Picasso and Einstein: Modern Communists

First off, this post has nothing to do with whether or not Einstein and Picasso were communists. The title just sounded catchy, and I hoped it would catch your attention. Anyway, on to my post.

As I was doing research on Modernism, I found a website that was the course website for a course entitled “Science and Modernism.” One of the suggested reads was  Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty That Causes Havoc. Seeing that these two experts were influential in modernism, I decided to give the book a try. A few seconds later on the Kindle, I had downloaded the book, and immediately became interested in the premise of the book.  The author himself says that he is “more interested in why Einstein and Picasso Picasso made their discoveries than in how they went about developing insights.” The author explores this by reading parallel biographies on both Picasso and Einstein. An ingenious way of exploring this topic.

Picasso’s work Blue and Rose were his two artworks that established his reputation.  Einstein, on the other hand was on the cutting edge of physics. He discovered scientific theories that completely revolutionized Newtonian Physics(at least at high speeds). One thing the author emphasizes is that although these thinkers were revolutionary in their discoveries, if they had been born later, others probably would have made these discoveries.  These two minds would have made other discoveries.  This made me think that the paradigm shift that was created by Modernism was as much as what caused these discoveries as the minds themselves. Continue reading

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Of Machines and Men

While the industrial revolution was a revolution of lifestyle and society.  Romanticism is much more of a revolution in thinking, art and literature. In fact, Romanticism is a revolt of sorts against the industrial revolution.  Obviously, society had become too dependent on the modern advances that came with the industrial revolution, and there was virtually no chance for society as a whole to go back to the way things were, but there was obviously a desire to do just that.  Rather than having a complete De-revolution, the people of the day turned to other outlets, such as literature to express their desire for simplicity.

Before the romantic periods, literature tended to be more scientific and rational in nature. This is not surprising, as the Industrial Revolution was a huge revolution in science and reason. Romantic literature, on the other hand, explored more imaginative topics. They tended focus on capturing the feelings in an individual moment, rather than writing books with the intent of conveying information.  Describing emotion was more powerful to them than simply creating literature based in reason. Continue reading

Social Darwinism, The “Science” of Racism

From a societal standpoint, natural selection had a huge historical impact on the world. I would like to focus on one of those aspects, as I have had somewhat of a personal experience with it. When Darwin proposed the idea of natural selection, he theorized that the animals more fit to survive in a certain environment would be the ones that would out compete their rivals. It was natural therefore, for more fit animals to drive less fit animals to extinction. Darwin’s theory was published in November 22, 1859 but his ideas were widespread among noted scientists as early as 1836, the year he arrived home from his trip to the Galapagos islands. Continue reading

The Five Dollar Day

The invention of the car is possibly one of the most influential inventions in the last hundred years. Henry Ford was the pioneer and the father of the personal car movement.  As well as inventing the car which had a dramatic impact on the ability of individuals to travel, Ford revolutionized the way that business is performed.  According to this article at the time he introduced the Five Dollar day, wages were around $2.50 a day.  With all the technology that had been invented earlier, Ford was curious as to why productivity hadn’t increased.  He discovered that it was due to low worker motivation. Since he knew individuals responded to incentives, and money is a great incentive, he essentially doubled salaries overnight. He figured that this would motivate his employees, and allow him to attract more skilled and reliable workers. And he was right. This essentially revolutionized the way that workers were paid in America.  Essentially Ford was initiating a profit sharing plan to motivate his employees and thank them for the good job that they had done.  This profit sharing program still remains to be one of the most successful ways to motivate employees to be more productive today. If you look at one of the most lucrative industries today, this fact becomes blatantly obvious. Continue reading

Secure Passwords

In my Digital Civilization class, our professor talked about how he used a program to randomly generate a secure, unique password for every website he visited. He stored this password using a program on Linux. I have found a browser plugin (for Mozilla Firefox that does virtually the same thing. Its called LastPass. Here is a brief tutorial video on how to use this plugin. Alternatively, the system that I use is a bit easier, and it will guarantee a unique password for every website that you sign up for. First, I have a common pass phrase that is easy for me to remember. In this example I will use the phrase, “Eric”. Then whenever I sign up for a website, I intermix the name of the website in with my common pass phrase. For example, if I were signing up for http://www.google.com, I would use the phrase georoigcl. Which is the first letter of the website, then the first letter of my pass phrase. Then the second letter of the website, then the second letter of my pass phrase, and so on and so forth.