Finding out the origins and processes of space and our astrological past are the fruits of the science of astronomy, which is the study of stars, planets, and space. Cosmology is the study of galaxies and large astronomical structure. These two intrinsically related schools have brought us moon landings, photos of other worlds in our solar system, evidence of planets around other stars and a deeper understanding of who we are and why we are here.
Vimeo user Bliink has made several interesting shorts, debating many popular topics, but it's the video about the Hubble space Telescope that is taking the world by the horns. It is revealing exactly how small we are, and perhaps how insignificant our personal troubles are. When we account for the scale of the place that we live in, we get a grasp of what really matters. Bits of paper and protocol seem all too artificial when confronted with the grandeur of the natural universe. Our human and mentally infused world takes place on a comparably extremely small scale.
The Hubble wasn't originally so brilliant. Although now it has been able to provide exquisite photography and discover truths about the extreme distant past, explaining the key physical procedures that brought the modern universe to its present state, when it first got into orbit, there was a giant fault. One of the mirrors had been made slightly out of shape, and this meant that the focus was out by a tiny fraction. When your focal length is registered in astronomical units or even light years, perhaps parsecs (a unit of length based on the radian), a tiny focal difference multiplies into huge problems.
A space mission took place to attach a special new lens to the front of the telescope in order to correct the light angle, and finally allow the multi-billion pound internationally valuable project to succeed. Thankfully we learned our lessons and now the plans for more space telescopes can be made in confidence that it can be done and it can be tweaked once in action. Humanity is good at doing, and good at fixing. The universe is here for us to explore, and for now we have to design extensions to our eyes and hands in the form of machines we can control, but with the sweeping changes to technology year by year, it is an incredibly exciting time to be staring at the stars.
The world of sign language has been brought into the digital age by Giphy with a series of over two thousand uploads featuring a smartly dressed and expressive man named Robert. Sign With Robert is the latest effort of the global community to bring accessibility and education to all online. The official signs used are American Sign Language or ASL, which is very similar to BSL or British Sign Language.
Sign language is vital for members of the deaf community and those who have difficulties speaking. Often the lessons and literature are expensive and when something is offered for free like this, it can only help spread the knowledge, thus increasing equality and fairness for all.
Getting the most out of new software and media crazes such as gifs for utilizing meaningful and useful projects like this is the home of creative and caring individuals who see opportunity for making a difference and a mark on the global culture as a whole. I would personally like to see more effort placed in the field of accessibility for disabled people. Gesture to speech software would be very useful, so the sign language can be translated into audible speech with the help of a computer to recognise the signs. It could also be feasible to have speech to sign translators which show the correct signs on a screen depending on what the non signing person says.
Find out some words for yourself and share this article with your community. Visit Sign with Robert.
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As the curriculum has grown over the past century or two, incorporating more subjects, more years, and more students with every new generation, standardisation has been a realistic approach to put the education system to work with the maximum effect. As studies show how the majority of pupils respond and learn, how the most pupils prefer particular methods and how various techniques have been shown to have high efficiency from teacher to pupil ratios, methodology has been set to make the most out of the statistical benefits.
In large scale decision making, using statistic is the only way to generate good approaches to problems raised. Because as individual people, we cannot mentalise the amounts and processes involved, we turn to tools to help. Mathematical analysis is but one of these tools. There has therefore been a standardisation process over time which has resulted in the best fit system that attempts to teach as many pupils with as little resources as possible, over the fewest amount of teachers.
Of course, those who want to improve the education system are always showing how more is better and over time, standards alter and things change in a two steps forward one step back process which seems to dominate most political and social long term motions. It is not a one sided story, but for a lot of places, standardisation has led to teaching becoming ever more dry and impersonal. Testing and formality have created a culture of factory schooling, which creates the product of a hard working knowledgable young adult at the end of a very long fifteen years.
Perhaps some of this is necessary, with limited resources and a knowing of what is going to be required of an adult in the real world, a good education is vital to success. In large civilian environments such as the UK, education systems are the only practical way of ensuring everyone gets what they deserve. To counter act the effects of the drying out of the school experience, and the impersonalisation of the teaching method, the arts are able to reach out to the individuals in ways other academic subjects do not.
By reaching out to the personal thoughts and feelings of the students via the medium of art exploration, the school system is able to keep a hold of the person inside the pupil and learn about them individually. This bond between pupil and school is essential in the motivation and appreciation of the process. When students lack motivation, confidence, or desire to learn, finding the person inside the pupil is the only way of reaching out and sparking the interest needed to do well.
This is why it is absolutely essential to maintain art lessons until the end of school years, keeping the individual in the loop maintains the personal relationship that fuels the learning process. If a student begins to feel like a product, they'll suffer in every aspect of their learning experience. Keeping people focused and interested is a difficult job for any professional, and any tools to help are surely much needed and appreciated.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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