Breed, I say, breed!

Some light-hearted – yet also troubling? – news from the Associated Press: endangered Chinese pandas are on loan to Australia, and both states are urging them to make babies. Verbally urging. In speeches. Surely this is a no-fail solution, right?

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Earth, Cage or Source

Yesterday when we were talking about The Lord of the Rings I got to thinking about how earth tends to be used in movies. More specifically when we were talking about the birthing of the orcs from the mud and earth, there seemed to be a hesitance in the room. It seemed that no one wanted to say, “The earth is a source of evil!”

Clearly there is a problem with saying the the earth is evil. It gives us food, water, not constant earthquakes, and a place to lie. In general we seem to all agree that it is a good place.

The main discussion that I am trying to get to is that in a lot of the stories and films in the world there is some evil under the surface. There are orcs and other beasts growing under the surface, but there is also the demons caged underneath the surface. The description of the earth, using these scenerios, is endless. The earth could be an evil thing that is trying to get ride of us, it could have an evil center, or it could be sacrificing itself to hold these beasts. I like to think that if there is some evil demon thing under the surface of the earth it would be caged there and the earth would really be taking one for the team.

Is the earth a cage or a source?

“Beasts of England”

I was working on my final paper today when I came across and very interesting song…

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken to my joyful tidings

Of the Golden Future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,

Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,

And the fruitful fields of England

Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,

And the harness from our back,

Bit and spur shall rust forever,

Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,

Wheat and barley, oats and hay,

Clover, beans and mangel-wurzels

Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,

Purer shall its waters be,

Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes

On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labor,

Through we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,

All most toil for freedom’s sake.

~ “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

I found this song interesting, because although from a fiction story, it seems to bring up an interesting argument. Is it true that animals would be better off without human presence? For one, it can be argued that all animal cruelty will cease to exist. Nature would be able to function the way it’s supposed to, without the intervention of humans doing things like controlling the weather or playing god by saving species that should be extinct. In addition, animals could be free–dogs would no longer be subjected to human civilization, as would cats and horses. Cows and chickens would no longer be farmed just for the pure desire to eat. Tuna would be happily swimming in the ocean, instead of watching their numbers rapidly decline. Condors would be happily living without humans destroying their habitats. And marine animals would be able to live in non-polluted waters.

Yet there seems to be a major issue forgotten. Some animals have become dependent on human life. Dogs, cats, and horses are still able to live in the wild, yet they thrive in human societies today. Cows and chickens may be bred simply for food, but in the wild they will all be eaten eventually. Condors may have been able to live without human destruction, yet the reason condors are still around are because people saved the last pair alive in Bir Sur, California to breed until numbers could go up. For some species, it is non-negotiable: humans are more of a problem than they help. But for other species, humans have changed the traits that are the strongest, and now they are dependent on human society.

HW for tomorrow!

Here’s the article to read for tomorrow.

Just read it and come in with some thoughts for discussion tomorrow!

MonsterQuest

MonsterQuest is a tv show that sets out to find monsters that people believe they have seen.  Most of the them clearly don’t exist, but it is interesting to see people scientifically and meticulously approach something so strange.  Some of their episodes are titled  Sasquatch Attack, Birdzilla, Bigfoot, Mega Hog, Giant Squid Found, Chupacabra, Super Rats, Monster Spiders, and the Last Dinosaur.  

I believe this show is interesting because it reaches into the unknown.  It tells us that what we can’t even imagine existing might actually exist.  We as humans are interested in the unknown because we value knowledge and the advantage that it gives us.  Whether we realize it or not, education and learning is fun and exciting and a lot of our life is spent gaining it.  

Combine our thirst for knowledge and understanding with something cool and mysterious, and you have the makings for a good tv show.  MonsterQuest entertains us because it supports the idea that monsters do exist, and it shows us how little we actually know about ourselves and our world.  It lets us fall back into the world of imagination and fantasy by showing us that our world really isn’t as predictable as we think it is.

Get out the SPF100 because the Sun is Growing

Following up on Jake’s class from the other day about what earth would be like in 100 million years, I found an article that talks about the future of the sun and earth. In about 7.6 billion years the sun “will reach its maximum size as a red giant” and possibly engulf the Earth. Its brightness is constantly increasing and scientists fear that the earth’s brightness is increasing too quickly that the temperature of the atmosphere will change to be an unlivable place for all animals and the population will die out soon. It is also predicted that in about a billion years the sun with be so bright and radiate so much light that it will boil away the ocean and remove all value from natural resources. As the sun continues to grow in size and brightness, the world will soon be destroyed and engulfed by the sun. The sun will also change the balance of the solar system and the orbits, so it will possibly move planets into new orbits.
This goes along with some of the predictions we mentioned in class for the earth in 100 million years. We all agreed that there would be no human life left because the earth would become a place that is inhospitable for humans and there would only be a few animal species surviving. I thought that the earth would be very arid and hot, which relates to the sun heating up and boiling away earth’s atmosphere and destroying its land. So what will happen to the Earth in these up and coming years? Can we avoid total destruction? Or will be slowly melted away by the growing sun until we are finally swallowed whole?

Thoughts on Balto

After watching Balto and having our discussion in class the other day, I have a few lingering thoughts. One topic that we did not discuss was gender roles and sexuality. Like in many other movies we have seen, the females are usually in lighter colors and do not have main roles, but rather side roles as seducers and such. Jen uses her sexuality to trick Steel and it works quite well. Steel is also one stereotype of males. He is strong, a leader, independent, and loved by everyone—especially the ladies. Balto also represents another stereotype of males, which is that he is the hero. When Jen comes to find Balto to help him on his journey, she gets wounded and has to turn back. This symbolizes that men are only cut out to be sled dogs and heroes and that women are not fit enough to help in these situations. But while Balto is out being the hero and saving the village, Jen is at home caring for Rosie and it shows the maternal instincts in females and their roles as caretakers. It is interesting to think that this movie is made with children in mind as the audiences and writers and directors are subtly slipping in hints as to what the typical female or male should act like.

Another similarity in the movie that I noticed was that in every movie there seams to be a posse of some sort that follow and support the main character. There always seems to be a wise one like the goose in Balto or Rafiki in The Lion King. These characters support the main character because he is usually a bit of an outcast and they always form a group of misfits. As we watch more of these movies in class, I am starting to see more and more the similarities in the messages and characters in these kid movies.