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Page history last edited by Jakey Toor 2 weeks, 4 days ago



CAT 3B with Prof. Peter John & Prof. F. Richard Moore

UCSD Spring Quarter 2007


Turnitin ID's and Passowords

Section: B09 - W&F @ 3pm

Class ID: 1872835

Password: 587379


Section: B12 - W&F @ 5pm

Class ID: 1872836

Password: 587382


Noise, Signal, Blot, Diagram.

Lecture: Tu/Th 11:00-12:20 in Pepper Canyon Hall 106

Section B09 (587379) WF 3:00-3:50 in CENTR 208

Section B12 (587382) WF 5:00-5:50 in CENTR 208

Jakey's Office Hours:

Time: W/F 3:50 - 4:50 we will go with Roma for now..

& by appt.



Course Summary

Noise, Signal, Blot, Diagram: In 1905, just when physicists thought they’d pretty well got everything in Newton’s theories all worked out, Einstein published papers showing that matter, energy, time, and space actually worked on an entirely different set of principles. At the same moment, the worlds of painting, music, and literature were being revolutionized by artists such as Henri Matisse, Charles Ives, and Ezra Pound. In these and other artistic, scientific, and technical disciplines, people were seeking ways to understand, represent and control a world which only a few decades before many authorities believed to have been completely understood and under control. Reality had revealed itself to be much more complicated than previously imagined; it was hard to tell which bits of information were more significant than others. In a word, our conception of reality had become “noisier”. Since then, we have sought new artistic and technological means of separating useful information (signal) from useless (noise). In attempting this, however, we discovered that noise itself might be a valuable source of signals, and that signals themselves are unavoidably ambiguous, because the human mind perceives patterns and signals whether or not they actually exist.


In this CAT 3 course we will look at case studies from science, music, and other related areas of knowledge to examine questions such as the following: In a world where randomness, contingency and chaos seem to play such a large part, how do we distinguish signal from noise? What tools do we even possess for connecting what’s going on outside our minds with what’s going on inside them? For that matter, what is going on inside our minds – and what is a “mind”, anyway? What are the technological, social, and artistic consequences of the changes in the tools we use over the last hundred years? And the big question: If the world is complex and our answers to questions are always imperfect, how do we decide what to do?


Course Website


Prompts/Important Due Dates

Weekly Assignments

Section Notes

Student Blogs

Collaborative Lecture Notes

Essay Examples

Group Projects


Section Expectations.

My goal as a TA is to help create a safe environment for the open exchange of questions and ideas. Related to the course, related to your writing, related to your interests. I want to discuss topics that actually interest you as individuals and find out how what is being taught in lecture pertains to your life and the way you view the world. In order to do that, for this to be a real laboratory where were can play and explore, you need to come to class prepared. So what I am asking of you is this:


1. Be respectuful of others at all times.

2. Arrive on time.

3. Attend section regularly (not only physically but mentally) * Please see syllabus regarding the attendance policy*

4. Come prepared (having done the reading) and having thought of at least one thing to contribute to our discussion. This could be a question or a comment about the reading or something brought up in lecture or a connection that you noticed between an other class and this class. Something connected to what we are studying in some way but not limited to only lecture and the readings.

5. Bring a printed copy of the reading to class with you.

6. Check the Wiki every day for updates, announcements and changes.



Lecture Expectations.

1. Attend lecture. If you notice me constantly scanning the room this is because I closely monitor who comes and who doesn't. This will affect your participation grade.

2. Please do not pack up before the Professor has finished lecturing. This is a pet peeve of mine. So that means not @ 12:13... not 12:15....not 12:17..... but 12:20. Please be respectful of your Professors and carry this habit with you to other classes.


Student Blogs.

The purpose of your blogs is to use them as a brainstorming journal for this class. Just write a post at least once a week about something connected to lecture or the readings. You can write about something you found interesting, a thought you are developing (and might write about later on), or something you saw on Youtube or somewhere online that reminded you about a concept we have been discussing. Your blog posts will not be graded but I will periodically check them to see if you are posting on a regular basis and this will in turn reflect your participation grade. This should take no more than 10 - 15 minutes per week (more if you like of course). You don't even need to write in complete sentences, just use these as a place to explore ideas and brainstorm. I also encourage you to read one another's blogs and see what your fellow students are thinking....Have fun with your posts!

Start your blogs now :)


Contact Info

Prof. Peter John

Email: pjohn@ucsd.edu

Prof. F. Richard Moore

Email: frm@ucsd.edu

TA: Jakey Toor

Email: rememberment2@yahoo.com


Useful Links

University Readers



Running Numbers- An American Self Portrait

Quantum Mechanics


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