Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scott Westerfeld; A Step Up From Stephenson (favorite writer response for 2/26/10)

I'm sure you're all getting bored hearing about Neal Stephenson's novel, The Diamond Age, by now. However, I have been constantly reminded during the course of my reading of The Diamond Age of a similar novel series, written by Scott Westerfeld. Westerfeld is among one of my favorite writers for his work in The Uglies series. His series is an action packed, science fiction tale full of excitement and suspense, as Stephenson's novel is also. Westerfeld's series includes the visions of hoverboards, ancient ruins, skin transformations, and intelligent programs which run most of the world. He also writes of supremely advanced technology as far as partial brain control of a generation, and turning humans into superhumans with incredible powers through installment surgeries. The similarity between Stephenson's and Westerfeld's futuristic ideas is obvious, yet I prefer Westerfeld's style of writing more. Westerfeld is more simple in his descriptions, yet still prevails at providing visual images for his reader. He focuses upon imagery, providing detailed description of people's physical characteristics, along with their personality. His writings allow the reader to feel as if they are living in the book. Westerfelds series, including the books Uglies, Pretties, and Specials, is so addicting that I not only couldn't put the books down, I couldn't even take a break throughout the series! I was entranced by his tale and his futuristic visionary elements. Westerfeld also seems to write in a more modern style, appealing to readers of all ages, youth to adult. I first came across Westerfeld's books in high school, and he has remained on my "to-read" list ever since. Although I've already finished the Uglies series, Scott Westerfeld has numerous other series that are all full of fantasy, romance, and sci-fi. For any of those who enjoyed Neal Stephenson, or even liked Stephenson's ides but had trouble following his style, I highly recommend Scott Westerfeld.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blog prompt: personal favorites

For the blog posts this week, write a little about your favorite writer. Tell us why that authors is a favorite and in particular what about the style appeals to you. Perhaps include a quotation from her/his writing to give us an example of what you like.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Prompt: Writing Anxiety

If it's your turn to write a post this week, use the opportunity to write about you biggest source of writing anxiety. What is the part of the process that is most difficult or most hand-wringing for you and what do you do to combat that difficulty? IF this works the way it should, maybe some of your peers will add in the comments their own approaches to dealing with writing anxiety.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trusting Science Response

Science has been one of many things that have helped America’s development. Science has helped in all fields and has made many breakthroughs. From the dawn of America, science has been there pushing for progress, but as we move forward many Americans have switched their views on the topic about science. According to the charts that are shown on Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media, science has lost its value and Americans has lost confidence in scientists. I really don’t find it shocking on how people have lost their confidence in scientist because of two reasons: one, most of the time the American people are shut away from what goes on, and there is no communication between the scientist and the people. When scientist shut people away from all that is going on and don’t communicate everything, then people start looking for answers. In the article it talked about how, “A substantial percentage of scientists also say that the news media have done a poor job educating the public.” If the scientist knew that there was a poor education by the media, then why didn’t they come out and fix all the wrongs? Who better to teach the public than the scientist who are doing all the research projects? This is why many people hear and believe what the media tells them instead of trusting the scientist and we see this clearly in the charts the survey provides. As you can tell, the lack of communication between the people and the science has impacted the scientific world. I believe that science is a vital part of America and helps us progress to better things, but with advance there has to be some kind of relationship between the people and the science. Without it people will start to doubt more and more and could lead to a loss of care for science.

Trusting Science

While it is hardly surprising to me that the bulk of the public opinion isn't on board with scientific fact, I also wouldn't find it surprising if within the next few years Team Science's numbers increased.  The fact that only 32% of the public believes in natural evolution alone can almost pinpoint the exact nexus of these public opinions; religion.  The same thing could be said for the percentage of the public that believes in stem cell research.  It is no doubt that religion is a force to be reckoned with, even in this day and age, and boy, do people love their creation myths.  However, this is just one example, but the reluctancy to trust in science partially stems from that.   People don't like being wrong, and when science challenges their beliefs, well, they tend to hold grudges.  It may also be because science is coming from an unfamiliar party, such as the news or other media outlets.   This is where certain biases come into play as well.  Another reason for science being so untrusted in today's world, is that the public seems to have a hard time accepting change and science and technology are always making strides to improve our world.  However, despite all this, with new religions and more and more advances being made in science, it is my personal opinion that science will eventually overwrite the power of religious beliefs and follow the anthropological time line.  First there was magic, which evolved into religion and the next logical step forward is science.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Trusting Science

We have been talking, a bit, about the difference between human and computer intelligence and the way humans learn and connect. Today I want to ask you to look at a study that is about what we learn and what we believe, even when it comes from human experts. This study is about the public's perception of science and scientists (how much do we respect and trust science), but also about the difference in beliefs held by scientists (e.g. experts) and by the general public. If you scroll down, you will see tables showing data like 87% of scientists believe in totally natural evolution (that is, evolution that doesn't *need* help from a higher power) while only 32% of the public does. 84% of scientists believe in human caused global warming, while only 49% of people do. 93% believe in stem cell research, only 58% of the public does. What is your reaction to this data? Can you say anything about why the public seems to be vastly distrustful of science and scientific experts (compare this, for example, to how distrustful (or not) people are of other experts who have been trained in their field - what percentage of people disagree with the findings of the car mechanic or the MD or the dentist or the English teacher or the translator)?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I believe that none of the books, dictionaries or any sort of reading should be banded... People get so scared if their child finds something out about things like "sex" and/or violence. Children are growing, they have far more interesting things to do rather than look up words in a dictionary. Even if somehow they did head or read something about sex and violence, let's face it. this is the world we live in. You can protect them all you want but eventually they will face those things whether you want them too or not. I do agree on "drawing the line" for children, by that I mean that shildren "should not" be exposed to such things at an age that's too young, but isolating them from those things is like cutting them off from the world around them. It's inevitable and if they do somehow read up on something that the parents should not deny it or say those things are bad but instead they should sit down and explain those things to their child. A lot of parents might disagree with me on my opinion but i know from my own childhood, I've faced those things at an early age. I grew up in a country where all i saw on the news was violence and so on, that didnt mess me up but instead it made me mature faster. People afraid that if their children are exposed to those things it might mess them up in the future, but maybe the problem is in how the parents handle the situation. Guarding their kids too much and being overprotectice. Dont get me the wrong way i do not want the parents to go ahead and show their kid all those things. A parent should be cautious not overprotective, sex is something most kids experience sround the age of fitreen. Youngsters should be guided to make the right decisions, and maybe they should know about those things and they should be told the consequences that will follow if those things are done. Some things children should learn on their own, if they are taught of what's wrong and what's right, when they face the situation they will make the right decision.

Removal of Dictionaries in Schools

It is absolutely ridiculous and unheard of to pull a dictionary from the shelves of a school just because parents’ attention is brought to one controversial word. ‘Oral sex’, whether approved of or not, is a set of words used to describe a verb in the human language. I’m 100% in agreement with the parent, Jason Rodgers. He asked, “What are they going to do next? Take the encyclopedia books out because the mention of the words penis and vagina?” You do have to draw the line somewhere. If every book or text segment that had something vulgar or controversial was taken away from us, what would we learn from? Books wouldn’t exist! For God’s sake, even Where’s Waldo is on the list of books deemed challenged. I do agree with the fact that it may not be “age appropriate”, but it’s a dictionary! A dictionary is purposely made to define and explain words in the human language for all ages. No one ever said that Merriam Webster’s Dictionary was a children’s book! Also, you can’t penalize an entire group of kids who are willing to learn just because one child wants to be ‘cute’ and look up words which are frowned upon. If I had a child in school that chose to look up these words, I wouldn’t mind one bit. At least he/she would be getting the correct information on what the word really means instead referring to their amateurish friends on the matter. At one time or another, a child will be exposed to things we don’t believe they should at the age, or to at all. The television shows that are shown these days aren’t screened like they used to be. People in public are a lot less courteous with the language they use. Not to mention the internet is available to everyone and holds anything you could ever imagine. Schools in California and anywhere else for that matter really need to put things into consideration before discontinuing a dictionary in middle school classrooms.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dictionary Being Removed From School

I believe that it is very unnecessary to remove the dictionary from the school in California. Like the parent in the article stated "you have to draw the line somewhere..." and I fully agree with him. Just because there is one definition the parent does not like, is not a good enough reason for them to ban the dictionary. Not every child is going to read the whole dictionary. And if your child looks up the word it is more than likely because they have heard it from one of there friends or from the television. So, if someones child has a curiosity of the word then their parent should step up and explain it to their child. They need to realize its part of parenting and they cannot shelter their kids their whole life. They are going to learn of the word some how and in my opinion I would want to explain it to my child myself, not them learning it from a friend.
Parents should quit banning their children from everyday ordinary books just because of one simple little thing. Children are going to learn from everywhere outside of their homes and if their parent bans something from them, they are more than likely going to want to pursue it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog prompt

If you are scheduled for this week, give me your thoughts on this story.