“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” ~ Albert Einstein
Thank you, Dr. Einstein, for always questioning. Thanks to a team of physicists who also embraced questions, Einstein’s space-time theory is finally confirmed. According to The New York Times today,
A team of physicists who can now count themselves as astronomers announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prophecy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. And it is a ringing (pun intended) confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.
More generally, it means that scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest.
While this is particularly cool news for science buffs and/or Big Bang Theory fans (like The Mr. and me), it’s also interesting news for a generation who’s heard about Dr. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a scientific construct. Wondering what black holes are and why they’re so ‘foreboding’?
Check out this trailer for Interstellar, a 2014 fictional movie about black holes, but with ‘an amazingly accurate view of a black hole,’ says its creators.
Prefer a more scientific perspective? Check out this documentary on YouTube:
Here in the U.S., it’s just about that season again (yay!), but you don’t need to be a football fan to appreciate this video. It is some of THE funniest writing on the Internet! The husband and I watch and rewatch every time a new one comes out. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
One of my former high school students tagged me in a back-to-school video worth a click. Thought I’d share it today – for a little chuckle, indeed.
If you aren’t a parent (yet or ever), just watch the parents around you at the grocery store. You’ll begin to notice how parents feel about the time-honored tradition of back-to-school preparation and that coveted First Day of School ….. (If you listen carefully that day, you’ll probably hear a collective cheer in your neighborhood.) 😉
As a ‘dad-less’ daughter, I know kids are left behind to wonder why. Why did he go? Why didn’t he want me? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t he want to be around? What could I have done differently to make him stay?
Or, worse yet, kids left behind think mom pushed dad away, and surely, if mom had done things differently, then dad would’ve stayed. It’s her fault.
As a teacher, I see the fall-out, too. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes blatant. Always painful.
Last month, I asked my juniors and seniors to develop a written piece for National Day On Writing (#NDOW). I provided three photos and asked students to choose one (or more) and write about it/them. The piece could be fiction or nonfiction, personal or not, metaphorical or literal. As always, my kiddos did not disappoint! Heads dropped. Pens and pencils began moving. The room was silent. The feeling, intense.
They wrote with focused purpose until the bell rang. They came back the next day and insisted we continue without interruption. We revised and edited (this was tougher to get them to do, but required).
By day three, we shared at our own comfort level. If a piece was too personal, a student did not have to share the content, but everyone had to discuss the process with his/her partners. What an amazing three days!
During the writing process, emotions were raw for several students.
One young man, an accomplished football player and struggling student, was stuck during the first day of writing. When I asked him how I could help, he was speechless. I ventured carefully, asking which photo he chose. The dark, stormy one. I wasn’t surprised, based on his expression. Then I suggested he create a bubble map to organize his thoughts. Several students were creating their own that day:
Tears began to fill his dark eyes. He hastily brushed them away. I backed off.
A few minutes later, when I came back around, I noticed a few words on his paper: dad, confused, success, failure. He looked up, met my eyes, and said nothing. I quietly moved on and left him to reflect and write.
By the third day (sharing day), my student had written a brief piece and discussed the process with his partners. His content was his. His process, he was ready to discuss … mostly.
Fast-forward a month, to this past week.
My students have been honing their ability to identify and interpret figurative language and author’s tone in print and non-print text, and assess the impact of each on a reader/viewer. As I worked with small groups, various students had interesting, funny, and thoughtful ideas, examples, and questions to share. Then came the group with the young writer.
As we finished our small-group discussion and began to clean up before the bell, my young football player-turned-writer said, “Mrs. Kyle, I want to show you something,” as he took out his phone. I get a kick out of this line from students, because I never know what I’m about to see! 😉
As he swiped through his phone and found what he wanted to share with me, he mentioned Will Smith, and said, “I have this video clip that you just reminded me of, when we were talking about tone. Watch all of the emotions Will Smith goes through and how his tone changes.” With that, he hit play. The video clip was in his SAVED YouTube list.
As we watched the clip together, leaned in over his phone at the conference table in our classroom – his back to his classmates – I could feel other students looking on, but no one interrupted. My young writer watched my face for reaction as we watched the clip together. Tears filled my eyes. I looked up and saw they filled his, too.
As the clip ended, he said softly, “This makes me cry every time I watch it.”
I replied quietly, “It made me cry, too. My dad left when I was very little. I always wondered why. Thank you for sharing it with me.”