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Archive for November, 2013

Science Fiction

I chose to listen to “The Roads Must Roll” and “The World the Children Made” and read “The Nine Billion Names of God.” In regard to how science fiction can serve as a catalyst for the critique of society I believe that science fiction gets a lot of its material from the commonly held beliefs and behaviors of society. In “The Roads Must Roll,” there seemed to be a theme of capitalism and how the desire to make money causes the importance of human life to be cast aside. Even though people were dying, the main objective was to keep the roads rolling. Furthermore it demonstrated how reliant people can become on things that are not necessities until we deem them so. The broadcast illustrates how becoming overly attached to things that merely make out lives easier can have detrimental effects on our freedoms and happiness. In “The world the Children Made,” we see a debate on whether or not to discipline children with physical punishment and an eagerness to abandon manual work for a reliance on technology. In “The Nine Billion Names of God,” we see how not believing in foreign beliefs does not save you from the possibility of them being factual. Science fiction seems to be akin to satire in respect to it being able to critique society without being dull or blunt. In regard to science fiction’s critique of the nature of science and technology, it seems to have a pretty negative view of it. Although I don’t regularly read or watch science fiction, what I have seen always seems to involve a theme of how technology and science will be the downfall of the human race. It seems to suggest that human kind is incapable of maintaining the acts that make us human and instead are only capable of falling into the lure of technology’s promises of an easy life. It seems to constantly be warning us of the inevitable dangers ahead as we continue to progress technologically. 

Disney’s Man in Space

My favorite scene was the man riding the rocket powered bicycle with wings which quickly ended in him being caught on fire, luckily there was a man close by with a bucket of water. There were many scenes like this where people were experimenting with science, in this case rocket power, with little regard to their own safety. I believe today, children are raised to be overly cautious and this leads to overly cautious adults. Those adults that do not follow this standard are thought to be worthy of a Darwin Award. Furthermore, with the use of technology and computers we can now input data for any scenario and know the outcome without putting people in harms way. However, I believe that this disconnects people with the science being done and leads to a loss of interest. The most exciting part of developing new technologies is the trial and error stage, and we have lost this stage in its original form. I believe this extends further. In educational settings, students are often given the answer and asked to argue for its truth rather than forming the original question. Children are so busy learning facts, teachers don’t have time to help the children further develop their natural abilities to question and experiment. I believe this is possibly an answer for why we are seeing fewer truly novel ideas. I feel as though all I see are improvements on past technologies and extensions on old ideas. This brings to mind a recent television commercial for a watch that works as a phone. It shows an array of old cartoons, T.V. Shows, and movies where people are talking into a watch and then shows the new and improved device with a text that says “After all theses years… it’s finally real.” This leads me to question why technology seems to be having a negative effect on our natural abilities to act as scientists. Children experiment with out caution on a regular basis. It seems like the more concrete knowledge we possess, the more impossible new things start to seem. Disney’s Man in Space was filled with an array of questions and problems that were evoked by the desire to get into space. How would a person’s body react to zero gravity, how would their minds react, would the rocket really be able to safely break through out atmosphere and return? “Man would bet his life against the unknown dangers of space travel” and all in the name of science. I believe that the disconnect people are beginning to experience with science is a result of a loss of importance placed on curiosity and a loss of an understood necessity of taking chances in the spirit of progression. I was looking at Reddit the other day and saw a post where a parent had submitted their child’s math homework. The kid did the work but wrote on the place where it asked him to show his work that he did the work in his head because he didn’t want to be judged. I think we place to much importance on not making mistakes and not enough importance on taking chances.