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The Two Cultures

Adv. Physics Mr. Tumolillo


Kyle Rabago-Banjo

Kyle Rabago-Banjo
The Two Cultures Articles
Adv. Physics
Mr. Tumolillo
For The Two Cultures, two articles caught my eye one pertaining to a braincontrolling fungi found in ants, and another dealing with the impending bottlenecks
of conventional computer circuitry. The ant-controlling fungus, Ophiocordyceps
unilateralis, infects an ant and causes it to leave its colony and bite down on the
underside of a leaf, while also producing a protruding stalk from the head which
shoots spores to infect other ants. Due to climate change, however, the fungus is
likely to die out.
In a computer, by far the most power is consumed by the CPU, which
performs all the general calculations of the system. As the technology of shrinking
circuits has improved, the number of processors on a single die has increased as
well. However, the performance gains are becoming negligible to the increasing
amount of power being consumed, while the ability to shrink circuits is reaching its
limit. One of the possible solutions to the problem utilizes nanostores, which
combine the processor and the memory. Since much energy is expended in
transferring the calculated data to other places for manipulation, combining the
processor and memory greatly reduces this requirement. While the idea of meshing
the two has been around for a long time, it will perhaps be made possible by
nanoscale electronics. More technologies are in development as well, such as
phase-change memories which are based on the ability to use an electric current
to switch a material from a crystalline to an amorphous state. 1 Ultimately, the
insatiable desire for more computing power will be the motivator in this race.

1 (Markoff, 2011)

These are perfect examples of a meshing between the two cultures to


which Snow referred; examples of how the gap between the two has thinned.
Utilizing technology, we are doing things thought impossible over the last few
decades. Todays reality of powerful computers and cell phones was once the work
of science fiction and weve proven it possible. Our constant desire for more will
help continue us towards a brighter technological future. As for the article on
zombie ants, it is an ingenious culmination of literary imagination and real science
the headline incites seemingly impossible thought through the creativity of the
human mind while presenting discoveries which could affect us. All in all, these two
articles show how C.P. Snows two cultures have merged closer since the book
was written.

Bibliography
Markoff, J. (2011, 3 3). Remapping Computer Circuitry to Avert Impending
Bottlenecks. The New York Times.
Parry, W. (2011, 3 3). What? Brain-controlling fungi and zombie ants?! Retrieved 3 3,
2011, from MSNBC.com:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41876947/ns/technology_and_science-science/