Thursday, May 27, 2010

And Now for Something Offbeat

Ask Mr Stephen Colbert about the greatest threat facing America, and he'll tell you: bears! I submit as proof positive this footage from the Asa Zoo in Hiroshima, Japan:

There was initial doubt as to the authenticity of the clip. However, similar footage of the same bear two years ago shows the new footage could very well be genuine.

In the older footage, the bear is seen spinning another stick around although not as quickly or as controlled as in the most recent footage. Zoo keepers also explain how they discovered Claude's talent and how they encouraged him by giving him 15 metre-long sticks to play with.

It would appear that the Kung-Fu Panda now has a moon-bear friend...

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Review of Walter M Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz"

I have long been a fan of science fiction stories, though my reading of said stories was curtailed somewhat by my time in college. It is therefore with some pleasure that I was able to pick up one of the classics of science fiction form the last century and read it. I came across Mr Walter M Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz by reading from the blog of Mr John C Wright--himself an accomplished writer in the genre--who mentioned it as a favorite of Professor Peter Kreeft’s. Having grown up in a generation which is at time deliberately isolated from the past--sometimes by itself, sometimes by the so-called adults of our childhood, who had by-and-large consciously rebelled against tradition, authority, history, and reality--I had never heard of this book.

I picked it up expecting something extraordinary, amazing, awe-inspiring, thought-provoking, and entertaining. I was not disappointed. There are several criteria for which I look when reading a science fiction novel. First and foremost, it is a novel, and thus should contain a good and compelling story. Second, because it is a work of science fiction, there should be a sense of wonder; this also applies to fantasy stories. For science fiction, the wonder is in what a future or alternative world might hold, with the development of technology and the discoveries of new sciences; for fantasy stories, it is the wonder of a different world altogether, whether in the enchantment of the forgotten past or the magic of a different reality. Finally, the book should reveal to us something about ourselves, the world, or the ultimate truth which underlies our existence.

Read the rest at the Nicene Guys site.