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The Purpose of the Science Fiction Novel

Sissinghurst Castle and Garden - As Beautiful Without as They Are Within!

Where fantasy goes into uncharted territory, the kind of story that could not exist, science fiction, a term made famous by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, goes into charted territory. Let's make sense of that last statement: Science fiction is based on truths, questions of reality, and questions of survival. Its purpose is to go where other fiction can not. Unlike horror, it tells something far more dangerous because it could happen. Unlike mystery, there is not always someone at the other end of the gun, maybe "something" instead. Like mainstream work, it proposes fascinating philosophies on mankind in the past, present, and future.

When reporters talked of space stations maybe they were onto something. When Star Trek characters could talk to each other on small, hand-held phones, most thought it was too good to be true. Now we have cell phones, computers that can talk, computers that can think in some ways, and a variety of other ideas that were often suggested in science fiction.

But the science fiction novel has its own place outside of the realm of Star Trek and Star Wars. For one, the legend must be created in words, not film or TV images. Second, the writers behind it are often as much philosophers as authors. Lastly, science fiction is its own frontier, a place for free thinking.

The thesis for all this would be that the science fiction novel engages a reader in a "This is how it could happen." The purpose is, as in all writing, to say something different. Long before "War of the Worlds" and even longer before Star Trek and Star Wars, people looked to the skies with hope, emboldening their legends with all kinds of flying creatures-angels, demons, sometimes aliens-who could do things they could not . That is exactly the purpose of the modern science fiction novel-it says we, the human race, can do something that right now we can not.

The final purpose of the science fiction novel is always to make a mark on society. Star Trek could only go so far. When one looks at a science fiction novel, however, sometimes it seemsingly is a race to the finish instead of a treat on life in the future. Something is always happening; it happens fast. Take Philip K. Dick, for example, who once wrote 11 novels in 2 years (he used various drugs, much like Hunter Thompson, to improve writing speed). However, there is nothing superficial about the science fiction novel. This is because even films have a hard time capturing the legion of ideas presented in the classics, like "The Man In the High Castle," Philip K. Dick's best novel. If any film does capture the purpose of science fiction, it's "Blade Runner," considered to be one of the best films of all time, based on the Philip K. Dick story "Do Andods Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Where it can be hard to pin down the modern science fiction novel, it can easily be seen that writing one can be a lucid ride into the unexplored. One of the best in recent memory is "Hyperion," a science fiction novel that won the famous Hugo award. Here, Simmons explored what is real, much like Philip K. Dick, and did it as though he was poet, forming a tale of seven pilgrims to a far away world, much like "The Canterbury Tales."

Some of the finest novels of the 20th century were labeled "junk" because they explored taboo subjects or had sexually revealing covers. Without the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and the hundreds of other talents, maybe there would have been no Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Galactica. Without the junk science fiction novel bought for a nickel in the 1940s and 50s maybe mankind would never have dreamed of stepping on the moon in the 1960s.

How to Share a Child Poem

Emotions In An Abstract 芳草碧連天 - Van Dusen 9583e

For a child, poems are very abstract. They do not have the flashy colors, vibrant energy or loud explosions of Saturday morning cartoons and display little of the exciting, adventurous tones of a particularly engaging comic book. However, to a child, poems that strike the right cord are not impossible to find. You just need to find the right child poem. A child poem is not very much unlike a normal poem. It is however, written and directed towards children, offering details that they would enjoy.

Poetry is a fickle art form with millions of examples; many of them brilliant, many of them awful, and a great deal of them quite dull or too complicated for a child. To strike the right note early on with a child, poems that are simple and interesting are vital. They also serve to create a growing interest in reading at a young age.

What to look for in a Child Poem

Children's poetry in the 20th century has a very unique flavor to it, having been developed and institutionalized by writers like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. However, they were not the first to write child poems and should not be the last place a parent looks when trying to find the perfect one. With that in mind, what exactly should those parents look for?

A child poem should be lighthearted

A compelling storyline is also a great selling point for a child poem.

Abstract emotion and metaphor will bore a child.

Child Poems should not create unwanted situations with awkward, touchy subjects.

A child poem should be written to entertain, not solely teach. A good combination is always good though.

Who to turn to for Child Poem

Many of the great writers of children's literature also wrote poetry during their lives. Lewis Carroll is a great example. Famous for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Carroll's poetry is equally as compelling. Jabberwocky is a great, funny nonsense child poem from those books:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch! "

Rudyard Kipling also wrote his fair share of poetry alongside his novels. Famous for his work on The Jungle Book among many other adventurous children's stories, Kipling wrote poems like Gunga Din, long story driven pieces that were both funny and compelling for young children.

Louisa May Alcott, the famous author of Little Women and Little Men and an almost essential writer in the canon of American literature wrote her own share of goofy child poems as well. Poems such as "The Rock and the Bubble" and "A Song from the Suds" are funny, entertaining distractions for children. Her poems especially strike at the curiosity of a child, the most important target for any literary work, lest that child grows bored too quickly

Rashaad Penny Should Be an NFL First Round Draft Pick

I want to be...

I recently researched the NFL draft prospects of San Diego State senior running back Rashaad Penny and was shocked by what I found. One writer thought Penny might be a fifth round pick or lower and criticized his speed and power. Others called him a “fringe player” at best. I watched Penny both last year and this year and I also had season tickets during Marshall Faulk’s three seasons at SDSU. They were both great college running backs, but Faulk was a number two overall NFL draft pick and had a Hall of Fame NFL career. Many people don’t think Penny is in the same conversation as Faulk, but Penny has accomplished some things during his college career that Faulk never did. To make my point that Penny should be a number one pick, let me first recount his accomplishments in college to make my case.

To begin with, Penny was NOT a starting running back until his senior season. That may seem like a knock, but the reason why is because the Aztecs number one back for several seasons was the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, Donnel Pumphrey. Despite that fact that he was the backup runner to Pumphrey in 2016, Penny still gained over 1,000 rushing while Pumphrey gained over 2,000 yards. No NCAA team had ever had both a 2,000 and 1,000 yard rusher on the same team before. Then this season the Aztecs became the only team to have to have two consecutive 2,000 rushing performances by two different players when Penny rushed for 2,295 yards. In his senior year Penny led the nation in rushing, total yards (2,974), and came in second in touchdowns (28). He won multiple honors for Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week as well as Special Teams POW. More honors have rolled in as he has been named to several All-American teams. Anyone can argue that Penny is not a great running back and I would go toe-to-toe with someone on that. However, if you try to argue that he’s not a great returner, don’t even start. Currently Penny is the co-holder for the most kickoff returns for a touchdown in NCAA history. He has seven overall (two this season) and the first time his head coach, Rocky Long, decided to use him as a punt returner Penny took that one to the house. Twice during his senior season Penny had a game when he scored three different ways. From short distance or 100 yards away, Penny finds a way to get into the end zone.

Penny’s last game in an Aztecs uniform came in the Armed Forces Bowl and he didn’t disappoint. Despite the fact that Army’s national leading running attack chewed up most of the clock, Penny made the most of his few chances. On his first official carry of the game he went 81 yards for a touchdown. After seven touches he broke that bowl game’s rushing record. After ten touches he surpassed over 200 yards rushing for the fifth straight time. On his 14th carry he collected his fourth touchdown of the game. However, one of his best plays was when he didn’t even touch the ball. On a short kickoff Penny’s teammate, Juwan Washington, was returning the kick when Penny flattened one of the Army’s finest with a devastating block. He continued to block another cadet into the end zone as Washington scored. Yeah, he can block.

Did I mention that he also caught two passes for TDs as well? Penny may not be ambidextrous, he just looks like it. In the game against Nevada he took a pitch going to his left, stopped, and started to throw a pass left-handed. The receiver was covered so he decided to run instead (for a TD). In the game against Air Force he was running a crossing route from left to right when his quarterback threw the ball high and behind Penny. He just reached back with his right hand and snared the ball one-handed. Yeah, he has great hands.

I wondered what the knock on Penny was and why he was projected to go so low in the draft. One evaluation didn’t even have him in the top 20 rated backs in college. The argument that most would present is competition. The Mountain West Conference had some teams that were terrible at stopping the run. Penny did play against two PAC-12 teams this season and had over 100 yards against both Arizona State and Stanford. However, in both Aztec losses this season Penny failed to rush for over 100 yards. The two sub-par performances were due to poor blocking as there was also bad pass protection in those games as well. In fact, the Aztecs offensive line was young and inexperienced as only one senior was a starter and he missed several games with an injury. I think that it’s actually a tribute to Penny that he gained over 2,000 yards with such an inexperienced line. One other thing: There were several games when Penny was pulled in the third or fourth quarter because the Aztecs were so far ahead. Coach Long doesn’t care about stats during the games. He just wants to win and keep his number one back fresh for the next game. An example would be the San Jose State game when the Aztecs rushed for over 500 yards as a team. Penny only touched the ball once in the second half, which resulted in a long touchdown run that put him over the 200 yard mark. By that time the Aztecs were ahead by 35 points so there was no need to use Penny any more. If he had got the majority of carries in the second half, he might have rushed for 300, maybe 400 yards or more, and got more Heisman attention.

Now to address some other criticisms of Penny: Speed and power. There have been several times this season when Penny broke into the clear and it was a footrace between him and some defensive back. No matter what kind of angle the defender took, Penny outran him to the end zone. During the entire season Penny was only caught from behind once on an ankle tackle in the last game of the regular season. On one kickoff return I thought he would pause and pick up the blocker that was in front of him, but he simply ran by him and the defenders who were nearby. As for Penny power, after some encouragement from his coaches, Penny started turning opposing players into pancakes as well as dragging a linebacker about ten yards on one play. He’s a bull who can fly and that’s a rare combo.

One of the main reasons I think Penny should be a number one pick is that he answers two needs at the same time. Any team that needs a running back and a kickoff returner can get a two-for-one deal and that makes him extremely valuable. Kick returning seems to be a lost art in the NFL as most teams struggle to get returns to the 25 yard line. Penny could change all that for some team next season.

I’ve seen a lot of football in my time and I’ve seen some great backs. I’ve seen LT play for the Chargers. I’ve seen Faulk play for the Aztecs. Penny is as good as those guys and may even be better because he returns kicks and they didn’t. Anyone who saw Penny’s performance against Nevada this season should be convinced of Penny’s potential greatness and how special he is. In that game he had a 70 yard TD run called back for a penalty. Even without that run Penny finished with over 200 yards rushing, over 400 total yards, two TDs on kick returns and four TDs overall. If Penny isn’t a first round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, then some team is going to get an absolute steal when they draft him. If he’s lucky enough to play for a team with a good offensive line, he could become the NFL’s next offensive rookie of the year.

Renaissance and Neoclassical Historical Arts

Something sweet

Renaissance is a cultural movement that started in Europe during the early 14th to 17th century or a period between the Classical and Modern era. More than its cultural essence, the Renaissance period was known for its developments in art, painting, philosophy, architecture and other intellectual aspects. It was an era that witnessed the largest growth and development in Western Europe.

A1. Renaissance art took its shape from the social conditions that existed at that time that carved Europe’s political structure. The cultural rarity of Italy existed, as there was no political form during the early modern period that resulted in artistic and academic advancements. This freedom opened gateways to trade and commerce across the globe that brought wealth in Italy through commissioning its artistic work.

Renaissance artists looked for human emotions and realism in art. They focused on making human portrays with a natural background. They took the Humanism approach, placing more emphasis on man than god, which was reflected in their sculptures and paintings. The Early Renaissance period focused more on creating sculptures on the basis of personality and behavior, whereas the High Renaissance was more towards balance and drama. Renaissance artists were greatly inspired by Roman and Greek art that used nude human bodies of personality in their art. Their attempt to gain perfection in human arts for expression, personality, and emotions reduced social hierarchies in the status of people resulting in everybody wanting to learn and share their ideas and skills.

A2. Neoclassicism was a predominant movement during the mid 18th century and the late 19th century in European art and architecture. It focused on the western classical art forms of ancient Greece and Rome. It was partly a movement that had initiated as a reaction to the Baroque and Rococo styles. It became a predominant part of academic art that continued into the 19th century to become visible as museums of neoclassical architecture.

Neoclassical art aimed in reviving the European Age of Enlightenment that was the Greek and Roman classical art forms. It aimed to contain the ‘purity’ of Roman arts and criticized Baroque and Rococo styles. Neoclassicism gained importance in France and England spreading towards Sweden. It made use of the classical essence relating to courage and nationalism.

Neoclassicism aimed to resurge classical styles through usage of sharp colors and classical subjects. They avoided light and soft colors in their paintings that depicted calmness and grandeur. Neoclassicists revived the Greek painting styles by using mosaics, columns, engravings and other ornamental elements in their work.

A3. Renaissance signified the rebirth of arts, science, and medicine and was an era that was responsible for most radical developments and movements in Europe. So much so, that it is also used to describe other major cultural and historical moments. Classical Renaissance gave birth to the Baroque style that was more dramatic and direct. Therefore Neoclassicism was nothing but a reaction to the Baroque style so as to preserve the purity of ancient Roman arts. Moreover, neoclassicism remained one of the foremost in academic arts.

A3a.

  • Renaissance period was known for its Humanist approach in art while neoclassical art focused on more classical and pure elements of style;
  • The Renaissance period brought about radical developments in arts, philosophy, and medicine while neoclassical art was foremost in academic arts;
  • Renaissance artists believed in more natural and expressive nude sculptures of art while neoclassical artists incorporated ornamental elements in their work;
  • The Renaissance period opened gateways to new ideas and developments, while the neoclassicism period focused on retaining the Age of Enlightenment.

A3b. The Renaissance era was one of the most influential and flourishing period during the 15th and 16th centuries and gave birth to major cultural developments for almost three centuries. Renaissance art was born out of an evolving civilization whose quest for Realism and scientific perfection resulted in some of the greatest works and achievement in arts, science, architecture, and philosophy. The distinguishing feature of Renaissance art is its dedication to classical arts with a renewed interest in Roman styles that included naked human sculptures with no landscapes in a natural environment. It was an important era that brought wealth to Europe and its artistic freedom enabled skilled artisans to flourish.

A3b1. Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance period. Also known as the ‘Renaissance Man’, was born in Italy and was a renowned painter who became a polymath in many fields such as music, science, mathematics, and botany. He is considered as one of the greatest diversely talented persons to have lived. Mona Lisa is one of the most renowned works of his time that was greatly appreciated. The Mona Lisa is a 16th century half-length portrait that was made in oil and of a seated woman.

Andrea Appiani (1754-1817) Born in Milan, was an Italian neoclassical painter. He trained under Carlo Maria Giudici and learnt painting by copying sculptures. His best works are in the church of San Maria presso San Celso and the royal palace at Milan. Among some of his works of oil paintings are Venus and Love, and Rinaldo in the garden of Armida.

A3b2. Madame Hamelin (1776-1851) was one of the neoclassical painter Andrea Appiani’s work that bears a similar resemblance to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monal Lisa. Both are half-length oil portraits of women who are half-seated that reflects the natural facial expressions wherein their hands are folders bearing similar artistic values and styles to one another.

A3c. Neoclassicism reached its most influential period in arts during the 1780s to 1850s. New archeological discoveries and settings paved the way for classical themes that also resulted from the reaction of the Rococo styles. Neoclassicism retained its classical antiquity and co-existed with its much opposite form of Romanticism art. Artists of the neoclassical era replaced religious and mythological objects with realistic, simple, and bold ones. IN the 1830s, the Neoclassicism era was replaced by Romanticism.