Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 1 Reflection - Pasakorn

(A) Key Learning Points

This section will attempt to bring out the things that I have learnt throughout the 5 different plenary sessions. While writing, critiques may be made about each presentation. Although, generally, all plenary sessions were quite interesting, to say the least.

1. Importance of Water - Dirty and Clean

First of all, I have to say that I like the title. It states very strongly the message given. The presenter enlightened the cohort with his little ‘muck’ jokes, and yet the message was still there. The whole talk talked about the importance of water (refer to title) and how we should not take the clean water of Singapore for granted. Big issue, of course. We all know that. But the statistics shown really shocked me. 2 billion, more than the Singapore population, is deprived of clean water. So, does this mean that the smaller the country the better the wellbeing of the citizens? I have no idea. Anyways, he moved on to talk about how Singapore filters water through things like desalination and NEWater. Not a new concept to all of us. We’ve been through the NEWater tour last year. However, there was one point I would like to bring out, that lab-created microbes should not be released into the environment. I was first wondering, why, then the speaker later explained that it could cause a complete disruption in the ecosystem and biological habitat. More relation to Environmental Science. The talk, on a whole, was quite enjoyable with laughs along the way.

2. Revolution of Microelectronics Technology

This speech revolved around the creation and advancement of electronics, and the possibilities of the future (if 2012 is not really “2012”). Throughout the talk, the speaker spoke about how electronics make a difference in human interaction and communication, the B.R.A.I.N.W.A.V.E. so to speak. In case you were not there, no, it is not a gadget that can stop the hole in the ozone layer, or one that can let you read in darkness. B.R.A.I.N.W.A.V.E. stands for the essentials in electronics: Bio, Radio, Auto, Info, Nano, Water, Audio, Video and Energy. The whole speech revolved around this ‘major’ component. Also, a point mentioned by a good friend of mine is also agreeable. She mentioned that with these technologies, personal space will not be respected to its fullest. This concept is already very apparent, especially when someone can disturb you while you are doing something really important, like studying for your finals. “I know that you want me to wash the dishes, Ma, but my History paper is tomorrow and I want good grades.”

3. Innovative Breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano-Technology

Long title, but the speech basically talked about the small stuff. About how we can use these small stuff to help us in the fight against many things. It is a very simple concept, yet so effective. Having something small would have more potential to grow, to work better. See, simple right? Definitely, these things can be applied in various ways, from camouflaging a soldier to killing viruses in specific parts of the body. It is also a combination of many different fields of study. Not that I want to be an engineer in the near future.

4. IT for Animation

This I have a lot to talk about. Animation has been going on for many, many years. Again, another simple concept. Although it does require a lot of work. But this work really pays off in the end, when the graphics shown are just beautiful. And to get to these perfections, a lot of knowledge is required. Mathematical knowledge, colors, storyline, sound, characters… So interesting. It is a wonderful blend of all these, that animation comes about. Of course, not much content was being covered in the speech. Although the speaker did point out that 3D animations are more difficult to make than 2D ones because of the monetary constraints. Really sad. If only people can draw easier… But then again, that’s what Photoshop is for, right?

5. Disappearing Glaciers, Rising Sea Levels, and Why Gravity is Even More Important Than You Think

I laughed at the title when I read it out loud. Firstly, the ingenious way of placing the words “even more important than you think” at the end of the sentence already makes it sound funny. Secondly, I made no sense of the linkage between glaciers and sea levels, and gravity. I really looked forward to this speech, thinking it was going to be a very good closer. In the end, it really was. The speech talked about the physics of the earth, and why sea level rise is not the same across the globe. I’m not one who’s easily interested in something so complex, but the speaker said it so simply that my mind had to slow itself down. The reason for the difference in sea level rise is due to gravity (linking the title together), and the push and pull of objects. This basically means that different areas affected by melting glaciers have different rise or fall in sea level because of the distance between them. Simple? Yes. If only exams were that simple… But, that’s another matter.

(B) Deepest Impression

Personally, I would find the animation (IT for Animation) one most interesting. Why? I just like having an intriguing storyline worked out and animated into something viewers enjoy. What is the point of doing something one doesn't enjoy? The speeches were not really driving me to join their respective careers. (However, I do think that it does have to opposite effect on certain people.) And I do like stop motion, 2D and 3D animation from the start. Of course, I would rather, if I could, go to Mass Comm, Arts or Social Sciences instead, but I shall not say anything more.

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