When I joined Compass I had two things that I wanted to do. I wanted to study the concept of fear and I wanted to make a horror film. So I ended up combining the two, researching the psychology behind common phobias then applying the gained knowledge to a film. I ended up deciding to start an online series of short Horror films called ¨Foreboding.¨ I tossed around ideas for a first season for a while before deciding that I wanted to make a season about a killer clown. Season one is about a trio of deranged serial killers putting tapes of their grisly murders onto the air disguising it as a children's show called ¨Snuffles Adventures ̈
For this season I obviously used coulrophobia as the main fear, the fear of clowns. Though I did also sprinkle in a few other common fears such as arachnophobia (spiders), hemophobia (gore/blood), aichmophobia (sharp objects), thanatophobia (death/dead things), pediophobia (dolls), nyctohylophobia (forests at night), maskaphobia (masks), automatonophobia (puppets, statues, wax figures, etc.) and nyctophobia (the dark.)
Phobias can be obtained in many ways. In many cases, they can be learned by a parental figure or another guardian figure. In these cases, the child observes the fear in the parent and learns to feel fear whenever they see the object of unease. But also many deep seated phobias can be a result of something that one went through as a kid. Enduring a traumatic experience is a way to begin to fear something that your brain has associated with that dark time in your life.
But since this season ́s main antagonist is a psychopath donning clown attire I'll discuss more deeply one effect that comes more to my advantage in season one an effect known as the ¨Uncanny Valley Effect.̈ Uncanny valley effect is when something looks extremely humanoid but is slightly bent or distorted, a little off. A good example would be mannequins or hyper realistic androids. While there are a few different theories about why clowns unnerve us the one that stuck out to me is the uncanny valley effect since I had previously looked into it last year in Introduction to Critical Thinking. The theory suggests that perhaps the fact that clowns look very human (since they usually are) but have such heavily painted faces and distorted features that it confuses the brain in the same way as an android. Another theory suggests that perhaps our primal instincts are telling us to avoid the pale faced comedians since they resemble dead or ill individuals. Other theories simply imply that people are just freaked out by the fact that the big red noses and white paint somewhat conceals the wearer ́s identity. Though another reason often listed by adults that fear clowns is how unpredictable they can be. Unlike the other acts at the circus, clowns just do whatever they think will be funny to the crowd.
Burnett, Dean. “Coulrophobia: Why Clowns Trigger Our Fear Reflexes | Dean Burnett.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Oct. 2016, www.theguardian.com
Black holes are one of the most mind-boggling and intricate objects that have been discovered. They can slow down time relative to the earth, cause a distortion in the fabric of space, warp light, and are completely invisible. Yet, there is still so much that astronomers haven’t learned. I decided to focus my learning around the formation, anatomy, physics, and history of black holes.
Right now with my project, I’m going back and forth between the history and scientific side of black holes. The first project I completed was about a documentary called Black Hole Apocalypse. I took several pages of notes throughout the film then composed an essay about everything I learned. My second project focused on the important historical events that relate to black holes. The project that I am currently working on is comparing two black holes from two different movies to what astronomers know of black holes now. The goal of this is to see how similar and different a realistic black hole is to a black hole in a science fiction movie.
I think one of the most challenging parts of my project is the language used in the resources and the different theories that are used to explain a black hole. There is a lot of new vocabulary that is used quite often in the resources I find. It takes time to clearly understand what each word means. The second most challenging aspect of this is the theories that are used to explain the way a black hole works and is formed. Einstein's theory of relativity and special relativity are presented a lot along with many other theories. The other challenging part for me is understanding time. Grasping the concept of time in space and how it is affected by certain objects is an important part of understanding how the universe works.
I have already learned so much about black holes with the couple projects I have completed. The first thing I wanted to know was, what exactly is a black hole? It is a point in space where the gravity is so strong that once something enters it can't escape, not even light. They form from massive stars collapsing in on themselves until the core gets crushed into a very small point. Once it is compressed enough it creates a black hole. These black holes can come in many different sizes ranging from 10 solar masses to 17 billion solar masses, which is the largest black hole to be found. The supermassive black holes are found at the center of every galaxy we have observed, including the milky way. With my second project, I went deeper into the history and series of events that corresponded with black holes. One of the first points in time that related to black holes was in 1783 when John Michelle had announced the idea of a “Dark Star” by using Newton's Law of Gravitation. Then later on in-time, the first-ever black hole was discovered in 1971, it was named Cygnus X-1. While astronomers were observing a binary star system they noticed an invisible companion that had enough mass and gravity to keep the other star revolving around it. This later turned out to be the first confirmed black hole.
Astronomy is a threshold for a hard science class. It’s very dense in detail which makes learning it a lot more difficult yet very interesting.