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Non-Fictional Prose Course

FatCatRex's picture

"Hallucinations" Chapter

After reading Sagan's chapter on Hallucinations, I am heartened to read that facts, and our understanding and manipulation of them, are not what make us normal. According to Sagan, normal lies somewhere between reality and fantasy. Most of us, perhaps despite what we say, believe in / have encountered things that cannot always be explained within the plane of reality...and even while making those claims, we still seem to understand, socially at least, that fantasy is just that. I am fascinated to think about this idea of a gray area--somewhere that rational people can somehow explain or suspend disbelief, without venturing over into the realm of pure fiction.

SandraGandarez's picture

class notes 10/16


Class Notes 10-16-2010


Review of Path to Paradise

Anne – revelations about the limitations of the method and so much individualistic literary criticism due to our conversation of it. Book seemed personable with Berko's position.



Anne Dalke– did we get caught up in images and didn't advance an argument

ckosarek – yeah I saw it in my paper. You run the risk of bringing outside things

Anne Dalke– anyone else?

tgarber's picture

Reading and Understanding Carl Sagan's "Textbook"

 Though I do not typically enjoy science or anything related to it, I enjoyed Sagan's description of how science impacts our lives through the years:  improving our means of communication, entertainment, health, etc. I could appreciate the "textbook-like" information that he provides, but that same information that once kept me interested in the book also made me dislike the book so far. He also disregards those who do not praise science as he does, and that left me indifferent about the book.

Owl's picture

Scientific Illiteracy

"...the consequences of scientific illiteracy are far more dangerous in our time, than in any that has come before." (p6-7)

SandraGandarez's picture

Distancing emotions from something more personal

So I've been thinking about a the 9/11 Report and Henrietta Lacks and comparing their effect on me emotionally and cognitively. When reading the 9/11 Report I felt so distant and like it was something that happened long before my time and that it had no impact on me. The reality is that my town had a view of the Twin Towers and we were a quick 10 minute train trip away from the city. My father was also on a flight to Portugal and my godmother works in Manhattan so its not as if the tragedy of 9/11 didn't influence my life; it did. I think that is the specific reason that when reading the report I felt like it had no effect on me. This contrasted heavily with the story of Henrietta Lacks where I felt connected and more emotionally invested in her story.

Smacholdt's picture

Science as a Key to Understanding

 In his book Sagan reminds us that science is of vital importance and it is perilous to forget or ignore it. On page 10 he reminds the reader that, “Abandoning science means abandoning more than air conditioning, CD players, hair dryers and fast cars.” He debunks pseudo science by pointing out that pseudo science hypotheses are framed in such a way that they cannot be proved or disproved. But then again, science is also not always about certainties.

veritatemdilexi's picture

Benefit-"A thing well done; a good or noble deed."-OED

 As I am now skeptical of all the words that I read, I looked up the word benefit in the OED and was reminded that benefit is both a noun and a verb.  I am used to benefit being used as a verb- "To do good to, to be of advantage or profit to; to improve, help forward."  

tgarber's picture

Oprah to produce 'Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' Movie for HBO

 According to the Huffington Post as of May of this year, Oprah will produce a movie about the 'Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'. What do you think? How will a movie be different from a book? Should she make the movie? Why or why not? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself. As of now, I have no idea.

Smacholdt's picture

Class Notes 11/18/10

 Class Notes 11/18/10

Anne: Announcements: Veritatemdelixi’s first hyperlink, read the Demon Haunted World for Tuesday, How you should feel about cells isn’t obvious- how does the book organize this argument?

 Ckosarek: Skloot was very sympathetic towards the family. She thinks that you should have a say about where your tissues go.

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