Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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What Is #besomebody?

          #besomebody. There's a chance you've heard of it. It's got more than 11 thousand followers on twitter and all goes well for the movement then it can increase, and fast. According to their blog, #besomebody is a "declaration that your Best is all you have to give." What does it mean?

           Well, of course, it's mainly motivational. The talk of rejecting mediocrity will eventually lead to a better attitude and a more positive outlook on life. So, is it a humbug? Is it useless? Worthless? Or is it something with potential?

         Yes, indeed it has potential, and of course it has a few interesting aspects. I feel it's a bit too motivational at times, though, almost as much as Coelho can get to be. Up until now, though, there's been an interesting response, and it's going to be mentioned a lot for a while if all goes well.

             Meanwhile, I've contributed to the movement submitting the picture of the moment I recieved my novel for the first time. If you've got a picture capturing a special moment, or are using the #besomebody shirt while doing something awesome, go ahead and submit it. I'm not one for motivational movements, but this one can prove to be effective. 

               So, why did I take an interest with this movement? Because it's not the usual motivational bullcrap of feel good, be a good person and the universe will be good to you. They tell you to sieze the opportunities you get in everyday life and use them, and that, my friends, is what many other movements lack: the call for action. #besomebody recognizes that it won't be easy, but they also know that you're going to have a damn good time out of it and you'll actually get something if you give something, and that, indeed, is how the world works.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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5: Awesome Underappreciated Bands/Artists

           A lot of times it's easy to point out which bands are the most famous, and most of the time they're good, but sometimes the best don't get the recognition they deserve, and some might not even be the best, but deserve to be more appreciated by everybody. These are a few examples. 

5: Quba

          This Rumanian dubstep artist is relatively fresh (He only has 2 EPs), but the few songs he has are really good. I'm especially fond of his new EP, Damage, but I'm pretty sure that he's going to put something else on the plate. Meanwhile, here's one of his songs, "Heart Instructions".

4: Rodrigo y Gabriela

         Although these are pretty famous, they're still underappreciated. They're a guitar duo coming from Mexico City, who tried to gain fame in Ixtapa. Nobody paid any attention to them and they ended up going to Dublin in Ireland and gaining notoriety there. They've got an interesting style, which in simple terms can be described as fast, rhythmic guitar playing but can also be mentioned as mind blowing riffs. They make a good couple (musical of course) and they're worth a listen (or a lot). Here's one of their more famous songs: "Tamacun".

3: Puerto Muerto

             This is an alternative country band which is really interesting. Comprised of ex-married couple (Yes, it's like White Stripes all over again) Tim Kelley and Christina Meyer, they have an interesting sound that's hard to replicate. "Drumming for Pistols" is my favorite from their repertoire, but they have a lot more where that came from.

2: Lindsey Stirling

Ladies, contain your jealousy.
         Some of you may recognize her from the 2010 season of America's Got Talent as the Hip Hop Violinist, Lindsey's a violinist, dancer, performance artist, and of course composer. Indeed, she has some Hip Hop, there's a bit of Classical, some Pop music, and Dubstep. She's just released an album but from her I would definitely like to hear more. Meanwhile, here's Crystallize.

1: Tarantella

            Now this band is something else. Their style is different, and when I say different, I mean that I haven't found any band that can come close to this sound, which some call Southern Gothica, but really it's a fusion of that and Latin music and possibly Greek dances, you know, a bit of everything. Kal Cahoone and John Rumley formed a collaboration that certainly won't find an equal soon. Kahoone came from Argentina after working with Christian Basso and was desperate to start a band, and this is what happened. Listen to A Chi Sa Dove Sara. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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Is Eugenics Ethical?

         Evolution. The motor that drove us to become the species we are today. We are the pinnacle of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Does that mean that it has ended for us, now that we're out of nature? No. We can continue to evolve naturally, probably based on our surroundings, or we can control our evolution. The human genome has been mapped and now we know what affects what. 

           Genetic engineering is a promising topic, but many people are against it. If one has seen Gattaca, it makes sense. Only the rich would be able to afford genetic engineering and they would have the perfect children, then there would be an elitist society, etc. Well, unluckily for most of the world elitism already exists so that's an issue we shouldn't really worry about, but what we should note is that everything at first is expensive. The first laptops were only owned by rich kids and people with important jobs in corporations. 

*EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is not an elitist.
         Now, genetic engineering has already been used for things extremely beneficial. Crops that grow quicker, animals that give in more product, be it eggs, milk or beef (although many activists are against this), insulin that can be used to treat diabetes, indistinguishable from that which is produced in a healthy person's pancreas. The possibilities are endless. So, why not try it out with humans?

              Imagine. Diseases, syndromes, conditions can be prevented in utero. Tendencies to conditions such as diabetes can be erradicated, we can modify the body to either view healthy food as more pleasurable or to use junk food in a more beneficial way. We could be stronger, better, smarter, more creative, healthier, we can live longer! As Woody Allen said: "I don't want to gain immortality through my work, I want to gain immortality through not dying."

You can become a god.
           So, what can happen? Well, there's a thing known as unintended consequences. There could be movements against races or against whole segments of populations, such as Hitler's search for the Aryan race (which ironically, is Indo-European, not blonde with blue eyes). Or weird mutations could appear.

But werewolves.
               Another worry many people have is the loss of biodiversity, for if many people start to have similar genetic compositions, the population's ability to adapt will be reduced and therefore humanity would be at greater risk of extinction thanks to disease. 

Zombies would be a lost cause, though.
               What could be a solution? We could educate the younger generations to view eugenics not only as something ethical but something that has to be used with caution, and when the first generation of genetically modified children appears, they have to be educated to find a way to share genetic engineering with the world. Just imagine the possibilities. Better athletes, smarter scientists, more creative writers, society as a whole would be improved, and humanity would progress in a velocity unknown to us. If evolution is the survival of the best adapted, then we as a species have to undertake this challenge and adapt as best as possible. 

Let's take the next step.

Monday, May 20, 2013

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Why Is The Book Always Better Than The Movie?

Good, good, *pukes*
       This is something that is always mentioned when a movie's based on a book. "Meh, the book was better." There's a whole myrriad of movies out there based on books. The Hannibal series. A Clockwork Orange. Battle Royale. The Harry Potter series. Why, then, does it usually hold true that the book's better?

           A lot of it has to do with description. In a book you can fit millions of details that you wouldn't usually see in a movie, like what a character was thinking or how it was related to another situation, character, or object in the same book (or in another book in the same series, once we're at it). Also, a book can be extended to such a length that a moviemaker could only dream of. There's no way you could make a movie out of a three hundred page book without ommiting some details, let alone a full movie. 

Unless you're Kubrick. You can make sure there's more details in the movie.
          And yet, that's not the most important factor. In a book, you can let your imagination run wild. You can imagine things happening in magnitudes that the films simply can't capture (read a book after watching its film, and indeed, you will be forced to view the book as the director viewed it). That also means that when you watch the film, it will be very different as to what you imagined. A good example of this is for the Hunger Games movie, when Rue's actress was cast, many people were enraged because they imagined Rue as a small, white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. Of course, many fans overlooked the fact that Rue and the dude that played Thresh were described with dark skin. 

I wouldn't complain to his face, though, that guy's big.
          Another thing is that simply, the way that the film is interpreted will simply be too different as to what you imagined. The Neverending Story? The movies were horrible to look at, they were simply too different. Hell, it was separated in three parts and in one movie there's a redhead and in the next movie the same character's portrayed by a blonde-haired kid. Also Atreyu had greenish skin in the book and he's just a dark-skinned boy in the movie. 

Pictured: Not Green
          Of course, there are a few films better than the books. Many liked The Godfather more than its novel, or the Shining. A Clockwork Orange is another example. And yet, many movies simply can't reach the level of emotion and imagination that you put forward when it comes to reading, and that's a bit of the reason as to why the book will, if not always, most of the time be better than the movie.

Indeed, the movie was awesome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

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Awesome Artists: Zdzisław Beksiński

Get ready for some tragedy.
         Beksinsky is a Polish painter and photographer, and damn, did he have a hard time. Having been born, he spent all of his youth in the midst of war, and he began painting fantastic realism in his first phase of art. His second phase was more abstract. 

Well, I mean, that's a nice tone right there. Avant-garde gothic?
         What makes him so special, though? Well, first of all, it seemed his family had a curse, as everybody died early due to sickness or suicide. He was eventually killed with 17 knife wounds. At first he painted decaying models and people in sexual positions, but then, his art took an even darker turn. He began painting corpses and his vision of hell, using his own nightmares as an inspiration.  

That's... dark...
None of his paintings were ever named. 

Beksinski hated his paintings.

So he was troubled.

Friday, May 10, 2013

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Jeff Bliss Teaches A Lesson: Duncanville High School

        So today a friend sent me an interesting video. In Duncanville High School, a student stood up to a teacher and criticized her style for simply showing up for the paycheck and simply passing out worksheets instead of having a discussion with the students and getting them interested. "You want kids to come in your class, you want them to get excited for this? You gotta come in here, you gotta make them excited."

          Now, Jeff Bliss looks like the chillest guy you could ever meet, but in fact, he's a teacher's son and he says he discovered the value of education when he dropped out of high school for a year, because he realized that he wouldn't take any sort of step into his future. Is this justified, though? Does the guy have a point?

I wonder...
          Yes. He does. In Mexico this is a topic of debate, because teachers are protesting; the government has passed a few reforms that require them to be tested in order to confirm their capacity. In my coutry, we have a popular saying: El que nada debe, nada teme. Let me translate: He who owes nothing fears nothing. Many teachers, as Jeff had mentioned, just show up for the paycheck and indeed, there's word of many who just sit there and do nothing all day.

           How can one expect their children to get a good education like that? I've been fortunate enough to be in some extremely good schools, and our teachers do indeed engage us in interesting ways, but the same cannot be said for many other places. I am indeed glad that our government is making sure to have more competent teachers, and as for the United States, their educational system is praised by many other countries, but hopefully, Jeff's stand will help people realize that there's always room to improve, and indeed, I've much rather learn with sticks and stones but be fully engaged than to simply read worksheets with no explanation at all. Why go to school to do something you could do as well, or even better, at home?

I mean, ther are a few people more productive without bad teachers.
          Now, Jeff, bro, you have this blogger's full support, so if you read this, know you are fighting the good fight, for indeed, you say that it's the future of your country. It's also the future of my country and many others, and the world has to wake up and do something about it. And what if they don't believe at first? Nordic countries invest the most in education and right now they've got the best quality of life one could even wish for. I hope, and indeed, one could think Jeff does too, to find a day when the whole world reaches that quality. 

Meanwhile, check out his interview. You go, man.

Monday, May 6, 2013

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Book Review: The Great Gatsby

          Well, I've been stocking up on books, thanks to the kindle, so i've been reading a bit, we'll have quite a bit of book reviews this summer. For now, I want to speak of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. First of all, what's it about? What's it like? Many people don't even know the first thing about the novel, for which I'm here to gladly help. 

        It takes place during the Roaring Twenties, 1925, precisely, which is about the peak of America's economic growth to that point. To make a long story short, Gatsby is about Nick Carraway, who had just graduated from Yale and had fought in WWI. Nick moves next door to a mysterious millionaire named Jay Gatsby, who holds grandiloquent parties frequently. Gatsby falls in love with Nick's cousin, Daisy, who lives across the bay in front of Gatsby's house. Unfortunately, Daisy's married, and so comes unleashed one of the best dramas I've had the pleasure to read. 

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
           Just what makes this such a great book, though? I mean, there's not much to fit in it, now, is there? You could read it in a day if you lazily flipped the pages. And indeed, there's not much content, but the one that's present is rich in context from the Jazz era. Post WWI ideals, colored suits, jazz music, champagne, reckless spending, all this and more is present in The Great Gatsby

         What I loved most was Gatsby himself. I won't spoil, but indeed, Jay is quite the embodiment of the American Dream of starting over again and accumulating wealth. Why did he want to start over, though? Well, that's up to you readers to find out, and of course, once you read it, you tell me whether it's worth the hype high school teachers tend to show when speaking about the book. I say it does.