“A Theme Park Based on Science Could Be a Real Inspiration” by Sandra Dutton

December 12th, 2010

Following is my op-ed piece that was published December 7 in the Cincinnati Enquirer (http://news NULL.cincinnati NULL.com/apps/pbcs NULL.dll/article?AID=/AB/20101207/EDIT02/12070339/):

Does anyone remember the Disneyland ride “Adventure through Inner Space”?  It was featured in Tomorrowland from 1967-1985.  It was my favorite theme park ride ever.

We boarded small cars called Atom-Mobiles and rode through the end of a microscope into darkness, until we saw snowflakes whirling. A narrator informed us that we were going on a journey in which we would be “shrinking beyond the smallness of a tiny snowflake crystal.”

The snowflakes became larger until it was obvious they were not solid, but lattice-like structures.  And we shrunk down to the size of a water molecule, with fuzzy spheres whirling around us—atoms.  Eventually we saw the large, pulsating ball of the nucleus and were told we had pierced the wall of the oxygen atom.

The ride had the magic of science fiction, yet was pure science.

When I heard the Creation Museum was planning a theme park, I thought of this ride, and how technology could be used to illustrate the Big Bang.  Of course that’s not going to happen, since Answers in Genesis believes a six-day creation, 6000 years ago, and is planning on featuring Noah’s Ark.  But how exciting it would be to visit a creation theme park based on science.  Here are some rides I would love to take:

The Big Bang Particle-Mobile—We would board a small, round car that would whirl us through space at the speed of light, particles becoming atoms, atoms becoming molecules, molecules becoming stars.  We would pass through an incredible light show seeing galaxies form, some stars exploding into supernovas, all the while a narrator telling us what’s going on and how many millions of years are passing.  (Sort of the reverse of the atom-mobile.)

Trilobite

Armored Fish Submarine—the submarine itself would be a Dunkleosteus, an armored fish from the Devonian period.  We would float among the sealife—mollusks, trilobites, brachiopods, corals, sponges, eventually seeing an early fish, the Tiktaalik, crawl out on land.

Tunnel of Pterodactyls—a scary, spookhouse sort of ride where early birds would come shrieking out of the darkness.

The Quantum Fun House—This would be a “walk-through” filled with lights, mirrors, and clever construction, where you could be two places at once, a particle and a wave, and end in a gravity-free room where you could bounce off the walls.

Jurassic Monorail—(sort of like the movie) From the comfort of your seat you could see the Dilophosaurus and the Ceratosaurus cavort.

Australopithecus at Work—passengers on a bamboo raft (with safety rails)  would float by several camps of early man, the Australopithecus, Peking, Java, Neanderthal, all of them engaged in activity—killing an animal, making mocassins, preparing dinner.

These are just a few ideas, and this is to say nothing of the different kinds of “lands” you could create.  But to visit such a park would be astonishing, exhilarating, awe-inspiring!  What’s more, it would be based on science.

A Review by “The Clever Badger”

December 9th, 2010

For a very interesting review on Mary Mae on the Gospel Truth, go to The Clever Badger (http://www NULL.cleverbadger NULL.net/2010/12/08/book-review-mary-mae-and-the-gospel-truth-by-sandra-dutton/). 

Proposed Creation Theme Park

December 2nd, 2010
Is the world really just 6000 years old?

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent editorial on the proposed Creation Museum theme park in northern Kentucky:

“. . .in a state that already suffers from low educational attainment in science, one of the last things Kentucky officials should encourage, even if only implicitly, is for students and young people to regard creationism as scientifically valid. Creationism is a nonsensical notion that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old.

No serious scientist upholds that view, and sophisticated analysis of the Earth’s minerals and meteorite deposits generally lead to an estimate that the planet is about 4.5 billion years old. Furthermore, creationism teaches that the Earth (including humans) was created in six days, thus rejecting the well-established science of evolution.”

For a link to the full editorial, in the Louisville Courier-Journal, click here (http://www NULL.courier-journal NULL.com/article/20101202/OPINION01/312020019).

Puppet-Making Workshop, Reading, and Art Show Saturday

November 18th, 2010

Paper Bag Puppets

Saturday, November 20 at 11 am, I’ll be at the Coastal Children’s Museum, Sharp’s Point South,75 Mechanic Street, in Rockland, Maine, reading from “Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior.”  Afterward, I’ll have a puppet-making workshop for children.  The workshop is free for members and included in the price of admission for non members.

At 1 pm, at Bootstraps Gallery (just across the street from the Children’s Museum),  I’ll be reading from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”  The event is free and open to the public.  A show of my paintings will also be on display.

Saturday’s events should be great fun, and I hope you can stop in for one or both events!

A portion of any art and books sold through Bootstraps Gallery will benefit a family in need served through Oasis Services, LLC, a home and personal care agency.  For more information, call Kristin Tescher at (207) 542-8564.

Falmouth Library Book Club

November 15th, 2010

Last Friday I had a wonderful time discussing “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” with Mrs. C.’s girls’ book club at the Falmouth Library. The girls, Meghan, Ally, Olivia, and Lisa, asked great questions and want to be writers themselves.

Sandra Dutton at Coastal Children’s Museum and Bootstraps Gallery

November 14th, 2010
“Grassharper” by Sandra Dutton

 

Saturday, November 20 at 11 am, I’ll be at the Coastal Children’s Museum, Sharp’s Point South,75 Mechanic Street, in Rockland, Maine, reading from “Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior.”  Afterward, I’ll have a puppet-making workshop for children.  The workshop is free for members and included in the price of admission for non members.

At 1 pm, at Bootstraps Gallery (just across the street from the Children’s Museum),  I’ll be reading from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”  The event is free and open to the public.  A show of my paintings will also be on display.

Saturday’s events should be great fun, and I hope you can stop in for one or both events!

A portion of any art and books sold through Bootstraps Gallery will benefit a family in need served through Oasis Services, LLC, a home and personal care agency.  For more information, call Kristin Tescher at (207) 542-8564. 

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth nominated for “Mock Newbery”

October 26th, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth is honored to be nominated for the Falmouth Library’s “Mock Newbery.”  For more on this project, go to Mock Newbery (http://falmouthmemocknewbery NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2010/10/nest-for-celeste-henry-cole-ballet-for NULL.html), Falmouth, Maine.

And here (http://falmouthmemocknewbery NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2010/10/mock-newbery-book-club-for-students-in NULL.html) as well:

“Do you like to read? Do you enjoy talking about books?  If so, join the Mock Newbery Book Club run by Mrs. Potter at the Plummer-Motz school and Mrs. C from Falmouth Memorial Library.  We will hold three meetings, October 28th, November 18th, and December 16th from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. at the Plummer-Motz Library.  Those interested please sign up (forms available from Mrs. Potter and at the Falmouth Memorial Library)”

Revving up for Halloween

October 25th, 2010
Dutton Prepares to Read Ghost Stories

I’ll be reading ghost stories at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for “Family Fright Night” Saturday, October 30 from 4-7pm.  Includes Costume Parade, a Spooky Feast, Haunted Fairy Village, Crafts & Stories.  Can’t wait!

For more information, click here:  Family Fright Night (http://www NULL.mainegardens NULL.org/calendar/halloween-party).

Glossary for “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”

October 20th, 2010

Two Trilobites and Other Early Sea Life

I’ve been wanting to make a glossary for MMGT for some time, so here are the first 10 entries, and if you click at the bottom, or go to “Pages,” you can find the rest.

Adam and Eve—the first man and woman, according to Genesis.  God created Adam first, out of the dust of the ground, and then he made Eve, from Adam’s rib.

Autoharp—a musical instrument with 15-20 strings and a box-like structure that the musician strums. 

Beatitudes—blessings bestowed by Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” is one of the beatitudes.

begat—fathered a child or children, as in, “Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob and Esau.”

benediction—a final prayer, usually at a church service.

brachiopods—marine animals with hard shells that are alive now and have ancestors that appeared during the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Carboniferous ages.

Cain and Abel—in Genesis, the first two children of Adam and Eve.  Cain became jealous of Abel and killed him.

Cincinnati Arch—a geological formation in what is now the Cincinnati area that pushed the Ordovician layer up to the surface.  (See July 4 blog entry).

coral—early sea animals with a plant-like shape, prevalent in the Ordovician age.

Creation—In the Bible, God is said to have created the earth and its creatures in six days.  Fundamentalists believe this happened 6000 years ago.   Mainstream scientists believe the universe began with just one particle that kept expanding (as described by Miss Sizemore) 14-15 billion years ago.   (see Glossary)

Reading, Horn Book, and Bloomer

September 22nd, 2010

Had a wonderful time at Kennebooks (http://www NULL.kennebooks NULL.com/) in Kennebunk, Maine, with a great audience for the reading and discussion.  Thank you to Ann Carmichael and the Kennebooks staff for all their hard work and great publicity.

Just learned that “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” has been nominated for the “Amelia Bloomer List,” (http://ameliabloomer NULL.wordpress NULL.com/) which highlights “books notable for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers.”  I am honored they nominated “Mary Mae. . .” for their list.”

Also learned that The Horn Book (http://www NULL.hbook NULL.com/)will be publishing an essay I wrote on “dialect” sometime in 2011.

Please, everyone who visits this site, take a look at the video on YouTube, which you can reach by scrolling down (or sometimes up—I change the date to keep it near the top).  It was produced by Kirsten Cappy’s Curious City (http://visitcuriouscity NULL.wordpress NULL.com/), features young Portland actress Jane Ackermann, and introduces the main themes of the book.