Stephen Hawking, rock star scientist and one of the brightest minds of the present has passed on. He was 76 years old. Considering that his doctor gave him two years to live, due to his disease, 50 years ago, this is actually cause for celebration.
Mr Hawking, Sir, you led an inspirational and epic life. You carved your name into the universe as we understand it and you will not be forgotten!
PS: We should start Hawking Day in celebration of his work and memory!
Several myth cycles have been featured here before, most often the Cthulhu Mythos, of course, but there have also been mentions of Norse Mythology and more recently the Epic of Gilgamesh. Now it is time for some mythology that is often, sadly, ignored by most:
The fact that African mythology is often ignored in cultural studies is tragic, since this continent offers an astoundingly divers and rich treassure of tales that, due to the nature of human origin, go back longer than anywhere else on earth.
Here is one great example of African mythology: The Mwindo Epic, a tale by the Nyanga people of the Congo:
Also of note is the way the epic is traditionally told (this is according to the Wikipedia, so accurracy may be flexible):
The Mwindo Epic varies from typical oral myths in that it is not only spoken, but performed among gatherings of locals. The myth is performed mostly by a single bard wielding a calabash made into a rattle and donning various bells and other forms of noisemakers. To tell the story properly the bard acts out all the parts and does not refrain from being very animated in his dances and acting. It is not unusual for the bard to throw in some narrative not native to the story detailing his own life and his own personal experiences. The narrator is usually accompanied by four younger men who play on a percussion stick.
Audience participation is important. The audience will often sing along with the narrator and the percussionists during the songs, and repeat certain lines of the story while the narrator pauses between sections. The bard is often shown appreciation by the audience with applause, yells, and gifts.
It has been two weeks since I opened an account with Netflix and I am already despairing! I binge-watched The Expanse, but to my dismay, it is only two seasons long so far, with another season due in 2018.
But what seasons they are!
The Expanse offers a relatively hard sci-fy look into what the solar system could look like in about 200 years. It features:
A united Earth and Moon
An independent Mars
An independent coalition of various factions in the asteroid belt beween Mars and Jupiter and settlers on the Jovian Moons
realistic high-tech space flight
realistic problems of space travel and colonies
realistic battles and weapons technology (all based on our best understanding of science)
a strange alien artifact which may be a weapon, or something else entirely
great characters and character development
The Expanse is hands down the best science-fiction series I have ever seen. It is gut-wrenchingly realistic in its portrayal of the struggles one faces when confronted with the fact that outside is nothing but hard vacuum. All the characters are real, have real motivations (even if it just greed) and the really good guys and knights in shinig armor types are few and far between, but all are human and even the bad guys are not beyond redemption.
And the space battles are simply one step beyond everything I have seen so far!
Try it out yourselves, watch it!
I hope The Expanse will be for science fiction what Game of Thrones is for fantasy.
In times like these, when the majority of billionaires use their money to bribe invest into the careers of politicians, especially if those billionaires are connected to the coal, gas, and oil industries and do not give a damn of what happens after they have lived out their lives, it is good to see a super-rich individual like Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is a visionary who uses his wealth and genius to bring humanity forward and pushes the boundaries of what a private person can achieve. Tesla Motors, SolarCity and of course SpaceX are only some of the examples where Musk turned his visions into reality and also did something that helps humanity in the present and more importantly in the future.
Of all the billionaires alive today, Elon Musk is the one most likely to turn into Batman, which is the topic of today’s podcast.
What I like about Google in the Morning (other than the smell of victory, of course), is:
The company is run by geeks and nderds and therefor, they care a lot about science. This morning, when I browsed to Google, I found this wonderfull Doodle and it made me grin:
The good news on Star Wars in the real world does not cease. After one of the Mars rovers clearly spotted the Mos Eisley Cantina Band, it now also seems like a planet like Tatooine might actually exist.
Tatooine famously orbits a binary star (see header image) and it was thought that binary stars could not have planets because the gravity of the binary star would prevent planets in the habitable zone from forming. But now it seems that our telescopes have actually spotted evidence which hints at the existance of rocky planets around binary stars in their habitable zone.
Yes, Tatooine might be out there, but so far, things are not as great as they sound. but the gentleman here can explain this much better than I can:
In today’s episode of the Non-Euclidean Æthercast I have the great pleasure of chatting with one of my oldest international contacts in the Steampunk scene: Jo Lima from Portugal. Since we have known each other for quite a while, a lot has happened and Jo is no longer active in the Portuguese Steampunk scene.
Real life has „forced“ her to become a planetary scientist (to my everlasting envy) and she is currently working on her PhD thesis in Madrid.
Our chat mainly concerns astronomy and planetary science, please enjoy!
Well, well, 2017… You are hardly four weeks old and from a very personal perspective, you have already had a major impact on my life. In a good way.
Let me take a few steps back in time to a time before I started this blog, before I had heard of Steampunk but was already a Cthulhu cultist, as this thesis paper (German) clearely shows.
Back in those days, I worked as a teacher but had to leave teaching for a reason that was beyond my controle. I went into the more tech-related side of online marketing, first more focused on newsletters, then SEO. I have been doing SEO for nine years now but not anymore.
I have come full circle and will be a teacher again, which I have been wanting to do for the past four years but only now got the opportunity.
The subject matters I will teach will be different, I will no longer be requiered to teach accounting (which I hate) but will instead teach sociology and politics. I will still be teaching English (yay!) and will also be teaching IT (even more yay!).
Now, this of course means the whole STEAM vs STEM debate I contributed my own thoughts to is going to haunt me, since IT is part of the STEM cluster. Obviously, I will do my best to teach not only the skill but also the art of coding (or at least try to). My time to do this will be limited, since IT is not a big topic in the schools here, but I can always offer extra lessons after classes ended, do something like a coding club or maybe I can come up with something really creative.
This also means that I will have to do some teacher training again, also afeter school which means in the near future, the update frequency of the blog will decrease (at least for the next 1 1/2 – 2 years) but it will hopefully not go dormant entirely.
At least you know I am engaged otherwise doing something I love.