Tag: science

‘Jurassic Park’: Book Vs Film

Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park was first published in the year 1990, and quickly shot up the best seller list, becoming Crichton’s best known book. It was adapted into a blockbuster film in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film also became a huge hit but was a very different beast to the novel, both in terms of theme and characterization. Readers are often surprised when going back to the original book and finding how different the book was before making the transition to the big screen. While both works are classics of their genres, this piece will showcase the differences between the two, showing how different they are even if they share the same characters, plotline, and principal ideas.

 

The cover of the Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton
Image Via MichaelCrichton.com

 

The book’s content is for lack of a better word not family friendly. While the film has several disturbing or scary sequences (such as the Velociraptor scene in the kitchen), it was given a much more whimsical spin thanks to Spielberg’s involvement. The novel, however, features numerous violent, gruesome scenes that are not for the faint of heart. A straight adaptation of the novel would certainly have been an R rating at the very least.

The thematic heart of the novel is also much more of a cold, science fiction thriller, in the vein of Crichton’s earlier works such as The Andromeda Strain. The dinosaurs are utilized to explore the themes of chaos theory and challenges the readers to think about the questions raised. Many pages are devoted to the science behind the story, including numerous sequences where Ian Malcolm (played by the marvelous Jeff Goldblum in the film) waxes philosophical about the dangers of creating dinosaurs. In contrast, the movie is lighter, being a mostly family-friendly adventure film that touches on these themes but does not devote the soul of its work to them.

 

A few of the original Jurassic Park characters: Alan Grant (Sam Neil), Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards), and Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy)
Image Via Business Insider

 

The characters in the book also underwent significant changes between the page and screen. The novel’s cast fit the colder vibe Crichton is aiming for, a more intellectual experience than an emotional one. They often speak in science jargon, appraising the situation in these terms, always matter of fact and to the point even in stressful situations (like being hunted down by the Tyrannosaurus when the containment system fails). Some characters only undergo small changes, such as Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, who remain palaeontologists brought in to consultant on John Hammond’s park.

Hammond himself is a different character altogether. In the film he is a grandfatherly type, misguided but ultimately genuine in his desire to create a dinosaur park, Hammond in the novel is an outright villain. The problems the park suffers are all traced back to him, as Hammond cuts corners to bring his park to life, defrauding investors and blackmailing his own employees. His motivations are inherently selfish, desiring to bring the park to life only to make money, expositing in private he only will allow visitors with the most money he can squeeze from them into Jurassic Park. He even uses his own grandchildren as pawns, bringing them to the park solely as emotional blackmail if his investors try to shut him down.

 

Tim Murphy (Joseph Mazzello) hides from two raptors in the film
Image Via The Washington Post

 

The book also features more elaborate sequences featuring the dinosaurs, such as more species featured, a pterodactyl attack, and more chapters featuring the famed Tyrannosaurus, including several chapters where the T rex pursues the grandkids down a spiralling river. With the complexities bringing dinosaurs to life onscreen, it makes sense that the film could only feature them in a handful of scenes, although they certainly made the most of when the dinosaurs did appear. Still, it shows how powerful the imagination is, no budget required to bring action to life.

In the end, neither work is better than the other, each presenting a different look at the same material. The book is more of an intellectual experience, while the film is an emotional action-adventure. I’d highly recommend reading the book and showing how different a work can be before changes are made in adapting it for the screen.

 

Featured Image Via SyFy Wire 

The Lorax

Scientists Discover the Animal that Inspired Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Lorax’

Dr. Seuss’ colorful imagination and memorable stories have entertained readers for generations. The author is widely known for his ability to create a variety of quirky characters and therefore when it came came to the iconic orange Lorax, many readers may have assumed that the inspiration came from the author’s own head. But, researchers say differently.

 

Researchers believe they have found the inspiration behind the Lorax: the Patas monkey.

 

monkey

Image Via Alchetron

 

In a report published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers explain how they pieced together the fascinating backstory behind Dr. Seuss’ recognizable character.

 

While doing research in Kenya anthropologist Nathaniel Dominy came across the Patas monkeys and was struck by their similarity to Seuss’ the Lorax. During a formal dinner, Dominy informed his colleague Donald Pease about this resemblance. Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor at Dartmouth, revealed that Dr. Seuss lived in Kenya the 1970’s, during which he wrote 90% of The Lorax. 

 

monkey

Image Via Kopihijau

 

Throughout their research, the team found out that a physical resemblance was not all that the Lorax and the Patas monkey shared. Like the Lorax, Patas monkeys have a strong connection to trees and depend on the whistling thorn acacia tree for food. After similar traits seemed to line up, the duo were able to get a more accurate assessment with the help of facial recognition used by anthropologist James Higham. Unsurprisingly, the results confirmed their suspicions.

 

“These findings support our hypothesis that Geisel drew inspiration from a cercopithecine monkey and its ecology,” their study states. “When put together with the fact that the book was written while on safari in Kenya, the coincidence seems striking.”

 

While their findings help to put an end to the mystery behind Dr. Seuss’ beloved character, it offers something greater for the researchers.

 

“It would be great if this work raises visibility for this animal and the ecosystem,” says Dominy. “If people are more conscious about it, that could encourage more conservation.”

 

 

Featured Image Via Missaukke Conservation District

Church of Scientology

The Author Who Holds the World Record for Most Publications Is Not Who You Think It Is

The most published author of all time has officially been declared by The Guinness Book of World Records (and, surprisingly, it’s not the king of fiction himself, Stephen King) as none other than the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

 

Take a second to breathe that in; it’s shocking, alarming, and even a little unsettling, I know. 

 

Over the past few years a plethora of Scientology documentaries have been released on HBONetflix, Amazonhulu, and more, making L. Ron Hubbard a bit of a household name. 

 

But, if you happen to be unfamiliar with Hubbard, or Scientology in general, here are some of the basic things you should know:

 

L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. He spent much of the first part of his life working as a fiction writer, gaining notoriety for his science fiction and fantasy short story contributions to pulp fiction magazines in the 1930’s. He also had works published under romance, adventure, western, mystery, aviation, and mystery, and even wrote the screenplay for the Columbia Pictures feature film, The Secret of Treasure Island.

 

In 1950, Hubbard went on to publish a series of “psychological self-help” books entitled Dianetics. Dianetics is a system of levels to work your way through that are stated to help remove psychosomatic disorders by eliminating dangerous or harmful images from your mind— the process involves sitting in a room with an “auditor” who interrogates you, forcing you to reveal your innermost thoughts, past traumas, and any secrets you may have so that you may erase that part of your mind and reach contentment, awareness, and sanity. Dianetics would become the foundation of the creation of Scientology.

 

In May of 1952, Hubbard finally launched his, now infamous, cult-like religious system, Scientology. Scientology is stated to be a system of graded courses and levels to work through with the goal of self-awareness, spiritual fulfillment, and super powers beyond that of any normal, everyday human. The entire process of working through the levels typically takes decades and costs around $500,000 (graduation from the program alone is $100,000, and additional $100,000 fees are given to anyone who speaks publicly about the practices). Once you’ve reached the final level, you are said to gain magical abilities such as telekinesis, immunity from all illnesses, superior senses, and mind control. (No scientologists to date have reported ever witnessing someone reach this final, mystical level and gain said powers.)

 

By the time Hubbard opened The Church of Scientology on February 19th, 1954, he already had a steady following of loyal and believing scientologists ready and willing to join.

 

And, by the time the 1960s rolled around, Hubbard had found himself the leader of a worldwide movement containing thousands upon thousands of members (some celebrity members have included and continue to include Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Moss, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, and John Travolta).

 

As the years went on and more was revealed about Scientology and what was really going on within The Church, investigations were launched against Hubbard, forcing him to spend his remaining decades living in hiding.

 

L. Ron Hubbard suffered a stroke and passed away on February 24th, 1986, leaving behind a powerful, sinister legacy of systems still in place today (The Church of Scientology is stated as currently having around 25,000 members, with numbers in a steady decline).

 

Even in death Hubbard is still managing to make headlines; since his passing he has been awarded three separate records through The Guinness Book of World Records, and still holds the titles today:

 

1. Most Published Works by an Author1,084 publications

2. Most Languages Translated to by an Author: 71 languages

3. Most Audiobooks Recorded by an Author: 184 audiobooks

 

 

The strangest thing about all of this is that Hubbard feels like some sort of evil super-villain we can’t defeat; Scientology has caused a lot of pain for a lot of people and, though it’s numbers are decreasing, there are still many people following it today. The Church has a scary amount of power, making it extremely dangerous and nearly impossible for members to ever leave; and it’s all thanks to L. Ron Hubbard, the man who turned simple science fiction stories into an infectious, disease-like-religion that seemingly can’t be stopped.

 

But, if we can’t tear Scientology down in it’s entirety, the least we should be able to do is beat Hubbard’s World Records and get him off the list.

 

So, get to writing, we’ve got publications to stack!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via The Los Angeles Times

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Stephen Hawking’s Final Book to Be Published This Fall

Stephen Hawking has provided scientific answers to some of earth’s most complex and complicated questions from A Brief History of Time to The Universe In a Nutshell. His latest and last book Brief Answers to the Big Questions will answer some of humanity’s most profound and perplexing questions yet.

 

Publisher John Murray said the book will be divided into four questions, “Why Are We Here?”, “Will We Survive?”, “Will Technology Save Us or Destroy Us?”, and “How Can We Thrive?”

 

The book will cover “everything from the creation of the universe, black holes, alien intelligence, and the existence of God to the importance of space colonization, and the perils and promise of artificial intelligence.”

 

A portion of all book sales will go to the Motor Neuron Disease Association and the Stephen Hawking Foundation. 

 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions will hit shelves October 16, 2018 and is available for preorder now.

 

Featured Image Via Business Insider

Dispenser

Short Story Dispensers Are Finally Coming to the United States!

Have you heard of the insanely cool French craze of short story dispensers? If not, don’t stress, because they’re finally coming to the United States and I, personally, am so excited!

 

These machines, which were created by the company Short Edition, print out original short stories and poems that vary from one-, three-, or five- minute reads. They are adjustable so you can choose just how long you’d like your short story to be.

 

The first machine was put up in France in 2015. Shortly after, famed director Frances Ford Coppola ordered his very own for his cafe in San Fransisco.

 

Machine

via West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority

 

Twenty more machines have been installed across the U.S. and four more are due to be placed in libraries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and South Carolina. The dispensers print on eco-friendly paper and do not require ink or cartridges of any sort, so there’s really no downside. The machines were created as a means to boost morale around offices, to keep people occupied while waiting in lines, and to remind passersby of the power within storytelling and creativity.

 

These machines are re-enlivening the written word in a world that’s been overrun by e-books and Kindles. This way, readers can pocket their stories and read them time and time again, or pass them on and share them with a friend.

 

Thanks to Short Edition, people are given a chance to take a short break from reality and, briefly, dive into another world. Stories were created as a means to take a breath and escape when life gets too stressful, and these machines are giving us back that escape. 

 

Featured Image via CNET