Social Studies (Education)
I was unaware social studies was among the classes targeted for budget cuts until reading this article. Certainly that wasn’t true for my sons, both of whom found the history and social studies courses among their favorites. I loved my social studies class and even had one of those defining moments when doing an exercise in debates where I learned any position can be debated if you just do the research and decide which facts to believe in. It’s those moments that are being challenged, and the same moments that affect how people learn and live their lives. No wonder understanding and acceptance is down if all people get are the fears and stereotypes because they’re denied the learning. Anyway, interesting article on the subject and the consequences:
The Bowler is a familiar hat from movies and television as well as the Steampunk Movement, but I didn’t know its origin story before. Continue reading
I rarely read romantic suspense or thrillers anymore, because they’re all about the sex and lust when what I enjoy the most is the connection. Way to make me eat my words. It’s not that there isn’t sensual and explicit sex in Under Pressure, because there is, at least to the level of a modern contemporary romance, but there’s more to the romance than just that. Heavy thriller readers might find this a little lighter on that aspect, but the danger isn’t lacking either.
Though there’s definitely a crisis of life and death, and one with more than one true villain, there’s also a lot of downtime where the two of them get to know each other and turn that instant soulmate connection into something deeper and more complicated. These are times when they are safe, or at least believe themselves to be, so they can just be people and you can see their relationship develop. They spend a good portion of the book sequestered, which doesn’t mean nothing happens or that they don’t keep trying to piece together the scope of the danger. Cat makes this task more difficult because she’s determined to keep her bodyguards safe by keeping them ignorant. Part of the sequestered time is spent with Leese trying to get her to reveal all she knows. Continue reading
I’ve been a storyteller since before I could read or write. Among my first reads were many folktales from many cultures. Not the cleaned up Disney versions, but the original teaching tales with simple lessons like don’t go out into the forest at night or you’ll be eaten and this is poisonous, etc. That’s why when I saw this TEDx talk, it resonated so well with me, well enough, I wanted to share it with you. The talk itself demonstrates not just the importance of fantasy, of stories used to teach or inform as much as to entertain, but also storytelling itself.
A new technique using X-ray phase-contrast tomography is making it possible to read badly damaged scrolls like those from a library buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD without destroying them.
A neat art project uses the Arabic script to inspire drawings that reflect the meaning. Some are more direct while others are not, but comparing the script below to the illustration above is fascinating. Continue reading
I’ve reviewed books that have uncommon narrative styles before, but this is the first time I found myself lost in cultural differences, not just between my culture and theirs but within their culture and the different social strata. No, this is not a criticism. It was fascinating to catch myself having expectations because of the seemingly traditional narrative approach only to have them turned upside down.
Basically, Everything Belongs to Us is a small story, or rather a collection of small stories, that became a deep dive into the culture of South Korea starting around 1978, long enough for a new generation to grow up after the Korean War. This is critical because of the consequences and impact the war left behind in both the physical world and the social structures while the main characters have neither experienced the time before nor the war itself.
The economic disparity, the focus on education and children as the guardians of the future, and the political rhetoric is presented in a matter-of-fact manner that begs you to reflect on what you’re seeing. This is not a simple story despite being shown through often uncritical eyes because it reveals the tradeoffs and consequences both within families and the larger picture. It shows the path to radicalization, but also the conflict and social strata within the radical movements and society as a whole. Continue reading