Category: media

Cli-fi in the Classroom

Via Dan Bloom, an article about cli-fi classes across the country, including our own. My favorite part? It’s also available in Spanish:

En la Universidad de Temple, Ted Howell da un curso llamado “Clima ficción: Ciencia ficción, cambio climático y apocalipsis” a unos 30 estudiantes. También tienen blogs semanales sobre el curso mediante el cual mantienen intercambios fuera de clase con su profesor y sus compañeros.

Alan Alda is Communicating Science

I took a solo road trip once that led me through that empty, boring part of the country where there is only one radio station.  Since I don’t have an iPod, and I was tired of my CDs, I was forced to listen to talk radio, or else risk driving into a cornfield out of pure boredom.

And I’d taken this trip before.  From what I can tell, this radio station features a preacher with an Irish accent repeating himself about the bible twenty hours a day, and a man with an Ethiopian accent talking about the bible for three hours each day.

But I landed on the “science hour” or something apparently.  It was good luck, I guess.  The voice I heard was excellent.  I went, “Is that Alan Alda!?” And it was!  It was awesome.

This is what he’s doing nowadays.  He runs workshops for scientists, training them to be fluent in normal-people-speak, less dependent on scientific jargon.  Jargon, he said, is a huge barrier to non-scientists’ ability to understand the big ideas of science.  And science really, really needs to be understood.  He talked about politics, and he touched on some of what we just discussed in class today.

I feel good knowing that this is going on, and even better knowing that it’s being publicized in that backwoods part of the country where Gen-e-sis and Le-vit-i-cus are seemingly the biggest words any ever hears.  In a place like that especially, like in Dellarobia’s neighborhood, scientific jargon stands little chance of being comprehended–and folksy locals everywhere still need to be convinced of the facts of evolution, climate change, and equality of sexuality and race.  Alan Alda’s doing good work.

Nuclear Energy and Fukashima

I thought this video would be fitting after our brief discussion of Chernobyl. This shows you just some of the dangers that we risk getting ourselves into by using nuclear energy as an energy source. Nuclear energy can be extremely unstable and comes with numerous problems that we still don’t know how to solve. It can become a very serious problem as it has today in Fukashima, Japan.

Climate Change in Greenland

This is a truly eye opening story and example of how climate change is in effect. This story is done by the news company Vice and reported by Shane Smith as he does to Greenland to witness the visual effects of climate change. This kind of stuff does not happen because of natural atmospheric patterns. Climate change is happening people and here’s some proof. The episodes of Vice on HBO are done in half-hour bits and they typically contain two different stories. The second story here does not relate to our class, but it is an eye opening story of modern day slavery in Pakistan. I would recommend this show and company to anyone who is tired of not getting real news from CNN, FOX, etc.

Earth Abides site

Just yesterday I found this terrific website dedicated to George R. Stewart and Earth Abides. It’s maintained by Donald Scott, who wrote a biography of Stewart that was published two years ago. A specific post many of you will be interested in is EARTH ABIDES: the influence of a work, which details the book’s legacy and lasting influence:

ishs-hammer1Stewart’s novel is a work of true speculative science fiction. It is not in any way the type of space opera popular in those days, but a work of fiction based on solid science and informed speculation. Yet the book has always been considered “science fiction” and is usually shelved in the science fiction sections of bookstores. That may seem to demean the high literary quality of Earth Abides, but it is one reason the book has never been out of print. Science fiction readers are, in the literal sense, “fans” – that is “fanatics” – for their type of literature. They deserve great credit for not only buying and reading the book, but for recommending it to others.

The painting of Ish’s hammer is by the painter Steve Williams (link to his website).