Awesome!!!!

SciFi4Me.com

Back in May of 1977 I was just finishing high school and not yet eighteen. Punk music was all the rage, a gallon of gas cost 65 cents, and virtually no one had heard of Apple Computer because it hadn’t even been incorporated yet.

[Featured image: 501st Midwest Garrison]

On that hot, muggy Memorial Day weekend, I talked my sister into seeing the new flick opening at our local movie house around the corner. Some quirky little space opera that I’d heard a few interesting rumors about was playing there. For about two dollars each (plus popcorn) we settled into our non-reclining, non-cupholder-enhanced wooden movie seats and waited for the lights to dim.

When “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” appeared in blue on the black screen and a rousing brass fanfare heralded the title, followed by a text crawl in the style of some…

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By alco67

Teachers are no longer the so called “Gate-Keepers” of knowledge as they once were. As the overwhelming amount of knowledge explodes exponentially let’s teach our kids obviously how to locate information but better yet, how to synthesize, utilize and make it relevant in their every day lives.. The old “School House” is long dead and gone….let’s leave the 1940’s and join the 21st Century..

What's Not Wrong?

Academic cheating is not my favorite topic to think, talk, or write about. Too negative. But when cheating surfaces in our schools and classrooms, we’re better off if we know how to approach it and respond.

This blog post was jump-started by a Chicago Tribune article today that quoted my distaste for sites like Turnitin.com, so I’ll begin there. I’m not a big believer in Turnitin.com – a subscription web site that some schools use to prevent plagiarism. Schools that use Turnitin.com require students to upload their work to the site before submitting it to the teacher with a “receipt” indicating that it has cleared Turnitin.com’s plagiarism detectors.

Why should we base our schools’ cheating policies on such a presumption of guilt? When we use procedures to prevent cheating that impact non-cheaters, we contaminate their attitudes toward learning. Schools requiring students to submit their work to Turnitin.com before it will be accepted by a…

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By alco67

dailydouq

With the success of Curiosity everyone is calling for manned missions to Mars by 2030, but I take the opposite view – let’s do more sophisticated robot missions. Is having some people walk around the most ambitious thing we can do? Or is having a really powerful AI robot explore for us the most ambitious and most useful? Which will have the most bang for the buck here on Earth?

Space missions are expensive and there is no money, in our now diminished and small-minded politics, to pay for them. Right now in the glow of the success of Curiosity many are pointing out how these accomplishment “inspire” us (and they do) but it’s unlikely we’ll tax the rich just for some inspiration, esp. when science is under attack today by religion. Those who try to justify the missions from a practical POV always bring up “spinoffs”, IOW, spending 2.5B$…

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By alco67

The Faustian Apprentice

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With all the pollution, haze from chemtrails, and reflected light from our cities, we often fail to recognize the real significance of the SIZE of our VISIBLE universe (it is well possible that there is more out there, and that light has not yet reached us, 13.7 Billion Light Years away!).  Instead, we are left, often with barely a handful of stars and planets that are visible in the night sky.

Seeing only these, it becomes very easy to imagine ourselves the chosen creation of whatever god you wish to call upon.  It becomes easy to think ourselves unique and somehow important, relative to all we see around us.  We say to ourselves, “Behold my divine heritage!  I am to have dominion over all things of the earth!”  And as we run rampant, harvesting, extracting, and destroying, we content ourselves in the thought that somehow, all this will be magically…

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By alco67

The Other Side of 55

Mount EverestIn mid-May, a 33-year-old Canadian woman – Shriya Shah-Klorfine – died on the side of Mount Everest.  She had reached the summit two days earlier, but succumbed – along with three other climbers – to ‘exhaustion and altitude sickness’ during the descent.  Since the first expedition up Everest in 1922, a total of 210 people have died there.  I am sure people have perished in attempts to climb other mountains as well, but thousands more reach their snowy peaks and live to tell the tale (and/or go on to scale others).  So – why do they do it? Apparently Shriya Shah-Klorfine had flown over Mount Everest in a helicopter when she was nine years old, and had dreamed of climbing it ever since.   It’s certainly not something I’d ever consider doing, but to each his (or her) own, I suppose.

The Incredible Hulk Roller CoasterPeople undertake activities like climbing mountains, jumping out of…

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By alco67

Toward Beginner's Mind

This is late summer. The squash plants are still blooming but they are also bearing fruit. Their huge leaves conceal sunshine colored flowers beneath their shade and soft ripening bodies of edible delight. The choke cherry tree on the west edge of my property is weighted down with dark red berries. In the early morning, I try to get there before the birds. But the truth is that after spending hours reaching up for them, I can easily justify leaving their mouths with a feast. After all, my brain echoes, there is a drought.

And then another mantra begins: the weather is changing. The weather is changing. The weather is always changing right? I mean, that’s why they say what they say about the weather. It changes, right. But now the changes are beyond the swing and sway of the seasons. In last month’s National Geographic another article about…

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By alco67

Michael Sean Gallagher

Apparently, I wasn’t quite done with the Cloud Atlas inspiration of my last post. In continuing with that post on science fiction making the future permissible in our conscious thought, I might consider another element of science fiction and art depicting the future, that of a reliance on structure. I have noticed that much modern science fiction (visualized in film or art) or any depiction of the future tends to rely on architectural structure to project the ‘future-ness’ of the composition. In short, we imagine the future and the first thing we imagine is the architectural structure of that future. The geography of our future societies is perhaps more readily visible than the future interaction and composition of those societies.

I don’t want to make the case that this is due to a lack of imagination to our artists in regards to the future. I am intentionally isolating the…

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By alco67

Hollywood Fix!

In 1952, the House of Un-American Activities Committee (which led investigations into possible pro-Communist propaganda in Hollywood) called director Elia Kazan to provide the names of people that were in the Communist party.  After initially refusing to give up any names, he relented and named eight former members of the Group Theater.  Afterwards, Kazan lost a lot of friends in the film industry.

So where does On the Waterfront come into all of this?  Some people believe that this film was Elia Kazan’s apology, or his excuse, to Hollywood for his actions in the HUAC scandal.  Whatever your opinion of Kazan is, there’s no denying that he gave us some great films (East of Eden, A Streetcar Named Desire).  And On the Waterfront is absolutely one the best movies I have ever seen in my life.

Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is an ex-prize fighter who finds himself…

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By alco67