October 22, 2013
Powers of Ten: video about digitization – representing both largest imaginable data set and the smallest
imaginable data set (going from space to the subset of an atom). How data is encoded in our cells and
represented in the galaxy. The idea is that we have a human space but there is nothing special about it
in comparison with the miniature and the galactic. The meter is defined in relation to our planet.
- Digitization seems small but it changes everything.
- Digital: a discreet unit, such as a finger; to be compared with its partner in the world, analog.
- Analog is about waves (sound, light). Everything is transmitted to our body through waves.
**- Waves are used to transmit frequency modulation (fm) and amplitude modulation (am) – am goes
over further distances than fm, but fm is clearer than am.
- The length of a wave from point to point per time is its frequency. 100 waves per second is its
- Amplitude is the height of the wave from the top to the bottom – varying the amplitude is changing
the height (ex. A heart monitor)
- Some people believe analog sounds better.
- The more precise the digitization, the more space you need. This is why blu ray takes so much more
data, because it is an increase by the power
- We are always regenerating our reality – we think that the representation of sound (digitization) is
better than the sound itself, because that’s what our ears are used to.
- Everything is becoming digital
- The distance of a radio wave depends on how far it will travel – am waves travel further than fm, but it
has more static. We can listen to am stations from almost anywhere in the world, but we don’t want to
hear all the zips and zaps of streaming across the oceans.
- We use many things to distribute digital information: CD’s tapes, etc.
- How does radio define geographical space? There is a geographic space to television and radio (they
only go so far)
- Television was thought to control people and define their lives
- We signed a treaty with the European Union for free trade - copyright terms are now going to change –
system of globalization
- Digitization makes globalization hyperbolic (accelerates at such a rate that it is beyond most people’s
comprehension - It is cheaper to send a digital x-ray to India to have it read than to pay someone to do it here
- Women were the computers and first programmers, especially during the wars. Today it is mostly men
- A supercomputer can operate so fast that it can automatically detect incoming projectiles – today,
every computer can do that
- A computer is an international machine
- Canada does not have a very strong computing industry, besides RIM. We have the natural resources,
but we ship them out elsewhere
- The English language speakers drive the market, but computers conform to other ideological sys