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Archive for July, 2015

Made by Swedish animator Erik Wernquist, with narration taken from Carl Sagan (his Cosmos series, I assume?). I ran across this short film back when it came out, and now that it’s come my way again I think I may show it in the summer course I’m teaching on Other Worlds in Scandinavian literature. During the first half of the course we covered the myths, fairy tales, some HC Andersen, Niels Klim’s underground journey, and the crazy hijinks of Peer Gynt, and as of this last week we’ve finally hit the 20th century and read our first science fiction novel, the dystopian Kallocain by Karin Boye. We aren’t going to be able to hit up any stereotypical sci-fi (spaceships and all–though our last two books, Smilla’s Sense of Snow and Troll both can technically be considered sci-fi), so this short with its spaceships and planets may be our opportunity to talk a bit about the teleological vision of visionary scientists like Sagan on the one hand and the culmination of that vision in… well, in extreme sports on the moons of the solar system, going by this video. OK, not to reduce it to that, but that is kind of the vibe I get, haha… It’s beautifully done in any case, and while my fear of heights would keep me from jumping off any cliffs, it does get me excited about exploring the solar system. Now if only he would update the video with some of the new data from Pluto…

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HEART - 7-8-15_Pluto_color_new_NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

New Horizons is almost to Pluto, and man, it looks like National Geographic has pulled out all the stops with a slick documentary for the occasion. @_@  I’m not complaining–I mean, out of the planets as we have imagined them the last century (well, a bit less than that), Pluto is the only one left that we haven’t been to, debate over his planetary status notwithstanding. I’m excited! Those who have been following this blog for a while know that I am really into the idea of “New Worlds” in both the literal and the figurative sense (like in this post). Back in elementary school (maybe 4th grade? 5th?) I wrote a science fiction story about a trip to Planet X, and well, Pluto used to be Planet X, so that’s enough of a connection for me, haha. I remember my teacher finding hilarious how I had the ALL-CAPS for several lines to communicate enthusiasm for the amazing discoveries of the mission (spoiler alert: Planet X was surrounded by mini-suns, and so was able to support life).

Anyway, hope I’ll be able to follow along as the data comes in. Hm, maybe I can show some of it in class, since I’m teaching a course on Other Worlds in literature right now…

 

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