4/14/2007

Scientists Retrieve Proteins From Dinosaur Bone http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/science/12cnd-dino.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

4/11/2007

Start of a Religious Talk

Einstein and Faith
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298,00.html

Einstein had a very inspiring point of view of science and religion. I may start posting my personal ideas about that later.

Question:

What is my favorite movie? And why?


“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” My favorite movie is “Forrest Gump”. People like objects that are distinguishable. I love “Forrest Gump” because it is an extraordinary movie of an ordinary person’s legacy as well as my personal memories relevant to it.

The movie first begins with the very relaxing melody while a piece of feather is floating in the sky. This soundtrack and the scene of floating of the same piece of feather repeat at the end of the movie that changed me earlier interpretation of the same melody, a much more meaningful rhythm that condenses all the ups and downs in Gump’s life which resemble the floating feather.

Most of the stories of Gump’s are expressed by himself on a bench at the bus stop while his later life is displayed in real time. I felt like I was in the movie myself because of such unique structure built up the varied sense of audience first as a listener and then a witness.

Without any seeming plans, Gump involved almost every important event through his lifetime, from the first black student’s attendance in University of Alabama to Ping Pong Diplomacy, from the Vietnam War to the Watergate scandal. No matter how bitter or tough those memories were, the movie discusses them in a comedic yet terse way. For instance, Gump’s stay in Watergate Hotel initiated the exposure of the scandal while in contrast, he merely thought those agents as tenants having troubles to fix the fuse box. And throughout the movie, there are many ironies that reveal the true questions behind the scenes. For example, Gump was first told that he had low IQ of 75, but later he was considered by the drill sergeant as a genius with IQ over 160, which implies that intelligence is useless to be a good soldier but full obedience. The other interesting irony was Gump’s friendship with Bubba. It is a dramatic irony because we all know the historical background of mild racism while Gump loved Bubba who is black without any prejudgments of any kinds.

Out of anybody’s expectations, Gump somehow lived a splendid life from both spiritual and materialistic perspectives. He without high or even normal intelligence did everything according to his conscience and I consider this as the parable of the movie. “God gave us both mind and heart. When we cannot figure out things by our minds, we should use our hearts.” Unfortunately, Gump did not have much choice between them. But nonetheless, he showed us how living upon one’s conscience may contradict with the social reality. I am an idealistic person. Also, I understand the essence of realistic analysis and practice; still, I believe that underlying the reality is people’s somehow unrealistic ideals that led the world forward, moving towards the common pursuit of a world of truth, goodness and beauty. And moreover, the change of disgraceful Lt. Dan and the return of Jenny symbolized how Gump, an honest and idealistic person, could influence and change other people.

Gump really taught me a lot. From him, I know how simple the attitude of life could be; from him, I learn how the history is made by ordinary people instead of heroes; from him, I see how basic our ultimate goals are, to love and to be loved. Gump’s life-long love of Jenny is the only unchanged idea though the whole movie. Jenny came in Gump’s early life as an angel while her terrifying childhood brought her to the edge of self-destruction. Altogether in his life, Gump’s happy days with Jenny did not last long. I do not agree that many people classified this movie as a comedy because I weighed the gravity of Jenny’s death soon after their marriage as a central tragedy that painted another layer on the movie.

Last time when I watched the movie was a few weeks ago on TV here in United States. I laughed and wept as before and between such emotional moments; I thought about my home and my best friend Josh which were both left back in China. I love almost every song in the movie; for since childhood, I listened to those classical popular songs from my father’s old tapes, sometimes with my father’s familiar, strongly Chinese-accented English. Among them, I especially love John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”. On the other hand, Josh and I had more direct connections to the movie, for we actually dubbed the scenes in which Gump met Bubba, “My name’s Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.” and later Bubba’s “Shrimp kabobs, shrimp Creoles, shrimp gumbo...” We lived in the same room in school’s dormitory for 1 year. The firm friendship developed upon this common memory often makes us miss each other after we were apart.

“Forrest Gump” cannot be classified because it can both make you laugh and make you cry. It is a movie beyond the naive boundary between comedy and tragedy. Or maybe simply, just like our life, it is a mixture of both with a main character as common as us.

4/01/2007

My Reading and Thoughts

Telling the powerful story of history's 'Amazing Grace'

It seeks the source of power of justice from the morality of Christianity. I don't agree with the equivalence it drew between fascism and communism although I do admit the political repression both exist under the practices of these system. And its depiction of Christianity is extracted from a small part of its complicated history consisting good as well as harm. There is no superior moral or just criteria in judging any part of the history. Why did people start slavery or other horrors in humanity under the long-existing religion or more specifically, Christianity in this case? And how about the massacres Western countries conducted in villages of Philippine or Vietnam? There were so many factors behind the abolition of slavery, i. e., the northern disadvantages in the first half of Civil War in the case of United States.
By simply saying "Slavery, a hideous human institution common in just about every culture throughout history, was on its way to ending in the West, thanks to the influence of Christian morality", it can only contribute to the support of Christian supremacy and relatively demonize the rest. And by these, this article or the arrogant devout belief behind, itself hinder the pace of the humanity's contemporary tendency -- the global equity and justice.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070304/A_OPINION0613/703040313/-1/A_OPINION06