Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Paying Tribute to Global Icon Nelson Mandela

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

new imageToday the world mourned the loss of a great iconic and inspiring figure of our time-Nelson Mandela. An international hero, whose struggle against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Noble Prize, died at the age of 95 in Johannesburg, after a prolonged lung infection. Jacob Zuma, South African President, announced his death on late Thursday.

First democratically elected president of South Africa, Mandela survived decades in prison for his fight against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies. In his lifelong dedication to the freedom of his people, Mandela became an enduring icon of humanism, integrity, dignity and resilience.

Born the son of a tribal chief on July 18, 1918 in the Umtata province of Transkei, Nelson Mandela was expelled from University of Fort Hare for his participation in a student strike. In 1941, he left Transkei and ran away to Johannesburg to avoid his marriage, which was arranged by the Themby chief.

In Johannesburg, he earned a law degree from the University of Witwatersrand and joined the African National Congress (A.N.C). In order to infuse new enthusiasm into the A.N.C body, he formed the A.N.C youth league that would take radical steps against the white minority’s supremacy. On 5 December 1956, Mandela was charged along with the 156 leading members of ANC with high treason ended with their acquittal 5 years later. Due to Mandela’s perseverance in fighting the apartheid system, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island in 1964.

Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years in Robben Island and rest in Pollsmoor Prison. During that time, his name as the powerful figure of the resistance of anti-Apartheid system grew progressively. On Feb Long Walk to Freedom11, 1990, all TV channels around the world broadcast live Mandela’s walked out of prison to freedom. He was awarded more than 695 awards, including the Noble Peace Prize in 1993 and the U.S. Congressional medal in 1998.

During the course of his 27 years in prison, Nelson began writing his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom that reveals his involvement in the African National Congress and his lasting devotion to public works. He wrote many books, mostly autobiographical that gives a lot of insight into the man, his political and personal beliefs. A few books by him that disclose the horrors of apartheid and the liberation movement are “No Easy Walk to Freedom,” “Conversations with Myself,” and “In His Own Words.”

From a young boy, to a political protester, to President, to peacemaker, Mandela never wavered in his convictions. He is an epitome of forgiveness and his leadership style is an inspiration to mankind.

We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the Mandela Family and friends at this difficult time.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

MalalaA year ago, a Taliban shook the conscience of humanity when he shot a 15-year old Pakistani girl in the head at point-blank range because of her forthright stand on education. Today, that girl has become an inspiration to many and a symbol of hope in a world ruined by violence and cruelty. Moreover, that audacious girl, who fights for the rights of girls’ education, is the youngest contender ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. The girl is none other than Malala Yousafzai, who refused to bow before an unlawful proclamation and triggered a revolt against the Taliban’s dictate.

On Tuesday, a day before the anniversary of her assassination attempt, her memoir “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban,” was released. In this memoir Malala shares, what she had faced on that fateful day and the encouraging story of her temerity and strong will power not to be intimidated by the terrorists. The book also tells about the remarkable courage she got from her family, especially from her father who motivated her to attend school in the face of threats and pressures.

Published by Little, Brown and Company in the US and written with the British journalist Christina Lamb, the book recounts Malala’s life before and after that traumatic event and her inspiring and long-running campaign to fight for the education of girls in Pakistan.

At the age of 11, Yousafzai started giving TV interviews in Pakistan about girls’ education. However, her identity first revealed while writing an anonymous blog for the BBC Urdu blog under a pseudonym. Her blog in which this stern supporter of girl’s education chronicled the arrival of Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban in the Swat valley and their atrocities of daily life became an overnight sensation and soon she became a potential Taliban target.

By this time, this young courageous woman and her father Ziauddin, an educator, were receiving death threats from The Taliban. Even almost being murdered by extremists, Malala did not stop her from talking and writing about education and Taliban’s injustices. She gave an interview in a news channel where she told that she would return to Pakistan one day and join politics. In a nation, where all leaders, politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats have an apologetic attitude toward Taliban, this indomitable girl stands against their tyrannies. For Malala’s courage to stand up for herself and other girls, she was awarded with multiple national and international honors.

In this book, readers will find a comprehensive and engaging detail of the shooting, narrations of the pivotal event, the story of her recovery, and the perspectives of several different personalities. Written in simple English, this well-composed book discloses the serious problems that people from terror-stricken Pakistan has been facing and how an attempt to assassinate Malala shook the world. After reaching at the end of the book, you only get encouraged from Malala on how she kept the guts to criticize the most atrocious and hideous terrorist group, despite being only a child of 11.

RIP Elmore Leonard- The ‘Dickens of Detroit’

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

elmoreThe legendary American crime novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard passed away on Tuesday at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan following complications from a stroke at the age of 87.  

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1925 the great crime novelist began his career in the Navy, where he served with the Seabees, just after graduating from the University of Detroit in 1943. His pared down style and sparse use of dialogue was admired by celebrated writers and his works left an indelible imprint on many film adaptations and popular crime genres. His many admirers had often dubbed Leonard as “The Dickens of Detroit” because of his intimate portrayal of people from the town.

Starting out his writing career in the early fifties, the prolific author Leonard—or “Dutch,” as he often called- wrote more than forty books a couple of screenplays. However, he got first giant success in 1951 when an American pulp magazine “Argosy” published his short story “Trail of the Apaches“. He wrote several short stories primarily in pulp Westerns. Eventually, he turned his writing to crime, and more topical genres, as well as screenwriting in the 1960 as he earned his status for creating memorable characters and strong dialogue.

He credited author George V. Higgins for inspiring him to write mystery novels. He often considered Ernest Hemingway as one of his leading inspirations, and simultaneously criticized Hemingway for sternness. Among his acclaimed works are “Get Shorty,” Hombre, “,”52 Pick Up” “Mr. Majestyk” and “Rum Punch,” which was adapted into a movie titled Jackie Brown. Two of his Western stories The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma were translated into movies. His 1953 Western short story 3:10 to Yuma was remade into a film starring Russell Crowe in 2007 while his book The Switch being in production into a film starring Jennifer Aniston and Tim Robbins is scheduled to debut this year as Life of Crime. His gallant character US Marshal Raylan Givensm, inspired the current TV series on FX, “Justified.”

He won numerous awards including the Grand Master Edgar Award in 1992, the Louisiana Writer Award in 2006, the F Scott Fitzgerald award in 2008, and Peabody Award for his FX’s Justified in 2011. He received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Leonard said he did not intend to end his life’s work after achieving further National Book Award lifetime achievement last year .

Commended by critics for his sly, calm, humorous and sometimes surprising voice, Mr. Leonard at times took liberties with language rules in the concern of pacing with the story. His “10 Rules for Writing” published in the New York Times in 2001, contained such constructive admonishments that are essential to any serious author and editor. His 10 rules should be pinned above the writing desk of everyone who terms himself or herself a writer.  

He survived by five children– three daughters and two sons, all born from his first wife Beverly Claire Cline before divorcing in 1977, as well as 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He married and divorced his third wife Christine in 2012. At the time of his hospitalization for a stroke earlier this month, he was working on his yet another novel.

Our earnest condolences and best wishes go out to Leonard’s family, colleagues and fans all around the world.

Remembering Erwin Schrödinger–A Pioneer of Quantum Physics

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

schrodingerToday is the 126th Birth Anniversary of Erwin Schrödinger- the Nobel prize-winning quantum physicist whose stationary and time-dependent eponymous equation formed the basis of quantum wave mechanics. Born in Vienna, Austria on August 12, 1887, to Catholic father and his half-Austrian and half-English wife, Schrödinger was a gifted child who showed great interest in science and philosophy and made significant contributions to nearly all its branches.

His interests and strengths lay not only in the physics, religions and pantheism but also in languages, both modern and ancient, as well as poetry, which were strong influences on his views. He also authored numerous books in various fields of physics including “Space-Time Structure,” “Statistical Thermodynamics,” “Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism,” My View of the World,” and many more. In addition, he wrote on philosophical aspects of science and theoretical biology. His well-received 1944 non-fiction science book, What Is Life?, was based on the course of public lectures delivered by him, introduced the problems of genetics, observing life from the point of view of physics.   

The only son of knowledgeable parents, Schrödinger was taught at home as a child, until he was 11. He then went on to study theoretical physics at the Vienna University, studied under Friedrich Hasenöhrl and Franz S. Exner, where he remained until World War I. He undertook voluntary military service on the Italian front, later went back to academia to study experimental physics. Due to the strong impact of Arthur Schopenhauer’s works at a very early age, he became extremely interested throughout his life in philosophy and color theory.

Most productive and creative moments in his career were those six years he spent in Zurich, though he did not start the tour de force for which he was renowned worldwide–quantum wave mechanics–until 1925. Einstein’s revolutionary papers on relativity sparked his curiosity. H1304140920137Z44ae49e examined the movement of electron in an atom as a wave. By 1926, he published his masterpiece, which was released after a long theoretical research of six-months, providing hypothetical foundations for the atomic model. Lies at the heart of Quantum mechanics, his extremely groundbreaking discovery of wave equation earned him the Noble prize in physics in 1933. However, he received noble prize for his amazing series of six papers but his most popular contribution to the field of quantum physics came in 1935, when he developed cat-in-a-box thought experiment. Schrödinger’s cat is his most enduring legacy that allowed him to pose a question to Copenhagen interpretations of quantum wave mechanics to everyday objects by using the paradox.

Many scientists were influenced by the speculations of Erwin Schrödinger. One of them is James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 stated in his memoir- DNA that Schrödinger’s book- the Secret of Life inspired him to research gene. Contributed profoundly to the understanding of subatomic behavior, the legendary physicist had a very long official name- Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger.

Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger’s had to relocate a number of times, looking for a society that would accept his ménage a trois  and a nation in which to work that provided religious tolerance.

After warfare and foreign employment had receded from Austria in 1956, he came back to Vienna. He suffered from tuberculosis the following year and died on January 1961 left a widow, Anny, and was buried in the western Austrian village of Alpbach.

R.I.P Richard Matheson (1926-2013)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

richard_mathesonLegendary American fantasy, sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, much of whose work was adapted for the television and big screen, died on Sunday in Los Angeles, after a long illness at age 87. This very sad news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Academy of science Fiction.

The celebrated writer is best known for his seminal work I Am Legend, a 1954 horror novel that has been inspired three different film adaptations, including 2007′s American post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller movie of the same name starring Will Smith. Along with I Am Legend, he penned 16 episodes of the original “Twilight Zone” television series for Rod Serling. He was also the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s 1971 TV movie debut “Duel“.

Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian parents, prolific Robert Matheson began his 6-decade-plus career in 1950 with a short story “Born Of Man And Woman,” that was published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction and his first novel Someone is bleeding was published in 1953 by Lion Books. As a youngster, he displayed an interest on a musical career, but his eager craving for fantasy ignited his imagination and blazed his passion. He crafted several stories that skillfully transitioned to both the big and small screens.

Several of his well-known works were adapted into movies, including Hell I Am LegendHouse (1953), I Am Legend(1954), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1956), A Stir of Echoes (1958), The Omega Man (1971), and What Dreams May Come (1978). Internet Movie Database credited him as the writer of at least 80 film and television productions over the course of his career.  

Richard Matheson’s also helped inspire a generation of genre writers. One of them was Stephen King, who dedicated his novel “Cellto Matheson, along with film producer George A. Romero. Moreover, American Gothic fiction writer Anne Rice cited him as the biggest influence on her own work.

During his lifetime, Richard Matheson received various awards. He won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for The Incredible Shrinking Man, which he shared with director Jack Arnold. He received both the World Fantasy (1984) and the Bram Stoker (1991) Awards, both for Life Achievement.

Matheson was scheduled to receive the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films’s Visionary Award on Wednesday. The award will be presented posthumously. Moreover, the organization declared that 39th annual ceremony will now be dedicated to him.

Richard Matheson live in our hearts and will forever be remembered for his contributions to the world. 

Click here to see all of Richard Matheson’s books


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