Space is cool, but why?

My project explores space and how, through both how much and how little we know about is, people are interested in it.

My research question is “Why are people interested in space?”

I was given helpful advice by Professor Belli to deepen my research, focus my topic, form a question based on my research and topic, and argue for it.  Talking with my other classmates, I took the advice and further my research on space, looking into key terms or the celestial objects that are found in space.  One that came to mind was nebula, as it was a word relating to the topic of space that is used a lot in lite-sci-fi stories.

According to an online article, Nebulae: What Are They and Where Do They Come From?, they are a cloud of dust particles, hydrogen and helium gases, and plasma and are hundreds of light years large.¬† While nebula’s are denser than the space outside of it, it’s still less dense than any¬† man-made artificial¬†vacuum made on Earth.¬† When a nebula has enough gravitational attraction within itself, it comes together and collapse into stars or planets, thus also being known as a “stellar nursery”.¬† Despite this interesting nugget of knowledge, this brings up another question; why are people to interested in space.¬† Compared to many other subjects, space is an reoccurring topic used in stories, especially science fiction ones.¬† Asking myself this, I looked up this same question to learn the answers.

According to the article, The Real Reasons We Explore Space, this is due to human nature to learn and discover.  Due to how little we know, we want to discover more and make the unknown more known.

My next steps for my project are to research more into my question and possibly either fine tune my question and argument, or to ask a more focused question.

 

Subjects in Space

Starting my project, I initially wanted to do something in relation of space or astronomy.  While I am not sure how to narrow my search even more except with some more time on my research, I am quite sure my topic will be in relation in the broad topic of space.

The first thing I did was to google space to get a good idea¬†about it. ¬†Reading through it, I then remembered how you told me that space and astronomy are 2 different things, so I then went to look up the difference where I found out a little about it and 2 other terms, Astrophysics and cosmology. ¬†Astronomy is the observation of space to understand it. ¬†Astrophysics relates to the physical process of how space works. ¬†Cosmology is the study of the universe’s beginning and evolution. ¬†Wanting to know a bit more on Cosmology, I research ed it a bit more. ¬†Though, I did not find that was worth much for me to jot down. ¬†I then looked up NASA. ¬†NASA stands for National Aeronautic and Space Administration. Looking through it, I found articles in relation to stars and galaxies, which I thought was cool. ¬†For example, when galaxies collide with each other, they merge into one. ¬†However, the galaxies NASA observed and was talking about were spinning to fast to merge, despite being a few thousand light years away from each other. Light years is a really large distance used to measure distance between spacial bodies. ¬†For 2 galaxies to be that far from each other is still relatively close since many things in space tend to be much farther away. ¬†Speaking of which, I I went to a website called “TV Tropes” to read about things relating to space.

When it comes to creating science fiction, some to a lot of aspects about is taken in artistic liberty. For example, in many science fiction media, spacecrafts are drawn with rockets propelling them to their destination. ¬†This is false according to TV tropes because the rockets propelling the spacecraft only need to be on for turning and changing speeds. ¬†That makes sense when reflecting that space is a vacuum with gas dispersed far from itself. ¬†Since an object in motion stays in motion, rockets don’t need to be on for maintaining it’s speed. ¬†Also, bodies in space is very much spaced out from each other, so looking out into space during space travel should look very empty sans a few stars in few similar to how we see stars in the night sky. ¬†The reason for science fiction for showing space travel, spaceship fights, and such are for several reasons from lacks of research, to outdated sources, to using only parts of the facts about space to tell an interesting story.

Web sites used during research:

www.space.com/science-astronomy

www.quora.com

Maps.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe

TVtropes.org

www.NASA.gov

Western Puppet Game becoming Self Aware

Westworld starts out what seems like an old western show before revealing that everything is constructed.  I find it an interesting way to mix the wild west genre with sci-fi. The first episode holds a lot of symbolism,  such as the fly.

When I saw the woman in the blue dress, Dolores, sitting in the chair nude with a fly crawling on her face, I saw that something was wrong. ¬†Seeing the dissonance when she was getting up from bed smiling and when the fly was crawling over her eye, I could tell that Dolores was not alive. ¬†This was even proven when after the first few minutes when the villain shot Teddy, a man who was made sheriff, and dragged Dolores away, Dolores wakes up in bed reenacting her actions ‘yesterday’ with no memory of what happened before. ¬†Afterwords, it’s shown that the world and the people living in it are fake and constructed by a company to entertain people who wants to play around in a fantasy western world. ¬†The fake people are puppets specifically made for acting out their roles in a story the company constructs.

I find the company similar to a video game company. ¬†In a video game company, there are people in charge of creating the game world for players to explore, creating non-player characters for players to interact with and give life to the world, and people who repairs any bugs or issues the game may have. ¬†In Westworld, this is what the people working there are doing, from constructing the puppets for use or to store away, to creating the world for the puppets and players, to making sure the world runs as it should and issuing updates. ¬†Their actions as puppets starts to behave strangely makes sense in a same way a game developer world act to a glitch in the game. ¬†I notice that though the puppets acts on their programming, some are becoming more ‘alive’ than others.

The puppets acts on a basis of routine where they do the exact same thing every day with no memory of what happened before. ¬†Several times, the fly can be seen flying onto the puppets with little to no reaction, showing how lifeless they are. ¬†From the beginning of the episode, however, the villain already realizes that his world is a game as well as certain aspects such as being invulnerable since he’s an important villain that can’t be killed except by the players how come into Westworld for fun. ¬†As the show goes on, several inconsistencies happen that, depending on the puppet and it’s programming, either react but then forget when the next ‘day’ comes, break down like a computer reacting to a confusing task, to going off rails on what they should do turning out different results. ¬†On example of this was how in one time, Teddy was made sheriff, ¬†however when he starts to act differently and ignore the man who made him sheriff, a weather puppet were made sheriff and went along with the ride along with his wife, effecting even the end of the show. While this raises concern for the company running Westworld, as they don’t want their players to be in danger, this shows that the puppets the company created are gaining more awareness of the world around them and themselves.

On the Road, New Experiences and Allies

Reading Parable of the Sower, I see as Lauren is forced on the road, how well she puts her knowledge into good use as well as how fortunate she is as she makes allies well she picks up new knowledge in the outside world. ¬†Already before her neighborhood burned down, Lauren had to be careful on who to trust. ¬†It is mentioned multiple times in the book how her father has to teach her how to hide her hyperempathy, or how she described it in page 191, her sharing on one’s pain. ¬†Also, previously, Keith faked being injured using red ink for blood to make Lauren bleed (page 11), so Lauren¬†had to be careful to trust her own family. ¬†So, as she traveled north to try to survive, comes across allies for whom she could trust, while at the same time, being careful on what information to share.

When she came across Harry and Zahra, they stuck together, as they are the remaining members for their community and former lives that they could find are alive. ¬†Thanks to Lauren preparing herself for the possibility of if she needed to survive on her own, she manage to escape her burning home with supplies as well as money her family hidden away from thieves. ¬†Because she “had risked stopping to grab jeans, a sweatshirt, and shoes as well as” her “emergency pack”(page 161) thanks to her “self-administered training”, she was able to make herself better off than if she had gotten herself to escape with nothing but the clothes off her back. ¬†With Harry, Zahra, and Lauren, the trio was safe enough to travel without too much trouble as, done and proven many times previously in the book, there is strength in numbers. ¬†As proven in the book, during one of their nights camping outside, the trio was attacked in the middle of the night by two men. ¬†If Lauren had been alone, she would be no match. ¬†However, thanks each person of the trio taking shifts staying awake for danger, Harry was able to fight off and kill one of the men while Lauren, in her own words, “took a small granite boulder from our fire pit, set my teeth, and brought it down with all my strength on the back of the intruder’s head” to save Harry. ¬†Though Lauren is strong to take out a man like that, staying as a group to protect each other or alert one another to sticky situations helped them keep alive during their travels.

As Lauren traveled, she learned new things that she stored away as mental notes as well as share certain things with the group she traveled with. ¬†For example, after saving a couple’s baby from a pack of dogs, Lauren learns that “prone was a good shooting position for” her (page 209). ¬†This is useful as even though her hyperempathy may knock her down after shooting, harming, or killing someone, she will still be able to defend both herself and others. ¬†Also, it means that she’ll be able to shoot someone even if she fallen. ¬†She told¬†her group about her hyperempathy, something she makes sure to keep to herself as much as possible. ¬†While she was unsure about doing this, telling them helped in the long run as it helped the group to understand each other better. ¬†It especially helped Lauren as Zahra, who lived on the streets before being brought in by her gated community before it burned down, told her “You ain’t got nothing wrong with you, Lauren-nothing worth worrying about. ¬†That Paracetco shit was baby milk.”(page 193) ¬†This is especially encouraging¬†following up from her rambling about how much worse babies are born from crack-using mothers. ¬†When describing the drug Lauren’s mother was using to baby milk, it made the drug sound less serious or significant, and thus, made Lauren’s situation sound less strange, less horrible, and less shameful. ¬†It made Lauren feel normal as well as feel more comforted by Zahra.

Literary Arts Experience

Attending the Literary Arts Festival, I found it to be interesting, if not a bit boring. ¬†Because I came in late at 6:00 pm, the auditorium that the festival was held in was full. ¬†Thankfully, the cafeteria had television that shows what’s going on in the festival and speakers so that I and several other people in the cafeteria could listen to what’s going on. ¬†From what I observed, the festival wasn’t a large room with booths and a stage like what I expecting from a festival, but just simply a stage for several writers to read the winning stories, plays, and poetry. ¬†In hindsight, that would make sense since the point of the Literary Arts Festival is to celebrate¬†writing and a way to do that is to read out the best stories to an audience. ¬†Once the speakers stopped working and several people including myself couldn’t hear anything, we went downstairs to be let into the auditorium to listen to the Festival, where we were able to gain seats to listen to a dance group performing during the Festival as well as listen to the written works.

The dance group was an entertaining group to both watch and listen to. ¬†The main reason I wanted to listen to the dance group, as well as watch their dance, was because as I was watching it on the television in the cafeteria, they look rather silly without the sound moving about. ¬†Since their moved so strange to me, I figured that the sound was a key element missing that without it, the dance made little sense. ¬†After getting in the auditorium, I learned that this dance was a step dance with a lot of stomping and clapping, which made a lot more sense to me. ¬†The dance was very entertaining, though I didn’t care to much about what the dancers were shouting as they danced. ¬†After the performance, the Festival resumed with more written work readings.

Some of the written works I listen to I recognised due to previously reading them with my Creative Writing class. ¬†One of them was called¬†Washington Mews, which I believe is about a moment when a buy and a girl breaks up. ¬†The part of the poem that clued me in on the idea was when the lady in the poem turned around and walked away like she would did on a bar stool, but “the joy gone out of it now”. ¬†This part tells me that not only are they breaking up, but in the same area they either first met or meet a lot up in. ¬†As the man calls out, the lady kept walking, indicating that whatever relationship they had is over. ¬†As she left, she said something in a different language that means something on the lines of he wants her and sometimes, she wants him too. ¬†I think that this meant that though that the lady is breaking up with the guy, she is hurt like how the guy is hurt, even though it’s over for both of them.

The Festival was entertaining, but I wasn’t able to fulling pay attention to many of the written works without spacing out and losing what’s going on in the written works. ¬†However, in the end, I found the Festival to be nice.

Class Notes for 4/25/17

Extension of the 4/25 blog for the reflection of the first 6 chapters of Parable of the Sower to tomorrow night.

Science Fiction Archive Collection.

  • Covers are eye-catching
  • The Age of Writing molds Science Fiction
  • Interesting that City Tech has such a collection of Science Fiction in the Library Archives.
  • Variety of Science Fiction books
  • Hard work into the archives, with plans of expansion of space and books.
  • Historic feel of the Science Fiction Archives ranging from pulp fiction to novels.

Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy

  • Hard Science Fiction: Bare-bones about provable science
  • Middle: Uses¬†science, but is not 100% bound to¬†it
  • Science Fantasy: Loosely based on science

 

  • Brave New World
    • Cloning
    • Human Manufacturing
  • 1984
    • Futuristic Technology
    • Politics
  • Parable of the Sower
    • Hyperempathy
    • Post-Apocalyptic

Parable of the Sower was nominated to a Nebula award and Hugo Award.

Mundane Science: Everyday, “normal” science in fiction.

Parable of the Sower

  • Settings:
    • Gated Community
    • Targeted community by outsiders
    • Rarely Rains
    • A lot of drugs
    • People, included¬†children and the Priest, uses guns
    • Harsh Environment
    • 20 miles away from Los Angeles in a gated cul-de-sac
  • Conflicts:
    • Attacked by gangs, criminals, and arsonists/druggies
    • Lauren finds her religion, but follows her father
    • The possibility of the wall being torn down
  • Politics:
    • People see no point in voting, so most people don’t vote.
    • Despite the world being Post-Apocalyptic, Presidents still exists/are important.
  • People:
    • Have tall walls around houses and blocks to protect them from arsons, gangs, and thieves.
    • Religious. ¬†Goes to church despite leaving their walls that protects their homes.
    • Schools are small and taught by the community.
    • People teach children about guns and train children 15 years old or older how to use and shoot guns.
    • Denial of the world; hoping things will just get better in the future.

Issues:

  • Diseases
  • Drugs
  • Economy Collapse
    • Water and Gas prices are up and very expensive.
  • Environmental crisis like natural disasters, lack of food, lack of clean water.
  • Poor State of Affairs

God is Change.  Each chapter has bold excerpts at the beginning of each chapter that talks about this.

  • Hyperempathy
    • Lauren, the main character of the book, has this
    • Her description tells about the world
    • Has to change with the world and learn to kill or despite her hyperempathy
  • Tone
    • Redemptive apocalypse; hope of things getting better
    • Day by day existence; living/surviving one day at a time
    • Harshness and Tragedy

Soul Searching after the Apocalypse

Reading Parable of the Sower, it seems like the writer is a spiritual person looking or finding her own God. ¬†With the start of each new chapter, there are a couple of sentences describing God in one way or another. ¬†At page 24 and 25, it reveals that these excerpts seems to be by the writer trying to describe how they believe God is truly like. ¬†She says that “God is Change”, and then goes on to explain what this excerpt means(page 25). ¬†Based on this, she seems to be trying to find how God might be like that would fit for her setting and situation. ¬†The writer, despite being a daughter of a priest, does not believe, or at least fully believe, that the God she believe in and the God her father believes in are not the same God. ¬†Though, this is most likely because of ¬†the setting and state of life she currently lives in.

The setting in the world seems to take place in a ruined¬†world where a disaster has struck. ¬†Evidence of this ranges from buildings such as houses and churches having walls to protect the people inside from thieves, gangs, or¬†rapist, or just protecting the building itself from being set on fire and destroyed. ¬†The writer even describes her home, 20 miles from Los Angeles, as a place with “maggots”(page 9). ¬†Also,¬†as she, her family, and a few other children and adults go outside their walls protecting their homes to go to church, they “go out in a bunch, and go armed.”(page 8) ¬†The need to do something like this in order to leave their protective walls in the first place tells that the setting of this book is dangerous to the point needing to hold a gun or weapon of some sort just to leave your house. ¬†Even then, it’s not much safer to stay at home as people can come in, rob the residents, vandalise the house, possibly rape anyone inside, and burn the house down. ¬†This happened especially to Mrs. Sims.

Mrs Sims is an old woman who lives by herself and is very religious, given that in the book, she “talked about everyone who wasn’t as holy as she thought she was”(page 21). ¬†This quote shows that she has a “holier than thou” kind a personality that makes her look down on others. ¬†She was also very arrogant and talks about others behind their backs, which is also exemplified by the quote. ¬†Her attitude even drove her son’s family to not live with her due to her and her son’s wife hating each other(page 21-22). ¬†This really says a lot about her unpleasant side of her personality since houses that are not burned down or broken into are rare, which makes her attitude not worth living with her. ¬†Despite this, when tragedy struck her, once where after several people in the church tried to help her, and again when her son’s family died in a house fire set by an unknown arsonist. ¬†These two actions causes Mrs. Sims¬†to commit suicide, which then the writer starts questioning her actions since she points out that Mrs. Sims is very religious and believes that the act of suicide will make that person burn in Hell(page 23). ¬†Despite the trauma Mrs. Sims went through, her actions made the writer question Mrs. Sims faith since the the writer herself is soul searching about God and since Mrs. Sims acted to sure of her faith, starts to wonder if it’s even possible to even follow it after going through to much.

Browsing through the Archives of Old, Old, Interesting, and Old Books

Visiting the library archive is refreshing compared to staying in class during a lesson.  Not only was the change of scenery was nice, but so was looking through the books and magazines of the science fiction archive.  It was interesting to know that these books are so old, that I wonder if the contents of the books was recorded online on the internet so that it would not be lost despite its physical source.  Also, more people will be able to have access and read the contents of these old books without having restricted access to the Archives in City Tech.  Though, I understand why access to the Archives is so limited, since the books are old and that either there were probably no reproduction copies or that the original copies are held as historical artifacts.  Those original books really grabbed my attention when I saw them.

The pulp Science Fiction books has some very interesting and eye-catching covers. ¬†This is probably intentional as, despite being printed out like a book, they were magazines meant to grab people’s attention so that people¬†will buy them. ¬†The magazines I looked at, Analog Science, has some amazing space artwork that depicted what I can imagine people decades ago imagining the amazing future and the advancements of technology. ¬†I started out to read the first thing written in the book to get an idea of what it’s about, and the introduction, extending to 2 pages before having me to skip to the end of the magazine to continue reading, was very engaging. ¬†It put forth to me interesting ideas and concepts I did not think of like, for example, how unlikely it is to convince people through reason, unless force is used, compared to using “magic”. ¬†People are normally set in their beliefs in a way that using their beliefs, whether that be priests, magic, voodoo, etc, can easily help¬†solve a problem compared to trying to logic against them. ¬†Paraphrasing the book, it’s like trying to convince¬†an Amish family to use computers, despite how easy and convenient they are, unless force is used in a way such as separating Amish children from their parents and making them go to school with such technologies, stamping out their old understanding. ¬†These books are a lot less depressing and peaked my interest, though that could also be attributed to its age as it was written during an optimistic point of time, unlike not unfortunately.

The books were graciously donated to the college by a collector of Science Fiction literature.  Feeling the paper and looking at the color, the books definitely show their age.  Skimming through some of them, I observed that some tell interesting stories that makes me think, while some are just as depressing as 1984.  This makes me wish I could go back to the Archive to look at more of these books, and possible read some of them a bit to expand my limited view of science fiction to better understand it, or at least find more books in this genre fitting to my tastes.

Complimenting Contrast between Winston and Julia

The relationship between Winston and Julia is interesting.  While both people have a lot of things in common, such as their hatred of the Party, they have a lot of contrasting things that compliment them in a way that completes or make up of for what the other lacks.

One obvious difference is their age. ¬†Despite their love(or lust) for each other, Julia is 26 years old as mentioned in page 132 of the book while Winston is 39¬†years old as mentioned in the first page. ¬†This is a very large¬†age difference between¬†a couple. ¬†For a young woman, Julia displays a lot of street smarts as she was able to pass a note of her love to him and she was able to arrange meetings to privately be with him both in hidden areas away from the Party’s eyes and ears and in public areas full of people. ¬†Winston is impressed by this as “she obviously had a practical cunning which Winston lacked”(page 129). ¬†Not only is she’s clever, she makes up for Winston’s lack of skill on evasion of the Party’s knowledge to break rules. ¬†Despite this, she claims “she was ‘not clever’, but was fond of using her hands and felt at home with machinery”(page132). ¬†This is interesting as, from the beginning of the book, it shows and says how Winston is smart. ¬†This goes even further as, due to both their ages and their intelligence, it also shows how the Party affected both of them and how much due these factors.

While Winston is bothered with how the Party can easily alter history and have everyone easily believe it, Julia doesn’t really care of neither the history¬†nor the lies by the Party. ¬†In some ways, as Winston found out, Julia is very susceptible to the Party’s lies because, along with many other people born before the revolution, “They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening”(page 160). ¬†This is bad for several reasons. ¬†One major one is that being unable to see the big picture of the situation makes it hard to make a change or even realize that some things¬†can be changed and isn’t always all powerful. ¬†Being unable to grasp the large problem or why things are the way they are can cause people to do damage or even harm themselves or someone else and not even know or understand why. ¬†Another major problem is that if no one cares about what is going on, then people can harm people, things around them, or themselves without even bothering to find out why. ¬†Even worse, this makes people more manipulatable as it can be easy to just make someone harm themselves and then lead to believe that this happens because of someone else or that they are not working hard enough.

Though, Julia isn’t all that manipulatable as she is aware of many things done by the Party that Winston is unaware of. ¬†After all, as mentioned in the book, “in some ways, she was far more acute than¬†Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda”(page 156). ¬†This is shown as she discussed her theories based on her observations, such as how the Party’s purpose of dirtying the idea of sex is to make people mare sex deprived, which makes them more agitated, which they can then manipulated those emotions into war fever. ¬†These kind of observations, despite how book-smart Winston is, would not be easily made unless a closer observation on both the Party¬†was made as well as being intelligent in several different ways, like the street smarts Julia has.