Star Trek: The Next Generation’s beloved android Lieutenant Commander Data (Brent Spiner) features prominently in some of Star Trek’s most enduring episodes. Introduced in TNG’s first episode, “Encounter At Farpoint,” Data was an advanced artificial intelligence who longed to become more human.
Data was incredibly intelligent and physically powerful, but he struggled to comprehend human concepts like humor and was limited in his ability to process and express emotion. Spiner’s understated performance could somehow evoke laughs and tears in equal measures, easily one of the most impressive acting jobs in Star Trek history.
By Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3, the show’s successful format had been established, with each episode generally focusing on one member of the ensemble cast. With the exception of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Data tended to get the most spotlight episodes, as the show’s writers and producers honed in on Spiner’s magnetic performance early in the show’s run.
Data episodes ran the gamut, from two-part Borg epics to simpler stories where he tries to learn how to dance. Data is one of Star Trek’s most enduring icons, with his empathy and drive to better himself evoking the best aspects of the science fiction institution.
You can learn a lot about life through literature’s most unrespectable and heinous characters.
By Tom Brinkof, May 15, 2023
In his book, “Save the Cat!”, Blake Snyder offers storytelling tips for aspiring screenwriters. His main piece of advice, from which the book gets its title, is to “save the cat.”
In short, Snyder argues that writers should introduce their protagonists by having them do something that demonstrates their key traits or moral code, which sometimes means the character does something to make the audience like them—like saving a kitten from a tree.
Likable characters, after all, can produce more compelling stories than unlikable ones. Snyder has a point. Likable protagonists engage the audience by making it easier to relate to their personalities and struggles. The more we root for a character, the happier we feel when they accomplish their goal, and the sadder we get when they don’t. Unlikable protagonists, by contrast, risk alienating their audience. At worst, we don’t care if they fail or succeed. At best, we actively want them to fail.
The American Library Association and PEN America say there’s been a sharp increase in the number of books pulled from school libraries over the past two years.
One complaint that a book is obscene or offensive — from a parent, or, increasingly, a group — can be enough to have it removed from the shelves.
The books that get singled out often feature main characters who are LGBTQIA, or people of color. Many address racism, child abuse, sex, suicide, and other topics that young people may want help understanding.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
The ‘music of the spheres’ was born from the effort to use numbers to explain the universe
By Tom Siegfried, Contributing Correspondent, May 9, 2023 at 7:00 am
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the music of the spheres,” your first thought probably wasn’t about mathematics.
But in its historical origin, the music of the spheres actually was all about math. In fact, that phrase represents a watershed in the history of math’s relationship with science.
In its earliest forms, as practiced in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, math was mainly a practical tool for facilitating human interactions. Math was important for calculating the area of a farmer’s field, for keeping track of workers’ wages, for specifying the right amount of ingredients when making bread or beer. Nobody used math to investigate the nature of physical reality.
When you’re writing a story about an issue that affects a large group of people, whether it’s for a news outlet or a television show, you often pick one person as the anecdotal lead of the tale. That character serves a purpose: to make a specific thesis feel less nebulous and more, dare I say, human.
Right now in Hollywood, there are some 11,500 humans who could be the lead of this particular story. Writers who have spent their careers holed up in writers rooms or coffee shops, figuring out plots and characters and dialogue and stuffing them into 30- or 60-page scripts. But this past week, those same screenwriters have woken up, donned blue T-shirts that say “Writers Guild of America,” grabbed a red-and-black picket sign, and descended on the sidewalks of one of the big Hollywood studios. Then, as gangly palm trees sway nearby and rivers of cars flow along Los Angeles’s concrete canals, these writers have trudged back and forth on the pavements in front of Paramount Studios and CBS and Disney and Netflix—on strike as screenwriters for television shows and movies for the first time in 15 years.