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All These Worlds Are Yours – The Appeal of Science Fiction

Puerta en Macharaviaya (Málaga)

I've been fascinated with science fiction stories for as long as I can remember, though, I must confess, I never thought of science fiction as being mainstream literature. I, like many readers, pursed science fiction as a form of escapism, a way to keep up with speculation on recent scientific discoveries, or just a way to pass the time.

It was not until I met with my thesis adviser to celebrate the approval of my paper that I had to think about science fiction in a new light. My adviser works for a large, well-known literary foundation that is considered to be very "canonical" in its tastes. When he asked me if I liked science fiction, and if I would be willing to select about one hundred stories for possible inclusion in an anthology that they were thinking about producing, I was somewhat surprised. When he told me it might lead to a paying gig, I became even more astounded. I went home that afternoon feeling very content: my paper had been approved, and I might get a paying job to select science fiction, of all things.

Then it hit me: I'd actually have to seriously think about some sort of a method to select from the thousands of science fiction short stories that had been written in the past century. When I considered that the ideals of the foundation would have to be reflected in the stories which I selected, something near panic set in: science fiction was not part of the "cannon."

"While I pondered weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore," I reached a decision: I'd first try to figure out what science fiction "was," and then I'd develop a set of themes that related to the essence of science fiction. So, armed with this battle plan, I proceeded to read what several famous authors had to say about science fiction. This seemed simple enough, until I discovered that no two authors thought science fiction meant quite the same thing. Oh, great, thought I: "nevermore." (Sorry, Edgar, I could not resist).

Having failed to discover the essence of science fiction, I selected four authors which work I liked to try to determine what they contributed to the art of science fiction. The authors were: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card, and Arthur C Clarke. At the time, I did not realize that two of the authors, Asimov and Clarke were considered "hard" science fiction writers, and the other two, Silverberg and Card, were considered "soft" science fiction writers.

So, you might ask: what is the difference between "hard" and "soft" science fiction. I'm glad you asked, else I would have to stop writing right about now. "Hard" science fiction is concerned with an understanding of quantum sciences, such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc. "Soft" science fiction is often associated with the humanities or social sciences, such as sociology, psychology or economics. Of course, some writers blend "hard" and "soft" science fiction into their work, as Asimov did in the Foundation trilogy.

So, having selected the authors, I was ready to proceed to my next challenge, which you can read about in the next installation of the series. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part II

In the first part of the series, I mentioned that I was given an assignment to select approximately one hundred science fiction short stories for inclusion in an anthology that was being considered by a literary foundation. Originally, I'd intended to find the "essence" of science fiction, and then select stories that reflected this essence. Unfortunately, this turned out to be nearly impossible, since different authors had different ideas about what constituted science fiction.

So, I took the easy way out, I selected four authors which works appealed to me, and hoped that I could make selection based on my familiarity with their works. My selection process rejected in four authors who have been writing science fiction for thirty years or more: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card, and Arthur C Clarke. As it turned out, two authors were considered "hard" science fiction writers, and two were considered "soft" science fiction writers.

Well, I finally had a plan. And then the wheels fell off. I still needed some sort of selection criteria, or I had to develop one as I read. So, I did what anyone in my place would have done. I started reading. I read, and read some more, and then … I read some more. Over three thousand pages and three hundred short stories, in fact. I was almost ready to make a stab at a selection process; almost, but not quite.

What, three thousand pages, and still can not figure out how to start? How could this be? Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little bit. I started to break the stories up into groupings around general themes-it helps when I organize things into groups, so I can apply some sort of selection criteria for seemingly unreferenced data points (who says that thirty years in business does not have its rewards )? Gradually, I began grouping the stories into several broad headings: scientific discoveries; life-forms (which included aliens, man-made life and artificial life); the search for meaning (which includes the search for God or the gods); the death of a group of men, a nation, race, or system; the meaning of morality.

Now I admit, these groupings may be arbitrary, and may in fact reflect my perspective on things, but I had to start somewhere. The strange thing was that these grouping tended to repeat, no matter who the author was. When I think about it, these same types of concerns are mirrored in the more "canonical" texts that are taught in school. So, what makes science fiction different from the mainstream texts in colleges and universities across the country?

Once again, I'm glad you asked that, because it is a perfect lead-in to the next part of the series. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part III

I guess that the main difference between science fiction and the more acceptable or "canonical" type of fiction must arise either from the themes employed, or the subject matter. In part two of this series, I mentioned that the themes employed by science fiction, namely: the search for life, identity, the gods, and morality are similar to those themes employed in "canonical" literature. By the process of subtraction, that leaves subject matter as the primary difference between the two genres.

So, by subject matter, we must mean science, since we've already covered fiction ("when you has eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth," as Sherlock Holmes would say). So, we must infer that science is the factor which differentiates science fiction from traditional fiction. By this definition, several traditional pieces of fiction must be considered science fiction. As an example, The Tempest, by William Shakespeare has often been cited as a type of science fiction if we expand the category to include those works that incorporated current science into their works. But wait, you say, The Tempest does not incorporate science into its construction. Oh really, I reply, the English were just beginning to settle the New World in earnest when the play was written ("Oh, brave new world that has such people in't.") more fantasy than science fiction. Splitting hairs, I reply.

What then of John Milton, I ask? John Milton … why, he's so boring and well, unread these days, you reply. Of course he is, but that's beside the point. What about Paradise Lost, I rejoin? What about it, you reply (and then in a very low voice … I've never read it). The scene where Satan leaves hell and takes a cosmic tour before alighting on Earth and Paradise has been described by many critics as being the first instance of an author providing a cosmological view of the heavens. In fact, Milton schools point to the fact that Milton, in the Aereopagitica claims to have visited Galileo Galilei at his home in Italy. These same critics also refer to the fact that Milton taught his nephews astronomy, using several texts that were considered progressive in their day. Still, most critics would fall on their pens (swords being so messy and difficult to come by these days), rather than admit to Paradise Lost being … gasp, science fiction.

Still not convinced; what do you say about Frankenstein? You say it made for several interesting movies, but really, the creature was overdone; bad make-up and all that. I reply: the make-up is irrelevant; for that matter, so are many of the films, which do not do justice to Mary Shelley's novel. She did not even write the novel, you reply. Oh no, not another apologist for Percy Bysshe Shelley writing the novel. Let me state uniquivocally that I do not care whether Mary or Percy wrote the novel: it is often cited as the first instance of science fiction. But where is the science, you ask: it is only alluded-to. That's' why it's also fiction, I retort.

So, where are we? I think we've managed to muddle the waters somewhere. It appears that the element of science is needed for science fiction, but the precedents for science being contained in a fictional work, are somewhat troubling. Perhaps in the next section, we should examine "modern" science fiction and try to determine how science plays a part in works of the twenty and twenty-first centuries.

"All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part IV

Up till now, we've defined science fiction as part science, and part fiction. No real revolutionary concept there. I've tried to show how earlier works could have considered science fiction, with mixed results. I've also said that works of the twenty century would be easier to classify as science fiction, because they incorporated more elements of leading-edge science into their writing.

To use two brief examples, the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov is often considered a "soft" science fiction work, relying more on the social sciences than the physical sciences in the plot line. In the story, Asimov posits the creation of a foundation that relationships on psychohistory, a kind of melding of group psychology and economics that is useful in predicting and extremely molding, human behavior. Anyone who has been following the stock and financial markets over the past year can attest to the element of herd mentality which permeates any large scale human interaction. The theme of shaping human dynamics through psychohistory, while somewhat far-fetched is not beyond the realm of possibility (and would, no doubt, be welcomed by market bulls right about now).

A second example from Asimov, that of the three laws of robotics, has taken on a life of its own. Asimov began developing the laws of robotics to explain how a robot might work. The three laws were postulated as a mechanism to protect humans and robots. He did not expect the laws to become so ingrained into the literature on robots; in fact, the laws have become something of a de facto standard in any story or novel written about artificial life, as Asimov has noted in several essays.

The case of Asimov's three laws of robotics influencing other writers is not unusual. In the case of Arthur C. Clarke, his influence is felt beyond writing and extends to science as well. Clarke is the person responsible for postulating the use of geo-synchronous orbit for satellites, and the makers of weather, communications, entertainment and spy satellites owe him a debt of gratitude for developing this theory. He anticipated the manned landing on the moon, and many discoveries made on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and their many moons.

Consider also, Orson Scott Card, which novel speaker for the Dead, postulates a world-wide communication network that is uncannily similar to the world-wide-web and predated the commercial internet by some fifteen to twenty years.

It appears then, that science fiction writers popularize science, provide their readers with a glimpse of the possibilities of newventions and theories, and sometimes, anticipate or even discover new uses for technology. But there's still an element missing in our definition of science fiction, that of the fiction side of the equation. We'll explore the fiction side of science fiction in the next installation. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part V

Good literature requires a successful plot, character development, and an emotional appeal in order to be successful. Science fiction is no different than traditional forms of fiction in this regard. We've talked about plot and content (science) in early installations. In this installation, I'd like to talk about the emotional reactions generated by science fiction.

Broadly speaking, I think science fiction appeals to the following emotional responses: terrorism, the joy of discovery, awe and wonder, a lassitude born of too many space flights or too many worlds, and a sense of accomplishment. The instances of terror in science fiction are well documented: for anyone who has seen Alien for the first time, terrorism is a very real emotion. Many science fiction and horror writers as well, make good use of the emotion of terror. An effective use of terror is important, however. Slasher movies use terror, but they sometimes degenerate into an almost parodic exercise of who can generate the most gore per minute. True terror is a case of timing and the unexpected. That's why Arthur C Clarke's story entitled "A Walk in the Dark" is so effective. The author sets-up the BEM (bug-eyed monster, from Orson Scott Card) as a pursuing agent; the protagonist has no idea that the monster will actually wind-up in front of him.

As to the joy of discovery, this emotion can work in reverse. In Orson Scott Card's brilliant short story and novel, Ender's Game, the child protagonist learns that the war games he was practicing for were actually the real thing. His surprise, remorse and confusion have sustained effects on his psyche, and set the stage for his attempts later in life to attain some sort of recompense for the race which he and his cohorts destroyed.

Robert Silverberg's works evoke a feeling of dj-vu, a sense of being on too many worlds or too many travels; a moral ennui not found in many writers. Yet somehow, he transcends this eternal boredom to reveal with startingling clarity that something lies beyond; if only aought after end.

Perhaps no other science fiction author offers a sense of wonder and discovery, a sense of joy de vivre, as does Arthur C Clarke. In story after story, Clarke expounds on new worlds, new discoveries, new possibilities ("all these worlds are yours …"). His love of the cosmos is rooted in his love of astronomy and physics, and is bundled together with a love of mannish that makes his work so inspiring and evergreen.

But what of our final category, that of a sense of accomplishment? Each of these writers talks in some way to the human experience. In bridging the worlds of science and fiction, in writing to our fears, hopes, joys and sorrows, each of these authors stakes a claim to be included among the list of canonical authors. In "Nightfall," Arthur C Clarke writes the effects of an atomic war, and thinks back to an earlier time. He is staking his claim to posterity when he writes:

Good freed for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To dig the dvst enclosed heare

Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.

Undisturbed through all eternity the poet could sleep in safety now: in the silence and darkness above his head, the Avon was seeking its new outlet to the sea.

For Sir Arthur was paying his respects to the Bard, and claiming his place in the pantheon of the great English writers.

Dan Brown's Angels and Demons – A True Masterpiece

The Windmills Of La Mancha (Explored)

Like most people, I did not read Angels and Demons until after I read The DaVinci Code. Blown away by The DaVinci Code, I gave Angels and Demons a try. Dan Brown, yet again, weaved a complicated web of plot, character, murder and suspense, keeping the ending unknown until the very last page.

Angels and Demons starts out with the beloved scholar / symbologist Robert Langdon, who is awoken by a phone call early in the morning. After a disturbing fax that reveals a mutilated human body, Robert sets off on a high intensity journey in hopes of stopping a murderous cult.

I would highly recommend any of Dan Brown's books, but especially Angels and Demons. A word of warning: if you are not 100% set in your faith, do not read this book. Just like The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons cause controversies with its inclusion of the Catholic Church and religious myths. It was this controversy that initially caused me to buy his books. I am someone who is deeply sure of my faith, and because of this assurance, I did not second guess my beliefs for a work of fiction.

Part of this controversy is from people who are worried that these books will have other people deny their faith because they have another point of view containing unanswered questions. In my personal opinion, if reading any work of fiction is going to cause you to question your beliefs and faith, you really did not have faith to begin with.

Online Writing Contest – Competition Tips – How to Win Every Contest You Enter

sulle tracce di Hemingway

So you’ve stumbled across an online writing competition / contest, or perhaps your favourite brand of cereal is offering you a chance to win a holiday around the world. All you have to do is tell them in 25 words or less why you want it. And you want to win, right?

Well believe it or not there are a small number of easy steps you can take to dramatically increase the odds in your favor. And here they are, free of charge just because I’m such a nice guy…

No Sob Stories!

This tip goes first on the list, because it is the most important. For some reason the first thing that seems to come to people’s minds with these contests and competitions is “how can I get them to pity me?” It sounds like a great plan as an entrant, but speaking from personal experience as a judge in these contests, I can tell you that it’s a complete turnoff.

Nonetheless people will try ever trick in the book…

We can’t pay the rent… our house burnt down… everybody in my family has cancer… I need 16 operations so that my dog stops being depressed and I can have my leg re-attached then pay the rent and burn the house down… well you get the point.

Let me make it very clear – this tactic does not work, even if you are telling the truth, because:

1. Judges can’t verify your claims, so anyone can make up any story they like.

2. After a while these entries become so numerous and laborious that they don’t stand out.

All that you will do is send the judge into a depression spiral. More to the point, you will end up highlighting your competitors’ entries because theirs are more enjoyable to read.

Be Creative and Make it Fun to Read

Depending on the number of entrants, judges can often have a lot of text to read. As their head slumps closer and closer to the desk and the coffee starts to wear off, your entry is going to need to have something special about it to get noticed. The best thing you can do is get creative. And I mean really thinking outside of the box (if you are thinking poetry right now, you are not thinking hard enough).

My advice to you here is simple. If you come up with something different and make it really stand out, and MAKE IT FUNNY, you will win. When I hear a fellow judge burst out into laughter at his or her desk, 9 times out of 10 he or she is reading the winner. I can usually even tell which entry they are reading because I had the same reaction when I first read it.

If you can manufacture a reaction like this, chances are you are on a winner. I suggest using your friends and family as test dummies here. If they end up in a ball rolling around the floor you’ve done your job. If the best you get is “not bad”, “(chuckle) very good” or even “looks good to me”, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Now that’s not to say every winner will be comical or humorous, but your entry needs to stand out as somehow being impressive or interesting.

Stick to the Rules and Stay on Topic

If I had a penny for every time a “words or less” entry broke the rules, I would currently be Bahamas and you would be on your own with this one. Take the time to read the rules, terms and conditions before entering. And if you are provided with a quick-start guide to entering a competition, read it over at least 3 times and make sure you take the advice onboard.

In general, you should always:

· Stay within the word limit

· Write in direct response to the competition’s question or topic (really important!)

· Avoid coarse language

· Submit your entry in the language requested

Short, Sharp, Shiny

Just because you are allowed to use 25 words doesn’t mean you should. If your entry says what you want it to say, don’t fill up the rest of your word limit by repeating yourself or adding useless details. All you end up doing is diluting your message.

Polish It!

So it took you 5 minutes (or maybe 2 days) to create your entry. Would another 5 minutes of proofreading kill you? No, of course not, but it will definitely help you win. Check your grammar, check your punctuation, check your capitalization and check your spelling. Presentation makes your entry easier to read, and will greatly improve your chances.

Submit It

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how many times have you seen a competition you would like to enter, only to let the due date slip by? As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. And if you use the advice I’ve just given you, your chances of coming out on top will greatly improve.

So what are you waiting for?

Famous Interior Designers Series – Tara Bernard


British architect Tara Bernard is one of the famous award winning interior designers. She specializes in creating excellent interior decors individually to varying requirements of clients. Tara Bernard was the daughter of a British real estate magnate and was married to James Archer, the son of writer and politician Jeffrey Archer. Tara Bernard's design concepts involve a mix of the new and age-old traditions in interior decoration and design.

Bernard strictly adopts a professional approach in all her interior décor appointments. This involves her deep understanding of the expectations of various clients. Once Bernard gets a clear view of her customer's needs, she can provide them with various décor options, some of them being quite unimaginable to her clients. She specializes in providing interior designs suited to the different situations and varying budgets of the customer.

Tara Bernard's style also incorporates effective space management in homes, combined with better designs, and this successful combination ensures that every project undertaken by Bernard helps in enabling homes to sport a refreshingly good look. She often tallies the cost of various materials used in interiors to ensure that the project always stays within the proposed budgets.

In order to give clients an idea of ​​various design methodologies, Tara Bernard often appears in various television shows and gives her viewers a thorough explanation of the steps involved in her design processes. She made her debut in television with the design show named Wow Factor (UKTV Style). In her shows, Bernard gives her users simple steps and hints that they can work out for decorating their own interiors. She is known for giving her clients the chance to openly express their ideas and tastes.

In interior design projects, the initial routine adopted by her is on reaching a consensus on the model of design to be implemented. For this, Tara Bernard gives the opportunity for her clients to have a healthy involvement during the planning process itself so that on seeing the final design, her clients are often satisfied and always give positive reviews. Once Bernard and her design team got stuck on implementing a specific design, the work begins with the construction team laying floors and painting walls. Then the second stage involves finding the fitted furniture, fixtures and finishing pieces for the interior to transform it to a vivid atmosphere. Her unique style also allows homeowners to accompany her on shopping sprees in order to find the matching interior product for the design of their interiors. The excitation her clients receive from her contemporary style of design is often very high.

Basic Elements of Technical Writing

Marquis de Sade – The Sadist (1740–1814)

Technical writing is a specialised form of writing.

Its goal is to help readers use a technology or to understand a process, product or concept. Often these processes, products or concepts are complex, but need to be expressed in a much simpler, reader-friendly form.

So within the technical writing genre, you will find: technical reports, installation and maintenance manuals, proposals, white papers, on-line help, process standards, work instructions and procedures.

While each discipline has its specific requirements, some basic elements are common. But before looking at those, the most important thing a technical writer must consider is the audience.


  • How familiar are readers with the subject and with the specialised terms and abbreviations you need to use?
  • What is the best way to explain those terms or shortened forms – footnotes, endnotes, glossary, table of abbreviations, appendix, links?
  • Do you need to accommodate secondary readers (e.g. the manager or financier who will make the decision about the proposal), and how will you do that?

Now for those all-important elements:

  1. Clarity – The logical flow of the document will help readers understand the content. It can be useful to ask someone who is not familiar with the topic to review your writing before you finalise it. Using headings, illustrations, graphs or tables can be useful – your aim is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to understand what you’ve written. Consider how the way the text sits on the page or screen – another clue to maximising clarity for your readers.
  2. Accuracy – The information and the interpretation of data that you present must be accurate. If it’s not, your readers will question the credibility of the content. Be careful to clearly differentiate between fact and opinion, and to accurately cite references to other works.
  3. Brevity – Strive to find the balance between the amount of information presented and the time needed to read the document. Remember that you can use an appendix or link to provide supplementary or background information. Consider using an illustration, table or graph rather than words to explain a concept – but remember, if you use a ‘visual’, don’t give a long written explanation.
  4. Sentence length – Generally, complex or unfamiliar concepts are best presented in shorter sentences. This will give readers time to digest small pieces of information before moving on to the next. While this can be difficult to achieve, try to aim for approximately 25 words per sentence. If you find you’ve written a series of long sentences, look for ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘however’ and similar words where you can break the sentence.
  5. Paragraphs – The age-old rule about one topic per paragraph is a useful guide. That doesn’t mean that you can have only one paragraph for each topic, but it does mean that having only one topic in each paragraph makes for clear, logical writing.
  6. Reader-centricity – You are writing for your readers. Make it as easy as possible for them to understand your work.

Keep these basic elements and other principles in mind as you undertake your technical writing tasks.

Rare Phobias: Feet Phobia – Fear of Bare Feet


Are you one of these people that nervously step in shoe shops? Can`t you bare the sight, feel or sound of your or somebody else`s feet? If your answer to one of these questions is `yes` you might be suffering from feet phobia, known as podophobia.

Feet phobia is one of the rarest phobias as only 1 in 1000 people has it. However, it could impact your life in quite surprising ways that many without this phobia may not have considered.

To give just a few examples this unusual fear could prevent you from going to a swimming pool, exercising in a gym, shoe shopping or wearing flip flops. Feet phobia could be quite harmless, a bit annoying and at times frustrating. However, it could also cause life limitations. Therefore, it is important to judge carefully how much does it impacts on your or somebody else’s day to day life.

What exactly is feet phobia (or podophobia)?

Feet phobia like any other phobia is an irrational, inexplicable fear. People suffering from Podophobia feel very nervous, afraid, upset or even disgusted by feet in general. The exact cause of podophobia is not yet fully understood. The symptoms include an overwhelming sense of anxiety, sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulty and a desire to run away when seeing or even thinking of feet. Some people will experience panic attacks and very unpleasant feelings when confronted with feet. Of course one person’s symptoms can be different and/or more intense than other. This fear could make some feel uncomfortable or irritated. For others it could get so intense that it interferes with their normal life.

The fear may be related to the person`s own or somebody else`s feet. A phobia sufferers generally do not like the appearance of their or somebody else’s feet, or feel of feet as they view feet as being gross and unsightly. This person may also feel uncomfortable when other people are looking at or touching his or her feet. He or she will even sleep in socks or shoes and won’t even consider buying or wearing open toed shoes or sandals of any kind. He or she may also hate the smell of feet and while thinking of feet imagine contracting fungal type infections or a verruca what makes it even worse. The uncomfortable feelings would also appear while discussing feet or problems related to feet. The phobia sufferer may avoid watching any kind of TV documentary on feet, or adverts on the television. One of my friends who suffer from feet phobia to prevent unpleasant feelings introduced a rule in her house. You must wear shoes in his house. If the shoes are really dirty he allows you to wear socks or a pair of his own shoes. He won`t even let his girlfriend touch his feet or take her socks off around him.

When should you seek help to cure feet phobia?

Most fears and phobias, including the phobia and fear of feet, are not serious especially if they do not significantly impact your normal daily life. But if your phobia of feet results in avoiding situations on a regular basis preventing you from functioning or enjoying life you should consider seeking medical advice. Regardless of how long you have suffered from it, despite the unpleasant life limitations you have endured because of your fear, your fear of feet can be overcomed.

A Brief History of Rock and Pop Music

All dressed up!

You may be wondering when exactly did rock/pop music begin? There’s no clear answer to this. Some might say that it started with the advent of rock n roll with Bill Haley and the Comets in 1952. Others would say Elvis, although not the first but surely the original truly global superstar. Yet none of these were really the first. Rock n roll has its roots in blues which has its roots back to the 19th century with black immigrants trying to escape from their slave driven lives. Fast forward to the early 20th. century and some of the earliest recordings on 78 began to appear. Players from this time such as Bobby Jo and Robert Johnson helped to form the structure of early blues

Robert Johnson had recorded only thirty songs during his short life as he was prevented from achieving true fame while alive by being poisoned by a jealous husband. He died shortly before he was being sought to appear at the ‘Spirituals To Swing’ concert in 1938 by record producer John Hammond. As a result, his reputation only took off after Hammond released an album of his recordings for Columbia in the early sixties. Later blues exponents like Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton admitted borrowing heavily from these early stalwarts.

In the 50’s, artists took the basic blues style and used electric guitars, drums and double bass for the first time creating early rock n roll, later known as rockabilly. Stalwarts like Chuck Berry, Buddy Hollie and Jerry Lee Lewis were the most famous protagonists here. Later Elvis in the US and to a lesser extent, Cliff Richard (later leading the Shadows) in the UK brought rock n roll to a truly worldwide audience. This paved the way for the 60’s beat era which could be considered the true beginning of pop music as we know it today, certainly as far as bands were concerned.

In the 50’s and early 60’s, it was mostly lead solo artists with just a backing band. With the advent of the beat era, bands dominated with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys from the US taking the world by storm. Even so, The Beatles later admitted being heavily influenced by those earlier rock n roll and blues artists. They mostly played rock n roll and blues covers at their pre-fame Hamburg concerts. in the early 60’s. The Beatles however, were the first band to successfully blend classical music textures with rock n roll to form perfectly crafted pop songs. While bands like The Rolling Stones continued with the mainly rock n roll theme,

The Beatles took their finely crafted style further in the seminal album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967 by utilizing new studio techniques and instruments never used before. They used a new instrument called ‘the Melotron’ This was basically a keyboard which played looped tape recordings. of real instruments. The most famous sound from this was probably the flute used on the ‘Strawberry Fields’ single recorded at the same time but later dropped from the album. The Melotron though, was cumbersome and unreliable and had a rather grainy sound. Even so It was regarded as the forerunner of the electronic sampler, invented nearly 20 years later. Infinitely more flexible than the Melotron, the sampler helped build the framework for modern pop,dance and R&B music.

The Beatles ‘Sgt.. Pepper’ album with its groundbreaking recording techniques was preceded the year before by their ‘Revolver’ album. These LP’s helped popularize a new wave in music known as psychedelic or acid rock, named after the mind bending effects of LSD drugs. Pink Floyd also recorded their debut album ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ in the studio next door at the same time that The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper. It was reported that Pink Floyd were a direct influence to The Beatles as a result. This new style incorporated new guitar effects like Fuzz, flanger anger and delays. These were used along side the earliest portable synthesizers such as the therein and mini Moog. invented by Bob Moog.

In America, the Beach boys responded with the ‘Pet sounds’ LP in 1966 and later that year released the first big psychedelic hit ‘Good Vibrations’. About this time, the band ‘Jefferson Airplane’ recorded their debut album which was also the first LP to come out of the new San Franciscan music scene. This got the record industry’s attention and they had two of the earliest psychedelic hits ‘White Rabbit’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ in 1967.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Jim Morrison joined with members of The Psychedelic Rangers and Rick and the Ravens to form ‘The Doors’ They were initially turned down by Columbia but were signed to Electra Records and released their self titled debut LP in 1967. The album included the 7 minute long hit single ‘Light my Fire’ one of the first to break the typical three minute pop and rock song barrier.

Back in Britain, radio broadcasting was very limited because the BBC were the only organization allowed to broadcast on the mainland and had just two pop music shows The Saturday club and Easy Beat Radio Luxembourg partially filled the gap but it was left to pirate radio, broadcast from ships out at sea with DJ John Peel’ which enabled the new style to reach a mass audience, often eclipsing the BBC in popularity. The BBC responded in the end with the advent of Radio 1 in June 1967. With the existing labor government making pirate radio illegal in Britain several months later, Du’s like John Peel rather than risk arrest joined radio 1 which had a much more informal and relaxed style as opposed to the staid and conservative approach favored by the BBC until then. This perfectly suited psychedelic pop and rock and John Peel championed this in his late night shows. playing new genres of music and introducing new and unsigned bands in the Peel sessions. He did this for nearly four decades until his death in 2004.

By the end of the 60’s after the break up of the beatles, mainstream music was about to change direction yet again both in style and fashion.

Famous People With Asperger’s Syndrome

Figure de ballet (1948) - Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908- 1995)

Recently, some researchers, in particular, Simon Baron-Kohen and John James, suggested that such well-known personalities from the past, as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had Asperger’s syndrome. Scientists say that they showed some tendencies of the syndrome in their behavior, such as an intense interest in one topic, or social problems. One of the chapters of this Gillberg’s book is devoted to this theme, including a detailed case analysis of the situation with philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein with the conclusion that the person meets the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome. Naturally, the absence of diagnosis during life does not mean that there was nothing to diagnose, especially if we bear in mind that while there was no widespread knowledge about the syndrome (as often happens with Asperger’s syndrome, which recently has been widely recognized in psychiatric circles). However, such post-mortem diagnosis remains controversial.

Arguments in favor of the alleged autism spectrum disorders in famous personalities vary from person to person. Some of them argue that in the case of Albert Einstein (one of the most frequently cited suspected autistic), he learned to talk late, was a lonely kid, organized violent tantrums, silently repeated the previously pronounced sentence, and needed his wives to play the role of parents when he was an adult – the stereotypical factors for autistic individuals. Isaac Newton stuttered and suffered from epilepsy. Many of these alleged historical cases of Asperger’s syndrome can be quite soft (not expressed), but some skeptics argue that in these cases only some features of autism can be seen, and they are not enough to diagnose autism spectrum. In the end, many critics of historical diagnosis claim that it is simply impossible to diagnose the dead, and therefore nothing can be said with certainty about historic individuals with (or withour) Asperger’s syndrome.

All of these assumptions may be just an attempt to create a pattern of behavior (role model, an object for imitation) for people with autism, and demonstrate that they can do constructive things, and make a contribution to society. Such a presumptive diagnosis is often used by activists for the rights of people with autism to show that the treatment of autism would be a loss to society. But others in the organizations for the rights of autistic people do not like these arguments because they feel that people with autism have to appreciate their uniqueness even if they do not want to be healed, regardless of whether people like Einstein were autistic.

Some features of appearance and facts of activity indicate that John Carmack is also a man with AS, or he has other unusual personality type of a similar nature.

Possible causes and origins of Asperger’s syndrome is hotly debated and controversial topic. The majority opinion today is that the causes of Asperger’s syndrome are the same as autism’s. Some researchers, however, disagree and argue that the Asperger syndrome and autism are lead by two different things. All this occurs during the ongoing wider debate about whether Asperger’s syndrome and other conditions (such as attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) are the part of the so-called autism spectrum.

Among many competing theories about the causes of autism (and, therefore, as many believe – Asperger’s Syndrome) – theory of non-complete connection, developed by researchers of cognition at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the theory of marginal male brain of Simon Baron-Kohena, the theory of pre-working, theory of social structure and genetics.

Some theorists give more arguments in favor of Asperger’s syndrome than autism. Sometimes they argument that some specific theories play a greater role in Asperger’s syndrome, for example, theory of social structure and genetics. However, this is the area of considerable controversy.

Homeschool and Actors

Slot Zuylen Castle in Utrecht

Everyone has seen the struggles associated with being a child actor or a child star. The nature of this lifestyle causes many of these youngsters to suffer from delays in everything from their academies to their social and emotional development, and as a result, many end up struggling as adults. Because of this, it is extremely important that these children be given every opportunity to develop their skills and talents beyond those associated with the small or silver screens.

One of the most effective and popular choices for actors to use in helping them develop proper academic skills and complete their education is to use homeschooling. Homeschooling is a popular choice because of the flexibility that it offers, both in terms of when and how lessons can be taught. Actors who are being homeschooled can complete lessons online, or they can actually have their "teachers" show up to their work and deliver a lesson personally. Either way, it is difficult to argue with the fact that homeschooling, especially for players, is very convenient.

The acting business being what it is means that student / actors have to teachers teachers work around their schedule. It is mostly for this reason that student / actors and their parents choose to turn to homeschooling or an accredited distance learning school. Some actors are on the road and way from home for months at a time, making it very difficult for them to attend traditional school. Homeschooling can allow academic curriculum to be individually tailor, and designed not to interfere with the requirements of an acting career.

Homeschooling is also an effective way of completing school sooner. Rather than try to complete a diploma or degree in the traditional length of time, meaning 4 to 6 years, a homeschooling curriculum can allow child actors to complete their education faster and more efficiently, as opposed to having it drag on over the course of several years.

Homeschooling actors and stars is certainly not something new. In fact, some of the most famous people in history, including sponsors, inventors, artists, actors, and athletes have all been homeschooled. President George Washington, inventor Thomas Edison, actor Charlie Chaplin, and scientist Albert Einstein are just a few of the famous people who have reaped the benefits of homeschooling.

Things can be difficult enough at work for the child actor without having to add additional stress from having to make time for school. By using homeschooling as an option, parents can provide their children with an effective learning curriculum without having to interfere with their acting career. In addition to the added convenience as well as the obvious flexibility associated with homeschooling, child actors can also benefit from the additional family support that they receive when they are being taught by their parents. There is nothing that can be more beneficial to a young actor than to have family members who are actually involved in an important aspect of their life, and homeschooling is certainly one effective way of accomplishing this, both for academic and emotional purposes.

Writers Learning to Learn

Akko old city harbour

Software like Photoshop, Excel, and Scrivener are great, but they can also be intimidating. Have you ever paid for a program and never use it? Learning something new can be scary. Many programs have help files, but often that’s not enough. Reading something and learning it are two different things. There are three types of learning. They are audio, visual, and hands-on. In this article, I will use Scrivener as my example.

When considering this software, I looked at the Scrivener website and studied the overviews and features section. Impressed enough to make the purchase and read the written tutorial, I was quickly overwhelmed. Note, at this point, I was only looking at buttons and icons.

Next, I went to Facebook and found a group called Scrivener Users. I prefer to hear from those who use the software, as opposed to those trying to sell me something. One advantage was now I could ask questions. Many people kept referring to the book Scrivener for… by Gwen Hernandez, so I purchased that. The book was excellent. Occasionally, I would click on an icon to verify the features listed underneath.

Being a photographer for 40+ years, I relate to all things visual. Therefore, the next logical step was YouTube. Although they had dozens of tutorials most felt like a synopsis, a summary if you will.

I liked being able to see and hear what I was learning. But, I wanted to watch without being dependent on the internet. What I found was a website called udemy.com, which had several outstanding video tutorials. What I had missed to this point, was the hands-on approach. With the program now open, I found the pause button was my new best friend.

The class was reasonably priced and had excellent quality. It was also downloadable. With my slow internet speed, it did take a while (over 5 hours), but each of the 46 videos was downloaded to a folder on my desktop. Now, I could watch, practice, and hear the lessons all at the same time.

If you want to be a writer, you don’t just write when it’s convenient, you write every day. If you want to learn something new you don’t just read a manual and expect to know it all. You use different senses when you want to learn effectively, and you can also use a variety of resources.

Millions of writers write blogs and how-to books with the expectation you will comprehend the subject better. There are thousands of users on Facebook and other social media outlets, waiting to share information they have learned from experience. The key word being experience. You must jump right in and get your hands dirty. YouTube has videos on almost any subject you can imagine. You can find inexpensive courses online. In many cases, you can also find Pod Casts and audio CDs on your favorite subject.

The information age does not limit you to one medium. You’ve heard the phrase show don’t tell. This applies to learning as well as writing. Part of my learning process includes repetition. If I can listen or watch something multiple times, it tends to stay with me better. Some people can read something once and retain everything. I’m not one of those people. The more types of learning methods you employ, the better the odds you will retain the information. When getting your hands dirty doesn’t help and reading is not enough, try using more resources.