Art Sci Open Salon: Siddharth Ramakrishnan

Siddharth Ramakrishnan was the first speaker in our new Salon series. His lecture, Pattern generation and Pattern formation in Animal neural networks”, was really thought provoking and inspiring. I immediately recruited him for my Art Sci class — he is a very good speaker and obviously loves the stage!

Here is his description: Most of our daily motor activities are pre-programmed rhythmic movements (walking, eating etc.). How are such rhythms generated? How are they modulated to produce different behaviors? I will show with snails the patterns underlying such rhythmic behaviors. I will also explore the elegance and simplicity of invertebrates. Over time research on such organisms has faded and science is targeted towards “complex” animals with greater bearing towards humans. I will try to emphasize the benefits and significance of simple systems and their beauty.

Thinking Gender graduate conference @ ucla

Thinking Gender is a public conference highlighting graduate student research on women, sexuality and gender across all disciplines and historical periods. I was so impressed by the number of young scholars who gathered, the level and diversity of research in this area. The panel I moderated was “Cyberlicious with a Byte” – a bit of a blast into the past. Not only because of the title that was so 90’s but also the James Hixon’s paper on Information bodies / Bodies without organs from Deleuze andJennifer Kavertsy’s paper on avatars and the gaze in Warcraft. I was disappoined that Suepattra May from UC SF, Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, was not able to show. Danielle Hidalgo and Tracy Royce gave a paper on Online Queer Pornography using Crash Pad as an example. Haven’t seen this before and found it quite intriguing, although I have to say, once again it was a flash from the past with the sociology department at UCSB that seems to focus on edgy, sexual issues. It did make me think about the NanoBod game we are conceptualizing in relation to female identity and science. Morphing bodies and moving inside to genetically engineer and shape shift…….