|Image Source: https://phet.colorado.edu|
Source: From the Cover of The Language of Power by Rosemary Kirstein
Over this holiday break, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up a bit on my fantasy reading. I despaired of buying the entire contents of Barnes and Nobles, or even Half Price Books, so I raided a local library that I grew up with. Not surprisingly, it had a wealth of science fiction/fantasy books I hadn’t seen, so I checked them all out.
One of the book series that has made me look online for future releases is Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswoman. Right now, there are just 3 books but it’s gotten me hooked.
Her first novel, The Steerswoman, was published in 1989, and began an SF series that includes The Outsider’s Secret (1992), The Lost Steersman (2003), The Language of Power (2004), and forthcoming The City in the Crags.
Source: Locus Online
I’ve read the books except for her forthcoming one, The City in the Crags. Here’s a summary from Coffee and Ink wiki:
Steerswomen must answer all questions they’re asked; others must answer all questions a steerswoman asks. Silence or lies mean that no steerswoman will ever speak to you–which means you’ll be denied gossip, communication, maps, new farming techniques, trade information, any sort of useful knowledge. No one in the settled lands wants to incur the steerswomen’s ban–except the wizards, who refuse to speak to them….
These are a rarity, science fiction about the Scientific Method itself, and books which depend on the protagonist being observant and smart–not brilliant, not a genius, just sensible and reasonably good at deductions. There are many times when the reader will be ahead of Rowan and Bel–but it’s because of the disparity of knowledge, and when Rowan and Bel collect enough information, they make the logical conclusions.
I’ve been surprised at the suspense, the sense of expectation I have at the end of the last published book, The Language of Power. We’ll see what comes of this. In the meantime, I encourage you to read this surprising series. Particularly captivating is the idea that knowledge should be available to all, and that truth is something we can arrive at together.
In the Locus Online, Kirstein shares some wisdom that is great advice for bloggers (at least, I think so):
“People say our lives aren’t stories and fiction makes sense out of them, but I think one of the things fiction does is remind us that our lives are stories. The trick is, there are three or four or eight different stories going on simultaneously, overlapping and with other crap happening that is not related to one particular story. So one of the things fiction does is extract one line out of the mess of what’s occurring and demonstrate that this line is connected, has a direction, a point. We have to remember that. Fiction gives us a sense of perspective, a sense of purpose. We don’t have to turn our lives into stories; we just have to dig out the story that’s there as a natural result of living.”
“Just dig out the story that’s there was a natural result of living” definitely qualifies as great advice for blogging!
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The following came to me from the Texas Freedom Network. If you’re in Texas, and want to support scientific thinking and teaching in schools, then follow the advice here:
Tell the State Board of Education:
Give Texas Schoolchildren a 21st-Century Science Education!
You can play a critical role in ensuring that Texas students get a 21st-century science education by commenting today on proposed new science curriculum standards. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is now accepting public comments about the new standards proposed by writing teams made up of teachers and academic experts. The new standards would require that public schools teach sound science on evolution, and they make clear that supernatural explanations (such as “intelligent design”/creationism) have no place in science classrooms. Click here to read the Texas Freedom Network’s press release applauding the work of the writing teams.
Unfortunately, anti-science radicals on the State Board of Education (SBOE) want to wreck the proposed standards by watering down instruction on evolution. Creationist chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, and other board radicals reject the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting evolution — a concept critical to the understanding of all the biological sciences. In fact, they are already encouraging extremists from across the state to flood TEA with comments attacking coverage of evolution in the science standards. If they get their way, Texas schoolchildren will be handicapped with a 19th-century education in their 21st-century science classrooms. It is critically important that mainstream Texans tell TEA and the state board that we demand a sound science education for our kids.
Anyone can submit comments about the proposed standards. At the bottom of this e-mail are step-by-step directions for submitting your comments.
You may choose to comment on standards for any or all science classes in Texas public schools. Most important, however, are the standards for high school biology. In your own words, it is very important to tell SBOE members that you:
1. Strongly support the decision by teacher writing teams to remove unscientific language requiring that public schools teach “weaknesses” of evolution. In fact, biologists have established that overwhelming scientific evidence shows evolution is beyond doubt. The writing teams replaced the “weaknesses” requirement with a more scientific standard that helps students better analyze and evaluate all scientific theories. Click here to read what Texas scientists are saying about the importance of teaching students the sound science behind evolution.
2. Strongly support the decision by the biology writing team to include a definition of science from the National Academy of Sciences that makes it clear supernatural explanations have no place in science classrooms. Discussions about “intelligent design”/creationism and other religious concepts are best left to families and congregations. Public schools have no business deciding whose religious beliefs to teach in our students’ science classrooms.
PLEASE KEEP THESE OTHER POINTS IN MIND WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR COMMENTS:
- Don’t attack the religious faith of state board members and others who reject the science of evolution.
- DO insist that board members put the importance of giving students a 21st-century education ahead of their own personal and political beliefs.
- DO tell board members that the old “strengths and weaknesses” language has been abused by some to mislead students about the overwhelming scientific evidence that clearly supports evolution.
- DO tell board members that giving our children a sound science education is critical for preparing them them to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century.
- DO explain that many people of faith both believe in God and accept the science of evolution. There is no conflict between science and faith.
How to Submit Your Comments to TEA
Follow these simple steps to submit your comments about the proposed science standards.
2. Scroll down to “Directions for Using the Feedback Forms.” You will find a list of links to feedback forms for Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and high school courses. Forms for Grades K-8 are in Microsoft Excel. You have a choice of formats for the high school form: Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word.
3. Select whichever grade levels on which you want to comment. PLEASE CLICK ON THE HIGH SCHOOL LINK TO COMMENT ON THE TREATMENT OF EVOLUTION IN THE BIOLOGY STANDARDS.
4. Once you have completed a feedback form (each is short), you may save the file on to your computer. Then you have three options for sending the form to TEA:
– Attach the saved file of the completed form to an e-mail and send it to TEA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put SCIENCE COMMENTS in the Subject Line.
– Print out the completed form and fax it to TEA at (512) 463-8057; Fax to: SCIENCE COMMENTS
– Mail the completed form to TEA at the following address:
Texas Education Agency
Division of Curriculum, Science Comments
1701 N. Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78701-1494
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