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February 19, 1998 - Image 21

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108 - The. Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine ;- Thursday, efbruary 1W998

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The-M chigan Daily Weekend M

,,.:

Students with high
hopes aim for stars

R Film Feature

Stars provide advice, amusement
for students curious about future

By Emily Lambert
Daily Weekend, etc. Editor
Who didn't want to be an astro-
naut? Who didn't imagine looking at
the Earth from afar, circling the
globe in weightlessness or leaving
footprints on the moon? Becoming
anastronaut was a popular dream for
many. And for some University stu-
dents, the dream lives on.
Rachel East, an Engineering
junior, became interested in space
when she was in second grade. She
joined a young astronaut club and
went to space camp. When it came
time to choose a field of study, she
decided on aerospace engineering.
East said thought about other disci-
plines but couldn't get space out of
her mind.
"I don't want to regret not doing
something I want to do," she said.
iigineering senior Abhishe
Tripathi said he came to the
University solely to become an
astronaut.
"I never even thought of a career
other than that," Tripathi said. said.
"For me, it's like my life."
The University has a strong tradi-
,ion in space. With the nation's first
collegiate aeronautics program, it
'oasts six alumni who have orbited
he Earth. Alumnus Ed White was
he first American to spacewalk.
fhree other alumni went to the
noon, where Michigan memorabilia,
ncluding the seal of the aeronautics
kpartment, remain.
But not just anyone can join the
ranks of thuse six famous alums.
Huge numbers of applicants to
NASA's astronaut program are regu-

larly turned away.
Holly Calley, a personnel assistant
in Johnson Space Center's Astronaut
Selection Office, said NASA selects
new astronauts every two years. This
round attracted 2,621 applicants, 121
of whom were invited for interviews.
She estimated that 15 to 20 will
make the final cut and enter astro-
naut training.
"Saying I'm going to grow up and
be an astronaut is like saying I'm
going to grow up and be president of
the United States," said Alec
Gallimore, an assistant aerospace
engineering professor.
The competition is stiff. Advanced
degrees, physical fitness, work expe-
rience and personality all enter into
consideration during the application
process. Astronauts must be cool
under pressure and work well with a
team, said Gallimore, who consid-
ered applying for the program. "I
never applied because I like it here,"
he said, but he left the door open for
applying in the future.
Much of what NASA requires of
its astronauts involves upholding a
certain image for the program. Every
astronaut acts as an ambassador for
NASA, which relies heavily on pub-
lic support.
Brad King, an Engineering doctor-
al student, spent several years at
Houston's Johnson Space Center
observing astronauts and their cre-
dentials. Multiple advanced degrees,
community service and flying expe-
rience are some of the astronauts'
many qualifications.
"You don't know how they have
See SPACE, Page 128

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
The Captain and Data explore space in "Star Trek: Generations."
e Force is with space-film ans

By Geordy Gantsoudes
Daily Arts Writer
What is it about space that captivates
the human mind? Its boundless size?
The stars and other celestial bodies? The
utter peace one feels when gazing upon
the placid night sky? Whatever the rea-
son, space has a way of affecting us in a
manner that few other topics can. Would
Galileo have accepted being denounced
by the Pope for just anything? Millions
of people across the world look to horo-
scopes for advice on running their lives
-just see page 13 of this magazine.
In the last 30 years, perhaps no topic
has been more successful on the silver
screen than space. Two of the most lucra-
tive movie franchises ("Star Wars" and
"Star Trek") take place in outer space.
Ever since Neil Armstrong floated down
from the ladder leading out of the Apollo
11 lunar module, the world's fascination
with interstellar activities has grown
exponentially.
With the exception of the "Flash
Gordon" series and a few other films, the
movie that first spurred the outer-space
trend in film was Stanley Kubrick's opus,
"2001: A Space Odyssey." Based on
Arthur C. Clar's novel, the film tells a
story about the relationship between an
alien obelisk and the history of man. The
two stories, one about the transformation
from ape to man and the second story
about space, are primarily visual. The
few existing lines of dialogue are
between a computer named HAL and an
astronaut named Dave.
The movie revolutionized the way

films are made. By making a visual mas-
terpiece rather than a schlocky sci-fi
movie (such as any space movie made in
the '50s or '60s), Kubrick paved the way
for a whole new genre: the space movie.
The space genre arrived on the scene
just after America's first real film genre
- the Western - had started its decline
from the public's favor. But the space
movies were not much different from
those they were trying to replace. George
Lucas, creator of the "Star Wars"
movies, has said that he based the stories
of the trilogy on films made by Japanese
director Akira Kurosawa - whose own
films were based on Westerns.
"Star Wars" is basically a cross
between a Western and a medieval
knight story. There is a princess, a
Merlin-esque wizard named Obi-Wan, a
few dashing heroes and, of course, the
ultimate black knight, Darth Vader. The
guns and space battles are modified
Western shootouts. And what would a
Western be without a happy ending?
The extremely popular "Star Trek"
series of the '60s jumped back on the
sci-fi bandwagon with the first "Star
Trek" movie, after "Star Wars" broke
every box office record. Since then
seven more films and three other "Trek"
series have followed, along with god-
only-knows how many Trekkies. If they
are not proof of the total fascination that
engulfs the mind when talking about
space, I don't know what is.
Action movies about space were not
the only offerings on the subject. Two of
the most popular movies in the last 20

years involved creatures from other
places in space coming to visit us on
Earth. Need a hint? Steven Spielberg
directed both of them.
The perennial Thanksgiving heart-
warmer, "E.T.," is the second-highest-
grossing film in American history. Very
few people of 15 years or older have not
seen this movie. Spielberg does his best
Frank Capra imitation for the film that
made Speak 'N' Spell, Reese's Pieces
and Drew Barrymore famous.
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
was a movie after the spirit of "2001." It
addressed the question "Are we alone?"
and it does this seriously, as opposed to
the ludicrous manner in which the topic
was addressed by such classics as "Plan
9 From Outer Space." The five notes at
the end of the movie are among the most
famous musical pieces ever. More
recently, "Contact" followed "2001"'s
lead in addressing this same issue.
What movie trailers are more exciting
to watch than space trailers? Perhaps one
of the most faious trailers in motion
picture history is the one for "Alien" that
concluded with the phrase "In space, no
one can hear you scream" Space made
"Alien" a great movie, even though the
plot had been done numerous times
before "Alien" took the done-to-death
monster movie and put it on a space ship,
creating a whole new story. Even Abbott
and Costello brought their act to space in
"Abbott and Costello Go to Mars"
They (who are they, anyway?) say that
imitation is a form of flattery. Well,
space movies are not exactly feeling
unloved. Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs" is a
hilarious send-up of the genre. "The
Simpsons" hase had no fewer than 10
episodes that are concerned, in whole or
in part with space films.
The Internet Movie Database
(www imdb.com) even lists some space-
based porno films, including "Sex Trek,"
"2069: A Sex Odyssey" or the most
striking title, "Flesh Gordon:'
From true stories ("The Right Stuff")
to the ultimate fantasy ("The Fifth
Element") the space genre has been a
consistent part of the motion picture
scene for the last 30 years, and it shows
no signs of letting up. Two asteroid
motion pictures are coming to a theater
near you within the next five months. So
sit back, relax and pop in a good space
movie. And remember the force will be
with you, always.

By Joanne Anajar
Daily Arts Writer
The future is on the minds of many
University students - an entire
office, the Office of Academic
Advising, is one of many sites funded
to help students design their futures.
Other students, however, prefer to
consult Dionne Warwick and her
friends at the Psychic Friends
Network to learn about the future.
Is this approach - slapping down
cash to let the stars, psychics and
palm readers do the work - a good
one or a scam?
One firm believer said it took just
one accurate reading from a psychic
to encourage her to return on a regu-
lar basis.
"In the past eight months I've been
to three psychics," said LSA senior
Laura Pylat. "The first was able to
exactly describe my personality, that
of my boyfriend, and those of my
parents. He told me without my ask-
ing that I was having serious prob-
lems with the boyfriend, and could
explain exactly why," she said.
Pylat also said all three readings
were consistent. All three psychics
predicted she would go into a teach-
ing profession, she said.
"The day after I saw one of them, I
got a job offer with a test-taking
instruction company," Pylat said.
The accuracy didn't stop there. One
of the psychics told her she would be
experiencing psychic activities herself.
"The next day I played the Daily
Four and won."
But other students think psychics
cause self-fulfilling prophecies, and
that hearers make the future happen
on their own.
"I think it's all a bunch of bunk and
hokum. Anyone who believes in it
needs to learn to take control of their
own life and not let silly cons and
shams tell them what to do," said first-
year LSA student John Vandenbrooks.
Attention
The Michigan Daily.
Weekend, etc.
Magazine is seeking
submis*sions forIts
2nd AnnualsLierary
MagaZine. Please
bring Original, unpub-
lished poetry or
shor t stries on a
MaCintosh disk to
The Michigan Daily
at 420 Maynard St.,
before Friday, Feb
20 Call Liz or Emily
at 763-0379 for com-
petition guidelines or
other infrMati0on.

"The most
important thing is
to know that you
can be your own
determinant of
your future"
-- Erin Tague
LSA sophomore
Michelle Goepp, a second-year
LSA student, agreed.
"It amazes me that anyone could
put faith in something like palm
reading ... if used for anything other
than a party game," she said. "All of
that is a scam based on nothing that
resembles logic or common sense."
Students like Brenna Polzin, a
first-year LSA student, still are
unsure about the logic - or lack
thereof -- behind astrology. Polzin
once conducted a science project on
the subject. She cut out her horo-
scope every day for two weeks, then
recorded whether or not the expected
came true.
"They didn't come true unless I
read the horoscope ahead of time and
made it come true," she said.
Another experimenter saw a psy-
chic at a high school senior party and
had a different reaction.
"At first I thought that it was a
bunch of crap, but then she started
telling me some things that were pret-
ty much on the map, and I didn't give
her anything, said Erin Tague, an
LSA sophomore. "The most impor-
tant thing is to know that you can be
your own determinant of your future:'
So how accurate are the stars? The
only way to find out is by testing the
powers of those who claim to know
the future.

When callers pick up the phone for
psychic advice, it can be both an
entertaining and expensive venture.
Calling one 800-number psychic line
- Aaron's Live Psychic Readings -
leads to trendy "X-Files" music and
a woman with a low voice who
speaks for a few minutes about what
the future would hold:
"Let our gifted psychics help you
to discover and enter what goes
beyond your own mind," she says,
encouraging callers to make another
phone call.
"Clean the path to understanding
and assist you to make best choices
for your future," she states, directing
callers to a 900-number that is free
for the first minute and $3.99 per
minute afterward.
The same woman answers the sec-
ond number and promises that a psy-
chic will be on shortly. The minutes
that tick away while elevator music
plays can add up - callers often pay
more for waiting than listening to
advice. A trip to a real psychic, for
example, makes for a more personal-
ized experience.
At Patsy's Psychic Readings in
Ypsilanti, Patsy has successfully
deduced specific past events, and her
answers can be surprising, if not
quite worth the $25 charge. But what
is the secret of her accuracy?
"I was gifted to see these things
through my mother and my grand-
mother and a long line of people in
my family," Patsy said. "The stars
play into it at certain times - like on
the day that you were born, you have
certain stars around your birth date."
So what affects the future most -
stars, or students' free will? The
University community seems divided
on this issue.
But as Patsy said, "A lot of people
don't believe in psychics until they
actually go see one, and then they
change their beliefs."

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