Shadow Writing Prompt

Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day!

I guess I would like to be the shadow of a cat. I could observe the whole day what the furry, litte fluffball is up to.

Well, certainly the cat would sleep most of the time, apart from merrily being fed by someone. As her shadow, I might even dare to cuddle the purring thing when it sleeps and stretches out on a cosy pillow.

However, it may also be a pretty wild cat, playing the whole day or going on mouse hunt for dinner. She might also look interestedly at fish in the pond with a twitching tail; or trying to lure some birds by imitating their twitters. That’s at least what my old cat tended to do.

After the day, I might either be pretty exhausted by following a cat into the wild or be pretty relaxed if we spent a day cuddled up on the sofa!

Homework 3: Summary of the Warp-text

The Scientific American blog-article “Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel” written by Marc Alpert in April 2014 treats the (im)possibilities of interstellar travelling.

After giving a Star Trek anecdote the author writes about a NASA research programme that examines “distortions in spacetime”. Such distortions could be used for a spacecraft to travel faster than light if it could be enclosed in “warped spacetime”: The warp-drive would be invented.

However, critics state that it is basically infeasible at this point in time. What the author finds remarkable is that the NASA nevertheless assigns a small amount of money towards this dreamy project. Despite the critics there are many scientists and dreamers who try to launch unmanned interstellar operations until 2100, esp. after possibly inhabitable planets have been discovered recently. For this end, organizations have been set up, which hold regular meetings and conferences.

The author states that the problem to reach these planets would be time: NASA already has an unmanned spacecraft in interstellar space; however, it is much too slow. To reach any of the possibly inhabitable planets it would take 70.000 years. Thus, further developments in impulsion technology are needed.

Apart from the NASA warp-drive project there is the possibility examined by the organization Icarus Interstellar, which try to develop fusion power propulsion. Seemingly more feasible than the warp approach, nuclear fusion still is not ready for use in space.

Problematic with the high speed would be dust, which becomes dangerous to the spacecraft surface at such a high speed. Second point is the halting of a faster-than-light spacecraft: In order to stop and- if need be- to turn around, it would need a heavier construction. The author thus concludes that the encountered problems may be “endless” and that those may also be met by extra-terrestrials.

Eventually, it is explained why mankind then actually pursues the dream of interstellar travelling. It is about the survival of mankind. There are some extinguishing events that can only be escaped by space travel. Thus, the author ends with the Star Trek quote that we would have “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Words: 351

How can I be helpful for you?

Hi everyone,

I am a certified writing peer-tutor since April 2013 and have been working at the Writing Center of the European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder).

I there gave workshops concerning quoting and plagiarism as well as on how to write scientific papers.

What is more interesting for you: I offer you writing consultations. This is a non-hierarchical meeting between you an me, where you:

  • simply can talk about your texts and ideas! I will be an active listener and ask questions if anything is unclear to me. It can help you to structure your thoughts and to further elaborate your ideas.
  • can talk about writing problems, e.g. if you have problems with finding a topic/research question, with the structure of your paper or the “red thread”, time management or whatever… I will give you “help for self-help”. That means I can show you some tricks and writing methods or simply use some conversation techniques so that you can solve these problems on your own!
  • ask questions, e.g. about quoting
  • can get feedback on text passages. So if you already have a written text, just send me about one page beforehand so that I can read it, and I will give you feedback on the points that you want me to concentrate on. However, you will get feedback here on your blog posts anyway 😉

So, if you would like to come to a writing consultation, just e-mail me or ask me during the seminar and we can find a good time and place for it 🙂 A consultation takes maximum one hour.



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in case you need to reach me and don’t want to take the blog, write me a mail to my University account. As I don’t want to write the address down openly, I just give you my full name and hope that you know automatically, how my university-mail-address should look like 😉


Josephin Winkler