Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Citizen Science

Last week I watched a special live broadcast by the PBS show Nature titled American Spring.  It was a three night event with the first episode discussing birth and rebirth, the second covering migration. and the third was on connections. You can see episode 1 above.  The series chronicled the efforts of citizen scientists in the Spring to gain valuable information about wild life.  

All sciences started out with citizen scientists such as Ben Franklin dabbling in electricity.  Philosophy is the mother of all the sciences.  It began with people (usually elite people who didn't have to worry about surviving) pondering the nature of the universe.  As science progressed by building off of what came before, it became increasingly elitist.  Likewise as scientific equipment becomes more advanced, the cost of conducting science became more and more prohibitive and dependent on government funding.

The sciences have become more and more ivory tower as the funding for it has become harder to come by and jobs have likewise become harder to maintain.  This is what I suspect is driving the call for amateur citizen scientists to get involved in the process.  This call for volunteers is to help fill the gap in funding for professional scientists.

Certainly getting involved in the process can be rewarding when people have the time to do it.  I still find it rewarding to pursue my brand of citizen science on this blog after eight and a half years though I've made little money off of it.  As science becomes more and more automated we all may be citizen scientists, though not always by choice.  

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Game of Growing Up and Outgrowing Fantasy

I have been tied up with other writing assignments to post on this blog lately.  I saw this video on Facebook from Real Time with Bill Maher where he criticizes comic book fans and thought I should comment. I posted it on my Facebook and got one negative comment and one positive one.  The negative one said "The ironic part is that in a 100 years people will likely remember Stan Lee and others like George Lucas. But will not remember Bill what's his name. Bill M. has been and always will be jealous and condescending of things that are more relevant to others then he will ever be to them. I honestly don't know how he even stays on the air."  I responded by saying that "...thanks for your input. Will Rogers is still remembered last I checked.To which he replied "As he should. Along with Mr. Rogers."  

The positive comment was "Thanks Paul. The same childish culture elected DT.Well I don't know what percent of Stan Lee fans voted for DT (which I assume means Donald Trump).  I know at least a few of them didn't.  

I also notice that Maher criticized Marvel Comic movies like X-Men, Iron Man, and Black Panther. At the same time he did not criticize Game of Thrones which his own network (HBO) makes a lot of money off of from many of the same Stan Lee fans.  

Anthony Hopkins (the mad scientist who designed the park), and robots James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
Westworld, HBO's other science fiction series, makes a point about how the division between fantasy and reality is becoming increasingly blurred.  It's about an western amusement park with lifelike western robots where guests can act out their wild west fantasies (however raunchy).  Later the robots all go berserk.

Science Fiction/Fantasy can be a way of shedding light on the modern world.  It can also be an escape from it.  I know several people who have or will be writing their own Sci Fi books.  The online poll for The Great American Read has, I am sure, received more votes than my Best Non-Fiction book poll.  I has received one vote since my last update.  Three of the top five vote recipients in the fiction poll were the SciFi/Fantasy books Outlander, The Game of Thrones, and The Lord of the Rings.  

I know the vast majority of Comic Con fans can distinguish between fantasy and reality.  There is the tiny minority who can't such as the man in Aurora, Colorado who shot up a movie theater during the showing of a Batman movie while dressed as the Joker.  It's not that different from John Hinckley being inspired by the movie Taxi Driver and the novel Catcher in the Rye.  The phenomenon is also similar to how millions of evangelical Christians give their money to televangelists in hope of finding spiritual or physical healing. 

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I Figli della Madre Terra (The Children of Mother Earth)