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Cremisi's picture

Final Presentation: Forrest Gump, Lord Jim, and Even Natalie Portman's Shaved Head...

  In our final presentation we attempted to create a game that blended the concept of natural selection with the “natural selection” of literature or memetic phrases, movies, or music. We used spoons, forks, knives, cups, and coffee beans to conduct this activity. We dumped coffee beans onto the floor, and after we had given either a fork, spoon, or knife to each individual, we asked them to collect the coffee beans and put them into the cup. We expected that the spoons would be able to collect the most beans the most efficiently, then the forks, and lastly the knives. This was supposed to be a sort of metaphor for natural selection--the organisms (spoons, forks, and knives)  most suited to the environment, (or suited to do a certain task) would be the ones to “survive” to the next round. However, we kept randomness, chance, and variation in mind--midway through, we broke a few spoons (which symbolizes the idea that even if an organism is perfectly suited to its environment, there are, at times, outside forces that may hinder its ability to thrive [like a natural disaster, or introduction of an invasive, predator species]). In addition, though time did not allow us to demonstrate this extra feature, we drew tiny “x”’s on the back of a few knives. If a knife had an X and did not make it to the next round, the X would give them a second life to go into the next round. This was supposed to account for the many organisms who slip through the cracks--just because an organism is not suited perfectly to its environment, it doesn’t mean that it will go extinct right away. There is, perhaps, another reason why it continues to exist in an environment. This was also supposed to demonstrate that contrary to the popular opinion, evolution is not necessarily a “battlefield” or solely a mechanism of “survival of the fittest”. We hoped to relate this to the English aspect of evolution by writing down the names of popular books, sayings, and movies on the shaft of the culinary utensil. We wanted to show how certain books, memes, and movies appeal to audiences--how some are left in the dust (regardless of their content) and how some carry on through time and keep reappearing population after population in popularity. In the end, we wanted to group all the survivors together to show our class’ own “natural selection” and see what we would have ended up with.  

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