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Published 2009-09-16 on Farid Zakaria's Blog

[caption id="attachment_236" align="alignright" width="176" caption="The North American engineering tradition of dying yourself purple."]The North American engineering tradition of dying yourself purple.[/caption]Orientation week is now over and I am begining to return to my normal skin colour as opposed to the beatiful colour purple I was sporting as week. It's been a while since my last post but hopefully once I am back on track with school work they will come a bit more steadily.

Well where to start.... School has finally started up and I'm excited scared to be entering 3B in Software Engineering. I'm not going to lie and will admit what excites me is that this year is that we are the most senior Software class looking for internships during the winter term which means we have no competition (hardly none) from schools in the US. Hopefully my hard work and awesome program will pay off and my excellent stream of co-op jobs continues.

I want to take a unusual diatribe in something non-Software related, specifically Science Fiction. Today marked the first day of my Science Fiction class; something which I have been looking forward too. I must admit that within the first lecture I am already noticing that by the end of the class I will have undergone a few paradigm shifts.

The professor has already posed some challenging questions that have caused me to begin to rethink my ideals. One such question posed was "What defines a novel to be classified under Science Fiction?". The challenge was distinguishing Science Fiction from Fantasy; something which turns out to be rather difficult in some situations. A great example was Star Wars. Essentially the original three novels introduces the reader to the novel idea of "The Force" without any explanation. The lack of explanation is something representative of Fantasy, however in Episode I it is explained that the Force is the cause of Midi-chlorians. At this point the genre begins to tread towards being more classicly Science Fiction. Clearly the line between the two can easily be fudged and ultimately the sad answer was that the publishers will simply attach the label Science Fiction if they feel it will cause the book to sell copies.

One of the most interesting & simple questions also posed was:

"Know thy toaster, know thy self"

The professor had began the lecture asking the class for what they believed this sentence meant. Essentially there was no proper answer, but listening to the different meanings people extracted from the sentence was intriguing. Essentially the discussion revolved mainly around points involving technology and its impact on society. If anyone has any interesting takes on the quote please post them, I find it very interesting.