Covers up to second Kosko essay

Penrose --> Cage

 Mind is a pattern making and meaning generating machine (e.g. constellations), a thing predisposed to "draw lines of defense," in order to discover or impose patterns and meaning even, or perhaps especially where they may not exist

    • Mind cannot help itself
    • Put a grid between ourselves and the universe (for safety?) -- Cartesian Coordinates, etc.
    • If this is the case, should we trust our own minds? In any, some, all circumstances?
  • Menand --> Pierce: knowledge depends on a certain cultural context; our mind then imposes this knowledge on the world
  • Read from left to right, therefore see patterns from left to right? (e.g. time lines)
  • Do our brains "try to trick us?" PJ thinks no. Perhaps the opposite: our brains are very efficient (too efficient) at resolving things into patterns
    • e.g. Morals: hard to believe bad things happen to good people for no reason
  • Do these example prove that our pattern recognition is "hard wired?"
  • Brain is not hard-wired: John Searle --> metaphor for brain depends on current technology, Zeitgeist
  • What is the brain?
  • Cave Paintings (art/technology?)
    • Interpretation depends on time: "art for art's sake" --> structural and sexual interpretations 1950-60s, Astrological 'Space Age,' altered states of perception 'New Age'
  • Question predisposes mind (and eye) to look at certain aspects of the world (the example was a picture) to get answers.
    • Mars pictures: rock and shadow --> a face? WTF?!?!?!
  • Other examples:
    • Fibonacci Sequence (On Growth and Form by Thompson, response to Darwinism), Phi (Golden Ratio/Mean - limn->∞ F(n) / F(n-1) ≈ 1.618...), da Vinci Code, Fractals (Mandelbrot, stochastic, self-similarity), "Small World" hypothesis ('six degrees of separation')
      • Greek Columns (Corinthian, Parthenon) <---> Nautilus (Shells, Sunflower)
      • Aesthetics: theory of beauty (Dubnov) --> there is one universal beauty, there is one universal method
      • The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in Natural Science
      • Turing Test <--> Subitizing
        • Ability to instantly comprehend patterns
      • Max Weber: nationalization, disenchantment, iron cage, adaption
  • Aha?
    • Not a matter of pattern recognition, but of which patterns should be recognized?
  • Martin Buber (Ich und Du, 1923, was in WWI): I-Thou (good) vs. I-It (bad)

ANALYSIS (break things apart) <=========> HYPOTHESIS

              <---- SYNTHESIS (put things together)---->

Very cool....Muchas Gracias! :) - jakey
this is great!


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