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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old June 26 2010, 09:37 PM   #16
Steve Roby
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Although I'd never read a YA book now
Why not? The fact that I'm 47 isn't going to stop me from reading these new books. I was in my 30s when the last Trek YA books were being published, and I read them, too. It's another way of looking at one of my favourite fictional universes. And it's not like it'll take a lot of time to get through them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to waiting for that cheap box set of The Darksmith Legacy (Doctor Who books for kids) to show up in my mailbox.
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Old June 26 2010, 11:09 PM   #17
elaithin
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

It's entirely possible I just never came across the right books at that age. Once I was 10 or so, I had started reading Tolkien, Eddings - and especially the D&D Forgotten Realms and Star Trek books.

ps - I would certainly consider the Harry Potter books to be 'YA' done right.
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Old June 26 2010, 11:12 PM   #18
Santa Kang
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

I dont think I read any YA books. I went from Encylopedia Brown to Jules Verne.
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Old June 26 2010, 11:52 PM   #19
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

elaithin wrote: View Post
I would certainly consider the Harry Potter books to be 'YA' done right.
Only the first two. On purpose.

Notice how Rowling forces her audience to "step up" as the books got darker, chunkier, more complex. Her YA audience was growing up with the books. ie. Start the first one as a YA and then keep climbing.
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Old June 26 2010, 11:53 PM   #20
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
I think some folks would be surprised if they took a stroll through the "young readers" section of any decent bookstore, if only to see the incredible variety of books which are available, the themes they cover, and how they go about covering them. You want your eyes opened? Check out that area of the store. It was most definitely a learning experience for me when I started researching writing for kids a few years ago. My preconcieved notions about what constituted "a kid's book" -- some of which had been formed by some lackluster attempts at stuff like Star Wars and...yes...even some of the Star Trek books aimed at such audiences -- were stomped, but good. There's a lot of stuff out there being written the teen demographic that is most definitely not "stupid," and neither does it treat its readers that way.
Yeah, like the His Dark Materials trilogy, which are aimed at kids (supposedly), but get into some pretty deep stuff like the origin of consciousness, religion, and physics. Plus, the books are pretty violent, one character spends the about half of book two with two of his fingers cut off, bleeding to death.
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Old June 27 2010, 12:14 AM   #21
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

^ Good times. Good times.
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Old June 27 2010, 12:15 AM   #22
kkozoriz1
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
As for this particular book? All we have to go on is the cover blurb, which likely wasn't even written by the author, so I'd rather wait to see what the actual book is like before getting too worried about this newest attempt to appeal to "young Trekkies."

Anyway, just my $.02, adjusted for inflation.
I agree wholeheartedly. The cover blurb probably covers the very basics of the novel. It just makes it sound so unappealing, like it has been dumbed down. Hopefully it hasn't been. I've read some cover blurbs that appear to have been written for entirely different books than they appeared on.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:59 AM   #23
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Christopher wrote: View Post
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And, despite the talk about avoiding genetic enhancements, the occasional comment about 24th century little kids taking advanced mathematics indicate that something has been done to improve the average human's intellectual capacity.
Which could just be improvements in educational techniques. The thing about present-day schools is that they're not really designed to nurture and improve the mind, they're holdovers from a time when the goal was to shape children into compliant cogs in the industrial machine, their heads filled with rote facts and their capacity for critical thinking and inquisitiveness discouraged. There have been attempts to change that, but there's still a long way to go. In a culture whose school system was really designed to work with a child's natural desire to learn rather than against it, there would be a lot of improvement in the average person's intellectual performance.
I considered improvements in our educational system, but, assuming calculus really is a requirement for all little children in the TNG era (implied in TNG's When the Bough Breaks), I think it's likely that something has been done to improve the average human's intelligence. Perhaps they've found a particularly helpful combination of vitamins/nutrients to improve cognition (something short of genetic manipulation)...
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Old June 27 2010, 01:23 PM   #24
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

I dunno... in a lot of ways, the young mind is more receptive to learning than the older mind. Children can learn some pretty complex things, like languages. A child who's taught a second language from an early age can master it far more easily than an adult who's never studied it before, because a child's mind is more plastic, more adaptable. In a way, higher mathematics is just another language. Maybe if you fold some calculus ideas into a child's mathematical education from early on, treat all of mathematics as a single discipline rather than arbitrarily dividing it into separate courses, it could turn out to be easier to master in the long run.

I dunno, maybe that's a stretch. Another possibility is that what we saw in those TNG episodes was not typical. After all, the personnel aboard the Enterprise-D, whether Starfleet or civilian scientists, would've been the best and the brightest, a ship full of geniuses. So it's plausible that their children would be budding geniuses as well and might be in more advanced educational programs than the rank and file.
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Old June 27 2010, 03:37 PM   #25
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

^ To paraphrase Dennis Miller: Kids are sponges, and parents and teachers should be acting as Super Soakers.

My oldest daugther is learning some Spanish at her pre-school, and her grandmother is teaching her Japanese. The results are pretty startling, particularly to a guy who's linguistics skills barely encompass English (with a healthy does of Profane English, and a dash of Klingon thrown in for flavor). Putting both of my kids in a Montessori school is expensive as all hell, but watching how they develop -- and how they enjoy the learning process -- is worth every penny.


(Sorry...we now return your thread to the topic already in progress.)
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Old June 27 2010, 04:56 PM   #26
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

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I dunno, maybe that's a stretch.
I don't even know how much of a stretch that is. Those of us in the United States who spend there entire first 6 or 7 years in school essentially just learning arithmetic (just to keep using math as an example) may think that, but that's not the case in every country. I remember one of my college professors (can't remember his exact nationality) saying that he learned much of the material we were learning in college when he was in late elementary/early high school.

Granted, the fact that he's a mathematician probably means it came to him a little easier, but, as has been mentioned, it's amazing what kids can pick up when taught at a young age. I've long been of the opinion that there is far too much repetition in the American education system, whether you're in Kindergarten or pursuing your Bachelor's degree (and probably higher, but I wouldn't know yet). Just thinking about the number of times in school I was 'taught' something I already knew makes me realize how much time and money was wasted over the years.
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Old June 27 2010, 04:58 PM   #27
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Yeah - my kids are 6 and 1. And I wish so very much I could get my daughter into a Montessori school, after all of the problems we had with the people who ran her kindergarten last year.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:19 PM   #28
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Indeed. The way science is taught in our schools is ridiculous. It's really more like science history. Instead of starting with the real fundamentals of physics as we know them today, i.e. quantum mechanics, and showing how everything arises from that, we start by teaching the rough approximations and misconceptions of the past, and then forcing students to unlearn them years later in order to learn the more accurate stuff. And the majority of students never get that far anyway and so never do unlearn the old misconceptions. And so the quantum theory that's been the fundamental basis of modern physics, technology, chemistry, etc. for a century is still seen by most people as an arcane mystery or even an unproven hypothesis.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:38 PM   #29
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

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And so the quantum theory that's been the fundamental basis of modern physics, technology, chemistry, etc. for a century is still seen by most people as an arcane mystery or even an unproven hypothesis.
Yeah, quantum mechanics is just a theory. Like evolution. Or gravity.
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Old June 27 2010, 10:55 PM   #30
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Christopher wrote: View Post
Indeed. The way science is taught in our schools is ridiculous. It's really more like science history. Instead of starting with the real fundamentals of physics as we know them today, i.e. quantum mechanics, and showing how everything arises from that, we start by teaching the rough approximations and misconceptions of the past, and then forcing students to unlearn them years later in order to learn the more accurate stuff. And the majority of students never get that far anyway and so never do unlearn the old misconceptions. And so the quantum theory that's been the fundamental basis of modern physics, technology, chemistry, etc. for a century is still seen by most people as an arcane mystery or even an unproven hypothesis.
Is starting with quantum mechanics even possible, as far as the mathematics involved is concerned? I went as far as multi-variable calculus personally, and special relativity is surprisingly simple, but it was only after three semesters of college level physics that we had enough of a fondation to look at the uncertainty principle (right about the time I switched to studying language ).

Learning the math of special relativity flows quite smoothly from a basic knowledge of algebra and the galilean transformations for acceleration, velocity, etc. Doing the earlier approximations first is not an impediment to learning the more precise equations, at least it certainly wasn't in my experience: they are what Einstein modified to come up with his own versions.

There are many problems with our educational system, but is starting with Newtonian physics really one of them? For one thing, it still basically applies to most of daily existence on earth, since the Einsteinian radicals just factor out to approximately 1 over short distances and slow speeds (basically everything we are likely to encounter in every day life). For another, you need the basic building blocks of algebra and calculus to deal with the more complicated mathematics, isn't it like learning the basics of a language before trying to write poetry or an essay?

Beyond that, has anyone yet figured out how to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics and come up with a viable GUT or TOE or whatever the catch phrase is these days? If not, then I'm not sure that showing how everything arises from quantum mechanics is even possible at this point.

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And so the quantum theory that's been the fundamental basis of modern physics, technology, chemistry, etc. for a century is still seen by most people as an arcane mystery or even an unproven hypothesis.
Yeah, quantum mechanics is just a theory. Like evolution. Or gravity.
Those are all theories, yes, though that doesn't imply that they haven't been verified empirically. Take "gravity" as an example. The Newtonian equation was shown to be inaccurate by Einstein, and even Einstein's general theory of relativity (which, as I recall, expands on the special theory of relativity in order to explain how gravity works) will probably be refined at some point (perhaps to reconcile it with quantum mechanics).

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